From volume 15 of the Thomas Taylor Series, p. 195 to 239.
Proclus on the Gods, prayer and perception. [64A to 79B]
It is necessary therefore, prior to all other things, that we should know something manifest concerning prayer, what its essence is, and what its perfection, and whence it is imparted to souls. For the philosopher Porphyry indeed, describing those among the ancients that admitted prayer, and those that did not, leads us from one opinion to another, and says in short, that neither those who are diseased according to the first kind of impiety, derive any benefit from prayer, since they do not admit that there are Gods, nor those who labour under the second kind, and entirely subvert providence, granting indeed that there are Gods, but denying their providential energies. Nor are they benefited by it, who admit indeed the providence of the Gods, but assert that all things are produced by them from necessity. For there is no longer any advantage to be derived from prayer, if things of a contingent nature have not any existence. But such as assert that the Gods providentially attend to all things, and that many things that are generated are contingent and may subsist otherwise, these very properly admit the necessity of prayers, and acknowledge that they correct our life. Porphyry also adds, that prayer especially pertains to worthy men, because it is a contact with divinity. But the similar loves to be conjoined to the similar: and the worthy man is most similar to the Gods. Because likewise those who embrace virtue are in custody, and are inclosed in the body as in a prison, they ought to request the Gods that they may migrate from hence. Besides, since we are as children torn from our parents, it is fit we should pray that we may return to our true parents the Gods. Those also resemble such as are deprived of their fathers and mothers, who do not think it requisite to pray and be converted to the Gods. All nations likewise, that have excelled in wisdom, have diligently applied themselves to prayer; among the Indians the Brachmans, among the Persians the Magi, and of the Greeks the most theological, who instituted initiatory rites and mysteries. But the Chaldeans venerate every other divinity, and likewise the virtue itself of the Gods, which they denominate a Goddess; so far are they from despising sacred worship, on account of the possession of virtue. And in addition to all this, as we are parts of the universe it is fit that we should be in want of the universe. For a conversion to the whole imparts salvation to every thing. If therefore you possess virtue, you should invoke that which antecedently comprehends all virtue. For that which is all-good, will also be the cause to you of appropriate good. Or if you explore a certain corporeal good, there is a power in the world which comprehends all body. It is necessary therefore that perfection should from thence be derived to the parts. And this is the sum of what is said by Porphyry on this subject.
The divine Iamblichus however, does not think that a history of this kind pertains to what is here proposed to be considered. For Plato is not now speaking about atheistical men, but about such as are wise, and able to converse with the Gods. Nor does he speak of such as are dubious about the works of piety; but to such as wish to be saved by those who are the saviours of wholes, he delivers the power of prayer, and its admirable and supernatural perfection which transcends all expectation.
It is fit however, that transferring what he says to what is more usual and more known to the reader, we should render his meaning clear, and assign arguments concerning prayer which accord with the doctrine of Plato. From hence therefore we must begin: All beings are the progeny of the Gods, by whom they are produced without a medium, and in whom they are firmly established. For the progression of things which perpetually subsist, and cohere from permanent causes, is not alone perfected by a certain continuation, but immediately subsists from the Gods, from whence all things are generated, however distant they may be from the divinities. And this is no less true, even though asserted of matter itself. For a divine nature is not absent from any thing, but is equally present to all things. Hence though you should assume the last of beings, in these also you will find divinity. For The One is every where; and in consequence of its absolute dominion, every thing receives its nature and coherence from the Gods. As all things however proceed, so likewise, they are not separated from the Gods, but radically abide in them, as the causes and sustainers of their existence. For where can they recede, since the Gods primarily comprehend all things in their embrace? For whatever is placed as separate from the Gods has not any kind of subsistence. But all beings are contained by the Gods and reside in their natures, after the manner of a circular comprehension. Hence, by a wonderful mode of subsistence, all things proceed, and yet are not, nor indeed can be separated from the Gods; because all offspring when torn from their parents, immediately recur to the immense vastness of non-entity. But in a certain respect they are established in them; and in short, proceed in themselves, but abide in the Gods. Since however, having proceeded, it is requisite that they should be converted and return, imitating the evolution into light, and conversion of the Gods to their cause, in order that these being arranged conformably to the perfective triad, may again be contained by the Gods and the first unities, - hence they receive from them a certain secondary perfection, by which they may be able to convert themselves to the goodness of the divinities, in order that being at first rooted in, they may again through conversion be established in them, forming a certain circle, which originates from and terminates in the Gods.
All things therefore, both abide in, and convert themselves to the Gods, receiving this power from the divinities, together with twofold impressions according to essence; the one, that they may abide there, but the other that, having proceeded, they may convert themselves [to their causes]. And these things we may survey not only in souls, but also in inanimate natures. For what else ingenerates in these a sympathy with other powers, but the symbols which they are allotted by nature, some of which are allied to this, but others to that series of Gods? For nature being supernally suspended from the Gods, and distributed from their orders, inserts also in bodies impressions of their alliance to the divinities. In some indeed, inserting solar, but in others lunar impressions, and in others again, the symbol of some other God. And these indeed, convert themselves to the Gods; some, as to the Gods simply, but others as to particular Gods; nature thus perfecting her progeny according to different peculiarities of the divinities. The Demiurgus of the universe therefore, by a much greater priority, impressed these symbols in souls, by which they might be able to abide in themselves, and again convert themselves to the sources of their being. And through the symbol of unity indeed he conferred on them stability; but through intellect, he imparted to them the power of conversion.
But to this conversion prayer is of the greatest utility. For it attracts to itself the beneficence of the Gods, through those ineffable symbols which the father of souls has disseminated in them. It likewise unites those who pray with those to whom prayer is addressed; conjoins the intellect of the Gods with the words of those who pray; excites the will of those who perfectly comprehend good to the abundant communication of it; is the fabricator of divine persuasion; and establishes in the Gods all that we possess.
To a perfect and true prayer however, there is required in the first place, a knowledge of all the divine orders to which he who prays approaches. For no one will accede to the Gods in a proper manner, unless he has a knowledge of their peculiarities. Hence also the oracle admonishes, that a fire-heated conception has the first order in sacred worship. But in the second place, there is required a conformation of our life with that which is divine; and this accompanied with all purity, chastity, discipline, and order, through which our concerns being introduced to the Gods, we shall attract their beneficence, and our souls will become subject to them. In the third place, contact is necessary, according to which we touch the divine essence with the summit of our soul, and verge to a union with it. But there is yet farther required, an approximating adhesion: for thus the oracle calls it, when he says, the mortal approximating to fire will possess a light from the Gods. For this imparts to us a greater communion with, and a more manifest participation of the light of the Gods. In the last place, union succeeds establishing the one of the soul in The One of the Gods, and causing our energy to become one with divine energy; according to which we are no longer ourselves, but are absorbed as it were in the Gods, abiding in divine light, and circularly comprehended by it. And this is the best end of true prayer, in order that the conversion of the soul may be conjoined with its permanency, and that every thing which proceeds from The One of the Gods, may again be established in The One, and the light which is in us may be comprehended in the light of the Gods.
Prayer therefore, is no small part of the whole ascent of souls. Nor is he who possesses virtue superior to the want of the good which proceeds from prayer; but on the contrary the ascent of the soul is effected through it, and together with this, piety to the Gods, which is the summit of virtue. Nor in short, ought any other to pray than he who is transcendently good, as the Athenian guest [in Plato] says. For to such a one, converse with the Gods becomes most efficacious to the attainment of a happy life. But the contrary is naturally adapted to befal the vicious. For it is not lawful for the pure to be touched by the impure. Hence, it is necessary that he who generously enters on the exercise of prayer, should render the Gods propitious to him, and should excite in himself conceptions full of intellectual light. For the favor and benignity of more exalted beings, is the most effectual incentive to their communication with our natures. And it is requisite to continue without intermission in the worship of divinity. For [according to the oracle] the rapid Gods perfect the mortal constantly employed in prayer. It is also necessary to observe a stable order in the performance of divine works; to exert those virtues which purify and elevate the soul from generation, together with faith, truth, and love; to preserve this triad and hope of good, this immutable reception of divine light, and segregation from every other pursuit, that thus becoming alone, we may associate with solitary deity, and not endeavour to conjoin ourselves with multitude to The One. For he who attempts this, effects the very contrary, and separates himself from the Gods. For as it is not lawful in conjunction with non-entity to associate with being; so neither is it possible with multitude to be conjoined with The One. Such therefore are the particulars which ought first to be known concerning prayer; viz. that the essence of it congregates and binds souls to the Gods, or rather, that it unites all secondary to primary natures. For as the great Theodorus says, all things pray except the first.
The perfection however of prayer, beginning from more common goods, ends in divine union, and gradually accustoms the soul to divine light. But its efficacious energy both replenishes us with good, and causes our concerns to be common with those of the Gods. With respect to the causes of prayer too, we may infer, that so far as they are effective, they are the efficacious powers of the Gods, converting and calling upwards the soul to the Gods themselves. But that so far as they are final or perfective, they are the immaculate goods of the soul, which they derive as the fruits of being established in the Gods. That so far also as they are paradigmatical, they are the primordial causes of beings, which proceed from The Good, and are united to it, according to one ineffable union. But that so far as they are formal, they assimilate souls to the Gods, and give perfection to the whole of their life. And that so far as they are material, they are the impressions or symbols inserted by the Demiurgus in the essences of souls, in order that they may be excited to a reminiscence of the Gods who produced them, and whatever else exists.
Moreover, we may likewise define the modes of prayer which are various, according to the genera and species of the Gods. For prayer is either demiurgic, or cathartic, or vivific. And the demiurgic is such as that which is offered for the sake of showers and winds. For the demiurgi are the causes of the generation of these. And the prayers of the Athenians for winds procuring serenity of weather are addressed to these Gods. But the cathartic prayer is that which is offered for the purpose of averting diseases originating from pestilence, and other contagious distempers; such as we have written in our temples. And the vivific prayer is that with which we worship the Gods, who are the causes of vivification, on account of the origin and maturity of fruits. Hence prayers are of a perfective nature, because they elevate us to these orders of the Gods. And he who considers such prayers in a different manner, fails in properly apprehending the nature and efficacy of prayer. But again, with reference to the things for which we pray; those prayers, which regard the salvation of the soul; obtain the first place; those which pertain to the good temperament of the body, the second; and those rank in the third place, which are offered for the sake of external concerns. And lastly, with respect to the division of the times in which we offer up prayers, it is either according to the seasons of the year, or the centers of the solar revolution; or we establish multiform prayers according to other such-like conceptions.
