By Anna Marmodoro, Irini-Fotini Viltanioti

Is energy the essence of divinity, or are divine powers specific from divine essence? Are they divine hypostases or are they divine attributes? Are powers comparable to omnipotence, omniscience, and so on. modes of divine job? How do they take place? within which method will we understand them? Is there a multiplicity of gods whose powers fill the cosmos or is there just one God from whom all power(s) derive(s) and whose power(s) permeate(s) every thing? those are questions that develop into vital to philosophical and theological debates in past due Antiquity (roughly such as the interval moment to the 6th centuries). at the one hand, the Pagan Neoplatonic thinkers of this period postulate a posh hierarchy of gods, whose powers convey the limitless strength of the ineffable One. nevertheless, Christians proclaim the lifestyles of just one God, one divine strength or one "Lord of all powers."

Divided into major sections, the 1st a part of Divine Powers in past due Antiquity examines facets of the thought of divine strength as constructed via the 4 significant figures of Neoplatonism: Plotinus (c. 204-270), Porphyry (c. 234-305), Iamblichus (c.245-325), and Proclus (412-485). It makes a speciality of a side of the proposal of divine energy that has been to this point fairly ignored within the literature. half investigates the inspiration of divine energy in early Christian authors, from the recent testomony to the Alexandrian institution (Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius the nice) and, extra, to the Cappadocian Fathers (Basil the nice, Gregory of Nyssa), in addition to in a few of these authors' assets (the Septuagint, Philo of Alexandria). the conventional view has a tendency to miss the truth that the Bible, fairly the recent testomony, used to be at the very least as very important as Platonic philosophical texts within the shaping of the early Christian puzzling over the Church's doctrines. while tough the got interpretation by way of redressing the stability among the Bible and Greek philosophical texts, the essays within the moment portion of this ebook however argue for the philosophical worth of early Christian reflections at the thought of divine strength. the 2 teams of thinkers that every of the sections take care of (the Platonic-Pagan and the Christian one) proportion mostly an analogous highbrow and cultural history; they're serious about an identical primary questions; they usually frequently have interaction in additional or much less public philosophical and theological discussion, without delay influencing one another.

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24 Plot. V 1, 7, 9–17: Ὧν οὖν ἐστι δύναμις, ταῦτα ἀπὸ τῆς δυνάμεως οἷον σχιζομένη ἡ νόησις καθορᾷ· ἢ οὐκ ἂν ἦν νοῦς. Ἐπεὶ καὶ παρ’ αὐτοῦ ἔχει ἤδη οἷον συναίσθησιν τῆς δυνάμεως, ὅτι δύναται οὐσίαν. Αὐτὸς γοῦν δι’ αὐτὸν καὶ ὁρίζει τὸ εἶναι αὐτῷ τῇ παρ’ ἐκείνου δυνάμει καὶ ὅτι οἷον μέρος ἕν τι τῶν ἐκείνου καὶ ἐξ ἐκείνου ἡ οὐσία, καὶ ῥώννυται παρ’ ἐκείνου καὶ τελειοῦται εἰς οὐσίαν παρ’ ἐκείνου καὶ ἐξ ἐκείνου. 25 Plot. VI 7, 15, 18–32: ἣν γὰρ ἐκομίζετο δύναμιν ἀδυνατῶν ἔχειν συνέθραυε καὶ πολλὰ ἐποίησε τὴν μίαν, ἵν’ οὕτω δύναιτο κατὰ μέρος φέρειν.

VI 7, 12, 21–30: πάντων ζωῆς πεπληρωμένων καὶ οἷον ζεόντων. Ἔστι δ’ αὐτῶν ἡ οἷον ῥοὴ ἐκ μιᾶς πηγῆς, οὐχ οἷον ἑνός τινος πνεύματος ἢ θερμότητος μιᾶς, ἀλλὰ οἷον εἴ τις ἦν ποιότης μία πάσας ἐν αὐτῇ ἔχουσα καὶ σῴζουσα τὰς ποιότητας, γλυκύτητος μετὰ εὐωδίας, καὶ ὁμοῦ οἰνώδης ποιότης καὶ χυλῶν ἁπάντων δυνάμεις καὶ χρωμάτων ὄψεις καὶ ὅσα ἁφαὶ γινώσκουσιν· ἔστωσαν δὲ καὶ ὅσα ἀκοαὶ ἀκούουσι, πάντα μέλη καὶ ῥυθμὸς πᾶς. 17 Being, movement, rest, sameness, and otherness are the ‘greatest kinds’ (from Plato’s Sophist 254 d–255 a) applied to Intellect by Plotinus.

Nothing is entirely without soul or life, even apparently non-living things. In the Soul-dimension we experience each thing not as a simple unity but as a ‘one and many’. In other words, we experience multiplicity (legs, arms, human beings, rocks, and so on) but we can do so because of the unity that lies hidden in each and in the whole, given to it by the organizing soul (VI 9, 1, 1–6): The soul is many and one, even if it is not composed of parts; for there are a great many powers in her, reasoning, desiring, apprehending, which are held together by the one as by a bond.

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