Neoplatonism sentence example
Neoplatonism seeks this in the ecstatic intuition of the ineffable One.
Neoplatonism owes its form to Plato, but its underlying motive is the widespread feeling of self-despair and the longing for divine illumination characteristic of the age in which it appears.
The " rhapsodic theogony " in particular exercised great influence on Neoplatonism.
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.
Neoplatonism appears in the first half of the 3rd century, and has its greatest representative in Plotinus.Advertisement
It will be seen from the above that Neoplatonism is not.
In the 17th century mysticism is represented in the philosophical field by the so-called Cambridge Platonists, and especially by Henry More (1614-1687), in whom the influence of the Kabbalah is combined with a species of christianized Neoplatonism.
He was one of the favourite pupils of Aedesius, and devoted himself mainly to the mystical side of Neoplatonism.
When Justinian in 529 closed the university of Athens, the last seat of paganism in the Roman empire, the last seven teachers of Neoplatonism emigrated to Persia.
It appears in various forms in Indian philosophy, and is the characteristically oriental element in syncretic systems like Neoplatonism and Gnosticism.Advertisement
See especially articles Evolution, Neoplatonism, Gnosticism.
Clement, as a scholar and a theologian, proposed to unite the mysticism of NeoPlatonism with the practical spirit of Christianity.
NeoPlatonism, which is in some respects nearer the Christian patristic than the Hellenic spirit, was as far as the radical religious thinkers of the Italian Renaissance receded.
His many-sided activity, as shown especially in his letters, and his loosely mediating position between Neoplatonism and Christianity, make him a subject of fascinating interest.
Just as the Later Roman empire was at once the supreme effort of the old world and the outcome of its exhaustion, so Neoplatonism is in one aspect the consummation, in another the collapse, of ancient philosophy.Advertisement
Judged from the standpoint of empirical science, philosophy passed its meridian in Plato and Aristotle, declined in the post-Aristotelian systems, and set in the darkness of Neoplatonism.
But, from the religious and moral point of view, it must be admitted that the ethical " mood " which Neoplatonism endeavoured to create and maintain is the highest and purest ever reached by antiquity.
As a matter of fact, barbarism did break out after the flower had fallen from Neoplatonism.
The philosophers themselves, no doubt, still lived on the knowledge they repudiated; but the masses were trained to a superstition with which the Christian church, as the executor of Neoplatonism, had to reckon and contend.
Such is Neoplatonism.Advertisement
Neoplatonism, coming last, borrowed something from all the schools.
Fourthly, the study of Aristotle also exercised an influence on Neoplatonism.
This appears not only in its philosophical method, but also - though less prominently - in its metaphysic. And, fifthly, Neoplatonism adopted the ethics of Stoicism; although it was found necessary to supplement them by a still higher conception of the functions of the spirit.
Thus, with the exception of Epicureanism - which was always treated by Neoplatonism as its mortal enemy - there is no outstanding earlier system which did not contribute something to the new philosophy.
And yet Neoplatonism cannot be described as an eclectic system, in the ordinary sense of the word.Advertisement
Neoplatonism perceived that neither sense perception nor rational cognition is a sufficient basis or justification for religious ethics; consequently it broke away from rationalistic ethics as decidedly as from utilitarian morality.
In short, philosophy as represented by Neoplatonism, its sole interest being a religious interest, and its highest object the suprarational, must be a philosophy of revelation.
In the interpretation of myths Neoplatonism followed the allegorical method, as practised especially by the Stoa; but the importance it attached to the spiritualized myths was unknown to the Stoic philosophers.
Neoplatonism claimed to be not merely the absolute philosophy, the keystone of all previous systems, but also the absolute religion, reinvigorating and transforming all previous religions.
It contemplated a restoration of all the religions of antiquity, by allowing each to retain its traditional forms, and at the same time making each a vehicle for the religious attitude and the religious truth embraced in Neoplatonism; while every form of ritual was to become a stepping-stone to a high morality worthy of mankind.
In short, Neoplatonism seizes on the aspiration of the human soul after a higher life, and treats this psychological fact as the key to the.
Neoplatonism thus represents a stage in the history of religion;' indeed this is precisely where its historical importance lies.
Neoplatonism, however, failed as signally in its religious enterprise as it did in its philosophical.
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.
To Neoplatonism political affairs are at bottom as indifferent as all other earthly things.
Important and instructive, therefore, as are the attempts made from time to time by the state and by individual philosophers to unite Neoplatonism and the universal monarchy, their failure was a foregone conclusion.
Why did not Neoplatonism set up an independent religious community?
The answer to this question involves the answer to another - Why was Neoplatonism defeated by Christianity?
