Proclus

Summary

Proclus Lycius
Procli Diadochi Lycii Institutio Physica in London, British Library, Harley MS 5685, fol. 133r.jpg
The beginning of Proclus' Fundamentals of Physics in the manuscript London, British Library, Harley 5685, fol. 133r (12th century)
Born8 February 412
Died17 April 485(485-04-17) (aged 73)
Athens, Achaea, Eastern Roman Empire
Other names"The Successor"
EraAncient philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolNeoplatonism
Main interests
Metaphysics
Notable ideas
Platonic theology

Proclus Lycius[1] (/ˈprɒkləs lˈsiəs/; 410[2][3]/411[4][5][6]/ 7 Feb.[7][8] or 8 Feb. 412[9][10][11][12] –17 April 485 AD[13][14][15][16][17]), called Proclus the Successor,[18][19][20] Proclus the Platonic[21] Successor, or Proclus of Athens[22] (Greek: Προκλος Διαδοχος[23][24][25] Próklos Diádochos,[19] "in some MSS he is styled διάδοχος Πλατωνικός"[20]) was a Greek Neoplatonist philosopher and a prolific writer of ancient Greek philosophy leaving behind extensive commentaries on Plato, Aristotle, Porphyry and Plotinus, books and treaties on Neoplatonic theology, epigrams and hymns.[26] He set forth one of the most elaborate and fully developed systems of Neoplatonism.[27] Proclus stands at the end of ancient Greek philosophy and at the beginning of medieval philosophy and is historically significant because he is a major connection between those two Ages of philosophy.[28]

The title of Successor (Greek: διάδοχος) was given to the head of the School of Plato in Athens and signified that Proclus was the successor of his predecessor and also the latest successor of continuous Platonic scholarship going back to Plato, the founder of the School of Plato in Athens.[29]

Biography

Proclus was born in Constantinople (now Istanbul,[30] Turkey) to a wealthy Lycian family.[31] The name his family gave him was probably 'Proklos', a Greek form of the Latin ‘Proculus’, which reveals that he was born 'procul a patria', or 'far from home'.[32] There is confusion about the exact date of his birth, but the one given as February 8, 412 AD was educed from a horoscope cast by his biographer Marinus of Neapolis.[22]

Constantinople and Alexandria

Soon after his birth, his mother Marcella[22] and his father Patricus,[33] a lawyer in the Byzantium courts,[34] moved from Constantinople, where Patricus was working, back to their home district Lycia.[35] Proclus received his early education in Xanthos,[31] (now Kinik,[36] Turkey) a city in Lycia.

Between c. 427 – 428 AD, when he was 15[37] or 16[37][31] years old, his parents sent him from Lycia to Alexandria to study rhetoric, Roman law, mathematics and philosophy[38] with the intent of pursuing a judicial[30] position like his father.[34] In Alexandria his teachers were the sophist Leonas of Isauria[39] and the grammarian Orion of Thebes.[40] After a few years in Alexandria he accompanied his rector and principal instructor Leonas to Constantinople because he wanted to continue his guidance from him.[40]

In Constantinople there were professors and students who had studied philosophy in Athens,[41] in particular the Athenian Neoplatonists Empress Eusocial and her father Leontius.[39] Whilst in Constantinople, Proclus turned his attentions to the study of philosophy, and returned to Alexandria.

In Alexandria, he began determinedly studying the works of Aristotle under the guidance of Olympiodorus the Elder and, dropping rhetoric,[37] studying mathematics under the guidance of Heron[30] (not Heron the Alexandrian who lived two centuries earlier).[40] Proclus was a talented student with a remarkable memory[42] that helped him comprehend Aristotle's logical works quickly.[43] Like Plotinus, and other philosophers in the Roman Empire prior to him, Proclus' travelled extensively to try and find the right teacher and that might have led him to depart Alexandria.[44]

Athens

In c. 430 or 431 AD,[41] before he was 20 years old,[34] he sailed from Alexandria to Athens[41] where, in a parable recounted by Proclus' biographer Marinus of Neapolis, upon his arrival to Athens, and after being met at the Piraeus (a port city within Athens) and escorted into the city, he was met by the gatekeeper ready to close the city for the night, who said: "Truly, had you not come, I was about to lock the gate."[45]

Plutarch of Athens and Syrianus

In Athens he lived with Plutarch of Athens,[46][47][48] who had officially retired[41] and was in the last years of his life. Plutarch of Athens instructed Proclus on Aristotle's De Anima[41] and Plato's Phaedo.[41] After Plutarch of Athens' death in 432 AD,[47] Proclus was under the guidance of Syrianus,[46][47][41] the head of the School of Plato in Athens,[49] for two[50] years. A fellow-student studying alongside Proclus and also under the guidance of Syrianus was Domninus of Larissa.[41]

Proclus lived in Syrianus' house and under his guidance[47] studied the complete works of Aristotle[41] and works of Plato.[41] He also studied Syrianus' commentary on Orphic theogony and the works of Porphyry and Iamblichus on the Chaldean Oracles.[51] Later in his life he was to spend five years writing a commentary on the Chaldean Oracles.[51]

Whilst in Syrianus' house, Proclus was arranged to marry Aedesia,[49] a relative[52] of Syrianus, an arrangement that Proclus declined. Aedesia later married Hermias with whom she had two children Ammonius Hermiae and Heliodorus of Alexandria; both children eventually became students of Proclus.[53][52] It is likely that the house of the head of the School of Plato in Athens was bequeathed, so that the house of Plutarch of Athens became the house of Syrianus and then the house of Proclus and it was also a school where the head of the school held discussions and taught.[36] The school operated financially much like a private school with revenue from a substantial bequest that paid teachers and was supplemented by student payments.[54]

Head of School of Plato

After Syrianus' death, c. 437 AD,[41] Proclus, at about the age of 25,[55] became the head of the School of Plato in Athens,[56] where amongst his students were Ammoniums Hermias,[52] Heliodorus of Alexandria,[53] Agapiu of Athens,[57] Severianus of Damascus,[58] Asclepiodotus of Alexandria[59] and Marinus of Neapolis.[60] During his directorship of the school, the Proclean curriculum included Orphic Theogony, Homer, Hesiod, Chaldaean Oracles, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid and Plotinus.[61] Proclus, like Porphyry, had an extensive literary education and was deeply committed to language, style, and literary matters which might explain why allegorical reading is so strongly yoked to Neoplatonism.[44]

Marinus of Neapolis, a mathematician, student of Proclus and Proclus' eventual biographer[55] or hagiographer,[62] says he lived in Athens as a vegetarian bachelor, prosperous and generous to his friends and that Proclus had a great devotion to the goddess Athena, whom he believed guided him at key moments in his life.[63] Marinus reports Proclus was a prominent member of Athenian society and at times took part in politics despite the inimical Christian atmosphere.[55] On occasion he also gave advice to magistrates, took part in public education and was under the protection of a distinguished member of Athenian society called Rufinus.[55] Marinus also reports he usually gave five lectures a day, held informal evening conversations, spent nights writing hymns and at his devotions and that in his prime, Proclus was writing, or dictating to a scribe, 700 lines a day.[55][64]

Sabbatical

During his entire time in Athens, Proclus left only once, and that was to Lydia for a year-long[55] sabbatical[65] designed to lessen the pressure put on him by his political,[55] religious[66] and philosophical activity.[67] During his sabbatical, he spent time traveling and being initiated into various local Greco-Roman mysteries[55] and put to good use the knowledge he gained in Lydia later in his career.[68] Scholars are unsure about when Proclus went on his year-long sabbatical, but they suppose it was when he was an established scholar.[69]

Succession

Proclus was head of the School of Plato in Athens for nearly fifty years until his death in 485 AD. He died in Athens at about the age of 73 and was buried near Mount Lycabettus in the same tomb as Syrianus. [70] His inheritance was given to Athens and to his native city of Xanthos.[36] He was succeeded by Marinus of Neapolis,[71] and then by Isidore of Alexandria,[55] a young and much admired former student of Proclus.[26]

House of Proclus and Epitaph

The covered ruins of the House of Proclus on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street with the walls marked.

The ruins of Proclus' house in Athens were first discovered in 1879, but it was not until 1955 that the excavator Giannis Meliades claimed the site to be ‘The House of Proclus', a claim also supported by the publications of Frantz 1975,[72] 1988, 1999[72] and Karivieri 1994.[73] The ruins are now covered, but the walls are clearly marked on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street where the street meets the steps coming down from the south of the Acropolis, opposite the theater of Dionysus.[73] The following translated epitaph, composed by Proclus,[74] is engraved in Greek on the single tomb of both Proclus and Syrianus:

"I Proclus, here the debt of nature paid,

(My country Lycia) in the dust am laid;

Great Syrianus form’d my early youth,

And left me his successor in the truth.

One common tomb, our earthly part contains,

One place our kindred souls, —th’ aetherial plains."[75]

Influence

Proclus was greatly received in the centuries after his death.[76] He was a very influential 5th century Neoplatonic philosopher and left a vast philosophical legacy to Western philosophy, Christianity, Byzantine philosophy and Islamic philosophy and theology.[77][78] In the Middle Ages, for about 900 years from the 6th to the 15th centuries, Proclus's Neoplatonic doctrines, through the various Arabic and Latin translations of his Elements of Theology, treaties and commentaries on Plato's Timaeus and Parmenides, were very influential and disseminated and studied more than the Platonic doctrines of Plato and Plotinus.[79]

Middle Ages Greek Reception

Proclus' immediate reception In the 5th century was by way of Ammonius Hermiae's commentary on Aristotle's De Interpretatione or On Interpretation. That commentary included a lot of Proclus' doctrines taken from notes Ammonius Hermiae (a student of Proclus) made when he was reading the text with Proclus.[80]

6th century

There was a notably quick reaction to Proclus' work in the 6th century by a mostly favourable response from the Neoplatonist Damascius and a critical response by the 6th century Christian commentator John Philoponus.[77] As much of the structure of Damascius' philosophy was so close to Proclus',[81][82][83][84] it would be inconceivable without Proclus' influence; however he held fundamental differences[85] to Proclus on key doctrines[86] and developed his own innovative doctrines[87][88] of Neoplatonism.[89] Also, important doctrines of Proclus' Neoplatonism were transmitted thorough the 6th century Neoplatonists Simplicius of Cilicia (in a refutation of John Philoponus' criticisms of Proclus[89]), Olympiodorus the Younger (triad developed by Proclus from Philebus[90]) and the 6th century Latin grammarian Priscian.[91] Also in the 6th century, Byzantine administrator and writer on antiquarian subjects John of Lydia in his work De Mensibus, quoted a lengthy passage from an important treatise of Proclus'.[92]

A very important 6th century and later centuries transmission of Proclus' "great cosmic system of divinity"[93] was through Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.[93] Early in that century Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite was weaving Proclus' Neoplatonic theology into Christian theology,[77][94] and was probably the first Christian theologian to attempt merging Proclus' Neoplatonic doctrines of theology into Christian doctrines of theology.[95] Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite was an original Christian writer, and in his works can be found a great number of Proclus' important Neoplatonic doctrines.[96] Another important transmission of Proclus' Neoplatonic doctrines in the 6th century was Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, which contains a number of Proclus' doctrines and motifs.[97][91] In that work of Boethius, the central poem of Book III is a summary of Proclus' Commentary on the Timaeus and in particular, Book III.9 and Book V Prosa 6 relate important aspects of Proclus' Neoplatonic doctrines.[97][91]

9th century

In the 9th century, through the works of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, important Proclean Neoplatonic doctrines can be seen in the translation of Hilduin who was the Bishop of Paris and chaplain to Louis I and one of the leading scholars and administrators of the Carolingian empire.[98] Again, through Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, important Neoplatonic doctrines originally written by Proclus can be seen in the 9th century translations of the Irish Catholic Neoplatonist philosopher, theologian and poet John Scotus Eriugena[98] and in the Latin translations of the 12th century scholar John Sarrazin,[98] who is known only from his translation of the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite from Greek into Latin.

Middle Ages Islamic and Byzantine Reception

9th to 12th century Arabic translations of parts or all of Proclus' Elements of Theology are generally referred to by scholars working in that field as Discourse on the Pure Good,[78][99][100][101] but there is a 10th-century translation of parts or all of Proclus' Elements of Theology referred to by scholars as The Book of Chapters on Divine Subjects.[102] Two of the three Arabic translations of parts or all of Proclus' Elements of Theology (Discourse on the Pure Good) name the author as Buruqlus (i.e. ‘Proclus’).[103]

8th and 9th century

In the 8th century, Proclus' Elements of Theology was known to the Arab Muslim historian Muhammed ibn Ishaq.[104] A 9th century transmission of an Arabic translation of Proclus' Elements of Theology (Discourse on the Pure Good) into 9th century Islamic theology is demonstrated by extant 9th century paragraphs of the text.[105] Also in the 9th century, some of Proclus' Elements of Theology (Discourse on the Pure Good) were translated from Greek to Arabic (possibly by Ibn al-Bitṛīq[106]) by Arabic and Christian translators convened by the Islamic philosopher al-Kindī so as to be acceptable to Islamic philosophy and theology.[99]

10th century

In the 10th century, a second-generation student of al-Kindī named al-ʿĀmirī (d. c. 922) revised and incorporated Islamic doctrines of theology into another Arabic translation of part of Proclus' Elements of Theology (Discourse on the Pure Good) titled Kitāb al-Fuṣūl fī l-Maʿālim al-Ilāhīya (The Book of Chapters on Divine Subjects). Also in the 10th century, Proclus' works Commentary on Republic Book 10, Commentary on Gorgias, Commentary on Phaedo and Commentary on Golden Verses are known to have been translated into Syriac.[107][108] Furthermore, in the 10th century, physician al-Razi wrote the work Concerning Doubt, in connexion with (or against) Proclus.[109][110]

11th and 12th century

11th century Byzantine philosophy received Proclus' Elements of Theology, treatises, and commentaries on the Timaeus and Chaldaean Oracles through extensive references made by Michael Psellos,[111] and his student John Italus.[112] In the 12th century, Byzantine philosophy received Proclus' doctrines by way of his treatises and specifically Elements of Theology, whose wide circulation in the 12th century is demonstrated by an extant Georgian translation and commentary by Ioane Petrisi.[105][77] The Georgian, or Ioane Petrisi's, translation of Elements of Theology was translated into Arabic and modified to be received into Islamic theology.[78]

Also in the 12th century, another Arabic translation of Ioane Petrisi's translation of Elements of Theology was written and titled Kalām fī maḥḍ al-ḫayr (Discourse on the Pure Good).[78] Kalām fī maḥḍ al-ḫayr was translated into the Latin Liber de Causis (Book of Causes) by Gerard of Cremona. Liber de Causis is frequently misattributed to Aristotle, but more than 30 propositions were found to be from Proclus' Elements of Theology in a commentary by St Thomas Aquinas.[78][100] And in the 12th century, Proclus' Elements of Theology was received into Byzantine philosophy and theology by way of the criticisms of Byzantine-Greek Christian theologian Nicholas of Methone.[99]

13th and 14th century

In the 13th century, a summary of an Arabic translation of part or all of Proclus' Elements of Theology was incorporated in a work on metaphysics by the Islamic philosopher ʿAbd al-Latị̄f al-Baghdādī.[101] Also in the 13th century, 1248, the 12th century Georgian, or Ioane Petrisi's translation of Elements of Theology was translated into Armenian by the monk Simeon of Garni.[109] Kalām fī maḥḍ al-ḫayr (which contained Proclus' Neoplatonic doctrines from his Elements of Theology, in Arabic) was also translated into an extant Armenian version by the monk Simeon of Garni[113] and also translated by anonymous translators into at least four Hebrew versions that are extant,[111] and three commentaries on one of those Hebrew versions.[103] In the 14th century, references to Proclus' commentary on the Chaldean Oracles were also in the writings of the Byzantine-Greek astronomer, historian and theologian Nicephorus Gregoras.[111][91]

Middle Ages Latin Reception

In the 13th century and later centuries, Proclus' Elements of Theology was transmitted into Christian Europe by Liber de Causis (Book of Causes, frequently misattributed to Aristotle) translated from Arabic to Latin by Gerard of Cremona[101] in the 12th century (between 1167 and 1187 AD[111]). The Gerard of Cremona translation was frequently copied (about 237 times[103]) and much of its content was found to be from Proclus' Elements of Theology in a commentary by St Thomas Aquinas, thus leading to and important transmission of Proclus' doctrines into the 13th century and later centuries.[78][101] Other scholars have shown that more than 30 propositions of Proclus' Neoplatonic doctrines contained in his Elements of Theology are in the Arabic version translated by Gerard of Cremona.[114] Proclus' doctrines in the Liber de Causis were also diffused in the 13th century by commentaries of St Albert the Great and Siger of Brabant.[115]

13th century

Late 13th century manuscript from northern Italy of part of a treatise by Proclus translated from Greek to Latin by Gulielmus de Morbeka (William of Moerbeke), written on vellum, with black lettering.

