Prometheus Trust
TTS Catalogue
1 - Elements
2 - Porphyry
3 - Plotinus
4 - Gods &  World
5 - Hymns
6 - Maximus Tyrius
7 - Oracles
8 - Theology
9-13 Works of Plato
Plato Extracts1
Plato Extracts2
Plato Extracts3
14 - Apuleius
15, 16 Proc on Tim
17 - Iamblichus
18 Proclus' Essays
19 - Physics
20 - Organon
29 - Proclus on Euclid
30 - Theoretic Arithmetic
31 - Pausanias
Against the Christians
In Preparation
TTS Offer
Texts and Translations
Other books
Complete Catalogue
Ordering
Education
Essentials Course
London Monday  Evenings
Academy Appeal
Conference
Events
Lectures
Meadow 1
Meadow 2
Meadow 3
The Trust
Thomas Taylor
Glossary
Links
Files to download
Seeds and fruits
Contact us
Study weeks in Italy
PTCOLIM

 

Proclus’ Theology of Plato


Translated by Thomas Taylor

ISBN 978-1898910-077
 

The extracts from this volume, Proclus' Theology of Plato, are:
1 Part of Thomas Taylor's introduction,
2 Book I, chapters xx and xxi,
3 Book II, chapter vii,
4 Book III, chapters iii and iv,
5 Book IV, chapters i-iv,
6 Book V, chapters i-v,


1 From Taylor's Introduction

I rejoice in the opportunity which is afforded me of presenting the truly philosophic reader, in the present work, with a treasure of Grecian theology; of a theology, which was first mystically and symbolically promulgated by rpheus, afterwards disseminated enigmatically through images by Pythagoras, and in the last place scientifically unfolded by Plato and his genuine disciples. The peculiarity indeed, of this theology is, that it is no less scientific than sublime; and that by a geometrical series of reasoning originating from the most self-evident truths, it develops all the deified progressions from the ineffable principle of things, and accurately exhibits to our view all the links of that golden chain of which deity is the one extreme, and body the other.

That also which is most admirable and laudable in this theology is, that it produces in the mind properly prepared for its reception the most pure, holy, venerable, and exalted conceptions of the great cause of all. For it celebrates this immense principle as something superior even to being itself; as exempt from the whole of things, of which it is nevertheless ineffably the source, and does not therefore think fit to connumerate it with any triad, or order of beings. Indeed, it even apologises for attempting to give an appropriate name to this principle, which is in reality ineffable, and ascribes the attempt to the imbecility of human nature, which striving intently to behold it, gives the appellation of the most simple of its conceptions to that which is beyond all knowledge and all conception. Hence it denominates it The One, and The Good; by the former of these names indicating its transcendent simplicity, and by the latter its subsistence as the object of desire to all beings. For all things desire good. At the same time however, it asserts that these appellations are in reality nothing more than the parturitions of the soul which standing as it were in the vestibules of the adytum of deity, announce nothing pertaining to the ineffable, but only indicate her spontaneous tendencies towards it, and belong rather to the immediate offspring of the first God, than to the first itself.

Hence, as the result of this most venerable conception of the supreme, when it ventures not only to denominate the ineffable, but also to assert something of its relation to other things, it considers this as pre-eminently its peculiarity, that it is the principle of principles; it being necessary that the characteristic property of principle, after the same manner as other things, should not begin from multitude, but should be collected into one monad as a summit, and which is the principle of all principles. Conformably to this, Proclus, in the second book of this work says, with matchless magnificence of diction: "Let us as it were celebrate the first God, not as establishing the earth and the heavens, nor as giving subsistence to souls, and the generation of all animals; for he produced these indeed, but among the last of things; but prior to these, let us celebrate him as unfolding into light the whole intelligible and intellectual genus of Gods, together with all the supermundane and mundane divinities - as the God of all Gods, the unity of all unities, and beyond the first adyta [the highest order of intelligibles], - as more ineffable than all silence, and more unknown than all essence, - as holy among the holies, and concealed in the intelligible Gods."

The scientific reasoning from which this dogma is deduced is the following: As the principle of all things is The One, it is necessary that the progression of beings should be continued, and that no vacuum should intervene either in incorporeal or corporeal natures. t is also necessary that every thing which has a natural progression should proceed through similitude. n consequence of this, it is likewise necessary that every producing principle should generate a number of the same order with itself, viz. nature, a natural number; soul, one that is psychical (i.e. belonging to soul); and intellect, an intellectual number. For if whatever possesses a power of generating, generates similars prior to dissimilars, every cause must deliver its own form and characteristic peculiarity to its progeny; and before it generates that which gives subsistence to progressions far distant and separate from its nature, it must constitute things proximate to itself according to essence, and conjoined with it through similitude. t is therefore necessary from these premises, since there is one unity the principle of the universe, that this unity should produce from itself, prior to every thing else, a multitude of natures characterised by unity, and a number the most of all things allied to its cause; and these natures are no other than the Gods.
 
According to this theology therefore, from the immense principle of principles, in which all things causally subsist, absorbed in superessential light, and involved in unfathomable depths, a beauteous progeny of principles proceed, all largely partaking of the ineffable, all stamped with the occult characters of deity, all possessing an overflowing fullness of good. From these dazzling summits, these ineffable blossoms, these divine propagations, being, life, intellect, soul, nature and body depend; monads suspended from unities, deified natures proceeding from deities. Each of these monads too, is the leader of a series which extends from itself to the last of things, and which while it proceeds from, at the same time abides in, and returns to its leader. And all these principles and all their progeny are finally centred and rooted by their summits in the first great all-comprehending one. Thus all beings proceed from, and are comprehended in the first being; all intellects emanate from one first intellect; all souls from one first soul; all natures blossom from one first nature; and all bodies proceed from the vital and luminous body of the world. And lastly, all these great monads are comprehended in the first one, from which both they and all their depending series are unfolded into light. Hence this first one is truly the unity of unities, the monad of monads, the principle of principles, the God of Gods, one and all things, and yet one prior to all.

No objections of any weight, no arguments but such as are sophistical, can be urged against this most sublime theory which is so congenial to the unperverted conceptions of the human mind, that it can only be treated with ridicule and contempt in degraded, barren, and barbarous ages. Ignorance and priestcraft, however, have hitherto conspired to defame those inestimable works, in which this and many other grand and important dogmas can alone be found; and the theology of the Greeks has been attacked with all the insane fury of ecclesiastical zeal, and all the imbecil flashes of mistaken wit, by men whose conceptions on the subject, like those of a man between sleeping and waking, have been turbid and wild, phantastic and confused, preposterous and vain.

 
2 BOOK I, chapters xx and xxi.

CHAPTER XX In the next place, let us speak concerning the truth which is in the Gods; for this in addition to what has been said is concluded by Socrates, because a divine nature is without falsehood, and is neither the cause of deception or ignorance to us, or to any other beings. We must understand therefore, that divine truth is exempt from the truth which consists in words, so far as this truth is composite, and in a certain respect is mingled with its contrary, and because its subsistence consists of things that are not true. For the first parts do not admit of a truth of this kind, unless some one being persuaded by what Socrates asserts in the Cratylus, should say that these also are after another manner true. Divine truth also is exempt from psychical truth, whether it is surveyed in opinions or in sciences, so far as it is in a certain respect divisible, and is not beings themselves, but is assimilated to and co-harmonized with beings, and as being perfected in motion and mutation falls short of the truth which is always firm, stable and of a principal nature. Divine truth is likewise again exempt from intellectual truth, because though this subsists according to essence, and is said to be and is, beings themselves, through the power of sameness, yet again, through difference, it is separated from the essence of them, and preserves its peculiar hypostasis unconfused with respect to them. The truth therefore of the Gods alone, is the undivided union and all-perfect communion of them. And through this the ineffable knowledge of the Gods, surpasses all knowledge, and all secondary forms of knowledge participate of an appropriate perfection. But this knowledge alone of the Gods contractedly comprehends these secondary forms of knowledge, and all beings according to an ineffable union. And through this the Gods know all things at once, wholes and parts, beings and non-beings, things eternal and things temporal, not in the same manner as intellect by the universal knows a part, and by being, non-being, but they know every thing immediately, such things as are common, and such as are particulars, though you should speak of the most absurd of all things, though you should speak of the infinity of contingencies, or even of matter itself.

If, however, you investigate the mode of the knowledge and truth of the Gods, concerning all things that have a subsistence in any respect whatever, it is ineffable and incomprehensible by the projecting energies of the human intellect; but is alone known to the Gods themselves. And I indeed admire those Platonists that attribute to intellect the knowledge of all things, of individuals, of things preternatural, and in short, of evils, and on this account establish intellectual paradigms of these. But I much more admire those who separate the intellectual peculiarity from divine union. For intellect is the first fabrication and progeny of the Gods. These therefore assign to intellect whole and first causes, and such as are according to nature, and to the Gods a power which is capable of adorning and generating all things. For The One is every where, but whole is not every where. And of The One indeed matter participates and every being; but of intellect and intellectual species and genera, all things do not participate. All things therefore are alone from the Gods, and real truth is with them who know all things unically. For on this account also, in oracles the Gods similarly teach all things, wholes and parts, things eternal, and such as are generated through the whole of time. For being exempt from eternal beings, and from those that exist in time, they contract in themselves the knowledge of each and of all things, according to one united truth. If therefore any falsehood occurs in the oracles of the Gods, we must not say that a thing of this kind originates from the Gods, but from the recipients, or the instruments, or the places, or the times. For all these contribute to the participation of divine knowledge, and when they are appropriately co-adapted to the Gods, they receive a pure illumination of the truth which is established in them. But when they are separated from the Gods through inaptitude, and become discordant with them, then they obscure the truth which proceeds from them. What kind of falsehood therefore can be said to be derived from the Gods, who produce all the species of knowledge? What deception can there be with those who establish in themselves the whole of truth? In the same manner, as it appears to me, the Gods extend good to all things, but always that which is willing and able receives the extended good, as Socrates says in the Phaedrus. And a divine nature indeed is causeless of evil, but that which departs from it, and gravitates downwards, is elongated through itself; thus also, the Gods indeed are always the suppliers of truth, but those natures are illuminated by them, who are lawfully their participants. For the Elean wise man says, that the eye of the soul in the multitude, is not strong enough to look to the truth.

