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Ficino’s Christian Platonism is characterized by two overriding features. First, it is expressed in works that are elaborated along traditional medieval lines in the form of commentaries either standing alone or incorporated into writings in other genres. Second, the configuration of this Platonism is inseparable from the history of Platonism as a tradition embodying both a continuous progress towards the light and a rhythmic alternation of revelation and concealment. After exploring this material in detail, it will become clearer how Ficino’s Christian Platonism is at the same time a psychology and a theology grounded in a sort of two-directional hermeneutic. Plato the non-Christian writer is prophetic of his own reading by later non-Christian Platonists who acquired the possibility of this reading on the one hand, through their partial illumination by Christian intermediaries and on the other, through their judicious distinction between the literal truth and non-literalness of some of the master’s most important teachings.
This chapter focuses on Proclus’ use of a theological notion of harmony, which is designed to reveal the essence, intelligible relations, and causality of the soul by taking its harmonic structure as a starting point. The fact that the soul is made of specific means and proportions paves the way to the claim that the soul’s essence consists of a logos. This represents neither just an exegetical remark related to Plato’s divisio animae nor the mere use of an image: Proclus regards Plato’s account of the soul’s harmonic structure as a specific key to access theology. By analysing the harmonic component within Proclus’ iconic theology, a clear analysis of both the “theological” implications of Proclus’ study of the harmonic structure of the Platonic world-soul and of the metaphysical-theological function of the ambivalent notion of logos emerges.
The extensive influence of Plotinus, the third-century founder of 'Neoplatonism', on intellectual thought from the Renaissance to the modern era has never been systematically explored. This collection of new essays fills the gap in the scholarship, thereby casting a spotlight on a current of intellectual history that is inherently significant. The essays take the form of a series of case-studies on major figures in the history of Neoplatonism, ranging from Marsilio Ficino to Henri-Louis Bergson and moving through Italian, French, English, and German philosophical traditions. They bring clarity to the terms 'Platonism' and 'Neoplatonism', which are frequently invoked by historians but often only partially understood, and provide fresh perspectives on well-known issues including the rise of 'mechanical philosophy' in the sixteenth century and the relation between philosophy and Romanticism in the nineteenth century. The volume will be important for readers interested in the history of thought in the early-modern and modern ages.
This is the first book to provide an account of the influence of Proclus, a member of the Athenian Neoplatonic School, during more than one thousand years of European history (c.500–1600). Proclus was the most important philosopher of late antiquity, a dominant (albeit controversial) voice in Byzantine thought, the second most influential Greek philosopher in the later western Middle Ages (after Aristotle), and a major figure (together with Plotinus) in the revival of Greek philosophy in the Renaissance. Proclus was also intensively studied in the Islamic world of the Middle Ages and was a major influence on the thought of medieval Georgia. The volume begins with a substantial essay by the editor summarizing the entire history of Proclus' reception. This is followed by the essays of more than a dozen of the world's leading authorities in the various specific areas covered.