Tim. "But, O Socrates, all such as participate but in the least degree of temperance, [i.e. wisdom] in the impulse to every undertaking, whether small or great, always invoke divinity."
Do you see what kind of an hypothesis Plato refers to the Timaeus; what kind of an auditor of it he introduces, viz. Socrates; and what a beginning of the discussion he has described? For the hypothesis indeed, refers to the whole fabrication of things; but the auditor is prepared to be led to it conformably to the one intellect and one theory of wholes. Hence also he excites Timaeus to prayer. But the beginning of the discussion, being impelled from the invocation of the Gods, thus imitates the progression of beings, which first abiding in the Gods, are thus allotted a generation from them. Since however, it is said, that "all who in the least degree participate of temperance always invoke divinity in the impulse to every undertaking, whether it be small or great," let us see from what kind of conception they make this invocation of the Gods in every thing in which they engage. For it is not probable that those who are temperate will not make real being the scope to which they tend. And those who establish a pure intellect as the leader of their theory; who deposit the beautiful and the good in the prerogatives of the soul, and not in human affairs, nor in external fortunes; and who perceive the power of providence extending through all beings, and harmonizing all things to the universe, so that both the whole and the parts may subsist most beautifully, and that nothing may be destitute of the providence which proceeds from deity to all things; these will genuinely apprehend the science concerning the Gods. But again, perceiving this to be the case, they will very properly in each action, and according to each energy, call on divinity as the co-adjutor of their impulse, introducing their productions to the universe in conjunction with wholes, and establishing themselves in the goodness of the Gods. For things which appear to be small, enjoy the providence of the Gods, and are great so far as they are suspended from them; just again, as things which are great in their own nature, when they separate themselves from divinity, are seen to be perfectly small, and of no worth.
These things therefore, temperance imparts to souls, not being a certain human habit, nor approaching to what is called continence, but a divinely inspired energy of the soul, converting herself to herself and to divinity, perceiving the causes of all things in the Gods, and from thence surveying both other things, and such as proceed [into a visible subsistence], through which as auxiliaries, we also may be able to recur to the Gods, by means of the gifts which they insert in us. The soul also, when thus converted to herself, finds symbols of the Gods in each even of the smallest things, and through these renders every thing familiar and allied to the Gods. Since however, the Gods produced the whole of our essence and gave us a self-motive nature in order to the choice of good, their producing power is particularly manifested in our external energies; though when we consult, we require their providential attention; (which the Athenians manifest by honoring Jupiter the Counsellor) and when we choose, we are in want of their assistance; in order that by consulting, we may discover what is advantageous; and that in choosing, we may not through passion verge to that which is worse; but rather, that both when acting, and when impelled, we may perceive that the self-motive nature possesses the smallest power, and that the whole of it is suspended from the providence of the Gods. Hence Timaeus also says, that those who are temperate always invoke the Gods, in the impulse to every undertaking. For in our elections indeed, we are more able to separate providence from that which is in our power; but we are incapable of doing this in our impulses because in these we have less of the self-motive energy. For that which is in our power is not so extended as the providence of the Gods; but as we have frequently said, superior energize prior to secondary natures, and together with and posterior to them, and on all sides comprehend the energies of subordinate beings. But, says the Epicurean Eurimachus, how can we avoid proceeding to infinity, if in the impulse to every small thing, we require prayer: for though we should pray, we shall be in want of another prayer, and we shall no where stop? And Porphyry dissolves the doubt as follows: that it is not said it is necessary to pray on account of every thing, but in the impulse to everything. We are impelled therefore to things, but we are not impelled to impulses, so that there is not a progression to infinity. Or does not the doubt still remain? For we are impelled to prayer, so that in this we shall agin require prayer, and an impulse to this again to infinity. Hence it is better to say, that he who prays respecting any thing, prior to this, acknowledges to the Gods, that he is allotted a power from them of conversion to them, and that to other things indeed good is imparted through prayer, but to prayer through itself. It does not therefore require another prayer, since it comprehends good in itself, and procures communion with a divine nature.
"It is necessary therefore, that we should do this, who are about to speak in a certain respect concerning the universe, whether it was generated, or is without generation, unless we are perfectly unwise."
Timaeus evinces how very admirable the hypothesis is, but elegantly preserves himself in the order of a prudent man, pursuing the medium between irony and arrogance. For having before said, that those who in the smallest degree participate of temperance, invoke divinity in the impulse to every great or small undertaking, he very much exalts his proposed subject of discussion by opposing a discourse about the universe to a small thing. But he cautiously says, not that he himself arrived at the summit of temperance [i.e. of wisdom]; for this is the contrary, to the participation of temperance in the smallest degree; but that he is not perfectly unwise. And this he says from the hypothesis, in order that he may have to show, that the power and science which he possesses, are from the work itself, but not from his own discussions. His theory therefore, will be concerning the universe, so far as it is produced by the Gods. For the world may be multifariously surveyed; either according to its corporeal-formed nature, or so far as it is full of partial and total souls; or so far as it participates of intellect. Timaeus however, considers the nature of the universe, not according to these modes only, but particularly according to its progression from the Demiurgus; where also physiology appears to be a certain theology; because things which have a natural subsistence, have in a certain respect a divine hyparxis, so far as they are generated from the Gods. And thus this must be determined.
It is usual however to doubt, why Plato here adds in a certain respect: for he says, "Those who are about to speak in a certain respect concerning the universe." And the more superficial indeed of the interpreters say, that the universe is in a certain respect unbegotten, and in a certain respect generated. Hence the discussion of it is very properly in a certain respect, as of that which is unbegotten, and in a certain respect as of that which is generated. Though Plato does not co-arrange το πη in a certain respect, with the words unbegotten and generated, but with the words about to speak. But the divine Iamblichus says that the discussion is in a certain respect about the universe, and in a certain respect not; for matter, as being indefinite in the world, may be variously considered. To this interpretation however, it may be said, that πη is co-arranged with something else, and not with the universe. Will it not therefore, be better to say with our preceptor, that words are multifariously enunciated. For the demiurgic words proceeding from intellect are of one kind, such as the Demiurgus utters to the junior Gods: for Plato says, "that the soul speaks, being moved to itself." Those words which are surveyed in science, are of another kind. And those are of another kind which are allotted the third hypostasis from intellect, and which proceed externally for the sake of discipline and communication with others. Hence Timaeus knowing that those are demiurgic words which the Demiurgus employs, but that those are scientific which he is now about to generate, but which he pre-assumes in himself, and that he makes use of external words for the sake of Socrates alone, on this account he says that he shall employ words in a certain respect about the universe. For it is one thing to use them intellectually, another scientifically, and another, for the sake of discipline; and `πη' indicates these differences of words.
Again therefore, with respect to the words, "whether it was generated, or is without generation," those interpreters read the former with an aspirate, but the latter with a soft breathing, who say that Plato speaks about the universe, so far as it was generated from a cause, or is unbegotten, in order that surveying it as generated, we may perceive the nature which it contains. And the Platonic Albinus thinks, that according to Plato the world being perpetual, has a beginning of generation, by which also it is more redundant than being; since this indeed always is, but the world in addition to existing always, has a beginning of generation, in order that it may exist always, and be generated. Not that it is generated after such a manner as to be so according to time; for in this case it would not always exist; but in short, it has the relation of generation, on account of its composition from things many and dissimilar. And it is necessary to refer its hypostasis to another cause more ancient than itself, through which always existing primarily, the world is in a certain respect, and always is, and is not only generated, but is also unbegotten. [This therefore is asserted by Albinus], though Plato no where in what follows says, that the universe is in a certain respect generated, and in a certain respect unbegotten. Others again, read both the parts with an aspirate, in order that Timaeus may say, he is about to speak concerning the universe so far as it is generated, and so far as it is unbegotten; erring in the same way as those prior to them; unless indeed they assert that the universe was generated according to form, but unbegotten according to its nurse [matter]. For thus also Timaeus says, that its nurse is unbegotten, but that the world was generated, as receiving form from divinity. But Porphyry and Iamblichus read both the parts with a soft breathing, in order that what is said may be whether the universe was generated or is unbegotten. For this is to be considered, prior to all other things; since it contributes in the highest degree to the consummation of the whole of physiology, rightly to admit that the world was generated or is unbegotten. For from this hypothesis we shall be able to see what the nature is of its essence and powers, as will be manifest to us shortly after. The discussion therefore, concerning the universe, will be for the sake of discipline, and will proceed from this principle, whether the world was generated, or is without generation; and from this, other things must be woven together in a consequent order.
"It is necessary, therefore, that invoking all the Gods and Goddesses, we should pray that what we assert may especially be agreeable to their divinities, and that in the ensuing discourse we may be consistent with ourselves."
The division of male and female comprehends in itself all the plenitudes of the divine orders. For the cause of stable power and sameness, the supplier of being, and that which is the first principle of conversion to all things, are comprehended in the male. But that which emits from itself all-various progressions and separations, measures of life and prolific powers, is contained in the female. Hence, Timaeus, elevating himself to all the Gods, very properly comprehends the whole orders of them, in a division into these genera. Such a division, likewise, is most adapted to the proposed theory. For this universe is full of these twofold divine genera. For heaven has to earth (that we may assume the extremes) the order of the male to the female; because the motion of heaven imparts productive principles and powers to every thing [sublunary]; and earth receiving the effluxions thence proceeding, is parturient with and generates all-various animals and plants. Of the Gods also in the heavens, some are distinguished according to the male, but others according to the female. And of those powers that govern generation in an unbegotten manner, some are of the former, but others of the latter co-ordination. In short, the demiurgic choir is abundant in the universe, and there are many rivers of life, some of which exhibit the form of the male, but others of the female characteristic. And what occasion is there to say much on this subject? For from the liberated unities, both masculine and feminine, various orders proceed into the universe. Hence, he who is entering on the discussion of the universe, very properly invokes the Gods and Goddesses, from both which the universe receives its completion, and beseeches them that what he asserts may be consistent, and particularly that it may be agreeable to their divinities. For this is the sublimest end of theory, to run upward to a divine intellect; and as all things are uniformly comprehended in it, to arrange the discussion of things agreeably to this causal comprehension. But that which is the second end, and is consequent to this is, for the whole theory to receive its completion conformably to human intellect and the light of science. For the whole, the perfect, and the uniform, pre-exist in a divine intellect; but that which is partial and falls short of divine simplicity, subsists about a mortal intellect.