The Athenian guest also celebrates this truth which subsists primarily in the Gods; for he says that truth is the leader to the Gods of every good, and likewise of every good to men. For as the truth which is in souls conjoins them with intellect, and as intellectual truth conducts all the intellectual orders to The One, thus also the truth of the Gods unites the divine unities to the fountain of all good, with which being conjoined, they are filled with all boniform power. For every where the hyparxis of truth has a cause which is collective of multitude into one; since in the Republic also, the light proceeding from The Good and which conjoins intellect with the intelligible, is denominated by Plato truth. This characteristic property therefore, which unites and binds together the natures that fill and the natures that are filled, according to all the orders of the Gods, must be arranged as originating supernally and proceeding as far as to the last of things.

CHAPTER XXI To us however discussing what pertains to every divine nature, what we assert will be known from those commonly received truths adduced in the Phaedrus, and which we have before mentioned. Socrates therefore says that every thing divine is beautiful, wise, and good and he indicates that this triad pervades to all the progressions of the Gods. What therefore is the goodness, what the wisdom, and what the beauty of the Gods? With respect to the goodness of the Gods therefore, we have before observed, that it preserves and gives subsistence to the whole of things, that it every where exists as the summit, as that which fills subordinate natures, and as pre-existing in every order analogous to the first principle of the divine orders. For according to this all the Gods are conjoined with the one cause of all things, and on account of this primarily derive their subsistence as Gods. For in all beings there is not any thing more perfect than the good, and the Gods. To the most excellent of beings therefore, and which are in every respect perfect, the best and most perfect of things is adapted.
 

3 BOOK II, chapters vii and xi

CHAPTER VII If, however, it be requisite to survey each of the dogmas about it which are scattered in the writings of Plato, and to reduce them to one science of theology, let us consider, if you are willing, prior to other things, what Socrates demonstrates in the 6th book of the Republic, conformably to the before mentioned mode, and how through analogy he teaches us the wonderful transcendency of The Good with respect to all beings, and the summits of the whole of things. n the first place therefore, he distinguishes beings from each other, and establishing some of them to be intelligibles, but others sensibles, he defines science by the knowledge of beings. But he conjoins sense with sensibles, and giving a twofold division to all things, he places one exempt monad over intelligible multitude, and a second monad over sensible multitude, according to a similitude to the former monad. Of these monads also, he shows that the one is generative of intelligible light, but the other of sensible light. And he evinces that by the intelligible light indeed, all intelligibles are deiform, and boniform, according to participation from the first God; but that by the sensible light, according to the perfection derived from the sun, all sensible natures are solarform, and similar to their one monad. In addition also to what has been said, he suspends the second monad from that which reigns in the intelligible. And thus he extends all things, both the first and the last of beings, I mean intelligibles and sensibles, to The Good. Such a mode of reduction to the first as this, appears to me to be most excellent, and especially adapted to theology; viz. to congregate all the Gods in the world into one union, and suspend them from their proximate monad; but to refer the supermundane Gods to the intellectual kingdom; to suspend the intellectual Gods from intelligible union; and to refer the intelligible Gods themselves, and all beings through these, to that which is first. For as the monad of mundane natures is supermundane, as the monad of supermundane natures is intellectual, and of intellectual natures intelligible, thus also it is necessary that first intelligibles should be suspended from the monad which is above intelligibles and perfected by it, and being filled with deity, should illuminate secondary natures with intelligible light. But it is necessary that intellectual natures which derive the enjoyment of their being from intelligibles, but of good and a uniform hyparxis from the first cause, should connect supermundane natures by intellectual light. And that the genera of the Gods prior to the world, through receiving a pure intellect from the intellectual Gods, but intelligible light from the intelligible Gods, and a unical light from the father of the whole of things, should send into this apparent world the illumination of the light which they possess. n this account, the sun being the summit of mundane natures, and proceeding from the etherial profundities, imparts to visible natures supernatural perfection, and causes these as much as possible to be similar to the supercelestial worlds. These things therefore we shall afterwards more abundantly discuss.

The present discourse, however, suspends all things after the above mentioned manner from The Good, and the first unity. For if indeed the sun connects every thing sensible, but The Good produces and perfects every thing intelligible, and of these, the second monad [i.e. the sun] is denominated the offspring of The Good and on this account causes that which is sensible to be splendid, and adorns and fills it with good, because it imitates the primogenial cause of itself, - if this be the case, all things will thus participate of the good, and will be extended to this one principle, intelligibles indeed, and the most divine of beings without a medium, but sensibles through their monad [the sun].

Again therefore, and after another manner, Plato narrates to us in this extract from the Republic the analysis to the first principle. For he suspends all the multitudes in the world from the intelligible monads, as for instance, all beautiful things from the beautiful itself, all good things from The Good, and all equal things from the equal itself. And again, he considers some things as intelligibles, but others as sensibles; but the summits of them are uniformly established in intelligibles. Again, from these intelligible forms he thinks fit to ascend still higher, and venerating in a greater degree the goodness which is beyond intelligibles, he apprehends that all intelligibles, and the monads which they contain, subsist and are perfected through it. For as we refer the sensible multitude to a monad unco-ordinated with sensibles, and we think that through this monad the multitude of sensibles derives its subsistence, so it is necessary to refer the intelligible multitude to another cause which is not connumerated with intelligibles, and from which they are allotted their essence and their divine hyparxis.

Let not, however, any one fancy that Plato admits there is the same order of The Good in intelligible forms, as there is prior to intelligibles. But the good indeed, which is co-ordinated with the beautiful, must be considered as essential, and as one of the forms which are in intelligibles. For the first good, which by conjoining the article with the noun we are accustomed to call or The Good, is admitted to be something superessential, and more excellent than all beings both in dignity and power; since Socrates also, when discussing the beautiful and the good, calls the one the beautiful itself and the other the good itself, and thus says he we must denominate all the things which we then very properly considered as many. Again, particularly considering each thing as being one, we denominate each thing that which it is, and thus Socrates leading us from sensible things that are beautiful and good, and in short from things that are participated, subsist in other things, and are multiplied, to the superessential unities of intelligibles and the first essences, from these again, he transfers us to the exempt cause of every thing beautiful and good. For in forms, the beautiful itself is the leader of many beautiful things, and the good itself of many goods, and each form alone gives subsistence to things similar to itself. But the first good is not only the cause of what is good, but similarly of things beautiful, as Plato elsewhere says; and "all things are for its sake, and it is the cause of every thing beautiful."
 
For again, in addition to what has been said, the good which is in forms is intelligible and known, as Socrates himself teaches; but The Good prior to forms is beyond beings, and is established above all knowledge. And the former is the source of essential perfection; but the latter is the supplier of good to the Gods so far as they are Gods, and is generative of goods which are prior to essences. We must not therefore apprehend that when Socrates calls the first principle The Good, from the name of idea, that he directly calls it the intelligible goodness; but though the first principle is superior to all language and appellation, we permit Socrates to call it the cause of every thing beautiful and good, transferring through the things which are proximately filled by it, appellations to it. For this I think Socrates indicating asserts in all that he says about The Good, that it is beyond knowledge and things that are known, and likewise beyond essence and being, according to its analogy to the sun. And after a certain admirable manner he presents us with an epitome of the negations of The One in the Parmenides. For the assertion that The Good is neither truth, nor essence, nor intellect, nor science, at one and the same time separates it from the superessential unities, and every genus of the Gods, and from the intellectual and intelligible orders, and from every psychical subsistence. But these are the first things, and through the first hypothesis of the Parmenides, these are taken away from the principle of the whole of things.
Moreover, neither when he celebrates The Good the leader of the divine orders, as the most splendid of being, does he denominate it most splendid as participating of light. For the first light proceeds from it to intelligibles and intellect, but he gives it this appellation as the cause of the light which is every where diffused, and as the fountain of every intelligible, or intellectual, or mundane deity. For this light is nothing else than the participation of a divine hyparxis. For as all things become boniform through participating of The Good and are filled with the illumination proceeding from thence, thus also the natures which are primarily beings are deiform; and as it is said, intelligible and intellectual essences become divine through the participation of deity. Looking therefore to all that has been said, we shall preserve the exempt transcendency of The Good with reference to all beings and the divine orders. But again, in each order of beings, we must grant that there is a monad analogous to it, not only in sensibles, as Plato says the sun is, but likewise in supermundane natures, and in the genera of Gods arranged from The Good prior to these. For it is evident that the natures which are nearer to the first cause and which participate of it in a greater degree, possess a greater similitude to it. And as that is the cause of all beings, so these establish monads which are the leaders of more partial orders. And Plato indeed arranges the multitudes under the monads; but extends all the monads to the exempt principle of the whole of things, and establishes them uniformly about it. It is necessary therefore that the theological science should be unfolded conformably to the divine orders, and that our conceptions about it should be transcendent, and unmingled and unconnected with other things. And we should survey indeed all secondary natures, subsisting according to and perfected about it; but we should establish it as transcending all the monads in beings, according to one excess of simplicity, and as unically arranged prior to the whole orders [of Gods.] For as the Gods themselves enact the order which is in them, thus also it is necessary that the truth concerning them, the precedaneous causes of beings, and the second and third progeny of these should be definitely distinguished.

