image with the sign of Myriobiblos

Main Page | Library | Homage | Seminars | Book Reviews





Internet Dept.



Main page of text | Previous Page
Dr. Constantine G. Niarchos

Nicolaus of Methone's Criticism on Proclus' "Theory of «Participated» or «Unparticipated» Intelligence" (NOUS)

From Yearbook of the Research Center for Greek Philosophy, at the Academy of Athens, 13-14 Athens 1983-1984.

A. The concept of Participation

The question about the «unparticipated» and the «participated» being which appears very often in ancient philosophy can be considered as parallel to the problems of the One and the problems of the Many. In this paper Ι intend to explore some of the ways by which Greek philosophers, and especially Proclus, the neoplatonist, approached such problems and in particular the «unparticipated» and «participated Nous».

The theories of Proclus were widely commented on by Nicolaus, Bishop of Methone, a scholar of the twelfth century Byzantium, who attempted to resist against the penetration of doctrines, such as nominalism etc., into Christian dogmas(1). His criticism is based on the comparison of Proclus' theories with logic and conceptual consistency, and their relation to traditional Christian beliefs (2).

Proclus examines the nature of the relationship that enables something to possess its individual characteristics; this is for him a central problem of ontology, which is mainly focused on this relationship, existing only in actuality. The concept of «participation» had been elaborated in Plato's 'Parmenides' (130a-132d) and in Plotinus' 'Enneads' (VI, 9, 2) (3). In Plato, participation explains the relationship between the Forms (Είδη) and the sensible particulars (αισθητά) as it is illustrated in the 'Phaedo' (100d) and the 'Parmenides' (130c131a). Some element of the form in its complete purity is really contained in the entity. Such a concept is clearly much closer to Plato than to the «imitation» (μίμησις) of the Pythagoreans (4). This exclusive relation between forms and sensibles includes causality; Plato states that it is more than a declaration that all predication about particulars includes the rational relation of particular to universal. The forms are not mere logical entities; they are real existents in such a sense that their presence in sensibles and the communication in them by sensibles, are at least conceivable terms to express the relation in question (5). There is no doubt that the communication of forms is achieved through participation only and Aristotle himself confirms that most of the things, which are ομώνυμα exist through the fact of participation in them (6). Plato, on the other hand, extended the range to include all things συνώνυμα with the forms, but Aristotle cannot accept this as it would illogically apply to things which had no forms. In the 'Parmenides' (133d) Plato applies the ομώνυμον without distinguishing it from συνώνυμον, whereas by contrast Aristotle in his criticism of the Theory of Ideas describes the ομώνυμον, as denoting no real common nature with the particulars(7). The main problem still remains, whether the forms are merely ideas or concepts; this question is actually raised in the Platonic dialogues, only to be denied (8). Proclus appears to be a consistent student of Plato's doctrine of communication of forms and echoes his master's voice that: «all things are in all things, but in each after its own fashion» (9). Yet, Plotinus had adopted it in dealing with the general relationships of Intelligibles, while Porphyr and Iamblichus employed the theory as a suitable way of filling the unexplained gaps remaining from Plotinus' explanation of the world of experience, in order to maintain the unity of the system and reconcile opposing concepts(10).

Proclus, by adopting the Aristotelian doctrine of matter and form, widens the definition of «participation» into a formula for the relation between higher universal (as hypostasis or Platonic form), and the lower «particular» as spiritual or material individual; it is an immanent universal which is directly participated(11). The transcendent universal influences the particulars ως εφετόν, like the Aristotelian god, or possibly as ελλάμπον, since it is strictly unparticipated(12).

Concerning the relationship between forms and particulars Proclus states that, if the forms are linked with particulars by similarity (omoiotis), then, there would be infinity of related causes. Instead of rejecting substantive forms completely in the manner of Aristotle, he saw the relationship as representing ομoίωσις than ομoιότης as qualifying only one of the related terms. Thus the form exists in an entirely separate realm; nevertheless to secure the operational function of the form, the particulars must be in some way similar to the form in that they are caused by it(13). It is therefore clear that through this participation in the one, no element of plurality is allowed to affect the status of the one. This excludes the concept of some neoplatonists, who considered the one as including the many in a seminal manner, as well as with the Stoic immanetistic approach. This doctrine was further elaborated by Dionysius the Areopagite(14).

