Numenius of Apamea, Neo-Platonist

English Translation of the Extant Works of Numenius of Apamea
by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie



















Part I. From the Treatise on the Good

On the Good (Peri Tagathou, Περὶ Τἀγαθοῦ)


Book I. God as Improver of Matter

This consists of a Dialogue between a Philosopher and a Stranger, see 29. 18. The first Fragment begins in the midst of a sentence.

9a. Numenius is a Comparative Student of Religion. Philosopher: In respect to this matter he will have to teach and interpret in the (best) Platonic tradition, and fuse it with the teachings of Pythagoras. Then (but only) so far as they agree with Plato, will he have to cite (the religions of) the famous nations quoting the mysteries, teachings and conceptions of the Brahmins, Hebrews, Magi, and Egyptians.

9b. Numenius Investigates Comparatively and Allegorically. Than Celsus, how much less of a partisan is the Pythagorean Numenius, who, by many proofs, has demonstrated that he is most estimable, in that he investigated still other opinions, and from many sources gathered what to him seemed true. In the first book of his treatise on the Good he also mentions, among the nations that believed God was incorporeal, the Hebrews, not scrupling to quote the expressions of the prophets, and expounding them allegorically.

13. Plato as a Greek Moses. Numenius, the Pythagorean philosopher, says outright, "What else is Plato than a Moses who (speaks Greek, or) reveals Greek tendencies?"

10. The Road to Understanding of the Good, or the Path to Ecstasy. Bodies have to be perceived by tokens which reside in contiguous objects. But not from any cognizable object can the Good be deduced. (Only by an illustration can we explain how to achieve an understanding of the Good. It is) as if one were sitting on an observation-tower, and watching intently, and should, at a glance, discover a little solitary fishing-boat, sailing along between the waves. Thus, far from the visible world, must he commune with the Good, being alone with the alone (solitude), far from man, or living being, or any body, small or great, in an inexpressible, indefinable, immediately divine solitude. There, in radiant beauty, dwells the Good, brooding over existence in a manner which though solitary and dominating, is both peaceful, gracious and friendly.

To imagine that one sees the Good floating up to oneself is entirely wrong; and to suppose that he has approached the Good, is nothing less than impudent, so long as he dallies with the sense-world. For the approach to the Good is not easy, but what you might call divine(ly difficult). The best way is to neglect the whole visible world, courageously to attack the sciences, and to contemplate numbers; thus is achieved meditation on what is the One.

11. Real Being Inheres Neither in the Elements, nor in Matter. Stranger:: Asking myself the nature of Existence, I wonder whether it could be the four elements, earth, fire, and the two intervening natures (of water and air)? Could it possibly consist of these, either together or separate?

Philosopher: Impossible! For these were generated, and therefore transitory. This you can even observe when they arise one out of the other, and transmute, which shows that they are neither (genuine) elements nor compounds. |6|

Stranger: If we then grant that Existence could not consist of any single body, is there not the alternative that it might be matter (in general)?

Philosopher: Neither is this any more likely, for matter is incapable of stability; it is as undefined as a swift flowing stream of infinite depth, breadth and length.

12. The Soul as Savior of the Body. Philosopher: Correct, therefore, would be the following statement. Since matter is unlimited, it is indefinite; and this entails incomprehensibility, which results in unknowability. But as order facilitates comprehension, this unknowability means disorder; and a jumble cannot stand or survive; (and this can be proved by its contrary), for it is improbable that any one would attempt to demonstrate existence from a characteristic of in stability.

4. This is the very point about which we agreed above, namely, that it would be irrational to apply such predicates to existence.

Stranger: That is surely self-evident; and it is convincing, at least to me.

Philosopher: Consequently I assert that neither matter as such, nor (matter made up into) bodies really exist.

5. Stranger: This being granted, it remains to ask whether within the nature of the universe exists anything else.

Philosopher: Surely! I shall show you that easily, although we shall have to agree on some preliminaries.

6. Since, by nature, bodies are dead and unstable, and as they tend to alter, will we not, to explain their experimental consistence, have to assume some principle of coherence?

Stranger: Of course!

Philosopher: Without such a principle could they endure?

Stranger: Surely not!

Philosopher: What then is the nature of this principle through which they endure? |8-

Stranger: If this principle of endurance itself were a body, it seems to me that, as the body (by itself, naturally) tends to become dispersed, it would need a savior that was a divinity.

8. Philosopher: If then this principle of endurance must be freed from the body’s tendency to become dispersed, so as to be able to hold the body together, and forefend it destruction, (especially) at times when they are born (or tested by strain), then it seems to me that it can be absolutely nothing else than the incorporeal. For, among all other natures this incorporeal nature alone can stand (or endure); it is the only self-adjusted (or poised, nature); and in no way (is it subject to the tendencies of other) bodies. For it is not generated, nor is it increased, nor disturbed by any sort of motion. On this account, it seems to me, we are justified in reserving for the Incorporeal the highest rank.

14. God’s Power as Solution of the Eleatic Puzzle. (Of course, you know) Numenius, who came out of the school of Pythagoras, and who asserts that the teachings of Plato agree with those of Pythagoras, and who uses the latter teachings to confute the views of the Stoics about the principles of existence.

(Well, he) says that Pythagoras applied the name of Unity to the divinity; but to matter, the name of Doubleness (or manifoldness). (Evidently, says he), if this doubleness is indeterminate, then it cannot have been generated, which could have been the case only if determinate or limited. In other words, it was unborn and ungenerated before it was (created or) adorned; but when so (created and) adorned, or irradiated by the adjusting divinity, it was generated. However, inasmuch as the fate of being generated must surely fall into a time that is posterior, then must that (uncreated and) unadorned, and ungenerated, be considered as contemporary with the divinity by which it was organized (or, put in order). (Numenius also insisted that) some Pythagoreans had not correctly apprehended this statement, for they thought that even yon indeterminate and |10| incommensurable doubleness (or manifoldness) had been organized by yon single unity, through the following process. This unity receded from its singleness, and was transmuted into the form of doubleness (or manifoldness). This is wrong. For thus would unity have ceased to be unity, and would have been replaced by a premature doubleness (or manifoldness). Thus would matter be converted out of divinity, and incommensurable and indeterminate doubleness (or manifoldness) out of unity. Such an opinion would not seem plausible to people of even mediocre education.

Further, the Stoics held that matter was defined and limited by its own nature; while Pythagoras asserted that matter was infinite and unlimited. So the Stoics held that what was by nature undeterminate could not be organized naturally; but Pythagoras held that this organizing resulted from the energy and power of the Only God; for what is impossible to nature, that is easily possible to God, who is more powerful and excellent than any Power soever, and from whom nature herself derives her powers.

15. Providence as the Cure of Dualism. On that account, says Numenius, does Pythagoras consider Matter a fluid lacking quality; but not, as the Stoics thought, a nature intermediary between good and evil, which they call indifferent, for he considers it entirely of evil. According to Pythagoras, the divinity is the principle and cause of the Good, while matter is that of evil; and Plato thinks likewise. That would be indifferent, which would derive from both the Idea (of the Good), and matter. It is therefore not matter, but the world, which is a mixture of the goodness of the Idea, and the badness of Matter, and which, after all, arose from both Providence and Necessity, which is considered indifferent, according to the teachings of the ancient theologians.

16. The Origin of Evil, According to Various Thinkers. The Stoics and Pythagoras agree that Matter is |12| formless, and lacking in qualities. Pythagoras, however, considers it evil; the Stoics, however, as neither good nor evil. But if you ask these same Stoics for the origin of any misfortune that may have overtaken them among the vicissitudes of life, they are wont to assign as its cause the perversity of its germs. Nevertheless, they are unable to go further and in turn explain this (alleged) perversity, inasmuch as their teachings allow only for two principles of the world: God and matter; God, the highest and supereminent Good and indifferent matter.

Pythagoras, however, does not hesitate to defend the truth, even if he has to do so with assertions that are remarkable, and that contradict the universal opinions of humanity. For he says that evils must exist necessarily, because of the existence of Providence, which implies the existence of matter and its inherent badness. For if the world derives from matter, then must it necessarily have been created from a precedingly existing evil nature. Consequently Numenius praises Heraclitus, who finds fault with Homer for having wished that all evils might be so eradicated from life as to evanesce, as he says in Odyssey 13, 45:

"Oh that the Gods would endue us with all sorts of virtues,
"And that there were no evil in the world!"

Unfortunately, Homer seems to have forgotten that evil was rooted in matter, and that in thus desiring extermination of evil he was in realty evoking the destruction of the world.

The same Numenius praises Plato for having taught the existence of two world-souls: the one being very beneficent, and the other malevolent, namely, matter. For if nature is in even only moderate motion, then must it necessarily be alive and animated, according to the laws of all things whose motion is innate.

This (matter) is also the cause and director of the passible part of the soul, which contains something corporeal, mortal and similar to the body, just as the rational |14| part of the soul derives from reason and God. For the world is created out of (a commingling of) God and matter.

17. Providence Cures the Reluctance of Matter. Therefore, according to Plato, does the world owe its good qualities to the generosity of a paternal divinity, while its evils are due to the evil constitution of matter, as a mother. This fact makes it evident that the Stoics, when they assert that everything arises from the motion of the stars, in vain attribute the cause of evil to a certain "perversity." For even the stars are of fire, and are heavenly "bodies." Matter, however, is the nurse or feeder; and consequently, whatever disturbs the motion of the stars so as to confuse its purposefulness or efficiency, must derive its origin from matter, which contains much unmoderated (desire) and unforeseen (impulse), chance, and passion.

If then, as is taught in the Timaeus (10) of Plato, God so perfects matter as to effect order out of disordered and turbulent motion, then must it have derived this confused contrariness from chance, or from an unfortunate fate, not from the normalizing intentions of Providence.

Therefore, according to Pythagoras, is the Soul of Matter not without substance, as is believed by a majority; and it opposes Providence, plotting how to attack its decisions by the power of its maliciousness.

On the other hand, Providence is the work and function of the Divinity, while blind and fortuitous "rashness" derives from matter; consequently it is evident that, according to Pythagoras, the whole world is created by the commingling of God and matter, and of Providence and chance. However, after matter has been organized, |16| it becomes the mother of the corporeal and nature-born divinities. Her own lot, (however, is said to be), preponderatingly happy, but not entirely so, inasmuch as her native malice cannot be entirely eliminated.

18. How God Perfects the World. God therefore (created or) adorned Matter with a certain magnificent virtue (or strength), and corrected its faults in every possible way, without, however, entirely eliminating them, lest material Nature should entirely perish. Still, he did not permit her to extend herself too far in all directions, but he transformed her whole condition by enlightenment and adornment so as to leave a nature which might be turned from inefficiency to efficiency; and this he accomplished by introducing system into its disordered confusion, proportion into its incommensurability, and beauty into its repulsiveness.

Very rightly does Numenius deny the possibility of finding any flawless condition, whether in human works of art, or in nature, in the bodies of animated beings, or in trees or fruits; no, nor in the blowing of the wind, in the flowing of the water, nor even in heaven. Everywhere does the nature of evil mingle with Providence, as some flaw.

As (Numenius) strives to represent an unveiled image of Matter, and to bring it into the light, he suggests, (as a suitable method to attain such a conception), that one should think away all single bodies, that continually change their form (as it were) in the lap of matter. That which remains after this abstraction should be contemplated in the mind; this residuum he calls "matter," and "necessity." The whole world-machine arose from this (residuum) and God, in that God persuaded (to goodness), and necessity (matter) yielded. |18-

This teaching of the origin of all things (Numenius ascribes) to Pythagoras. (However, it is Platonic, as may be seen in Timaeus 10, 14).

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Book II. Theological Metaphysics

19. The Existent as Timeless, Motionless and Permanent. 1. Philosopher: Very well! Let us approach as near as possible to Existence and let us say: "Existence never was, nor ever became; but it is always in definite time, namely, the present moment" (see Plotinus Ennead 3.7.3).

2. Should anyone desire to name this present moment aeon (or eternity), I would agree with him; for, on the one hand, we shall have to assume about past time, that it has fled, and has disappeared into What-no-longer-exists. On the other hand, the future does not exist yet, and all we can say about it is that it has the potentiality of coming into existence. For this reason it will not do to think of existence, in a single expression, as either not existing, or as existing no longer, or as not yet existing. Such an expression would introduce into our discussion a great contradiction: namely, that the same thing could simultaneously exist and not exist.

4. Stranger: Were this the case, and did Existence itself not exist, in respect to existence, then indeed could anything else hardly exist.

Philosopher: Therefore the Existent is eternal and firm, ever equable, or identical; and it neither arose nor passed away, nor increased nor diminished; never did it become more or less, and it entails no spatial or other kind of motion. For it does not lie in its nature to be moved, the Existent will never be displaced backwards |20| or forwards, up or down, right or left (the six Platonic kinds of motion); nor will it ever turn on its axis, but it will stand self-poised and (still) standing, ever remaining self-similar and identical.

20. True Existence Is Supersensual. 6. Philosopher: So much as introduction. I myself shall make no further evasions, claiming ignorance of the name of the Incorporeal.

Stranger: I also think it is more suitable to express it, than not.

Philosopher: Of course, I do acknowledge that his name is that which we have so long sought; and let no one ridicule me if I assert his name is "Being and Existence." The reason of this name "Existent" is that he neither arose nor decayed, and admits of no motion whatever, nor any change to better or worse; for he is always simple and unchangeable, and in the same idea (or form?), and does not abandon his identity either voluntarily, or compulsorily. 8. Then, as you remember Plato said in the Cratylus (587d), names are applied according to similarity with the things.

Stranger: We will then accept it as demonstrated that the Incorporeal is the Existent.

21. Existence and Growth, or Conception and Perception. 9. Philosopher: I said that the Existent was the Incorporeal, and that this was intelligible.

Stranger: So far as I remember, that is what I said.

Philosopher: I will now proceed with the further investigation, premissing, however, that if this does not agree with the teachings of Plato, it must be assumed that |22| it is derived from another great and powerful personality, such as Pythagoras. It is Plato, however, who says, stop, I remember the passage literally (Timaeus 9):

"What is the Ever-existent, which has nothing to do with Becoming? On the other hand, What is the Becoming, but which is never-existent? The first is intelligible to the understanding by reasoning; ever remaining the same; while the other is perceptible by perception, by unreasoning sensation arising and passing away, but never really existing."

11. So he asked, "What is the Existent?" and designated it unequivocally as the Unbecome (or that which was not due to growth). For he said that this could not affect the Existent, which in this case would be subject to change; and what is changeable would of course not be Existent.

22. The Unchangeable is the Incomprehensible. 12. Philosopher: Inasmuch as the Existent is wholly eternal and unchanged, and in no way jutting out over itself, for, (according to Plato, in Phaedo 62) "it stands fast similarly," this must surely be comprehensible by intellect and reason. But as the Body flows, and suffers change, consequently it passes away, and is no more; so that it would be sheer folly to deny that this (Body) was not the Indefinite, perceptible only by sense-perception, and, as Plato says (Timaeus 9): "becoming and being destroyed, but never really existing."

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23. Legend of the Opponents of Moses. 2. Further, we have Jamnes and Jambres, Egyptian priests and savants men whom fame credited with being able to perform incantations as well as any one else, at the time of the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt. |24-

3. The Egyptian people considered them worthy to enter into the lists against Moses, who led the Israelites away, and who, through prayer, had much influence with the Divinity; and it was seen that they were able to turn aside the worst plagues that Moses brought over Egypt.

24. A Story About Jesus Allegorized. In the third book of his treatise about the Good, Numenius relates a story about Jesus, without, however, mentioning his name, and he interprets it allegorically. Whether he interpreted it rightly or wrongly, must be discussed in another place. He also relates the story about Moses and Jamnes and Jambres.

65. Numenius as Allegorical Student of History. This however does not fill us with pride, even if we do approve of Numenius, rather than of Celsus or of any other of the Greeks, in that he voluntarily investigated our histories out of thirst of knowledge, and in that he accepted them (at least) as stories that were to be received allegorically, and not as stupid inventions.

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Book IV. Is Entirely Missing.

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Book. V. Philosophical Theology?

25. Theory Of The Divine Development. 3. If it be granted that Existence, and the Idea, is intelligible, and that Mind is older than this, as its cause, then it must be concluded that this Mind alone is the Good. For if the Creating Divinity is the principle of Becoming, then surely must the Good be the principle of Being. Inasmuch as the Creating Divinity is analogous to him, being his imitator, then must Becoming (be analogous) to Being, because it is its image and imitation. |26-

But if the Creator is the Good of Becoming, then must the Creator of Being be the Good-in-itself, being cognate as to Being. But as the Second (Divinity) is double, he himself produces the Idea of himself, and the World, inasmuch as his nature is that of a Creator; although he himself remains intelligible.