This, therefore, is the one truth concerning the first principle, and which possesses one reason remarkably conformable to the Platonic hypothesis, viz. that this principle subsists prior to the whole orders in the Gods, that it gives subsistence to the boniform essence of the Gods, that it is the fountain of superessential goodness, and that all things posterior to it being extended towards it, are filled with good, after an ineffable manner are united to it, and subsist uniformly about it. For its unical nature is not unprolific, but it is by so much the more generative of other things, as it pre-establishes a union exempt from the things which have a subsistence. Nor does its fecundity tend to multitude and division; but it abides with undefiled purity concealed in inaccessible places. For in the natures also which are posterior to it, we every where see that what is perfect desires to generate, and that what is full hastens to impart to other things its plenitude. In a much greater degree therefore it is necessary that the nature which contains in one all perfections, and which is not a certain good, but good itself, and super-full, (if it be lawful so to speak) should be generative of the whole of things, and give subsistence to them; producing all things by being exempt from all things, and by being imparticipable, similarly generating the first and the last of beings.

You must not, however, suppose that this generation and progression is emitted in consequence of The Good either being moved, or multiplied, or possessing a generative power, or energizing; since all these are secondary to the singleness of the first. For whether The Good is moved, it will not be The Good; since The Good Itself, and which is nothing else, if it were moved would depart from goodness. How, therefore, can that which is the source of goodness to beings, produce other things when deprived of good? Or whether The Good is multiplied through imbecility, there will be a progression of the whole of things through a diminution, but not through an abundance of goodness. For that which in generating departs from its proper transcendency, hastens to adorn inferior natures, not through prolific perfection, but through a diminution and want of its own power. But if The Good produces all things by employing power, there will be a diminution of goodness about it. For it will be two things and not one, viz. it will be good and power. And if indeed it is in want of power, that which is primarily good will be indigent. But if to be The Good Itself is sufficient to the perfection of the things produced, and to the plenitude of all things, why do we assume power as an addition? For additions in the Gods are ablations of transcendent unions. Let The Good therefore alone be prior to power, and prior to energy. For all energy is the progeny of power. Neither, therefore, does The Good energizing give subsistence to all things through energy, nor being in want of power does it fill all things with powers, nor being multiplied do all things participate of good, nor being moved do all beings enjoy the first principle. For The Good precedes all powers, and all energies, and every multitude and motion; since each of these is referred to The Good as to its end. The Good therefore is the most final of all ends, and the centre of all desirable natures. All desirable natures, indeed, impart an end to secondary beings; but that which pre-subsists uncircumscribed by all things is the first good.

CHAPTER XI Let us now therefore, if ever, abandon multiform knowledge, exterminate from ourselves all the variety of life, and in perfect quiet approach near to the cause of all things. For this purpose, let not only opinion and phantasy be at rest, nor the passions alone which impede our anagogic impulse to the first, be at peace; but let the air be still, and the universe itself be still. And let all things extend us with a tranquil power to communion with the ineffable. Let us also, standing there, having transcended the intelligible (if we contain any thing of this kind,) and with nearly closed eyes adoring as it were the rising sun, since it is not lawful for any being whatever intently to behold him - let us survey the sun whence the light of the intelligible Gods proceeds, emerging, as the poets say, from the bosom of the ocean; and again from this divine tranquillity descending into intellect, and from intellect, employing the reasonings of the soul, let us relate to ourselves what the natures are from which, in this progression, we shall consider the first God as exempt. And let us as it were celebrate him, not as establishing the earth and the heavens, nor as giving subsistence to souls, and the generations of all animals; for he produced these indeed, but among the last of things; but, prior to these, let us celebrate him as unfolding into light the whole intelligible and intellectual genus of Gods, together with all the supermundane and mundane divinities - as the God of all Gods, the unity of all unities, and beyond the first adyta, - as more ineffable than all silence, and more unknown than all essence, - as holy among the holies, and concealed in the intelligible Gods. And again after these things descending into a reasoning process from an intellectual hymn, and employing the irreprehensible science of dialectic, let us, following the contemplation of first causes, survey the manner in which the first God is exempt from the whole of things. And let our descent be as far as to this. But opinion and phantasy and sense, prevent us indeed from partaking of the presence of the Gods, and draw us down from lympian goods to earth-born motions, Titannically divide the intellect that is in us, and divulse us from an establishment in wholes to the images of beings.

 
4 BOOK III chapters iii and iv

CHAPTER III Again therefore, the mystic doctrine concerning The One must be resumed by us, in order that proceeding from the first principle, we may celebrate the second and third principles of the whole of things. Of all beings therefore, and of the Gods that produce beings, one exempt and imparticipable cause pre-exists, - a cause ineffable indeed by all language, and unknown by all knowledge and incomprehensible, unfolding all things into light from itself, subsisting ineffably prior to, and converting all things to itself, but existing as the best end of all things. This cause therefore, which is truly exempt from all causes, and which gives subsistence unically to all the unities of divine natures, and to all the genera of beings, and their progressions, Socrates in the Republic calls The Good, and through its analogy to the sun reveals its admirable and unknown transcendency with respect to all intelligibles. But again, Parmenides denominates it The One. And through negations demonstrates the exempt and ineffable hyparxis of this one which is the cause of the whole of things. But the discourse in the epistle to Dionysius proceeding through enigmas, celebrates it as that about which all things subsist, and as the cause of all beautiful things. In the Philebus however, Socrates celebrates it as that which gives subsistence to the whole of things, because it is the cause of all deity. For all the Gods derive their existence as Gods from the first God. Whether therefore, it be lawful to denominate it the fountain of deity, or the kingdom of beings, or the unity of all unities, or the goodness which is generative of truth, or an hyparxis exempt from all these things, and beyond all causes, both the paternal and the generative, let it be honoured by us in silence, and prior to silence by union, and of the mystic end may it impart by illumination a portion adapted to our souls.

But let us survey with intellect the biformed principles proceeding from and posterior to it. For what else is it necessary to arrange after the union of the whole theory, than the duad of principles? What the two principles therefore are of the divine orders after the first principle, we shall in the next place survey. For conformably to the theology of our ancestors, Plato also establishes two principles after The One. In the Philebus therefore, Socrates says, that God gives subsistence to bound and infinity, and through these mingling all beings, has produced them, the nature of beings, according to Philolaus subsisting from the connexion of things bounded, and things infinite. If, therefore, all beings subsist from these, it is evident that they themselves have a subsistence prior to beings. And if secondary natures participate of these mingled together, these will subsist unmingled prior to the whole of things. For the progression of the divine orders originates, not from things co-ordinated and which exist in others, but from things exempt, and which are established in themselves. As therefore The One is prior to things united, and as that which is passive to The One, has a second order after the imparticipable union, thus also the two principles of beings, prior to the participation of and commixture with beings, are themselves by themselves the causes of the whole of things. For it is necessary that bound should be prior to things bounded, and infinity prior to infinites, according to the similitude to The One of things which proceed from it. For again, if we should produce beings immediately after The One, we shall no where find the peculiarity of The One subsisting purely. For neither is being the same with The One, but it participates of The One, nor in reality is that which is the first The One; for, as has been frequently said, it is better than The One. Where therefore is that which is most properly and entirely one? Hence there is a certain one prior to being, which gives subsistence to being, and is primarily the cause of it; since that which is prior to it is beyond union, and is a cause without habitude with respect to all things, and imparticipable, being exempt from all things. If however this one is the cause of being, and constitutes it, there will be a power in it generative of being. For every thing which produces, produces according to its own power, which is allotted a subsistence between that which produces and the things produced, and is of the one the progression and as it were extension, but of the other is the pre-arranged generative cause. For being which is produced from these, and which is not The One Itself, but uniform, possesses its progression indeed from The One, through the power which produces and unfolds it into light from The One; but its occult union from the hyparxis of The One. This one therefore which subsists prior to power, and first pre-subsists from the imparticipable and unknown cause of the whole of things, Socrates in the Philebus calls bound, but he denominates the power of it which is generative of being, infinity. But he thus speaks in that dialogue, "God we said has exhibited the bound, and also the infinite of beings."

The first therefore and unical God, is without any addition denominated by him God; because each of the second Gods is participated by being, and has being suspended from its nature. But the first indeed, as being exempt from the whole of beings, is God, defined according to the ineffable itself, the unical alone, and superessential. But the bound and the infinite of beings, unfold into light that unknown and imparticipable cause; bound indeed, being the cause of stable, uniform, and connective deity; but the infinite being the cause of power proceeding to all things and capable of being multiplied, and in short, being the leader of every generative distribution. For all union and wholeness, and communion of beings, and all the divine measures, are suspended from the first bound. But all division, prolific production, and progression into multitude, derive their subsistence from this most principal infinity. Hence, when we say that each of the divine orders abides and at the same time proceeds, we must confess that it stably abides indeed, according to bound, but proceeds according to infinity, and that at one and the same time it has unity and multitude, and we must suspend the former from the principle of bound, but the latter from that of infinity. And in short, of all the opposition in the divine genera, we must refer that which is the more excellent to bound, but that which is subordinate to infinity. For from these two principles all things have their progression into being, even as far as to the last of things. For eternity itself participates at once of bound and infinity; so far indeed, as it is the intelligible measure, it participates of bound; but so far as it is the cause of a never-failing power of existing, it participates of infinity. And intellect, so far indeed as it is uniform, and whole, and so far as it is connective of paradigmatical measures, so far it is the progeny of bound. But again, so far as it produces all things eternally, and subsists conformably to the whole of eternity, supplying all things with existence at once, and always possessing its own power undiminished, so far it is the progeny of infinity. And soul indeed, in consequence of measuring its own life, by restitutions and periods, and introducing a boundary to its own motions, is referred to the cause of bound; but in consequence of having no cessation of motions, but making the end of one period the beginning of the whole of a second vital circulation, it is referred to the order of infinity. The whole of this heaven also, according to the wholeness of itself, its connexion, the order of its periods, and the measures of its restitutions, is bounded. But according to its prolific powers, its various evolutions, and the never-failing revolutions of its orbs, it participates of infinity. Moreover, the whole of generation, in consequence of all its forms being bounded, and always permanent after the same manner, and in consequence of its own circle which imitates the celestial circulation, is similar to bound. But again, in consequence of the variety of the particulars of which it consists, their unceasing mutation, and the intervention of the more and the less in the participations of forms, it is the image of infinity. And in addition to these things, every natural production, according to its form indeed, is similar to bound, but according to its matter, resembles infinity. For these are suspended in the last place from the two principles posterior to The One, and as far as to these the progression of their productive power extends. Each of these also is one, but form is the measure and boundary of matter, and is in a greater degree one. Matter however is all things in capacity, so far as it derives its subsistence from the first power. There, however, power is generative of all things. But the power of matter is imperfect, and is indigent of the hypostasis which is generative of all things according to energy. Very properly therefore is it said by Socrates that all beings are from bound and infinity, and that these two intelligible principles primarily derive their subsistence from God. For that which congregates both of them, and perfects them, and unfolds itself into light through all beings is The One prior to the duad. And union indeed is derived to all things through that which is first; but the division of the two orders of things is generated from these primary causes, and through these is extended to the unknown and ineffable principle. Let it therefore be manifest through these things, what the two principles of beings are, which become proximately apparent from The One, according to the theology of Plato.