The entire meaning of the concept of «participation» is focused on the inter-relationship between the participated and the participant and it is explained by six general terms: the cause, its power, its activities, the power of its activities, their potential power, and finally the participant itself with its potential power to receive the participated. The participated; being of a certain kind by its very nature is notable for its own existence (καθ' ύπαρξιν), while its participant exists only by participation (κατά μέθεξιν). Thus, whatever exists is what is either as a cause by its existence (καθ' ύπαρξιν) or by participation (μέθεξιν)(15). The καθ' ύπαρξιν often happens according to essence (κατ' oυσίαν) or εssentially (oυσιωδώς) and by participation (κατά μέθεξιν) is often represented by irradiation (κατ' έλλαμψιν) or εικoνικώς(16).

Β. The Henads

Proclus, being under influence of earlier Neoplatonists adopts a class of participated forms of the one; these forms, proceeding from the one, are termed by him as henads. The doctrine of the divine henads is a special modification of the Plotinian world-scheme by later Neoplatonists. In Plato they denote merely units or examples of ones, but Proclus interprets them as: (a) forms or monads in the world of being, and (b) beings in their transcendental unity (Pythagorean influence is evident here)(17). But how can a henad, being itself unique and participated, be at the same time self subsistent and also of necessity in subjects? The theory of separable participation on the lines of Porphyr's doctrine of deity, suggested by Proclus, could be the answer: through this solution the henad is everywhere and nowhere. Spatial intervals are not demanded for the henads, because, transcending everything without relation, they are present everywhere without admixture (l8). This follows the answer by Socrates to the question raised by Parmenides, of how a form can be present entirely in each participant: that it could be compared to the daylight, which, though one and the same light in many places simultaneously, still preserves its individual unity. Proclus insists that the unparticipated term, as transcendent form, is entirely present in the participated form. He establishes his theory of unparticipated principles by demonstrating that they are self-subsistent, in the sense that their appearance denotes a new face in the procession of individuality of the one, which serves as their archetypon of all unity (19). This unity is the henad of the soul which ascends to it through a strict process of dialectical discipline. Thus, the henad of the soul is regarded not as an intellect but as a participated one and its unification with the unparticipated Being takes place beyond the realms of intellectual virtue (20).

There are, in the system of Proclus, different types of henads: the intelligible henad (=unparticipated being), intelligible and intellectual (=unparticipated life), intellectual (=unparticipated intelligence), supercosmic henad (=unparticipated soul), intercosmic henads (=representing the divine participated souls and the bodies they animate). The henads so listed do not in fact belong to the particular order of the name indicated; rather they are regarded as the transcendent source of all things. There appears a contradiction between the participation and the imparticibility of the first member of the transverse henads; in the simple explanation the one stands as the first member of the first transverse henads with no attention given to distinction of the second hypostasis (21). For Proclus the basic issue was that the same attribute, or even the same god, can exist on successive levels in an appropriate mode.Such attributes are present perfectly and unequivocally only in the realm of the henads. Thus, intelligence has self-sufficiency by participation, the soul by illumination and the sensible world by its resemblance to the divine, while the gods are self-sufficient by their very nature (22).

Theologically, as Zeller states, the gods represent the traditional deities of Greek mythology and, according to Proclus, the highest task of Platonic philosophy was the exact classification of all these deities, with the defect, however, of robbing them of individual personality, through the principle of vertical procession, each deity being split into a series of diminishing forces(23). In addition, these gods are bound together by a closer collective unity than any subsequent order of existence. Plotinus put all gods within Nous, whereas Proclus places them mostly in the first hypostasis; confusedly, however, he applies the term gods to numerous entities such as eternity, time, and even the sensible world -which was described as «intelligible», intellectual» or «intra-mundane». The traditional ancient gods had somewhere to be included on a lower level, being participable and not belonging to the abstract unity of the First Hygostasis.