As we now have deduced the name of four things, there results these four: The First God, (who is) the Good-in-itself; his imitator, the Good Creator; but there is one Being of the First, and another of the Second; whose imitation is the Beautiful World, which is beautified by the participation (in the Being) of the First.

26. Life-Process of the Divinity. 1. Philosopher: Whoever wishes to make himself a correct idea of the communion (or relation) between the first and the second, will first have to coordinate logically everything in correct sequence; only then, when it seems to him that he has done this correctly, has he any right to try to speak formally; but not otherwise. He however, who undertakes the latter before the First has become (clear), will experience, in the words of the proverb, his whole treasure turning to ashes.

2. But may this not happen to us! On the contrary, first having (as Plato and Plotinus ever did), invoked the Divinity, that we may become his own interpreter in the Investigation (about the Logos?), that we may show up a treasure of thoughts; and so, let us begin.

Stranger: So let us pray, and begin (the investigation).

3. Philosopher: (Good!) The First God, who exists in himself, is simple; for as he absolutely deals with none but himself, he is in no way divisible; however, |28| the Second and Third God are One. When however this (unity) is brought together with Matter, which is Doubleness, the (One Divinity) indeed unites it, but is by Matter split, inasmuch as Matter is full of desires, and in a flowing condition. But inasmuch as He is not only in relation with the Intelligible, which would be more suitable to his own nature, He forgets himself, while He gazes on Matter, and cares for it. He comes into touch with the Perceptible, and busies Himself with it; He leads it up into His own nature, because he was moved by desires for Matter.

27a. The Mutual Relation of the Two First Divinities. The First God may not undertake creation, and therefore the First God must be considered as the Father of the Creating Divinity. If, however, we should conduct an investigation concerning the Creating (Power), and should say that, first granting his existence, that creation specially characterizes him, then we would have a suitable starting-point for our investigation, or, to their relation (about the Logos?); but if the investigation is not about the Creator, but about the First God, I retract what I said (out of religious reverence); and I will undertake to ferret out this relation (or Logos?) from another side.

8. But before we can run down (?) this relation (the Logos?) we must agree unequivocally about this point: that the First God is free from all labor, inasmuch as he is King; while the Creator rules in that he passes through the heaven. 27b. The Vitalizing Influence of the Divinity. 9. For through this one comes our Progress (?), in that on this passage (of the Creator through the heavens) |30| the (divine Mind) is shed upon all who were appointed (or who make an effort?) to participate in it.

10. Now whenever the Divinity glances on any one of us, and turns towards us, there results life, and animation of bodies; (and) this occurs whenever the Divinity occupies himself therewith even only from?, distance. But whenever the Divinity turns again towards his watch-tower, then all this (animation) again is extinguished; but the (divine) Mind itself tranquilly continues its blissful existence.

28. God as Cosmic Sower. The relation between the farmer to the sower is exactly that between the First God and the (Becoming) |Creator. For this (Second God?) is himself the seed of every soul, and sows (himself) in all the (receptive?) things (of Matter) which are allotted to him. The lawgiver (the Third God or Creator?) plants, distributes, and transplants in each of us that which has been sowed from there.

29. The Divinity Is Undiminished in the Distribution of Knowledge to Men. "How the Second (God) Is Subordinated to the First Cause. Everything that passes over to the Receiver, and leaves the Giver, during the act of Giving, is such as service (healing?), riches, or coined or uncoined money; this is the process with human and earthly gifts.

When, however, the Divine is communicated, and passes over from the one to the other, it does not leave the Giver while being of service to the Receiver; not only does the Giver not lose anything thereby, but he gains this further advantage, the memory of his giving (or generosity).

16. This beautiful process occurs with knowledge, by which the Receiver profits, as well as the Giver. This can be seen when one candle receives light from another by |32| mere touch; the fire was not taken away from the other, but its component Matter was kindled by the fire of the other.

17. Similar is the process with knowledge, which by both giving and taking remains with the Giver, while passing over to the Receiver.

18. O Stranger, the cause of this process is nothing human; because the Shaper of things as well as the Being which possesses the knowledge, are identical; as well with the Divinity, which gives (the Shaping element, and knowledge), as with you and me, who receive it. That is also why Plato (Philebus 18) said that Knowledge (or, wisdom) had descended to humanity through Prometheus, as by a radiating light.

30. Salvation Streams From the Standing God. 20. Philosopher: This is the manner of life of the First and Second Gods. Evidently, the First God is the Standing One, while, on the contrary, the Second is in motion. The First God busies himself with the Intelligible, while the Second One deals with the Intelligible and the Perceptible.

21. Do not marvel at this my statement; for thou shalt hear (of things) far more marvellous still. In contrast to the motion characteristic of the Second God, I call that characteristic of the First God, a standing still; or rather, an innate (motion). From this (First God) is shed abroad into the universe the organization of the world, eternity, and salvation.

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Book. VI. Spiritual Interpretations?

31. Everything Is Only Signification of Higher Things. 22. Philosopher: Since Plato knew, that the Creator alone was known among men, and that, on the contrary, the First Mind, which is called Self-existence, was entirely unknown to them, he spoke as if some one said: |34-

23. "O Men, the Mind which you dimly perceive, is not the First Mind; but before this Mind is another one, which is older and diviner."

32. The Demiurge as Pilot. Philosopher: A Pilot, who sails along in the midst of the sea, sits high on the rowing bench, and directs the ship by the rudder; his eyes and mind are directed upwards through the ether to the constellations, and he finds his way on high through the sky, while below he is faring along through the sea. Similarly does the Creator adjust Matter, that it should not be injured nor broken up, by the harmony; he himself sits over this (matter) as over a ship on the sea (of matter); he directs this harmony (of adjusted matter) which sails along over the chaos, according to the Ideas; heaven wards, he looks up to the God in the height, directing his eyes upon him. So he derives the critical (power of discernment) from the contemplation of the Divine, and the impulsive (motion) from his desire (for matter, see Fragm. 26).

33. Everything is Dependent on the Idea of the Good. 6. Philosopher: Whatever participates in him, participates in him in nothing but in thought; in this manner alone will it profit by entrance unto the Good, but not otherwise. This thought is characteristic of the First alone. Now if this is to be found only in the Good, then would it betray foolishness of soul to hesitate in the matter from whom the other derives its color and goodness.

7. For if the Second (Divinity) is good, not from itself but from the First, how then would it be possible that he (the First) is not good, if the latter derives his goodness from participation with the (other, the First), especially as the Second participates in him (the First) specially because he is the Good?

8. So Plato taught the sharply observant (auditor) by his statement, "That the Good is One." |36|

34. Even the Creator Dependent From the Idea of the Good. That this is so, Plato has expressed in different ways; for in the Timaeus (10) he used the popular manner of expression, and said that he was "good"; but in his Republic (vii. i4), he speaks of the "Idea of the Good." Thus the Good would also be the Idea of the Creator, because he appears to us good through participation in the First and Only.

10. Just as one says, that men are formed according to the Idea of Man, and cattle after the Idea of Cattle, and the horses, after the Idea of the Horse, so is it also probably with the Creator; for if the latter is good only because of his participation in the goodness of the First Good, then would the First Mind, as the Good-in-itself, be its Idea (or model).

35a. Birth as Wetness. For they believed that, as Numenius says, the souls hovered over the divinely inspired water. That is why the Prophet (Moses, Genesis 1:2) said, "The Spirit of God hovered over the Water." Similarly, for this reason, did the Egyptians (believe) that all the demons did not stand on firm ground, but all on a ship. This applies to the sun, and to all the Demons who (should?) know that all the souls that descend towards birth have a hankering for wetness. That is why Heraclitus said that "It was not death, but an enjoyment for souls to become humid." So the fall into generation was a delight for them. In another place he says that we lived the death of those souls, and that those souls lived our death. Likewise the Poet (Homer, Odyssey vi. 201; ix. 43) named the (souls) which were in generation wet (διεροὺς dieros means both living and wet), because they had souls wetted through, seeing that water serves as nourishment for one part of the plants.

35b. Homer Should be Interpreted Allegorically. It seems to me also that the partisans of Numenius are not far from the truth in their assumption that in Homer’s |38| Odyssey Odysseus is the representation of a man who has passed through repeated generations (or incarnations), and thus has progressed to those who are beyond the wave and the infinite ocean (Odyssey xi. 122, 123):

"Until you have reached the men who do not know the Sea,
And eat no food mingled with salt."

(Evidently) "sea" and "salt" denote, even with Plato, material substance.

36. The Cosmic Triunity. Numenius, who teaches three Gods, calls the First Father; the Second Creator, and the Third Creature; for, according to his opinion, the world is the Third God. According to him, therefore the Creator is double, (consisting) out of the First and Second God; but the Third is the Created; for it is better to speak thus, than as yon (Numenius), poetically, Forefather, Offspring, and Descendant.

36b. Numenius Unites The Super-Existence With Existence. Further does Numenius group together (1) that which is free from all difference, and (2) what stands beneath and thereafter.

36c. Numenius Distinguishes the First and Second Divinity. (Numenius) asserts a double Creating Divinity, the one Father, but the other Creator.

37. Inner Relationship Between God and the World. Numenius, Kronius and Amelius teach that everything that is intelligible and perceptible participates in the Ideas; but Porphyry asserts this only of the Perceptible. |40-

38. Existence Itself not Mingled With Matter. Among all those who defend the birth of the Divinities, we may say that they either teach that Existence is mingled with Matter, … or that Existence is not mingled with Matter, the mingling being limited to its dynamic (Powers), and energies, as teach the partisans of Numenius.

63. The World of Ideas Is Located Within the Second God. But if, as writes Amelius, and before him, Numenius, there is participation (in true Existence, not only in the Perceptible), but also in the Intelligible, then would the Forms exist in the latter also.

39. Mutual Relation of the Triad. Numenius relates the First (Mind) to that which is really alive; and says, that it thinks, out of desire to the Second (God). The Second Mind he relates to the First, and asserts that it becomes creative out of desire for the third; and the Third he relates to the (human) Thinking.

40. Life Is Concatenation Among the Laws of Life. Numenius, who believes that everything is thoroughly mingled together, considers that nothing is simple.

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Part II. Concerning the Mystery-Teachings of Plato.

41. The Problem of Sincerity. If Plato had undertaken to write about the theology of the Athenians, and then, in bitterness, had accused them of the mutual discord of the Divinities, and their incests, and devouring of their own children, and of deeds of vengeance of fathers and brothers; if Plato had brought up all this in open and unreserved accusations, |42| then according to my opinion he would have given them an occasion to commit another wrong, and to kill him, like Socrates.

2. Now (Plato) did not indeed desire to retain life more than to tell the truth; but as he saw that he might live in security, and also tell the truth, so he represented the Athenians under the form of Euthyphro, a boastful and foolish man, who spoke about the divinities as badly as anybody else; but his own teachings he laid into the mouth of Socrates, whom he represented in his genuine form, as he was wont to confute every person with whom he associated.

59. Numenius as Revealer of the Eleusynian Mysteries. Among the philosophers Numenius was one of the most eager for Mysteries. A dream announced to him that the Divinities were offended, because he had published the Eleusynian mysteries by interpretation. He dreamed, namely, that the Eleusynian divinities, garbed like prostitutes, stood before a public house of ill fame; and as he was wondering how the Goddesses came to such an ignominious attire, they had angrily answered that by himself they had been violently torn out of the sanctuary of their modesty, and had been exposed for hire to every passer-by.

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Part III. The Initiate: Or the Hoopoe, the Bird of Prognostication

(See Phaedo, 77).

42. Strained Etymological Interpretations. Apollo is called the Delphian because he enlightens with clear light what is dark, and demonstrates it in the clear light, ἐκ τοῦ δηλοῦν ἀφανῆ ek tou deloun aphane: or, as Numenius |44| prefers the one, and only. He asserts, indeed, that in the ancient Greek language ἀδελφὸς adelphos meant only; and from this is derived the word for brother, adelphos, because he is no longer the only one.

43. The Soul Is Retained in the Body as in a Prison, by Impulsive Passion. According to all these rules, we will easily be able to demonstrate that neither does the Good signify the prison (of which Plato speaks in Phaedo 16), as some say, nor impulsive passion, as says Numenius (Cratylus 43).

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Part IV. Concerning the Indestructibility of the Soul.

44. The Soul is Immaterial and Incorporeal. (Because) bodies, according to their own nature, are changeable, inconstant, and infinitely divisible, and nothing unchangeable remains in them, there is evidently need of a principle that would lead them, gather them, and bind them fast together; and this we name Soul. If then the soul were a body of any kind of constitution, even if it were as small as (an atom,) what would then hold that together? For we said that every body needed some principle that would hold the body together, and so on into infinity, until we should reach the incorporeal.

If however one should say, as the Stoics do, that a certain tension inhered in the bodies, which moved them simultaneously inward and outward, the outward motion effecting size and quality, while the inward motion effected unification and Being, then we still would have to ask, inasmuch as every motion derives from some force, which is this force, and in what does it consist? Now if this force also is any sort of matter, we would still need the same arguments. But if it were not matter |46| as such, and if it were only material, for what is only material is something different from matter, for we call material that which only participates in matter, what then is this in which Matter participates? Is it itself again matter, or not matter? If it is matter, how could it be material and still not be matter? But if it is not matter then it surely is immaterial. If then it is im material, then is it no body, for all bodies are material.

Should it be said, however, that because bodies have three dimensions, then must also the soul, as it penetrates the whole body, be of triple extension, and therefore in any case be a body, then would we have to answer that although every body has three dimensions, yet not everything that has three dimensions is a body. For quantity and quality, which in themselves are incorporeal, may under certain circumstances be reckoned quantatively. Likewise the soul, which in itself is non-extensive, might be considered as tridimensional in case that by chance it had happened into something tridimensional.

Further, every body is either moved from within or from without; if from without, then is it inanimate; but if from within, then is it animated. Were the soul a body, and were it moved from without, then it is inanimate; but if from within, then it is animated. But it would be sheer nonsense to call the soul both animate and inanimate. Therefore the soul is no body.

Further, if the soul is fed, then is it fed from the incorporeal, for the sciences are its food. But no body is fed from the incorporeal; therefore also is the soul no body; this was the deduction of Xenocrates. But if it is not fed, and the body of every living being is fed, then also is the soul no body. |48|

45. Numenius Tells Marvellous Stories. That men have, at times, experienced incredible and improbable experiences, has been the statement of many Greeks; not only of such of whom it might be suspected that they were indulging in myths, but also of such as have demonstrated that they have carried on philosophy seriously, and relate the truth of what has actually happened to them. Such have we read in the works of Chrysippos of Soloi, and the Pythagorean Numenius, in the second book of his treatise on the Indestructibility, of the Soul.

46. The Soul Is Explained Mathematically. Before those, who earlier than we have attempted to explain the nature of the soul mathematically as some medium between the natural and the supernatural, it is asserted by those who call the soul a number, that it consists of unity, as something indivisible, and of the indefinite doubleness (manifold) as something divisible. Others, however, who conceive of the soul as of a geometrical figure, insist that it consists of a point and the divergence (either a locus and the divergence of two lines, or a centre and the radius of a circle); of which the first is indivisible, and the second divisible. Of the first opinion are the partisans of Aristander, Numenius, and the majority of the expounders; of the second opinion is Severus.

47. The Legend of the Atlanteans Only Allegorical. Several refer the story of the Atlanteans and the Athenians to the separation of the more beautiful souls, which receive their life from Athene (the goddess of wisdom), and the other creative souls, who are related to the (Neptune), the divinity which presides over birth. Thus does Numenius explain it.

p. 26. Origen asserts that the whole story is an invention and thus much did he grant the companions of Numenius. Plato Timaeus p. 21a). |50-

62a. Soul-Struggle Before Incarnation. These theologians and Plato teach that before the souls descend into material bodies, they must go through a struggle with the physical demons who are of western nature, inasmuch as, according to the belief of the Egyptians, the West is the abode of harmful demons.

62b. Porphyry Follows the Teachings of Numenius. Of this opinion is Porphyry, of whom we would be very much surprised if he asserted any teaching differing from that of Numenius.

64. The Evil Demons Delight in Sacrificial Smoke. I remember having read in the book of a certain Pythagorean, where he was expounding the hidden meanings of the Poet (Homer), that the prayer of Chryses to Apollo, and the plague which Apollo sent down upon the Greeks, were proofs that Homer knew of certain evil demons, who delight in sacrificial smoke; and who, as reward to the sacrificer, grant them the ruin of others as answer to their prayers.