The philosophical discipline which it recommended for the attainment of the highest good was beyond the reach of ' the masses; and the way by which the masses could attain the highest good was a secret unknown to Neoplatonism.
It is not as a philosophy, then, nor as a new religion, that Neoplatonism became a decisive factor in history, but, if one may use the expression, as a " mood."
The instinctive certainty that there is a supreme good, lying beyond empirical experience, and yet not an intellectual good - this feeling, and the accompanying conviction of the utter vanity of all earthly things, were produced and sustained by Neoplatonism.
Yet the influence of Neoplatonism on the history of our ethical culture is immeasurable, above all because it begot the consciousness that the only blessedness which can satisfy the heart must be sought higher even than the sphere of reason.
That man shall not live by bread alone, the world had learned before Neoplatonism; but Neoplatonism enforced the deeper truth - a truth which the older philosophy had missed - that man shall not live by knowledge alone.
And, besides the propaedeutic importance which thus belongs to it, another fact has to be taken into account in estimating the influence of Neoplatonism.
As forerunners of Neoplatonism we may regard, on the one hand, those Stoics who accepted the Platonic distinction between the sensible world and the intelligible, and, on the other hand, the so-called Neopythagoreans and religious philosophers like Plutarch of Chaeronea and especially Numenius of Apamea.
The Jewish and Christian thinkers of the first two centuries approach considerably nearer than Numenius to the later Neoplatonism.'
The religious ethics of Philo - a compound of Stoic, Platonic and Neopythagorean elements - already bear the peculiar stamp which we recognize in Neoplatonism.
Religious syncretism is also a feature of Philo's system, but it differs essentially from what we find in later Neoplatonism.
Philosophically considered, therefore, the Gnostic systems are very unlike the rigorous self-consistency of Neoplatonism; although they certainly contain almost all the elements which enter into the Neoplatonic theory of the universe.
Since Neoplatonism originated in Alexandria, where Oriental modes of worship were accessible to every one, and since the Jewish philosophy had also taken its place in the literary circles of Alexandria, we may safely assume that even the earliest of the Neoplatonists possessed 1 The resemblance would probably be still more apparent if we thoroughly understood the development of Christianity at Alexandria in the 2nd century; but unfortunately we have only very meagre fragments to guide us here.
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.
The influence of Christianity - whether Gnostic or Catholic - on Neoplatonism was at no time very considerable, although individual Neoplatonists, after Amelius, used Christian texts as oracles, and put on record their admiration for Christ.
But the Enneads of his pupil Plotinus are the primary and classical document of Neoplatonism.
This production is not a physical process, but an emission of force; and, since the product has real existence only in virtue of the original existence working in it, Neoplatonism may be described as a species of dynamic pantheism.
Porphyry marks the transition to a new phase of Neoplatonism, in which it becomes completely subservient to polytheism, and seeks before everything else to protect the Greek and Christianity.
In the hands of Iamblichus (q.v.), the pupil of Porphyry, Neoplatonism is changed " from a philosophical theory to a theological doctrine."
But undoubtedly the victory of Christianity in the age of Valentinian and Theodosius had a purifying influence on Neoplatonism.
But now Neoplatonism was thrust from the great stage of history.
The more all this settled and established itself - certainly not without opposition - in the church the purer did Neoplatonism become.
Proclus is the great schoolman of Neoplatonism.
At the beginning of the 6th century Neoplatonism had ceased to exist in the East as an independent philosophy.
In the West, where philosophical efforts of any kind had been very rare since the 2nd century, and where mystical contemplation did not meet with the necessary conditions, Neoplatonism found a congenial soil only in isolated individuals.
It may be said that Neoplatonism influenced the West only through the medium of the church theology, or, in some instances, under that disguise.
The question as to the influence of Neoplatonism on the development of Christianity is not easily answered, because it is scarcely possible to get a complete view of their mutual relations.
The answer will depend, in the first instance, upon how much is included under the term " Neoplatonism."
If Neoplatonism is understood in the widest sense, as the highest and fittest expression of the religious movements at work in the Graeco-Roman empire from the 2nd to the 5th century, then it may be regarded as the twin-sister of the church dogmatic which grew up during the same period; the younger sister was brought up by the elder, then rebelled against her and at last tyrannized over her.
Now, in so far as both Neoplatonism and the church dogmatic set out from the felt need of redemption, in so far as both sought to deliver the soul from sensuality and recognized man's inability without divine aid - without a revelation - to attain salvation and a sure knowledge of the truth, they are at once most intimately related and at the same time mutually independent.
