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Commentary on Plato's Parmenides

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This is the first English translation of Proclus' commentary on Plato's Parmenides. Glenn Morrow's death occurred while he was less than halfway through the translation, which was completed by John Dillon. A major work of the great Neoplatonist philosopher, the commentary is an intellectual tour de force that greatly influenced later medieval and Renaissance thought. As the This is the first English translation of Proclus' commentary on Plato's Parmenides. Glenn Morrow's death occurred while he was less than halfway through the translation, which was completed by John Dillon. A major work of the great Neoplatonist philosopher, the commentary is an intellectual tour de force that greatly influenced later medieval and Renaissance thought. As the notes and introductory summaries explain, it comprises a full account of Proclus' own metaphysical system, disguised, as is so much Neoplatonic philosophy, in the form of a commentary.


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This is the first English translation of Proclus' commentary on Plato's Parmenides. Glenn Morrow's death occurred while he was less than halfway through the translation, which was completed by John Dillon. A major work of the great Neoplatonist philosopher, the commentary is an intellectual tour de force that greatly influenced later medieval and Renaissance thought. As the This is the first English translation of Proclus' commentary on Plato's Parmenides. Glenn Morrow's death occurred while he was less than halfway through the translation, which was completed by John Dillon. A major work of the great Neoplatonist philosopher, the commentary is an intellectual tour de force that greatly influenced later medieval and Renaissance thought. As the notes and introductory summaries explain, it comprises a full account of Proclus' own metaphysical system, disguised, as is so much Neoplatonic philosophy, in the form of a commentary.

30 review for Commentary on Plato's Parmenides

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erick

    I definitely think Proclus is interesting. It is apparent after reading what remains of his teacher Syrianus that he was dependent on him for a considerable amount of the system he developed; but Proclus still remains the most systematic and comprehensive addendum to Platonic thought. The Neo-Platonic academies had a very precise order that they followed when studying and lecturing on philosophical texts. Aristotle was important, but mainly as an introduction to Plato. He was followed by some of I definitely think Proclus is interesting. It is apparent after reading what remains of his teacher Syrianus that he was dependent on him for a considerable amount of the system he developed; but Proclus still remains the most systematic and comprehensive addendum to Platonic thought. The Neo-Platonic academies had a very precise order that they followed when studying and lecturing on philosophical texts. Aristotle was important, but mainly as an introduction to Plato. He was followed by some of the less metaphysical dialogues of Plato. The courses ended with Philebus, Timaeus and the Parmenides. The last two being seen as the absolute culmination of Platonist theology. Parmenides is an interesting dialogue. Different eras of Platonists interpreted it in different ways. Some have theorized that Plato was simply parodying Parmenides' work. I don't believe this. I think Plato was inspired by it, but also departed from it. Clearly, Parmenides' work (as is made evident in the portions of it that have survived) equated the One (to hen) with Being (to on). Plato makes the One transcendent (i.e. above/beyond Being) in his version. Proclus follows Plato in this. To work around the obvious contradiction between Plato's One and Parmenides' One, Proclus claims that Parmenides was only interested in the One that was equated to Being and not the One that transcended it. I absolutely agree that there is an aspect of the One that is transcendent. My issue with Proclus and other Neo-Platonists is that they have nullified any real active Unity in their attempt to make the One absolutely transcendent and failing to allow an aspect of It that is imminent. Proclus uses terms like "cause" and "create" when discussing the One's relationship to the lower modalistic orders, but this is problematic when seen in the context of his insistence on the absolute removal of the transcendent One from the One of Being (i.e. the imminent One). If the transcendent One is the "cause" or "creator" of the lower orders, how is this accomplished when it is absolutely separate? One cannot insist on negation and separation and at the same time claim a positive unifying presence. If the transcendent One unifies all lower orders, it must be positive and active. Where is the interface between this transcendent One and the lower modalities? Proclus denies activity to the One as well as any positive relationship between It and the One of Being. Proclus' One really remains divorced from all lower orders. He divides up the One into orders and then ultimately cuts off the head of those orders. His One of Being and his henads and monads are a plurality without actual cohesion. He often repeats that all the lower orders strive for the rest and Unity of the transcendent One, but this must be a striving in vain. That One remains completely removed from any relationship with the lower orders. Proclus may contradict this at times and claim that all lower orders gain an intuitive knowledge of the One, but this cannot at all be said consistently of his transcendent One who is far beyond any potential interface with lower orders. If there is no interface with the lower modalities, then the transcendent One can have no real relationship with them. Of course, there are going to be paradoxes when one deals with metaphysical issues at this level, but the paradoxes must at least be consistent and make practical sense. I want to discuss briefly Proclus' relationship to Christian Mysticism. I don't think it can be legimately denied that the Pseudo-Dionysius was inspired by Proclus--and especially by this commentary. The Pseudo-Dionysius has been given significant credit for the apophatic mystical influence in later Christian mystical thought. Correct Christian mystical theology must balance kataphatic and apophatic theology though. The Pseudo-Dionsysius did not balance these as well as various Christian mystics that followed him. There is also an undue credit that Platonism and Neo-Platonism receives when it comes to apophatic mystical theology. Judaism itself understood that there was an aspect of God that was transcendent. Judaism dealt with this more allegorically though; notable verses are Exodus 33:20; Isaiah 5:8-9, etc. This approach was certainly found early in Christianity (e.g. 1 Timothy 6:16; John 1:18, 6:46, etc). You find interesting indications of this apophatic thought in midrash and Christian apocrypha too. According to Jewish midrash, God created the world with the letter bet (as in bereshith, the first word of Genesis). This inspired some interesting interpretations in Christian apocrypha. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, for example, provides a mystical parable inspired by the preceding midrash. To quote the passage for the sake of example and illustration: "A CERTAIN schoolmaster named Zacchæus, standing in a certain place, heard Jesus speaking these things to his father. 2 And he was much surprised, that being a child, he should speak such things; and after a few days he came to Joseph, and said, 3 Thou hast a wise and sensible child, send him to me, that he may learn to read. 4 When he sat down to teach the letters to Jesus, he began with the first letter Aleph; 5 But Jesus pronounced the second letter Beth, Gimel, and said over all the letters to him to the end. 6 Then opening a book, he taught his master the prophets: but be was ashamed, and was at a loss to conceive how he came to know the letters. 7 And he arose and went home, wonderfully surprised at so strange a thing." Another version of the infancy gospel has this: "Thereafter they took Him to another and a more learned master, who, when be saw Him, said: Say Aleph. And when He had said Aleph, the master ordered him to pronounce Beth. And the Lord Jesus answered him, and said: First tell me the meaning of the letter Aleph, and then I shall pronounce Beth." Jesus first responds and only says beth and the following letters and then responds in silence to the teaching of the beth and he demands that the teacher first explain aleph. This is of course because the Aleph represents the transcendent One, while the Beth represents the One in His imminence, i.e. in His creative activity. The revelation that Moses was ultimately known for is God revealing Himself as the I Am (i.e. as Being itself). This dichotomy of God in His imminence and in His transcendence is a consistent dynamic in the Old Testament and continues into the New. The apophatic strain of mysticism was certainly intuited in Judaism parabolically and was found early on in Christianity. The big difference between Platonist apophaticism and Christian apophaticism is that Christianity admits a Trinitarian Godhead. This is something that Platonism, and certainly Neo-Platonism, denies. The Trinity accords to God His imminence and His transcendence jointly. Proclus divides Being from the One, whereas Christianity, Unites them. In fact, Christianity in a sense negates the Divine negation and posits Divine activity in its place. Proclus not only puts the creative aspect of Divinity far down the modal hierarchy (i.e. in the demiurgic level), he puts activity itself down a number of steps as well. Jesus says of the transcendent Father that He is still working (ergazotai) and so Jesus Himself works (ergazomai). Jesus unites this transcendent and imminent working/activity in Himself. Proclus puts the realm of forms (eidos) down the hierarchical ladder as well; whereas Jesus said that the Father has a form (eidos) that has not been seen (John 5:37). That Eidos is, of course, the Logos. The Logos is the transcendent Father in His imminence. Jesus also says quite plainly that He and the Father are One (hen esmen) in John 10:30. That Jesus also equated Being with God and the One is made apparent when He calls Himself the I Am (John 8:58). It is interesting that Neo-Platonism has gained such a reputation as being a primary influence on Christian mysticism when it approaches mysticism quite differently. Neo-Platonism, and specifically Proclus, divides the transcendent aspect of God from any practical imminence; instead, it posits a plurality of henads, monads, gods and demons. Ultimately all the orders are hopelessly separated from the transcendent God, and, thus, He is separated from human beings, who are far down Proclus' hierarchy. I give Proclus philosophical credit, but I must also reject his theology as absolutely impractical and pointless. I would give Proclus more credit than I would give some forms of eastern philosophy that teach a theistic nihilism, but it’s still ultimately a suboptimal theistic system. This was a work that did cause me to do some reflection, so that makes it recommendable. I can’t see recommending it without giving my position though.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Muhammed