61. Numenius as Vulgarizer of the Serapis Mysteries. In the books of the Pythagorean Numenius we read a description of the formation of (Serapis). The latter was said to participate in the being of everything that is produced by nature, animals and plants. So one could see that he was erected into a divinity not only by the sculptors, with the aid of profane mysteries, and magic means that evoke demons, but also by magicians and sorcerers, and of the demons evoked by their incantations.

48. All in All. Some (philosophers) locate in the divisible soul the whole intelligible world, the Gods, the Demons, and the |52| Good, and everything that deserves reverence; likewise do they assert that all is in all; but this is in a manner such that each thing is in each in a manner suitable to its nature. Of this opinion is undoubtedly Numenius.

49a. Life Is a Battle. Even among the Platonists many differ; for some, like Plotinus and Porphyry, comprehend the forms and the organic parts of life, and the energizings (of life?) into a single system and idea; but others, like Numenius, strive to conceive of it, as a battle.

49b. Evil as an External Accretion. p. 896. Of those who think otherwise are Numenius and Kronius, who think that evil is somehow added or grown to from the outside, and namely, from Matter.

50. All Incarnations are of Evil. Some of the younger (philosophers) do not make this distinction. As they possess no distinguishing characteristic, they confuse indiscriminately the incarnation of all things, and assert boldly that they are all of evil; and especially the companions of Kronius, Numenius, and Harpocrates.

51. The Soul Is Indiscerptibly One With God. Numenius seems to teach the unification and the indiscerptibility {not subject to being separated into parts} of the soul with its source.

52. Presentation a Casual Consequence of the Synthetic Power of the Soul. Numenius, who says that the synthetic power (of the soul) is receptive to energies; but that its power of presentation is a casual consequence; not its function or result, but a by-product. |54|

53. Numenius Assumes Two Souls, Not Soul-Functions. Others, among whom is also Numenius, do not assume three parts of the soul, or at least two, namely, the rational and the irrational parts; but they think that we have two souls, a rational one, and an irrational one. Some of these again consider both immortal; others, only the rational.

54. Allegory of the Cave of the Nymphs. Numenius and his companion Kronius consider the Cave (of the Nymphs) an image and a symbol of the World. (They hold that) in the heaven there are two extremities; there being nothing more southern than the winter-tropic, nor more northern, than the summer| tropic, the summer-tropic being that of Cancer, and the winter-tropic, that of Capricorn. Because the tropic of Cancer is in the greatest proximity to the earth, it was very properly ascribed to the moon, because the latter is nearest to the earth; but inasmuch as the southern pole is still invisible, to the tropic of Capricorn is ascribed the most distant and highest of the planets (Saturn).

Cap. 22. That is why the theologians asserted that these two, the Cancer and the Capricorn, are in reality two gates; For Plato asserted (Republic x. 13) there were two openings, that of Cancer, through which souls descended, and that of Capricorn, through which they ascended. Cancer is northern, and descending, Capricorn to the south, and ascending. The northern opening is for the souls that descend to birth.

55. Immortality of the Forms of Matter. Some, like Numenius, represent as immortal every thing, from the rational soul, to the soulless forms of inorganic nature (or habit, a Stoic term). |56-

56. All Souls Are Immortal. Among those who have spoken of the divisibility of the soul from the body, some declare that it is divisible from the body; the rational, the irrational, and the vegetative. So thought Numenius, who permitted himself to be misled by some expressions of Plato who (Phaedrus 51) said, "every soul is immortal."

57. Process Of Human Degeneration. (In contrast to an allegorical interpretation of the Platonic teaching of Metempsychosis, in Phaedo 70), it is assumed by Plotinus, Harpocrates, Amelius, Boethus, and Numenius, that when Plato speaks of a kite, he means nothing else than a kite; and likewise, when he speaks of a wolf, an ass, a monkey, or a swan. For they assert that it is possible that the soul should fill itself up with badness from the body, and become assimilated to the irrational creatures; to whomsoever it has assimilated itself, to it does it strive; and the one enters into this, the other into the other animal.

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Part V. Concerning Space.

(See fragment 11, and Plato, Timaeus 11-17.)

58. Numenius Allegorizes out of Hebrew Scriptures. But I know that Numenius, a man who has supremely well interpreted Plato, and who placed confidence in Pythagorean teachings, in many passages of his writings expounds utterances of Moses and the Prophets, and has interpreted them allegorically in a not improbable manner; as in his treatise On the Initiate, and in those about Numbers, and Space. |58-

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Part VI. About numbers

(See fragments 10, 25, 44, 46, and Plato, Timaeus 14.)

60. Perhaps Numenius Taught Pythagorean Numerical Cabalism About the Soul. Theodorus, the philosopher of Asine, was permeated with the teachings of Numenius. He spins dreams about the birth of the soul in a rather original manner, busying himself with letters, their form, and numbers … making the universal or geometrical number out of the (fourfold) soul, inasmuch as the group of seven finds itself in the name of the soul.

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Part VII. Fragment From Nemesius, Attributed Jointly to Numenius and Ammonius Saccas

66. On the Immateriality of the Soul. (See Fr. 44-57.) It will suffice to oppose the arguments of Ammonius, teacher of Plotinus, and those of Numenius the Pythagorean, to that of all those who claim that the soul is material. These are the reasons: "Bodies, containing nothing unchangeable, are naturally subject to change, to dissolution, and to infinite divisions. They inevitably need some principle that may contain them, that may bind and strengthen their parts; this is the unifying principle that we call soul. But if the soul also is material, however subtle be the matter of which she may be composed, what could contain the soul herself, since we have just seen that all matter needs some principle to contain it? The same process will go continuously to infinity until we arrive at an immaterial substance." |60-

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Part VIII. References From Plotinus

67. Derivation of "Apollo." (See Fr. 42; Ennead v. 5, 6.) That is why the Pythagoreans were accustomed, among each other, to refer to this principle in a symbolic manner, calling him Apollo, which name means a denial of manifoldness. 68. Pythagorean Theology of the Cosmic Genesis. (See Fr. 15-17; Ennead v. 4, 2.) This is the reason of the saying, "The ideas and numbers are born from the indefinite doubleness, and the One;" for this is intelligence.

69. Numenian Name for the Divinity. (See Fr. 20; Ennead v. 8, 5.) That is why the ancients said that ideas are essences and beings. 70. Evils are Unavoidable. (See Fr. 16, 17; Ennead i. 8, 6; also i. 4, 11; iii. 3, 7.) Let us examine the opinion that evils cannot be destroyed, but are necessary, forefend its destruction (especially) at times when they {scanned text breaks off here. Έπιστκεπτέον δὲ, καὶ πῶς λέγεται, μὴ ἂν ἀποέσθαι τὰ κακὰ, ἀλλ’ εἶναι ἐξ ἀνάγκης. But he did not believe, and what is said, that the evils should not be avoided, but that they should be necessary.}. |62|

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History of the Successors of Plato

Book I. Why the Successors of Plato Diverged From Him. 1. Under Speusippus, Plato’s nephew, and Xenocrates, his successor, and Polemo, who took over the school from Xenocrates, the character of the teachings remained almost the same, because the notorious teaching of the "reserve of judgment" and the like, did not yet exist.

Later, however, much was declared differently, and was twisted, and the (teachers) did not remain with the first tradition. Although they all began with Plato, they all left him, some more quickly, some more slowly, purposely or unconsciously and sometimes even out of ambition. 2. My object, however, is not to oppose men like Xenocrates, but to save the honor of Plato. For it makes me indignant that they did not prefer to suffer and do any and all things, merely to save their agreement (with Plato). Plato, who though he was not better than the great Pythagoras, but also probably no worse, surely deserved it of them, that they should have followed and honored him; and they would also have had good reason to have highly esteemed Pythagoras.

3. On the contrary, there was no great necessity that the Epicureans should have preserved the teachings of their master so scrupulously; but they understood them, and it was evident that they taught nothing that diverged from the doctrines of Epicurus in any point. They agreed that he was the true Wise-man, remained unanimously with him, and therefore were fully justified in bearing his name. Even among the later Epicureans it was an |64| understood thing, that they should contradict neither each other nor Epicurus in any material point, and they consider it an infamous piece of outlawry; it is for bidden to promote any innovation. Consequently, none of them dared such a thing, and those teachings have always remained unchanged, because they were always unanimous. The School of Epicurus is like a properly administered state in which there are no parties who have the same thoughts and opinions; hence, they were genuine successors, and apparently, will ever remain such.

4. In the School of the Stoics, however, beginning from the very leaders, has ever reigned discord, which, indeed, has not ceased yet. It is with preference that they hold disputations, and (exercise?) themselves over any argument that is difficult to refute. Some have remained in the ancient teachings, others have already introducedchanges. Even the first were similar to oligarchs, and were disagreed; and it was really their fault that the later Stoics criticised the earlier ones so much, even to the extent that some claimed to be more stoical than others; especially those who disputed about externalities, and were petty. For it was the latter who especially exceeded the others, and faulted them for being busy-bodies and quibblers.

5. But this fate far more overtook those who in different ways, each in his own manner, derived his teachings from Socrates, Aristippus, Antisthenes, the Megarians, the Eretrians, and others.

6. The cause was that Socrates asserted the existence of three Gods, and philosophized about them in expressions suited to each single auditor. His auditors, however, did not understand this, but believed that he uttered all these expressions on chance, in accordance with the opinion which happened to have the upper hand with him at the time.

7. Plato, who followed Pythagoras (in teachings or method) knew that Socrates had derived his teachings |66| from no other person, and agreed with him entirely, built himself his own system also. (But he taught) neither in the usual manner, nor did he make his teachings very clear; but he treated each point just as he thought wise, leaving it in twilight, half way between clearness and unclearness. He did indeed thus attain security, in his writing; but he himself thus became the cause of the subsequent discord and difference of opinions about his teaching. (This discord therefore) did not originate in malice, or envy; for I would not utter any inauspicious words about men of ancient time.

8. Having understood this, we must now return to the original point at issue, and, with the aid of the Divinity, we shall have to differentiate him now from the Academy, just as it was our purpose, at the beginning, to differentiate him from Aristotle and Zeno. We shall, therefore, grant that, in his real nature, he was a Pythagorean. Now, however, his members suffer, torn as he is with greater ferocity than a Pentheus. No one however attempts to restore the whole body, (as indeed we are going to try to do here).

Plato seemed more popular than Pythagoras, and more reverend than Socrates, because he stands in the midst between them softening the greater severity of the one to philanthropy, and raising the mockery and jocularity of the other, from irony to dignity and reputation; and this he accomplished specially hereby, that he mingled Pythagoras and Socrates.

2. The Iliad of Arcesilaos and Zeno. 10. But it was not my object to investigate this more minutely, as it is not my professed object; so I will now return to my theme, from which I seem to have wandered far, lest I stray from the right road. |68|

11. The successors of Polemo were Arcesilaos and Zeno; I shall return to them at the close. I remember that I said that Zeno first studied with Xenocrates; then with Polemo, and at last became a Cynic, by associating with Krates. To this we must now add that he was an auditor of Stilpo, and that he busied himself with the teachings of Heraclitus.

12. For while they (Zeno and Arcesilaos) were fellow-students of Polemo, they became jealous of each other, and in their struggle (Zeno) used Heraclitus, Stilpo and Krates as allies, the influence of Stilpo making him eager for battle; through the influence of Heraclitus he became obscure and severe, and through Crates he be came a Cynic.

On the other hand, Arcesilaos made use of Theophrastes, the Platonist Krantor, and Diodorus; further, Pyrrho also. The influence of Krantor made him an adept in persuasion; Diodorus made him sophistic; through the influence of Pyrrho he became Protean, impudent, and independent of all.

13. It was concerning him that circulated the ribald saying: "Like the Chimaera of Theognis," vi. 181; Diog. Laert, iv. 33, he was "Plato in front, Pyrrho behind, and Diodorus in the middle."

Timon asserts that he also derived love of strife from Menedemus, and so perfected himself in it that people sang about him, "There he comes running, with the leaden ball of Menedemos, hiding under his cloak vitriolic Pyrrho, or Diodorus."

14. Combining the quibbles of Diodorus, who was a dialectician, with the sceptical expressions of Pyrrho, he made of himself a vain chatterer, by the fluency of speech of a Plato. He asserted, and contradicted himself, and rolled hither and yon, on all sides, just as it happened |70| to suit him; recalled his own expressions, was hard to interpret, was unstable, untrustworthy, and at the same time rash, for he claimed that he himself knew nothing, as he was of noble lineage. Then again (Chapt. vi. i) he would become like a wise man, so that his plays with words gave him great apparent breadth, or many-sidedness. Just as it was impossible to see on which side the Homeric Tydides was, during the battle, whether among the Trojans or the Greeks, as little could one tell that of Arcesilaos. It was not in him to say the same thing twice, or to remain with a single assertion; indeed, he did not even believe that this was the part of a worthy man. Hence he was called "A mighty sophist, who slaughtered the undisciplined."

2. Just as the Furies, did he bewitch and throw spells with words in his sham fights, through the resources of knowledge, and his training; for neither did he have any element of definiteness in his knowledge, nor did he admit that such could be the case with others. He terrified and confused; and while he took the medal for twisting words from their meanings, he took a malicious joy in the defeat of his interlocutors. He assumed a marvellous appearance; for he knew that in itself nothing was either shameful or handsome, good or bad; he insisted that (the moral quality of a thing depended) on the manner in which it was conceived by anybody. Then he would turn it hither and yon, or guided it in prepared (paths).

3. Therefore he was like an eel, which cut itself in two, and was cut in two by itself, at different times differently explaining both (opposites, like beautiful and ugly); in a manner hard to differentiate, more obscurely than was permissible; if only he pleased his auditors, for it was as great an enjoyment to gaze at him, as to hear him. He had, indeed, a fine voice, and a handsome appearance. That is the reason his auditors were disposed to accept his teachings, because his speeches came from a beautiful mouth, and were accompanied by friendly glances. |72-

4. This (attractiveness) however, must not be considered so simply; but its (wider effects) must be expounded further. While he was still a boy, he associated considerably with Theophrastes, a mild, kindly man, who was not opposed to love. As he was still beautiful in the time of his bloom, he found in the Academician Krantor a lover, and associated with him. As he was not lacking in natural talent thereto, and made use of this superficially, and because his love of strife made him rebellious, he associated also with Diodorus, and (it was from these associations) that he learned his deceitfully convincing subtleties. Further, he had dealings with Pyrrho, who derived his scholarship from Democritus, in all regards. So (Arcesilaos) received also instructions from (Democritus?), and, except for the name, remained with Pyrrho in his (teaching of the) abrogation of all things.

5. That is why the sceptics Mnaseas, Philomelos and Timon call him a sceptic, as they themselves also were; inasmuch as he abrogated truth, the false, and what was probable.

6. Although he was called a Pyrrhonian by the Pyrrhonians, yet he allowed himself to be called an academician, out of consideration for his lover (Krantor). He therefore was a Pyrrhonian, without bearing that appellation, and of the academicians he had only the name. For I do not believe Diocles of Knydos, who, in his book entitled"Entertainments" insists that Arcesilaos enunciated no distinct teaching out of fear of the followers of Theodorus, and the sophist Bion, who made it a business to attack philosophers, and did not scruple to discredit them in any way, and that Arcesilaos therefore was on his guard, lest he fall into some perplexity; and that, like the squib, who hides himself within his own black juice, so he hid himself in his (doctrine of) the reserve of judgment.

7. Both of these, Arcesilaos and Zeno, started out from the (school of Polemo); but forgot it. Proceeding with |74| different methods (Arcesilaos with the Pyrrhonic, and Zeno with the Cynic), and fighting with such weapons, they forgot that they originated in the school o Polemo. They separated, fighting with each other (Homer, II. iv. 447-9; xiii. 131; iv. 472, 450): "shield struck shield; the lances met, and the forces of men, armed in metal, measured each other. The bossy shields strike together; mighty noise arises, shield strikes against shield, helmet against helmet, man downs man. Then arises sighing and moaning of the killing and dying men!"

8. That is, of the Stoics; for they did not attack the Academicians; inasmuch as they did not know how much easier (than the Stoics) they might have been upset. For they might (easily) have been conquered, had it been demonstrated to them that their teachings did not agree with those of Plato; and that they would lose their footing were they to have changed even in a single point their definition of the (doctrine of the) incomprehensibility of presentation.