Why however, does Timaeus say, that it is necessary to pray, and magnificently proclaim that the Gods and Goddesses should be invoked, yet does not pray, though an opportunity for so doing presents itself, but immediately converts himself to the proposed discussion? We reply, it is because some things have their end comprehended in the very will itself; but others, distribute another energy after the will, and through action accomplish that which was the object of the will. And a life indeed, conformable to philosophy, depends on our will, and a deficiency in it, is contrary to the will. [But the consequences resulting from a life conversant with external actions, are not dependent on our will;] for the end of them is not placed in us. We may justly, therefore, rank prayer among the number of things which have all their perfection in the will. For the wish to pray, is a desire of conversion to the Gods. And this desire itself conducts the desiring soul, and conjoins it to divinity, which is the first work of prayer. Hence it is not proper first to wish, and afterwards to pray, but he that wishes to pray, will at the same time have prayer as the measure of his wish, one person indeed in a greater, but another in a less degree. Farther still, this also is the work of a true prayer, for those things for which we pray to be common to the Gods, both according to powers and energies, and for us to effect them in conjunction with the Gods. - Thus if some one should pray to the powers that amputate matter, and obliterate the stains arising from generation, but should himself particularly endeavour to effect this, through the cathartic virtues; such a one in conjunction with the Gods, would entirely accomplish a dissolution of his material bonds. This therefore Timaeus here effects. For those things which he prays to the Gods to accomplish, he himself completes, disposing the whole discourse according to human intellect, but so as to be in conformity to the intellect of the Gods.
"And such is my prayer to the Gods with reference to myself; but as to what respects you, it is requisite to pray that you may easily learn, and that I may be able to exhibit what I scientifically conceive, in the clearest manner about the proposed subjects of discussion. [According to my opinion therefore, the following division must first be made.]"
The exhortation of the auditors, is a thing consequent to the prayers [of Timaeus]. For it is necessary that the replenishing source being suspended from its proper causes, should previously excite its recipients, and convert them to itself, prior to the plenitude which it confers; in order that becoming more adapted, they may happily receive the intellectual conceptions which it imparts. For thus the participation will become more perfect to them, and the gift will be rendered more easy to the giver. Moreover, this very circumstance of facility, is adapted to those that imitate the whole fabrication; from which abiding and rejoicing in itself, all things proceed to the effects which it excites. Farther still, to produce one series, through the contact of secondary with prior natures, adumbrates the demiurgic series, which proceeds as far as to the last of things. For if the auditors receive what is said conformably to the intellect of the Gods, it will happen that the whole conference will in reality be referred to one intellect, and one intellectual conception. Besides this also, the self-motive nature of souls is sufficiently indicated, that being moved by the Gods, they also move themselves, and produce from themselves sciences. For the words, "what I scientifically conceive," exhibit the energy which is impelled from a life whose power is free.
According to my opinion therefore, these things are first to be considered; that Timaeus being a Pythagorean, and preserving the form of Pythagoric discussions, is immediately exhibited to us as such, from the very beginning. For Socrates does not enunciatively declare his opinions to others, but having dialectically purified their conceptions, unfolds truth into light; who also said to them, that he knew nothing except to make an assertion [or give a reason] and receive one. But Timaeus, as also addressing his discourse to men, says that he shall enunciate his own dogmas, not at all busying himself with foreign opinions, but pursuing one path of science. Moreover, the word εδοξα, i.e. I am of opinion, is assumed here very aptly, and appropriately to what has been before said. For of the whole rational soul, one part is intellect, another is dianoia, and a third is opinion. And the first of these indeed, is conjoined to the Gods, the second produces the sciences, and the third imparts them to others. This man therefore, knowing these things, through prayer adapts his own intellect to the intellect of the Gods. For this is manifested by the words, "that what we assert may especially be agreeable to their divinities, and that in the ensuing discourse we may be consistent with ourselves." But through exhortations, he excites the dianoetic part of the souls of his auditors. For the words, what I scientifically conceive, have an indication of this kind. The doxastic part therefore remains, which receiving a scientific division from dianoia, delivers the streams of it to others. This however is not ambiguous, nor divided about sensibles, nor does the formal distinction of it consist in hypolepsis alone; but it is filled from intellect and dianoia, surveys the demiurgic reason, and distinguishes the nature of things. These particulars also, are sufficiently assimilated to the paradigm of the speaker. For there, a royal intellect precedes, according to which the paradigm is united to intelligibles; a dianoia, containing in itself the plenitudes of forms; and the first and uniform cause of opinion. Hence, the paradigm contains intelligibles in intellect, but introduces sense to the worlds, as the Oracle says; or as Plato, "such ideas therefore, as intellect perceived to be inherent in animal itself, so many he dianoetically saw this universe ought to possess."
Moreover, the distinction between beings and things generated, is consentaneous to what has been before said. For after the Gods and Goddesses, and the ineffable peculiarity which is in them, the separation of these two genera, i.e. of being and generation, takes place. For being is allied to the more excellent order of divine natures, which is always established in invariable sameness, and is intelligible. But generation is allied to the inferior order, from which, infinite progression, and all-various mutation, derive their subsistence. What then is this division, and after what manner was it produced? Was it made as if it were the section of a certain whole into parts, or as genus is divided into species, or as the division of one word into many significations, or as that of essence into accidents, or vice versa, that of accident into essences; for these are the species of division which some persons are accustomed to applaud. It is ridiculous therefore, to divide being and generation, either as accident into essences, or as essence into accidents. For accident by no means pertains to perpetual being. Nor again must they be divided as a word into its significations. For what word is there which Plato assuming as common, divides into perpetual being, and that which is generated; unless some one should say that τι, i.e. a certain thing, is thus divided by him? This division however, is not Platonic, but is derived from the Stoic custom. Is the division therefore, as that of a whole into parts? But what is that whole which consists of perpetual being, and that which is generated? Or how can paradigm and image give completion to one composition? How likewise can perpetual being be a part of a certain thing, since it is impartible, united, and simple? For the impartible is not a part of any thing which does not consist of all impartibles. But that which is generated is not impartible. Hence there is not a common genus of perpetual being, and that which is generated. For perpetual being precedes according to cause that which is generated; and the former is when the latter is not. But perpetual being not existing, which it is not lawful to suppose, generation also would vanish. How likewise, is there one genus of the first, and the last of things? For the division of genera into species, takes place in the middle psychical reasons [i.e. productive powers]. But things prior to soul, subsist in more excellent genera; and things posterior to soul, have their essence in co-ordinate natures. How therefore, can being itself and that which is generated, be arranged under one genus? What also will this genus be? For it is not being, lest that which is generated, and which never [truly] is, should be arranged in being. Nor will being itself be The One. Because every genus is divided by its proper differences, and antecedently assumes the differences, either in capacity, or in energy. But it is not lawful that The One should have differences either in capacity, lest it should be more imperfect than secondary natures; or in energy, lest it should have multitude. But as it is in short demonstrated to be superior both to power and energy, it cannot in any way whatever have differences; so that neither will there in short, be a division of The One.
What then shall we say? Must it not be this, that Plato does not now make any division whatever, but that he proposes to define separately what each of these two, perpetual being, and that which is generated, is? For it appears to me that the word `diaireteon' has the same signification with `diakrineteon'. For since he discourses about the world, the Demiurgus, and the paradigm of the world, he wishes separately to define perpetual being, and separately that which is generated, in order that through the given definitions we may know where the world, where the Demiurgus, and where the paradigm are to be arranged; and that we may not confound the orders of things, but may separate them from each other, so far as they are severally adapted to be separated. He likewise does the very same thing in the Philebus. For inquiring concerning intellect, pleasure and the mixed life, which is the best of these, he assumes the genera of them, viz. bound, infinity, and that which is mingled from bound and the infinite. For thus the order of each will become apparent, and he will manifest the peculiarity of them from their genera. There however, bound and infinity beginning from the Gods, proceed through all beings of whatever kind they may be. For these also were in intelligibles according to the stable and generative cause of intelligibles. They were likewise in the intellectual order according to the paternal and material principle of the intellectual Gods. And they were in the supermundane order, according to the demiurgic monad and vivific duad, and in the last place, according to effective and prolific powers. Here however, being and that which is generated, do not begin from the Gods; for the unities of the Gods are superior to being, and prior to these The One Itself is exempt from all beings, because the first God is one, but the other Gods are unities. Nor are being and that which is generated things which are participated by the Gods, in the same manner as the unities which are posterior to the Gods, are said to be and are participated by being. Nor do they extend as far as to the last of things. For neither is it possible to say that matter is perpetual being, since we are accustomed to call it non-being; nor that which is generated, which is not able to suffer being, lest perishing by so doing, it should entirely vanish. This therefore, will again be asserted by us. It is however, [evident] that the division is no of one certain thing, and that the proposed theory has necessarily, prior to other things, the definition of these twofold genera, in order that the discussion proceeding as if from geometrical hypotheses to the investigation of things consequent, may discover the nature of the universe, and the paternal and paradigmatic cause of it. For if the universe was generated, it was generated by a cause. There is therefore a demiurgic cause of the universe. If there is a Demiurgus, there is also a paradigm of the world, with reference to which he who constituted the universe fabricated. And thus in a consequent order the discussion about these things is introduced, and the physical theory beautifully terminates for us in theology.
"What that is which is always being, but is without generation, and what that is which is generated indeed, [or consists in becoming to be] but is never [real] being."
According to some, all beings whatever, whether they subsist paradigmatically or iconically, are comprehended in this distinction; but not all beings according to others. And the interpreters contradict each other respecting this, not a little. We however, cannot know which of these assertions it is fit to adopt, unless we examine each of them by itself. Let us then consider from the beginning, what power each of the words [of Plato] possesses in itself.
