Plato, Plotinus and beyond

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Plato, Plotinus and beyond

Post by Andriko » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:17 pm

I didn't want to resurrect an old thread (viewtopic.php?t=65315), but the question is similar;

Do any of you have much experience with Platonism and the Platonists?

This is where I would like to focus my Greek at present, and am at a stage where I think I can grasp Plato, having read the Crito and Euthyphro and more or less understood them. And besides, much of Plato's witting is lively and engaging, and so not too hard to pick up (as long as you don't try to read 'Parmenides'...).

Plotinus and the Platonists after him, however, are impregnable even in translation (I sometimes feel that the English might be harder to comprehend than the Greek).

Is there somewhere where I can find the vocabulary needed (many of the words I find Plotinus using have meanings beyond the expected - θεάομαι, for example, is used in the sense of 'contemplate'), and which Plato to begin with as a way of building up to the much more challenging stuff?

And if anyone knows of any interesting side literature on the subject (Thomas Taylor I suppose!), I'd be happy to listen.



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Re: Plato, Plotinus and beyond

Post by mahasacham » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:24 am

You would probably be interested in the Noetic Society. They have a youtube channel with a lot of lectures from the 80s and 90s on Platonism. They also have a lot of stuff on internet archive. ... oa/page/n5

If you don't mind interlinear texts.

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Re: Plato, Plotinus and beyond

Post by Tugodum » Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:04 pm

A Plotinus Reader has been published recently which you may find helpful, although it received at least one rather harsh review: ... p94_14.xml
(I haven't looked into it myself)

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Re: Plato, Plotinus and beyond

Post by mwh » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:07 pm

Andriko, It’s a huge jump from simple Platonic dialogues such as the Crito and the Euthyphro to the metaphysical intricacies of Plotinus, and I would think twice before attempting the leap. You don’t know what you’re in for. The essay by E.R. Dodds that I mentioned in the earlier thread put Plotinus on a new footing, however, and to judge from the description it looks as if the recent Reader mentioned by Tugodum may make a good introduction. (It includes Plotinan vocab, but the BMCR review rightly warns that Plotinus’ style of language “challenges advanced scholars”).

For philosophical background and context I’d recommend A.A. Long’s “Greek Models of Mind and Self,” which goes from Homer to Plato, Aristotle, the Hellenistic philosophies, and eventually neoPlatonism and Plotinus.

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