Regarded as the founder of Neo-Platonism, Plotinus (AD 204-70) was the last great philosopher of antiquity, producing 0works that proved in many ways a precursor to Renaissance thought. Plotinus was convinced of the existence of a state of supreme perfection...
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Regarded as the founder of Neo-Platonism, Plotinus (AD 204-70) was the last great philosopher of antiquity, producing 0works that proved in many ways a precursor to Renaissance thought. Plotinus was convinced of the existence of a state of supreme perfection and argued powerfully that it was necessary to guide the human soul towards this state. Here he outlines his compelling belief in three increasingly perfect levels of existence - the Soul, the Intellect, and the One - and explains his conviction that humanity must strive to draw the soul towards spiritual transcendence. A fusion of Platonism, mystic passion and Aristotelian thought, The Enneads offers a highly original synthesis of early philosophical and religious beliefs, which powerfully influenced later Christian and Islamic theology.
Abridged with an introduction by John Dillon
Plotinus studied under Ammonius Sakkas and later moved to Rome, where he continued to develop his views and created a circle of faithful disciples, among them Porphyry the Phoenician (232--304), who edited Plotinus's Enneads and wrote works of his own, including The Life of Plotinus. Plotinus has been recognized as the last representative of Greek rationalism and one of the great thinkers of all times, having built a system that includes theories of reality, knowledge, ethics, esthetics, and theology. The main stock of Plotinus's ideas comes from the classical age of Greek philosophy, recast to counter problems that the winds of new doctrines ushered in along with the rising power of religious worship and the spreading expectation for salvation. Plotinus appeals to intellectual purity, an aspect often misunderstood as a concession to mysticism that lacks redeeming logical features. His philosophical system provides two ways to meet the demands of a fulfilled life. The first deals with finding one's place in a universe that is the result of the creative procession from the One, the source of all reality; the second is designed to effect the soul's "return" in a union with the One. Whereas the first way is metaphysical, the latter is ethical. The first brings understanding, the second grants blessedness. Plotinus's insights proved influential, and many of his disciples, chiefly Porphyry, sought to preserve and transmit them to subsequent generations of thinkers in other parts of the Roman world, Syria and Greece in particular. Iamblichus (died c.a.d.330), Syrianus (fl. c.431), and Proclus (410--485) worked out their own versions of Neoplatonism. The schools' activities ended when they were ordered closed in a.d. 529. Still, the ideas had taken on a life of their own and moved in new directions. Many of them already had been taken over by Christian intellectuals who were learning how to respond to the need to strengthen the rational side of their religion.
- :the Enneads Stephen Mackenna: A Biographical Sketch<br>extracts From The Explanatory Matter In The First Edition<br>the Place Of Plotinus In The History Of Thought By Paul Henry, S. J.<br>plotinus: An Introduction<br>porphyry: On The Life Of Plotinus And The Arrangement Of His Work<br>preface<br><b>the First Ennead</b><br>first: The Animate And The Man<br>second: The Virtues<br>third: Dialectic<br>fourth: Happiness<br>sixth: Beauty<br>eighth: The Nature And Source Of Evil<br>ninth: "the Reasoned Dismissal"<br><b>the Second Ennead</b><br>third: Are The Stars Causes?<br>fourth: Matter<br>ninth: Against The Gnostics; Or Against Those That Affirm The Creator Of The Cosmos And The Cosmos Itself To Be Evil<br><b>the Third Ennead</b><br>second: Providence: First Treatise<br>third: Providence: Second Treatise<br>fourth: Our Tutelary Spirit<br>fifth: Love<br>sixth: The Impassivity Of The Unembodied<br>seventh: Time And Eternity<br>eighth: Nature, Contemplation, And The One<br><b>the Fourth Ennead</b><br>third: Problems Of The Soul (i)<br>fourth: Problems Of The Soul (ii)<br>eighth: The Soul's Descent Into Body<br><b>the Fifth Ennead</b><br>first: The Three Initial Hypostases<br>second: The Origin And Order Of The Beings Following On The First<br>third: The Knowing Hypostases And The Transcendant<br>fourth: How The Secondaries Rise From The First; And On The One<br>fifth: That The Intellectual Beings Are Not Outside The Intellectual-principle: And On The Nature Of The Good<br>seventh: Is There An Ideal Archetype Of Particular Beings?<br>eighth: On The Intellectual Beauty<br>ninth: The Intellectual Principle, The Ideas, And The Authentic Existence<br><b>the Sixth Ennead</b><br>fourth: On The Integral Omnipresence Of The Authentic Existent (i)<br>fifth: On The Integral Omnipresence Of The Authentic Existent (ii)<br>seventh: How The Multiplicity Of The Ideal-forms Came Into Being; And On The Good<br>eighth: On Free Will And The Will Of The One<br>ninth: On The Good, Or The One<br>appendix I: The Chronological Order Of The Tractates<br>appendix Ii: Index Of Platonic References<br>selected Bibliography