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Encyclopedia > Neoplatonism and Gnosticism

Neoplatonism and Gnosticism is a collaborative book consisting of articles that explore the relationship between Neoplatonism and Gnosticism. The book marked a turning point in the discussion on the subject of Neoplatonism. Further discussion of the topics covered in the book have lead to the formation of a new committee of scholars to once again translate Plotinus' Enneads. Both Richard Wallis and A. H. Armstrong, the major editors of the work, have died since the completion of the book and conference. Look up book in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Neoplatonism (also Neo-Platonism) is a school of philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century A.D. Based on the teachings of Plato and the Platonists, it contained enough unique interpretations of Plato that some view Neoplatonism as substantively different from what Plato wrote and believed. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Plotinus Plotinus (Greek: Πλωτίνος)(ca. ... The Six Enneads is a book whose title is sometimes abbreviated to The Enneads or Enneads, and was written by the Neo-Platonist Plotinus; it was edited and compiled by his last student Porphyry, in a short period c. ...

The book republishes the works of a wide spectrum of scholars in the field of philosophy. The book's content consists of respective presentations that the experts delivered at the first International Conference on Neoplatonicism and Gnosticism at the University of Oklahoma in 1984. One purpose was to clarify the meaning of the words and phrases so repeated in "other" religions and belief systems of the Mediterranean region during Plotinus' time. Another was to try and clarify the extent to which Plotinus' work followed directly from Plato and how much influence Plotinus had on the religions of his time and vice versa. The book is considered a cornerstone to dialog between the different scholars in the field of philosophy. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The University of Oklahoma (OU) is an institution of higher learning located in Oklahoma. ... 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Plato Plato (Greek: Πλάτων, Plátōn) (c. ...



  • "Preface" R. Baine Harris ix
  • "Introduction" Richard T Wallis and Jay Bregman
  • "Theourgia Demiourgia: A Controversial issue in Hellenistic Thought and Religion" John P. Anton

In this text John Anton addresses the departure of Neoplatonicism from pure philosophy into the realm of "magic" or "theurgy". Anton addressed the intergration of the traditions of magic and their mystery religions' origins into philosophy. John Anton follows that this change was brought about via Proclus and most importantly Iamblachus. This dialog has also continued into more current works of philosophy by Gregory Shaw and his history of Iamblachus AKA Theurgy and the Soul: The Neoplatonism of Iamblichus by Gregory Shaw. The term Hellenistic (established by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen) in the history of the ancient world is used to refer to the shift from a culture dominated by ethnic Greeks, however scattered geographically, to a culture dominated by Greek-speakers of whatever ethnicity, and from the political dominance...

  • "Dualism: Platonic, Gnostic, and Christian" A. H. Armstrong
  • "The Second God in Gnosticism and Plotinus's Anti-Gnostic Ptolemic", (translated from Spanish by Winifred T. Slater) Francisco Garcia Bazon

In this text the subject of the Gnostics misunderstanding or misue of Plato's hypostasis is discussed and clarified. Platonic idealism is the theory that the substantive reality around us is only a reflection of a higher truth. ... Gnosticism is a blanket term for various religions and sects most prominent in the first few centuries A.D. General characteristics The word gnosticism comes from the Greek word for knowledge, gnosis (γνῶσις), referring to the idea that there is special, hidden mysticism (esoteric knowledge) that only a few possess. ... A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. ...

  • "Synesius, the Hermetica and Gnosis" Jay Bregman
  • "Pleroma and Noetic Cosmos: A Comparative Study" John M. Dillon
  • "Plotinus's Anti-Gnostic Polemic and Porphysy's Against the Christians" Christos Evangeliou

Dr Christos Evangeliou addresses the idea that group of Gnostics that Plotinus was attacking in his "Against the Gnostics" were possibly Syncretic christians, or Gnostic christians. Dr Christos Evangeliou also points out the parallel between orthodox christians of the era and gnostics. Dr Christos Evangeliou also points out that some of the same arguments and technics that Plotinus used against the Gnostics, Porphyry uses against the community of christians of his time in Porphyry's "Against the christians". This was also addressed by Richard Wallis in his History of Philosophy. This dialog was challenged (though indirectly) by other scholars in the field in light of the Nag Hammandi discovery, most importantly by A H Armstrong.

  • "Theological Doctrines of the Latin Asclepius" Stephen Gersh
  • "Negative Theology in Gnosticism and Neoplatonism" Curtis L. Hancock
  • "The Platonism of the Tripartite Tractate" (NH I, 5) John Peter Kenney
  • "The Noetic Triad in Plotinus, Marius Victorinus and Augustine" Peter Manchester
  • "Plenty Sleeps There: The Myth of Eros and Psyche in Plotinus and Gnosticism" Patricia Cox Miller
  • "The name of the Father is the Son" (Gospel of Truth 38) Raoul Mortley
  • "Theurgic Tendencies in Gnosticism and Iamblichus' Conception of Theurgy" Birger A. Pearson
  • "Beauty, Number, and Loss of Order in the Gnostic Cosmos" Pheme Perkins
  • "Theories of Procession in Plotinus and the Gnostics" Jean Pepin
  • "Titus of Bostra and Alexander of Lycopolis: A Christian and a Platonic Refutation of Manichacan Dualism" Gedaliahu G. Stroumsa
  • "Le Nombre et son Ombre" (Resume) Ara Alexandru Sismanian
  • "Mani's twin and Plotinus: Questions on Self" Leo Sweeney, S. J.
  • "Gnosticism and Platonism: The Platonizing Sethian Texts from the Nag Hammadi in their Relation to Later Platonic Literature" John D. Turner
  • "Soul and Nous in Plotinus, Numenius and Gnosticism" Richard T. Wallis
  • "Higher Providence, Lower Providence and Fate in Gnosticism and Middle Platonism" Michael Allen Williams