9. I shall not elaborate this further here, but shall return to it in another place, which shall be devoted to this. (Now let us return to our two fighting cocks):

They separated publicly, and fought each other; but the wounds were not the lot of both, only that of Zeno, (inflicted) by Arcesilaos. For Zeno, when he was in battle, bore a grave and reverend aspect and his experience resembled that of the rhetorician Kephisodorus.

For as this Kephisodorus saw that his pupil Isocrates was attacked by Aristotle, he did not sufficiently know Aristotle himself. For he saw that the teaching of Plato was well reputed, and he assumed that Aristotle philosophised according to Plato; so he antagonized Aristotle, but hit Plato, and disputed his whole teaching, beginning with the Ideas, without knowing them sufficiently, taking his conception of them from the popular estimate of them. |76-

10. So this Kephisodorus fought with him, whom he did not at all wish to antagonize, and antagonized him with whom he did not wish to fight.

Now as Zeno gave up the fight with Arcesilaos, so would the former, according to my judgment, have behaved as a true philosopher, if he, for the sake of peace, had not undertaken to antagonize Plato. As it is, perhaps he did not know Arcesilaos, but he certainly did not know Plato, as appears from his anti-Platonic writings; and he injured not him whom he should have injured, while he treated Plato, who had certainly not deserved it at his hands, in the most disgraceful manner, and worse than any dog.

11. This (anti-Platonic polemic) proves that he did not leave off from Arcesilaos from generosity; for either out of ignorance of his teachings, or out of fear of the Stoics, he turned the "wide open jaws of war" so that they glanced off from himself on to Plato. As to the in novations which Zeno introduced into the Platonic doctrines most irreverently, I will treat of them at some time, when I take a rest from Philosophy; but, except as a joke, may I never have leisure for such a purpose!

12. As Arcesilaos recognized in Zeno an opponent who was worth overcoming, so he attacked his teachings regardlessly.

13. Concerning the other points about which they fought, perhaps I know but little; and if I did know more, this might not be the time to record them. But (I do know that Arcesilaos) by every means in his power, opposed the doctrine of the incomprehensibility of presentation, which was first taught by (Zeno), because he saw that this doctrine, as well as its name, was famous in Athens.

But as Zeno was weaker, and remained silent, and yet did not wish to suffer wrong, he did indeed cease the struggle with Arcesilaos; and he was not willing to speak out, though he had much to say. (So he started in a different manner.) He fought with the shadow of |78| Plato, who was no longer among the living, and ridiculed him in every possible way, as occurs in public plays, as Plato could no longer defend himself, and as no one had any interest to appear as defender for him. (If indeed he could have induced) Arcesilaos to undertake (?) such a role, then would Zeno have achieved some gain from these (tactics), for he would thus have distracted Arcesilaos from himself. He knew, indeed, that the tyrant Agathocles of Syracuse had employed this trick against the Carthaginians.

14. The Stoics listened to all these polemics with amazement, for even at that time their Muse was no friend of graceful philosophical disquisitions. By means of such, Arcesilaos confuted them convincingly, while secretly removing and lopping off (part of their doctrines), and substituting other points. So (?) his opponents were overcome, overwhelmed by his oratory. It was, indeed, agreed by his contemporaries, that no word, circumstance, or even the smallest deed, nor even its contrary, could hope for approval, if it had not first been approved by the (persuasive?) Arcesilaos of Pitane. He himself, however, considered nothing true, and taught openly that everything was mere talk and verbiage.

3. The Comic Experience of Lakydes. (Also to be found in Diogenes Laertes iv. 59.) 1. I would like to tell a rich story about Lakydes. He was rather miserly, and resembled the proverbial economical housekeeper, who enjoys a reputation among the people, and who himself opens and closes his store-room. He himself selected what he needed, and everything else of the kind he did with his own hands, not indeed because he thought so highly of moderation, and not out of poverty, or lack of slaves, for he had as many of them as he desired; you may imagine the cause yourself!

2. Now I come to the promised story. As he was his own manager, he did not consider it necessary to carry |80| the key around with himself; but, when he had closed up, he laid it in a hollow-tablet. Having sealed this with his finger-ring, he rolled the ring back through a crack into the interior of the house (?), so that later, when he again wanted to open with the key, he could pull back the ring, open again, then seal it up again, and once more throw the ring through the key-hole.

3. The slaves of course observed this sly manoeuvre. As often as Lakydes early in the morning took a walk, or went anywhere else, they would open (the store-room), eat and drink, and carry off as much as their heart desired. Then they would again close up, seal the writing-tablet with the ring, and then, to the accompaniment of hearty laughter and ridicule, they would throw the ring back through the key-hole within (the house?).

4. But as Lakydes left dishes full, and found them again empty, he did not know what he should think about it. But as he now heard that Arcesilaos was philosophizing about the incomprehensibility he suspected that such a process had occurred in the matter of the store-room. (He went to the school) of Arcesilaos, (and from then on) began to philosophise, that one could not see or hear anything distinctly or clearly. One day he invited one of his acquaintances into his house, and positively asserted the doctrine of the reserve of judgment. "I can demonstrate this unequivocally, as I myself have experienced it, and have not merely derived it from other persons."

5. Then he told the whole story, from the beginning, as to what had happened to him in his store-room. "Now what could Zeno answer to such a demonstrated case of the incomprehensibility of presentation?" "For with my own hands I closed up everything, I sealed it, myself, and threw the ring within; when however I returned and opened, I saw the ring within, but not the other things. How then should I not rightfully take a distrustful attitude |82| towards things? For I could not admit that any body came and stole the contents."

6. His auditor, who was a mocker, had had considerable trouble, while listening to the tale, in reserving his self-control. Finally he broke out into loud laughter, and with continuous hilarity demonstrated how foolish he had been. From that time on Lakydes no more threw his ring within, and no more used his store-room as demonstration of the incomprehensibility of presentation; but took up again his earlier views, and philosophised along aimlessly.

7. Now, the slaves were no fools, and (Plato, Sophist 266a) not so easy to control. They were like the Getes and Dacians, who appear in comedies, and who even in Dacian stammer with light scorn. But when they heard of the sophisms of the Stoics, or whenever they perhaps received a (signal) from some other side, they directly made an attempt, and loosened his seals. They sometimes substituted another seal, and at other times they did not affix any, presuming that it would be incomprehensible for Lakydes, one way or another.

8. But Lakydes became angry, finding, on his entrance, the writing-tablet sometimes unsealed, or even sealed with some other seal. Against their assertions that it had been sealed with his own seal, he conducted an exact investigation, and demonstrated that it was not so. As they had to acknowledge the demonstration, they asserted that he must then have forgotten to affix the seal. But he insisted that he remembered it distinctly, having affixed the seal, demonstrated it to them in detail, and grievously complained of their thus making fun of him; and he swore besides.

9. They however took up his complaints, and took the attitude of being ridiculed by him; inasmuch as Lakydes was a philosopher, and taught the incomprehensibility (of |84| presentation), he must simply be unable to remember it; for memory was a sort of presentation, as they had heard him himself lately asserting in a discussion with a friend.

10. As now Lakydes had confuted their attacks, and brought up (counter-arguments), that did not agree with the teachings of the Academicians, they went to a certain Stoic, and learned by heart responses thereto; and starting with this, they developed their arguments before him, and became his rivals as academic disputants. If, however, he accused the Stoics, then his slaves would oppose his complaints by appealing, not without a certain scorn, to the incomprehensibility of presentation.

11. They thus carried on arguments and counter-arguments, till nothing remained whole? (there remained no further object to fight about?), not a pot, nor its contents, nor any utensil suitable for a house.

12. For a long while Lakydes was in distress, seeing that there was no help for him in his own doctrines. But judging that soon his whole house-hold would break up, if he did not control the slaves, he fell into helpless despair, crying alas! and woe is me! and by the Gods, and all other such senseless expressions that "are resorted to in extremities (?); all this was uttered with cries as confirmation (?).

13. At last, forced into a wordy argument with his house-hold of slaves, he did, indeed, confute the Stoic doctrines to his slaves; but as the slaves then (turned around, and) advanced the arguments of the Academicians in order to obviate any further difficulties, he himself remained at home and guarded his own store-room. But as his utility was thus impaired (?), he finally discovered the source of his woes, and expressed it thus: "Children (?), in the school we argue about things in this manner; but it is different in life!" (Paragraphs 14 and 15 seem to have been shortened by Eusebius from Numenius. Thedinga.) |86-

14. So much about Lakydes. He had numerous auditors, among whom Aristippus of Cyrene was prominent. The direction of the Academy was, after him, taken over by Evander and his successors.

15. After the latter, Carneades took over the school, and founded the Third Academy. He made use of the same method as Arcesilaos; for he also followed out the principle of arguments on both sides, and confuted everything that was taught by any one else. From Arcesilaos he differed only in the (doctrine of the) reserve of judgment, asserting that is was humanly impossible to refrain from judgment about all things. He also made a distinction between the Unclear, and the Incomprehensible; although everything was incomprehensible, yet not everything was unclear.

He busied himself also with the Stoic teachings, and his reputation increased through his polemic with them, for he did not seek the truth, but only what seemed plausible to the majority. This infuriated the Stoics exceedingly. About him Numenius writes as follows:

4. Carneades Follows Arcesilaos. When Carneades took over the Academy, it seems to have been his duty, to preserve and distinguish carefully what of Plato’s teachings had remained unchanged, and what had been changed. But about that he cared nothing, but and for better or worse restored the condition of things in the time of Arcesilaos; and thus he renewed contentions for a long period.

5. Carneades as Conscienceless Sophist. 2. He remodeled the Tradition (bringing to it new things, and removing old?); scintillating in contention he united contradictions and over-refinements; he denied, and assented, and disputed for and against. When he |88| needed potent words, he roared like a rushing stream, in undating everything on both sides. By his howling he assaulted and deafened his hearers.

3. Although he deceived all, he himself was never deceived; which was not the case with Arcesilaos. When Arcesilaos by his magic threw a spell over his auditors and fellow corybants, he never noticed that he deceived himself first, holding as true (?) what he had said, by the complete abrogation of all things.

4. Carneades was still worse than Arcesilaos, for he did not moderate at all (the doctrine of "incomprehensibility") until he had paralyzed (?) his auditors (?) through his affirmative and negative imaginations (about the Life or the Not-life of Being?).

5. Like the wild animals, who give a little ground, only to rush the more furiously on to the lances of the hunters, he thought that because of some acknowledgment (from an interlocutor) he could attack (him) all the more violently. Whenever he had attained his object, he cared no more about his former assertions; and he did this from principle.

6. For he thus acknowledged that the Truth and Error was contained in the (mentioned) things, making out as if he wished to further the investigation in company with others, like an experienced wrestler he would give the investigation a master-grip and from there on he had the upper hand. For although he ascribed affirmative and negative arguments to the influence of Probability, nevertheless he insisted that neither of the two could be grasped with certainty. He thus showed himself a still more cunning robber (or plagiarizer) and imposter (than Arcesilaos?).

7. He would class together something that was true, and something similar that was false (?) (which was similar only in external appearance (?)); he would then equate them, and would not admit that the one presentation |90| was truer or more false than the other, or that the one was more credible than the other.

8. So dream-fancies were equated with dream-fancies, because false presentations are similar to the true ones, just as the appearance of a waxen egg is similar to the appearance of a genuine egg.

9. Further evils result from this philosophy, for in his oratory Carneades certainly was a misleader of souls, and a kidnapper of men. Secretly a thief, he was publicly a pirate, who robbed the best prepared by cunning or violence.

10. Victory was achieved for every thought of Carneades, and none others were recognised, for his opponents were less skillful in oratory.

11. Antipater, his contemporary, wished to indite a controversial treatise against him. Although he was present daily at the discussions of Carneades, he never said anything publicly, neither in the school, nor on the walks. He allowed no sound to escape him, and no one heard a single syllable from him. In his retreat, however, he composed treatises against (Carneades), and left to his heirs books, which can neither accomplish anything now, any more than they had been able to accomplish anything contemporaneously against a man like Carneades, who occupied so high a place in the esteem of his contemporaries.

12. Although Carneades (?) publicly confused everything, on account of the Stoic passion for contention, he nevertheless made a veridical confession to his pupils, in which he taught the same thing as others.

6. Why Mentor Opposed Carneades. At first Mentor was a disciple of Carneades, but did not become his successor. When Carneades, while alive, caught him in intimate relations with his own concubine, he did not consider it an optical illusion, and did not take |92| refuge in his doctrine of the incomprehensibility of presentation, but without more ado confided in the appearance presented to his eyes, and banished him out of his school. Mentor then fell away from Carneades, philosophised against him, and became his opponent, convicting of error his doctrine of Incomprehensibility.

7. Carneades as Mystic, Who Secretly Taught Truth. Carneades, who philosophised in contradictory manner, adorned himself with lies, and hid the truth among them. He used lies as a curtain, behind which he doled out sparingly the truth. He resembled those plants whose empty portion swims on the surface of the water, and even projects, while the serviceable lower portion is out of sight.

8. Schism of Philo, and Foundation of the New Academy. 1. This Philo (of Larissa), as soon as he had taken over the school, was overcome with joy, and thankfully cared for the school. He broadened out the teachings of Kleitomachus, and against the Stoics he "armed himself with the coruscating sword."

2. But with the passage of time, as a result of habit, as the doctrine of the reserve of judgment had lost its force, he allowed himself to be misled by the clearness and unanimity of circumstances, and changed his course of life. As he attributed great importance to the faculty of judgment, he desired nothing better than to meet opponents who would be willing to oppose him, so that it might not appear that he was hitting them in the back, and desired to run away.

3. Antiochus (of Ascalon), an auditor of Philo, founded a new Fourth Academy. He associated with himself the Stoic Mnesarchus, taught the opposite of what had been taught by his teacher Philo, and introduced into the Academy a mass of strange doctrines.

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Numenius: Works and Message



















Chapter I. Why Was Numenius the "Father of Neoplatonism?"

The title of "Father of Neoplatonism" is generally conceded to Ammonius Saccas. It should therefore not be applied to Numenius without some demonstration that Numenius is worthier of it than Ammonius Saccas.

1. Negative Grounds. First, this title is usually conceded to Ammonius be cause of the claims made in his behalf that he discovered the agreement of Plato and Aristotle. This achievement, however, would justify the title of eclecticist, rather than that of founding a new philosophy such as Neoplatonism. Eclectic philosophers, for the matter of that, were common. Antiochus of Ascalon was said to have united the views of the Academy and the Porch. Philo Judaeus had interpreted the Hebrew scriptures through Greek philosophy. Numenius considered that Plato harmonized with Pythagoras (N.1.2, 7), and, as Dicaearchus later taught, that Plato had combined the teachings |96| of Socrates with those of Pythagoras (N.1.9). He identified the Ideas of Plato with the numbers of Pythagoras (compare N.10.2 with 28, 37, 46).

Second, Ammonius is said to have been the teacher of Plotinus; but the influence of Numenius can hardly have been of less importance. For we know that the writings of Numenius were read in the school of Plotinus (Porphyry’s Biography, 14); and so close was the agreement that, among others, Trypho publicly accused Plotinus of basing his teachings on those of Numenius, and of strutting around in his feathers (N.9b, 17, 21). That such misunderstandings were not impossible appears from the fact that Plotinus was in the habit of putting out his writings anonymously (N.9b, 4). Porphyry acknowledges that they contained hidden statements of Stoics and Peripaticians (N.9b, 14). Amelius had to defend him from the open charge that he was a plagiarizer, "and passed off the writings of others as his own" (N.9b, 17). This is specially significant in connection with the Escoreal manuscript, where something of that very kind has occurred: the name of Plotinus was erased, and that of Numenius written in. Did the scribe who did so have any reason for that action? Had there been no reason, would he have picked out a name so uncommon as that of Numenius? So general, indeed, was this opinion, that Amelius was forced to write a long dissertation on the differences between Numenius and Plotinus. Elsewhere we shall study this subject in greater detail, showing that those assertions were not entirely unjustified.

2. Positive Grounds. Ammonius Saccas did indeed write sentences which were authoritative in the school of Plotinus; but they have been lost. He is hardly quoted by any writer, and we know him only at second-hand, through hear say. The fragments of Ammonius from Nemesius are not entirely certain. Even Plotinus does not mention |97| him in his writings. So it would be difficult to consider him a world-figure.

