In the doctrines of the Neoplatonists, of whom Plotinus is the most important, we have the worldprocess represented after the example of Plato as a series of descending steps, each being less perfect than its predecessors, since it is further removed from the first cause.'
The system of Plotinus, Zellar remarks, is not strictly speaking one of emanation, since there is no communication of the divine essence to the created world; yet it resembles emanation inasmuch as the genesis of the world is conceived as a necessary physical effect, and not as the result of volition.
Of Creuzer's other works the principal are an edition of Plotinus; a partial edition of Cicero, in preparing which he was assisted by Moser; Die historische Kunst der Griechen (1803); Epochen der griech.
The systematic theosophy of Plotinus and his successors does not belong to the present article, except so far as it is the presupposition of their mysticism; but, inasmuch as the mysticism of the medieval Church is directly derived from Neoplatonism through the speculations of the pseudo-Dionysius, Neoplatonic mysticism fills an important section in any historical review of the subject.
By Plotinus, on the contrary, the One is explicitly exalted above the vows and the " ideas "; it transcends existence altogether (i rbcava rijs ouaias), and is not.
(Porphyry tells us that Plotinus was unwilling to name his parents or his birthplace, and seemed ashamed of being in the body.) Beyond the uaOap ra, or virtues which purify from sin, lies the further stage of complete identification with God (ovrc w aµaprias Eivac; aXAa 0E6v Elm).
But in our present state of existence the moments of this ecstatic union must be few and short; " I myself," says Plotinus simply,.
In addition to all these he published Denkwiirdigkeiten aus der Geschichte des Christentums (1823-1824, 2 vols., 1825, 3 vols., 1846); Das Eine and Mannichf altige des christlichen Lebens (1840); papers on Plotinus, Thomas Aquinas, Theobald Thamer, Blaise Pascal, J.
This was shortly followed by the translation of Plotinus into Latin, and by a voluminous commentary, the former finished in 1486, the latter in 1491, and both published at the cost of Lorenzo de' Medici just one month after his death.
All forms of monism from Plotinus downwards tend to ignore personal individuality and volition, and merge all finite existence in the featureless unity of the Absolute; this, indeed, is what inspires the passion of the protest against monism.
Turning to the historical forms of the theory we may class Plotinus as a mystical monist: he attains to the One which is the All by an act of mystic union raising him above the phenomenal sphere.
Porphyry, the Neoplatonist, the disciple of Plotinus, was an unknown personage to those early students of the Isagoge.
The term has also been applied to the Italian humanists of the Renaissance, and in modern times, somewhat vaguely, to thinkers who have based their speculations on the Platonic metaphysics or on Plotinus, and incorporated with it a tendency towards a mystical explanation of ultimate phenomena.
This is not a prominent feature in Plotinus or his immediate disciples, who still exhibit full confidence in the subjective presuppositions of their philosophy.
It is also true that Neoplatonism sought to come to an understanding 1 Porphyry wrote a book, lrfpi T Aoyi a' CALAof001as, but this was before he became a pupil of Plotinus; as a philosopher he was independent of the Aoyca.
But if we search Plotinus for evidence of any actual influence of Jewish and Christian philosophy, we search in vain; and the existence of any such influence is all the more unlikely because it is only the later Neoplatonism that offers striking and deep-rooted parallels to Philo and the Gnostics.
But the Enneads of his pupil Plotinus are the primary and classical document of Neoplatonism.
The doctrine of Plotinus is mysticism, and like all mysticism it consists of two main divisions.
We may also, however, in accordance with the views of Plotinus, divide thus: (A) the invisible world - (i) the primeval Being, (2) the ideal world, (3) the soul; (B) the phenomenal world.
Plotinus is no dualist, like the Christian Gnostics; he admires the beauty and splendour of the world.
In the ethics of Plotinus all the older schemes of virtue are taken over and arranged in a graduated series.
Such is the religious philosophy of Plotinus, and for himself personally it sufficed, without the aid of the popular religion or worship. Nevertheless he sought for points of support in these.
A rigid monotheism appeared to Plotinus a miserable conception.
In support of image-worship he advanced ' Porphyry tells us that on four occasions during the six years of their intercourse Plotinus attained to this ecstatic union with God.
Amelius modified the teaching of Plotinus on certain.
The school of Athens returned to a stricter philosophical method and the cultivation of scholarship. Still holding by a religious philosophy, it undertook to reduce the whole Greek tradition, as seen in the light of Plotinus, to a comprehensive and closely knit system.
C. Marius Victorinus translated certain works of Plotinus, and thus had a decisive influence on the spiritual history of Augustine (Confess.