A very important dissemination of Proclus' Neoplatonic doctrines in the latter parts of the 13th century, and later centuries, was through Flemish Catholic bishop, Latin archbishop of Corinth, and translator William of Moerbeke, whose precise literal translations[116] from Greek manuscripts to Latin[117] of Proclus' Elements of Theology (Elemntatio theologica[118]) finished at Viterbo on June 15, 1268.[119] He also translated into Latin, Commentary on Plato's Parmenides[120][121] (1280s[122]), Commentary on Plato's Timaeus[122] (1280s[122]) and treaties[123] (February 1280[124][122]).[125] It was through William of Moerbeke's precise literal translation of Proclus' Elements of Theology that indirect and direct traditions of Proclus' Elements of Theology merged,[118] as William's translation was used by St Thomas Aquinas to make his observations about Proclus' doctrines in the Liber de Causis (Book of Causes).[126] Both William of Moerbeke and St Thomas Aquinas were working in Viterbo in 1268.[115]

Also in the 13th century, German theologians and philosophers Heinrich Bate (friend of William of Moerbeke[127]), Theodoric of Freiberg,[128][129][130] Meister Eckhart,[128] continued the dissemination of Proclus' Neoplatonic theology from the Latin translations of the Liber de Causis and Elements of Theology and commentaries on Plato's Parmenides by Proclus.[121]

14th century

In 14th century Germany there was an enthusiastic engagement and integration of Proclus' Elements of Theology[128][119] and treaties into German mysticism in Regensburg (1327–35) and then in Cologne (1335–61) led by Berthold of Moosburg.[121] The Italian poet, writer and philosopher Dante also integrated Proclus' Neoplatonic doctrines found in the Liber de Causis in several of his works, notably in the Convivio (III 6.11), when describing Beatrice's physical beauty as caused by her soul.[131]

15th century

During the 15th century, the Catholic cardinal Bessarion (student of Georgius Gemistus Pletho) had in his possession numerous manuscripts in Greek[132][133] brought back from his time in Greece, and after becoming a cardinal in 1439, Bessarion made annotations[134] and revisions to Greek manuscripts of Proclus' Elements of Theology and commentary on the Parmenides.[135] Also in 1439, the Roman Catholic cardinal Nicolas of Cusa had in his possession Greek manuscripts of Proclus' Elements of Theology[128] that he had brought back from Constantinople, and asked the Italian monk and theologian Ambrogio Traversari to translate them into Latin, a task completed by the Italian translator Pietro Balbi in 1462.[131] During the middle of the 15th century, in 1450 and 1455, Nicolas of Cusa also authorized two copies of Proclus' commentary on Plato's Parmenides[136] and used the one he heavily annotated while writing his treatises.[131]

During the late 15th century, the Italian Catholic priest and scholar Marsilio Ficino was reading a Latin translation of Proclus' works and displays a detailed understanding of Proclus' Neoplatonic doctrines in his own works, Platonic Theology and On the Immortality of the Souls, written from 1469 to 1471.[135] By the 1490s, Marsilio Ficino had the following Greek manuscripts of Proclus' Neoplatonic doctrines available to him: Commentary on Timaeus, Commentary on Republic, Commentary on First Alcibiades, a commentary by Nicholas of Methone on Proclus’ Elements of Theology, Proclus’ Platonic Theology, and Elements of Physics, the last of which contain his notes.[135] Marsilio Ficino also translated Proclus’ Hymns, Elements of Theology,[128] selections from Commentary on Republic[137] and Elements of Physics, the last is lost, however the other two were printed in Venice by Aldus Manutius in 1497.[135] Marsilio Ficino's selections on Proclus' Commentary on First Alcibiades and treatise On Sacrifice and Magic were all that were available of these Proclean texts until the original Greek manuscripts were rediscovered in the 20th century.[135] Late in the 15th century, Italian academic, mathematician, philologist and translator Giorgio Valla translated Proclus’ Commentary on First Book of Euclid’s Elements and Proclus' Outline of Astronomical Hypotheses and incorporated much of that text into his colossal encyclopedia Seek and Shun.[137]

Renaissance and Modern Reception

Early in the 16th century in northern Italy, Proclus' Commentary on Timaeus was translated by an anonymous translator.[137] Between 1520 and 1526, Proclus' Platonic Theology, Commentary on Republic, Commentary on First Alcibiades, Commentary on Parmenides were translated by the Italian Augustinian friar and Platonist Nicholas Scutelli.[137]

16th century

From 1531 to 1540 the German Protestant theologian and scholar Simon Grynaeus edited a Greek manuscript of Proclus' Elements of Physics, and printed the first editions of Proclus' Elements of Physics, Commentary on Republic, Commentary on Timaeus and Outline of Astronomical Hypotheses.[137] In 1541, Giorgio Valla's Latin translation of Proclus' Outline of Astronomical Hypotheses was published in Ptolemy’s Opera.[137] In 1560, the Italian mathematician, astronomer and humanist Francesco Barozzi published a Latin translation of Proclus' Commentary on First Book of Euclid's Elements.[138] In 1583, Proclus' Elements of Theology and Elements of Physics was published by the Italian Platonist philosopher and scientist Franciscus Patricius, from his Latin translations of the works.[137]

17th and 18th century

Early in the 17th century, in 1618, the first printed editions of Proclus' Platonic Theology and Elements of Theology were published, which were prepared earlier in the century by the Italian philologist and university professor Aemilius Portus.[137] After Portus' first printed editions of Proclus, there were no first editions of Proclus' works published until the early 19th century (some 200 years later.)[139] Also in the 17th century, a commentary of Elements of Theology was written by the Armenian bishop Simeon of Djulfa.[109]

In Proclus' Elements of Theology propositions 28 and 29, Proclus introduces a metaphysical law of Continuity that seems very probable to scholars, to historically descend into the doctrine on Continuity of Leibniz in his early 18th century essay la nature ne fait jamais des sauts.[140][141] Also, it was thought by at least one leading Neoplatonic scholar of the early 20th century that Neoplatonism contains a representation of Leibnizian monadism.[142]

19th century

In the early 19th century, in 1820 the first published version of Proclus' Commentary on Cratylus was published by the French classical scholar Jean François Boissonade de Fontarabie.[139] Also in 1820, Proclus' Commentary on First Alcibiades was published by German philologist and archaeologist Georg Friedrich Creuzer and the French philosopher Victor Cousin published Procli philosophi platonici Opera (which he revised and re-edited in 1864) that contained three treaties of Proclus, Commentary on First Alcibiades and Commentary on Parmenides (which he dedicated to F. J. W. Schelling and G. W. F. Hegel.)[139]

The cover page of Proclus on the First Book of Euclid's Elements translated into English by Thomas Taylor 1792 Volume I.

In the late 18th century and early 19th century, from 1792 to 1833, the English translator and Neoplatonist Thomas Taylor[137] published the following works in English on and by Proclus: Marinus’s Life of Proclus, or Concerning Felicity in 1792, The Philosophical and Mathematical Commentaries of Proclus on the First Book of Euclid's Elements in 1792 in 2 volumes, Commentary on The First Alcibiades from The Works of Plato (with Sydenham) in 1804, Introduction to Proclus, On the Theology of Plato in 1816, Theology of Plato in 1816, The Six Books of Proclus on the Theology of Plato in 1816 in 2 volumes, The Elements of Theology in 1816, Proclus' Commentary on the Timaeus of Plato in 2 volumes and 2 editions, 1810 and 1820, The Fragments that remain of the Lost Writings of Proclus in 1825 and Two Treatises of Proclus (Ten Doubts Concerning Providence and On the Subsistence of Evil) in 1833. He also published four articles on Proclus in the Classical Journal in 1821, 1822, 1824 and 1825, which were a response to Jean François Boissonade de Fontarabie's first published Greek text edition of Proclus' Commentary on Cratylus and Victor Cousin's Greek text editions of Proclus' commentary on First Alcibiades and Parmenides (three articles).[143][144][145]

Taylor's work inspired the New England Transcendentalists, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, who declared in 1847 that:

"When I read Proclus, I am astonished at the vigor and breadth of his performance. Here is no...modern muse with short breath and short flight, but Atlantic strength, every where equal to itself, and dares great attempts because of the life with which it is filled."[146] —Ralph Waldo Emerson

20th and 21st century

In the early 20th century, works by the German church historian and Jesuit J. Stiglmayr and German Catholic theologian and church historian H. Koch reveled the extent that Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite slavishly followed Proclus' doctrines and how he reproduced the whole structure of late Athenian Neoplatonism with a thinly veiled disguise of Christianity.[147] In the late 20th century, Smyth's 1997 book Reading Peirce Reading explores the Neoplatonic link from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Charles Sanders Peirce.[148]

Between 1900 and 2021 there have been more than 30 modern versions published of Proclus' works in Greek text and two editions of Moerbeke's Latin translation.[149] And there have been over 100 translations of Proclus' works that are considered by scholars as a standard or an important work for Proclean studies.[149] Those translations include 32 in English (including 8 reprints of Thomas Taylor's translations) 23 in Italian, 20 in French, 18 in German, six in Spanish, two in Hungarian, one in Russian and one in Polish.[149] A nearly complete list of Proclus' works in Greek text and translations published after 1900 may be found at De Wulf-Mansion Centre for Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Philosophy.

A chronological listing of modern editions of Proclus' works in Greek text and first edition translations, that are in the bibliographies of All From One, edited by d’Hoine & Martijn 2017 and Proclus On Plato's Cratylus, translated by Duvick 2014, are given below. Where there is more than one volume published for a work, the year is taken from the last published volume.

Modern Editions in Greek Text and Translations from Bibliographies of All From One 2017[150] and Proclus On Plato's Cratylus 2014[151]
Year Finished Language, Editor and/or Translator Title Work by Proclus
1873 Greek text edited by G. Friedlein[152] Procli Diadochi In Primum Euclides Elementorum Librum Commentaria Commentary on First Book of Euclid's Elements
1901 Greek text edited by W. Kroll[152] Procli Diadochi In Platonis Rem Publicam Commentaria, 2 volumes Commentary on Plato's Republic
1906 Greek text edited by E. Diehl[152] Procli Diadochi In Platonis Timaeum Commentaria, 3 volumes Commentary on Plato's Timaeus
1908 Greek text edited by G. Pasquali[152] Procli Diadochi In Platonis Cratylum Commentaria Commentary on Plato's Cratylus
1909 Greek text edited by C. Manutius[153] Procli Hypotyposis astronomicarum positionum Outline of Astronomical Hypotheses
1933 Greek text and English translation by E. R. Dodds[154] Proclus. Elements of Theology Elements of Theology
1965 English translation by W. O’Neill[155][156] Proclus: Alcibiades I Commentary on Plato's First Alcibiades
1968 French translation by A. J. Festugière[155] Proclus. Commentaire sur le Timée, 5 volumes Commentary on Plato's Timaeus
1970 English translation by G. R. Morrow[157] Proclus: Commentary on the First Book of Euclid’s Elements Commentary on the First Book of Euclid's Elements
1986 French translation by A.-P. Segonds[158] Proclus: Sur le Premier Alcibiade de Platon Commentary on Plato's First Alcibiades
1987 English translation by G. R. Morrow and J. M. Dillon[157] Commentary on Plato’s Parmenides Commentary on Plato's Parmenides
1997 Greek text and French translation by H.D. Saffrey and L.G. Westerink[152] Théologie Platonicienne, 6 volumes Platonic Theology
2001 English translation by H. S Lang and A. D.Macro[159] On the Eternity of the World. De Aeternitate Mundi On the Eternity of the World (from Arabic)
2003 English translation by J. Opsomer & C. Steel[160] On the Existence of Evils On the Existence of Evil
2007 English translation by C. Steel[161] Proclus: On Providence On Providence and Fate
2007 English translation by B. Duvick, Edited by H. Tarrant[154] Proclus On Plato's Cratylus Commentary on Plato's Cratylus
2009 Modern Greek translation by Oi Ymno iand P. Kalligas[162] Proklou, H Ieratikê Technê Hymns
2012 English translation by R. Lamberton[163] Essays 5 and 6 of his Commentary on the Republic of Plato Commentary on Plato's Republic
2013 English translation by H. Tarrant, D. T. Runia, M. Share and D. Baltzly [164][165] Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, in 3 volumes Commentary on Plato's Timaeus

List of Influence

Listing of Proclus' influence on Middle Ages, Renaissance and Modern philosophies and theologies is given below. The century ascribed to people in the list is based on the year they flourished, traditionally that is when they were 40 years old.

Proclus' Influence
Early Middle Ages Greek and Latin Western philosophy and Christianity
5th century Ammonius Hermiae[80] Greek Neoplatonist philosopher and Proclus' student
6th century Damascius[77] Greek Neoplatonist philosopher
6th century Priscian[91] Roman Latin grammarian
6th century John Philoponus[77] Byzantine-Greek Christian commentator
6th century Simplicius of Cilicia[89] Greek Neoplatonist philosopher
6th century Olympiodorus the Younger[91] Greek Neoplatonist philosopher
6th century John of Lydia[92] Byzantine-Greek administrator and writer on antiquarian subjects
6th century Boethius[80] Roman philosopher, senator and consul
6th century Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite[136][77] Greek Christian theologian and Neoplatonic philosopher
9th century Hilduin[98] Bishop of Paris
  • chaplain to Louis I
  • scholar and administrator of the Carolingian empire
9th century John Scotus Eriugena[98] Irish Catholic Neoplatonist philosopher, theologian and poet
12th century John Sarrazin[98] Translation of the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius from Greek into Latin.
Middle Ages Islamic philosophy and theology and Byzantine philosophy
8th-9th century Ibn al-Bitriq[166] Syrian scholar
  • possible evidence
9th century al-Kindī[99][166] Islamic philosopher.
  • Partial Arabic translation of Elements of Theology by Arabic
  • Christian translators convened by al-Kindī
10th century al-ʿĀmirī[101] Islamic philosopher. Second-generation student of al-Kindī:
  • Partial Arabic translation of Elements of Theology.
10th century anonymous Syriac translators[107][108] Syriac translations of Commentary on
10th century al-Razis[109][110] Persian physician, philosopher and alchemist
11th century Michael Psellos[112] Byzantine-Greek philosopher
11th century John Italus[112] Byzantine-Greek philosopher
12th century Isaac Sebastocrator[167] Byzantine-Greek scholar and patron of learning and the arts
12th century Nicholas of Methone[112] Byzantine-Greek Christian theologian, philosopher and commentator
12th century Ioane Petrisi[105] Georgian Neoplatonist philosopher

Extant Georgian translation of Proclus' Elements of Theology

12th century anonymous Arabic translators[78] Arabic translations of Ioane Petrisi's translation of:
  • Proclus' Elements of Theology into at least two versions
13th century ʿAbd al-Latị̄f al-Baghdādī[101] Islamic philosopher. Arabic summary of Elements of Theology
13th century Simeon of Garni.[109] Armenian monk
14th century Nicephorus Gregoras[111][91] Byzantine-Greek astronomer, historian and theologian
Middle Ages Greek and Latin Western philosophy and Christianity
12th century Gerard of Cremona[99][111] Italian Catholic translator
13th century St Albert the Great[115] German Catholic Dominican friar, philosopher, scientist and bishop
13th century William of Moerbeke[136][115] Flemish Catholic bishop and translator
13th century St Thomas Aquinas[136] Italian Christian theologian, philosopher and jurist
13th century Siger of Brabant[115] French Averroist philosopher
13th century Heinrich Bate[121] Flemish Christian philosopher, theologian, pupil of St Thomas Aquinas
13th century Theodoric of Freiberg [121] German Christian Dominican friar, theologian and physicist
14th century Meister Eckhart[13] German Christian theologian
14th century Dante Alighieri[131] Italian poet, writer and philosopher
14th century Berthold of Moosburg[121] German Christian Dominican theologian and Neoplatonist
15th century Nicolas of Cusa[136][13] German Catholic cardinal and theologian
15th century Ambrogio Traversari[131] Italian monk and theologian
15th century Pietro Balbi[131] Italian translator
15th century Bessarion[135] Byzantine-Greek Catholic cardinal and theologian
15th century Marsilio Ficino[78][136] Italian Catholic priest and scholar
15th century Giovanni Pico della Mirandola[136] Italian Christian philosopher
15th century Giorgio Valla[137] Italian academic, mathematician, philologist and translator
Renaissance and Modern Western philosophy and Christianity
16th century Anonymous Italian translator[137] Translation of Commentary on the Timaeus
16th century Nicholas Scutelli[137] Italian Augustinian friar and Platonist
16th century Simon Grynaeus[137] German Protestant theologian and scholar
16th century Publication[137] Outline of Astronomical Hypotheses in Ptolemy’s Opera 1541
16th century Francesco Barozzi[138] Italian mathematician, astronomer and humanist
16th century Franciscus Patricius[137] Italian Platonist philosopher and scientist
16th century Aemilius Portus[137] Italian philologist and university professor
17th century Simeon of Djulfa[109] Armenian bishop
17th century Jacob Boehme[13] German philosopher
17th century Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz[141][140] German polymath, mathematician, philosopher, scientist, and diplomat
18th century Thomas Taylor[78][137] English Neoplatonist and translator
19th century Georg Friedrich Creuzer [139] German philologist and archaeologist
19th century Jean François Boissonade de Fontarabie[139] French classical scholar
19th century Victor Cousin[139] French philosopher
19th century Hegel[168][13] German Christian philosopher
19th century Schelling[13][169] German philosopher
19th century Ralph Waldo Emerson[170] American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionist and poet
19th century Charles Sanders Peirce[171] American philosopher, logician, mathematician and scientist
20th century 20th century scholars[172][173] Scholars and translators
20th century International Astronomical Union Named the crater Proclus on the Moon after him.
21st century 21st century scholars[172][173] Scholars and translators

Late Athenian Neoplatonic Theology

Late Athenian Neoplatonic theology is formalized and systematized in Proclus' Elements of Theology and elaborated in his works Platonic Theology and Commentary on Timaeus.[174] Proclus was a great systematizer of late Athenian Neoplatonic theology; however, little of what he wrote was original.[175] He formalized, systematized, elucidated and elaborated on the main sources of Neoplatonic theology that were already in the writings or teachings of Orpheus, Homer,[176] Hesiod,[177] Pythagoras,[178] Socrates,[176] Plato, Plotinus, Porphyry, the Chaldaean Oracles, Iamblichus and Syrianus.[179][180]

Following Iamblichus, Plutarch of Athens, and Syrianus, Proclus intricately elaborated the early Neoplatonic theology of Plotinus.[181][182][183] Whilst Proclus' elaborated doctrines of Neoplatonic theology sometimes agree with Plotinus,[184][185][186][187][188] there is a very important difference in their respective doctrines on Evil.[189] Plotinus' Neoplatonic doctrine on Evil, Enneads 1.8 and 3, briefly says that matter was the cause of evil.[190] Proclus' doctrine on Evil, elaborated in his treatise On the Existence of Evil, briefly says that souls are corrupted before they are generated in the material world through matter and therefore matter is not the cause of evil.[190] In Proclus' Neoplatonic doctrine on Evil, there is no single principle that causes evil, as that would lead to a dualism of independent first principles,[190] Good and Evil, and that would contradict fundamental Neoplatonic theological doctrines that claim the One,[191][192][193] or the One and the Good[194][195][196] is the First Principle[197] and the First Cause,[198] or single cause,[199][200] or leading cause,[201] of All that exists,[202][203] or cause of all things[204][205] (i.e. every thing immaterial and material[206]).[207]

Propositions

Proclus' doctrines of Neoplatonic theology are based on 211 propositions, and proofs of those propositions using his authorities, in his systematic work Elements of Theology that formalized, systematized and elaborated the early and loosely systematized Neoplatonic theology of Plotinus, Porphyry and Sallustius, into a later Athenian Neoplatonic theology.[208]

The structure of the propositions in Elements of Theology has two major subdivisions, the first, propositions 1–112, introduce typical Neoplatonic metaphysical antitheses consecutively.[209] Some important examples of typical Neoplatonic metaphysical antitheses are, multiplicity and unity, cause and effect, progression and return, and potentiality and actuality.[209] The second subdivision, propositions 113–211, uses the results of propositions 1–112 to construct theories about the realm of henads and the essential hypostases of Nous and Souls.[209]