The henads are participable according to the general rule (24): in each order there is an intermediate class of predicable terms linking the non-predicable substantive principle with concrete subjects and the «unities» link the non-predicable substantive unity with the concrete united. Proclus does not make clear how to reconcile this particibility with the υπερουσιότης of the henads, but there is no immanence in the ordinary sense. They are: (a) separately participated (χωριστώς μετεχόμενα) -like all αυθυπόστατα, and (b) they are transcendent in a special degree or manner (25). The main problem is to demonstrate that an imparticible henad could only be distinguished from the one by imputing to it falsely and to a lower degree of unity, which can always be analysed into a participable henad and the participant. Like the One, henads are without any internal differentiation; their essential predicate is their unity or goodness, other attributes being only κατ' αιτίαν implicitly. Henads are also measures of ousia, principles of its articulated structure, as time and eternity are the measures of actuality (26).

C. Nous (Intelligence)

In the entire system of Proclus the concept of Nous lies as the basis of his own philosophical. speculation. Every divine intelligence is perfect and possesses the characteristic of unity; it is the primal intelligence from which all others derive their own existence (27). This statement is criticised by Nicolaus who reminds us that the only source and cause of the existence of every being is God, whom he calls «supra-Intelligence» (υπέρνοον). He bestows by his own act substantiality upon all other intelligences. In no case the perfection of God depends on the participation of others in him, for he is the expression of full divinity (28). All other intelligences are close to One, divine and perfect, due to the participation in the Primal Intelligence (29).

Proclus' approach to the divine Intelligences and their relationship to other objects is more complex than Plotinus'(30). We discern three levels: (a) The πρώτως νoητόν, comprising the true being (οντως ον) and life (ζωή) does not coordinate with Intelligence but perfects it, without loosing its transcendence, but represents the divine νοητόν(3l). Its cognitive element is only κατ' αιτίαν, as the source of the content for the highest Intelligence, which, as it is stated in Plato's 'Parmenides', has no prior intelligible Object(32).
(b) Nous νοητός is similar to the Plotinian nous with subject and object only logically distinguishable (εν κατ' αριθμόν); the lowest member of the intelligible triad is apparently identifiable with the πρώτος νους(33), and with the unparticipated intelligence(34). Here one traces similarity to the παντελές ζώον of the 'Timaeus'(35).

(c) Α series of inferior intelligences know their objects by participation and by reflection. The highest of these is the demiurge of 'Τimaeus'(36).

Plato sometimes regards the demiurge as the model for the sensible world, but sometimes as something extraneous (37). Numenius and Amelius supported the latter view as stated in 'Timaeus' (39c-e), where nous is separated from its objects (38). Proclus rejected the proposed triad of divine principles. On the other hand, Plotinus opposes Numenius' interpretation as being gnostic, by reaffirming his known maxim: «ουκ έξω του νου τα νοητά» (39).

Το Porphyr the demiurge was a soul, possessing nous as his model; so he achieved a natural interpretation, keeping also the Plotinian equation between νους and νοητόν(40). Theodore of Asine revived Amelius' concept and Proclus influenced by Syrianus, attempts to harmonize this with Plotinus, while also clarifying Platonic contradictions; thus, the παράδειγμα is partly superior to the demiurge and partly immanent in him(41).

There would be found three elements in each intelligence: its existence, in its intelligible content (νοητόν); its potency, which is its power of intellection (νους);
its activity, the act of intellection (νόησις). Their combined function represents the mark of eternity. Aristotle links it to the divine nous(42).Nicolaus observes that the «activity» differs from the potency, both of which exert no influence upon the immaterial intelligences. The potency exists only in «imperfection», thus in no case it would apply to the primal Intelligence, and the activity is therefore of no substantial use (43).

Proclus defines six grades between the pure unity of the One and the minimum unity of matter: (a) The henads, as transcendent sources of plurality; (b) the intelligences, each one being an actual plurality (πλήρωμα ειδών), but indivisible in time or space(44); (c) souls, spatially indivisible, but their activity temporarily divisible(45); (d) inseparable potencies and immanent forms, subject to the bodies spatial divisibility(46); (e) corporeal magnitudes divisible at any point(47); (f) dispersed corporeal manifolds actually divided in space.