When Neoplatonism appeared, the Christian church had already laid down the main positions of her theology; or if not, she worked them out alongside of Neoplatonism - that is not a mere accident - but still independently.
It was only by identifying itself with the whole history of Greek philosophy, or by figuring as pure Platonism restored, that Neoplatonism could stigmatize the church theology of Alexandria as a plagiarism from itself.
Although our sources are unfortunately very imperfect, the theology of the church does not appear to have learned much from Neoplatonism in the 3rd century - partly because the latter had not yet reached the form in which its doctrines could be accepted by the church dogmatic, and partly because theology was otherwise occupied.
From the 4th century downwards, however, the influence of Neoplatonism on the Oriental theologians was of the utmost importance.
The church gradually expressed her most peculiar convictions in dogmas, which were formulated by philosophical methods, but were irreconcilable with Neoplatonism (the Christological dogmas); and the further this process went the more unrestrainedly did theologians resign themselves to the influence of Neoplatonism on all other questions.
The doctrines of the incarnation, the resurrection of the flesh and the creation of the world in time marked the boundary line between the church's dogmatic and Neoplatonism; in every other respect, theologians and Neoplatonists drew so closely together that many of them are completely at one.
But it was here that Neoplatonism finally celebrated its greatest triumph.
In the ancient world there was only one Western theologian who came directly under the influence of Neoplatonism; but that one is Augustine, the most important of them all.
It was through Neoplatonism that Augustine got rid of scepticism and the last dregs of Manichaeism.
On all the cardinal doctrines - God, matter, the relation of God to the world, freedom and evil - Augustine retained the impress of Neoplatonism; at the same time he is the theologian of antiquity who most clearly perceived and most fully stated wherein Neoplatonism and Christianity differ.
Why Neoplatonism succumbed in the conflict with Christianity is a question which the historians have never satisfactorily answered.
These are the forces that conquered Neoplatonism, after assimilating nearly everything that it contained.
The empirical science of the Renaissance and the two following centuries was itself a new development of Platonism and Neoplatonism, as opposed to rationalistic dogmatism, with its contempt for experience.
Magic, astrology and alchemy - all the outgrowth of Neoplatonism - gave the first effectual stimulus to the observation of nature, and consequently to natural science, and in this way finally extinguished barren rationalism.
Thus in the history of science Neoplatonism has played a part and rendered services of which Plotinus or Iamblichus or Proclus never dreamt.
On the relation of Neoplatonism to Christianity, and the historical importance of Neoplatonism generally, see the leading church histories, and the Histories of Dogma by Baur, Nitzsch, Harnack, &c. Compare also Loffler, Der Platonismus der Kirchenvater (1782); Huber, Die Philosophie der Kirchenvdter (1859); Tzchirner, Fall des Heidenthums (1829), pp. 574618; Burckhardt, Die Zeit Constantin's des Grossen (1853); Chastel, Hist.
On the after-effects of Neoplatonism on the church's dogmatic, see Ritschl, Theologie and Metaphysik (1881).
On the relation of Neoplatonism to Monachism, compare Keim, Aus dem Urchristenthum (1878).
Of this view the part which was not Aristotle's, the state of " universalia ante rem," was due to the Neoplatonists, who interpreted the " separate forms " of Plato to be ideas in intellect, and handed down their interpretation through St Augustine to the medieval Realists like Aquinas, who thus combined Neoplatonism with Aristotelianism.
Neoplatonism (and especially Plotinus) adopted a similar attitude.
With Neoplatonism we enter upon a somewhat different though closely allied attitude of mind.
It connects the teaching of Plato with the doctrines of Neoplatonism and brings it into line with the later Stoicism and with the ascetic system of the Essenes.
Lastly Neopythagoreanism furnished Neoplatonism with the weapons with which pagan philosophy made its last stand against Christianity.
See Pythagoras, Neoplatonism, Essenes; and Zeller's Philosophie d.
In particular it had in view persons of culture, as most apt to be swayed by the philosophical tendencies in the sphere of religion prevalent in that age, the age of neoPlatonism.
His statements concerning Greek and Roman mythology are based respectively on the Protrepticus of Clement of Alexandria, and on Antistius Labeo, who belonged to the preceding generation and attempted to restore Neoplatonism.
Of the later schools the last to arise was Neoplatonism.
Neoplatonism is philosophy become theosophy, or it is the sermon on the text that God geometrizes.
It was the acceptance of the Aristotelian logic by Neoplatonism that determined the Aristotelian complexion of the logic of the next age.
Neoplatonism had accepted the Aristotelian logic with its sharper definition than anything handed down from Plato, and, except the logic of the Sceptics, there was no longer any rival discipline of the like prestige.