In the first place, therefore, το τι, or the what is definitive. For we are accustomed to give τι an antecedent arrangement in definitions. But it is not a genus, as the Platonic Severus thought it was, who says that το τι' is the genus of being and that which is generated; and that the all is signified by it. For thus that which is generated, and likewise perpetual being, will be all. It was also doubted by some that preceded us, why Plato did not demonstrate that there is such a thing as perpetual being, prior to the enquiry what it is. For whence is the subsistence of perpetual being evident? And it is the law in demonstrative discussions, to consider if a thing is previous to the investigation, what it is. In answer to this doubt it may be said, that perhaps Timaeus did not think this was requisite to his purpose; as the day before, it was shown by Socrates in what he said about the soul, that the soul is unbegotten and incorruptible, and that it philosophises through its alliance to real beings, with which it comes into contact.
And likewise, as it was shown by him, that what is perfectly being, and truly the object of science, is one thing; that what is partly being, and partly non-being, is another, and on this account is of a doxastic nature; and that what in no respect is being, and is entirely unknown, is another. This was also granted to Timaeus by Socrates, when he divides a line into four parts, the intelligible, the dianoetic, the sensible, and the conjectural; where likewise speaking about The Good he says, that it reigns in the intelligible place, in the same manner as the sun in the visible region. And farther still, the introduction of prayer previous to the discussion, is a demonstration of the existence of being which always is. For if there are Gods, it is necessary that there should be truly existing being; for this is united to the Gods; but not that which is generated and which perishes, but is never truly being. Or rather prior to these things it may be said, that the existence of something which always is, is deposited in our common conceptions. For whence was that which is generated produced except from perpetual being? For if this also was generated, it must have been generated from some other being. And this must either be perpetual being, or must likewise have been itself generated. So that we must either proceed to infinity, or generation is in a circle, or perpetual being has a subsistence. But it is not lawful to proceed to infinity. For from one principle which is The One, all things originate. Nor is generation in a circle, lest the same things be both better and worse, causes and effects. Hence it remains that [true] being always is. Why then, it may be said, is not generation from The One? Because, we reply, it is absurd that multitude should be entirely produced without being. It is necessary therefore, that there should be truly existing being, which primarily proceeds from The One, in order that the first principle may not be alone the cause of the last of things, but prior to these may be the cause of being, from which generation proceeds. After all that has been said, however, the most true solution of the doubt is, what Plato now assuming as an hypothesis that there is perpetual being, defines it. But after the discussion about the fabrication of the world, resuming this very thing, he demonstrates that perpetual being has a subsistence. Preserving however, what pertains to physiology, he proceeds from this hypothesis, and demonstrates such things as are consequent to it. For science itself also is from hypothesis, and requires that hypotheses should be assumed prior to its demonstrations. In what he says therefore about matter, he demonstrates not only that matter is, but also that being is. But a little after, from one of the hypotheses, i.e. from the third, demonstrating that there is a Demiurgus of the world, he obtains also from this that perpetual being subsists prior to that which is generated. And again from the fourth hypothesis he evinces, that the Demiurgus fabricated the universe, looking to an eternal paradigm. But in the place we have mentioned, he demonstrates that perpetual being is itself by itself prior to generated natures. And thus much for this particular.
With respect however, to perpetual being itself, whether does it signify the whole intelligible world, or the Demiurgus, or the paradigm of the universe? for it is differently assumed by different interpreters. And if indeed, it is the whole intelligible world, whence does the intelligible breadth begin, and where does it proceed? But if it is the paradigm, how comes it to pass that the Demiurgus is not perpetual being, if the paradigm is one thing, and the Demiurgus another? And if it is the Demiurgus, whence is it that the paradigm is not a thing of this kind? That the paradigmatic cause, therefore, is to be arranged in perpetual being, is clearly evident from Plato when he says, "According to which of the paradigms did the artificer fabricate the world? Was it according to that which subsists with invariable sameness, or according to that which was generated?" And he immediately decides by saying, "If the world indeed is beautiful, and the Demiurgus is good, it is evident that he looked to an eternal paradigm. But if the world is not beautiful, and the Demiurgus is not good, which it is not lawful to assert, then he looked to a generated paradigm."
If therefore it is not lawful to assert this, the paradigm of the universe is perpetual being. But that this is also true of the Demiurgus, is evident from this; that Plato calls the soul, which the Demiurgus constitutes, the first of generated natures, and delivers the generation of it. The Demiurgus, however, is prior to soul, so that he belongs to eternal beings. Hence also Plato says concerning him, "After this manner therefore was there truly an eternal reasoning of the God." And how is it possible that being a divine intellect he should not rank among eternal beings? Is therefore every intelligible world perpetual being? The divine Iamblichus, however, strenuously contends on this subject, evincing that eternal being is superior both to the genera and the species of being; and establishes it at the summit of the intelligible essence, as that which primarily participates of The One. But what is written in the Parmenides concerning the one being [or being characterized by The One], and also in the Sophista, bears testimony to these things. For there Plato arranges the one being prior to whole, and prior to the intelligible all; though the whole and the all are intelligible. Here, however, Plato clearly calls the paradigm perpetual being, and a whole, and all-perfect. For he denominates it all-perfect animal; and a whole, when he says, "of which other animals are parts according to one, and according to genera." So that if the paradigm is a whole and all-perfect, but that which is primarily being is above whole and all, the paradigm and that being will not be the same.
Will it not, therefore, be better to say, that there is indeed such an order of being, as that divine man [Iamblichus] has delivered, and such as Plato elsewhere surveys; but that now Plato thus denominates every eternal world? Nor is this at all wonderful. For, at one time, the intelligible is asserted of every perpetual and invisible nature, as when it is said that the soul also is intelligible, as by Socrates in the Phaedo. But at another time it is asserted of the natures that are more excellent than every psychical essence, as the division in the Republic manifests. And at another time, it is asserted of the first triads of being, as is evident from what Timaeus a little after says of them. After the same manner, therefore, being in the Sophists, indeed, manifests the order of the one being; but here it signifies the whole eternal world. For it is evident that being which is primarily being, is the summit of the intelligible breadth, and the monad of all beings. For every where, that which is primarily being in its own series, has the highest order; since if it ranked as the second, it would not have the same form; for it would no longer be primarily that which it is. As therefore, virtue itself possesses the highest place in the series of the virtues, as the equal itself in equals, and animal itself in animals, thus also being itself which is primarily being, is the summit of all beings, and from it all beings proceed. But every intelligible and intellectual being, and whatever appears to exist, has the appellation of being, yet being and perpetual being are not the same. For the one being is beyond eternity. For eternity participates of being. Hence all such things as participate of eternity, have also a certain portion of being, but not all such things as participate of being, participate likewise of eternity. The natures therefore that exist in time, participate also of being, so that what is primarily being is beyond the order of eternity. But perpetual being is eternal. Hence the reasoning demonstrates the very contrary, that every thing is rather to be assumed from perpetual being, than the one being. For this latter is better than the ever, as subsisting between The One and eternity, and prior to eternity being denominated one being.
If, therefore, it be requisite that I should say what appears to me to be the truth, Plato now precedaneously assumes every thing which is eternally being; beginning, indeed, from the nature of animal itself. For this is primarily eternal; but ending in partial intellects. But the one being, he perhaps omits, in consequence of its existing as the monad of these, and as being ineffable, and conjoined to The One. Hence Plato will now speak in reality of every intelligible, if that intelligible is not assumed which is occult, is the highest, and does not depart from The One. He says, therefore, shortly after this, that animal itself is the most beautiful of intelligibles, in consequence of the natures prior to this, being through excess of union, superior to a subsistence as objects of intellect. Unless he says that animal itself is the most beautiful of all the objects of intellect, both animal itself and the one being existing as objects of intellect also, the latter as being causally ever, eternity as being so according to hyparxis, and animal itself or the eternal, as existing always, according to participation. Hence, if these things are admitted, in that which always exists, eternity, animal itself, and the Demiurgus will be comprehended, and likewise the one being itself, which possesses the occult cause of eternity. So that it is evident from this, that perpetual being comprehends every nature prior to souls, whether it be intelligible, or intellectual; beginning indeed from being itself, but ending in a partial intellect, and that it does not alone comprehend, as Iamblichus says it does, the summit of all beings, such as the being is which is characterized by The One, or the one being, through which all beings are said to be beings, and to which The One Itself alone, and the principle of being [bound and infinity] are superior. The One, therefore, is better than that which is self-subsistent. For it is necessary that it should be exempt from all multitude. Perpetual being, however, is self-subsistent indeed, but possesses the power of being so through The One. But that which is posterior to it, such as is our nature, is self-subsistent, and at the same time derives its subsistence from another producing cause. And the last of things proceed indeed into existence from a more excellent cause, but are not self- subsistent. It is not however yet time for these observations.
But with respect to perpetual being, it must not be supposed, that it is partly being, and partly non-being; for if it were, it would be a composite, and consisting of things of this kind, it would be dissimilarly a composite. Nor is it at one time being, and at another non-being; for it is said to be always being. But it is simply and eternally being, and is unmingled with every thing whatever it may be, that is of a contrary nature. For it appears to me that the addition of the words, "but not having generation," indicates the unmingled and undefiled purity of perpetual being, according to which it is exempt from every hypostasis which is borne along in the images of being, and is changed by time. Not as some assert, that perpetual being is said, for the sake of perspicuity, to be without generation; nor according to others, that Plato was willing to speak of it both affirmatively and negatively; but that it is necessary perpetual being should be intellectually perceived subsisting by itself, remote from all temporal mutation. For soul participates of time, and the heavens are allotted a life which is evolved according to time; but the intelligible nature alone is, according to the whole of itself, eternal. Hence, some of the ancients call the intelligible breadth truly existing being; the psychical truly existing and at the same time not truly existing being; the sensible not truly existing being; and matter, truly non-being. After what manner, however, they made this arrangement, we shall elsewhere investigate. But that the addition of "not having generation," is for the sake of indicating the separate essence of perpetual being, is I think evident from what has been said.