Augustine may refer to: Saints: Augustine of Hippo, (354-430) theologian, author of The City of God, Confessions Augustine of Canterbury, (d. ... In the academic fields of mythology, mythography, and folkloristics a myth is a sacred story concerning the origins of the world or how the world and the creatures in it came to have their present form. ... Eros, a god in Greek mythology Eros can also refer to: The Greek word Eros, which means sexual love 433 Eros, an asteroid EROS, the Extremely Reliable Operating System Pjur Eros, a premium latex-safe personal lubricant Eros, the life instinct postulated by Freudian psychology, standing in opposition to Thanatos... Psyche can refer to: In psychology and related fields, the psyche is the entirety of the non-physical aspects of a person. ... Two historical persons go by the name Iamblichus (Greek: Ιάμβλιχος) A Greek novelist; see Iamblichus (novelist) A neoplatonist philosopher; see Iamblichus (philosopher) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... It has been suggested that Combative dualism be merged into this article or section. ... Self might refer to various different things: Look up self on Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The town of Nag Hammadi in Egypt Nag Hammâdi (Arabic نجع حمادي; transliterated: Naj Hammādi) (26°03′N 32°15′E), is a town in the middle of Egypt, called Chenoboskion in classical antiquity, about 80 kilometres north-west of Luxor with some 30,000 citizens. ... Literature is literally acquaintance with letters as in the first sense given in the Oxford English Dictionary (from the Latin littera meaning an individual written character (letter)). The term has generally come to identify a collection of texts, which in Western culture are mainly prose, both fiction and non-fiction... The curlews are a group of eight wader species, characterised by a long slender downcurved bill and mainly brown plumage with little seasonal change. ... For the philosophical and religious concept, see destiny. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

Current developments

One of the purposes of the conference and the book was to open and start dialog on the subjects so named. Another was to separate and clarify who or what was the exact origin of the term "Gnostic". From the dialog it appears that the word had an origin in the Platonic and Hellenistic tradition long before the group calling themselves "Gnostics" or the group covered under the modern term "Gnosticism" ever appeared. It would appear that this occurance of the misuse of the word "gnostic" today leads people to confusion. People seeking a higher truth through knowledge (rather academic or spiritual since Plato represents both) could be easily confused into thinking their were "gnostic" rather then "philosophers". This tradition of sectarians taking Greek terms and so misnaming themselves or misusing the terms seems to have continued with not only the platonic "philosophers" traditions but also the Greek and Egyptian Hermetic ones. This type of occurance has also been spoken of in Islam as well. As noted by Arkon Daraul in Secret Societies and The Milita of Heaven, by James Wasserman. [1] The term conference can be used to describe any meeting of people that confer about a certain topic. ... Look up book in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Modern can simply mean something that is up-to-date, trendy, new, or from the present time. ... When someone sincerely agrees with an assertion, they are claiming that it is the truth. ... Knowledge is information of which someone is aware. ... A container or barrier that is hermetic is sealed so that not even air can enter or leave. ...

The conduct and measures taken by the students of Plato and the academies of the philosophers are also those that appear to have been followed by the orthodox christian church and then later by the Hebrew religious traditions. As well as those established by the academic world in general. The tradition of maintaining succession from the originator of the tradition. Maintaining the original tenets of the tradition although variation was tolerated to greater or less degree as long as the core tenets (see Dogma) remained. These are just a few of the steps taken to establish legitimacy that the group professing to be Platonic or philosophers where indeed exactly that. Plato is credited with the inception of academia: the body of knowledge, its development and transmission across generations. ... The word tradition, comes from the Latin word traditio which means to hand down or to hand over. ... // Dogma (the plural is either dogmata or dogmas) is belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization to be authoritative and not to be disputed or doubted. ...

The Neoplatonic movement (though Plotinus would have simply referred to himself as a philosopher of Plato) seems to be motivated by the desire of Plotinus to revive the pagan philosophical tradition. Plotinus was not claiming to innovate with the Enneads only clarify what in the works of Plato he saw at the time as being misrepresented or misunderstood. Plotinus was referring to tradition as a way to validate and understand correctly what exactly Plato's intent was. Since the death of Socates caused the academy to no longer espouse its teachings openly. Plotinus was making an exception to clarify how the philosophers at the academy had not arrived at the erroneous conclusions that the targets of his criticism had.

Neoplatonicism also should not be looked upon as a reactionary response by Plotinus. Plotinus was putting in writing what was considered the teaching of the Plato philosophers of his time and before his time.

See also

Plotinus Plotinus (Greek: Πλωτίνος)(ca. ... Plato Plato (Greek: Πλάτων, Plátōn) (c. ... Neoplatonism (also Neo-Platonism) is a school of philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century A.D. Based on the teachings of Plato and the Platonists, it contained enough unique interpretations of Plato that some view Neoplatonism as substantively different from what Plato wrote and believed. ...


  • Wallis, Richard T. (1992). Neoplatonism and Gnosticism for the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies, New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-1337-3 - ISBN 0-7914-1338-1.



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