CHAPTER IV In the next place let us show what the third thing is which presents itself to the view from these principles. It is every where therefore called that which is mixed, as deriving its subsistence from bound and infinity. But if bound is the bound of beings, and the infinite is the infinite of beings, and beings are the things which have a subsistence from both these, as Socrates himself clearly teaches us, it is evident that the first of things mingled, is the first of beings. This, however, is nothing else than that which is highest in beings, which is being itself, and nothing else than being. My meaning is, that this is evident through those things by which we demonstrate that what is primarily being, is comprehensive of all things intelligibly, and of life and intellect. For we say that life is triadic vitally, and intellect intellectually; and also that these three things being life and intellect are every where. But all things pre-subsist primarily and essentially in being. For there essence, life and intellect subsist, and the summit of beings. Life however is the middle centre of being, which is denominated and is intelligible life. But intellect is the boundary of being, and is intelligible intellect. For in the intelligible there is intellect, and in intellect the intelligible. There however intellect subsists intelligibly, but in intellect, the intelligible subsists intellectually.

And essence indeed is that which is stable in being, and which is woven together with the first principles, and does not depart from The One. But life is that which proceeds from the principles, and is connascent with infinite power. And intellect is that which converts itself to the principles, conjoins the end with the beginning, and produces one intelligible circle. The first of beings therefore is that which is mingled from the first principles, and is triple, one thing which it contains subsisting in it essentially, another vitally, and another intellectually, but all things pre-subsisting in it essentially. I mean however by the first of beings essence. For essence itself is the summit of all beings, and is as it were the monad of the whole of things. In all things therefore, essence is the first. And in each thing that which is essential is the most ancient, as deriving its subsistence from the Vesta of beings. For the intelligible is especially this. Since intellect indeed is that which is gnostic, life is intelligence, and being is intelligible. If however every being is mingled, but essence is being itself, prior to all other things essence is that which subsists as mingled from the two principles proceeding from The One. Hence Socrates indicating how the mode of generation in the two principles differs from that of the mixture says, "that God has exhibited bound and infinity." For they are unities deriving their subsistence from The One, and as it were luminous patefactions from the imparticipable and first union. But with respect to producing a mixture, and mingling through the first principles, by how much to make is subordinate to the unfolding into light, and generation to patefaction, by so much is that which is mixed allotted a progression from The One, inferior to that of the two principles.

That which is mixed therefore, is intelligible essence, and subsists primarily from [the first] God, from whom infinity also and bound are derived. But it subsists secondarily from the principles posterior to the unical God, I mean from bound and infinity. For the fourth cause which is effective of the mixture is again God himself; since if any other cause should be admitted besides this, there will no longer be a fourth cause, but a fifth will be introduced. For the first cause was God, who unfolds into light the two principles. But after him are the two principles bound and infinity. And the mixture is the fourth thing. If therefore the cause of the mixture is different from the first divine cause, this cause will be the fifth and not the fourth thing, as Socrates says it is. Farther still, in addition to these things, if we say that God is especially the supplier of union to beings, and the mixture itself of the principles is a union into the hypostasis of being, God is also certainly the cause of this primarily. Moreover, Socrates in the Republic clearly evinces that The Good is the cause of being and essence to intelligibles, in the same manner as the sun is to visible natures. Is it not therefore necessary, if that which is mixed is primarily being, to refer it to the first God, and to say that it receives its progression from him? If also the demiurgus in the Timaeus, constitutes the essence of the soul itself by itself from an impartible and a partible essence, which is the same thing as to constitute it from bound and infinity; for the soul according to bound is similar to the impartible, but according to infinity, to the partible essence; - if therefore the demiurgus mingles the essence of the soul from these, and again separately, from same and different, and if from these being now pre-existent, he constitutes the whole soul, must we not much more say that the first God is the cause of the first essence? That which is mixed therefore, proceeds, as we have said, from the first God, and does not subsist from the principles alone posterior to The One, but proceeds also from these, and is triadic. And in the first place indeed, it participates from God of ineffable union, and the whole of its subsistence. But from bound, it receives hyparxis, and the uniform, and a stable peculiarity. And from infinity, it receives power, and the occult power which is in itself, of all things. For in short, since it is one and not one, the one is inherent in it according to bound, but the non-one according to infinity. The mixture however of both these, and its wholeness, are derived from the first God. That which is mixed therefore, is a monad, because its participates of The One; and it is biformed, so far as it proceeds from the two principles; but it is a triad, so far as in every mixture, these three things are necessary according to Socrates, viz. beauty, truth, and symmetry. Concerning these things however, we shall speak again. In what manner, however, essence is that which is first mixed, we shall now explain. For this is of all things the most difficult to discover, viz. what that is which is primarily being, as the Elean guest also somewhere says; for it is most dubious how being is not less than non-being.

In what manner therefore essence subsists from bound and infinity must be shown. For if bound and infinity are superessential, essence may appear to have its subsistence from non-essences. How therefore can non-essences produce essence? Or is not this the case in all other things which subsist through the mixture of each other? For that which is produced from things mingled together, is not the same with things that are not mingled. For neither is soul the same with the genera, from which, being mingled together, the father generated it, nor is a happy life the same with the life which is according to intellect, or with the life which is according to pleasure, nor is The One in bodies the same with its elements. Hence it is not wonderful, if that which is primarily being, though it is neither bound nor infinity, subsists from both these, and is mixed, superessential natures themselves not being assumed in the mixture of it, but secondary progressions from them coalescing into the subsistence of essence. Thus therefore being consists of these, as participating of both, possessing indeed the uniform from bound, but the generative, and in short, occult multitude from infinity. For it all things occultly, and on this account, is the cause of all beings; which also the Elean guest, indicating to us, calls being the first power, as subsisting according to the participation of the first power, and participating of hyparxis from bound, and of power from infinity. Afterwards however, the Elean guest defines being to be power, as prolific and generative of all things, and as beings all things uniformly. For power and every where the cause of prolific progressions, and of all multitude; occult power indeed being the cause of occult multitude; but the power which exists in energy, and which unfolds itself into light, being the cause of all-perfect multitude. Through this cause therefore, I think, that every being, and every essence has connascent powers. For it participates of infinity, and derives its hyparxis indeed from bound, but its power from infinity. And being is nothing else than a monad of many powers, and a multiplied hyparxis, and on this account being is one many. The many however subsist occultly and without separation in the first natures; but with separation in secondary natures. For by how much being is nearer to The One, by so much the more does it conceal multitude, and is defined according to union alone. It appears to me also that Plotinus and his followers, frequently indicating these things, produce being from form and intelligible matter, arranging form as analogous to The One, and to hyparxis, but power as analogous to matter. And if indeed they say this, they speak rightly. But if they ascribe a certain formless and indefinite nature to an intelligible essence, they appear to me to wander from the conceptions of Plato on this subject. For the infinite is not the matter of bound, but the power of it, nor is bound the form of the infinite, but the hyparxis of it. But being consists of both these, as not only standing in The One, but receiving a multitude of unities and powers which are mingled into essence.