How different is the case with Numenius, whose writings were indeed likewise lost, but who was quoted by Pagan and Christian; on the one hand, by Porphyry, Iamblichus, Proclus, Nemesius, Chalcidius, Olympiodorus, Aeneas of Gaza, and Johannes Philoponus; on the other, by Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Eusebius of Nicomedia. The seal of authoritativeness is impressed on him by recognition in the History of the Philosophers by Diogenes Laertes, in the literary pastels of Macrobius, and in the classic anthology of Stobaeus. Although, indeed, in the writings of Clement we find only a single Fragment (13) literally, yet we find many approximations, or references. (N.47 to Stromateis v. 9; N.16 to Stromateis v. 10; N.54 to Stromateis v. 14; N.53, 57 to Stromateis ii. 19; N.32 to Exh. 6 fin.) Origen, however, acknowledges he read Numenius’s writings thoroughly (N.9b, 24, 45, 61, 64, 65), which indeed is witnessed to by Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica vi. 19.8). Tertullian does not quote Numenius, but he also relates the simile of the Logos as cosmic Pilot (N.32 to Ap.47). In this way Numenius achieved immortality through friend and foe.

3. What the Word "Neoplatonism" Means. The name "Father of Neoplatonism" really has nothing to do with any eclectic movement which might have operated to heal the bitter Greek feuds. On the contrary, common sense would read into it an attempt to found a new school, on the basis of restoration of the genuine Plato. In this respect Ammonius did absolutely nothing, while this was the chief purpose of Numenius, who wrote his "History of the Platonic Succession" in order to show (1), how far the latter Platonists had strayed from their master; (2), how abortive these newer developments were; (3), that Plato himself was unwittingly the cause of these divergences; (4), what the "genuine Plato" had believed; |98| (5), with indications how to return thither. Moreover, Numenius continually expresses reverence and bold loyalty (N.2.8, 13; 4) to Plato, who, as he insisted, had collected the best of the best (Socrates and Pythagoras). This Numenius offers to his readers and pupils. This must surely be the chief justification of such a title as "Father of Neoplatonism"; and it is also the reason why such a title could not yet apply to Philo. Even if the latter taught that Platonism was the representative philosophy, still to him it was no more than an interpretation of Hebrew scriptures, to which he demanded ultimate loyalty. To Numenius alone, therefore, can we allow this title. |99|

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Chapter II. Life and Significance

1. Epoch. To the best of our knowledge the activities of Numenius probably fall under Marcus Aurelius (160-181 A.D.) according to Chaignet. He is quoted by Clement of Alexandria (180-200 A.D.); and as the latter probably employed popular anthologies (Bigg, The Christian Platonists of Alexandria, 46, note 2), probably twenty years will not be too much of an interval to assume between the two.

2. Greek Education. Numenius could, possibly, have acquired his Greek education at Alexandria, in Egypt. This is barely possible, but not probable, in view of his initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries (N.59), his thorough knowledge of, love to, and reverence for Plato, even quoting a liberal passage literally (N.21.10); his bitter enmity towards unfaithful Academicians, and his minute acquaintance with the trifling details of their peculiarities. He could indeed have derived much from such books as the "Essays" of Diokles of Knidos (N.2.6); but hardly the details which do not even appear in the version of Diogenes Laertes. He reveals intimate acquaintance with the tricks of the trade of wrestlers; and this would seem rather Greek than Egyptian. He uses all the myths of the Greek world (N.1.2; 3; 29; 4.7; 5.3; 2.1; 13; 14; 18). He knows Heraklitus (N.33; 35a) and Theognis; Homer is mentioned as "the poet" (N.35a), and must be interpreted allegorically (N.16; 35b; 54; 14; 27; 8). He knows the story of Kephisodorus (N.2.8), and of Agathocles (N.2.13). All this might indeed be explained without a trip to Athens, which |100| after all would not have been so very unusual; but the trip seems an inevitable conclusion, in view of the Eleusinian initiation. If then we assume this, we can imagine his visit to the Academy, how he must have raged at the unworthy successors of Plato, just as Luther fumed in Rome. Indeed, such an experience might have been the inspiration for his History of the Platonic Succession.

3. Egyptian Trip. He seems to have known (would this have been possible without an initiation?) the Serapistic mysteries (N.60), and he relates the Egyptian myth of the sunset. It is the names of the Egyptian opponents of Moses that he has handed down to posterity (Jannes and Jambres, 23). The doctrine of metempsychosis, even if Platonic (N.57), is by him interpreted literally, and this would agree with the Egyptian worship of animals here current; besides, Basilides is witness that metempsychosis was popular here in Alexandria. Ever since the dawn of history had triads of divinities (N.8; 36; 39) been worshiped. Here might he have learned all his Hebrew references from friends of Philo, and according to the assumption of Ueberweg: and Zeller, he might have become acquainted with the Valentinians (N.136.140 A.D. See N.19.2). It was here that Clement of Alexandria and Origen quoted him, that he was studied by Amelius, Plotinus, Porphyry, and others. If we are to judge from his anonymous allegorical use of a legend about Jesus (N.24), he might have been in the habit of making anonymous references, in which case we might discover one (N.18) to the veiled image of Truth at Sais. References to the common Nile inundations 20 (N.5.2) and two to the lotus plant (N.7; 35a) seem pretty certain. The "pompeia" of ii. Fragment 13 might refer to the solemn festal Isiac processions. Everything, therefore, points to Egypt, preferably Alexandria.

Such Egyptian traits of Numenius can be recognized still more clearly when we consult a book such as the |101| Mystères Egyptians, of A. Morel (Paric, Colin). Here we find again the water full of life-germs (M(orel), 27; N(umenius), 35a). God is a triad (M.125, 128) of nous (N.26.4), logos (N.12; 27.7) and pneuma (N.35a). The Demiurge idea is well worked out (M.56, 112). Here we find Providence (M.301). Here we find the divine bark (M.69, 310) and the passage of souls through animal bodies (In initiations, M.42, 55, 59, 61, 81; N.57). Plotinus himself spoke of Isiac mysteries (Revue Neo-Scolastique, 1911, p. 328; Enneads vi. 9), so that Egyptian traits in Numenius would not be unusual or improbable.

Probably he returned to Apamea to close his life, for it was Amelius of Apamea who copied out all his writings, and learned them by heart, and who must no doubt have inherited them as a precious deposit.

4. Internationally. Numenius was a man of the world; he was not limited to Greek and Egyptian mysteries, but talked familiarly of the myths of Brahmins and Magi. It is, however, his knowledge and use of the Hebrew scriptures which distinguished him from other Greek philosophers. He refers to Moses simply as "the prophet," (N.35a) exactly as for him Homer is "the" poet. Plato is described as a Greek Moses. When we leave aside the Platonic references, the Hebrew quotations remain the most frequent (N.9a; 6; 10; 13; 23; 24; 28; 35a; 58). It is no wonder, therefore, that Origen testifies about him (N.9b):

"Than Celsus, how much more unpartisan or impartial is Numenius the Pythagorean, who has demonstrated in many ways that he was a remarkable individual; who examined still other opinions (besides the Hebrew?), and who gathered what to him seemed true out of many sources."

5. Works of Numenius. 1. On the Good (N.9-40). This consisted of six books, imitating the dialogue-form of Plato. This was his chief work. 2. About the Mystery-teachings of Plato (N.41). |102| It probably treated of Eleusinian myths (Phaedo 38). The Initiate, or the Hoopoe, the famous Bird of Divination (N.42, 43). 4. About the Indestructibility or Incorruptibility of the Soul (N.44-57). This demonstrated his interest in psychology. 5. About Space (N.11; 44). 6. About Numbers (N.10; 46; 58). To a Pythagorean the numbers were as sacred as the Ideas were to a Platonist. That must have been why Numenius identified them.

6. Companions of Numenius. Numenius was sufficiently important to have made pupils and followers (N.62b), and friends or companions (N.47); among them was Kronius (N.37; 49; 50; 54), Harpokration (N.50; 57; 63), and Boethos (N.57). Theodor of Asine is said to have been entirely inspired by him (N.60). But the most important among these must have been Amelius (N.37; 57), who was so bound up with Numenius that Iamblichus wrote an attack against both (Proclus in Timaeus, 226B), and that Proclus could not distinguish them. From Porphyry, we learn that Amelius was born in the home of Numenius (Vita Plotinus 3), that from the same place he adopted as son Hostilianus Hesychius, and returned thither, when sent away by Plotinus. (Vita Plotinus 2) He had "written, gathered, and mostly learned by heart almost all the books of Numenius." Proclus would have been surprised if Porphyry diverged from Numenius in any point (N.62b).

7. Personality. That so remarkable a man as Numenius left to history no traces of the events of his life, makes it probable that he led a very quiet and modest existence. The traces of his character indicate the same. He was very humanly interested in dogs (N.2:10), wild animals (N.5.5), in hunting (N.27.7,8), in eggs (N.5.8), and in fishes (N.2.6). Even as a joke, he hoped never to have leisure enough to |103| desist from philosophy (N.2.11). He refrains purposely from saying anything irreverent about the elder writers (N.1.7). He also demands all reverence for Plato, and himself shows it (N.1.2, 8, 9, 10; 2.10, 11; 4.1; 9a; 13). Towards the Divinity he is ever most worshipful (N.1.8; 26.1, 2; 36; 48). At the beginning of a particularly difficult investigation, like Plato and Plotinus, he invokes the aid of the Divinity (N.26.2).

8. Familiar Language. Numenius interests us also, because he employs a well-known language. He considers his Divinity as a single unity comprising three divinities. He speaks of a "standing God" (N.12); of salvation (N.27.9); of a parable of the Sower (N.28); of "all in all" (N.48); of predestination (N.27.9), which however is to be interpreted as a determination of the fate through the formation of the normalizing Ideas. Uzener’s proposal to read "suntetamenois" instead of "suntetagmenois" has no support in the sources, which here agree. This is a pity, as it would make a very acceptable reading. He speaks of a single eternal salvation which broods over all (N.30.21), of a flaw in sacrifices or means of atonement (N.18); and finally of immortality (N.55, 57). He says even that one phase of the divinities ("symphyton te ousia.") is consubstantial with another (2N.5.4a). Numenius thus speaks our own religious language.

9. As Poet. The art of poetry does not consist merely in versification, as is testified by the libraries of forgotten rhymesters, while many poetical masterpieces of the world are written in prose. Neither do mere quotations rescue a poet from oblivion; and yet acquaintance and intimate use of the classic sources of inspiration are really at least one element of poetic achievement; this we find in Numenius, who quotes Homer and Plato |104| freely. But may not poetic quality be defined as that which is memorable? For instance, when we think of Plato, we think inevitably of two immortal similes, the relations of body and soul illustrated by the relations between horse and driver, and his teaching of the Ideas, as illustrated by the simile of the cave. When we think of Plotinus, the relation between the incarnated soul to the body is illustrated by the simile of the man who stands up in a foot-bath. Numenius fetters our fancy when he describes the world-directing divinity as a pilot, safely steering the world-ship entrusted to him by raising his eyes to find his way through the starry vault above him. Still more original is his representation of the flight of the soul to ecstatic harmony in the form of a boat which till the last moment is hidden by the waves. The simile of the Sower is immortal (N.28). also that of the central sun of existence (N.10).

10. Numenius as Humorist. Nevertheless, neither mere brilliancy nor poetic disposition are likely to make any one dear to humanity in general, perhaps it is necessary to possess that which makes the whole world kin: humor. Numenius was no Palinurus or Thales, who, because of looking at the stars fell into the ocean or into a well. No one was more than he able or disposed to describe philosophic problems in comic form. He was not afraid to injure the truths which might be contained in his philosophy by exposing to ridicule its weaknesses, or those of its exponents. Of malice, however, he had none, and in the ridicule which he heaps on Lakydes betrays only keen knowledge and understanding of human nature, and desire to polish the rough diamonds so that they might shine. In it we see no more than all that is genuine or praiseworthy in the maxim "laugh, and the world laughs with you." |105|

It is still today interesting to follow the practical refutation of the silly theories of a Lakydes, or of Carneades, for the reserve of judgment and the incomprehensibility of apperception are not without their modern exponents: men who call black white, and white black, but who keep their eye on the main chance irrespective thereof. For such people, the only corrective is humor; if they lack that, then indeed are they in a hopeless case. But maybe the humor of Numenius, which is out of harm’s way, may pierce their epidermis.

11. Numenius as Thinker. However, the personality of Numenius is not our chief interest. He is also a thinker, as may be seen from the following quotation from Ueberweg (N.1.245).

"Philo, of Alexandria, the Jew, had introduced the distinction between God and his world-building forces, which latter together constituted the divine Logos; Plutarch of Cheronea had treated of God as unknowable in his essence, and cognizable only in his world-constructing activity; Numenius of Apamea had hypostatized God himself and the Demiurge into two different beings, with whom the world was to be classed as a third; and Plotinus went further in the same direction: with Plato, he styled the supreme essence the One — the Good per se, but denied to it — which it still retained in the doctrines of Philo and Plutarch — the epithet of Being (το ὄν); for he taught that it transcended the Being ("epekeina tes ousias.") of Plato (Republic vi. 509, Ueberweg 122.). He also denied to it the faculty of thought — in opposition to Numenius — affirming that it was also exalted above the rational nature ("epekeina noeseos").

"The most noteworthy deviation of Numenius from Plato (but which was not recognized by him as such), consists in this, that he, following, perhaps, the precedent of the Christian Gnostics, especially the Valentinians, and indirectly influenced by the distinction made |106| by the Jewish-Alexandrian philosophers between God himself and His power working in the world (the Logos), distinguished the world-builder (Demiurge) as a second God, from the highest deity. The first God is good in and through himself; he is pure thought-activity (nous), and the principle of being ("ousias arche." Praeparatio Evangelica xi. 22, Fr. 25.). The second God ("ho deuteros theos," "ho demiourgos theos"), is good by participation in the essence of the first ("metousia tou protou"); he looks towards the supersensuous archetypes, and thereby acquires knowledge ("episteme"); he works upon matter, and thus forms the world, he being the principle of genesis or Becoming ("geneseos arche").

"The world, the production of the Demiourgos, is the third God. Numenius terms the three Gods, respectively, father, son, and grandson ("pappos," "ekgonos," "apogonos," N.36). Numenius ascribes this doctrine not only to Plato, but also even to Socrates himself (N.1.6). Harpokrates also followed Numenius in the doctrine of the three highest Gods. He also calls them father, maker, and made (creator and creation)."

Chaignet’s characterization is short and to the point (Pythagore 2.314):

"He is the pioneer of Neo-platonism. Plato is said to have borrowed everything from Pythagoras and Moses. He unites Greek teachings with oriental conceptions, opening the way for the Alexandrian school. From Pythagoras he borrowed chiefly the pre-existence and reincarnation of souls, and the conception of the soul’s nature as number."

In short, he introduced into and explained by Greek philosophy, the Egyptian notions of triads, the mediating divinity, ecstasy, and the psychological faculty it implies. He deliberately founded a Platonic school, considering Plato the heir of the ages, who united Pythagoras, Socrates, and Moses. He taught and practiced comparative methods, not only in philosophy, but in religion. He considered it his mission to prepare for popular enjoyment and use the best in philosophy, |107| religion, and in mystic rites. While Philo united Hebraism and Greece, Numenius united Hebraism and Egyptian philosophy as the soul of a new Platonic movement. Philo was robbing the Greeks: Numenius the Greek retaliated by spoiling the Hebrews as well as the Egyptians.

12. Numenius As Revealer and Mystic. If Numenius had been asked which description he preferred, he would no doubt have answered as revealer, vulgarizer, and enlightener. He was known as the philosopher most greedy of mysteries (N.58); and he studied experiences, even if incredible and unlikely (N.45). For what purpose?

First to reveal them. That was the complaint of the Eleusinian divinities (N.58); he expounded Serapistic mysteries; wrote about the mystic teachings of Plato (N.44); about the Initiate or Hoopoe (N.42, 43); gives out alleged secrets of Socrates and Plato (N.1.6, 7, 8; 18; 22; 38; 41; 58); desires to become an interpreter of the divinity (N.26); wishes to show an unveiled image of matter (N.26), and expounds all kinds of mysteries, Egyptian (N.35a), Homeric (N.54); and even Hebraic (N.24 sqq.).