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.
He is a representative of the least attractive side of Neoplatonism.
These he developed along lines of his own, where Christian Neoplatonism curiously mingles with theories of chivalry and disinterestedness, borrowed from the precieuses of his own time.
The reaction came and left nothing of it all; for five centuries the dominant tone of the older and the newer schools alike was frankly materialistic. " If," says Aristotle, " there is no other substance but the organic substances of nature, physics will be the highest of the sciences," a conclusion which passed for axiomatic until the rise of Neoplatonism.
Antoninus may perhaps be explained in harmony with the older Stoic teaching; but, when taken in connexion with the rise of Neoplatonism and the revival of superstition, they are certainly significant.
Soon after Alexander's death the Peripatetic school was merged, like all others, in Neoplatonism.
The results of this introspective mysticism were collected by him in a series of fifty-four (originally forty-eight) treatises, arranged in six "Enneads," which constitute the most authoritative exposition of Neoplatonism.
A detailed account of Plotinus's philosophical system and an estimate of its importance will be found in the article Neoplatonism, the works above referred to, and the histories of philosophy.
Neoplatonism, originally Alexandrine, is often regarded as Hellenistic rather than Hellenic, a product of the mingling of Greek with Oriental civilization.
On the other hand, it was difficult practically to realize this alienation, and a keen sense of this difficulty induced the same hostility to the body as a clog and hindrance, that we find to some extent in Plato, but more fully developed in Neoplatonism, Neopythagoreanism, and other products of the mingling of Greek with Oriental thought.
Accordingly the ethical side of this doctrine has the same negative and ascetic character that we have observed in Neoplatonism.
Erigena's contemporaries, and was certainly unorthodox enough to justify the condemnation which it subsequently received from Honorius III.; but its influence, together with that of the Pseudo-Dionysius, had a considerable share in developing the more emotional orthodox mysticism of the 12th and 13th centuries; and Neoplatonism (or Platonism received through a Neoplatonic tradition) remained a distinct element in medieval thought, though obscured in the period of mature scholasticism by the predominant influence of Aristotle.
He was fascinated especially by Neoplatonism, and this fascination never left him.
The Ztol X ELwoLs BEoXoyu i 7 (Institutio theologica) contains a compendious account of the principles of Neoplatonism and the modifications introduced in it by Proclus himself.
It is the corresponding term to the concept of nous as used in the Greek Neoplatonism of Plotinus (d. 270 ).
Thinkers chose their doctrines from many sources - from the venerated teaching of Aristotle and Plato, from that of the Pythagoreans and of the Stoics, from the old Greek mythology, and from the Jewish and other Oriental systems. Yet it must be observed that Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, and the other systems which are grouped under the name Alexandrian, were not truly eclectic, consisting, as they did, not of a mere syncretism of Greek and Oriental thought, but of a mutual modification of the two.
The revival of Greek from the time of Chrysoloras onward, instead of begetting a Hellenistic spirit, transported the more serious-minded to the nebulous shores of NeoPlatonism, while the less devout became absorbed in scholarly or literary ambitions, translations, elegantly phrased letters, clever epigrams or indiscriminate invective.
But these cannot be considered the actual progenitors of Neoplatonism; their philosophic method is quite elementary as compared with the Neoplatonic, their fundamental principles are uncertain, and unbounded deference is still paid to the authority of Plato.
A still more remarkable parallel to the later Neoplatonism is afforded by the Christian Gnostics of Alexandria, especially Valentinus and the followers of Basilides.2 Like the Neoplatonists, the Basilidians believed, not in an emanation from the Godhead, but in a dynamic manifestation of its activity.
On the history of Neoplatonism with special reference to the decline of Roman polytheism, see, e.g., Samuel Dill, Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western Empire (1898), pp. 82 foil.
Dissatisfied with the Aristotelianism of his time, Paracelsus turned with greater expectation to the Neoplatonism which was reviving.
The nature-philosophers of the Renaissance, such as Nicolaus Cusanus, Paracelsus, Cardan and others, curiously blend scientific ideas with speculative notions derived from scholastic theology, from Neoplatonism and even from the Kabbalah.
At the same time we ought not to overlook the affinities between the doctrine of Plotinus and that remarkable combination of Greek and Hebrew thought which Philo Judaeus had expounded two centuries before; nor the fact that Neoplatonism was developed in conscious antagonism to the new religion which had spread from Judea, and was already threatening the conquest of the GraecoRoman world, and also to the Gnostic systems (see Gnosticism); nor, finally, that it furnished the chief theoretical support in the last desperate struggle that was made under Julian to retain the old polytheistic worship.