 
5 BOOK IV chapters i to iv

CHAPTER I Let the discussion, therefore, of the intelligible Gods, unfolding the mystic doctrine of Plato concerning them be here terminated by us. But it entirely follows in the next place, that we should consider after the same manner the narration concerning the intellectual Gods. Since, however, of intellectuals some are both intelligible and intellectual, viz. such as according to the Oracle perceiving intellectually are at the same time intellectually perceived; but others are intellectual only; - this being the case, beginning from those that are intellectual and at the same time intelligible, we will in the first place determine what pertains to them in common, from which we shall render the doctrine concerning each order of them more perspicuous. Again, therefore, let us recall to our memory those things which we a little before demonstrated, viz. that there are three total monads which are entirely beyond the Gods that are divided according to parts, viz. essence, life and intellect. And these prior to the partial participate of the superessential unities. Essence, however, is exempt from the rest. Life is allotted the middle order. But intellect converts the end of this triad to the beginning. And all these are indeed intelligibly in essence; but intelligibly and intellectually in life; and intellectually in intellect. And as secondary natures always participate of the natures placed above them, but these prior to participation pre-subsist themselves by themselves; and as in each order there are these three things, the cause of abiding, the cause of proceeding, and the cause of conversion, though intellect is more formalized according to conversion, but life according to progression, and essence according to permanency; - this being the case, it is certainly necessary that the first intellectual Gods being essentialized according to life should conjoin imparticipable intellect, and the intelligible genus of Gods, and that they should uniformly connect the various progressions of secondary, but unfold and expand the stable hyparxis of precedaneous causes. For imparticipable life is a thing of this kind, circumscribing that which is primarily being and intellect, and participating indeed of being, but participated by intellect. But this is the same thing as to assert that intelligence is filled indeed from the intelligible, but fills intellect from itself. For being is the intelligible, but life is intelligence. And being indeed is characterized according to a divine hyparxis; but life according to power; and intellect according to intelligible intellect. For as being is to hyparxis, so is intellect to being. And as intelligible power is to each of the extremes, so is life to the intelligible and to intellect. And as power is generated from the one and hyparxis, but constitutes in conjunction with The One the nature of being, so life proceeds indeed from being, and gives subsistence to a power different from that which is in being. As also The One Itself which exists prior to being, imparts to being from itself a second unity, so likewise life being allotted an hypostasis prior to intellect, generates intellectual life. For true being and the intelligible which precede the rest, supply both life and intellect with union. Imparticipable life, therefore, but which participates of the intelligible monads is the second after being, is generative of imparticipable intellect, and giving completion to this medium, and containing the bond of intelligibles and intellectuals, is illuminated by Gods who are allotted a union secondary to the occult subsistence of intelligibles, but preceding according to cause the separation of intellectual natures. For the unical, indivisible, simple, and primary natures of intelligibles, subsides through the medium of these Gods into multitude and separation, and the inexplicable evolution of the divine orders. Whence also, I think, the Gods who connectedly contain life which is infinite, being the middle of the intelligible and intellectual Gods, and carried in the divisions of themselves as in a vehicle, are called intelligible and at the same time intellectual; being filled indeed, from the first intelligibles, but filling the intellectual Gods. For we call the intelligible Gods intelligible, not as co-ordinate with intellect. For the intelligible which is in intellect is one thing, and that which produces the intellectual Gods another: and we denominate the Gods that subsist according to life intelligible and at the same time intellectual, not as giving completion to intellect, nor as being established according to intellectual intelligence, and imparting to intellect the power of intellectual perception, but to the intelligible the power of being intellectually perceived, but we give them this appellation, as deriving their subsistence from the intelligible monads, but generating all the intellectual hebdomads. And because they are illuminated indeed with intelligible life, but subsist prior to intellectuals, according to a generative cause, we think fit to denominate them in common, connecting their names from the extremes, in the same manner as they also are allotted a peculiarity collective of wholes in the divine orders.

It is evident, therefore, that they subsist according to this medium, and that they are proximate to the intelligible Gods, who are both monadic and triadic. For the intelligible triads, with reference indeed to the highest union and which is exempt from all things, are triads; but with reference to the divided essence of triads, they are monads, unfolding into light from themselves total triads. Since intelligibles, therefore, in their triadic progression, do not depart from a unical hyparxis, the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods subsist triadically, exhibiting in themselves the separation of the monads, and through divine difference, proceeding into multitude, and a variety of powers and essences. For the natures which subsist more remote from the one principle [of all things,] are more multiplied than the natures which are prior to them; and are diminished indeed in powers, and the comprehensions of secondary natures, but are divided into more numbers, and such as are more distant from the monad. They likewise relinquish the union which is the cause of primarily efficient natures, and variety is assumed by them in exchange for the occult hyparxis of those primary essences. According to this reasoning, therefore, the intelligible and intellectual separation is greater than the separation which is only intelligible. And of these again, the partial orders are allotted a much greater division, so as to unfold to us a multitude of Gods which cannot be comprehended in the numbers within the decad. Their peculiarities also are indescribable, and inexplicable by our conceptions, and are manifest only to the Gods themselves, and to the causes of them. Such, therefore, are the intelligible and intellectual Gods, and such is the peculiarity which they are allotted, a peculiarity connective of extremes, and which unfolds into light precedaneous, but converts secondary natures. For they intellectually perceive the Gods prior to them, but are objects of intellection to the Gods posterior to them. Hence also Timaeus establishes all-perfect animal to be the most beautiful of intelligibles, because there are intelligibles posterior to it, which it surpasses in beauty, as being superior to them, and because it is the boundary of the first intelligibles, the natures posterior to it subsisting intellectually. According to this reasoning, therefore, the first intellectual Gods are also intelligible; and we do not, deriving these things from a foreign source, ascribe them to Plato, but they are asserted by us in consequence of receiving auxiliaries from him. This, however, will be more manifest through what follows
.
CHAPTER II In the next place, therefore, we shall discuss the manner in which the Gods who illuminate the breadth of imparticipable life proceed from the intelligible Gods. Since then the intelligible Gods establish in themselves uniformly things multiplied, occultly such as are divided, and according to a certain admirable transcendency of simplicity, the various genera of beings,- hence the first intellectual Gods, unfolding their indistinct union, and the unknown nature of their hypostasis, and being filled through intelligible power and essential life with the prolific abundance of wholes, are allotted a kingdom which ranks as the second after them. And they always indeed produce, perfect, and connect themselves, but receive from the intelligible Gods an occult generation; from intelligible power indeed, receiving a peculiarity generative of all things; but from intelligible life which pre-exists according to cause in the intelligible, receiving the nature which is spread under them. For life is primarily indeed in intelligibles; but secondarily in intelligibles and intellectuals; and in a third degree in intellectuals; existing indeed according to cause in the first, but according to essence in the second, and according to participation in the last of these. The first intellectual, therefore, proceed from the intelligible Gods, multiplying indeed their union, and their unical powers, unfolding their occult hyparxis, and through prolific, connective, and perfective causes assimilating themselves to the essential, entire, and all-perfect transcendencies of intelligibles. For in intelligibles there were three primarily effective powers; one indeed constituting the essence of wholes; another measuring things which are multiplied; and another being productive of the forms of all generated natures.

And conformably to these, the intelligible and intellectual powers subsist; one indeed, by its very essence producing the life of secondary natures, according to a certain intelligible comprehension; but another being connective of every thing which is divided, and imparting by illumination the intelligible measure to those natures that relinquish the one union [of all things;] and another supplying all things with figure, and form and perfection. The intelligible and intellectual orders of the Gods, therefore, are generated according to all the intelligible causes. From power indeed, being allotted the peculiarity of progression; but from life receiving the portion of being which is suspended from them. For life is conjoined with power; since life is of itself infinite, all motion having infinity consubsistent with its nature, and the power of infinity, is generative of the whole of things. But from the triadic hypostasis of intelligibles, they receive a distribution into first, middle and last. For it is necessary that all things should be detained by a triadic progression, and that this should be the case prior to all [other] things with the intelligible and at the same time intellectual genera of Gods. For because they subsist as the middle of wholes, and give completion to the bond of the first orders, according to their summit indeed, they are assimilated to intelligibles, but according to their extremity, to intellectuals. And they are partly indeed intelligible, and partly intellectual. For everywhere the progressions of the divine genera are effected through continued similitude. And the first of subordinate are united to the ends of pre-existent causes. As however, the first and the last in the middle of wholes are both intelligible and intellectual, it is necessary there should be a connective medium of these, according to which medium the peculiarity of these Gods is principally apparent. For that which is intelligible and at the same time intellectual, in one part indeed is more abundant than, but in another equally communicates with both these. From these things, therefore, the continuity of the progression of the divine orders appears to be admirable. For the extremity of intelligibles indeed was intellectual, yet as in intelligibles. But the summit of intelligibles and at the same time intellectuals, is intelligible indeed, yet it possesses this peculiarity vitally. And again, the end of intelligibles and at the same time intellectuals, is intellectual, but it is vitally so. But the beginning of intellectuals, is intelligible, and presides over the intellectual Gods, yet it has the intelligible intellectually. And thus all the divine genera are allotted an indissoluble connexion and communion, an admirable friendship, and well- ordered diminution, and a transcendency, partly co-ordinate and partly exempt. That which proceeds too, is always in continuity with its producing cause; and secondary natures together with a firm establishment in their causes, make a progression from them. There is likewise one series and alliance of all things; secondary natures always subsisting from those prior to them, through similitude. After what manner, therefore, the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, unfold themselves into light from the intelligible Gods, may through these things be recollected.

CHAPTER III In the next place, let us show how they are divided in their progressions, and what difference the triads of these Gods are allotted with respect to the intelligible triads. These Gods, therefore, are also divided triply, after the above mentioned manner; being conjoined indeed to the intelligible, through their summit; but to the intellectual through their end; and through the middle bond of the extremes, being allotted the peculiarity of each equally, and extending to both the intelligible and intellectual genera of Gods, as the centre of these twofold orders, uniformly containing the communion of wholes. They are likewise divided triply, because in these all things, viz. essence, life, and intellect, are vitally, in the same manner as they are intelligibly in the Gods prior to them, and intellectually in the Gods that derive their subsistence from these. And essence indeed is the intelligible of life; but life is the middle and at the same time the peculiarity of this order; and intellect is the extremity, and that which is proximately carried in intellectuals as in a vehicle. All things therefore subsisting in these Gods, there will be a division of them into first, middle, and last genera. And in the third place, they are divided triply, because it is necessary that life should abide, proceed, and be converted to its principles; since of beings, the first triad was said to establish all things, and prior to other things the second triad. Eternity, therefore, abides stably in the first triad. But the triad posterior to this, is the supplier to wholes [and therefore to all things,] of progression, motion, and life according to energy. And the third triad is the supplier of conversion to the one, and of perfection which convolves all secondary natures to their principles. Hence it is necessary that the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, should primarily participate of these three powers, and should abide indeed in the summit of themselves; but proceeding from thence, and extending themselves to all things, should again be converted to the intelligible place of survey, and conjoin to the beginning of their generation the end of their whole progression.

The intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods therefore are, as I have said, triply divided. And essence indeed is that which ranks as first in them, but life is the middle, and intellect the extremity of them. Since however, each of these three is perfect, and participates of the intelligible monads, I mean of the essence which is there, of intelligible life, and of intelligible intellect, they are tripled according to the participation of primarily efficient causes. And the intelligible of life indeed possesses essence, intellect, and life intelligibly; but the intelligible and intellectual of it, possesses essence, life and intellect, intelligibly and at the same time intellectually; and the intellectual of it possesses these intellectually and intelligibly. And every where indeed, there is a triad in each of the sections, but in conjunction with an appropriate peculiarity. Hence three intelligible and at the same time intellectual triads present themselves to our view, which are indeed illuminated by the divine unities, but each of them contains an all-various multitude. For since in intelligibles, there was an all-powerful and all-perfect multitude, how is it possible that this multitude should not in a much greater degree, be evolved and multiplied, in the Gods secondary to the intelligible order, according to the prolific cause of them? Each triad therefore comprehends in itself a multitude of powers, and a variety of forms, producing intelligible multitude into energy, and unfolding into light the generative infinity of intelligibles. And we indeed, being impelled from the participants, discover the peculiarity of the participated superessential Gods. But according to the order of things, the intelligible and intellectual monads generate about themselves essences, and all lives, and the intellectual genera. And through these, they unfold the unknown transcendency of themselves preserving by itself the pre-existent cause of the whole of things. There are however, as we have said, three intelligible triads. And there are also three triads posterior to these, which appear to be tripled from them, according to their prolific perfection.


But it is necessary that the peculiarity of the intelligible, and also of the intelligible and at the same time intellectual triad, should be defined according to another mode. For in the intelligible order indeed, each triad had only the third part of being; for it consisted of bound, and infinity, and from both these. But this was essence indeed in the first triad, intelligible life in the second, and intelligible intellect in the third. The natures however prior to these were unities and superessential powers, which give completion to the whole triads. But in the intelligible and at the same time intellectual order, each triad has essence, life and intellect; one indeed intelligibly and at the same time intellectually, but more intelligibly, so far as it is in continuity with the first intelligibles; but another intellectually and intelligibly, but more intellectually, because it is proximately carried in intellectuals; and another according to an equal part, as it comprehends in itself both the peculiarities. Hence the first triad, that we may speak of each, was in intelligibles, bound, infinity, and essence; for essence was that which was primarily mixed. But here the first triad is essence, life and intellect, with appropriate unities. For essence is suspended from the first deity [of this triad,] life from the second, and intellect from the third. And these three superessential monads, unfold the monads of the first triad. But again, the second triad after this, was in the intelligible order, a superessential unity, power, and intelligible and occult life. Here however, essence, life and intellect are all vital, and are suspended from the Gods who contain the one bond of the whole of this order. For as the first unities were allotted a power unific of the middle genera, so the second unities after them, exhibit the connective peculiarity of primarily efficient causes. After these therefore, succeeds the third triad, which in the intelligible order indeed was unity, power, and intelligible intellect; but here it consists of three superessential Gods, who close the termination of the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, and begird all things intellectually, I mean essence, life and intellect. They are likewise the suppliers of divine perfection, imitating the all-perfect intelligible triad, just as the connectedly containing Gods imitate the intelligible measure, and the Gods prior to these, the generative cause of intelligibles. The three intelligible therefore, and at the same time intellectual triads, are thus generated, and are allotted such a difference as this, with respect to the intelligible triads.

CHAPTER IV Again however, returning to Plato, let us accord with him, and exhibit the science which pre-exists with him concerning each of these triads. And in the first place, let us assume what is written in the Phaedrus, and survey from the words themselves of Socrates, how he unfolds to us the whole of the orderly distinction of these triads, and the differences which it contains. In the Phaedrus therefore, there are said to be twelve leaders who preside over the whole [of mundane concerns,] and who conduct all the mundane Gods, and all the herds of daemons, and convert them to the intelligible nature. It is also said that Jupiter is the leader of all these twelve Gods, that he drives a winged chariot, adorns and takes care of all things, and brings all the army of Gods that follow him, first indeed to the place of survey within the heaven, and to the blessed spectacles, and discursive energies of the intelligibles which are there. But in the next place Jupiter brings them to the subcelestial arch which proximately begirds the heaven, and is contained in it, and after this to the heaven itself, and the back of heaven; where also divine souls stand, and being borne along together with the heaven, survey all the essence that is beyond it. Socrates further adds, that prior to the heaven there is what is called the supercelestial place, in which true and real essence, the plain of truth, the kingdom of Adrastia, and the divine choir of virtues subsist, and that souls being nourished through the intellection of these monads, are happily affected, following [in their contemplation] the circulation of the heaven.
These things therefore, are asserted in the Phaedrus, Socrates being clearly inspired by divinity, and discussing mystic concerns. It is necessary however, prior to other things, to consider what the heaven is of which Socrates speaks, and in what order of beings it is established. For having discovered this, we may also survey the subcelestial arch, and the supercelestial place. For each of these is assumed according to habitude towards the heaven; the one indeed being primarily placed above it, but the other being primarily arranged under it.


6 BOOK V, chapters i to v

CHAPTER I In the next place, let us survey another order of Gods, which is called intellectual, being indeed conjoined to the orders prior to it, but terminating the total progressions of the Gods, converting them to their principle, and producing one circle of the primarily-efficient and all-perfect orders. Let us also extend the intellect that is in us to the imparticipable and divine intellect, and distinguish the orders and diminutions of essence that are in it, according to the narration of Plato.

This intellectual hypostasis therefore of the Gods, is suspended indeed from more ancient causes, and is filled from them with total goodness and self-sufficiency. But after these causes, it establishes an illustrious empire over all secondary natures, binding to its dominion all the partial progressions of the Gods. And it is denominated indeed intellectual, because it generates an impartible and divine intellect. But it is filled from intelligibles, not as from those intelligibles which are co- arranged with intellect, nor as with those which are alone divided from intellect by the conception of the mind, but as establishing in itself unically all multitudes, and occultly containing the evolutions of the Gods into light, and the hyparxes of intelligibles. It is likewise allotted the total intellect of intellectuals, the variety of beings, and the multiform orders of divine natures; and it convolves the end of the whole progression [of the Gods] to the one intelligible principle. For intellectuals are converted to intelligibles. And some intellectuals indeed are united and firmly established prior to the divided Gods; but others are multiplied and through conversion are conjoined to primarily-efficient causes. The intellectual Gods however proceed from all the Gods prior to them, receiving indeed unions from The One that is prior to intelligibles; but essences from intelligibles; and being allotted lives all-perfect, connective and generative of divine natures, from the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods; but the intellectual peculiarity from themselves. They likewise convert to themselves all the divided orders, but establish themselves in intelligibles, existing wholly through the whole, pure and unknown knowledges, and fervid lives. Besides these things also, they are all-perfect essences, producing all secondary natures through subsisting from themselves, and being neither diminished by their progression, nor receiving an addition by their progeny; but through their own never-failing and infinite powers, being the fathers, causes, and leaders of all things. Nor are they co-divided with their progeny, nor do they depart from themselves in their progressions; but at once, and according to union they govern total multitudes, and all orders, and convolve them to the intelligible, and to occult good.

Whether therefore I may speak of life, it is not proper to think that it is such a life as we surveyed a little before. For that was imparticipable, but this is participated. And that indeed, was generative, but this is vivific. But it is not immanifest that these differ from each other. For the vivific cause indeed, is also evidently generative; but the generative cause is not entirely vivific. For it imparts figure to things unfigured, bound to things indefinite, and perfection to things imperfect. Or whether I may denominate the cause in intellectuals intelligible, it must not immediately be conceived to be such an intelligible, as that of which we have before spoken. For that was imparticipable, and prior to intellectuals, itself pre-existing by itself, and exempt from wholes; not being denominated intelligible, as the plenitude of intellect, but as the prior-cause of it, and the object of desire and love to it, subsisting uniformly unco-ordinated with it. The intelligible however which is now the subject of consideration, is participated, and co-arranged with intellect, is multiform, and contains in itself the divided causes of all things. Or whether we may call the Gods in this order fathers and fabricators, it must be admitted that this paternal and fabricative characteristic, is different from the hyparxis of the intelligible fathers. For they indeed were generative of whole essences; but these pre-exist as the causes of divisible emanations, and of definite productions of form. And they indeed contained in themselves powers fabricative of the divine progressions; but these separate from themselves prolific causes, and are not conjoined to them according to union, but according to a communion subordinate to union. For the marriages which are celebrated by fables, and the concordant conjunction of divine natures, are in the intellectual Gods. But the demiurgic being mingled with the vivific effluxions, every genus of the Gods is unfolded into light, both the supermundane, and the mundane. This, however, will be hereafter discussed.

CHAPTER II Since however, we have, in short, surveyed the peculiarity of the intellectual Gods, it remains that we should deliver an appropriate theory concerning the division of them. For the intellectual order is not one and indivisible, but is allotted progressions more various than those of the more elevated genera. There will therefore be here also three fathers, who divide the whole intellectual essence; one indeed, being arranged according to the intelligible, but another according to life, and another according to intellect. They also imitate the intelligible fathers who divide the intelligible breadth in a threefold manner, and who are allotted a difference of this kind with respect to each other. For one of these intellectual fathers proceeds analogous to the first [intelligible] father, and is intelligible. But another proceeds analogous to the second [intelligible] father, and binds to himself the whole of intellectual life. And other proceeds analogous to the third father, and closes the whole intellectual, in the same manner as he closes the intelligible order.