Second, Numenius deserves primarily the name of a mystic because he teaches that contemplation is the chief purpose of life (N.18). He shares this view on one hand with Plotinus, and on the other with Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Saints Bernard and Teresa, and with the whole company of modern mystics. He also teaches the methods of inner tranquilization and contemplation, and so in every respect deserves the title of a helper to immediate bliss, or ecstasy (N.10). The expression of the flight of the alone to the alone should not therefore be credited to Plotinus alone; the word flight is from Empedocles, and the rush or union of the alone to the alone, is from Numenius. |108-

Conclusion. The reader cannot help being delighted with the convergence of the manifold rays of the genius of Numenius: his individual, poetic, humorous, world-wise personality; his originality as living thinker, his fidelity to comparative religion; his mysticism so scientific, yet withal so practical. Any one of these qualities would justify a claim to a permanent niche in the history of the world. Together, they form a mighty beacon, to cheer, comfort and direct us, grateful as we are that at no time has God left himself without a witness in his world. |109|

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Chapter III. Numenius’s View of Matter

To realize Numenius’s conception of matter, we must remember that Greek philosophy began with the materialism of the Hylicists. The Eleatics taught the unity of the incorporeal. Anaxagoras assumed a "nous," or mind, which instilled order into this chaos, and in doing this, he introduced into Greek philosophy a dualism between spirit and matter. Plato finds the true being in the incorporeal, even if he cannot carry out a monism rigorously. Aristotle made matter a mere deprivation. The Stoics had, indeed, retained a monism, but they laid the chief emphasis on the corporeal, so that even the spirit became a sort of attenuated matter. These Stoics Numenius publicly opposed by reasserting the old Pythagorean dualism. He said that the universe arose out of divinity and matter (N.16, 18). This matter is named indefinite doubleness, and is not derived from unity. It is ungenerated, and coeval with the divinity (N.14), while the malicious nature ascribed to matter was "already present in the beginning" (N.16).

That such a dualism is difficult to justify metaphysically, is acknowledged by Numenius, in his assertion of the necessity of evils (N.16, 18); but nevertheless Numenius praise’s Pythagoras for the courage of advancing the truth, even if difficult to understand.

With Numenius, however, this doubleness of matter is no mere reminiscence of Plato, it plays a part in the creation of the world. The creator of the world unites matter, but is split by it. Seeing therefore that matter |110| has an appetitive character, the (second?) divinity has a yearning for it; he looks upon it, and he raises it to himself (N.26).

Following in the footsteps of Plato, Numenius calls matter necessity and chance (N.18), therefore opposing the Stoics, who considered matter neither good nor bad. Numenius considers it, characterized by malice, that its natural malignity cannot be eliminated (N.17), so that its annihilation would amount to destroying the world (N.16, 18).

A contradiction, indeed, seems to lie in the ascription to matter of an innate motion (N.26). It is incapable of surviving, or standing still, and is pictured as an in finite river. It possesses no real existence (N.11), and has no true being (N.12) But it does not entirely lack substance, opposing itself, or hindering Providence (N.17). The evil in matter consists of much unregulated (desire), unforeseen (impulse), chance, passion (N.17, 26), and confusion (N.12, 14, 17. 18). In order to serve as basis for the evil in the world, it is pictured as the evil world-soul (N.16), the mother, nurse, and feeder of bodies (N.17); the cause and guide of the passible part of the soul. The soul’s influence appears in bodies as a tendency to dispersion (N.13). That is probably why it is generally a misfortune for the soul to enter into a body (N.50).

In the course of his polemic against the Stoics, to the effect that the soul is immaterial (N.44), Numenius gives us a further definition of matter. He here insists on the incorporeality of qualities, and relying on his earlier demonstrations (N.12), he points out that, however far we may divide up matter, it still remains unstable, and needs a soul as a principle of coherence. If, however, we demand of Numenius an unveiled statue of matter, Numenius directs us to abstract all bodies that are ever changing in the bosom of matter; and the residue is supposed to be matter (N.18). That which has three dimensions is not necessarily body; for Numenius seems to mean the soul by tri-dimensional Being (N.44). The |111| ever-changing bodies veil the naked statue of matter (N.18). Even though matter is mere instability (N.12), we still find the same contradiction as above; that though matter has no being, it is still not quite without substance. This contradiction must be solved by the Plutarchian distinction of a non-existing original matter, and a later-formed (N.18) special soul of matter N.(17), to whom consequently some little substance might be ascribed (N.18).

If we were to try a tentative solution of this puzzle, we might indicate first, that matter is called "doubleness"; that secondly Numenius draws a double contrast between God and matter, and Providence and chance. Third, that Plato and Plutarch both distinguished between primary and secondary, or physical and intelligible matter. This would also be indicated by the fate of generation (N.7;14). On such lines we will see that Numenius was no more of a dualist than Plato and Plutarch, and indeed, than Plotinus. |112|

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Chapter IV. The Harmony, or Mixture

To begin with, we must realize that the Greek word for "world" (kosmos) was a sort of a pun, meaning both "world" and "ornament." Translations from Greek into Latin (N.14-18), therefore, demand to be completed with the supplementary meaning omitted in each occurrence of the word; so that when we read therein "ornamented," we must ever bear in mind the possibility that in the original Numenius might have intended "utilization for a world." Even Arius Didymus (Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica 817; 820b) had already insisted on this point.

The existence of the world, therefore, depends on its being a mixture of two elements: of the divinity as father, and of matter as mother (N.17). This "harmony" (of Pythagoras, N.32), this mixture, or "machine of the universe" (N.18) is unquestionably one of the principal doctrines of Numenius (N.15, 16, 18, 40, 48, 49, 50, 56). Thus evil may not be eliminated from this world (N.16), and the mixture extends to everything, including the heavens (N.18). Since, however, original matter itself is a rapidly flowing stream, this afore-mentioned mixture is identical with the water inspired by the divinity (N.35), over which hover the yet unincarnate souls. Were we trying to carry out in greater detail the illustration of the Pilot (N.32), it is this mixture which constitutes the ship steered by him; and this illustration would be felicitous, for this ship would actually contain the souls of our world. Thus the world is a mixture, composed of Providence and necessity or chance (N.15, 17); of divinity and matter (N.18), or of the utilizable and the inutilizable (N.18). Nothing is simple (N.40), all is in all (N.48). |113|

Divisions of the Harmony. Were we to conceive of this universe as a triad, this mixed world would represent the sphere of the third divinity, including the inferior divinities; that is why the third divinity is called "the world" (N.36). But this division, scrutinized more carefully, resolves itself into several further divisions, spheres or grades of Being, for the following reasons.

1. The second divinity is in relation with the soul only by the intermediation of the third divinity (N.39). The third divinity is the divine energy (N.38), and else where (N.52) we read that the human soul is receptive to energies. Only one conclusion is possible, that the soul exists in another, and further realm.

2. The soul (of animals and men) is divisible, and the body arises only from its combination with matter (N.58).

3. A soul exists and is active only in a living body; if then the inorganic bodies (N.55) are held together by a "habit" or "hexis" (a Stoic term, see N.12, 55), then must the latter two (the inorganic body as dominated by a habit) be located in a realm further out from intelligence or life than the living body, which is organized by the soul. Thus we would come to soul (iv), body (v), and thing (vi), in various successive descending degrees of existence. The latter two might be considered to make up the "world."

3. The World-Problems. Among the entities of this world Numenius mentions the usual four elements (Morel), and the stars (N.17), which are said to consist of fire, and whose motions are said to exert no evil influence, inasmuch as all evils originate in matter.

The divinity improves the world (N.18) by Providence, whose purposes establish standards, generously and paternally, introducing utility, order, measure and beauty (N.14, 17, 18, 30) The divinity "adorns (or creates) the world |114| with splendid virtue, and corrects its faults" (N.16). The purpose of this effort is to replace necessity or chance by Providence. For what purpose? Because that which is in order can be understood more easily and the latter implies a higher degree of existence (N.12.3). The whole process, therefore, is nothing more than an extension of the sphere of activity of the divinity which consists of existence. Life, therefore, is a struggle (N.17, 40) to minimize the uneliminatable evils (N.17). This world-improvement is therefore the task of the divinity (N.18).

4. The Human Body. The body is a material accretion grown up around the soul (N.49), which process produces the "passional" or "passible" part of the soul (N.16). The body is some what that is incarnated, mortal, corporeal, that is located within the appetitive, vegetative soul (N.16). The body has three dimensions, and is penetrated by the soul (N.44), which like some savior or divinity (N.12.7; 44) holds it together during life, but separates itself therefrom (at death) (N.56). But the body makes the attempt to direct the passible part of the soul (N.17). |115-

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Chapter V. The First Divinity

1. The First Divinity in Itself. With matter, whose existence is called such in an improper sense, we must contrast the genuine existence of the divinity. Numenius divides the divinity into three gods, of which the First is sovereign. By himself (N.31.22) he is the Good, reason, or activity of thought (N.25), the most ancient (N.31.23; 25.3). He busies himself exclusively with thought (N.32.3; 30.20; 33), being the supreme (N.27.8). He exists within himself (N.31.22), and his name is "Being and Essence" (N.20). He is simple and indivisible, and is in relations with none other than himself (N.26.3). He is the "Standing God" (N.3020), whose life is one of leisure (N.27.8), spending his life in tranquility (N.27.10). He is entirely incorporeal, without an origin; he does not disperse himself, he remains motionless, existing voluntarily, without any compulsion (N.20). His solitude is well described as the goal of the experience of ecstasy (N.10.2). Making use of a poetic illustration, Numenius represents him as being: the land-owner, or farmer (N.28).

2. The Transcendence of the First Divinity. It is Plotinus who is usually credited with the origination of a still superior divinity, "beyond essence." But this expression occurred already in the Republic of Plato (vi. 509b). That Numenius should make use of it, is not surprising, and we may suspect its being the basis of his statement that the Good "hovers over existence (N.10.2). |116| This very expression recurs in Plotinus (Enneads 11.8). Altering this expression a very little bit, Numenius makes of it the "principle of existence." Further we read (N.31.22) that He is unknown, not even suspected, diviner and more aged than him whom men accept as the Supreme.

3. The Creator of Being. If the First Divinity remained ever self-contemplating, of course no world would ever have come into existence. Numenius makes the attempt to explain the procession of the world in a manner such as not to detract from the entire independence of the divinity by inventing the doctrine of a sort of process of giving which should in no manner diminish the giver (Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica 817; 820b xi, 18.7), and as illustration thereof he first adduces the impartation of the sciences, and in the second place the propagation of light. Thanks to this conception, Numenius is enabled to attribute to the Supreme an innate movement which simultaneously appears complete still-standing (N.30.21). The divinity imparts life (N.27.10) by the mere direction of his glance on matter; and that is how he is the inexhaustible source of order, of eternity and of salvation (N.30.21). Thus he becomes a father, and becomes the "creator of Being," though remaining "consubstantial" with Being (N.25.36). This conception of the First Good is the Idea or model of the Good (N.34.10) (which, by the bye, is a Platonic expression), by which Idea the second divinity participates in the First (N.34.10). Sometimes Numenius seems to call this "creator of Being" the second element of the divinity (N.25.4b).

4. The First Generation. So long as this creator of Being busies himself exclusively with contemplation of the First Divinity, or, the "Idea of the Good," he remains motionless. But in |117| the opposite direction he contemplates matter which, being the principle of evil, is passionate in nature. Thus the divinity forgets himself, busies himself with matter, and comes to desire it, so that he is thereby "split" or divided. The result of this is that the "creator of Being" becomes "the creator of Essence," and forms the world of matter. This philosophical statement is more intelligible if interpreted by the more modern conception of divine love. Love is self-forgetful; and the Supreme allows his attention to wander by the mere fact that he is the Good (N.25), and thinks of the second divinity with "longing" (N.39). He is "fatherly" (N.17), drawing up matter to himself through that same emotion. |118-

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Chapter VI. The Second Divinity

1. Origin of the Second Divinity. As the First Divinity is being, the second divinity is essence, "the divinity that is becoming," the divine immanence, inasmuch as he imitates the First, being analogous to him (N.25.3). So he remains contemplative or intellectual (N.25.4a). That is why he is the "offspring" (N.36) of the grandfather (N.27). Through this thoughtful contemplation, it is that he derives all his coloring and goodness (N.33). Ueberweg (i. 245) insists that this deification of the second principle was Numenius’s most remarkable deviation from Plato, albeit Numenius himself remained unconscious of it; indeed, he even attributed this his doctrine to Socrates (N.1.7, 8).

Though this second divinity remains intelligible (N.25.4a), still he becomes double and creates (in the very same manner as the creator of being was the Idea of being), first the Idea of himself, the creator of becoming; and second, the "beautiful world" (N.25) of the Ideas. This makes of him the principle of becoming, inasmuch as he deposits, or unfolds, his own Being in the Ideas.

1. The Creator of Essence. It is his longing for the third divinity which makes of the second a creator, his entering in his phase of creator of essence (N.39). This surely is what is intended (N.27a), by attributing creation especially to the second divinity. He reigns by sweeping through heaven (N.27.8). "It is from |119| him that we derive our progress (?)," the divine reason being scattered around by this process (N.27.9). He is the divine Sower (N.28); he is the dynamic power by which the First Divinity enters into relations with matter (N.38). He is the second divinity because this creative activity leads him into relation with the perceptible as well as with the intelligible (N.30.20). Speaking allegorically, he is referred to as the "sower" (N.28).

2. The World of Ideas. As the second divinity remains intelligible, he is, when he wishes to become creative, forced to produce the "creator of essence," and the "beautiful world" of the primary forms (N.25.4a). It is possible that this creation of the world constitutes the significance of that strangely familiar predestinational expression (N.27.9) that reason is imparted "to all who were appointed to take part therein." The sower (N.28) sows himself as the Ideas or essence of each soul.

Are we to locate the world of Ideas within the second divinity? Yes; 1, because the second divinity is double, and produces his own creator and the Ideas (N.25.4); 2, further, because all that is perceptible, and intelligible (Which, as we have seen in (N.27.9), was allotted to the Second Divinity) participates in the Ideas (N.37); 3, further still, the pilot (the third divinity), contemplates the Ideas on high, above himself, and directs the world according to them, (N.32) and thus forms men, oxen, and horses (N.34). Forms do not exist exclusively in the sphere of the perceptible, but in the combination of the perceptible and intelligible (N.63), which, as we saw, constitutes the second divinity (N.30).

But there are also forms of inorganic beings, by Stoics called a "habit," or a "hexis," which are as immortal as the souls of the inorganic bodies (N.55; 56; 12). |120-

3. Identification of the Platonic Ideas With the Pythagorean Numbers. On the following grounds we may infer that Numenius identified Platonic Ideas, with Pythagorean numbers, (a) 1. The third divinity looks upwards towards the Ideas, and thereby learns judiciousness (N.32). 2. In the ecstasy, the soul is fed on the sciences, and arrives at the contemplation of numbers and to the domain of the perceptible, and, unless it meets some hindrance, progresses to the intelligible sphere, (b) 1. The soul should be considered from the mathematical standpoint (N.46). Proclus (Commentary in Timaeus 225, 226) tells us that according to Amelius and Theodore of Asine, Numenius called the soul the "tetraktys" (the "perfect number"), and that he claimed to find therein all the most perfect Pythagorean numbers, considering each letter individually. 2. But, according to Fragment 28, the germ of the soul is a part of the second divinity; and therefore must be one of his Ideas, (c) 1. The contemplation of the world of Ideas imparts judiciousness, and the course of emotions (N.32). 2. The contemplation of numbers aids ecstasy (N.10). 3. The soul derives sustaining food (N.44) from the incorporeal sciences, (d). When speaking of ecstasy, Numenius seems to identify feeding on the sciences and contemplation of numbers, (e). Further, how would it be possible to "contemplate numbers (N.44) if they were not forms?

It is from this stand-point that we may realize what must have been the importance of Numenius’s treatise on Numbers; for, to a Pythagorean, the latter were as important as the Ideas were to a Platonist. Moreover, we know that the work was not exclusively mathematical; the remaining fragments derived from it contained allegorical expositions of the Hebrew writings. It is also possible that we should discover a reference to the Pythagorean Tetraktys in Fragment 24.4b, for elements |121| in themselves would belong to evil matter, and we have no hint of any other quaternary, or group of four. It is also possible that it is to this treatise that Numenius owes his reputation of being a Pythagorean, for the remainder of his writings might more easily characterize him as a Platonist. |122-

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Chapter VII. The Third Divinity.

1. The World, Providence and the Pilot. The third divinity is the offspring, or creature (N.30). He is the pilot who by directing his course according to the stars, directs the world beneath him (N.32); that is why the passage about the pilot must surely refer to the third divinity, for the Ideas cannot belong to any but the second divinity. He himself is called the world (N.36) because he contains the "harmony" of the world. He is the Providence of the world (N.17), since he is responsible for it. That is still a further proof of the localization here of the world of Ideas, for Providence is said to be the "creature" (of the second divinity), and the "function" (of the third divinity, N.17).

The direction of the world by the pilot is not a profitless activity for him; this contemplation of the world of Ideas develops the pilot’s own faculty of judgment, while his emotional power is developed by his direct relations with matter (N.32).