Plotinus and Porphyr adhered to approximately similar distinctions, but without the henads. Proclus insists that every intelligence is an indivisible existence. Its indivisibility is due to the lack of magnitude, body or movement. This statement was refuted by Nicolaus who considers the intelligence to be movable; the henads cannot comprise the first manifold upon which the intelligences are consequent (48). That every intelligence, though a manifold, according to Proclus, in fact is a unified manifold, seems to Nicolaus to be absurd. If every manifold participates in some way the one and remains united, then what is divisible? That, though a manifold, does not participate the one? And if participates the one, how can the one intelligence be manifold? Again, if it is manifold how can be indivisible and manifold at the same time? So, the intelligence as manifold is placed second, after the first, the group of henads. For Nicolaus it is only the nous that remains indivisible, being itself incorporeal, without magnitude, or possessing all kinds of plurality. Even its activity is single in itself but being dispersed to many things (49).

Every intelligence is intellectually identical both with its priors and with its consequents, especially the latter as their cause with the former by participation.
The Neoplatonists sought a middle path between: (a) Aristotle's view of the intelligence being of its own object, and (b) the intelligence's awareness of the corporeal world. Plotinus says that intelligences can contemplate in the lower realms. To Proclus the answer is found in the expression: all things are in all things, but in each according to its proper nature («πάντα εν πάσιν, οικείως δε εν εκάστω»)(50), which is rejected by Nicolaus, i.e. how can the prior and the great be in the posterior and the small(51)


1. Cf. Proclus, 'The Elements οf Theology'.Α revised text with translation, introduction and commentary, by Ε.R. Dodds, Oxford U.P. 1963. Nicholaus of Methone, 'Refutation of Proclus' Elements of Theology (Νικολάου Μεθώνης, 'Aνάπτυξις της Θεολογικής Στοιχειώσεως Πρόκλου Πλατωνικού Φιλοσόφου'). Α critical edition with an introduction on Nicholaus' life and works, by Athanasios D. Angelou, Athens -The Academy of Athens Ε. J. Brill, Leiden 1984. Also see: Nicolaus Methonensis, 'Ανάπτυξις της Θεολογικής Στοιχειώσεως Πρόκλου Πλaτωνικού Φιλοσόφου', by pages and lines of Voemel's Text, in Greuser's 'Initia Philosophiae', pars IV, Frankfurt 1825. From now on references will be made on Angelous' critical edition, as: Nicolaus of Methone.

2. Cf. Α. Demetracopoulos, Bibliotheque ecclesiastique Ι, 232, in Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 8 (1889), pp. 263-301. Also see: Β. Τατάκη, 'Η Βυζαντινή Φιλοσοφία', Athens 1977, pp. 209-211.

3. Proclus, 'Ε.Τ'., props. 1-6, pp. 1-6; Idem, 'Ιn Parm'., p. 1220.3. Also see Idem 'E.Τ.' props. 31-34, pp. 34-36. Plato, 'Republic' VII, 519b.

4. Cf. Aristotle, 'Metaphysics' Α 6, 987b. Aristotle states that the explanation of imitation derives from the Pythagoreans, who held that things «imitate» numbers. Although imitation, as applied to sensible particulars, falls into disuse, the concept that the «intelligible world» is the example for the sensible world, remains current in later Platonism and especially in Neoplatonism, cf. Plotinus, 'Enneads' V, 8.12. Just as the sensibles are contained in some sort of organic unity that is the world, so the forms exist in some «intelligible place». See also, Plato 'Republic' VI, 508c.

5. The expression «κόσμος νοητός» is located «beyond the Heavens» as it is stated in 'Phaedrus' 247c. The image becomes sharper in 'Timaeus' 30c-d. For Plato, the Forms do exist separately ('Timaeus' 52a-e), and the reasons may be sought in epistemological considerations as well as in the ethical ones that troubled Socrates and that were almost certainly operative upon Plato. See also, 'Philebus' 33d-34a; 'Timaeus' 64a-d.

6. Cf. Aristotle, 'Metaphysics' Α 9, 990b 28-31; Ζ 12, 1037b 19.

7. Idem op. cit., 991a 5. Aristotle uses the term «ομώνυμον» rather than «συνώνυμον», partly perhaps to suggest that there is nο common nature shared by the Idea and the particular, and therefore the one can do nothing to explain the other. Cf. W.D. Dodds, 'Aristotle's Metaphysics', vol. 1. Oxford U.P. 1970, pp. 190-191.