In the next place, with respect to that which is generated, whether does it signify the whole world, or a material and perfectly mutable composition? For some of the ancients explain this in one way, and others in another. But we understand by it every corporeal formed nature, and not the soul of the universe; so far as this nature is of itself indeed unadorned, but is always or at a certain time, arranged by another. For the soul of the universe is, in a certain respect, perpetual being. Much less is intellect that which is generated: for this is immediately perpetual being. But body alone is that which is generated, and is truly never real being. For body is always in want of the world-producing cause, and is always deriving from it the representation of existence. Why then it may be said, did not Plato add, always, and that which is generated, in the same manner as being, or at a certain time, in order that he might have what is generated entirely opposed to perpetual being? May we not say that Plato devised this mode of expression, looking to the various nature of that which is generated, and taking away from eternal being the existence at a certain time, and the perpetuity of a generated nature? For the wholes of such a nature are generated always, but the parts at a certain time. And after another manner [of considering the affair] with respect to forms, some are inseparable from matter, and are always generated from that which is truly always; but others are in time, and depart from matter. For corporeity, indeed, is always generated and is always about matter; but the form of fire, or of air, enters into and departs from matter, becoming separated from it and perishing, through the domination of a contrary nature. But if the perpetuity which detains matter is always generated, it never therefore is; and if the existence at a certain time is generated, it is never being. Every thing however, which is generated, is either always generated, or at a certain time. Hence, every thing which is generated, is never [real] being.
These things, therefore, having been said, let us, recurring to the discussion from the beginning, show whether perpetual being in this place is asserted of all beings, or not of all. For if, indeed, we admit that perpetual being indicates an eternal nature alone, having the eternal according to the whole of itself, it is not asserted of all beings. For neither the being prior to eternity, nor the order of eternity, nor again, such things as have indeed an eternal essence, but produce energies according to time, can be arranged under this being. But if we assume every thing whatever that is eternal, and which always is, either according to the whole of itself, or partially, then soul also ranks among eternal natures, and also that which contains in itself the causes of all things, unically, as it is said, and universally. For the case is as follows: one thing [i.e. being itself] is super-eternal; [another thing is eternity;] another is simply eternal, and another is in a certain respect eternal. With respect, however, to each of these perpetual beings, the first is as the power and fountain of the ever; the second, as that which is primarily always being, and the ever itself, and not according to participation; but the third is always, as participating of the ever, and as primarily wholly eternal; and the fourth, is as that which is a certain respect participates of a peculiarity of this kind. For each thing subsists triply, either according to cause, or according to hyparxis, or according to participation. And the one being, indeed, is being alone according to hyparxis, but is perpetual being according to cause. Eternity is perpetual being according to hyparxis, but being according to participation. And the eternal is perpetual being according to participation, but according to hyparxis is a certain other intelligible, or intelligible and intellectual, or intellectual [only]. And if the last of these, it is either total or partial; and if this, it is either supermundane or mundane; and if this, it is either divine, or is posterior to the Gods, and is each of these either according to existence alone, or according to power and energy, and as far as to the perpetual being of things which are in a certain respect eternal.
Again therefore, with respect to that which is generated, if we assume the universal, we must assume generation all-variously changed; but if every thing generated, in whatever way it may be, we shall find that the heavens also are generated, so far as they partake of motion and mutation, and that soul is the first of generated natures, so far as it lives in time, and time is connascent with its energies. And thus ascending from beneath, we shall end in soul as the first of things that are generated; and descending from above, we shall again terminate our progression in soul, as the last of eternal natures. For though a certain person rightly says that the heavens always exist, yet their being is always generated by something else; but soul possesses its own essence from itself. Hence also, Socrates in the Phaedrus says, that it is unbegotten, and at the same time self-moved, as being indeed the principle of all generation, but generating and vivifing itself. If therefore we say, that it is both unbegotten and generated, eternal and not eternal, we shall speak rightly. Hence too the Athenian guest thinks fit to call the soul indestructible, but not eternal, because it is in a certain respect only eternal, and not according to the whole of itself, in the same manner as truly existing being. For it is one thing to be always, and another to be generated always. And the heavens, indeed, are generated always; for they do not possess being from themselves. But soul is always; for it possesses being from itself. And every thing prior to soul is not generated from a cause, but is from a cause. For generation is alone in things which derive their subsistence from others. Through these things therefore it will be manifest after what manner there is a comprehension of all beings in the before- mentioned portions of division, and after what manner all beings are not comprehended in them. There is not a comprehension of all beings, because that which is eternal only, and that which is generated only, are assumed; one of which is prior to, but the other is posterior to soul. And there is a comprehension of all beings, because the extremes being assumed, it is possible from these to find the middle, which is at one and the same time both being and that which is generated.
That these distinctions, however, of that which always is, and of that which is generated, are necessarily made prior to all other axioms, it is easy to learn; by observing that this is the first of the problems which it is requisite to consider about the universe in the beginning, i.e. whether it always was, having no beginning of generation, or whether it was generated. For if this is the first of the things to be investigated, then what that is which is generated, and what that is which is eternal, have very properly the first order in the axioms. For the other axioms follow these, just as the remaining problems follow the problem respecting the generation of the world. And if it be requisite that resuming the discussion about the hypotheses, I should more fully explain what appears to me on the subject, Plato in the same manner as geometricians, employs definitions and hypotheses prior to demonstrations, through which he frames demonstrations, and antecedently assumes the principles of the whole of physiology. For as the principles of music are different from the principles of medicine, and in a similar manner there are different principles of arithmetic and mechanics; thus also there are certain principles of the whole of physiology, which Plato now delivers to us; [and these are as follow:] Truly existing being is that which may be comprehended by intelligence in conjunction with reason. That which is generated is to be apprehended by opinion in conjunction with irrational sense. Every thing generated, is generated by a cause. That which does not derive its subsistence from a cause, is not generated. That of which the paradigm is eternal being, is necessarily beautiful. That, of which the paradigm is generated, is not beautiful. Let the universe be called heaven or the world. For from these principles he produces all that follows. And it appears to me, that on this account he shows what perpetual being is, and also what that is which is generated, but does not show us that each of them is. For the geometrician informs us what a point is, and what a line is, prior to his demonstrations, but he by no means teaches us that each of these is. For how can he be a geometrician, if he discusses his own principles? After the same manner also, the physiologist says what perpetual being is, for the sake of the demonstrations he is about to make, but he by no means shows that it is; for in so doing, he would go beyond physiology. But since, as we have before observed, Timaeus does not resemble other physiologists, being a Pythagorean physiologist, and Plato exhibits in this dialogue the highest science, hence he afterwards very divinely proves that truly existing being is. For his present purpose, however, it is sufficient for him to admit that it is, preserving the boundaries of physiology. He appears also to investigate the definition of perpetual being and of that which is generated, in order that he may discover the causes which give completion to the universe, viz. form and matter: for that which is generated is in want of these. He assumes, however, the third hypothesis, in order that he may discover the producing cause; but the fourth, that he may be able to infer that the universe was generated according to a paradigmatic cause; and the fifth, which is concerning the name of the universe, in order that he may investigate the participation of The Good and the ineffable by the world, as will be shown in what follows.
It appears also to me, that Aristotle in his Physics, imitating Plato, assumes one hypothesis, when he says, it is supposed by us with respect to things which have a natural subsistence, that either all or some of them are moved. For it is entirely necessary that there should be motion, if the discussion of the physical theory is to proceed with success; since nature is a principle of motion. But in his treatise On the Heavens, prior to every thing else, he assumes those hypotheses concerning which Plotinus says, that Aristotle will find no difficulty in his discussion if his hypotheses about the fifth body are admitted, meaning these five; that the motion is simple of a simple body; that a simple body has a certain simple motion according to nature; that there are two simple motions; that one motion is contrary to one; and that the thing which has not a contrary, has not that which can corrupt it. From which hypotheses, he frames his demonstrations concerning the fifth body. Aristotle, however, shows that the universe is unbegotten, from the hypotheses; but Plato that it is generated. Whether therefore, they are discordant or not, will shortly after be manifest to us. And this, indeed, will again be considered.
Why, however, does Plato, who is accustomed to employ, when speaking of intelligibles, the term αυτο itself, and οπερ that which, now assume neither of these, but rather prefers the term αει always, as connascent with being. For this also is attended with a doubt, through what cause he employs the third of these terms, i.e. always, as better adapted to signify the nature of truly existing being. In answer to this it may be said, that the term itself manifests the simplicity of intelligibles, a subsistence according to hyparxis, and an existence which is primary, which is asserted conformably to the peculiarity, according to which intelligibles are primarily that which they are, and fill secondary natures with the participation of themselves. But the term that which is, indicates purity, the unmingled, and the not being filled with a contrary nature. And the ever manifests the eternal, the immutable, and the invariable, according to hypostasis. Thus for instance, when we say the beautiful itself, and the just itself, we survey beauty which is not so by the participation of the beautiful, and justice which is not so by the participation of the just; but that which is primarily beautiful, and that which is primarily just. But when we say that which is beautiful we mean that which is not mingled with deformity, nor contaminated by its contrary, such as is material beauty, which is situated in deformity, and is itself replete with its subject nature. And when we use the term ever or always we indicate beauty which is not at one time beautiful, and at another not, but which is eternally beautiful. So that the first of these terms manifests the simplicity of intelligibles, and the supplying all other things from themselves. For such is the beautiful itself, by which all beautiful things are beautiful, and the equal itself, by which all equal things are equal, and in a similar manner in other things of this kind. But the second of these terms, indicates onlyness and purity, the unmingled and the undefiled. For the that which is this, i.e. it is something which is not various, and which does not attract to itself any thing of a foreign nature. And the ever manifests immutability, for the ever is this. Yet it does not simply indicate immutability, but a permanency in eternity. For a temporal ever is one thing, and an eternal ever, another; the latter being every thing collectively and at once; but the former being co-extended with the whole continuity of time, and being infinite. And the latter subsisting in the now, but the former, in interval, the interval being unceasing, and always in generation, or becoming to be. The term therefore itself, is derived to beings from the paradigm. For that is the cause of simplicity to beings, and of imparting to other things that which it primarily possesses. But the term that which is, is derived from the one being. For that is primarily exempt from non-being, and privation; because it is primarily being, and all things subsist in it occultly and indivisibly. And the term ever, is derived from eternity. For as the one being is the supplier of existence, so eternity imparts perpetuity to intelligibles. Hence, if Plato had been speaking about participants and things participated, and for this purpose had required being, he would have inquired what being itself is. And if he had been discussing things unmingled, and things that are mingled, he would have used the term that which is. But since he discourses about generation and the unbegotten, and for this purpose requires these definitions, he very properly inquires what that is which is always being. For this distinguishes the eternal from that which is temporal, in the same manner as the unbegotten distinguishes eternity. Hence also the nature of animal itself, which is comprehensive of all intelligible animals, is eternal; but time was generated together with heaven, as Plato says in the course of the dialogue.