2. The Legislator. Numenius calls the third divinity the legislator (N.28); which seems to point directly to Philo, or even Marcion. He constitutes the energy of the First Divinity, whose relations with matter are entirely limited to this channel (N.38). Besides, it is solely through this third divinity that the second, let alone the First, enters into relations |123| with the intellectual sphere (the human sphere, N.39) which is receptive for energies (N.52). This legislator "sows, distributes and cultivates in each of us the seed of the Idea, which is sown by the third divinity as sower" (N.28).

3. The Inferior Divinities. It is in the sphere of the third divinity that we find the Soul of matter (N.17), which hinders Providence, as being the maleficent universal Soul (N.16). 2. The legislator, who probably is the creator. 3. Matter is the mother of the corporeal divinities, whose origin is nature (N.17). 4. The goddess of wisdom, which instills life into the more beautiful souls (N.47). 5. The divinity which presides over the sexual function of men (N.47; 35b) (probably Neptune). 6. The divinities of Olympus (N.48), and the heroes (Are these the guardian spirits of Hesiod?). 7. The souls that hover over the waters inspired by the divinity. 8. There are three kinds of demons; the good demons, human souls after life, and the "material" demons who oppose incarnation (N.62a A.E. Chaignet, Histoire de la Psychologie des Grecs, Paris, 1890, iii. 327). Porphyry tells us (Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica 174b, 175b.), that all these devils were considered to be subject to Serapis; which indeed agrees perfectly with Fragment 61. Firmicus Maternus (De Errore Profanarum Religionum 13) supports this. |124-

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Chapter VIII. Theology

1. Unity Purchased at Price of Hierarchical Subordination. We thus have three divinities and one universe. Evidently unity can be achieved only through subordination of the universe to the divine triad, which, it self, will have to be organized into one coherent system.

The unity of the Good (33.8) had been distinctly promulgated by Plato, so that the second divinity was good only by participation in the First; as indeed it seems to men (34). On the other hand, this very subordination is already indicated by the names which Numenius applies to the members of his divine triad: Father, creator and creature; or, more poetically, fore father, offspring, and descendant. This subordination of everything to the One and Only is often repeated by Numenius (14; 32; 33; 34; 42).

2. Different Divisions of the Divinity. The remaining fragments of Numenius represent the inner relations of the divinity so variously that no more can be attempted than to group them together.

To begin with, God is the Father, and the original matter is the mother of the mixture from which springs the world (N.17).

The First Divinity is the farmer or landlord; the second is the sower, who sows himself as germ of all |125| souls, and the third divinity is the legislator who makes everything fruitful (N.28).

Then we have three systems of names for the triad: Father, creator and creature; forefather, offspring and descendant; and Father, maker and made (according to Harpocrates, see Ueberweg).

Here (N.39) follow far more definite statements: the First Divinity and the creator of being; the intelligible domain of thought. 2. The second divinity, the creator of essence, and the Ideas of numbers of the world; the intelligible and perceptible; appetite, and dynamic power. 3. The third divinity, pilot or Providence; the legislator (creator); also the potential or active energy. The lower divinities; the World-Soul. 4. The human soul, which holds relations with the superior soul. 5. The body (animated nature), maintained by the soul. 6. Inorganic nature, organized by a "habit," or "hexis." 7. Primary matter.

The divine triad itself is conceived of in different ways. The first divinity, and then together the second and third; generated as a unity, but divided by matter into appetitive (power) and active (energy). Again, we find the first and second divinities together as creator (N.26.3) and the third as creator or world (N.3.6).

We find also a division into four (N.25.4), or rather, into three or five. First, we have the First Divinity, the second divinity, the creator of essence (the idea), and the world of Ideas. Then we have the First Divinity as creator of Being. His imitator is the creator of essence. Also the First Divinity himself, and the second divinity himself. Elsewhere, however, we find his image, the world, or probably, the world of Ideas.

Here follows still another division, gathered from a list of the most important elements of existence (N.48). All is in all, says Numenius: that which is still more worthy of reverence (that which is above being), the Good, the gods and demons, the divisible soul, and (N.5, 6, 7) all the world that reason can cognize. |126-

From all this it would appear that though Numenius did not exclusively insist on any one rigid classification, he nevertheless was accustomed to use the division into a triad.

Proclus (in Timaeus 94) tells us that Theodor of Asine, who divided the triad still further into an ennead, and who taught the existence of three creators, merely followed in the footsteps of Amelius; but, after all, this must have originated with Numenius, who already spoke of two creators and a legislator (N.25; 36b; 39; 28); the latter a word that is Marcionite or Gnostic; and the three creators might well have already been current in Gnostic or Egyptian circles.

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Chapter IX. The Human Soul

1. The Psychology of Plato. Numenius’s interest in the development of the race and the individual must necessarily have extended to psychology; and indeed we possess thirteen fragments of his treatise on the Indestructibility of the Soul.

When we analyze the psychology of Numenius we find, to begin with, Platonic expressions. Since the world originated from a union between God and matter, the soul also is attacked and overborne by matter, producing within the soul the passible part (N.16). Thus evil attacks the soul from without, and grows, favored by this union (N.49). On the other hand, greater divine reason is the origin of the thinking part. The soul herself, or at least her germ, originates in the world of Ideas of the second divinity, which, in its quality of being the creator of essence, scatters them, and sows them abroad (N.28). That is why the soul is immortal (N.55) and why, in the process of ecstasy, she is enabled to run through the whole course up to the First Divinity (N.10), for the soul is inseparably joined to her consubstantial origin (N.51).

2. Aristotelian Psychology. The Microcosm. Still, according to other reports, Numenius did not speak of different parts of the soul, but of different souls (53). Now he uses the dialect of Aristotle, and speaks of a rational soul, of an irrational soul, and of a |128| vegetative soul; these are said to be separable from the body, and consequently to be immortal (N.56). He then speaks definitely of a divisible soul (N.48), "in which" are to be found every degree of actuality; and indeed this would be the state of affairs if we considered man as microcosm. This would also agree with the words, "the unification and indivisible consubstantiality of the soul and her origin" (N.51).

3. The Unity of Apperception. The soul possesses a "synthetic" power. The latter is said to be receptive to energies (N.52). But it is the third divinity that constitutes energy (N.38); and from this also we could draw a further proof that the soul is considered as dwelling in a domain further than the third divinity (N.39). Hence also result the perceptions which are not its results, but its by-products (N.52). It is this now present self-consciousness which may be called "aeon" or eternity (N.19). The soul can be described mathematically, as the being half-way between nature and what is beyond nature, indivisible in so far as she is a monad, but divisible in so far as she is a dyad (N.46).

4. Incarnation of the Soul. A soul is a principle which organizes and maintains a body (N.44), just as a "habit" or "hexis" maintains any inorganic object. A soul is therefore a savior, a divinity, for the body, which would otherwise scatter into atoms (N.12.7). All these movements of life from within the body compel us to acknowledge the presence of the soul (N.29.17). She is immaterial and incorporeal, and does not constitute a body. Nevertheless, since the soul penetrates into the entire tri-dimensional body, we have the right to assert that the soul herself |129| possesses a triple extension, although, considered in her self exclusively, she possesses no extension ("Mathemata").

The incorporeality of the soul may also be demonstrated from the fact that she draws sustenance from the incorporeal sciences, which constitute her food ("Episteme"). Science may be communicated from one intelligence to another without any loss thereof in him who communicates it (N.48); and this is the nature of the process of whatever the Divinity does for souls.

5. Pythagorean Psychology. While speaking of the world of Ideas, we already saw that Numenius, like the genuine Pythagorean he was, meant by numbers what a Platonist would have meant by Ideas. He thought that the soul consisted of the most perfect numbers of Pythagoras; and so he studied separately each one of the word’s four component letters, while the soul in her entirety was represented by the tetraktys.

We might also consider the relations between the incorporeal sciences (mathemata) and the Pythagorean numbers, or Ideas; and this expression that the soul feeds on them might be compared to the contemplation of the "beautiful world" of Ideas, from which her germ had descended at the beginning.

We might still further draw a distinction between these incorporeal sciences (mathemata) and the worldly sciences (episteme) which are instilled into the soul by the energy of the third divinity.

6. Divisions of the Soul. The divisible soul (N.48) must therefore divide. Numenius has left us no rigorous scientific divisions. We might therefore leave it aside; but we would thus fail in our duty, which is to gather together whatever we |130| find scattered here and there. Here is the result of our researches:

1. Reason, thought, the Good in itself, that which deserves reverence, and Being.

2. That which is perceptible, essence, the Good that longs for matter, that which gives the incorporeal sciences as food for the soul, dynamic power.

3. Imagination, energy, that which gives us the sciences of this world, and what is active.

4. The synthetic unity of apperception, self-consciousness, which is receptive for energies (N.19).

5. The vegetative soul, appetite, passion, and impulsion (N.17)

6. Our bodily anatomy, which grows on from matter; what is mortal (N.16), and seeks to distract the body to lower directions (N.17).

7. The inevitable evil, which cannot be eliminated, and suffering.

8. These elements of the universe of Numenius are distributed in different manners, according to Numenius’s momentary need. Thus, if the division of the soul is to be made into three, the rational part, which is derived from the divinity, will contain the first three elements; further the fourth will make up an irrational consciousness, that is synthetic; while the passive or vegetative part would contain the last three, that originate in matter, and which go to make up the body which has grown up from without the soul (N.16, 49).

If a division into two is desired, we would have the rational part, and the vegetative (N.53), consciousness possessing the freedom to choose with which part it prefers to identify itself (N.47). |131|

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Chapter X. The Goal of Life; Threefold Salvation.

1. The Life Beyond. Immortality is one characteristic of all the souls, the irrational, and the vegetative; and extends even to the inanimate "habit" or form of inorganic objects (N.55). These are also divisible from the body, and all are immortal. In all of this, we are told, Numenius followed in the footsteps of Plato (N.56). After death the soul abandons this world by the gate of Capricorn (N.54). From this on two paths diverge. The one consists of an unification of all differences between the soul and her source (N.51). But, on the other hand, the other souls are attracted towards a new body by pleasure or appetite (N.43). The soul follows this attraction although the evils of life cannot be eliminated (Plato, Cratylus 403c), and although life is a kind of prison (N.16). Numenius, in the few fragments that we possess, at least, draws no distinctions between the various causes that might result in a return into the body; he considers them all as evil (N.43). Then the souls descend by the so-called gate of Cancer (N.50), and assemble above the water inspired by the divinity, hovering over it (N.54) until they find occasion to re-enter into a body. Such a return, nevertheless, does not occur easily. Material demons of the West try to hinder the soul from doing this, seeking to destroy the soul (N.35a).

The doctrine of metempsychosis, naturally, was accepted unquestioningly by all Platonists or Pythagoreans. |132| A soul was supposed to choose a body similar to the kind of life she had led below. On one hand a soul could degenerate enough to be able to wish, or to be compelled to enter into the body of a kite or hawk or a wolf, of an ass, of a monkey, or a swan, etc. (N.62a). If on the contrary the soul, during life had busied herself with better things, she would be able to return into a human body, as indeed Plato and Pythagoras had insisted.

2. The Pun of Wetness. Not for a moment must we lose from sight that the beginnings of Greek philosophy were materialistic, and that Heraclitus compared the world of generation (or "becoming") to a river that flowed on. Combining these unquestioned beliefs, appeared the idea that a desire to return to this world would seem a desire for wetness (N.57). This explanation of the world as wetness seems to us very far-fetched; but it must have sounded very natural to the Greeks, in whose language the word "dieros," in the time of Homer, meant "living." Later, this word came to mean "wet," so that Numenius might in perfect good faith, have read in that Homeric passage, "the wet souls," instead of "the living souls." Of course, Heraclitus used this word in this sense as result of his general doctrine, and that is how he came to say that for souls it was not death but an enjoyment, to get wet.

3. Life as Struggle. Since evils cannot be eliminated from life (N.35a) it is evident that our life cannot be anything else than a struggle (N.16). The Platonic legend of the struggle between the Athenians and the Atlantians is considered a fact only by Grantor. Amelius reads into it the struggle supposed to exist between the fixed stars and the |133| planets; while Origen sees in it nothing more than the struggle between the good and evil demons. Numenius (N.49a), on the contrary, reads into it the conflict between men of philosophic interests, and those who carry on generation. Porphyry (N.47) combines the latter two opinions, and thus teaches a conflict of souls for the privilege of reincarnating into the world.

4. The Salvation of the Individual. Human life does not consist only in an animal or physical life; it is instinct with eternal purposes; it is a conflict to diminish evils (N. 62A Chaignet, iii. 327), as well as also to achieve happiness (N.17, 40). Individuality (consciousness, or the unity of apperception) must choose between wisdom (the rational part of the soul), or sexual activity (the vegetative part (N.17), and the object of the soul’s life here below is to leave it (N.40). But then why should the abandonment of sexual life seem so painful? Because nature endows it with pleasure and passion (N.47), and this disordered (appetite), this unforeseen (impulsion); this chance and this passion (N.34b) nevertheless exercise charm enough to entrap souls into the imprisonment of incarnation (N.43). But love is divine; and, after all, this attraction, in a lower sphere, is no more than the same desire which drew the First Divinity on to create the second, and the second to create the world.

Nevertheless, this impulsion is not fatal, for the divinity strives continually to persuade her, and whenever the soul permits herself to be persuaded, the lower part will yield (N.18). This constitutes salvation, which springs (N.30) from the generosity of a paternal divinity (N.17) The reward of good choice is a fresh happy incarnation (N.57); but in this world we may hope to achieve the bliss of ecstasy, and the knowledge of Good (N.10). |134-

5. Three Methods of Melioration. From time to time Numenius suggests methods for our improvement.

To begin with, the reception (N.52) of energies that are derived from the third divinity (N.38, 39).

Receiving of the science which the divinity grants as without any loss; as that of light (N.29.10). Thought is useful to us (N.33).

Sciences are the food of the soul, they are identified with numbers and Ideas.

The increase of judgment and the power of the emotions, which derive from the contemplation of the world of Ideas (N.32).

Thus we receive from the third divinity, energies; from the second intellectual food; and from the first, the sciences (N.32). These are the three successive elements of the ecstasy.

6. The Ecstasy. Numenius was not the man to be satisfied with the realities of this world. He was known as a man who studied all kinds of experiences; even such as seemed incredible and improbable (N.45). The method he suggests as likely to lead to the ecstasy is the following:

1. One must put to one side the visible world (N.10), and the sexual life (N.41), and thus follow wisdom. All this in the third, or exterior realm.

2. The rejuvenescence resulting from acquaintance with the sciences might be interpreted as the food the soul derives therefrom (N.44); and this would be equivalent to the contemplation of divine Ideas or forms. This is what has to be done in the second, or mental sphere. But is it enough? No: so far the passage was "easy." But it is only in a divine manner, only in thought (N.33.6) in a manner that demands courage, that we |135| approach these sciences, and contemplate numbers (N.10). Then

3. Having become entirely alone, the seeker after the ecstasy will approach that which is still more alone, and which Numenius describes in terms so glowing that the reader is invited to return thither.

7. Threefold Salvation; Progress. This salvation, which springs from the divinity is still threefold. The salvation of the world is its improvement, of which we have already spoken. The salvation of the individual, which consists in his choice, whereby he identifies himself with the better elements of his nature, his feeding on the sciences, and the ecstasy, have also been described. There remains but one more possible salvation .... a salvation logical enough, but of which few people think .... the salvation of the divinity itself. Numenius is no pessimist, he is an optimist. Even the divinity, though only the third, indeed (N.32), strives to return to unification with reason, and thus gains (See Ueberweg ii. 245) therefrom a so-called power of judgment, and strength of emotions, as result of studying the stars, which are Ideas, and this from steering the ship of the universe. It is therefore progress to which Numenius points us (N.27.9). |136-

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Chapter XI. The Greek Sources of Numenius

The Sources of Numenius. Since Numenius demands that we return to Plato, it will be in Plato that we must look for the basic origins of Numenius. But, there will also be a great deal that Numenius thought was owing to Plato, which Numenius himself had introduced into Platonic philosophy from other sources; and this will be the most important and most interesting investigation.

Several efforts, although very insignificant, had already been made. Moeller had observed five Philonic parallelisms, Chaignet had observed some Pythagorean similarities. Zeller and Ueberweg had insisted upon a Valentinian origin for the idea of the Demiurge; but Moeller shows that this idea is in reality Platonic. The idea of the "aeon" is a similar case. But the cause of the creation of the world, and the material demons of the West, have been discovered in the Pistis Sophia of Valentinus, and the "legislator," that we would have expected to find in the works of Philo, is more likely derived from Marcion, a contemporary of Numenius. Moeller had already indicated some traces of Stoic influence, but this domain has been enlarged. Other sources have been studied; the Hermetic writings. Heraclitus, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Aristotle and the Platonists.