The propositions of late Athenian Neoplatonic theology result in a more complex and more dynamic theology than that of early Neoplatonic theology, with the complexity due to a much greater formalization and systematization of Neoplatonic hypostases, and hierarchies of beings in those hypostases.[208][210] The propositions also give a more dynamic character to Neoplatonic theology resulting from a greater understanding of eternal existence and eternal activity, otherwise known simply as eternity.[211]

Proclus' understanding of eternal existence dated back to Plato's Timaeus 33e ff. and ultimately to the early fifth century BC philosopher Parmenides On Nature v. 66.[212] His understanding of eternal activity was derived from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics 1154 b27 and from Plotinus' Enneads 3.7.4 where eternal existence and eternal activity were combined by Plotinus into an early Neoplatonic understanding of eternity. [97] The early Neoplatonic understanding of eternity was passed into Christian theology through St Augustine's Confessions XI. 11 and On the Trinity XII. 14, while Boethius in The Consolation of Philosophy V. Prosa 6 and St Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica Pars I, quo x, art. 5, passed on Proclus' late Athenian Neoplatonic understanding of eternity.[97]

One and Many

Proclus begins his Elements of Theology with the systematical exploration of the antithesis of the One and the Many, an opposition that had confounded Greek philosophy for about 1000 years, as it was a search for the First Principle of the universe.[213] In his Commentary on Parmenides, Proclus finds four solutions for the First Principle, (a) pure multiplicity, or the Many (b) explicit multiplicity with implied unity, (c) explicit unity with implied multiplicity, and (d) pure unity, or the One.[214] Solutions (b) and (c) are known as partial unities.[214] The last of these solutions, (d) pure unity, or the One, was the traditional Neoplatonic belief that had its roots in the first hypothesis of Plato's Timaeus 137c ff.[215]

Elements of Theology propositions 1–6 try to prove the existence of solution (d) pure unity, or the One, by finding contradictions, to the other three solutions (a), (b) and (c).[215] The arguments used in the proofs of Proclus' propositions are supported by his authorities in Plato's dialogues Parmenides and Sophist, Plotinus' Enneads, Aristotle's Metaphysics, and Syrianus' Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics.[216]

The One and Partial Unities

In Elements of Theology, of the four solutions for the First Principle of the universe Proclus found in his Commentary on Parmenides, the only solution Proclus found a contradiction to, or found not to exist, was (a) pure multiplicity, or the Many.[214] The other three solutions (b) explicit multiplicity with implied unity, (c) explicit unity with implied multiplicity, and (d) pure unity, or the One.[214] were supported by arguments from his authorities.[215] In the proofs of propositions 2–4, he was able to establish the existence of (d) pure unity, or the One, and distinguish it from both the partial unities (b) and (c) and show (d) pure unity, or the One, is necessary for both the partial unities (b) and (c) to exist.[214]

Also, in Elements of Theology, in the proof of proposition 5, the two types of partial unity (b) and (c) were determined not to be the source of the One and so, because the One was necessary for (b) and (c) to exist, and since there was nothing else, they had to progress from the One.[217] Further, in the proof to proposition 6, both types of partial unities (b) and (c) were found to be composed of the same indivisible units, or henads.[215] Hence, the One, and the two types of partial unities, (b) and (c), that progressed from the One, formed a hierarchy that Proclus used as a basis of his next set of propositions, the doctrine on Hierarchy of Causes.[215]

Causes

In Proclus' Elements of Theology, propositions 7–13 begin to formalize and systematize causes and culminate in linking the First Cause to the One, the Final Cause to the Good,[218] and finally identifying the One to be identical to the Good. Proposition 7 is fundamental to the entire structure of Neoplatonic theology and asserts: a cause is superior to its effect.[219] Proposition 7 has its roots in Plato's Philebus 27b, is stated clearly in Cicero's De Natura Deorum II. 33. 86, and is fundamental to the early Neoplatonism of Plotinus, Enneads 5.4.1, Porphyry, Sententiae xiii, and Iamblichus, On the Mysteries III. 20.[219] Proclus is the only ancient philosopher to prove the assertion: a cause is superior to its effect, using arguments from his authorities in the proof, one of those authorities being Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, 1094a 1.[219]

A Transcendent Final Cause

Proclus' Elements of Theology proposition 8 argues for the existence of a transcendent final cause of the universe, or a transcendent Good, like propositions 4–5 argued for the existence of a transcendent One.[219] In proposition 8, in the proof of the existence of a transcendent Good, Proclus uses the Neoplatonic theological belief that the Good is the good that all things desire, a belief that has its roots in Plato's Republic 509b, Philebus 20d, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics 1094a 1 and Plotinus' Enneads 5.5.13.[220]

Self-Sufficient

In Elements of Theology, propositions 9 and 10 claim self-sufficient is a mean term, or intermediary term, between the Good and the good things of sense experience.[221] Hence, the term self-sufficient forms a bridge between immaterial levels of reality and the material level of reality.[221] Proposition 9 asserts that things that are self-sufficient, or derive their well-being from themselves, are more similar to the Good than things that are not self-sufficient,[222] and hence are more like the Good and superior to those that are not self-sufficient.[223] Proposition 10 asserts: everything that is self-sufficient is inferior to the Good.[223] Proclus' arguments for the fine difference between self-sufficiency and the Good in a monistic system are seen in his Commentary on Timaeus II.90.9 ff. (= Book 3 90.9 ff.) that has its roots in Plato's Timaeus 33d.[221]

A Transcendent First Cause

In Proclus' Elements of Theology, proposition 11 claims all things proceed from a single first efficient cause of the universe,[224] thereby assigning a transcendence to the first efficient cause of the universe.[225] The arguments in the proof of Proposition 11 reject any views that deny efficient causality, reject doctrines of Bi-causality, reject assumptions of an infinite chain of unilateral causation, and reject Empedoclean pluralism.[225] In proposition 12, Proclus identifies the first efficient cause of the universe with the final cause of the universe, an argument that has its roots in Plato's Republic 509b.[226] Proposition 12 argues that in the chain of causes, there is nothing higher than the final cause of the universe and there is nothing higher than the first cause of the universe, where higher means both morally better and more unified.[227]

The Good is Identical to the One

In Elements of Theology, the propositions 7–13 culminate in proposition 13 in which Proclus links the first cause of the universe to the One, identified by propositions 1–6,[227] and then links the One to the final cause of the universe, the Good, and hence deduces the Good is identical to the One.[199][227] Scholastic opinion is that Proclus' authorities for his proofs of propositions 7-13 include, Plato's Timaeus, Republic, Phaedo, Philebus and Meno, Aristotle's Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics and Eudemian Ethics, Aristoxenus' Elementa harmonica, Plotinus' Enneads, the Pythagorean philosopher Euryphamus, Philo and Plutarch.[228]

Hypostases

Proclus' Elements of Theology propositions 14–20 formalize and systematize Neoplatonic hypostases.[229] Propositions 14–20 systematically build a hierarchy of hypostases, culminating with proposition 20 that concludes with the claim that there are three hypostases and one material level of reality. The three hypostases in hierarchical order are: the One, the hypostasis of Nous and the hypostasis of Souls. The One is the most essential hypostasis, the hypostasis of Nous is generated by the One, the hypostasis of Souls is generated by the hypostasis of Nous and the material level of reality, or the material universe, is generated by the hypostasis of Souls.[230]

Series

In late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, hypostases are progressions, or a series of causations,[231] from distinct unifying principles,[232][233] or henads.[234][235] Progression from henads is achieved through a likeness of members to themselves and ultimately to the henad that is at the summit of a series of causation.[231] Within each hypostasis there are also progressions, or a series of causations from unifying causes,[236] or monads.[237] Similarly, progressions from a monad is achieved through a likeness[231] of members to themselves and ultimately to the monad of that series of causation.[141][237]

Marble bust of Homer. Roman copy of a lost 2nd century BC Hellenistic original.

In Elements of Theology, Proclus' first uses the word 'series' (Ancient Greek: 'σειρά') in proposition 21 when writing about a monad and a series, or order, that is a unity derived from the monad.[238] For example, the specific attributes[235] of the monad Helios, progresses (where progressions imply likeness[233]) into the material universe through a series of causation resulting in the sun itself, people with a sun-like soul, animals like a rooster, plants like a heliotrope and stones like sunstones.[231] The roots of representing a progression from the heavens to the material world as a series, or a chain, (Ancient Greek: σειρά), are Orphic, from Homer's Iliad Book 8 (Θ), 19–20[239] where 'σειρὴν' is translated as 'a chain':

"Make ye fast from heaven a chain of gold, and lay ye hold thereof, all ye gods and all goddesses;"—Homer, Iliad Book 8 19–20[240]

Vertical Series and Transverse Series

Scholars of the late Athenian Neoplatonic theology of Proclus represent progressions from hypostases as two types of series, vertical series and transverse series.[239] Scholars use vertical series to represent progressions of generic characteristics that give a fundamental character to the distinct hypostases of the One, Nous and Souls[241] and scholars use transverse series to represent progressions of specific characteristics that give an individualistic character within each Neoplatonic hypostasis.[241] Vertical series develop from henads, which are unifying principles,[242] while transverse series develop from monads, which are unifying causes.[235][242] Tracing the transverse series from the monad to its members, is moving from cause to effect, while tracing the series from its members to the monad, is moving from effect to cause.[237]

Series of Causation

The late Athenian Neoplatonic theology of Proclus provides a continuous transverse series of causation from the unifying cause of the hypostasis of the One across the hypostases, Nous and Souls and the material universe. It also provides a continuous transverse series of causation from the unifying causes of the hypostasis of Nous across the hypostasis of Souls and the material universe. Finally, it provides a transverse series of causation from the unifying causes of the hypostasis of Souls across the material universe.[234][243] In each series of causation, there are no gaps, or no vacuum.

The late Athenian Neoplatonic theology of Proclus also provides a continuous vertical series of causation from unifying principles within each level of the hypostasis of Nous, within each level of the hypostasis of Souls and within the subdivisions of the material universe, leaving no gaps, or no vacuum.[234] Further, Elements of Theology propositions 108 and 109[244] causally link each transverse series of causation across the hypostases of Nous and Souls, and the material universe, leaving no gaps, or no vacuum.[241] Hence, in late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, there is a continuous series of causation between the One and the material universe that form a great 'chain' of beings leaving no gaps, or no vacuum.[245]

Multiplicity from Unity

A fundamental principle in Proclus' doctrines is stated in Elements of Theology proposition 11, which asserts: all that exists proceeds from a single first cause.[210][246] The first cause can be seen like a root of a tree from which progresses the trunk and branches, the trunk being near the root while the branches are distant.[210][226] From Plotinus onwards, it was essential to explain how a multiplicity of things could proceed from a totally transcendent and Simple One.[210]

Law of Emanation and Law of Undiminished Giving

Plotinus' doctrines to explain multiplicity from unity are discussed in Enneads 2.9.3, 3.8.10 and 5.3.12, where he explains the universe is produced from the One like a limitless fountain that is undiminished by its giving and in which there are no gaps.[210] That limitless undiminished fountain is known as Plotinus' law of Emanation, in Enneads 5.1.6.[247] and law of Undiminished Giving, in Enneads 5.4.2.[248]

What Plotinus meant by 'no gaps' in his limitless and undiminished fountain is more precisely stated in his Enneads 6.9.8 where he claims immaterial beings are not separated by a quantitative interval, but by a qualitative interval.[141] However, Plotinus did not only leave a qualitative gap, but a qualitative gulf, between the One, the first hypostasis, which is pure unity, and the immediate consequent hypostasis of Nous, which has a multiplicity of entities.[249] This is significantly evident in Enneads 6.5.9 where he cannot explain how to get multiplicity from the One, without first putting multiplicity into it, thereby negating the pure unity of the One. [249]

Law of Continuity

Plotinus' law of Emanation was formalized by Proclus in Elements of Theology proposition 25, and Plotinus' law of Undiminished Giving was formalized in propositions 26 and 27.[247] To attempt to fill the qualitative gulf, left by Plotinus' law of Emanation and law of Undiminished Giving, between the One, the first hypostasis, and the immediate consequent hypostasis of Nous, Plotinus' laws were elaborated by Proclus by the addition of a third law, the law of Continuity, formalized in Elements of Theology propositions 28 and 29.[141] The law of Continuity, in late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, means there is only the minimum qualitative difference between the distinctness of an entity and its immediate consequent entity in a progression of entities.[141]

"...it is of the nature of action that a like agent should produce a like action,"—Saint Thomas Aquinas[141][250]

Progressions from Unifying Principles

To explain how late Athenian Neoplatonists generated multiplicity from the One, scholars represent progressions (where progressions imply likeness[233]) from unifying principles[232][233] of Neoplatonic hypostases as a vertical[235] series of causation[231] (vertical linkages), where the vertical series of causation is generated from a henad[251] at the summit[231][233] of a Neoplatonic hypostasis.[234] By the Law of Continuity, each being, or monad, in a vertical series of causation has either the minimum qualitative difference from the distinctness of the henad from which the series progresses (i.e. the monad is like the henad) or the monad has the minimum qualitative difference from the distinctness of the immediate consequent monad in the same vertical series (i.e. the monad is like the immediate consequent monad).[141]

Progressions from Unifying Causes

Scholars of late Athenian Neoplatonism represent progressions from unifying causes of Neoplatonic hypostases[236] as a transverse series of causation (transverse linkages) across hypostases, where each transverse series of causation is generated from a member of a vertical series of causation, or monad.[237][234] By the Law of Continuity, each being in a transverse series of causation has either the minimum qualitative difference from the distinctness of the monad from which the series progresses (i.e. the being is like the monad) or the being has the minimum qualitative difference from the distinctness of the immediate consequent being in the same transverse series (i.e. the being is like the immediate consequent being).[141] Further, each transverse series is causally linked to another transverse series by a particular member of either transverse series.[244][241]

"Eternity bringeth to birth nothing but that which is like itself"Jakob Boehme [141]

Progressions from the One

In late Athenian Neoplatonic scholarship, there is no vertical series of causation progressing from the Neoplatonic hypostasis of the One, indicating the unifying principle of the One does not progress from the One.[234] In the case of the One, only a transverse series of henads progresses from the One, indicating the unifying cause that progresses from the One causes unifying principles, or henads.[234]

Proclus formalized early Neoplatonic theology by identifying unifying principles in each level in Plotinian hypostases, as henads[232] and unifying causes of each level in Plotinian hypostases, as monads.[236] He then used a series of causation (formalized in Elements of Theology proposition 21) and the Law of Continuity (formalized in Elements of Theology proposition 28), to generate a continuous series of causation from the Neoplatonic hypostasis of the One, which is pure unity, to the immediate consequent Neoplatonic hypostasis of Nous, which has a multiplicity of beings. Hence, Proclus explained how to generate multiplicity from the One while not violating the transendency of the One, as the immediate consequent henad had the minimum qualitative difference from the One.

Causes and Effects

In Proclus' Elements of Theology proposition 28 there is a fundamental Neoplatonic law that asserts: first, a producing cause brings into existence, through its effect, things that are similar to it, and afterwards, things are brought into existence that are dissimilar to it.[252][245] That proposition led to the fundamental subject of relations between causes and effects that is systematically explained in Elements of Theology propositions 25–29, 56, 57 and 75.[245][247] Propositions 25–29 assert: the late Athenian Neoplatonic theological laws of Emanation, Undiminished Giving and Continuity.[247]

Efficacy of Causes

Proclus' Elements of Theology propositions 56 and 57 assert: things produced by lower beings are produced in greater measure by higher, or more essential beings.[245] Propositions 56 and 57 means the production of things by higher, or more essential beings, is not limited to their immediate productions, it extends down through the production of their immediate productions, and further, to entities not caused by the more essential being's immediate production.[245] Specifically, with respect to causes, propositions 56 and 57 mean that the ultimate cause of something is responsible for the entire series of causes that branch out from it.[130]

Proclus' Elements of Theology propositions 56 and 57 mean, for example, that the level of Matter, placed on the lowest grade of reality by Neoplatonic theological doctrines, is totally dependent for its subsistence on the highest, or the most essential hypostasis, called the One.[245] And in another example, the hypostasis of Nous, which is placed by Neoplatonic theological doctrines on a higher, or more essential hypostasis than Souls, is the cause of subsistence for all beings in the hypostasis of Souls.[245] The theory resulting from propositions 56 and 57 is elaborated in Proclus' Platonic Theology Book 3 chapter 6 and applied, in his Commentary on Parmenides, to the relationship represented allegorically between Parmenides, Zeno, and Socrates.[253]

Further, Proclus' Elements of Theology proposition 75 asserts: causes transcend their effects, effects are in some manner inferior to their causes, causes are not in their effects, effects are in their causes.[245] Propositions 25–29, 56, 57 and 75 qualified the early Neoplatonic doctrine on Emanation into the later Neoplatonic doctrine on Illumination of the lower by the higher, or more essential.[245]

Rest, Progression and Return

Proclus' Elements of Theology propositions 30–39 are the formalized and systematical doctrine on Cyclic Creativity that explain the late Athenian Neoplatonic understanding of the cyclic process: rest, progression and return.[247][251] The earlier Neoplatonic understanding of the cyclic process is recognizable in Plotinus' Enneads 5.2.1 and 6.5.7.