Moreover, though perpetual being is said to proceed from a cause, yet it must not be asserted that it is generated according to all causes, but that it is according to them. For it is δι ο, that on account of which, and προς ο, that with relation to which, and υφ’ ου, that by which. For perpetual being is self-subsistent, and is not generated by itself, lest not existing at a certain time, it should be generated. For that which is generated, when it is becoming to be is not. Nor is it generated with relation to itself, lest it should be a composite. Nor on account of itself, lest it should be imperfect. But that which is generated is suspended from another thing, and has its progression from other causes; and such is every corporeal-formed nature. After what manner however, is that which is generated never being, concerning which Plato speaks clearly in the Sophista? Not that it is non-being, but that it is never truly being. Now, however, it is said to be never at any time being, because being has a prior arrangement in an eternal nature; but that which is generated, is never that which always is. If, therefore, existence, so far as it is being, is unreceptive of non-existence, it is evident that what is generated, since it has the being which is in it, of whatever kind it may be, mingled with non-being, is never at any time being, so as to be genuinely being; and being which subsists by itself, since this pertains to real existence alone, which has not in a certain respect non- existence in conjunction with existence, at one and the same time being and not being.
"The former of these, indeed, is comprehended by intelligence in conjunction with reason, since it always subsists with invariable sameness. But the latter is perceived by opinion, in conjunction with irrational sense, since it is generated and corrupted, and never truly is."
**lacuna** To these it happens, that they err in many other respects, and that they comprehend in the definitions the things defined. For what perpetual being is, which the first definition assumes is explained, and is said to be that which always subsists with invariable sameness; and this the second definition assumes, saying it is that which is generated and corrupted, but never truly is. This, however, is to accuse both themselves and Plato of unskilfulness in dialectic. But others dividing the sentence, show that in each of the colons there are definition, and the thing defined. For in the former colon, the words, "that which is comprehended by intelligence in conjunction with reason," are a definition; but the words, "since it always subsists with invariable sameness," are the thing defined. And in the second colon, the words, "is perceived by opinion in conjunction with irrational sense," are given as a definition; but the remaining part of the sentence, is the thing defined. To these men it will be found our preceptor has well replied. For by a little transposition of the words, the whole will be immediately apparent as follows: That which always subsists with invariable sameness, is comprehended by intelligence in conjunction with reason: but that which is generated and corrupted, and never truly is, is perceived by opinion, in conjunction with irrational sense. For these things are consequent to what was before said, "what is that which is always being but is without generation;" and "what is that which is generated, but is never [real] being;" that which always subsists with invariable sameness, signifying the same thing as, that which is without generation; and that which is generated, but is never [real] being, having the same signification as, that which never truly is, though they are more obscurely announced. And through the addition of truly Plato indicates that so far indeed as it is generated, it is not; but that so far as it brings with it an image of being, so far it is not generated. For in the definitions, he renders the things defined more clear through the additions. Thus, one of the definitions says, "which is always being," in order that by the term always we may not understand temporal perpetuity, but the eternal. For this is all at once, and subsists with invariable sameness. But temporal perpetuity, is co-extended with the infinity of time. Thus, too, the other definition has, "that which is generated," and together with it also says, "and is corrupted," in order that we may not understand by generations simply progressions, which are also ascribed to the Gods who are beyond being, but progressions which are co-ordinate with destruction. The assigned definitions, therefore, are such as follow: Perpetual being, is that which is comprehended by intelligence in conjunction with reason. That which is generated is perceived by opinion in conjunction with irrational sense.
For these definitions, however, it is usual to accuse Plato, in the first place, indeed, that he does not assume genus, as the rules of definitions require. In the next place, that he does not manifest what the nature is of the things defined, but distinguishes them by our knowledge. It is necessary, however, prior to this habitude, to consider things themselves by themselves. But [in defence of Plato] we shall demonstrate the very contrary, viz. that those who are accustomed thus to doubt perfectly err. For what kind of genus has a place in being, which comprehends every intelligible essence? For if essence has no genus prior to itself, nor definition, since it is most generic, what can you say respecting being which is comprehensive of every essence, and of all powers and energies? Neither, therefore, is being the genus of eternal being: for if it was, it would not be simply being, but a certain being. Nor is non- being the genus of eternal being lest we should ignorantly make eternal non-being. For every where genera are predicated of species. Hence, there is not a genus of being. Besides, is not a definition derived from knowledge adapted to theory, and to the proposed definitions? For if, as we said before, Plato wished to use these axioms and hypotheses in the demonstrations which he intended to make, it was necessary that they should be known and manifest to us. If, indeed, he had exhorted us to investigate the nature of things, itself in itself, he would have ignorantly filled the whole of his doctrine definitions with obscurity. But as he wished to make known through definitions being and that which is generated, he produced the demonstrations through things that are known, and clearly represents to us the peculiarity of them, in order that being excited and perfected, we may more manifestly survey what each of them is. For since every thing gnostic, is either the thing known itself, or perceives, or possesses the thing known; for intellect, indeed, is the intelligible, but sense perceives what is sensible, and dianoia possesses in itself the dianoetic object; and as we are not naturally adapted to become the intelligible, but know it through the power in us which is conjoined with it; this being the case, we require this power, and through this the nature of being is known to us. After this manner, therefore, we answer the doubts.
It is requisite, however, to observe how Plato proposing to himself the problems, renders each of them manifest, both affirmatively and negatively. But giving an answer to each, in perpetual being, indeed, he assumes the affirmative alone, but in that which is generated, the negative, adding to it also, "and which is destroyed." He, also, explains the words, "but which is never being," through the assumption of, "never truly is." For since being is characterized by existence alone, but that which is generated by non-existence, he assumes the one, alone defining it, and says, subsisting invariably the same; but he assumes the other together with negation, yet not with negation alone, because definitions respect affirmations, and signify that which in each thing is inherent. It is not, however, wonderful, if he not only says "which is generated," but also, "and corrupted." For as he adds to being, the words "subsisting with invariable sameness," and not only says, it is always; so likewise to that which is generated he adds, "and corrupted." For this so far as it is generated, is different from perpetual being; but so far as it is corrupted, it differs from that which is invariably the same. For that which is generated, so far as it is generated and corrupted, is incapable of connecting itself; since if it were, it would also be able to produce itself. Assuming therefore each by itself, i.e. being and that which is generated, he assumes the former as that which is above generation, but the latter, as that which is not indestructible. So that when the representation of being accedes to that which is generated, it is able after a certain manner to abide in a condition of always becoming to be.
Let us however, consider each of the words by itself, through which he composes the propositions; and in the first place, let us see in how many ways intelligence subsists, and collect by a reasoning process the other progressions of it. The first intelligence therefore, is the intelligible, which passes into the same with the intelligible, and is not any thing different from it. This also is essential intelligence, and essence itself, because every thing in the intelligible subsists after this manner, viz. essentially and intelligibly. The second intelligence is that which conjoins intellect with the intelligible, possessing a peculiarity which is connective and collective of the extremes, and existing as life and power, filling indeed intellect from the intelligible, but establishing it in the intelligible. The third is the conjoined intelligence in a divine intellect itself, being the energy of intellect, through which it comprehends the intelligible it contains, and according to which it intellectually perceives, and is what it is. For this intelligence is energy, and intelligence itself, but is not intelligible intelligence. Nor does it exist as power, but (as we have said,) as energy, and intellectual intelligence. The intelligence of partial intellects has the fourth order. For each of these possesses this and entirely contains in itself a certain conjoined intelligible and intelligence. Or rather each has all these partially, viz. intellect, intelligence, and the intelligible, through which also it is conjoined to total intellects, intellectually perceives each of these, and likewise the whole intelligible world. The fifth intelligence is that of the rational soul. For as the rational soul is called intellect, thus also the knowledge of it is intelligence, and transitive intelligence, and has time connascent with itself. But the sixth intelligence, if you are willing also to connumerate this, is phantastic knowledge, or the knowledge of the imagination, which by some is denominated intelligence; and the phantasy is called by them passive intellect, because it knows such things as it does know, inwardly, and accompanied with resemblances and figures. For it is common to all intelligence to have the objects of its knowledge inward. For in this also intelligence differs from sense. In one order however, intelligence is the thing known itself. In another it ranks as the second, but sees that which is first totally. In another it is partially the thing known, but sees wholes also through that which is partial. In another it sees indeed wholes, but at the same time partially and not at once. And in another, the vision is accompanied with passion. So many therefore, are the differences of intelligence.
Now, however, phantastic intelligence must not be assumed; since this is not naturally adapted to know truly existing being. For it is indefinite, because it knows the object of its perception accompanied with figure and morphe. But perpetual being is unfigured. And in short, no irrational knowledge is able to survey being itself, since neither is adapted to perceive that which is universal. Nor must the intelligence in the rational soul be assumed. For it does not possess the at-once- collected, and that which is co-ordinate with eternal natures; but it proceeds according to time. No must we assume total intellections; for these are exempt from our knowledge. But Timaeus co-arranges intelligence with reason. The intelligence, therefore, of a partial intellect, must now be assumed. For it is in conjunction with this, that we some time or other perceive real being. For a sense is in the second duad below the rational soul, so intelligence is in the duad above it. For a partial intellect is proximately established above our essence, elevating and perfecting it, to which we are converted when purified through philosophy, and when we conjoin our own intellectual power with the intelligence of this intellect. But what this partial intellect is, and that it is not as one to one rational soul, but is participated through souls which always energize according to it, through which also partial souls sometimes participate of intellectual light, we have elsewhere distinctly and copiously discussed. Now, however, thus much must be assumed, that it is participated indeed by all other proximate daemoniacal souls, but illuminates ours, when we convert ourselves to it, and render the reason which is in us intellectual. And as in the Phaedrus Plato calls this the governor of the soul, and says that it alone intellectually perceives real being, but that the soul perceives it together with this intellect, when she is nourished by intellect and science; thus also it must be said that this intelligence is prior to soul, and is truly intelligence [mentioned by Plato] but that it is participated by soul when reason energizes intellectually. Hence Plato says in the following part of this dialogue, that intellect is indeed in the Gods, but that a certain small genus [of men] participates of it. And it seems that in what he says unfolding the knowledge of perpetual being, he first calls it intelligence; but that we may not apprehend it to be that alone, he adds to intelligence reason, distinguishing by a transitive energy the latter from the former. So that when reason intellectually perceives perpetual being, as reason indeed, it energizes transitively, but as perceiving intellectually, with simplicity; understanding each thing as simple at once, yet not all things at once, but passing from some to others. It transitively however perceives intellectually every thing which it perceives as one thing, and as simple.