But these fathers being three, and the first indeed, abiding in himself, but the second proceeding and vivifying all things, and the third glittering with fabricative productions, it is evidently necessary, that the other triple Gods should be conjoined with them; of which, one indeed will be the source to the first intellectual God, of stable purity; but another, of undefiled progression, to the second God; and another of exempt fabrication, to the third. For in the Gods prior to these, the undefiled deities were according to cause, through union without separation, and a sameness collective of powers which are not in want of the communion of these. But in the intellectual Gods, where there is an all-perfect separation, as in total orders, and a greater habitude to secondary natures, unpolluted deity or power is necessary, which has the ratio of sameness, and undeviating subsistence, to the paternal cause, and which is co- divided with the fathers, so that each of the undefiled Gods is conjoined with a peculiar father.

These two triads therefore have presented themselves to our view, one indeed, of the intellectual fathers, but the other of the undefiled Gods. There is however, besides these two, a third other triadic monad, which is the cause of separation to intellectuals, and which subsists together with the above mentioned triads. For the fathers indeed are the suppliers of all essence; but the inflexible Gods, of sameness. But it is evidently fit that there should be also the cause of separation, and that this should be one and at the same time triple, separating the intellectual Gods from the above mentioned orders, from themselves, and from inferior natures. For why are they the leaders of another order, if they are not divided from the first orders? Why are they multiplied, and why do they differ from each others in their kingdoms, unless they are separated? Why also do they transcend the partial [Gods] unless they are also separated from these? The cause of separation therefore, will be for us one and a triple monad. But the paternal and undefiled causes will be each of them a uniform triad. And what is most paradoxical of all, the separative cause is more monadic; but the paternal and also the undefiled cause, are each of them more triadic. For the separative monad indeed, is the cause of separation to the other monads; but the others are the sources of communion and union to it. Hence each of these, being separated, becomes triadic; but the separative monad is monadic, in consequence of being united by these. For all intellectuals pervade through each other, and are in each other, according to a certain admirable communion, imitating the union of intelligibles, through being present and mingled with each other. The sphere also which is there, is the intellectual order, energising in and about itself, and proceeding into itself hebdomadically, being a monad and a hebdomad, the image, if it be lawful so to speak, of the all-perfect intelligible monad, and unfolding its occult union, through progression and separation. This first progression therefore of the intellectual Gods, which is separated by us into a heptad, we have perfectly celebrated.
Other secondary seven hebdomads, however, are to be considered under this, which produce as far as to the last of things, the monads of this heptad. For each monad is the leader of an intellectual hebdomad conjoined with it, and extends this hebdomad from on high, from the summit of Olympus, as far as to the last, and terrestrial orders. I say, for instance, the first paternal monad, indeed, constitutes seven such monads. But the second again constitutes seven vivific monads. And the third, seven demiurgic monads. Each likewise of the undefiled monads constitutes a number equal to that produced by the fathers. And the monad of separation constitutes seven [separative monads]. For all these causes proceed in conjunction with each other. And as the first triad of the fathers subsists together with the undefiled triad, and the divisive monad, after the same manner also, the second triads are allotted seven co-ordinate undefiled triads, and separative monads. Whence, therefore, does so great a number of intellectual Gods present itself to our view? It is evident, indeed, from what has been said. For the first hebdomad, indeed, the cause of the second hebdomads, and which has the relation of a monad to them, and which a little before we denominated an intellectual sphere, subsists according to the intelligible breadth, imitating the paternal nature of it through the paternal triad; but the eternity of its power, through undefiled sameness; and the multitude shining forth in its extremities, through the monad which is divisive of wholes. The remaining hebdomads, however, which are derived from this, proceed according to the intelligible and intellectual genera. For each monad, conformably to the summits of those genera, constitutes a monad co-arranged with the multitude proceeding from it; since every summit is uniform [i.e. has the form of the one,] as we have before demonstrated. But according to the middle and third progressions of those genera, each monad generates two triads. For the separation of them was apparent in the middle and ultimate progressions, as we have before observed. As, therefore, the intelligible, and at the same time, intellectual genera, produced the intelligible breadth, which is of a unical nature, into a triadic multitude, after the same manner also the intellectual monads call forth the intelligible, and at the same time intellectual triads, into intellectual hebdomads. And they constitute indeed the monads which are co-arranged with the hebdomads, according to the summits of the triads; but the two triads, according to the second and third decrements of those triads. Hence every hebdomad has the first monad indeed intelligible; but the second after this, and which is triadic, intelligible and intellectual; and the third triad, which is the next in order, intellectual. All these likewise subsist as in intellectuals. For they are characterised according to the peculiarity of the constitutive monad.

In short, the intellectual powers proceed according to the intelligible orders; but they constitute these seven hebdomads according to the first intellectual orders. For it is indeed necessary that exempt causes should be assimilated to the intelligible Gods; but that co-arranged causes, and which proceed everywhere, should be assimilated to the intelligible, and at the same time, intellectual Gods; since these also are the first that divide the worlds triadically, and pervade as far as to the last of things, connectedly containing and perfecting all things. But the intelligible Gods contain the causes of wholes uniformly, and occultly. You may also say, that the intelligible Gods produce all things uniformly; for numbers subsist in them monadically. But the intelligible and intellectual Gods produce all things triadically. For the monads in these are divided according to number. And what the monad was in the former, the number is in the latter. And the intellectual Gods produce all things hebdomadically. For they evolve the intelligible, and at the same time, intellectual triads, into intellectual hebdomads, and expand their contracted powers into intellectual variety; since they define multitude itself and variety by numbers which are nearest to the monad. For the numbers of the partial are different from the numbers of the total orders in the Gods. And the whole of this intellectual number is indeed more expanded than the natures prior to it, and is divided into more various progressions, yet it does not desert its alliance with the monad. For hebdomadic multitude has an abundant affinity with the nature of the monad; since it is measured according to it, and primarily subsists from it. And the Pythagoreans, when they denominate the heptad light according to intellect, evidently admits its hyparxis to be intellectual, and on this account suspended from the monad. For the unical, which light manifests, is inherent from this in all the divine numbers. And thus much concerning the division of these intellectuals Gods.

CHAPTER III It follows in the next place, that we should adapt the theory of Plato to this order, and show that he does not dissent from any of the theological dogmas concerning it. Since, therefore, we have demonstrated, that the celestial order, which we find in the Cratylus perfectly celebrated, possesses the middle bond of the intellectual, and at the same time, intelligible Gods, but that under this another order of Gods is immediately arranged, as Socrates shows in the Phaedrus, called the subcelestial arch, and which we have considered as not divided from the heaven, - this being the case, what order is it which divides itself from the kingdom of heaven, but is the leader of the intellectual order of the Gods, and is primarily the supplier of intellect, according to the doctrine of Plato, as Socrates says in the Cratylus, except that which the mighty Saturn comprehends? For he calls this God the first and most pure intellect. This God, therefore, is the summit of a divine intellect, and, as he says, the purest part of it; separating himself indeed from the celestial order, but reigning over all the intellectual Gods; because he is full of intellect, but of a pure intellect, and is a God extended to the summit of the intellectual hypostasis. Hence also, he is the father of the mighty Jupiter, and is simply father. For he who is the father of the father of all things, is evidently allotted in a much greater degree the paternal dignity. Saturn, therefore, is the first intellect; but the mighty Jupiter is also an intellect, containing, as Socrates says in the Philebus, a royal soul, and a royal intellect.

And these Gods are two intellects, and intellectual fathers; the one, indeed, being intellectual; but the other intelligible, in intellectuals. For the Saturnian bonds which Socrates mentions in the Cratylus, are unific of the intelligence of Jupiter about the intelligible of his father, and fill the Jovian intellect with the all-perfect intelligence of the Saturnian intellect. And this I think is likewise evident from the analogy of souls to Plato. For as he binds souls about himself, filling them with wisdom and intelligence, thus also Saturn being the object of desire and love to Jupiter, contains him in himself by indissoluble bonds. And these things Socrates indicates in the Cratylus, jesting, and at the same time being serious in what he says. The object of desire therefore, and the intelligible to Jupiter, is Saturn. But the mighty Jupiter himself is a divine and demiurgic intellect. Hence, it is necessary that there should be a third other intellectual cause, generative of life. For Jupiter indeed is the cause of life, as Socrates says, but intellectually and secondarily. But we say that life is every where arranged prior to intellect. Hence, we must say that the queen Rhea, being the mother of Jupiter, but subordinate to the father Saturn, gives completion to this middle, existing as a vivific world, and establishing in herself the causes of the whole of life. These three paternal orders, therefore, have appeared to us in intellectuals: one of them indeed subsisting according to the intelligible power of intellectuals; but another according to divine and intellectual life; and another according to intellectual intellect. For we celebrate the middle deity, herself by herself, as the mother of the demiurgus, and of wholes. When, however, we survey her together with the extremes, we denominate her a paternal cause, as being comprehended in the fathers; and as generating some things together with Saturn, but others in conjunction with Jupiter.

Moreover, Plato following Orpheus, calls the inflexible and undefiled triad of the intellectual Gods Curetic, as is evident from what the Athenian guest says in the Laws, celebrating the armed sports of the Curetes, and their rhythmical dance. For Orpheus represents the Curetes who are three, as the guards of Jupiter. And the sacred laws of the Cretans, and all the Grecian theology, refer a pure and undefiled life and energy to this order. For `to koron', indicates nothing else than the pure and incorruptible. Hence, we have before said, that the mighty Saturn, as being essentially united to the cause of undefiled purity, is a pure intellect. The paternal Gods therefore are three, and the undefiled Gods also are three. Hence it remains that we should survey the seventh monad.