8. Cf. Plato, 'Parmenides' 132b-c; 134b.

9. Cf. Porphyr, 'De Abstinentia Χ' (Nauck); Syrianus Ιn 'Metaph.', p. 82.l.

10. Cf. Plotinus, 'Enneads' Ι, 1, 7.12-13, III, 2, 14.9; in relation to Plato, 'Enneads' V, 1, 9.9-11, in relation to Aristotle, 'Enneads' V, 1, 9.15-Ι6; Proclus, 'Ιn Remp.' ΙI, 77 (Kroll).

11. Cf. Proclus 'Ιn Parm.' 1069.23. An «ένυλoν είδoς», a «ψυχή εν σώματι».

12. The fact that everything turns towards God in prayer, except the First, as a natural process reflected everywhere in creation, is an indication of the dependence of the many on the Suprem One. Cf. J.M. Rist, 'Plotinus, The Road to Reality' Cambridge 1977(2), pp. 199-212. Also see Ε. Peterson, «Herkunft und Bedeutung der ΜΟΝΟΣ ΠΡΟΣ ΜΟΝΟΝ Formel bei Plotin», 'Philologus' 88 (1933), pp. 30-41, and Ε.R.Dodds, «Numenius and Ammonius», 'Entretiens Hardt' 5, Geneva 1960, pp. 16-17. In Plato's 'Symposium' 217b the union with the Supreme Good could have had a special meaning to the Platonists. For the problems concerning the tendency of the soul to return back to its source see J.M. Rist, 'Eros and Psyche', Toronto 1964, pρ. 86.

13. Proclus, 'In Parm.', 906 sq. Idem, 'E.Τ'. 29: 34, 3, where the «ομοιότης» is defined as a cosmogonic principle and it is probably inspired by the Platonic texts «νoμίσας μυρίω, κάλλιoν όμoιoν ανoμoίoυ» ('Timaeus' 33b; Proclus, In 'Tim.' ΙI. 78. 12 ff.). Similarly Porphyr says that real Being «την πάσαν ετερότητα διά της ταυτότητος υπέστησεν» (αφ. XXXVI).

14. Cf. Dionysius the Areopagite, 'De Divinis Nominibus', 13, 2 (PG. 980a): «και oυδέν έστι των όντων, ο μή μετέχει πη τoυ ενός τoυ εν τω κατά πάντα ενικώ ... και άνευ μεν τoυ ενός oυκ έσται πλήθoς, άνευ δε τoυ πλήθoυς έσται το εν».

15. Cf. Proclus, 'Ε.Τ.', props. 65 and 67, pp. 62-66. Idem, Ιn 'Tim.' Ι, 8.17 sq.

16. Idem, 'Ε.Τ.', props. 64-67, pp. 60-61. Idem, 'Ιn Crat.', 28.23 (Pasquali). Cf. E.R. Dodds, op. cit., pp. 234-235.

17. Cf. Plato, 'Philebus' 15a.

18. Proclus, 'Ε.Τ.', prop. 98, pp. 86-88. In Plato's dialogues it is clear when Parmenides asks Socrates how a form can be present in its entirety in each of the participants, Socrates suggests that it might be like the daylight, «which is one and the same daylight in many places at once, and yet keeps its undivided unity»; but his questioner ignores the suggestion of 'Parmenides' 13lb. See E.R. Dodds, op. cit. pp. 251-252.

19. Proclus, 'Ε.Τ.', prop. 40, p.42; props. 113-127, pp. 100-112. Cf. R.T. Wallis, 'Neoplatonism', London 1972, pp. 146-159.C.G. Niarchos, 'Language and the Transcendent Reality in Ancient Greek Philosophy', Athens 1984, 63-67 (in Greek).

20. Proclus, 'Ε.Τ.', prop. 140, pp. 124-Ι25. Idem, 'Ιn Remp.' ΙI. 232; Iamblichus, 'Myst.' 115.

21. Cf. R.T. Wallis, 'op. cit.' pp. 151-153, Maximus the Confessor, Ambiguorum liber, PG 91, 1088c. For Maximus «deification» is the participation of the «whole man» into the «Whole God». Also see J. Meyendorf, 'Byzantine Theology', Oxford 1975, pp. 163-164.

