Synopses & Reviews
Although Neoplatonism has long been studied, until recently many had dismissed this complex system of ideas as more mystical than philosophical. Recent research, however, has provided a new perspective on this highly influential school of thought, which flourished in the pagan world of Greece and Rome up through late antiquity. Pauliina Remes's lucid, comprehensive, and up-to-date introduction reassesses Neoplatonism's philosophical credentials, from its founding by Plotinus (204-70, C.E.) through the closure of Plato's Academy in 529. Using an accessible, thematic approach, she explores the ideas of leading Neoplatonists such as Porphyry, Iamblichus, Proclus, Simplicius, and Damascius, as well as less well-known thinkers. She situates their ideas alongside classical Platonism, Stoicism, and the neo-Pythagoreans as well as other intellectual movements of the time, including Gnosticism, Judaism, and Christianity. She also considers Neoplatonism's enduring legacy in the history of philosophical thought, providing a gateway to Neoplatonism for contemporary readers.
Copub: Acumen Publishing Limited
The thought of the Roman philosopher, Plotinus (c205-70), has been the object of perennial fascination for philosophers and laymen alike. Best known today for his doctrine of self-transformation through contemplation, Plotinus did not regard his originality as formulating new truths but rather as showing how to engage in spiritual exercises so as to live philosophically. Taking a highly unconventional approach, the distinguished philosopher Stephen R. L. Clark here gives us a book that is at once deeply penetrating and highly personal. Clark focuses on dimensions of Plotinus that scholars have dismissed as irrelevant or merely “ornamental”: his images, metaphors, and myths. He argues that we need to understand those dimensions in the cultural and philosophical context of his time if we are to understand what those exercises amount to, and so to understand, as it were from within, where his philosophy leads. Clark shows how Plotinus employs specific images drawn from the Greek literary tradition for philosophical purposes: images of knowledge like those of light or drunkenness; or images of being itself in order to analyze and explore the realities of the Divine Intellect. He also notes their momentous legacy in later thinkers in the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian traditions. The book aims to be both scholarly and open to psychotherapeutic discussions from within other philosophical and psychiatric traditions that acknowledge the role that stories, myths, and metaphors play in constructing the mind.
About the Author
Pauliina Remes, Docent of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Helsinki, Finland, is the author of Plotinus on Self: The Philosophy of "We."