Plotinus Sentence Examples
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.
Neoplatonism appears in the first half of the 3rd century, and has its greatest representative in Plotinus.Advertisement
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.
But in our present state of existence the moments of this ecstatic union must be few and short; " I myself," says Plotinus simply,.
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.
Porphyry, the Neoplatonist, the disciple of Plotinus, was an unknown personage to those early students of the Isagoge.Advertisement
Finally this pagan theosophy was driven from Alexandria back to Athens under Plutarch and Proclus, and occupied itself largely in purely historical work based mainly on the attempt to re-organize ancient philosophy in conformity with the system of Plotinus.
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.Advertisement
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.
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.Advertisement
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 system of Porphyry is more emphatically practical and religious than that of Plotinus.
Thus his emphatic assertion of the truth that the seat of evil is in the will is noteworthy; and so also is his repudiation of Plotinus's theory of the divinity of the soul.Advertisement
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.
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.
Neoplatonism (and especially Plotinus) adopted a similar attitude.
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.
Commentaries on Plato, mentioned by Porphyry in his life of Plotinus, have also been lost.
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.
His principal pupils were Herennius, the two Origens, Cassius Longinus and Plotinus.
As he designedly wrote nothing, and, with the aid of his pupils, kept his views secret, after the manner of the Pythagoreans, his philosophy must be inferred mainly from the writings of Plotinus.
As Zeller points out, however, there is reason to think that his doctrines were rather those of the earlier Platonists than those of Plotinus.
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.
Plotinus's wide popularity was due partly to the lucidity of his teaching, but perhaps even more to his strong personality.
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.
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.
But the general tendency that we are noting did not find its full expression in a reasoned system until we come to the Egyptian Plotinus.
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.
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.
Her wisdom derived from Plato, Plotinus and divine inspiration.
It is the corresponding term to the concept of nous as used in the Greek Neoplatonism of Plotinus (d. 270 ).
This doctrine reaches its height in Plotinus, after whom it degenerated into magic and theurgy in its unsuccessful combat with the victorious Christianity.
What Plotinus understands by the nous is the highest sphere accessible to the human mind (KOauor vonros), and, along with that, pure thought itself.
The image and product of the motionless nous is the soul, which, according to Plotinus, is, like the nous, immaterial.
Under Ammonius Plotinus became imbued with the eclectic spirit of the Alexandrian school.
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.