Law of Immanence

In Proclus' Elements of Theology proposition 30, the law of Immanence, he asserts: the effect of a cause, simultaneously progresses from the producing cause and also remains in the producing cause.[254][251] The law of Immanence allows a being, or monad, in one Neoplatonic hypostasis to participate in the Neoplatonic hypostasis immediately subsequent to it, whilst still remaining in its hypostasis.[255] The late Athenian Neoplatonic law of Immanence was used by St Thomas Aquinas to prove the theory, in Summa contra Gentiles 1.49, that God knows not only himself (like Aristotle's God) but also all the creatures in His creation.[256]

Progression and Return

Also, in Elements of Theology proposition 31, Proclus asserts: effects are reunited to their cause,[257] or anything produced by a principle, returns to the principle that produced it.[254][251] In general terms, the given metaphysical (Greek: ἀρχή) implies the ethical (Greek: τέλος).[258] Proposition 30, the law of Immanence, is necessary for the progression to be timeless and a return to the producing principle to be possible.[255] Proposition 31 has its roots in Middle Platonism or the Stoic school of the philosopher Poseidonius.[257]

Briefly, in Elements of Theology propositions 32-39 assert:

  • [32] as likeness is a condition of progression, so is return;[258]
  • [33] progression and return are a single movement (like diastole-systole);[258]
  • [34] the given ethical implies the metaphysical, the converse of proposition 31;[258]
  • [35] trinity in unity comprised of (1) immanence, (2) progression, and (3) return, to a cause that unifies and is a unity The triad of immanence, progression and return, governs Proclus' dialectic;[259]
  • [36 and 37] progression is from better to worse, return is from worse to better;[129]
  • [38] the return is through Neoplatonic hypostases in reverse order to that of the progression;[260]
  • [39] there are three types of return.[260]

Cyclic Creativity

The Neoplatonic doctrine on Cyclic Creativity is formalized and systematized in propositions 30-39 of Proclus' Elements of Theology.[251] The doctrine on Cyclic Creativity has its roots in Plotinus' Enneads 5.2.1 and 6.5.7 and was fundamental to Neoplatonism thereafter.[251] The cyclic process is rest in the principle producing the cause, progression from the principle that produced the cause, and return to the principle that produced the cause.[251] The cyclic process governs all activity for immaterial and material entities.[251]

In late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, principles that produce things through a cause are said to be at rest because all activity, immaterial and material, is governed by a progression through a cause from the productive (Greek: ποιητικόν[261]) principle and a return back to the productive principle.[251] The initial state of rest in a productive principle's cause is the potential, i.e. the potency, of the cause.[251] In Proclus' Neoplatonic theological doctrines, both progression from and return to the productive principle are required for actuality, i.e. for any kind of reality to subsist or exist.[251] If there was only a progression from the producing principle, the result would be uncertain.[251] The essence of an entity; where an entity can be a producing principle or an entity can simply be a person; is fixed only by reflecting back on the entity's cause.[251] Hence, the cause has a two-fold effect, as it is the producer of the effect and the purpose of the effect, which is to perfect the cause.[251]

Epistrophe

In Proclus' Neoplatonic theology, the cause by which principles produce things has a two-fold effect, the first effect produces something, and the second effect is the return, i.e. the purpose, of the effect, which is to return to the cause, thus perfecting the cause.[251] The Neoplatonic term for this process is called epistrophe (Greek: επιστροϕἠ) and is a process where every cause is both the purpose of the producing principle and every cause is also returning to its own higher, or more essential cause, all ultimately returning to the One.[251]

Potentiality and Actuality

In the early Neoplatonism of Plotinus and the late Neoplatonic theology of Proclus, the principles potential (Greek: δύναμις) and actuality (Greek: ἐνέργεια) are concerned with cause and effect.[262] The two principles potentiality and actuality are fundamental and basic to Neoplatonic theology.[262]

In Proclus' Elements of Theology proposition 77 he asserts the thesis: all things that exist potentially progress to actuality by a medium that is actually what the other is potentially.[262] The proof of this proposition relies on proposition 7 which is the fundamental Neoplatonic principle that states: a cause is superior to its effect.[263] The involution of proposition 77 required Proclus to use two terms for potential, perfect potency and imperfect potency, to form a logical basis for the Neoplatonic theory of involution.[264] Perfect potency and imperfect potency can also be regarded as creative potency and passive potency, respectively.[265]

The essence (Greek: οὐσία) of a causal principle implies its creative potency, but its passive potency must come to actuality.[266] For example, the causal principle primal Limit has a creative potency, while its passive potency has come into actuality as matter.[265] And using that example, proposition 77 becomes: the potential that is matter, progresses to actuality by the principle primal Limit that is actually what matter is potentially. In Proclus' Neoplatonic theology, the One is exempt from the laws of potentiality and actuality and hence primal potentiality and primal actuality originates in a principle immediately following the One, the primal Limit.[262]

The roots of the thesis formalized by proposition 77 are in Aristotle's Metaphysics Θ.8[263] The early Neoplatonic discussions of the terms potential and actuality are found in the discussions of Plotinus' Enneads 5; 1.7.9; 3; 6.1.26[263] and 8.10.1.[262] The late Athenian Neoplatonic understanding of the terms potential and actuality are elaborated in Proclus' Platonic Theology Book 3 chapter 9 31.14 ff.[262] and his Commentary on Parmenides 979.1 ff.[263]

The One

The overarching doctrine in Neoplatonic theology is of The One (Greek: τοῦ ἑνός[267]).[214] That doctrine has its roots in the first hypothesis of Plato's Parmenides (137c ff).[214] The Neoplatonic theological doctrine on The One, in Proclus' Elements of Theology propositions 20, 12 and 6 respectively assert that: that the One is the First Principle of all things and the One is identical to the Good; beyond the One there is no further principle; the One is both the formal and Final Cause and that is why it is the Good; and qualifying it further would diminish it; the last assertion being from the doctrine on The One in Plotinus' Enneads 3.8.10.[268]

A Dyad

A development by Iamblichus, that the late Athenian School of Plato headed by Proclus adopted, was the postulation of the antithetical principles Limit and Limitlessness, called a dyad, immediately following the One.[268] That a dyad is the first level of reality that progresses from the One is an assertion that has its roots in Plato's Philebus 16c.[269] Proclus' Elements of Theology propositions 90–95 and Platonic Theology Book 3 chapters 7–9[270] develop the Neoplatonic theological doctrine on A Dyad.[268] Briefly, the doctrine asserts that: All Being proceeds from the One as first cause, every level of existence and every individual is held together and given form by the One, immediately following the One there are two principles, primal Limit and primal Limitlessness.[268] The two principles, primal Limit and primal Limitlessness, are derived from Plato's Philebus 23c ff.[268] Further expositions of a dyad, a distinguishing characteristic of late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, are found in Syrianus' Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics 112.14 ff., Proclus' Commentary on Timaeus I.176 ( = Book 2.176) and Proclus' Commentary on Parmenides 1119 ff.[270]

Henads

The late Athenian Neoplatonic doctrine on Henads (Greek: ἑνάδες) that had its origins in Plato's Philebus by way of Neopythagoreanism, were systematized and elaborated by Proclus, and were found by Syrianus to be represented allegorically in Greek mythology by mythological Greek gods.[271] The doctrine was needed to fill a qualitative gap between the One and the first hypostasis left by the early Neoplatonic doctrines of Plotinus, that was especially significant in Enneads 6.5.9.[249] The doctrine introduces henads as a source of transcendental individuality, thereby introducing plurality into the first hypostasis, but in such a way as to leave untouched the perfect unity of the One, and so minimizes the qualitative gap between the One and the first hypostasis.[249]

The fullest systematized exposition of the complex Neoplatonic doctrine on Henads, held by Proclus' School of Plato in Athens, is found in his Elements of Theology propositions 112–165 and Platonic Theology Book 3, chapters 1–6.[272] Proclus' Elements of Theology propositions 113–127 systematically define general characteristics of the henads; propositions 128–150 systematically expound the relationship between the henads and the universe of Being; propositions 133 and 151–159 systematically explain the relationship between henads and the One; and propositions 160–165 systematically classify the henads according to the principles that can participate in them.[249][273]

Briefly, the doctrine asserts: the henads are more unified than beings in the hypostasis of Nous, are individual, have a hierarchy without being divided into genera and species, are limited in number, are the source of providence, are antecedent to hypostasis of Nous. and are allegorically represented by certain deities in Greek mythology.[272][274] The doctrine on Henads explain that the henads are participated entities, unlike the One, and are subsequent to a dyad, because they participate of Limitlessness, and form a chain of beings between the One and all multiplicity.[272] Henads are the transcendent sources of plurality.[275] A major argument in the doctrine on Henads is that a cause brings forth that which is most like itself before anything else.[272] The doctrine on Henads also has roots in Plato's Parmenides (see Proclus' Commentary on Parmenides Book 6 1043.9 ff.) and Timaeus (see Proclus' Commentary on Timaeus III.12.22 ff.)[272]

Nous

To the late Athenian School of Plato headed by Proclus, the Neoplatonic doctrine on Nous describes a complex hypostasis subsequent to the One.[272] A detailed systemization and explanation of the complex Neoplatonic doctrine on Nous is in Proclus' Platonic Theology Books 3–5.[276] That doctrine has its roots in Plato's Parmenides and in Plato's Timaeus.[272]

Hierarchy

In late Athenian Neoplatonic doctrines, the Plotinian hypostasis of Nous is divided into three levels: Intelligible, Intelligible-Intellectual, and Intellectual.[272] The Neoplatonist doctrine on Nous by Iamblichus' had already explained that the Plotinian hypostasis of Nous can be divided into an Intelligible level and an Intellectual level.[272] The Late Neoplatonists, Syrianus and Proclus, by applying the Neoplatonic doctrine of Plenitude, in Proclus' Elements of Theology proposition 112, to Iamblichus' doctrine of Nous, elaborated their doctrine of Nous to include a third level, the Intelligible-Intellectual level (intelligible and at the same time intellectual), between the Intelligible level and Intellectual level.[272]

In the late Athenian Neoplatonic doctrine of Nous, elaborated on in Proclus' Platonic Theology Books 3–5, each of the divisions[272] of the Neoplatonic hypostasis of Nous, i.e. Intelligible, Intelligible-intellectual, or Intellectual, was further divided into triadic moments, or triads, by Syrianus where each triad is composed of a moment of Being, a moment of Life and a moment of Intellect.[276]

The Demiurge

The late Neoplatonists doctrine on Nous, elaborated on in Proclus' Platonic Theology Books 3–5, explains that the Intellectual level of the hypostasis of Nous is the domain of the Demiurge.[276] That doctrine explains that the Demiurgic level is composed of a demiurgic monad, demiurgic gods and the Demiurge itself.[276] A major activity of the Demiurgic level is the transmission of Forms to the Neoplatonic hypostasis of Souls, where the Forms progress into souls through the World Soul, the soul of the material universe, an then into the material universe proper.[276] The roots of the Neoplatonic doctrine on the Demiurge are in Plato's Timaeus 28c, which is discussed in great detail, including an examination of Middle Platonic and Neoplatonic views, in Proclus' Commentary on Timaeus I.99–319 (= Book 1.99–Book 2.319).[276]

Forms

The early Platonic understanding of a Form (Greek: εἶδος[277]) likened it to an immaterial principle with an intrinsically characteristic immaterial pattern, from which were produced material entities in the Form's likeness.[278] In late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, a Form is more than an immaterial pattern that produces material entities in its likeness, a Form also perfects and conserves the immaterial and material entities it produces.[279] Nor are the immaterial and material entities simply the likeness of a Form that produced them, but also the produced material entities are protected by the Form and gain all their completeness and coherence from the Form.[279] Hence, in late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, Forms are not just inert immaterial paradigmatical principles for the material entities they produce, but they are also living and active immaterial beings.[280]

The late Athenian Neoplatonic doctrine on Forms is discussed in great detail in Proclus' Commentary on Parmenides.[281] In Book 1 of Commentary on Parmenides the discussion is allegorical, Book 2 discusses the structure of Forms, Book 3 details arguments for the existence and nature of Forms, Book 4 discusses the participation of Forms in particulars.[281]

Divine and Transcendent Forms

Late Athenian Neoplatonic theology has an understanding of divine and transcendent[282] Forms as living and active immaterial beings with potency and power that are at once patterns and creators of secondary Forms in their likeness.[283] The hypostasis of Nous is a plenitude of divine and transcendent Forms[284] where divine and transcendent Forms exist primordially together and in unity in the Demiurge.[285] In Neoplatonic theology, the purpose of a soul is to be like to beings in the hypostasis of Nous, or the level of the Demiurge, and the purpose, or good, for beings on the level of the Demiurge is to be like divine and transcendent Forms, on the summit, or Intelligible level antecedent to the hypostasis of Nous.[286]

Genus and Species

In late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, a divine and transcendent Form is the genus transmitted through many separate secondary Forms and existing in each of them.[287] Forms are organized through a hierarchy of genera and species,[288] the genus is not a group of species, like a whole of parts, but is active in each species and exists before each species.[287] Species are different forms that are comprehended by a unique divine and transcendent Form, which is the genus that transcends its species and encompasses the causes of its species.[287]

Proclus' view is that secondary Forms produce only species, not individuals. Human souls progress from a divine and transcendent Form, under which they are grouped, through a collection of Forms.[289] In late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, things that exist only in parts have no corresponding Form, e.g. eyes or fingers, accidental attributes like colour, objects made by humans (despite Plato's Republic Book X), arts and crafts like weaving, and there is no corresponding Form of evil.[289]

Hierarchy

In late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, a dyad of Limit and Limitlessness is the foundation of Forms.[270] Forms are the first clear manifestation of a dyad of Limit and Limitlessness,[290] whereas henads are the first implied manifestation of a dyad of Limit and Limitlessness. Henads are not Forms, they are principles of unity ingrained in Forms by the One.[291] As henads are more unitary than traditional Platonic Forms, they are the foundational principles of Forms.[292] For Proclus, henads transcend Forms and are the unities or Limit-elements within Forms.[293] For each henad there is only one corresponding Form, i.e. there is a one to one correspondence between henads and Forms,[293] and due to the continuity between henads and Forms, henads are knowable.[290] The late Athenian Neoplatonic doctrine on Henads bridges the gulf between the One and the hypostasis of Nous, where the hypostasis of Nous is the highest realm of Forms.[294] The Neoplatonists Syrianus and Proclus thought the number of Forms is finite.[295]

Late Athenian Neoplatonic theology organized Forms by the following hierarchy:[296]

  • primal Forms are in the late Neoplatonic level of Intelligible;
  • secondary Forms upon the late Neoplatonic level of Intelligible-Intellectual (intelligible and at the same time intellectual). Secondary Forms bring cohesion to all Forms subordinate to them and they also bring to completion the late Neoplatonic level of Intellectual.
  • assimilative Forms through which secondary Forms are made like intellectual Forms;
  • intellectual Forms upon the late Neoplatonic level of Intellectual;
  • transcendent Forms that unify those forms that are divided in the hypostasis of Souls;
  • immanent Forms that participate in the material universe.

In late Neoplatonic theology, forms that arrange and define matter, or measure material generation, are called immanent Forms.[297] Immanent Forms are a whole of parts; the other Forms, or transcendent Forms, are wholes before the parts.[298]

Allegory in Plato's Timaeus
Plato is depicted in Raphael's The School of Athens carrying a bound copy of Timaeus.

In a famous passage of Plato's Timaeus (30a) there is a hint of dualism where the material universe was in disorder before the Demiurge brought it into order.[299]

"For God desiring that all things should be good, and that, so far as this might be, there should be nought evil, having received all that is visible not in a state of rest, but moving without harmony or measure, brought it from its disorder into order, thinking that this was in all ways better than the other."—Plato, Timaeus 30a[300]

Proclus explains that the disorderly motion did not come from any evil principle residing in matter, but through the explicit effect of primal Forms, which are antecedent to the Demiurge.[299] In Platonic and Neoplatonic scholarship, the God that generates the material universe is identical to the Demiurge.[301][302][303][304][305][306][307] The disorderly motion caused by the primal Forms was lacking order until the Demiurge established harmony and measure.[299]

Participation

The Platonic and Neoplatonic doctrine on Participation (Greek: μέθεξις[308]) is the theological explanation of how an immaterial being, known as a Form, can remain undiminished in its hypostasis and simultaneously be present in a material body.[309] A rigorous theological explanation of the doctrine on Participation was keenly sought by scholars of Platonism, Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism since the time of Plato.[309] To elaborate the question is to ask, how can a Form in the hypostasis of Nous; which means the Form is eternal, immobile and an indivisible cause, remain in its hypostasis and simultaneously be manifested in the material universe as a number of material bodies that are temporal, mobile and divisible?[310] The question is regarded by scholars as an objection to Platonism and was raised by Plato himself, through the character Parmenides in his dialogue Parmenides (131a4–e4[311]), and also raised by Aristotle in one of his principal works Metaphysics (Met. Α 9, 991a20–b9 and Met. Ζ 14[311]).[310]

Immanent Forms

The Middle Platonist Alcinous, in his Handbook of Platonism, records a theological explanation of the Platonic doctrine on Participation.[310] In Alcinous' Handbook of Platonism (IV 155.39–41[312]) a distinction is made between primal Forms in the late Neoplatonic level of Intelligible and immanent Forms that arrange and define matter, or measure material generation, in the material universe.[310] For the distinction to be made, a merging of Platonic Forms with Aristotelian formal causes was required and achieved by treating Aristotelian formal causes as equivalent to immanent Platonic Forms.[310] A similar distinction between primal Forms and immanent Forms was made by other Middle Platonists.[312] And also, Proclus in his Commentary on Parmenides and Commentary on Timaeus,[313] thought Plato himself had employed the distinction in his dialogue Parmenides (130b3–5), where Parmenides talks about the Form of likeness as opposed to likeness, and in Timaeus (51e6–52b5), where Timaeus talks about a likeness of the Form of likeness existing in receptacles such as fire, air, water and earth.[310]

Double Activity

In the late Neoplatonic theology, the doctrine on Double Activity provides a rigorous theological understanding of the relationship between Forms and material bodies.[310] The doctrine has its origins in Plotinus’ discussion of double activity in his Enneads.[314][315][316] The doctrine on Double Activity formally and systematically explains the relationship between a Form and material bodies in such a manner so as to leave the Form undiminished in its transcendence, while simultaneously accounting for production of numerous participants in the hypostasis of Souls.[310] The doctrine on Double Activity rigorous explains that when a Form produces a cause it results in no change to the producing Form itself,[317] i.e. the cause that is produced by the Form in no way diminishes the producing Form, and is simultaneously present in the material world as images of the Form that impose a likeness of the Form upon the material participants.[310]

The late Neoplatonic theological doctrine on Double Activity is formalized in Proclus' Elements of Theology propositions 23 and 24 and elaborated on in Proclus' Commentary on Parmenides (Book VI 1069.21–1070.12[318]) and Proclus' Commentary on Timaeus I.240.6–248 (= Book 2.240.6–Book 2.248[318]).[310] The formalization is in terms of the triad unparticipated, the participated and the participant.[310] The doctrine on Double Activity distinguishes between the object of participation, the participant, the attributes it receives from the participated Form, and the attributes of the eternal transcendent unparticipated Form.[310] The hierarchy of Forms allows the unparticipated Form to preserve its transcendent unity and allows the explanation of the unchanged character of formal principles in material bodies.[310]

Specifically, Elements of Theology proposition 23 claims if immaterial Forms are to participate in the material world, they must be immanent Forms, and therefore divided. However, if one undivided immaterial Form is participated by divided immaterial Forms, the undivided immaterial Form must be a transcendent Form, or a Form that is not directly participated, i.e. an unparticipated Form.[319] The transcendent Form, or unparticipated Form, is related to immanent Forms as a monad is to other members of its series as it gives unity to the many immanent Forms and only affects the material world like Aristotle's God, i.e. it is strictly unparticipated.[320] Logically, the word intension is equivalent to the metaphysical term unparticipated; the word extension is logically equivalent to participants, and the link between intention and extension is participation.[320] Hence, the participated Form receives the intention of the unparticipated Form and creates, through it, the extension, or participants.[320]