After the definition of intelligence however, let us see what reason is, and how it is connascent with intelligence. In the Theaetetus therefore, `logos', reason, is said to have a threefold subsistence; for it is either enunciative, or a discursive procession through the elements [of speech]; or that which exhibits the differences of each thing with respect to others. All these significations however, are conversant with compositions and divisions, and are unadapted to the comprehension of eternal being. For the similar is naturally adapted to be apprehended by the similar. But eternal being is simple and indivisible, and is exempt from every thing which is contrary to these. Again, after another manner, one kind of reason is said to be doxastic, another scientific, and another intellectual. For since there are in us opinion, dianoia, and intellect; but I call intellect here, the summit of dianoia; and since the whole of our essence is reason, in each of these reason must be differently surveyed. Opinion however, is not naturally adapted to be united to the intelligence of intellect in energy: for on the contrary it is conjoined to irrational knowledge. Nor is dianoia, so far as it proceeds into multitude and division, able to recur to intellect; but on the contrary through the variety of its discursive energies, it is separated from intellectual impartibility. It remains, therefore, that the summit of the soul, and that in it which has most the form of The One, is established in the intelligence of a partial intellect, being through alliance united to it. Hence this is the reason which intellectually perceives the intelligibles co-ordinate to our nature, and the energy of which Socrates in the Republic says is intelligence; just as dianoia is the knowledge of things which subsist between intelligibles and the objects of opinion. If, however, intelligence is the energy of this reason, it will be a certain intellect. Plato in the following part of this dialogue says, that this reason in the same manner as science, is ingenerated in the soul, when it is moved about the intelligible. But that science has a more various energy, apprehending some things through others, and intellect a more simple energy, intuitively surveying beings themselves. This highest therefore, and most impartible portion of our nature, Plato now denominates reason, as unfolding to us intellect, and an intelligible nature. For when the soul abandons phantasy and opinion, and various and indefinite knowledge, but recurs to its own impartibility, according to which it is rooted in a partial intellect, and having run back to this, conjoins the energy of itself with the intelligence of that intellect, then it intellectually perceives eternal being together with it, its energy being both one, and twofold, and both sameness and separation being inherent in its intellections. For then the intelligence of the soul becomes more collected, and nearer to eternal things, in order that it may apprehend the intelligible together with intellect, and that the reason which is in us may like a less light, energize in conjunction with one that is greater. For our reason in conjunction with intelligence, sees the intelligible; but the intelligence of intellect always sees it, and always is; and conjoins reason to it, when reason acquires the form of intellect.
After what manner however, is truly existing being comprehended by a partial intellect, or by reason? For this is still more admirable. May we not say, that though the intelligible itself cannot be comprehended by intellect and reason, because it is superior to all comprehension, and comprehends all things exemptly, yet intellect possessing its own intelligible, is also on this account said to comprehend the whole [of an intelligible nature]. But reason through the intellect which is co-ordinate to itself, receiving the conceptions of real beings, is thus through these said to comprehend being. Perhaps also it signifies, that reason running round the intelligible, and energizing and being moved as about a centre, thus surveys it; intelligence indeed knowing it intransitively and impartibly, but reason dancing as it were round the essence of it in a circle, and evolving the united hypostasis in it of all things.
In the next place, let us direct our attention to opinion, and consider what it is. That it is therefore the boundary of the whole rational life, and that it is conjoined to the summit of the irrational life, is frequently acknowledged. But we shall now unfold such things as are the peculiarities of the Platonic doctrine; and which are as follow: That the doxastic part comprehends the reasons [or productive principles] of sensibles; that it is this also which knows the essences of them; and that it knows the `oti', or that a thing is, but is ignorant of the cause of it. For since dianoia knows at one and the same time both the essences and the causes of sensibles, but sense knows neither of these; for it is clearly shown in the Theaetetus that sense does not know the essence of a thing, and that it is perfectly ignorant of the cause of the objects of its knowledge; it is necessary that opinion being arranged between sense and dianoia, should know the essences of sensibles, through the reasons which it contains, but should be ignorant of the causes of them. For thus right opinion will differ from science in this, that it alone knows that a thing is, science being able to survey likewise the cause of it. But sense adheres to opinion, being also itself a medium between the instrument of sense and opinion. For the instrument of sense apprehends sensibles accompanied with passion. Hence also it is corrupted through the excess of sensibles. But opinion possesses knowledge undefiled with passion. Sense however participates in a certain respect of passion, but has also something gnostic, so far as it is established in the doxastic part, is illuminated by it, and partakes of the form of reason, since it is in itself irrational. In this, therefore, the series of gnostic powers is terminated, of which indeed intelligence is the leader, which is above reason, and is without transition. But reason has the second order which is the intelligence of our soul, transitively coming into contact with real beings. Opinion has the third order, being a knowledge of sensibles conformable to reason. And sense has the fourth order, being an irrational knowledge of sensibles. For dianoia, being a medium between intelligence and opinion, is gnostic of middle forms, which require a more obscure apprehension than that of intelligence, but a clearer perception than that of opinion; as Socrates said on the preceding day, when he defined the different kinds of knowledge by the objects of knowledge.
It must be said, therefore, that opinion is according to reason, because it possesses gnostic reasons of the essences of things, but that it is otherwise irrational, as being ignorant of causes. For Socrates in the Banquet, speaking of it says, "since it is an irrational thing, how can it be science?" But it must be admitted that sense is entirely irrational. For in short, since each of the senses knows the passion produced about the animal by the object of sense, hence intelligence is an intransitive, but dianoia and reason a transitive knowledge; opinion a knowledge in conjunction with reason but without the assignation of cause; sense an irrational knowledge of passions; and the instrument of sense passion only. Thus, for instance, when an apple is presented to us, the sight indeed knows that it is red from the passion about the eye, the smell that it is fragrant from the passion about the nostrils, the taste that it is sweet, and the touch that it is smooth. What then is it which says that the thing presented to us is an apple? For it is not any one of the partial senses; since each of these knows one certain thing only about the apple, and not the whole of it; nor does even the common sense know this. For this alone distinguishes the differences of the passions; but it does not know that the thing which possesses an essence of such a kind is the whole thing. Hence, it is evident that there is a certain power superior to the senses, which knowing the whole prior to the things which are as it were parts, and surveying the form of it, is impartibly connective of these many powers. This power, therefore, Plato calls opinion, and on this account, he denominates that which is sensible doxastic.
Farther still, since the senses frequently announce various passions, and not such as things of this kind are in themselves, what is it in us which judges and says, that the sight is deceived when it asserts that the sun is but a foot in diameter, and that the taste which pronounces honey to be bitter, is the taste of those that are diseased? For it is entirely evident that in these, and all such-like particulars, the senses announce indeed their own passions, and are not perfectly deceived. For they say what the passion is about the instruments of sense, and it is a thing of such a kind as they assert it to be; but that which says what the cause is of the passion, and forms a judgement of it, is something different from sense.
Hence, there is a certain power of the soul superior to sense, which no longer knows sensibles through an instrument but through itself, and corrects the grossness of sensible information. And this power indeed which is reason as with reference to sense, is irrational as with reference to the knowledge of truly existing beings. But sense is simply irrational. On this account, Plato in the Republic calling this power opinion, shows that it is a medium between knowledge and ignorance: for it is indeed a rational knowledge, but it is mingled with irrationality, knowing sensibles in conjunction with sense. But sense is alone irrational, as Timaeus also denominates it; in the first place, because it is also inherent in irrational animals, and is characteristic of every irrational life; for by these things, what is said in the Theaetetus distinguishes it from science. In the second place, because in contradistinction to all the parts of the irrational soul, it is disobedient to reason. For the irascible and epithymetic parts, are obedient to reason and its mandates, and receive from it erudition. But sense though it should hear reason ten thousand times asserting that the sun is greater than the earth, yet would still see it to be a foot in diameter, and would not otherwise announce it to us. In the third place, because neither does it [accurately] know that which it knows. For it is not naturally adapted to see the essence of it. For it does not know what a white thing is, but it knows through passion that it is white. It likewise is not separated from the instrument of sense, and is therefore on this account irrational. For thus in the Gorgias, irrational knowledge is defined to be not scientific, but conjectural. In the fourth place, sense is alone irrational, because it is the boundary of the whole series of knowledge, possesses an essence most remote from reason and intellect, pertains to externals, and effects its apprehension of things through body. For all these particulars demonstrate its irrationality.
Every thing generated therefore is apprehended by opinion in conjunction with sense; the latter announcing passions, but the former producing from itself the reasons of them, and knowing the essences of sensibles. And as reason when in contact with intelligence sees the intelligible, thus also opinion co-arranged with sense, knows that which is generated. For since the soul is of a middle essence it gives completion to a subsistence between intellect and irrationality. For by its summit it is present with intellect, but by its ultimate part it verges to sense. Hence also Timaeus in the former conjunction, arranges intelligence prior to reason, as being more excellent; but in the second he places opinion before sense. For there indeed, reason is posterior to intelligence, as being a less intellect; but here opinion is prior to sense, as being rational sense. Opinion however, and reason circumscribe the whole breadth of the rational essence. But intellect is our king, and sense our messenger, says the great Plotinus. Reason indeed, together with intellect, sees the intelligible; but by itself it surveys reasons or forms that have a middle subsistence. And opinion in conjunction with sense, sees that which is generated; but by itself it contemplates all the forms it contains, concerning which we have elsewhere spoken, have shown how these forms subsist, how the place of them is the doxastic part of the soul, and that the intelligible is apprehended by reason, but by opinion, the intelligible is seen as a doxastic object. For the object of its knowledge is external to, and not within it, as the intelligible is within reason. Hence the object is not comprehended by it, but is called opinable and not sensible; because opinion knows indeed the essences of things, but sense does not. Hence too, it receives the appellation of a clearer knowledge, which knows what a thing is, but not alone that it is, which latter we say is the employment of sense; and in consequence of this Timaeus very properly calls that which is generated the object of opinion. For this is Pythagoric; since Parmenides also considered the discussion of sensibles, as a discussion according to opinion; sensibles being in their own nature perceptible by this power of the soul. Hence it is not proper to call that which is generated sensible alone, because sense is not gnostic of any essence, nor the object of opinion, without the addition of sense.
