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  • The Enneads of Plotinus. A Commentaryby Paul Kalligas
  • Lloyd P. Gerson
Paul Kalligas. The Enneadsof Plotinus. A Commentary. Volume 1. Translated by Elizabeth Key Fowden and Nicolas Pilavachi. Princeton-Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2014. Pp. xxii + 706. Cloth, $85.00.

This book is a translation into English from modern Greek of the first three volumes of a projected series of six volumes of commentaries on the Enneadsof Plotinus by Paul Kalligas. The first volume of the project appeared in 1994; volume five appeared in 2013. The sixth volume is in progress. Volume 2 of the translation will include the material from the last three Greek volumes. In the original volumes, Kalligas included a Greek text based on the iterations of the edition by Paul Henry and H. R. Schwyzer, principally the editio maiorappearing in three volumes (1951, 1959, 1973) and the editio minorin three volumes (1964, 1976, 1982). Kalligas’s Greek text includes in its apparatustextual suggestions and corrections by a number of scholars, including himself. These volumes also have a modern Greek translation of each of the Enneadsas well as Porphyry’s Life of Plotinusfound in the first volume. The translation by Fowden and Pilavachi does not include either the Greek text or, naturally, an English translation of the modern Greek translation of the ancient Greek. Hence, they have recourse to what is now the standard English translation by A. H. Armstrong in seven volumes (1966–88), adjusting some of Kalligas’s commentary material which is keyed to his own translation. The volume also includes a new preface by Kalligas (2013), a key to the many, many variant readings suggested by him, and a basic bibliography. Each treatise in the Enneadsis preceded by a general introduction and a précisof the sections of the work.

In the last twenty-five years, there have appeared dozens of commentaries on individual treatises of the Enneads, especially in English and French, but also in German and Italian. In addition, there have been a slew of monographs, both comprehensive in scope and also more focused on particular issues. Kalligas’s commentary deftly summarizes the state-of-the-art for numerous philological and philosophical issues. Although, understandably enough, other more focused works are able to explore complex issues in greater detail, it would be difficult to think of a single volume that is a more reliable guide to the mind of Plotinus. With the appearance of volume 2, the English reader will have the essential basic guide to the works of the great Platonist.

A notable feature of the commentary is Kalligas’s enrichment of the index fontiumof Henry and Schwyzer. That index originally contained almost fifty pages of the sources used by Plotinus throughout his writings, where the term ‘source’ refers to anything from a direct quotation to a subtle allusion. The principal sources are Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics, but there are hundreds of references to the pre-Socratics, the poets, and figures in later ancient philosophy, including Plotinus’s near contemporaries. The importance of these sources for understanding the context of Plotinus’s often highly complex and abstract discussions is difficult to exaggerate. As Henry and Schwyzer well knew, their index constituted only a start to the process of recovering the full context of Plotinus’s logoi, a process that is no doubt impossible to complete. Since the appearance of the editio maior, scholars have added numerous additions to the index. Indeed, Henry and Schwyzer continued to do so themselves for decades after the edition appeared. Kalligas in his commentaries has added [End Page 327]numerous fontesand parallel passages from the early Church fathers, the doxographers, papyri, the Hermetic corpus, the Nag Hammadi Codices, as well as parallel passages from Plotinus’s own interpreters and followers, especially Porphyry, making full use of Andrew Smith’s edition of the fragments of Porphyry (1994). Since Porphyry is the one to whom we owe the collection of Plotinus’s treatises into the edition known as the Enneads, and since Porphyry was a self-proclaimed assiduous follower of Plotinus, such material is an indispensable additional source for reckoning with some of...