The Structure of Being and the Search for the Good: Essays on Ancient and Early Medieval Platonism, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Structure of Being and the Search for the Good

Essays on Ancient and Early Medieval Platonism, 1st Edition

By Dominic O'Meara


318 pages

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Hardback: 9780860787655
pub: 1998-12-22

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The essays in this book discuss a number of the central metaphysical and ethical themes that engaged the minds of Platonist philosophers during late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. One particular theme is that of the structure of reality, with the associated questions of the relations between soul and body and between intelligible and sensible reality, and the existence of mathematical objects. Other topics relate to evil and beauty, political life and its purpose, the philosophical search for the absolute Good, and how one can speak about this Absolute and have union with it. Going from Plato to Eriugena, the ways in which Platonist philosophers understood and developed these themes are analysed and compared.


'… the essays reprinted here constitute a valuable source of insights into later ancient and early medieval philosophy.' Review of Metaphysics

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Faut-il philosopher? Le voyage d’une question dans le monde antique; The chain of being in the light of recent work on Platonic hierarchies; Man as political animal: on the relation between Plato and Aristotle; Remarks on dualism and the definition of soul in Aristotle’s De anima; Being in Numenius and Plotinus: some points of comparison; The problem of omnipresence in Plotinus Ennead VI, 4-5: a reply; Gnosticism and the making of the world in Plotinus; Plotinus on how soul acts on body; Evil in Plotinus (Enn.I,8); Textes de Plotin sur la beauté: initiation et remarques; Le problème du discours sur l’indicible chez Plotin; The freedom of the One; A propos d’un témoignage sur l’expérience mystique de Plotin (Enn.IV 8[6], 1, 1-11); Le problème de la métaphysique dans l’antiquité tardive; La question de l’être et du non-être des objets mathématiques chez Plotin et Jamblique; Proclus’ First Prologue to Euclid: The problem of its major source; Vie politique et divinisation dans la philosophie néoplatonicienne; Aspects of political philosophy in Iamblichus; Evêques et philosophes-rois: philosophie politique néoplatonicienne chez le Pseudo-Denys; L’investigation et les investigateurs dans le De divisione naturae de Jean Scot Erigène; The concept of Natura in John Scottus Eriugena; The problem of speaking about God in John Scottus Eriugena; The metaphysical use of mathematical concepts in Eriugena; Eriugena and Aquinas on the Beatific Vision; Addenda and Corrigenda; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General