The "Enneads" of Plotinus

The "Enneads" of Plotinus: A Commentary, Volume 1

Paul Kalligas
Elizabeth Key Fowden
Nicolas Pilavachi
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 728
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  • Book Info
    The "Enneads" of Plotinus
    Book Description:

    This is the first volume of a groundbreaking commentary on one of the most important works of ancient philosophy, theEnneadsof Plotinus-a text that formed the basis of Neoplatonism and had a deep influence on early Christian thought and medieval and Renaissance philosophy. This volume covers the first three of the sixEnneads, as well as Porphyry'sLife of Plotinus, a document in which Plotinus's student-the collector and arranger of theEnneads-introduces the philosopher and his work. A landmark contribution to modern Plotinus scholarship, Paul Kalligas's commentary is the most detailed and extensive ever written for the whole of theEnneads.

    For each of the treatises in the first threeEnneads, Kalligas provides a brief introduction that presents the philosophical background against which Plotinus's contribution can be assessed; a synopsis giving the main lines and the articulation of the argument; and a running commentary placing Plotinus's thought in its intellectual context and making evident the systematic association of its various parts with each other.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5251-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface to the English Edition
    (pp. vii-xvi)
    Paul Kalligas
  4. Translator’s Preface
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    Nicolas Pilavachi
  5. Main Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  6. Porphyry: On the Life of Plotinus and the Order of His Books
    (pp. 1-98)

    Porphyry (ca. 232–ca. 304), from Tyre in Phoenicia, was one of the most important representatives of early Neoplatonism. Because our basic source of information about his life is theVPitself, there is no need to expand on that theme here.¹ It is enough to remark that before he went to Rome and Plotinus’ school there, he spent some time in Athens, where he studied with the mathematician Demetrius, the grammarian Apollonius, perhaps the rhetor Minucianus, and—most important—with the philologist and philosopher Longinus, with whom he maintained long-lasting and warm relations. But it is obvious that the...

  7. Plotinus: First Ennead
    (pp. 99-246)

    This treatise, the penultimate composed by P. (VP6.22), must have been written toward the beginning of the year 270, and in some sense forms a sequel and a complement to II 3 [52] (“Whether the Stars Are Causes”). Whereas in the latter treatise he argues (as he often did: see my comment onVP15.21–26) for the human soul’s independence from worldly influences, in the present one he upholds its superiority in respect of the bodily “affections” (pathē) and the lower psychical functions (cf. II 3.15.14–16.3). The stance maintained by P. assumes a dramatic character when we...

  8. Second Ennead
    (pp. 247-410)

    The question of the world’s eternity was one of the most crucial and hotly debated topics not only in the context of cosmology itself, but more particularly also in that of the interpretation of Plato’sTimaeus. For in this dialogue, following the model of earlier mythological cosmogonies, thekosmos—that is, the “ordered universe”—is presented as having been created in stages by the successive interventions of a divine Demiurge on the chaotic pre-cosmic disorder.

    Aristotle had already interpreted the cosmogony of theTimaeusliterally, as a process unfolding in time.¹ This interpretation undoubtedly served the polemical motives of the...

  9. Third Ennead
    (pp. 411-656)

    The notion of natural necessity came very early on to be associated with that of the orderliness and cohesion of the universe. The “inseverable bond” (arrēktos desmos) of “Necessity” (anankē) represented, in the thought of the Presocratic philosophers as much as of the early poets, the guarantee that all natural phenomena were subject to the operation of a unitary and incontrovertible law to which not only all men, but even the gods themselves were obliged to submit.¹ Nevertheless, while this bondage was at first regarded as a welcome limitation to the arbitrariness of the unpredictable and uncontrollable will of the...

  10. List of Variant Readings
    (pp. 657-668)
  11. Key to the Chronological Order of Plotinus’ Treatises
    (pp. 669-670)
  12. Suggested Further Readings on Individual Treatises
    (pp. 671-678)
  13. Figures
    (pp. 679-680)
  14. Index of Passages Cited With Their Abbreviations and Modern Editors
    (pp. 681-706)