    It's a very important book of Neo-Platonism. Of course, Proclus is not encompassing all the Neo-Platonism however, it can say that he is one of the most important philosopher of Neo-Platonism. And in this book, you can find to neo-platonic elements most clearly. But I advice you don't mixed Plato and Neo-Platonism. Because, Neo-Platonism sourced of Aristotelian commentary of Plato. Of course, it can say that what causes this situation is in Plato's Timaeus to mentioned "problem of khora". But in It's a very important book of Neo-Platonism. Of course, Proclus is not encompassing all the Neo-Platonism however, it can say that he is one of the most important philosopher of Neo-Platonism. And in this book, you can find to neo-platonic elements most clearly. But I advice you don't mixed Plato and Neo-Platonism. Because, Neo-Platonism sourced of Aristotelian commentary of Plato. Of course, it can say that what causes this situation is in Plato's Timaeus to mentioned "problem of khora". But in Aristotle is not exist this problem. Eventually, we can mention Neo-Platonic commentary is compound of Aristotle and Plato.

  3. 4 out of 5

    NaCI

    Bir hakkında bunca konuşmanın ardından anlaşıldı ki, Bir'e ulaşmanın yegane yöntemi Bir hakkında susmak Bir hakkında bunca konuşmanın ardından anlaşıldı ki, Bir'e ulaşmanın yegane yöntemi Bir hakkında susmak

  4. 5 out of 5

    Esra

  5. 4 out of 5

    Athens

  6. 4 out of 5

    Athens

  7. 4 out of 5

    D. Johannes Bayer

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mark Gewiss

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jovany Agathe

  10. 4 out of 5

    Raiyan Ahsan

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kaye

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michael Lloyd-Billington

  13. 5 out of 5

    Smyrnall

  14. 4 out of 5

    Will Green

  15. 5 out of 5

    Edward Tumanov

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lili

  17. 5 out of 5

    Parker Benchley

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nikita Garmash

  19. 4 out of 5

    Success

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lee Sharks

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vernon Kooy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Derek A.

  23. 4 out of 5

    James Sass

  24. 4 out of 5

    Saul Rosenthal

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ritch

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sebastian

  27. 5 out of 5

    Edward Butler

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rlambertus

  29. 4 out of 5

    Keith

  30. 4 out of 5

    Matthew S.

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