Origen was quite as independent a thinker as Plotinus; only, they both drew on the same tradition.
Thus in the history of science Neoplatonism has played a part and rendered services of which Plotinus or Iamblichus or Proclus never dreamt.
On Plotinus, Porphyry, &c., see separate articles.
Thus in the Poimandres of Hermes man is the most prominent figure in the speculation; numerous pagan and half-pagan parallels (the " Gnostics " of Plotinus, Zosimus, Bitys) have been collected by Reitzenstein in his work Poimandres (pp. 81-116).
By itself, on the other hand, stands the system preserved for us by Hippolytus in the Philosophumena under the name of the Naasseni, with its central figure of " the Man," which, as we have seen, is very closely related with certain specifically pagan Gnostic speculations which have come down to us (in the Poimandres, in Zosimus and Plotinus, Ennead ii.
Neoplatonism (and especially Plotinus) adopted a similar attitude.
To Plotinus God lies beyond sense and imagination: all the theologian can do is to point the way in which the thinker must travel.
Though the spirit and the language of Plotinus is closely allied to that of pantheism, the result of his thinking is not pantheism but mysticism.
Plotinus, on the other hand, cannot admit any realization or manifestation of the Infinite: God is necessarily above the world - he has no attributes, and is unthinkable.
Commentaries on Plato, mentioned by Porphyry in his life of Plotinus, have also been lost.
Its distinctive doctrines are: (1) that all created beings, spiritual or corporeal, are composed of matter and form, the various species of matter being but varieties of the universal matter, and similarly all forms being contained in one universal form; (2) that between the primal One and the intellect (the y olk of Plotinus) there is interposed the divine Will, which is itself divine and above the distinction of form and matter, but is the cause of their union in the being next to itself, the intellect, in which Avicebron holds that the distinction does exist.
He insists throughout on the unity and the indivisibility of God, whereas Plotinus and Porphyry had admitted not only a Trinity, but even an Ennead (nine-fold personality).
Little is known of her philosophical opinions, but she appears to have embraced the intellectual rather than the mystical side of Neoplatonism, and to have been a follower of Plotinus rather than of Porphyry and Iamblichus.
Zeller, "Ammonius Saccas and Plotinus," Arch.
After the assassination of Gordian in 244, Plotinus was obliged to take refuge in Antioch, whence he made his way to Rome and set up as a teacher there.
Bishop Berkeley's scheme for the Bermuda islands), but the opposition of Gallienus's counsellors and the death of Plotinus prevented the plan from being carried out.
The Enneades of Plotinus were first made known in the Latin translation of Marsilio Ficino (Florence, 1492) which was reprinted at Basel in 1580, with the Greek text of Petrus Perna.
On Plotinus generally see article in Suidas; Eunapius vitae sophistarum; and above all the Vita Plotini by his pupil Porphyry.
Plotinus explained the Xoyoc as constructive forces, proceeding from the ideas and giving form to the dead matter of sensible things (Enneads, v.
The system of Plotinus (205-270 A.D.) is a striking development of that element of Platonism which has had most fascina tion for the medieval and even for the modern mind, but which had almost vanished out of sight in the controversies of the post-Aristotelian schools.
Accordingly the ethics of Plotinus represent, we may say, the moral idealism of the Stoics cut loose from nature.
It should be observed that Plotinus himself is still too Platonic to hold that the absolute mortification of natural bodily appetites is required for purifying the soul; but this ascetic inference was drawn to the fullest extent by his disciple Porphyry.
There is, however, a yet higher point to be reached in the upward ascent of the Neoplatonist from matter; and here the divergence of Plotinus from Platonic idealism is none the less striking, because it is a bona fide result of reverent reflection on Plato's teaching.
Plotinus, however, urges that, as all thought involves difference or duality of some kind, it cannot be the primary fact in the universe, what we call God.
Porphyry tells us that his master Plotinus attained the highest state four times during the six years which he spent with him.
Circa 810-8 P Y g (Q) (810-877) the chief philosophic element is supplied by the influence of Plato and Plotinus, transmitted through an unknown author of the 5th century, who assumed the name of Dionysius the Areopagite.
It blended the Christian element of love with the ecstatic vision of Plotinus, sometimes giving the former a decided predominance.
On the death of Plotinus, as he gave up the ghost, a snake glided from under his bed into a hole in the wall."
Creuzer in the Didot edition of Plotinus (Paris, 1855); the In Platonis theologiam has not been reprinted since 1618, when it was published by Aemilius Portus with a Latin translation.