If, therefore, we consider the fabulous exections, both the Saturnian and the Celestial, of which Plato makes mention, and thinks that such like narrations should always be concealed in silence, that the arcane truth of them should be surveyed, and that they are indicative of mystic conceptions, because these things are not fit for young men to hear, - [if we consider these] we may obtain from them what the separative deity is, who accomplishes the divisions, and segregates the Saturnian genera indeed from the Celestial, and the Jovian from the Saturnian, and who separates the whole intellectual order from the natures prior and posterior to it, disjoins the different causes in it from each other, and always imparts to secondary natures, secondary measures of dominion. And let not any one be disturbed, or oppose me on hearing these things. How therefore does Plato reject exections, bonds, and the tragical apparatus of fables? For he thinks that all such particulars will be condemned by the multitude and the stupid, through ignorance of the arcana they contain; but that they will exhibit to the wise certain admirable opinions. Hence, he indeed does not admit such a mode of fiction, but thinks it proper to be persuaded by the ancients who were the offspring of the Gods, and to investigate their arcane conceptions. As therefore he rejects the Saturnian fables, when they are narrated to Euthyprhon, and the auditors of the Republic, yet at the same time admits them in the Cratylus, placing about the mighty Saturn and Plato, other secondary bonds, - thus also, I think he forbids exections to be introduced to those who known only the apparent meaning of what is said, and does not admit that there is illegal conduct in the Gods, and nefarious aggressions of children against their parents, but he opposes, and confutes as much as possible such like opinions. He assents however to their being narrated to those who are able to penetrate into the mystic truth, and investigate the concealed meaning of fables, and admits the separation of wholes, whether [mythologists] are willing to denominate them exections for the purpose of concealment, or in whatever other way they may think fit to call them. For bonds and exections are symbols of communion and separation, and each is the progeny of the same divine mythology. Nor is there any occasion to wonder, if from these things we endeavour to confirm the opinion of Plato; but it is requisite to know how the philosophy of Plato admits all such particulars, and how it rejects them, and in what manner he apprehends they may be the causes of the greatest evils, and of an impious life to those that hear them. The seven intellectual Gods therefore, will through these conceptions appear to have been thought worthy of being mentioned by Plato.

CHAPTER IV It is, however, I think, necessary syllogistically to collect the progression of them according to hebdomads, from images. The demiurgus therefore, [in the Timaeus] fabricates the soul of the universe an image of all the divine orders, in the same manner as he fabricates this sensible world an image of intelligibles. And the first place indeed, he constitutes the whole essence of the soul, and afterwards divides it into numbers, binds it by harmonies, and adorns it with figures, I mean the rectilinear and the circular. After this also, he divides it into one circle and seven circles. Whence therefore, are this monad and hebdomad derived, except from the intellectual Gods? For figure, number and true being, are prior to them. As in the fabrication of the soul, after the subsistence of the psychical figure, the division of the circles according to the monad and hebdomad follows, thus also in the Gods, after intellectual and intelligible figure, the intellectual breadth, and that sphere of the Gods succeed. The multitude therefore of the seven hebdomads subsist from the divine intellectual hebdomad entering into itself. And on this account, the demiurgus thus divides the circles in the soul, because he and every intellectual order, produce an intellectual hebdomad from each monad. I do not however assert, and now contend, that the seven circles are allotted an hyparxis similar to the seven Gods that proceed from the demiurgus, but that the demiurgus dividing the soul according to circles, introduces number to the sections from the intellectual Gods, I mean the monadic and the hebdomadic number. For the monad indeed subsists according to the circle of sameness, but the division, according to the circle of difference. Shortly after however, it will appear that same and different belong to the demiurgic order.
Farther still, after the division of the circles, the demiurgus assumes some things which are symbols of the assimilative, and others which are symbols of the liberated Gods, and through these, he refers the soul to these orders of the Gods. If therefore figure is prior to the intellectual Gods, but the similar and dissimilar are posterior to them, it is evidently necessary that the monadic and at the same time hebdomadic, should be referred to this order, and that the progression from the monad to the hebdomad should pertain to this order. Each therefore of the seven intellectual Gods, is the leader of an intellectual hebdomad, as we may learn from images. There however indeed, the hebdomad is one, and allied to itself. But in souls, the circles differ from each other, according to the divine peculiarities. For they receive number in such a manner as to preserve the proper nature which they are allotted, connectedly containing mundane natures, and convolving the apparent by their own circles. And thus much concerning these particulars, which afford arguments that are not obscure of the arrangement of them by Plato.

CHAPTER V Again however, making another beginning, let us speak about each [of the intellectual Gods,] as much as is sufficient to the present theology. Let Saturn therefore, the first king of the intellectual Gods, be now celebrated by us, who according to Socrates in the Cratylus illuminates the pure and incorruptible nature of intellect, and establishing his own all-perfect power in his own summit of intellectuals, abides in, and at the same time proceeds from his father [Heaven]. He likewise divides intellectual government from the connective, and establishes the transcendency of the other intellectual Gods in connection with his own; but comprehends in himself the intelligible of the demiurgic intellect, and the plenitude of beings. Hence the Saturnian bonds, mystically, and obscurely signify the comprehension of this intelligible, and a union with it. For the intelligible is comprehended in intellect.
As therefore, the intelligible is indeed exempt from intellect, but intellect is said to comprehend it, thus also Jupiter is said to bind his father. And in placing bonds about his father, he at the same time binds himself [to him]. For a bond is the comprehension of the things that are bound. But the truth is as follows: Saturn is indeed an all-perfect intellect; and the mighty Jupiter is likewise an intellect. Each therefore being an intellect, each is also evidently an intelligible. For every intellect is converted to itself; but being converted to it energizes towards itself. Energizing however towards itself, and not towards externals, it is intelligible and at the same time intellectual; being indeed intellectual, so far as it intellectually perceives, but intelligible, so far as it is intellectually perceived. Hence also the Jovian intellect is to itself intellect, and to itself intelligible. And in a similar manner the Saturnian intellect is to itself intelligible, and to itself intellect. But Jupiter indeed is more intellect, and Saturn more intelligible. For the latter is established according to the intellectual summit, but the former according to the intellectual end. And the one indeed is the object of desire, but the other desires. And the one fills, but the other is filled.

Saturn therefore being intellect and intelligible, Jupiter also is in the second place intellect and intelligible. The intellectual however of Saturn is intelligible; but the intelligible of Jupiter is intellectual. Jupiter therefore, being at the same time intellectual and intelligible, intellectually perceives and comprehends himself, and binds the intelligible in himself. But binding this in himself, he is said to bind the intelligible prior to himself, and to comprehend it on all sides. For entering into himself, he proceeds into the intelligible prior to himself, and by the intelligible which is in himself, intellectually perceives that which is prior to himself. And thus the intelligible is not external to intellect. For every intellect possesses that which is in itself without any difference with respect to itself. But again, it intellectually perceives in itself that which is prior to itself. For every thing which is external to intellect, is foreign and adventitious, and pertains to an inferior nature. But that which is pre-established in the order of cause, and which pre-exists as the object of desire, is in the desiring natures themselves. For being converted to, and verging to themselves, they discover the causes of themselves, and all more ancient natures. And by how much more perfect and uniform the conversion of the desiring natures is about the objects of desire, by so much the more are they present with their own desirables. Hence every intellect, by intellectually perceiving itself, intellectually perceives likewise, all the natures prior to itself. And by how much the more it is united to itself, in a so much greater degree it is established in the intelligibles prior to itself. For the cause of any being, and which is the source of essence or of perfection to it, is not external to that being; but that which is subordinate to any being, is external to it, and is not the intelligible. On this account also, each of the divine natures is unconverted to that which is inferior to itself, but is converted to itself, and through itself reverts to that which is more excellent. And the intelligible indeed is not inferior to any intellect; but every intellect energising towards itself, and comprehending the intelligibles prior to itself, intellectually perceives them.

Some intelligibles likewise are such as are conjoined with intellect. But others are such as are proximately participated by it. And others are such as it sees more remotely, and which are more exempt from its nature. On this account, the demiurgic intellect is indeed at the same time intelligible and intellect, but has the intelligible of his father, which he binds as the fable says. He sees however animal itself, which is, according to Timaeus, the most beautiful of all intelligibles. And if the illustrious Amelius, forming such conceptions as these, said that intellect is threefold, one being that which is, another that which has, and another that which sees, he rightly apprehends the conception of Plato, according to my opinion. For it is necessary that the second intellect should not only have the intelligible, but that it should be and have the intelligible; that it should be indeed the intelligible co-ordinate with itself, but have the intelligible prior to itself, so far as it participates of it. And it is necessary that the third intellect should see the intelligible, and should also be and have it; that it should see indeed the first intelligible; but have that which is proximately beyond itself; and that it should be the intelligible which is in itself, and which is conjoined with its own intelligence, and should be inseparable from it.

If therefore, as we said from the beginning, Jupiter intellectually perceives his father Saturn, Saturn is indeed intelligible, but Jupiter is intellect; being one intelligible himself, but participating of another. Hence also Plato does not simply call Saturn intellect, but a pure and incorruptible intellect. For he in the intellectual is intelligible. Since however, he is not simply intelligible, but as in intellectuals, he is intellect, and is himself paternally so, being both father and intellect, and having the paternal intellectually. In intelligibles therefore, intellect is also father; but in intellectuals father is intellect. Hence Saturn is a pure, immaterial and perfect intellect, established above fabrication in the order of the desirable. But possessing such a peculiarity as this, he is full of all intelligibles is at it were exuberant with intellections, and establishes twofold genera of Gods, some indeed in himself, but other posterior to himself. And he leads forth, indeed, the prolific powers of his father Heaven as far as to the last of things; but fills the demiurgic order with generative goods.

Return to TTS Catalogue

Return to home page