In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

618 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 35:4 OCTOBER ~997 purely ethical concept? Anyway, what of • ~p6otv of 1118b18, l177a13-5--and indeed, Cp6oet~6~a as defined at 1154b2o? Naturam expellasfurca... Some smaller points. What is the essential difference between tt~16evbg~v6e~lgand ~t~ I ovvaQL01m~3p~evov(2o-a3)? Is 'the life of honour' a6~6Q• (21)? See lo95b22-32. Is &Ta06g the opposite of 6• (47-48)? See 1lo7b4-8, 1lo9a3- 5, 1117b23ff. Of course, an &u has r215 ~tQeTfi (1144b3o-32)--since 6QeT~I is the nominal counterpart of &),a06g. On p. 82, passage VI, one should emphasize ~Qbg (b/s) in a. and yw0Q~eLV [not ~(,o~ao0aL] in b., to help the argument. The bibliography (163-67) does not include the items cited in notes 2o, 23, 57, 158. And why should ancient commentators be cited sometimes (nn. 54-55) by their own names, and sometimes (nn. 113, 119, 12o-21, 174) by the names of their modern editors? Does one cite, e.g., "Bywater 0985), Ethica Nicomachea lo96a16-17"? JOHN GLUCKER Tel-Aviv University Lloyd P. Gerson, editor. The Cambridge Companion to Plotinus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Pp. xiii + 462. Cloth, $59"95" Paper, $18.95. Plotinus' readers must accept that many traditional issues of Greek philosophy fade into relative insignificance, and that other issues are tackled within a Plotinian metaphysical framework, which may seem alien. By thinking within this framework, which may acquire new plausibility as it begins to appeal to the Platonist sleeping within us, we come to appreciate the way that issues arise for Plotinus and the strategies which he adopts for solving them. This book demonstrates that Plotinian scholarship today is close to being able to work comfortably within this framework without importing traditional Christian perspectives, and goes some way toward helping the reader to do so. Plato, while notoriously averse to tackling one topic in isolation from others, does allow interpreters to confine themselves to the treatment of one aspect of his thought at a time. This is reflected in Richard Kraut's Cambridge Companion to Plato (1992). In Plotinus, writing not for the varied interests of the outside world but for the elucidation of problems worrying devotees, it is virtually impossible to find topics which can be separated successfully from the central metaphysical vision of the school. However much we immerse ourselves in the problems of lesser topics of philosophy, these outward movements must seemingly end in our reversion to Intellect and to the One. One may quote Georges Leroux, who at the end of his chapter on Human Freedom says (311): "In the Plotinian conception of human freedom, therefore, what strikes us most is the strength of the metaphysical premises." The majority of the sixteen individual chapters, in spite of the apparent range of topics, seem to return sooner or later to Plotinus' doctrines of the One and of Intellect. The very nature of Plotinus' work encourages just this, making the composition of a satisfactory companion to Plotinus more of a problem than for Plato, and placing a heavier burden on an editor in ensuring that the various pictures of Intellect are compatible. There is no glaring inconsistency, but there is tension over details, and BOOK REVIEWS 619 some repetition--though this will be helpful for those who consult only one or two articles in the volume at a time. This book attempts to present Plotinus' philosophy in its own right. Except in the concluding two chapters (D'Ancona Costa and Rist, who capably examine Plotinus in relation to successors), there is litde attempt to put Plotinus firmly in a historical context. The Index Locorum allots less than five pages to thinkers other than Plotinus, and about fifteen to Plotinus himself. It cites no passage of Numenius; apart from Porphyry's Life of Plotinus, later Neoplatonists are poorly represented (except in D'Ancona Costa's chapter). Gerson's useful introduction is weakest on philosophy between Plato and Plotinus: "Some of it, like that of the Skeptics belonging to Plato's Academy, makes contentious claims to be authentic transmitters of Plato's true meaning ." Contentious claims, authenticity, and truth are hardly the materials of ancient Skepticism. Perhaps Gatti...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 618-620
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.