Here however, Aristotle particularly blames the second assertion of Timaeus. For where is it [universally] true that what is perceived by opinion in conjunction with sense is generated and corrupted? For heaven is unbegotten and indestructible, though it is perceived by opinion in conjunction with sense. And Timaeus, in the course of this dialogue, inquires whether the whole heaven was generated. At present, therefore, it must be said by us, that generation and corruption subsist according to analogy in the heavens, not only according to the motions and mutations of figures, but also because a celestial body is not produced by itself, but alone subsists from another cause. Hence it is generated as having the cause of its subsistence suspended from another thing different from itself. Since, however, it not only subsists from, but is connected by another, not being able to connect itself, and is corrupted according to its own proper reason, on this account it assumes generation co-ordinately with corruption. For truly existing and eternal beings generate themselves, and are connected by themselves, whence also they are said to be in their own nature unbegotten and indestructible. If, however, truly existing being is unbegotten , and therefore subsists from itself, that which does not subsist from itself will not be truly unbegotten. And if that which is truly indestructible is naturally adapted to connect itself, that which is not naturally adapted to connect itself will not be truly indestructible. Heaven, however, but I mean by heaven the corporeal-formed nature of it alone, is neither adapted to produce nor to connect itself. For every thing of this kind which produces and connects itself, is impartible. Hence it is neither truly unbegotten nor truly indestructible, but so far as pertains to its corporeal nature, it is generated and made. Farther still, as Aristotle himself says, and clearly and generously demonstrates, no finite body possesses an infinite power. But the celestial body is finite, and therefore does not possess an infinite power. The indestructible, however, so far as indestructible, possesses an infinite power. Hence body, so far as body, is not indestructible. So that from the reasoning of Aristotle it is demonstrated to be a thing of this kind. But after what manner the heaven is unbegotten and perpetual, will be manifest to us shortly after. Now, however, this alone is evident from what has been said, that every thing corporeal, is of itself, or in its own nature generated and corrupted, but never truly is, as Plato also says in the Politicus. For he there observes "that to subsist always invariably the same, alone pertains to the most divine of all things. But the nature of body is not of this order. That, however, which we denominate heaven or the world, possesses indeed many blessed prerogatives from its generator; but, as it partakes of body, it is impossible that it should be entirely free from mutation." We have shown, therefore, how the heaven falls under the above-mentioned distinctions.
If however, the daemoniacal Aristotle, should again doubt respecting what it said of eternal being, not enduring to say that every thing which always is, is comprehended by intelligence in conjunction with reason; since the most divine of visible objects always exist; we think it fit, that he should not confound the eternal, and that which subsists through the whole of time. For he also distinguishes eternity from time; and attributes the former indeed to intellect, but the latter to heaven, and the motion of heaven. That always-existing being, therefore, the eternal, is a thing of such a kind as Timaeus defines it to be. The most divine, however, of visible objects, are after another manner perpetual, and not according to an eternal permanency. But they are produced in the whole of time from their causes, and the whole of their existence is in becoming to be. This also is said by Aristotle, that eternity is connascent with intelligibles, possessing and comprehending in itself infinite time; and therefore the eternal is truly intelligible. If, however, that which always is, signifies the eternal, why is it necessary to refer the nature of heaven to this perpetual being, and why should we not say that it is always generated, or becoming to be, as being co-extended with the perpetuity of time? So that we shall thus dissolve the objections from his arguments, which he urges against these definitions. Since, however, we have replied to this inquiry, we shall dismiss it; for it will be spoken of hereafter. But, in short, the opinion of Plato concerning criteria, may from these things be assumed. For different persons admitting a different criterion, some asserting that it is sense, as the Protagoreans, others opinion, as he who said, Opinion is in all things fram'd; (Xenophon fr. 34, 4d.) others that it is reason, and others that it is intellect; Plato divides the essence of the criteria conformably to things themselves, attributing intellect to intelligibles, dianoia to dianoetic objects, opinion to doxastic objects, and sense to sensibles. You must not however fancy that the criteria are on this account divulsed according to him from each other. For the soul is both one and a multitude. If, therefore, the soul which judges is both one and a multitude, the judicial power will also be both uniform and multiform. Some one therefore may say, what is this one power? We reply, reason. For this, when it proceeds to the survey of intelligibles, uses both itself and intelligence; not that intelligence indeed is the instrument, and reason that which uses it, as the Platonic Severus thought, considering intelligence as inferior to reason, but that intelligence is the light of reason, perfecting and elevating it, and illuminating its gnostic power.
But when it forms a judgement of middle reasons, it alone uses dianoia and itself, and through this is converted to itself. When also it decides on objects of opinion, it moves opinion; but in judging of objects of imagination, it excites the phantasy, and in judging of sensibles, sense. For when it considers the sensible essence of forms, such as is every sensible object, it uses opinion as the co-adjutor of its speculation. For in this the reasons of sensibles subsist. But when it directs its attention to the position or figure of a certain thing, as for instance, to the manner in which the earth is posited, which has in its summit a habitude to the heavens, it then excites the phantasy, in order that it may survey the object of its inquiry accompanied with interval and morphe, as it is. And when it considers an eclipse, it employs sense as an adjutor in its observations. At one time also, it admits the judgements of the second powers; but at another, it blames the errors which they frequently happen to commit on account of the instruments. Concerning the criteria therefore, thus much may suffice for the present; for we have discussed these things more copiously in our Commentaries on the Theaetetus. From what has been said, however, the great accuracy of the before-mentioned definitions is evident.
But if you are willing, we will also survey the same thing according to another method. I say, therefore, that the nature which is primarily perpetual being, is that which is eternal according to all things, viz. according to essence, power, and energy. And that the nature which is simply generated, is that which receives all its essence, power and energy in time. For it is necessary that the former should be wholly eternal, but the latter wholly temporal. And that the former should be at once every thing in a self-subsistent manner, but that the latter should have its hypostasis suspended elsewhere than from itself, and consisting in an extension of existence. Since these, however, are the extremes, the media are, things which in a certain respect participate of a portion of being, and in a certain respect communicate with generation. But again, there are two natures which participate of neither of these, one in consequence of being superior, but the other through being inferior to them. For matter is neither being, nor that which is generated. For it is neither comprehended by intelligence, nor is sensible. And this also is true of The One, as Parmenides demonstrates of both these, of the latter in the first, and of the former in the fifth hypothesis. Perpetual being, therefore, is the whole of the intelligible, and the whole of the intellectual genus, every supermundane intellect, every intellect participated by divine souls, and every intellect which is called partial, and is participated by angels, and daemons; and by partial souls, through angels and daemons as media. And as far as to this, perpetual being extends. For every intellect energizes eternally, and is measured in the whole of itself by eternity. But that which is generated, is every thing which is moved in a confused and disorderly manner, and which in conception is surveyed prior to the production of the world; likewise every thing which is properly generated and corrupted, heaven, and all these sensible and visible natures. Timaeus also defines that which is simply generated, and that which is simply perpetual being, to be these. But the intermediate natures are those which communicate with both these; and on each side of them are the natures which participate of neither of these. Hence Timaeus proposes both of them affirmatively and negatively, as for instance, perpetual being, and without generation, and again, that which is generated, and is never real being, in order that through the affirmations he may separate them from things which are the recipients of neither, but that through the negations they may be distinguished from things which in a certain respect participate of both.
As these, therefore, are the extremes, viz. every intelligible and intellectual essence, and every sensible essence, let us direct our attention to the intermediate nature. For Timaeus calls both time and the soul generated. And it is evident that these, as not being sensible, are in a certain respect beings, and in a certain respect generated, but perfectly neither of these. Porphyry, therefore, rightly observes, that Plato now defines the extremes, viz. that which is primarily being, and that which is alone generated, and that he omits the media; such for instance as, that which is at one and the same time being and a generated nature, or that which is both generated and being; of which being and generated are adapted to the nature of souls, but vice versa that which is generated and being, are allied to the summit of generated natures. Such as this, however, is the nature of the universe which vivifies the universe. For this nature so far as it is divisible about bodies, is generated, but so far as it is entirely incorporeal, is unbegotten. But it is absurd to say that matter is both generated and being. For thus it would be superior to generated sensible natures, since these are generated alone, but matter would also participate of being. And if you are willing separately to assume that which is alone perpetual being, and that which is alone generated, by taking away from one of the definitions intellect, and from the other sense; you will produce the definition of the medium. For this is known by reason and opinion. For reason knows both itself and opinion, and opinion knows itself and reason; the former indeed both in conjunction with cause; but the latter both, without cause. For in this reason and opinion differ from each other. Opinion also is known by reason, and reason by opinion. And the whole [rational] soul subsists through both these which are media. Thus too, by assuming the worse of the two upward terms, viz. reason, and making it to be spurious reason, and of the two downward terms sense, and making it to be insensible sense, you will then have the manner in which Plato thought matter may be known, viz. by spurious reason, and insensible sense. Assuming likewise analogously in each, that which is the better of the two, and making it to be spurious according to that which is more excellent, you will have the manner in which The One is known, viz. by a spurious intellect, and spurious opinion. Hence it is not properly simple, and is not known from cause. It is known therefore by a spurious knowledge, because it is known in a superior manner according to each. For opinion does not know from cause, and The One is not known from cause, but from not having a cause. And intellect knows that which is simple; but a spurious intellect knows The One, because it is superior to intellectual perception. The superior therefore, here, is spurious as with reference to intellect, as The One also is more excellent than that which is simple, such as that is which is intelligible to truly existing intellect, and to which intellect is allied and is not spurious. It perceives therefore, The One, by that in itself which is not intellect. But this is The One in it, according to which also it is a God.
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