Principles of Reason

For early Platonists, it was through principles of reason (Greek: λόγοι or logoi), housed in a soul, that enabled a soul to have an innate conception of Forms.[321] Principles of reason are a corollary to the Platonic theory of Memory of the Forms, or Platonic anamnesis, where a human soul brings forth principles of reason from within itself and so has a memory of Forms that caused the principles of reason.[322] The roots of the early Platonic understanding of principles of reason are in Plato's Phaedo and in Plato's Meno and elaborated on in Plato's Phaedrus.[323]

Early Neoplatonic doctrines of Plotinus in Enneads (2.3.17 and 3.5.9) identify the creative power of a Form with principles of reason in a soul, or logoi in a soul.[324][325][326] Plotinus' early Neoplatonic doctrine on Principles of Reason held that principles of reason progress from Forms that are in the hypostasis of Nous, specifically the level of Intellect, and are the formative and organizing principles of material bodies.[324] Plotinus' doctrine on Principles of Reason were a modification of the Stoic theory of seminal principles of reason (Greek: λόγοι σπερματικοὶ or logoi spermatikoi) and were further advanced by the late Athenian Neoplatonic theology of Proclus.[324]

Proclus' doctrine on Principles of Reason (Commentary on Parmenides Book III 795.25-796.9[324]and Elements of Theology proposition 177[327]) claim the hypostasis of Nous is a plenitude of Forms (Greek: πλήρωμα εἰδῶν[328]) that is present in the divisions[329] of the hypostasis of Nous, Intelligible and Intelligible-Intellectual and Intellectual, in a suitable manner.[324] As the Forms progress from Nous, they are further divided and multiplied and are finally participated by a number of temporal and material particulars that disperse the productive power of the Forms into images of the Form in the material world, and hence natural material bodies are images of their Forms.[324][330] Proclus' doctrine on Progression of Forms (Elements of Theology propositions 99-101 and 108–110) formalizes and systematizes the participation of Forms in the hypostasis of Nous, and is elaborated on in Commentary on Parmenides Book III 795.25–796.9.[324]

Progression of Forms

In late Neoplatonic theology, Souls is a hypostasis between the hypostasis of Nous and the natural material world, whereby souls govern and generate natural material bodies through principles of reason.[324][331] Souls actively receive Forms from the hypostasis of Nous and animate them, thereby giving motion to the stable being of Nous.[324] Souls progress into Nature and generate natural principles of reason, or immanent Forms, that are manifested in natural material bodies, where here Nature is an irrational agent operating as an internal principle that is inseparable from natural material bodies.[332]

Late Athenian Neoplatonic theology divides Forms in the hypostasis of Nous according to their idiosyncrasies, each acting as a monad for a series of participant Forms in the subsequent hypostasis of Souls.[332] This provides a multitudinous variety of Forms, all progressing from one transcendental monad at the summit of the hypostasis of Nous.[332]

In the late Neoplatonic theological understanding of a series of Forms, each participant of the series shares the particular (Greek: ἰδίωμα[333]) characteristic of the Form that is at a higher level in the series.[332] However, the further removed a participant is from the monad of its series, the less powers (Greek: δυνάμις[334]) it will retain from the monad of the series.[332] For example, all participants of the Form of Human will share the particular characteristic of being human, however only the unparticipated transcendental Form will have the power to be indivisible, eternal, and changeless.[332] It is Proclus' understanding that powers determine the different appearances of Forms in participated material bodies.[332]

Paradigmatic Causes

In late Neoplatonic theology, everything in the material world is an image of Forms caused by the level of Intellect, hence the fundamental purpose of Forms is to be a paradigmatical cause of the material world.[332] The treatment of Forms as a paradigm has its roots in Plato's Timaeus (30c and 31b[335]) and Parmenides (132d3).[332] That treatment of Forms as a paradigm was extended to become a paradigmatical cause by heads of Plato's Old Academy Speusippus, and Xenocrates, and popularized among Platonists of the New Academy.[330] By the time of the Middle Platonists, Aristotle's theory of four causes (efficient, material, formal and final) was commonly extended to include a fifth cause, the Platonic paradigmatical cause.[330] The late Athenian Neoplatonists Proclus and Hermias sometimes complemented the five causes by a sixth cause, the instrumental cause, that transmitted the efficiency of causes from higher levels to causes on a subsequent levels.[330]

A central proposition of the late Neoplatonic theology of Proclus is that a cause is immaterial and that it transcends its effects (Elements of Theology proposition 75).[330] Hence the immanent Forms, which are equivalent to Aristotelian formal causes, and material causes that form material bodies from material substances, are not regarded by late Neoplatonists as primary causes.[330] Proclus treated Aristotelian material causes and formal causes as secondary causes, similarly he regarded instrumental causes as secondary causes.[330][336] Thus, for late Neoplatonists, the primary causes were the Final cause, paradigmatic causes, and efficient causes and it is primarily these three types of causation that encompass the activity of Forms in the hypostasis of Nous.[330][337]

In the theology of the late Neoplatonists, the Final cause is the One and the Good and is antecedent to the Intelligible level, paradigmatical causes are in the intermediate level Intelligible-Intellectual (intelligible and at the same time intellectual) and efficient causes are in the Intellectual level, where the Demiurge is the primary efficient agent.[330] For late Neoplatonists, the Final cause is the One and the Good and is thus antecedent to Forms, whilst paradigmatical causes that govern progression, are inferior to Forms, and hence Neoplatonic Forms, at their highest level, are a median between the Final cause and paradigmatical causes, i.e. between the One and the Good and the summit of the Intelligible-Intellectual level, whereby Forms strive for the Final cause whilst struggling with paradigmatical causes.[330]

Souls

The Neoplatonic theological doctrine on Souls describes the hypostasis Souls, which is between the hypostasis of Nous and the material universe.[338] The roots of the doctrine are in Plato's Timaeus.[339] The Platonic theory of Souls claimed a soul was an immaterial being that settled into a material body and animated that body through its hierarchy of faculties: rational intellect, motion, nutrition and growth.[338] In the Platonic theory of Souls, the soul's faculty of rational intellect is separable from its material body and is immortal.[338] Further the theory claimed gods, humans, animals, plants and stones[340][341] had certain faculties of a soul, but only gods and humans had all the faculties of a soul, specifically, only gods and humans had the soul's faculty of rational intellect.[338]

The late Athenian Neoplatonists formalized and systematized the early Neoplatonic doctrine on Souls in Proclus' Elements of Theology propositions 21,[342] 109,[342] 164–166[342] and 184–211[276] and elaborated the doctrine in Proclus' Commentary on Timaeus.[343] Propositions 184–211 systematically explain the late Neoplatonic arguments for the generation of human souls from the Neoplatonic hypostasis of Nous,[344] their progression from to the Neoplatonic hypostasis of Souls, their subsequent generation into the material universe, and their return from the material universe to the hypostasis of Souls.[345]

A fundamental difference between the hypostasis of Nous and the hypostasis of Souls is that the movement of souls in lower divisions of the hypostasis of Souls is temporal, whereas Forms conceived in the hypostasis of Nous are eternal and unmoving and their progression into higher divisions of the hypostasis of Souls is instantaneous.[343] Ancient scholars had a saying about Forms and souls, specifically mentioned by Hippolytus of Rome in his Refutation of All Heresies, which says that "Forms are called souls, having been cooled down..." In that saying, there is a pun between the ancient Greek word for soul, ψυχή, and the ancient Greek word for cold, ψῦχος.[346]

Characteristics of Souls

In Neoplatonic scholarship, the ancient Greek word 'ψυχή' is translated to the English word 'soul'.[347] Originally, since at least the time of Anaximenes,[347] the meaning for the ancient Greek word 'ψυχή' was 'life-breath', and similarly the ancient Greek word for 'alive' was 'ἔμψυχή', that is literally translated by scholars to 'ensouled'; hence there has been a long tradition in Greek thought for the close association between the concepts of 'soul' and 'life'.[347]

Immortal

In Plato's Phaedo, the argument for immortality of the soul turns on the impossibility of conceiving a dead soul and rests on the assumption that a soul possesses life, not by chance, but by its own right and that a soul cannot be destroyed after its separation from a body.[347] That traditional definition of a soul was fundamental to the Neoplatonists Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus, and Proclus, who uses his authorities to once again argue in favour of that definition in Elements of Theology propositions 188–189,[347] which assert that every soul is a principle of life and a living being.[348] Also in proposition 188, Proclus distinguishes a soul from the Form of Life (from Plato's Phaedo 106d) which in late Athenian Neoplatonic theology is a being upon the Intelligible level, antecedent to the Neoplatonic hypostasis of Nous.[347] Proclus' Elements of Theology propositions 186–187 summarily explain, by applying the results of propositions 15–17 and 47–49 to the late Neoplatonic doctrine on Souls,[349] that every soul is immaterial, separable from a material body, indestructible and immortal.[350]

Intermediary

In Proclus' Elements of Theology, proposition 190 claims every soul is an intermediary between the indivisible Forms in the hypostasis of Nous and the divisible material universe.[351] That claim of a soul's intermediary character has its roots in Plato's Timaeus 35a and was also asserted before Proclus by Xenocrates, Eratosthenes, Poseidonius, Philo in De Opificio Mundi XLVI (135), Plutarch, Atticus, Numenius, the Chaldaean Oracles in Corpus Hermeticum I.15, Plotinus in Enneads 4.4.15, and other early and late Neoplatonists, and was subsequently also a claim made by Saint Thomas Aquinas in his Summa contra Gentiles where he writes,[352]

"the human soul...is on the boundary line of corporeal and incorporeal substances, as though it were on the horizon of eternity and time..."—Saint Thomas Aquinas[352][353]

About 800 years before Saint Thomas Aquinas, Proclus in his Elements of Theology propositions 191–192, asserted that every soul participates of both eternity and time and therefore is a perpetual being whilst also coming-to-be in the material universe.[354][355] Those assertions were justified by Proclus using Plato as his authority, specifically Timaeus 37a and Laws 904a.[355] Further, in Elements of Theology proposition 193, Proclus claims that the hypostasis of Souls is immediately subsequent to the hypostasis of Nous and is generated by the hypostasis of Nous, the hierarchical aspect being an adoption of Iamblichus' doctrine on Grades of Souls, while the generative aspect retained elements of Plotinus' doctrine on Souls.[356]

Image of all Forms

In his discussion on the early Neoplatonic hypostasis of Souls, Plotinus, in Enneads 6.5.7, claims that each soul possesses all Forms, a claim that has its roots in Aristotle's De Anima 3.8 431b21.[356] However, the late Neoplatonic theology of Proclus, Elements of Theology propositions 194–195, claim that all Forms are only potentially in each soul, but this potentiality is only actualized in the unparticipated First Soul and is not actualized in any other soul.[356][357] Hence, in late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, each soul, apart from the First Soul, is claimed to possess only reflections, or images, of all Forms, and that also applies to each soul that is embodied in the material universe.[358] So, for Proclus, human science has an imperfect knowledge, or concept, of Forms, as each soul possesses only images of all the Forms and not the Forms themselves.[358] Hence, the late Neoplatonic doctrine on Souls rejects the mysticism of Plotinus, who claimed each soul possesses all Forms and a human could achieve some sort of mystical unification with the hypostasis of Nous.[359]

Indivisible

In his dialogues, Plato discusses parts of a soul, however the Neoplatonic claim, since the time of Porphyry and Iamblichus, was that these parts did not relate to a soul's immaterial essence and the quantitative expressions of the essence of a soul made known through the material body's organs.[360] Despite a soul being an immediate consequent of the hypostasis Nous, that is comprised of indivisible Forms, a soul is also claimed to be indivisible by Proclus, in Elements of Theology proposition 197.[361][362] In that proposition, Proclus also claims that because of its intermediary location between the Neoplatonic hypostasis of Nous and the material universe, the principles of being, life and intellect in the Neoplatonic hypostasis of Souls are indivisible in a different sense to Forms and are divided differently to material beings and material bodies.[362] As to what exactly the different sense is, Proclus does not make it clear.[361]

Classification of Souls

20th and 21st century scholars of late Neoplatonism have assigned various names to Proclus' hierarchical division of beings in the hypostasis of Souls, those beings in hierarchical order[363] include (a) the Unparticipated Soul,[364][365][243][276] or the First Soul;[342][366][365] (b) the transcendent World Soul[343] and the immanent World Soul;[364][367][343] (c) the immanent souls of the stars and seven planets,[364] or divine souls[368][369] (d) souls of sublunary gods,[364] angels, daemons and heroes;[370][371][372][373] and (e) human souls.[374][375][376][377] Particular souls of animal and plant life, and particular souls of material bodies[378] such as stones, are not considered by Proclus as souls, but rather as phantasms of souls,[349][379] as in late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, animals, plants and material bodies lack the soul's faculty of rational intellect.[380][338]

First Soul

In late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, each hypostasis, the One, Nous and Souls,[381][382] progresses into further plurality through a series of causation from a unifying cause, called a monad,[238] The plurality of souls in the Neoplatonic hypostasis of Souls is caused by a progressive series of causation from a monad that is called by Neoplatonic scholars the First Soul,[342][383] or Unparticipated Soul.[364][383] The roots of this type of formalization are in the Pythagorean concept of arithmetical series, where each member of the series is generated by the preceding member and the entire series is generated by the first member, or monad.[239]

Plato. Copy of the bust made by Silanion c. 370 BC for the Academia in Athens.

The First Soul is also called the Unparticipated Soul because it does not participate in the hypostasis of Souls, it participates in the hypostasis of Nous.[276] The impetus for including the First Soul, or Unparticipated Soul, in the early Neoplatonic theology of Plotinus and the late Athenian Neoplatonic theology of Proclus is Plato's Phaedrus 247c:[384]

"But the region above the heaven was never worthily sung by any earthly poet, nor will it ever be. It is, however, as I shall tell; for I must dare to speak the truth, especially as truth is my theme. For the colourless, formless, and intangible truly existing essence, with which all true knowledge is concerned, holds this region and is visible only to the mind, the pilot of the soul."—Plato, Phaedrus 247c[385]

To the early Neoplatonist Porphyry there was no distinction made between the Demiurge and the First Soul, or Unparticipated Soul; however, to Iamblichus and the late Athenian Neoplatonists, the Demiurge was distinct from the First Soul, or Unparticipated Soul.[386]

The First Soul is generally discussed by Aristotle in De Amima 2.4[387] and Porphyry in Enneads 4.3.4[388] and 2.9.4,[387] and is systematically formalized by Proclus in Elements of Theology proposition 21[342] (where the First Soul is called Primal Soul[238]), proposition 109[342] (where the First Soul is called the Universal Soul[342][244]) and propositions 164–166[342] (where in proposition 164 the First Soul is called the Unparticipated Soul[389]). The First Soul is elaborated on by Proclus in Commentary on Timaeus II.105.15 ff.[388] (= Book 3.105.15 ff.) where the First Soul is called the Unparticipated Soul[390] and Commentary on Timaeus II.143.21 ff.[388] (= Book 3.143.21 ff.) where the First Soul is called by 21st century scholars the indivisible case of a hypercosmic soul, or hypercosmic intellect.[391]

World Soul

The Platonists thought the material universe was a living being, so it too had a soul, called the World Soul, which animated and provided structure to everything in the material universe, including all living creatures, and therefore had all the faculties of a soul including the soul's faculty of rational intellect.[338] In Timaeus 34b,[392] Plato claimed that the World Soul was an immaterial being that provided reason, movement and structure to the material universe, and that it was generated by the Demiurge who set it in the centre of the material universe.[393]

"All this, then, was the plan of the god who is for ever for the god who was sometime to be. According to this plan he made it smooth and uniform, everywhere equidistant from its centre, a body whole and complete, with complete bodies for its parts. And in the centre he set a soul and caused it to extend throughout the whole and further wrapped its body round with soul on the outside; and so he established one world alone, round and revolving in a circle, solitary but able by reason of its excellence to bear itself company, needing no other acquaintance or friend but sufficient to itself. On all these accounts the world which he brought into being was a blessed god."—Plato, Timaeus 34a–b[394]

In their explanation of the generation of the material universe, the late Athenian Neoplatonists Syrianus and Proclus introduced a double aspect to Plato's World Soul and asserted one aspect of it was transcendent to the encosmic (or mundane) level in the hypostasis of Souls.[343] The encosmic level comprises temporal souls[395] including the immanent World Soul, angels, daemons and heroes and human souls.[396] In the late Neoplatonic theology of Proclus, the aspect transcendent to the encosmic realm is called the transcendent World soul, and the aspect immanent to the material universe is called the immanent World Soul.[343]

In the late Neoplatonic doctrine on Souls, the transcendent aspect of the World Soul is an immediate consequent of the First Soul and is the unifying cause of the encosmic realm.[343] Hence, the transcendent aspect of the World Soul is also called the monad of the encosmic realm[343] and through a continuous series of causation, generates the immanent aspect of the World Soul that encompasses the material universe and imbues it with souls.[397]

In late Neoplatonic theology, the two aspects of the World Soul provide a continuous series of causation throughout the Neoplatonic hypostasis of Souls and into the material universe, thereby providing the material universe with unity, form and animation and hence giving it life, reason, movement, mutability and structure; the structure explained by mathematical ratios and proportions.[398] A detailed discussion of the late Neoplatonic conception of the World Soul is in Proclus' Commentary on Timaeus II.102–317[397] (= Book 3.102–Book 3.317) especially Timaeus II.290.3[364] ff. (= Book 3.290.3 ff.).

