ΣΧΟΛΗ
Ancient Philosophy
and the Classical Tradition

A Journal of the Centre for Ancient Philosophy
and the Classical Tradition

ISSN 1995-4328 (Print) ISSN 1995-4336 (Online)

Special Issue
THE PLATONIC TRADITION

Anna Afonasina & Eugene Afonasin
The Centre for Ancient philosophy and the Classical Tradition,
Novosibirsk State University, Institute of Philosophy and Law, Russia, afonasin@gmail.com
Language: English
Issue: ΣΧΟΛΗ 8.1 (2014) 9–23
Keywords: Academy at Athens, Proclus, Damascius, Neoplatonism, classical archaeology.
Abstract. In the first and second parts of the article we look at two archaeological sites excavated in the center of Athens, a building, located on the Southern slope of the Acropolis and now buried under the Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, known as House Chi, or the “House of Proclus”, and Houses A, B and C at the slope of the Areopagus overlooking the Athenian Agora. We outline and illustrate the basic finds and reexamine the principal arguments in favor of identifying these constructions as the houses of philosophical schools and, in the third part of the paper, offer a remark on religious practice in the Neoplatonic school.

Dominic O’Meara
Fribourg University, Switzerland, dominic.omeara@unifr.ch
Language: English
Issue: ΣΧΟΛΗ 8.1 (2014) 24–33
Keywords: Aesthetics, Antiquity, harmony, the beautiful and the good, kalos kagathos.
Abstract: In the Timaeus Plato describes the world as the ‘most beautiful’ (kallistos, 29a5) of generated things. Perhaps indeed this is the first systematic description of the beauty of the world. It is, at any rate, one of the most influential statements of the theme. The Stoics were deeply convinced by it and later, in the third century A.D., at a time when contempt and hate for the world were propagated by Gnostic movements, Plotinus, interpreting the Timaeus, would write magnificent passages on the beauty and value of the world. But what does Plato mean by the ‘beauty’ of the world? What makes the world beautiful? In this paper these questions will be approached first (1) by a brief discussion of the distinction which Plato appears to make in the Timaeus between beauty and the good. In one passage (Tim. 87c) ‘measure’ seems to relate to this distinction. It will be suitable then (2) to look at a section of another late work of Plato’s, the Philebus, where the themes of beauty, goodness and measure may be compared in more detail. The theme of measure will then take us back (3) to the Timaeus, in order to examine the role played by measure, in particular mathematical measure, in constituting the beauty of the world. I would like to discuss in detail the way in which mathematical structures make for the beauty of soul and body in the living whole that is the world.

Androniki Kalogiratou
Capital Product Partners L. P., Athens, niki.kalogiratou@gmail.com
Language: English
Issue: ΣΧΟΛΗ 8.1 (2014) 34–49
Keywords: Damascius, Late Neoplatonism, One, Ineffable, skotos, philosopher, theurgy, purification, soul, First Principles, theology, philosophy, contemplation.
Abstract: This paper is an overview and introduction to the key elements of Damascius’ philosophy. I examine the attributes and the relationship between the Ineffable, the One, and the All as the cornerstones of his theoretical system. I then investigate the role of this system of thought for Damascius and his contemporaries as a guide to the philosophical life and its repercussions for attaining the highest principles. Is contemplation possible or are other means needed, such as theurgy and purification of the soul? Does the philosopher occupy a privileged position in this system, as in the preceding Platonic tradition or is the philosopher’s position different, by the experience of void and the inability to speak about and grasp the ‘nothingness’ of the highest principles?

Igor Tantlevskij
St. Petersburg State University, Russia, tantigor@mail.wplus.net
Roman Svetlov
St. Petersburg State University, Russia, spatha@mail.ru
Language: English
Issue: ΣΧΟΛΗ 8.1 (2014) 50–53
Keywords: Judean history and ideology in Hellenistic and early Roman periods, sectarian Judaism, Essenes, Qumran community, history of ancient philosophy, Pythagoreanism, Platonism, predestination, eschatology.
Abstract: The widely spread Essenes practice of the future events prediction is likely to be based on their belief in the absolute predestination. In this light the hitherto unclarified etymology of the very term Ἐσσαῖοι / Ἐσσηνοί can be traced to the Aramaic notion חשיא (pl. st. emph.)/resp. חשאין (st. abs.; sing. חשא), which is likely to be interpreted as “what man has to suffer, predestination, fortune”; this derivation appears to be relevant not only semantically, but also linguistically. The doctrine of predestination also plays the key role in religious outlook of the Qumran community, and it is considered to be one of the most fundamental arguments in favor of the Qumranites identification with the Essenes. Some Platonic-Pythagorean (not only Stoic) doctrines can be regarded as certain Hellenistic parallels to the Essenic-Qumranic conception of predestination.