22. Proclus, 'Ιn Plat. Theolog.' Ι, 19.16-17 (Portus). New edition by Saffrey-Westerink.

23. Proclus, 'Ιn Tim.' ΙlΙ, 10.7.

24. Idem, 'Ε.Τ.', prop. 23, p. 26. The transcendent universal must exist, in order to give unity to the many immanent universals and must be distinct from any of them.

25. Idem, 'E.Τ.', prop. 130, p. 116. Proclus is inconsistent here. Sometimes he refers to all henads, other than the one, but sometimes he excludes the super-cosmic gods. Cf. Idem 'In Tim.' Ι, 226; III, 204. 16. R.T. Wallis, op. cit. pp. 151-153.

26. Proclus, 'E.Τ.', prop. 54, p. 32. The traditional Academic definition of time was «the measure of movement» (Aristotle, 'Physics' Δ 220b 25; 'Definitions' 41lb). Plotinus' objection refers to the absence of a certain definition, for the above mentioned theory tells us what time is used for (Enneads ΙII, 6, 9.12-13). Proclus' theory on time is based on the Plotinian concept in order to stress its reality as something independent of and higher than its content, against the Aristotelian doctrine which made it a «πάθος κινήσεως» ('Physics' Ζ, 251 b 28) and a «αριθμητόν», something itself counted or measured ('op. cit.' Δ, 220b 8), cf. Proclus, 'Ιn Tim.' ΙII, 4.23 ff. Nicolaus asks Proclus: why «every eternity», when there is only one? It is known that each of the immanent eternities is the measure of its participant eternal and in turn it is measured by the transcendent Eternity. Cf. also E.R. Dodds, 'op. cit.', pp. 228-229. Nicolaus of Methone, 'op. cit.', pp. 56-57.

27. Proclus, 'Ε.Τ.', prop. 160, p. 140. For Plotinus Being and Intelligence had been coordinate and only logically distinguishable; for Proclus all Intelligence is Being, but not all Being is Intelligence (props. 101-102). The Being which itself is not Intelligence is distinguished as «το όντως ον», and it is called «intelligible» not in the Plotinian sense as the content of the Intelligence, but as the transcendent source of that content. Cf. R.T. Wallis, 'op. cit.', pp. 152-153. Cf. Nicolaus of Methone, 'op.cit.', pp. 143-144.

28. Cf. St. Ρaul, 'Colassaeis', 1.19-20.

29. Cf. Nicolaus of Methone, 'op. cit.', pp. 143-144.

30. Proclus, 'Ιn Plat. Theolog.', 105; 'In Tim.' 1, 321; ΙII, 101.1 ff.

31: Idem, 'Ε. Τ.', prop. 181, pp. 158-160. Nicolaus of Methone, 'op.cit.', pp. 157-158. 32. Proclus, 'Ιn Parm.', 900.26.

33. Idem, 'Ε.Τ.', prop. 160, p. 140. Nicolaus of Methone, 'op.cit.', pp. 143-144. Cf. H.J. Blumenthal, 'Plotinus Psychology', The Hague 1971, p. 4. E.R. Dodds, 'Pagan and Christian in an Age of Anxiety', Cambridge 1965, pp. 24-26.Dodds argues that after Plotinus discussed the Gnostic view that the soul created the world out of 'tolma' ('Enneads' ΙI, 9, 11.21 f.) he dropped this way of looking at the soul's descent. J.Rist argues against Dodds in a review in 'Phoenix' 20 (1966) pp. 360 f.: his objections, however, are partly based on the contention that Plotinus never «held the Gnostic view that 'tolma' was the 'motive' for creation», a suggestion difficult to reconcile with passages like V.l, unless the stress be put on «Gnostic» rather than «motive». Cf. Plotinus, 'The Road to Reality', 'op. cit.' p. 257.

34. Proclus, 'Ε.Τ'., props. 101, p. 90; 166, p. 144; 170, p. 148. Idem, 'In Tim.' ΙI, 202.7.

35. Idem, 'Ιn Tim.' ΙIΙ, 101.3 ff.

36. Cf. Plato, 'Tim.' 30a-b. The demiurge is probably to be identified with the intelligent, efficient cause posited by Plato in 'Philebus' 27b (cf.'Sophist' 265c): But he is not omnipotent: he makes the 'kosmos' «as good as possible» ('Timaeus' 30b) and must cope with the counter effects of necessity (idem 47e-48a). In later Platonism the demiurgic function is performed by a secondary emanation, by the 'Logos' in Philo ('De cher.' 35, 136-137; Idem, 'De spec. leg.' Ι, 81) and 'Nous' in Numenius (cf. Eusebius, 'Praep. Evang.' ΧI, 17-18) and Plotinus ('Enneads' ΙI, 3, 18).