Divine Souls

Plato's belief that stars have divine souls is stated in his dialogue Laws 899b,[369] where the Athenian Stranger says :

"And of the seasons, stars, moon, and year, in like manner, it may be affirmed that the soul or souls from which they derive their excellence are divine; and without insisting on the manner of their working, no one can deny that all things are full of Gods."—Plato, Laws 899b, abridged[399]

The dictum 'all things are full of gods' is explicitly attributed to Thales by Aristotle in De Anima 411a7.[400][401] Also, Platonists and Neoplatonists believed Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Sun, Moon[402] and Earth[402] had divine souls.[403][404][405] Plato's claim that divine souls are embodied in stars, planets and the Earth led some 19th,[406][407] early 20th,[408] and 21st[409] century scholars of philosophy and Neoplatonism to refer to the divine souls of the stars, planets and the Earth as 'celestial gods'. For Platonists and Neoplatonists, the belief the stars, the seven planets, where the Sun and Moon are regarded as planets, and the Earth have divine souls, has its roots in Plato's Timaeus 34a–40c.[410] In those lines, Plato claims the immanent World Soul's reason and intellect is manifested in the axial rotation of the entire spherical universe and that axial rotation causes the forward motion of the stars, planets and Earth, which also have their own axial rotation caused by the reason and intellect of their individual divine souls.[403] The hierarchical order of generation by the Demiurge of the World Soul, then divine souls, is stated in Timaeus 40a.[411]

"The form of the divine kind he made for the most part of fire, that it might be most bright and fair to see; and after the likeness of the universe he gave them well-rounded shape, and set them in the intelligence of the supreme to keep company with it, distributing them all round the heaven, to be in very truth an adornment (cosmos) for it, embroidered over the whole. And he assigned to each two motions: one uniform in the same place, as each always thinks the same thoughts about the same things; the other a forward motion, as each is subjected to the revolution of the Same and uniform."—Plato, Timaeus 40a[411]

In their interpretation of Plato's Timaeus 40a, the late Athenian Neoplatonists regarded the 'intelligence of the supreme' as the intelligence of the World Soul and 'heaven' as the sublunary gods, 'cosmos' as the material universe and 'thoughts about the same things' as an axial rotation.[403] Proclus, in Elements of Theology proposition 201, echoes the three activities of divine souls inferred in Plato's Timaeus 40a, the first being the activity of a soul in its embodiment of stars, the seven planets and the Earth, the second as a recipient of a divine intelligence from the World Soul and the third to impart axial rotation and forward motion to the stars, seven planets and the Earth.[412][403]

The belief of Plato that stars have divine souls was passed into the broad range of Hellenistic ideas, and into Stoicism by Hierocles, into the early Neoplatonism of Plotinus (in his Enneads 6.9.8), into the Neoplatonism of Iamblichus[369] and into the late Neoplatonic theology of Proclus (in Elements of Theology proposition 184) where he, like Plato, infers the souls of stars, the seven planets and the Earth, are divine souls.[368][369] Further, the Neoplatonist Iamblichus and late Athenian Neoplatonists Syrianus and Proclus claimed that divine souls were gods in the hypostasis of Souls, but were the attendants (Greek: ὀπαδός; from Phaedrus 252c[349]) of gods in the hypostasis of Nous.[350][349] That claim, stated formally by Proclus in Elements of Theology proposition 185, has its roots in Plato's Phaedrus 248a.[349]

"Such is the life of the gods; but of the other souls, that which best follows after God and is most like him, raises the head of the charioteer up into the outer region and is carried round in the revolution, troubled by the horses and hardly beholding the realities; and another sometimes rises and sometimes sinks, and, because its horses are unruly, it sees some things and fails to see others."—Plato, Phaedrus, 248a[413]

Daemons

In late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, daemons (Greek: δαίμονες) are a realm of souls between divine souls and human souls that are subdivided into sublunary gods,[414] angels, daemons proper, and heroes.[364][415] In Plato's dialogue Cratylus, his analysis of the Ancient Greek word 'δαίμονες', translated into English as 'daemons'[416][417] (and sometimes 'spirits',[418][419] or 'divinities'[420][421]), leads him to the conclusion that the word was originally used by Hesiod to mean wise and 'knowing'.[416] In Platonism, the introduction of a realm of souls between divine souls and humans has its roots in Plato's Symposium (or The Banquet) 202d–e (from The Speech of Socrates):[422]

"Love is no God.—What! said I, must Love then be a mortal ?—Far from that, replied she.—Of what nature was he then? I asked her.—Of like kind, answered she, with those natures we have just now been speaking of, an intermediate one, between the mortal and the immortal.—But what in particular, O Diotima?—A great daemon replied she. For the daemon-kind is of an intermediate nature between the divine and the human."—Plato, Symposium 202d–e[423]

The Platonic realm of souls called daemons were elaborated on in the Old Platonic Academy dialogue Epinomis (984b,[424] 984d,[425] and 984e[426]), written about by Xenocrates, a head of the Old Platonic Academy, and were specifically studied by Poseidonius and his school.[364] Plotinus, using Poseidonius' formulation, writes briefly about daemons (or spirits) in Enneads 3.5.6 and 6.3.18, while Porphyry writes more extensively about daemons in On the Abstinence of Eating Animals 2.37 ff.[364] However, much of the Middle Ages belief in daemons is from extensive elaborations by Proclus in his Commentary on Timaeus and Commentary on First Alcibiades.[364] Specifically, Proclus, in his Commentary on Timaeus Book V,[415] subdivides the Platonic realm of souls called daemons into sublunary gods, angels, daemons proper, and heroes, the last three subdivisions are consistent with Celsus.[364]

Sublunary Gods

In Timaeus 40d Plato writes: "To speak however, concerning the other daemons, and to know their generation, exceeds our ability."[417] Proclus, in his commentary on that line in Commentary on Timaeus Book IV,[417] claims Plato is writing about sublunary gods, and after an extensive analysis[427] of Plato's Timaeus lines 40d–41a concludes his commentary on sublunary gods with:

"The sublunary Gods therefore, are entirely unmingled with matter; adorning indeed things mingled in an unmingled, and things generated in an unbegotten manner. They likewise contain partibles impartibly, are the causes of life, the suppliers of intellect, the replenishers of power, the givers of soul, the primary leaders of all good, and the sources of order, providence, and the best administration. They also give subsistence to more excellent animals about themselves, are the leaders of angels, the rulers of daemons [proper], and the prefects of heroes; governing through this triple army the whole of generation."—Proclus, Commentary on Timaeus, Book V[415]

Angels, Daemons proper and Heroes

Whilst Plato filled the theological realm between divine souls (or celestial gods) and humans with one order of daemons, Proclus elaborates Plato's hierarchy and subdivides the realm into sublunary gods, angels, daemons proper and heroes.[428] In his Commentary on Timaeus Book V, Proclus expands his theology of angels, daemons proper and heroes, by relating each to one of the three fundamental principles of Neoplatonic theology, being, life and intellect.[428]

"For the angelic is analogous to being, or the intelligible, which is first unfolded into light from the ineffable and occult fountain of beings. Hence also it unfolds the Gods themselves, and announces that which is occult in their essence. But the daemoniacal is analogous to infinite life. On which account it proceeds every where, according to many orders, and is of a multiform nature. And the heroic is analogous to intellect and conversion. Hence also, it is the inspective guardian of purification, and is the supplier of a magnificent and elevated life."—Proclus, Commentary on Timaeus, Book V[428]

For the late Athenian Neoplatonists, divine souls too had attendants, these attendants are called angels and are a subdivision of the Neoplatonic grade of souls called daemons.[429] A formalization of that claim is in Proclus' Elements of Theology proposition 202 where he states that the attendants of divine souls are subsequent to divine souls, but antecedent to particular souls of daemons proper, particular human souls that are heroic, and particular human souls.[412][429] Further, in his Elements of Theology proposition 203, Proclus states that divine souls are greater in power, but more unified and hence less in number than daemons proper which are themselves greater in power but more unified and less in number to particular souls of heroes and particular human souls.[412] Here, the general late Neoplatonic argument, formalized by Proclus in Elements of Theology proposition 204, is that as a monad progresses into plurality, it makes up in numbers what it loses in power.[430] A similar argument was used by the 11th century Byzantine philosopher Psellus in De Omnifaria Doctrina 19 in his claim that humans are more numerous than angels.[431] For Proclus, the roots of his argument for proposition 203 are in Plato's Timaeus 42d[431] in which the interpretation for 'instruments of time' is planets:[432][433]

"When he had delivered to them all these ordinances, to the end that he might be guiltless of the future wickedness of anyone of them, he sowed them, some in the Earth, some in the Moon, some in all the other instruments of time. After this sowing he left it to the newly made gods to mould mortal bodies, to fashion all that part of a human soul that there was still need to add and all that these things entail, and to govern and guide the mortal creature to the best of their powers,..."—Plato, Timaeus 42d[434]

Scholars[431][433] think that Plato in Timaeus 42d intended souls sowed into planets to be its eventual denizens; however, Proclus, in Commentary on Timaeus III.280.20, regards them as human souls on the Earth placed under the leadership of particular planetary souls, that are their saviours and special patrons, and where each human soul acquires particular natural abilities from the soul of their divine patron planet, arbitrated by the souls of daemons sown into that planet.[435]

Embodied Daemons

As to where embodied daemons (i.e. the embodied souls of angels, daemons proper and heroes) are generated in the material universe, the late Neoplatonists drew their ideas from interpretations of Timaeus 39e10–40a1:[436]

"So many forms then as Mind perceived to exist in the ideal animal, according to their variety and multitude, such kinds and such a number did he think fit that this universe should possess. These are fourfold : first the race of the heavenly gods, next the winged tribe whose path is in the air, third whatso dwells in the water, and fourth that which goes upon dry land."—Plato, Timaeus 39e10 - 40a1[437]

There have been important interpretations of Timaeus 39e10–40a1 by the Neoplatonist Iamblichus and late Neoplatonists Syrianus and Proclus.[438] Proclus' interpretation agrees with his teacher Syrianus in preserving the hierarchical order of the regions, i.e. heavenly, aerial, watery, and dry land regions, but without assuming that the hierarchical order of the regions corresponded to an order of preference by daemons.[438] The immaterial heavenly regions were only the realm of souls of sublunary gods, angels and daemons proper.[424] The material aerial and watery regions could be inhabited by material angels, daemons proper, heroes and other material beings that in the case of aerial regions, lead their lives in the air, such as birds[438] or in the case of watery regions, that thrived in water, such as fish; and the dry land could be inhabited by material angels, daemons proper, heroes, humans and other material beings that arose from the land and grew in it.[439]

Ókhēma-Pneûma

In his Elements of Theology proposition 196, Proclus claims that since every soul that participates in the Neoplatonic hypostasis of Souls has a perpetual existence, and since the invariable essence of those souls is to animate a body, then for every such soul there is a body that is animated perpetually, and consequently that body is also perpetually existent.[440]

Proposition 196 is a formalization by Proclus of a long held Greek theory called by scholars 'ókhēma-pneûma' (Greek: ὂχημα-πνεῦμα) where 'ókhēma' means chariot and 'pneûma' means spirit.[441] The use of the term 'astral body' (Greek for 'astral': ἀστροειδες[442]) to describe ókhēma or pneûma or ókhēma-pneûma, (i.e. a body that is perpetually animated by a soul), seems to come from Proclus.[442][443] Scholars also use the terms 'first body' or 'vehicle of a soul' when referring to an astral body.[444][445]

Plato and Aristotle

For early and late Athenian Neoplatonists, the origin of the ókhēma-pneûma doctrine came from the Platonic dialogues Phaedo 113d where boats return souls of the dead on Acheron, Phaedrus 247b which contains the chariot allegory, Timaeus 41e where stars are compared to chariots, and Timaeus 44e and 69c where the mortal body is called the soul's chariot; but especially from Laws 898e:[446]

"Athenian Stranger: If soul drives round the sun, we shall be tolerably sure to be right in saying that it does one of three things.

Clinias: What things?

Athenian Stranger: That either it exists everywhere inside of this apparent globular body and directs it, such as it is, just as the soul in us moves us about in all ways; or, having procured itself a body of fire or air (as some argue), it in the form of body pushes forcibly on the body from outside ; or, thirdly, being itself void of body, but endowed with other surpassingly marvellous potencies, it conducts the body."—Plato, Laws Book X 898e[447]

In Plato's Laws 898e, the second possibility proposed by the Athenian Stranger of a soul "having procured itself a body of fire or air, it in the form of body pushes forcibly on the body from outside" suggested to late Athenian Neoplatonists the beginnings of a doctrine for an astral body.[446] Together, the six Platonic references formed the basis of what late Neoplatonists and modern Neoplatonic scholars term the ókhēma doctrine.[448]

Plato (left) and Aristotle in Raphael's 1509 fresco, The School of Athens.

In his development from ókhēma doctrine to the late Athenian Neoplatonic ókhēma-pneûma doctrine, Proclus, in his Commentary on Timaeus III.28.20,[446] uses as his authority, Aristotle's doctrine of pneûma[446] (Greek: πνεῦμα), which is stated in Aristotle's De Generatione Animalium 736b27 ff.[449] In the philosophy of Aristotle, pneûma is the basis for every nutritive and sensitive soul as well as a basis for the physiological condition of imagination (Greek: φαντασία), and further, pneûma is made of a material similar to the stars.[443]

"Now it is true that the faculty of all kinds of soul seems to have a connexion with a matter different from and more divine than the so-called elements; but as one soul differs from another in honour and dishonour, so differs also the nature of the corresponding matter. All have in their semen that which causes it to be productive; I mean what is called vital heat. This is not fire nor any such force, but it is the spiritus included in the semen and the foam-like, and the natural principle in the spiritus, being analogous to the element of the stars."—Aristotle, De Generatione Animalium Book II.3 736b30 ff.[450]

Although Aristotle's doctrine of pneûma theorized pneûma was a material element in a body common to humans and animals, and its means of transmission was biological reproduction, there were definite aspects in common with the late Athenian ókhēma-pneûma doctrine.[449] Aristotle's doctrine of pneûma and Proclus' doctrine of ókhēma-pneûma both agreed that pneûma was the carrier of the irrational aspect of a soul, and also agreed on its important association with imagination and its intuitive quality.[449] After Aristotle and before late Neoplatonism, scholars have found theories of ókhēma or pneûma in the works of Poseidonius, Alexander Polyhistor, Atticus,[445] Albinus,[445] Galen, Ptolemaeus Chennus, Numenius,[451] Hippolytus of Rome, Origen, the writers of the Corpus Hermeticum, Plotinus,[452] Porphyry,[453] Iamblichus, and the Chaldean Oracles.[454]

Neoplatonism

The early Neoplatonism of Plotinus attached little importance to the theory of pneûma, although in Enneads 4.3.15 he echoes Poseidonius theory of pneûma by suggesting that soul's acquire a body from the heavens (called sublunary gods by the late Athenian Neoplatonists) before their embodiment in the material universe and in Enneads 4.3.24 he also echoes Poseidonius by suggesting that the body acquired from the heavens returns to the heavens before the soul's progression to more divine realms.[452] Porphyry was more elaborate than Plotinus in his writings on the theory of pneûma, but still echoed Poseidonius' theory of pneûma; however he closely connected pneûma with the irrational soul (which St. Augustine calls 'anima spiritalis') and seems to have originated the idea that daemons have a misty pneûma that can change form at will, thus causing them to appear as ever changing shapes in the material universe, sometimes acting as gods, higher spirits or the souls of the dead.[453]

Late Neoplatonism

The late Roman Neoplatonist Macrobius in his Commentarii in Somnium Scipionis 1.2.13, 1.11.12 and 1.12.13, writes that a soul acquires a starry or luminous body in its progression from the sublunary gods into the material universe.[455] Also, the late Alexandrian Neoplatonist Hierocles of Alexandria writes about his ókhēma doctrine in his Commentary on the Golden Verses of Pythagoras 478, which scholars think is derived from Plutarch of Athens.[456]

In late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, Syrianus and Proclus combine the earlier traditions of ókhēma and pneûma into their ókhēma-pneûma doctrine.[457] The traditions they combine are (a) the theory of ókhēma ascribed to Ptolemaeus Chennus and Iamblichus, where an astral body is the permanent embodiment of each soul, and (b) the theory of pneûma ascribed to Plotinus, Porphyry and the Chaldean Oracles, were the soul acquires an astral body from the sublunary gods before it is embodied in the material universe, which subsequently returns to the sublunary gods before the soul's progression to more divine realms.[457]

In the ókhēma-pneûma doctrine of Syrianus and Proclus there are two aspects to an astral body, (a) the transcendent aspect that is immaterial, incapable of suffering, imperishable and is the perpetual source of irrationality in a human soul, and (b) the immanent aspect that is a temporary accumulation made of fire, water, air and earth (in agreement with Plato's Timaeus 42b) that carries the irrational soul proper, survives bodily death, but is eventually purged.[458] In the ókhēma-pneûma doctrine, souls are always embodied, agreeing with Plato's Phaedo 113d and Phaedrus 247b, and the irrational soul proper is perishable, agreeing with Plato's Timaeus 69c and Republic 611b ff.[458]

Formalization and Systemization

The ókhēma-pneûma doctrine of Syrianus and Proclus is formalized and systematized in Elements of Theology propositions 196 and 207–210 and elaborated on in Commentary on Timaeus III.236.31 ff. and III.298.12 ff.[458] In late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, the transcendent aspect of the astral body is the ókhēma, or chariot into which the Demiurge of Plato's Timaeus 41d–e places a human soul:[458]

"And when he had compounded the whole, he portioned off souls equal in number to the stars and distributed a soul to each star, and setting them in the stars as though in a chariot..."—Plato, Timaeus 41d–e[459]

Plato's Timaeus 41d–e is the foundation for Elements of Theology proposition 207, where Proclus formalizes his claim that every astral body, like every soul, is generated from the principal monad in the Neoplatonic hypostasis of Nous, also known as the Demiurge of Plato, and is, like the soul which it embodies, perpetual.[460] That proposition is elaborated on in Proclus' Commentary on Timaeus III.282.2.[445] In Elements of Theology proposition 208, Proclus builds on previous propositions, especially the important proposition 196 where it is argued that every astral body is perpetual, by claiming that every astral body has a transcendent aspect that is immaterial, imperishable and incapable of suffering.[444] Those properties of the astral body are elaborated on in Plato's Theology III.5 and Commentary on Timaeus II.60.2 ff.[445]

In his penultimate proposition on the ókhēma-pneûma doctrine, Elements of Theology proposition 209, Proclus claims that like souls that progress into the material world thus acquiring irrational principles, so too the immaterial, or transcendent, aspect of the astral body becomes immanent and more materialized. That proposition also claims that an astral body experiences all manner of changes in empathy with the soul it embodies including being divested of its immanent and materialized aspect, like the soul is divested of its irrational principles, when it, together with the soul it embodies, returns to the Neoplatonic hypostasis of Souls.[461]

The last proposition by Proclus of his ókhēma-pneûma doctrine is stated in his Elements of Theology proposition 210, where he uses the results of propositions 207 and 209 to argue that the immaterial transcendent aspect of an astral body is invisible perpetually, but the immanent aspect of the astral body changes shape as it acquires and sheds its materiality in its progress into and out of the material universe.[462][463] Proposition 210 is elaborated on for the class of daemon souls, which includes the souls of angels, daemons proper and heroes, in Commentary on Cratylus 35.22 and Plato's Theology III.5.[462]