Igor Tantlevskij
St. Petersburg State University, Russia, tantigor@mail.wplus.net
Roman Svetlov
St. Petersburg State University, Russia, spatha@mail.ru
Language: Russian
Issue: ΣΧΟΛΗ 8.1 (2014) 54–66
Keywords: Judean history and ideology in Hellenistic and early Roman periods, sectarian Judaism, Essenes, Qumran community, history of ancient philosophy, Pythagoreanism, Platonism, predestination, eschatology.
Abstract: The widely spread Essenes practice of the future events prediction is likely to be based on their belief in the absolute predestination. In this light the hitherto unclarified etymology of the very term Ἐσσαῖοι / Ἐσσηνοί can be traced to the Aramaic notion חשיא (pl. st. emph.)/resp. חשאין (st. abs.; sing. חשא), which is likely to be interpreted as “what man has to suffer, predestination, fortune”; this derivation appears to be relevant not only semantically, but also linguistically. Thus the term “Essenes” can be interpreted as the “fatalists” (see e.g. Tantlevskij 2013). The doctrine of predestination also plays the key role in religious outlook of the Qumran community, and it is considered to be one of the most fundamental arguments in favor of the Qumranites identification with the Essenes. Some Platonic-Pythagorean (not only Stoic) doctrines can be regarded as certain Hellenistic parallels to the Essenic-Qumranic conception of predestination.

Michael Chase
CNRS, Paris, goya@vjf.cnrs.fr
Language: English
Issue: ΣΧΟΛΗ 8.1 (2014) 67–110
Keywords: Plotinus, Boethius, Einstein, Pierre Hadot, Philosophy as a way of life, Philosophy of time, Aristotle, future contingents, free will, predestination, innate ideas, Pseudo-Boethius, De diis et praesensionibus, necessity, Proclus, Porphyry.
Abstract: This article seeks to show that the views on time and eternity of Plotinus and Boethius are analogous to those implied by the block-time perspective in contemporary philosophy of time, as implied by the mathematical physics of Einstein and Minkowski. Both Einstein and Boethius utilized their theories of time and eternity with the practical goal of providing consolation to persons in distress; this practice of consolatio is compared to Pierre Hadot’s studies of the “Look from Above”, of the importance of concentrating on the present moment, and his emphasis on ancient philosophy as providing therapy for the soul, instead of mere abstract speculation for its own sake. In the first part of the article, Einstein’s views are compared with those of Plotinus, and with the elucidation of Plotinus’ views provided in the Arabic Theology of Aristotle. The second part of the article studies Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, which, contrary to recent interpretations, is indeed a genuine consolation rather than a parody thereof. The Consolation shows how the study of the Neoplatonic philosophical curriculum can lead the student along the path to salvation, by awakening and elaborating his innate ideas. To illustrate this doctrine, a passage from the little-known Pseudo-Boethian treatise De diis et praesensionibus is studied. Finally, after a survey of Boethius’ view on fate and providence, and Aristotle’s theory of future contingents, I study Boethius’ three main arguments in favor of the reconcilability of divine omniscience and human free will: the distinction between absolute and conditional necessity, the principle that the nature of knowledge is determined by the knower, and finally the doctrine that God lives in an eternal present, seeing past, present, and future simultaneously. This last view, developed primarily from Plotinus, is once again argued to be analogous to that advocated by contemporary block-time theorists on the basis of Eisteinian relativity. God’s supratemporal vision introduces no necessity into contingent events. Ultimate, objective reality, for Boethius as for Plotinus and Einstein, is atemporal, and our idea that there is a conflict between human free will and divine omniscience derives from a kind of optical illusion, caused by the fact that we cannot help but think in terms of temporality.

Kenneth Knies
Sacred Heart University, USA, kniesk@sacredheart.edu
Language: English
Issue: ΣΧΟΛΗ 8.1 (2014) 111–125
Keywords: Techne, Polis, Plato’s Republic, Thrasymachus.
Abstract: I argue that the strict account of techne agreed to by Socrates and Thrasymachus in Republic I provides a useful framework for addressing a central question of the dialogue as a whole: how philosophy might belong to the polis. This view depends upon three positions: 1) that Plato invites us to interpret the relationship between techne and polis outside the terms of the city-soul analogy, 2) that the strict account contributes to a compelling description of vocational work, and 3) that this description determines what Socrates means by a true polis, and thus frames the problem of philosophy’s political inclusion.

Sergey Kulikov
Tomsk State Pedagogical University, kulikovsb@tspu.edu.ru
Language: Russian
Issue: ΣΧΟΛΗ 8.1 (2014) 126–135
Keywords: Athens, Neoplatonism, Proclus, contemporary philosophy, ideology, human existence, culture.
Abstract: The paper defends the thesis that Proclus Diadochus's ideas are still relevant in modern culture. It appears that the ideas of Neoplatonism as a whole and these of Proclus' in particular matter at least in some aspects of modern culture (or ‘sets of ideals and norms’), such as the foundations of politics, the basic characteristics of philosophy and the fundamental aspects of understanding of the human existence. In the sphere of politics, one can note the ideas useful for creating of the non-totalitarian forms of ideology. In contemporary philosophy (esp. the phenomenological line of investigations) the Neoplatonic studies can be interpreted as one of the bases (or ‘sources’) of understanding of rational knowledge. The ideals of material harmony (true beauty) are essential for understanding of the human existence.

ΣΧΟΛΗ, Vol. 8, Issue 1, complete text

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