37. Proclus, 'Ιn Tim.' Ι, 323.32. Plato's description of the maker of the lower gods, the soul of the universe and the important part of the human soul is in 'Timaeus' 29d-30c; he uses the pre-existent 'eide' as his model (ibid). 30c-3la).

38. Proclus, 'In Tim.' III, 103.Ι8. Plotinus in an early essay (IIΙ, 9, 1) toys with the opinion held by Numenius that there is a higher Nous which is unmoved and separated from other objects, as well as a lower Nous which moves (cf. Eusebius, op. cit. ΧΙ, 18.20).

39. Cf. Plotinus, 'Enneads' V, 4, 2; VI, 6, 18.

40. Proclus, 'In Tim.' Ι, 306, 31; cf. E.R. Dodds, 'Proclus, The Elements of Theology, op. cit.', p. 286.

41. Cf. Plato, 'Rep.' VII, 514a-517e.

42. Plato connects «αιών» with «νοητόν» ('Tim.' 38a). Cf.Aristotle 'Metaph.' Λ 7, 1072b 26; Plotinus 'Enneads' V, 1,4.

43. Cf. Nicolaus of Methone, 'op. sit.', p. 149-151.

44. Proclus, 'E.Τ.', prop. 177, p. 156. Nicolaus of Methone, 'op. cit.', pp. 155-156.

45. Idem, 'E.Τ.', props. 191-192, pp. 166-168. Here emphasis is laid, upon the principle which participates both time and eternity, and is therefore at once a being and a coming- to be, i.e. the «μεθεκτή ψυχή», which is thus again found to be intermediate between the two words. Plotinus in 'Enneads' IV, 4, 15 states that only the passions of the soul exist in time and often reckons the soul among the rurely indivisible principles.

46. Proclus, 'E.Τ.', prop. 190, p. 166. See also Nicolaus of Methone, pp. 168-169. In Ρlato's 'Timaeus' 35a the soul is considered as the frontier between the two worlds and this conception dominates the Neoplatonic psychology.

47. Proclus, 'E.Τ.', prop. 80, p.74. Proclus held that magnitudes are potentially though not actually divisible to infinity, i.e. they can be divided at any point, but not at every point simultaneously. Cf. Aristotle, 'Physics' Γ 6, 206a 11 sq. Proclus In 'Tim.' Ι, 453.19.

48. Proclus, 'Ε.Τ.', prop. 113, pp. 100-102. Nicolaus of Methone, pp. 109-110. Cf. R.T. Wallis, 'Neoplatonism, op. cit.', pp. 148-149.

49. Cf. Nicolaus of Methone, 'op.cit.', p.110.

50. Proclus, 'Ε.Τ.', p: 92. E.R. Dodds (op. cit., p. 254) observes that the statement «all things are in all things, but in each after its own fashion» is ascribed by Syrianus (in 'Metaph.' 82.1ff.) to the Pythagoreans and by Iamblichus (ap. Stob. 'Ecl'. Ι. xlix. 31, 866 Η) to Νumenius. Yet, this sentence covers all gaps left by Plotinus in his derivation of the world of experience and bridged oppositions without destroying them. Proclus makes use of it not only to interprete the Platonic «κοινωνία ειδών» (cf. 'Ιn Parm.' 751 sq) and to give some solutions of the difficulties concerning the theory of Parmenides about transcendent Forms, but also to link together the four material elements (cf. 'Ιn Tim.' ΙΙ, 26.23 sq). This statement was taken over by Dionysius the Areopagite (e.g. 'Div. Nom.' 4, 7, PG 3, 704 c: αι πάντων «εν πάσιν οικείως εκάστω κoινωνίαι»).

51. Cf. Nicolaus of Methone, 'op. cit.', pp. 99-101.

Main page of text | Previous Page