Ruled by a Divine Soul

Further, in the late Athenian ókhēma-pneûma doctrine, the personality of an astral body is ruled by a divine soul, specifically, the divine soul of a planet from which it inherits its characteristics.[464] That aspect of the ókhēma-pneûma doctrine is formalized by Proclus in Elements of Theology proposition 205[465] and elaborated on in Commentary on Timaeus III.305.4 and Commentary on Parmenides 822.16 ff.[464] The roots of this feature of the ókhēma-pneûma doctrine are Plato's Timaeus 42d, where Plato writes about souls being sowed into the Earth and planets, and in Aristotle's De Generatione Animalium Book II.3 736b30–31. There Aristotle writes: "Now it is true that the faculty of all kinds of soul seems to have a connexion with a matter different from and more divine than the so-called elements".[466] In his ókhēma-pneûma doctrine, Proclus extends Aristotle's meaning of matter to the astral body.[464]

Periodicity of Souls

In Timaeus 37d, Plato, indicating his claim that time is infinite, writes:

"time is an image of eternity"—Plato, Timaeus 37d[361][467][468]

Plato also claimed that time is infinite in Republic Book 6 499c,[469] Laws 782a[470] and 676b,[470] likewise, Aristotle also claimed that time is infinite in Physica 3.7 207a33–208a4;[471] however the space which the material universe fills was claimed to be finite by both Plato[472][473] and Aristotle[473][474] in De Caelo 1.5 271b28[475]–272a19[476] and Physica 3.7 207b19–20,[477] and orthodox science of Late Antiquity.[473]

Proclus adopted Aristotle's theorem (in Physica 8 (Θ) 8 and 9) that movement in a finite space must return to its starting point if the movement is continuous through an infinite time, and he also adopted Aristotle's theory that the continuous and perpetual movement was circular.[361] In Elements of Theology propositions 198 and 199, Proclus not only applied Aristotle's theorem to the material universe, but also to immaterial planetary souls and immaterial human souls, with his authorities being Plato's Phaedrus 246b and Timaeus 36b ff.[478] For Proclus, the periodicity of a human soul, or its cyclic period, is not one human life, but rather it encompasses the entire time from a soul's initial progression from the Neoplatonic hypostasis of Souls into a human body, to the time of the soul's return to its original purity upon the Neoplatonic hypostasis of Souls.[478]

Further, in Elements of Theology proposition 200, Proclus applies Aristotle's theorem to the immanent World Soul, or the soul of the material universe, and claims it too has a cyclic period, that is much greater than a human soul, and that there are an infinite number of those cycles.[479] The late Neoplatonic doctrine on World Soul Cycles may have its roots in Plato's myth of Er in his Republic.[479] Proclus and Antiochus agree with the Mahabharata in associating one cycle of the immanent World Soul to a conjunction in the constellation Cancer, leading some scholars to believe that the Mahabharata may incorporate astrological ideas from Plato's myth of Er, as the bulk of the Mahabharata was compiled after Alexander's invasion of India.[480]

Human Souls

In late Athenian Neoplatonic theology, the cycle of a human soul progressing from the hypostasis of Souls into the material and temporal universe and returning, can occur an infinite number of times.[465] That aspect of the late Neoplatonic doctrine on Souls is formalized by Proclus in Elements of Theology proposition 206.[465] In the Orphic-Pythagorean and Indian doctrines on Souls, a human soul can attain an ultimate liberation from what is known by scholars as the 'circle of birth', i.e. embodiment of a soul; however the early Neoplatonist Plotinus, in his Enneads, was not definite on this aspect of a human soul, whereas the Neoplatonist Porphyry, in his De Regressu Animae (fragment 11),[481] asserted a human soul will ultimately be liberated eternally from its material and astral bodies.[482]

The Neoplatonists Sallustius, Iamblichus and late Neoplatonists Syrianus and Proclus held a contrary view to Porphyry.[483] This was due to their claims that (a) because the invariable essence of a soul is to be embodied, it would always animate a body, astral or material, and (b) because the number of souls is finite and time is infinite, Porphyry's claim would mean the hypostasis of Souls would eventually have no human souls.[483] The last claim would be a contradiction to the Neoplatonic position that a human soul is eternal, meaning a soul is not created at a point in time nor is it extinguished at a point in time.[483]

Both Syrianus and Proclus, in his Commentary on Timaeus III.278.10 ff., also claim that a human soul will progress into the material universe at least once in every cyclic period of the World Soul.[483] That claim by Syrianus and Proclus is a rejection of the Pythagorean, Gnostic and Plotinian views that the progression of a human soul into the material universe is sinful, rather, it is part of a soul's education.[483] Further, in his Commentary on Cratylus 117, Proclus claims that human souls that are heroic, or souls of heroes like Heracles, could spend many cyclic periods of the World Soul without progression into the material universe.[484]

In his final proposition of Elements of Theology, proposition 211, Proclus claims that every human soul that progresses into the temporal and material universe progresses entirely and does not have an aspect of it that simultaneously participates in the hypostases of Nous or Souls.[463] That proposition is a development of the early Neoplatonic theology of Plotinus in which an aspect of a human soul that has progressed into the material universe simultaneously participates in the hypostasis of Nous.[485]

Plotinus' position was supported by the 4th century Neoplatonist Theodore of Asine and the late 5th century Neoplatonist Damascius, but rejected by the late 3rd century Neoplatonist Iamblichus and most of the other 4th and 5th century Neoplatonists including Proclus.[485] Proclus rejects Plotinus' position because it splits the unity of the soul, one aspect of the soul residing in the material universe and the other aspect in the hypostasis of Nous.[485] Proclus also rejects Plotinus' position because he thinks it is contrary to the experience of human sin and misery.[485] In his rejection of Plotinus' theory, Proclus refers to his authority Plato in Phaedrus 248a and Timaeus 43d:[485]

"...shaking the circuits of the soul, they completely hampered the revolution of the Same by flowing counter to it and stopped it from going on its way and governing; and they dislocated the revolution of the Different."—Plato, Timaeus 43d[486]

The late Neoplatonic interpretation of Timaeus 43d, is that both aspects of the soul, represented by the paradigms of Same and Different, were disrupted by the progression of the soul into the material universe.[485] A similar interpretation was made of Phaedrus 248a, where both aspects of the soul, symbolized by the charioteer and the horses, sank to the Earth.[487]

Nature

In scholastic writings on Neoplatonism, Nature can be a series of causation from the unifying principle called Nature or it may be a series of causation from the unifying cause called Nature. When it is treated as a unifying principle it is regarded as a henad and when it is treated as a unifying cause it is regarded as a monad, and so may be described as effecting beings on Neoplatonic hypostases, depending on the context of the text.

In Neoplatonic scholarship, usually when Nature is treated as a unifying principle, it is the henad of the material universe, or the summit of the material universe, and effects all material beings and material bodies.[488][489] However, when Nature is treated as a unifying cause, it is a monad that can also effect immaterial beings across all Neoplatonic hypostases, excluding the One, and can even be the monad from which the Demiurge modelled the material universe.[488][489] Also, 19th,[490] 20th,[491] and 21st century[492][493][494][495] Neoplatonic scholarship also uses the terms 'sublunary region', or 'sublunary realm', to refer to material beings and material bodies on Earth.

Works

Proclus' surviving works suggest that his major activity was writing commentaries on Plato's dialogues but that he also spent some time writing on mathematics, astronomy, treatises of philosophical expositions and hymns to deities.[496] Hellenistic Neoplatonism treated Homer and Plato like sacred scriptures, with Orphic poems and Chaldaean oracles for addenda and also incorporated the distinct theologies of Orphicism and Neopythagoreanism.[497] With Proclus, the treatment was more a philosophical method of discursive reasoning, going back to the method used by Socrates and Plato, as Proclus was more in contact with mathematical, astronomical and physical sciences.[498] His commentaries on Plato's dialogues reveal his depth and originality, more so than his systematic works and treatises, as they elucidate and illuminate new thoughts from ancient philosophers.[499]

There are more than sixty known works by Proclus which are either complete, partially complete, in fragments, inauthentic or spurious.[500] Of these, more than half are lost and only known because they are mentioned in scholarly literature.[500] For a near complete listing of all of Proclus' works; extant, partially complete, fragments, inauthentic, spurious or lost, see the Supplement to Proclus by Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Scholars generally organize Proclus' works into the categories, systematic, commentaries, treatises, and theurgic,[175][501][502] but have difficulty determining the chronological order of the works.[503][504]

Systematic

Works by Proclus regarded as systematic are Elements of Theology, Platonic Theology, and Elements of Physics.[175][505] All of these works by Proclus have complete and extant manuscripts.[175][505] The most systematic of these works are Elements of Theology and Platonic Theology. Proclus' 5th century work Elements of Theology is similar to the 17th century work Ethics by Spinoza, as Proclus presents the elements of Neoplatonic theology as a systematic series of propositions with proofs.[506] Platonic Theology is a massive six book systematic discourse on the dialogues of Plato paralleling their agreement with the theologies of Orphism and the Chaldean Oracles.[507] Elements of Physics is a smaller work where Proclus systematizes Aristotle's arguments from Physics Book VI, De caelo, and Physics Book VIII.[508]

From the 12th century, scholars studied the Latin book Liber de Causis (Book of Causes) translated from Arabic to Latin by Gerard of Cremona and eventually found that it contained more than 30 propositions from Proclus' Elements of Theology.[100] Liber de Causis was mistakenly attributed to Aristotle, but it was first recognised by St Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century to contain Proclus' Neoplatonic doctrines and was thus exposed as a reworking[115] of Proclus' Elements of Theology to suit a different theology.[78][100][509]

Commentaries

Of major importance are the five lengthy, but only partially complete, extant manuscripts of commentaries by Proclus on Plato's dialogues in, Commentary on First Alcibiades, Commentary on Cratylus, Commentary on Parmenides, Commentary on Republic, Commentary on Timaeus and Commentary on First Book of Euclid’s Elements.[175][510] The logical order for commentaries of Plato's dialogues suggested by Whittaker 1918 is, Commentary on First Alcibiades, Commentary on Parmenides, Commentary on Timaeus, and Commentary on Republic.[504] That order begins with psychology, the centre of the system; then moves on to the theory of knowledge; then on to ontology and cosmology; and lastly through the aesthetic and practical aspects of philosophy.[504] The Commentary on Cratylus can be treated as an introduction or preliminary to the larger works, Commentary on Parmenides and Commentary on Timaeus, as it unfolds the Neoplatonic interpretation of mythology.[504]

Scholars also know of lost commentaries by Proclus on Plato's Theaetetus, Philebus, Phaedo, Gorgias, and Phaedrus, and lost commentaries on the Chaldaean Oracles and Enneads[511][175] of Plotinus.[175][501]

Treatises

There are also three treatises, or monographs that are complete, Ten Doubts Concerning Providence, On Providence and Fate and On the Existence of Evil; together called Tria Opuscula (three treatises).[175][512] The Tria Opuscula survives as 13 manuscripts dating from the early 14th century to the 17th century.[124] The manuscripts of these treatises were thought to only survive in the 14th–17th century Latin translations of William of Moerbeke until scholars in the 20th century rediscovered copies of them in Greek text, in the works of the 12th century Byzantine-Greek Isaac Sebastocrator.[124][175]

Theurgic

Of the theurgic, or religious works of Proclus, there a seven complete hymns[513] of the many he wrote, and other works on religious symbolism, and on the Greek myths of Hecate and Cybele that exist as fragments of extant Greek manuscripts or Middle Ages Latin translations or Middle Ages Arabic translations.[512][500] Marinus of Neopolis thought very highly of Proclus’ theurgical knowledge and says it was taught to him by Asclepigeneia, the daughter of Plutarch of Athens, who had learned the wisdom from Nestorius, the hierophant of the Eleusinian mysteries.[514]

Elements of Theology

The cover page of the 1583 edition of the Latin translation of Elements of Theology and Elements of Physics from Procli Lycii Diadochi Elementa Theologica, et Physica by Franciscus Patricius

The Elements of Theology (Greek: Στοιχείωσις θεολογική[515]) by Proclus is an elucidation of systematic Neoplatonic theology.[28] Due to its intricacy and systematic qualities, its standing amongst scholars is similar to The Enneads by Plotinus but differs from Plotinus' work of essays that came from discussions and assumed knowledge of Neoplatonic doctrines.[28] Even philosophical works by Porphyry and Salutius, following Plotinus' Enneads, did not detail Neoplatonic doctrines with the theoretical logic and organization of Elements of Theology.[28] Proclus' Elements of Theology is regarded as an attempt to supply an in-depth theory of reality wished for by Plato in his seventh book of his work Republic and whilst Elements of Theology is not a complete summary of Neoplatonism, it is a complete system of Neoplatonic theology.[209]

The Elements of Theology consists of 211 propositions, each followed by a proof using Proclus' authorities, beginning from the existence of the One (divine Unity) and ending with the progression of individual souls into the material world. The first 112 propositions sequentially establish contrasting theological ideas that characterize Neoplatonic theology, such as unity and plurality, whole and part, eternity and time, unmoved and self-moved.[209] The remaining propositions are a theory of three primary Neoplatonic theological orders and their relation to orders of realities that proceed from them.[209] The modern standard edition of the Greek text is The Elements of Theology, edited by E. R. Dodds, 1933.[516] Scholars today still, after nearly ninety years, describe Dodds' 1933 edition of The Elements of Theology as a masterpiece of scholarship.[516]

Platonic Theology

Platonic Theology (Greek: Προκλου Διαδοχου Πλατωνικου εις την Πλατωνος θεολογίαν[517]) is a voluminous work by Proclus in six books. The work establishes a complete parallel between Platonic philosophy in the dialogues of Plato and the divinities of Orphic theology and the theology in the doctrines of the Chaldaean oracles.[518] In the work, and generally, Proclus' treated the philosophy of Plato as a theology and so the work seeks to coordinate it to those ancient theologies.[519] Hegel praised the work as a more systematic and mature demonstration (an Intellektualsystem) of Platonic philosophy than given by Plotinus.[520]

The cover page of the 1618 edition of the Greek and Latin translation of Platonic Theology from Procli Successoris Platonici in Platonis Theologiam Libri Sex by A. Portus. The edition remained the only complete standard edition of the Greek text for nearly 380 years.[521]

Thomas Taylor's translation of Proclus' Platonic Theology in The Six Books of Proclus on the Theology of Plato, 1816 in 2 volumes, remains, more than 200 years later, the only complete English translation of the work.[516] The edition of the Greek text published by A. Portus in 1618 in Procli Successoris Platonici in Platonis Theologiam Libri Sex, remained the only complete standard edition of the Greek text for nearly 380 years, until the modern standard Greek text by Saffrey & Westerink was completely finished in 1997.[149] The modern standard edition of the Greek text and French translation is Proclus: Théologie platonicienne, edited by H. D. Saffrey & L. G. Westerink, 1968–1997 in six volumes that took about 30 years to complete and is regarded by scholars as one of the most momentous editorial accomplishments in modern Proclean scholarship.[516]

"The most beautiful and orderly development of this philosophy, which endeavours to explain all things by an analysis of consciousness, and builds up a world in the mind out of materials furnished by the mind itself, is to be found in the Platonic Theology by Proclus."[522][132]Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Commentary on Cratylus

Proclus’ commentary on Plato's Cratylus (Greek: Προκλου Σχόλιών εις τον Κραττλον Πλατωνος[523]) is the only commentary of that dialogue by Plato that exists from the writings of ancient philosophy.[524] The large work is regarded as special by scholars because it is the work of both Proclus, who was based in Athens, and another later Neoplatonist who is thought to have been based in Alexandria, and so it has the knowledge of two major late ancient centres of Platonic philosophy.[524] The commentary is separated into the subjects of language-theory and theological etymologies of names of Greek gods, with Proclus relating the names to the theologies of Orphism, Chaldean oracles and Homer.[524]

What has survived of Proclus' Commentary on Cratylus is partially complete, being a commentary of Plato's Cratylus from the beginning (383a[525]) to 407e,[526] whilst the dialogue itself finishes at 440e.[527] The modern standard edition of the Greek text is Proclus Diadochus in Platonis Cratylum Commentaria, edited by G. Pasquali, 1908.[528]

Commentary on First Alcibiades

Proclus’ commentary on Plato's First Alcibiades (Greek: Προκλου Διαδοχου εις τον Πλατωνος Πρωτον Αλκιβιαδην[529]) is a lengthy commentary that clearly distinguishes between what the dialogue is about, its theme, and the purpose of understanding it, or its goal.[530] Throughout the commentary it is clear that Proclus was very interested in Aristotelian logic and that becomes evident in his use of ten syllogisms to structure the dialogue between Socrates and Alcibiades.[531] In the dialogue, Proclus makes it comprehensively clear that despite not being completely cognizant of our intuitive logic, we still use it unconsciously.[532]

What has survived of Proclus' Commentary on First Alcibiades is partially complete, being from the beginning (103a[533]) to 116b[534] whilst the dialogue itself finishes at 135e8.[535] The modern standard edition of the Greek text is Proclus: Sur le premier Alcibiade de Platon edited by. A.-P. Segonds, 1985–1986, in two volumes.[536]

Commentary on First Book of Euclid's Elements

The cover page of the 1560 Latin translation of Proclus' Commentary on First Book of Euclid's Elements by Francesco Barozzi.

Proclus’ commentary on the first book of Euclid's Elements (Greek: Προκλου Διαδοχου εις το Πρωτον των Ευκλειδους Στοιχειων Βιβλιον Πρωτον[537]) is one of the most valuable sources we have for the history of ancient mathematics,[538][539] and its Platonic account of the status of mathematical objects was influential. In this work, Proclus also listed the first mathematicians associated with Plato: a mature set of mathematicians (Leodamas of Thasos, Archytas of Taras, and Theaetetus), a second set of younger mathematicians (Neoclides, Eudoxus of Cnidus), and a third yet younger set (Amyntas, Menaechmus and his brother Dinostratus, Theudius of Magnesia, Hermotimus of Colophon and Philip of Opus). Some of these mathematicians were influential in arranging the Elements that Euclid later published. The modern standard Greek text for the commentary is Procli Diadochi in primum Euclidis Elementorum Librum Commentarii edited by G. Friedlein, 1873.[149]

Proclus, the scholiast to Euclid, knew Eudemus of Rhodes' History of Geometry well, and gave a short sketch of the early history of geometry, which appeared to be founded on the older, lost book of Eudemus. The passage has been referred to as "the Eudemian summary," and determines some approximate dates, which otherwise might have remained unknown.[540]

Commentary on Parmenides

Proclus' commentary on Plato's Parmenides (Greek: Προκλου Διαδοχου των εις τον Πλατωνος Παρμενιδην[541]) in seven books[528] was written by Proclus when he was about forty years old.[542] It is an expression of the peak of Proclus' accomplishment in commentary writing in a mature period of his philosophical development.[542] In his Preface to the commentary, Proclus gives an illustrative description of the historical understanding of Plato's Parmenides from the Middle Platonists through Porphyry and Iamblichus and finally to Syrianus.[543][544] After the Preface, he starts the commentary with an explanation of the entire Neoplatonic theological order, acknowledges his debt to his teacher Syrianus, and dedicates the work to his pupil Asclepiodotus of Alexandria.[545] In the remainder of work, he discusses the dramatic setting, explains allegories in the dialogue including the allegorical representations of the three main characters Parmenides, Zeno, and Socrates and then turns to the examination of the subject matter of the dialogue.[546]

What has survived of Proclus' massive Commentary on Parmenides is partially complete, being a preface and a commentary of Plato's Parmenides from the beginning (126a[547]) to 142a10,[548] whilst the dialogue itself finishes at 166c5.[549] The commentary is extant in the Greek up to 141e10, the remainder (to 142a10) is from William of Moerbeke’s Latin translation.[548] From 1864 until 2009, the standard edition of the Greek text was Procli Philosophi Platonici Opera Inedita, edited by V. Cousin, 1864. Since 2009, there are two standard editions of the Greek text: the first is Procli in Platonis Parmenidem Commentaria, edited by C. Steel, with the collaboration of C. Macé, P. d’Hoine, A. Gribomont, and L. Van Campe, 2007–2009 in three volumes; and the second is Proclus. Commentaire sur le Parménide de Platon, edited by A.-P. Segonds and C. Luna, 2007–2021, in five volumes.[550]

Commentary on Republic

Proclus' commentary on Plato's Republic (Greek: Πλατωνικου Διαδοχυ εις τας Πολιτειας[551]) is a voluminous work that comprises 17 essays of varying length.[552] Essay 16 on the Myth of Er accounts for about 40 percent (263 pages) of the commentary,[552] while essays 5 and 6 on poetics and Homer in the Republic account for about a quarter of the commentary.[552] Essays 6, 9, 15, 16 and 17 may be regarded as independent.[553] The modern standard Greek text for the commentary is Procli Diadochi in Platonis Rem Pvblicam Commentarii, edited by Gvilelmvs (Wilhelm) Kroll, 2 volumes, 1899–1901.[554] Below is a summary of the seventeen essays and their page numbers in the Kroll 1899–1901 standard Greek text.

Summary of Essays in Proclus' Commentary on Republic[555]
Essay[555] Description[555] Kroll[555]

vol:page

1 Principle topics to understand before teaching Republic. 1:5
2 Socrates arguments on Justice against Polemarchus. [missing]
3 Arguments on Justice in Republic against Thrasymachus [missing beginning] 1:20
4 Neoplatonic theology in Book 2 of Republic 1:27
5 Poetics in Republic 1:42
6 Homer in Republic 1:69
7 Soul and Virtues in Book 4 of Republic 1:206
8 Virtues and Education in Book 5 of Republic 1:236
9 Arguments of Socrates and Theodorus of Asine on Virtue 1:251
10 Love of Knowledge in Book 5 of Republic 1:258
11 The Good in Republic 1:269
12 The allegory of the Cave in Book 7 of Republic 1:287
13 Muses in Republic 2:1
14 Arguments on the Just and Unjust 2:81
15 Main topics in Book 10 of Republic 2:85
16 Myth of Er 2:96
17 Aristotle's objections to Republic 2:360

In the commentary on Plato's Republic, Proclus presents his own philosophical system as a faithful interpretation of Plato, and in this he did not differ from other Neoplatonists, as he considered that "nothing in Plato’s corpus is unintended or there by chance", "that Plato’s writings were divinely inspired" (ὁ θεῖος Πλάτων ho theios Platon—the divine Plato, inspired by the gods), that "the formal structure and the content of Platonic texts imitated those of the universe",[556] and therefore that they spoke often of things under a veil, hiding the truth from the philosophically uninitiate. Proclus was however a close reader of Plato, and quite often makes very astute points about his Platonic sources.

Commentary on Timaeus

Proclus' commentary on Plato's Timaeus (Greek: Προκλου Διαδοχου εις τον Τιμαιον Πλατωνος[557]) is a massive work in five books, and is regarded by scholars as possibly the greatest commentary on a dialogue by Plato and gives an exceptional understanding of eight centuries of Platonic exposition.[558] It supplies crucial information of preliminary examinations of Plato's Timaeus and demonstrates Proclus' perspective on the sense and importance of Platonic philosophy.[558] Plato's dialogue Timaeus has demonstrated its significance historically because it has endured as a central philosophical text from the end of Plato's life (347 BC) and across Hellenistic philosophy, Philo of Alexandria, Middle Platonism, the Christian fathers, the Neoplatonists, and further.[559] Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Parmenides were regarded by Neoplatonists as the two most important texts for philosophical study.[559]

Proclus' Commentary on Timaeus is the pinnacle of centuries of explanatory studies and has earlier thoughts ingrained within it.[559] The commentary reveals the type of interpretive debates that thrived in prior ages and the point of view held by Proclus and Syrianus when they each headed the School of Plato in Athens.[559] Historically the commentary is the most prolific of Proclus' legacy and reveals meanings of the Platonic dialogues Republic and Critias that Proclus thought likely to belong to the same series.[559] What has survived of Proclus' voluminous Commentary on Timaeus is only partially complete, being a commentary of Plato's Timaeus from the beginning (17a[560]) to 44d,[561] whilst the dialogue itself finishes at 92c.[562] It is thought that the sudden termination of the commentary is possibly due to an exhausted scribe.[175] The modern standard edition of the Greek text is Procli Diadochi In Platonis Timaeum Commentaria, edited by E. Diehl, 1903–1906 in three volumes.[528]

Extant Commentary on Timaeus in Five Books[563]
Book Notes
I Summary of Plato's Republic and myth of Atlantis
II Timaeus 27c–31b: gods and the material universe
III Timaeus 31b–37c: body of the world and generation of the soul
IV Timaeus 37c–40e: heavenly bodies and traditional gods
V Timaeus 40e–44d: genealogy of gods, Demiurge, souls

Other Works

Other Works by Proclus from KU Leuven[149] and All From One 2017[564]
Work[149][564] Modern Standard edition of the Greek Text and Comments[149][564]
Elements of Physics Procli Diadochi Lycii institutio physica, edited by A. Ritzenfeld, 1912. Proclus' summary of Aristotle's Physics Books VI and VIII.[565]
Epigrams Procli hymni accedunt hymnorum fragmenta, edited by E. Vogt, 1957
Hymns Procli hymni accedunt hymnorum fragmenta, edited by E. Vogt, 1957
Tria Opuscula (three treatises):
  • Ten Doubts Concerning Providence
  • On Providence and Fate
  • On the Existence of Evil
  • Procli philosophi Platonici opera inedita, edited by V. Cousin, 1864
  • S. Thomae Aquinatis in librum beati Dionysii De divinis nominibus expositio, edited by C. Pera, 1950
  • Procli Diadochi tria opuscula (De providentia, libertate, malo) Latine Guilelmo de Moerbeka vertente et Graece ex Isaacii Sebastocratoris aliorumque scriptis collecta, edited by H. Boese, 1960
  • Proclus: Trois études sur la providence, I. Dix problèmes concernant la providence, edited by D. Isaac, 1977
  • Proclus: Trois études sur la providence, II. Providence, fatalité, liberté, edited by D. Isaac, 1979
  • Proclus: Trois études sur la providence, III. De l'existence du mal, edited by D. Isaac, 1982
Treatises:
  • On the Eternity of the world
  • On Sacrifice and Magic
  • Ioannes Philoponus: De aeternitate mundi contra Proclum, edited by H. Rabe, 1899
  • Catalogue des manuscrits alchimiques grecs, VI. Michel Psellus, Épître sur la Chrysopée. En appendice Proclus, Sur l’art hiératique; Psellus, Choix de dissertations inédites, edited by J. Bidez, 1928, volume 6, pp. 148–151
Outline of Astronomical Hypotheses Procli Diadochi hypotyposis astronomicarum positionum, edited by C. Manitius, C, 1909. There is no translation of Outline of Astronomical Hypotheses in any modern language[565]
Commentaries on Aristotle Proclus de Lycie, by Luna & Segonds, 2012, pp. 1556–1562. There is growing evidence for existence of commentaries of Proclus on Aristotle's On Interpretation and Prior and Posterior Analytics[511]
Commentary on the Chaldean Oracles (fragments) Eclogae e Proclo de philosophia chaldaica sive de doctrina oraculorum chaldaicorum, edited by A. Jahn, 1891. Extent works remain the major source for Proclus' elucidation of the Chaldean oracles.[511]
Commentary on Hesiod’s Works and Days (fragments)
  • Poetae minores Graeci, edited by T. Gainsford, 1823
  • Scholia vetera in Hesiodi Opera et dies, edited by A. Pertusi, 1955
  • Der Kommentar des Proklos zu Hesiods ‘Werken und Tagen in Übersetzung und Erläuterung der Fragmente (Classica Monacensia 33) by P. Marzillo, 2010
Commentary on Enneads (fragments) Exzerpte aus Proklos’ Enneadenkommentar bei Psellos in Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 52, pp. 1–10, by Westerink, 1959.[511]
On Plato’s Three Proofs for the Immortality of the Soul (fragments)
  • Proclus on Plato’s Three Proofs of Immortality in Zetesis: Album Amicorum door vrienden en collega’s aangeboden aan Prof. Dr. E. de Strycker, by Westerink, 1973, pp. 296–306
  • Deux textes en arabe sur les preuves platoniciennes de l’immortalité da l’âme by Hasnaoui, 1997
  • Il Monobiblon di Proclo sull’immortalità dell’anima: Atene, Ctesifonte, Corbie, Bagdad: secoli V–X by Chemi 2014
Chrestomathia (dubious) Libanii Opera, edited by R. Foerster, 1927, volume IX, pp. 1–47
Commentary on Pythagoras’ Golden Verses (dubious) Proclus' Commentary on the Pythagorean Golden Verses, edited by N. Linley ( ibn at-tayyib), 1984
On Epistolary Style (dubious) Libanii Opera, edited by R. Foerster, 1927, volume IX, pp. 1–47
Commentary on Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblion and Paraphrasis of the Tetrabiblion of Ptolemy (dubious) Procli diadochi Paraphrasis in Ptolemaei libros IV sive De siderum affectionibus, edited by Allatius, 1635
On the Sphere (spurious) Procli sphaera. Ptolemaei de hypothesibus planetarum liber singularis, edited by J. Brainbridge, 1621

Citations and References

  1. ^ Proclus: A Commentary on the First Book of Euclid's Elements. Translated by Morrow, Glenn R. New Jersey (USA): Princeton University Press. 1992 [1970]. pp. xxxxix, 3 (with the scholiast). ISBN 978-0-691-02090-7.
  2. ^ Kaufmann, Walter (1963). Philosophic Classics. Vol. Thales to St. Thomas. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. (New Jersey, USA): Prentice-Hall, INC. p. 536. ark:/13960/t11n91p54.
  3. ^ Taylor, A. E. (1955) [1926]. Plato The Man and His Work. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd. p. 14. ark:/13960/t1zd32m3c.
  4. ^ Tarrant, Harold, ed. (2014). Proclus On Plato Cratylus. Translated by Duvick, Brian. London, New York: Bloomsbury Academic An imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 50 Bedford Square 1385 Broadway. pp. vii. ISBN 978-1-4725-5819-0.
  5. ^ Tarrant, Harold, ed. (2007). Book 1: Proclus on the Socratic State and Atlantis. Proclus: Commentary on Plato's Timaeus vol. 1. Translated by Tarrant, Harold. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 2. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511482656. ISBN 9780511482656.
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  507. ^ Ahbel-Rappe 2010, p. 49, Introduction to the life and Philosophy of Damascius.
  508. ^ d’Hoine & Martijn, p. 142, 7 The Natural World by J. Opsomer.
  509. ^ Dodds 1971, p. xliii, Introduction.
  510. ^ d’Hoine & Martijn 2017, pp. 329–332, Appendix II.
  511. ^ a b c d d’Hoine & Martijn 2017, p. 332, Appendix II.
  512. ^ a b Dodds 1971, p. xiv, Introduction.
  513. ^ Berg 2001, p. 5, Introduction.
  514. ^ d’Hoine & Martijn 2017, p. 234, 11 Theurgy and Proclus’ Philosophy by Berg.
  515. ^ Dodds 1971, p. 2, Προκλου Διαδοχου.
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  517. ^ Portus, Aemilius, ed. (1618). Procli Successoris Platonici in Platonis Theologiam Libri Sex (in Latin and Greek). Hamburgi: Apud Michaelem Heringium. pp. cover.
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  524. ^ a b c Duvick & Tarrant 2014, p. vii, Preface by H. Tarrant.
  525. ^ Pasqvali 1908, p. 3, Procli Scholia.
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  527. ^ Burnet, I., ed. (1900). "Κρατυλος". Platonis Opera (in Latin and Greek). Vol. Tomvs I Tetralogia II. Oxonii: Scriptorum Classicorum Bibliotheca Oxoniensis. pp. 440c. ark:/13960/t3qv3w26f.
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  529. ^ Cousin 1864, p. 281, Προκλου Διαδοχου εις τον Πλατωνος Πρωτον Αλκιβιαδην.
  530. ^ d’Hoine & Martijn 2017, p. 267, 13 The Human Life by D. Baltzly.
  531. ^ d’Hoine & Martijn 2017, p. 188, 9 Proclus on Epistemology, Language, Logic by C. Helmig.
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  533. ^ Proclus: Alcibiades I. Translated by O'Neil, William (2nd ed.). The Hague, Netherlands: Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 1971. p. 11. ISBN 9789401758543.
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  551. ^ Kroll 1899, p. 1.
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  555. ^ a b c d Lamberton 2012, pp. xxxi–xxxiii, Introduction.
  556. ^ Calian, Florin George (2013), ""Clarifications" of Obscurity: Conditions for Proclus's Allegorical Reading of Plato's Parmenides", Obscurity in medieval texts, pp. 15–31
  557. ^ Diehl 1903, p. 1.
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  563. ^ Tarrant 2007, p. 16, General introduction to the Commentary.
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  565. ^ a b d’Hoine & Martijn 2017, p. 334, Appendix II.

Further reading

Monographs

  • Proklos: Grundzüge seiner Metaphysik, by Werner Beierwaltes
  • L'Un et L'Âme selon Proclos, by Jean Trouillard
  • La mystagogie de Proclos, by Jean Trouillard
  • KINESIS AKINETOS: A study of spiritual motion in the philosophy of Proclus, by Stephen Gersh
  • From Iamblichus to Eriugena. An investigation of the prehistory and evolution of the Pseudo-Dionysius tradition, by Stephen Gersh
  • L'architecture du divin. Mathématique et Philosophie chez Plotin et Proclus, by Annick Charles-Saget
  • Proclus: Neoplatonic philosophy and science, by Lucas Siorvanes
  • The Philosophy of Proclus – the Final Phase of Ancient Thought, by L J Rosan
  • The Logical Principles of Proclus' Stoicheiôsis Theologikê as Systematic Ground of the Cosmos, by James Lowry

Collections of essays

  • Proclus et son influence, actes du Colloque de Neuchâtel, Juin, 1985. Zürich: Éditions du Grand Midi, 1987.
  • Proclus lecteur et interprète des anciens. Actes du Colloque internationale du C.N.R.S., Paris 2–4 October 1985. J. Pépin et H.-D. Saffrey. Paris: C.N.R.S., 1987.
  • On Proclus and his Influence in Medieval Philosophy, ed. by E.P. Bos and P.A. Meijer (Philosophia antiqua 53), Leiden-Köln-New York: Brill, 1992.
  • The perennial tradition of neoplatonism, ed. by J. Cleary (Ancient and medieval philosophy, Series I, 24), Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1997.
  • Proclus et la Théologie platonicienne: actes du colloque international de Louvain (13–16 mai 1998) en l'honneur de H. D. Saffrey et L. G. Westerink, éd. par A.-Ph. Segonds et C. Steel (Ancient and medieval philosophy, Series I 26), Leuven-Paris: Leuven University Press / Les Belles Lettres, 2000.
  • Stephen Gersh (ed.), Interpreting Proclus from Antiquity to the Renaissance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Studies on particular aspects of Proclus' philosophy

  • Gertz, S.R.P., "A Testimonium on Proclus' Views about the Rationality of Animals", Classical Quarterly 68.1, 352–357.

Bibliographic resources

  • Proclo, negli ultimi quarant' anni. Bibliografia ragionata delle letteratura primaria e secondaria riguardante il pensiero procliano e i suoi influssi storici (anni 1949–1992), by Nicoletta Scotti Muth
  • "Proclus Bibliography (covering the years 1990–2016)".

See Also

External links

  • Helmig, Christoph; Steel, Carlos. "Proclus". In Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Helmig, Christoph; Steel, Carlos. "Bibliography: Proclus' Complete Works (extant, lost, and spurious)". In Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Article by Encyclopædia Britannica
  • O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Proclus", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews
  • Editions and Translations Proclus – Hoger Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte
  • Article at "The Encyclopedia of Goddess Athena"
  • Wikisource-logo.svg The Six Books of Proclus, the Platonic Successor, on the Theology of Plato Thomas Taylor translation.
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Five Hymns of Proclus Thomas Taylor translation.
  • Fragments that Remain of the Lost Writings of Proclus Thomas Taylor translation.
  • Commentaries of Proclus on the Timaeus of Plato, in Five Books Thomas Taylor translation.
  • Ten Doubts Concerning Providence and On the Existence of Evils Thomas Taylor translation.
  • Proclus's Life and Teachings
  • Index page of the Proclus section for the "Plato Transformed" project at the University Leuven, Belgium.
  • Commentary on Plato's Parmenides – (Greek text, scans of Cousin's edition)
  • Catalogue of the Prometheus Trust "Thomas Taylor Series" which includes translations of many of the works of Proclus. The site has lengthy extracts of these.
  • Proclus's Commentary on Euclid, Book I. PDF scans of Friedlein's Greek edition, now in the public domain (Classical Greek)
  • On the Signs of Divine Possession – (partial translation of Proclus's work)
  • On the Sacred Art – (translation and discussion of this surviving extract from a larger work by Proclus)
  • On the Sacred Art (French introduction and Greek text)
  • On the Sacred Art – Greek text and English translation
  • Hypotyposis Astronomicon Hypotheseon – Greek text
  • Proclus in English and Greek, Select Online Resources
  • Works by Proclus at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
  • Guide to Proclus, Elementa theologica. Manuscript, 1582 at the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center