These sources divide themselves naturally into the following origins. Greek: Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Xenocrates, the Stoics. Graeco-Egyptian: Philo and Marcion. Egyptian: historical, and Hermetic. |137-

Greek Sources.

1. Pythagoras. Numenius was indeed known as a Pythagorean (N.19b), but he might have received these doctrines indirectly through Plato, as an intermediary (N.9a; 1; 2; 7; 8; 21.9; 58). He insisted that Plato owed the greater part of his doctrines to Pythagoras (N.1; 7; 9; 14); and although this, to us, seems strange, it was, indeed, the opinion of Diogenes Laertes ("Plato," 10, 11); of Apuleius (On Plato and his Doctrine 1, 3), and of Plutarch. The expression "indefinite duality" (Zeller, p. 114. n. 4; Philolaos, Diels 2, Pythag. Symbol. 43; Chaignet, Pyth. 11, 17, 66; Plut. Placit. Philos. 1, 6; Stob. Ecl. i. 587) that we find in Numenius (14.13) was recognized to be Pythagorean by Pythagoreans such as Alexander Sixtus, Eudorus, the Placita, Brontinus and Nicomachus, and was thus used in the "Philosophumena" of Hippolytus (N.32: Chaignet, Pyth. ii. 150: Plin. H.N., 11.22). Doubtless, it was first used only in the sense of "plurality" by Pythagoras, but it lent itself easily to a binary division of divinity, of the World-soul, of the human soul, and of matter. The Stoic term of "harmony," which is found again with Hermes, was surely derived from Pythagoras, who explained the divine nature by the mathematical relations of the musical scale (Diels, Philolaos, 6, 10). Again, the revered term "Tetraktys" (N.60) was by Numenius applied to the soul and to the world (N.25.5).

2. Heraclitus. Numenius informs us (N.2, 12) that Zeno had learned to be obscure and severe from Heraclitus. The latter described the generation in terms of wetting (N.35a; Heracl. 74-76). Life is one conflict (N.49a; 62a; Heracl. 62a). The "becoming" is a river (N.11, 22, 26; H. 41, 58). We here again discover the "harmony" (N.34; H. 45, 47). The descending and ascending path appears here also (N.54; H. 69). Numenius (N.36) also quotes Heraclitus, as having blamed Homer for having wished to eliminate all evils from life; unfortunately, the words of Heraclitus himself do not occur. Numenius had said that all was in all (N.48); Heraclitus had said that the one was derived from the whole, and |138| the whole from the one. However, when this doctrine is applied to cosmology, Numenius, as a dualist would naturally have done, rejects it as a Stoic doctrine (N.14). However, we here find the unity of all things (N.33; 34; H.65). There is but one Supreme being. We could even find the transcendence of the Supreme being in Heraclitus Fragment 18, where wisdom is represented as by itself (N.10). The universal reason is the basis of all things (H. 26, 29; N.12). We could still consider ecstasy a momentary rest in the effort of life (N.83; see Plotinus iv. 8.4, 5); in this case we could derive this from Heraclitus.

3. Empedocles. Empedocles and Anaximander taught that the universe was a mixture ("migma," Aristotle Metaphysics xi. 3, 4), and consequently this became one of the cardinal doctrines of Numenius (N.18). After all, this was nothing but the result of "friendship" and "discord" reacting one on the other. In respect to the latter, Empedocles taught hatred, Heraclitus, "discord," and Numenius "struggle" (N.49a); but they amounted to the same. However, Numenius applied this struggle to the reaction between the body and the soul; which separated violently, said he; and he thought that a harmony of these two natures was impossible. Since evil comes from matter (N.48) therefore, all incarnations must come from evil (N.50), presided over by the evil demons of the West (N.60). He finds the union and identity of the soul not in the body, but in the divine principles.

The opinions of Numenius in the fragment about the Cave of the Nymphs 31 (N.54) is also derived from a combination of Heraclitus and Empedocles. The passing of the descending souls, because they are guilty, and by purification of virtue returning to heaven originated without doubt with Empedocles; although indeed he used another word, the "grotto, with the overhanging roof," as symbol of the universe (Purif. Fragm. 120. Diels Fr. d. Vorsok). The reason for the descent of the souls is that they are |139| guilty (115, Diels v. 369, 377). On the breast of harmony all alone (N.32, Diels 27, 28) dwells the Sphere, a representation of the divinity (Ritter 782, 813; Aristotle de Anima 1,5; Metaphysics iii. 4); this reminds us of the object of the Numenian ecstasy {see note 22 above}. The psychological faculty of ecstasy is found in Empedocles; opposed to the earthly science is a divine science by which each man within himself contemplates the divinity by the eye of love which never sleeps (Ritter 521). Everything is full of reason, and possesses participation in science (Ritter 516, v. 361). Here we again discover (Ritter 514) the gradation of the elements of the universe which we have demonstrated in Numerous; Empedocles describes a sort of evolution of life, first of individual members, then the monstrous and irregular compositions; later, the natural construction of the present animal races, and finally the propagation of each of these after its kind. Numenius spoke of a "logos" that we have had trouble to render exactly; according to Empedocles it may therefore be the mutual proportion of the respective elements that enter into the composition of different organic substances (N.27a; 8; Ritter 515). Numenius shows us that manifoldness could not take its origin from unity (N.14). This, however, is exactly the opposite of the opinion of Empedocles, who made unity pass into multiplicity and multiplicity back again into unity (Ritter 504). We have seen that Numenius was accused of believing in a literal transmigration of the soul (R.507). It is possible that there is therein some trace of Empedoclean opinions. The latter believed that, as a result of this play between unity and manifoldness, a transmigration of particles took place (a kind of immortality, after the manner of Frederic Harrison) between the living forms (Ritter 518, v. 382) so that Empedocles could say that he had been a boy, a girl, an ostrich, a bird or a fish (Diels Fr. 117). Nevertheless, Zeller (Ph. d. Gr. 1.7, 811) does not think that this idea was exclusive of the traditional metempsychosis. We do not, however, find in Numenius mention of the cosmic catastrophe of Empedocles (Zeller 1.1, p. 824; Diels Fr. 115). either do we find the word |140| "purification," much used by Plotinus, which is the abandonment of oneself to the vivifying love, the abstinence from shedding of blood, and from impure food (Ritter 518, v. 382). This purification is thus described: The soul flies toward God (Diels 115). We find this again in Plotinus, but not in Numenius. On the other hand we do, indeed, find the guardian demons (N.48, 61, 62a). Empedocles thought that the world was filled not only with divinities, but with demons who, in case they were guilty, were forced to expiate their sins by evolutionary incarnations (Diels 115).

4. Xenocrates. It was Xenocrates who had added to Platonism the very logical development of wicked demons opposed to the good (Daremberg, Dict. 11.1, 13). He also introduced in it the opposition between unity and the "indefinite duality" of Pythagoras; which, however, may be considered quite a Platonic term (Zeller, Plato a. O. A. 584). But Numenius himself tells us (N.44) that he took the idea of the soul’s being nourished by the sciences from Xenocrates.

5. Stoicism. In studying Stoicism as one of the sources of the philosophy of Numenius, we meet a rather interesting situation. Numenius spent his life in opposing this system; but, while doing so, two things happened; he made current use of all Stoic terms, and not always merely to oppose them (as the "habit" (N.58)); and this controversy compelled him to define his own ideas more accurately. Further, he would probably never have become a controversialist, had he not been forced to defend himself against their savage attacks (N.2.6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 14). |141|

A. Stoic Expressions. A "habit" or "hexis" is a form of inorganic beings (N.44; 55). This is, in the inorganic sphere, what in the organic is the soul, or what in the soul is the "predominating function" (N.19, 27a). The "tonic tension" (N.44) is a clearly Stoic term (Chaignet H. d. Ps Gr., ii. 29) and indicates the degree of incarnation of the pneuma (Diogenes Laertius vii. p. 196; Plut. Stoic. Rep. 43; Stob. ii. 110.). The tonic tension produces motion, and is the substance (Seneca, Quest. Nat. ii. 6). The "habit," on the contrary, is a tension of the "pneuma," or spirit (Philo, Quod Mundus Sit Incor. 960). We find here also the "perversity of the germs" (N.16,17). Chaignet (Chaignet, H. d. Ps. Gr. i. 327) proposes also, as parallelism between Numenius and the Stoics, the "composite soul ("Sugkatathesis" N.48, 52), also the imagination (N.52). Then there are the "symptoms" (N.52; "phantastikon"), and the "parakolouthon," the corollary, or by-product. With the doctrines of Numenius, Chaignet also compares the four Stoic categories; the hypostasis, the property, the variety, and the variety of relations. The incomprehensibility of presentation ("phantasia kataleptike," 5.7, 2.8, 13) which is supposed to be derived from Zeno, and on which Numenius heaps ridicule (N.6), by telling the story of Lakydes, had already been a source of merriment elsewhere, as in the story of Sphairos, at the court of Alexander (Atheneus, Deipnosophistae, viii. 50).

B. Stoic Similarities. The wet is mingled with the parts of the soul in the seed (Moeller 12; N. 35a). When we call the original unity Zeus, we may call the aether Athene, which reminds us of the significance of Athene in the Atlantean legend (Moeller 18; N. 47; Villoison p. 301, to Cornutus c. 26, p. 202). The seeds of Jupiter, as souls, remind us of Numenius’s parable of the cosmic Sower (Moeller 8-10; N.28). The creative relations, or "logoi spermatikoi" give us a possible interpretation of the word "logos" in N.27. The Stoics do indeed teach cycles, but they are cosmic cycles of world-periods, while the cycle in which Numenius is interested is the Platonic descent into incarnation, and ascent therefrom. |142|

C. Difference From the Stoics. To us, of course, before whose day all the heat and burden of the personalities involved in the discussion have faded away, the actual differences between Numenius and his opponents have shrunk to a contention about definitions, and we feel inclined to agree with Numenius that the Stoics fought chiefly for the love of fighting (N.1,4). Nevertheless Numenius could not escape the same blame, for he defended Platonism with partisanship, and did not catch a glimmer of the final solution of the problem involved. Neither of the combatants saw far enough to understand that arguments apply only in the intellectual sphere, and that the latter is not universal, being strictly limited to the exercise of the human intellect, beneath and above which are other spheres, each resting on a different kind of conviction; the sub-rational relying on sense-presentation, the supra-rational on intuition. The difference between Numenius and his opponents was then that of appealing to differing standards of conviction: the monistic Stoics to arguments that were invincible so long as they neglected Numenius’s acceptations of the practical dualism of common sense. The Stoics and Numenius were therefore describing the identical facts of life from differing stand-points, and in differing dialects. Failing to analyze the basis of this difference, the controversy might have continued, and actually did, until exhaustion of the combatants: terminating with the death of Numenius on the Platonic side, and with the last philosophical Stoic, Posidonius, also an Apamean.

Numenius was indeed an avowed dualist (N.16, 49b), but was thereby no more than following in the footsteps of Plato, whom Aristotle (Metaphysics 1.6, 517) did not hesitate openly to class with other dualists such as Empedocles or Anaxagoras. Numenius acknowledged that dualism raised an ultimate irrational problem (N.16), and he openly approves |143| of Pythagoras for describing the facts of life as they are with common-sense, even if his arguments seem unreasonable; when pressed for a solution, he takes refuge in the omnipotence of God (N.14) and Providence (N.15, 17).

His antagonists the Stoics, with more logic, but less good sense, claimed to be monists; but on their professed theory they were compelled to choose one of the two, matter or spirit, as basis of the other. Since, however, the experiences of life forced them to accept the reality of matter before their senses, they allowed themselves to be driven to say that all substance is more or less corporeal (Moeller 5, 6) so that the nature of body is essentially good. This denies the existence of evil, and Numenius brings out (N.16) that when these Stoics are forced to explain the undeniable evils of life, they took refuge in a mythical "invention" of theirs, the "perversity of germs" (N.16,17), to explain an "indifference" of matter (N.15). But this is quite evidently no more than a quibble, and a quibble on the part of logicians! The choice before them, therefore, was between a false logic, or in an illogical common sense. We must acknowledge that it is impossible logically to correct this dualism by the trick of Empedocles, who said that unity developed into manifoldness, and then returned to itself. Numenius prefers to acknowledge that evil is inseparable from any kind of an incarnation (N.50), and he describes evil as an accretion and by-product. Both Numenius and the Stoics, therefore, were unfaithful to something, either logic or common sense, failing to grasp the higher unity of human individuality, which contains both.

D. The Stoics Were Dualists in Reality. We have seen that the Stoics hoped to avoid dualism by explaining that spirit was no more than a mode of matter (N.5,6). |144-

But, on their own statements, the Stoics are practically dualists. They are forced to abstract pure matter into an entirely mobile condition (Moeller 6; N. 11). They are forced to differentiate two principles, variously named God and matter, the active and passive, cause, mind, reason, world-soul, law, fate or providence, as opposed to the indifferent material; the soul is said to be corporeal, but they are forced to call it a "spiritual" body (Moeller 7). The divinity is by them to be considered hermaphrodite, both male and female (Moeller 8). Although thus all is said to be one, yet common-sense forces them to discriminate the "predominant" element ("hegeinonikon" Moeller 14). The undeniable experience of ecstasy forces them even to teach an elevation of rational consciousness to the Divinity, whereby is achieved kinship and equality with God. Their personifications of natural forces are nothing else than the demons of Numenius, and the immanent pre dominant element of the universe is nothing more or less than the Platonic World-soul (Moeller 18).

E. How Numenius Opposed Himself Thereto. These arguments could not be advanced by Numenius, however, for the argumentative Stoics would have merely evaded and quibbled. So he advances against them arguments which, in their day, seem to have been considered cogent. From the definition of soul as that which animates and quickens, and organizes body, the soul herself, if corporeal, would demand some still profounder soul to vivify her and to act as a savior towards her (N.44; 12). An attempt to evade this by explaining the material nature of the soul as "tonic tension" is merely a change of labels, and an evasion, in view of the incorporeity of qualities themselves (N.44). The soul being incorporeal, she can unite with the divinity, and become inseparable from it (N.51), and so all forms of the scale of evolution down to the lowest inorganic form, or "hexis" are immortal (N.55). |145-

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Chapter XII. Greco-Egyptian Sources

1. Influence of Philo Judaeus. It was Moeller who collected the following five Philonic traces in Numenius. The remainder of these points were gathered by Guthrie.

1. Numenius expressed much reverence for the Jewish theology; therefore he must have been familiar with some Jewish theologian or philosopher who would, as colleague in philosophy, specially appeal to him. As Numenius quotes Genesis, he may even have been familiar with the Septuagint, though the acquaintance may have been indirect, only, through Philo.

2. The conception of the Supreme as the Standing God is at least noticeable in Philo (Proclus, in Tim. xi, 18, 10, with Philo, de Nomin. Mutat. 7, p. 586 M), even though it makes us first think of the Simonian gnosis (Clem. Hom. ii. 22, 24; xviii. 12.14; Hippol. Philos, vi. 9) where it is also used as contrast to the corporeal flux.

3. The definite name of the Second Principle, the "Second God," is distinctly Philonic (Apud Eus. Prep. Ev. vii, 13.1; Philo, Mangan, ii. 625; de Somn. i. 655 M).

4. The word "dittos," or double, which Numenius uses in splitting each of the principles of existence, is not Platonic (It does not appear in Ast’s Lexicon Platonicum). In Philo, however, it is found, and similarly applied to the Logos (De Vita Mois. iii. 154 M).

5. Numenius calls the Second God the Son of God, and the created world, or Third God, the offspring of the Father. Philo called the Logos the principle of the ideal world and the created world, as both Sons of God, the elder and the younger. He often calls the Logos the "first-born" son (Daehne’s Jud. Alex. Religionsphilosophie, 1. 251). |146-

6. The term "lawgiver" was by Philo generally referred to Moses (i. 395, 430; iii. 481; ii. 125; iv. 259). Nevertheless, he once calls the fifth of the subordinate Powers of the divinity the Law-giving Power (De Fugit. 18). But he does not definitely apply the name Lawgiver to the Second God as did Marcion (N.28).

7. Philo states expressly that the Supreme is simultaneously swift in motion, and firm in establishment, or "standing" (De Post. Cain. 6). "Though it may seem incredible, God, while standing still, outstrips everything." Elsewhere, of course, he had set forth each of these qualities separately, that God was swift (De Sacr. Cain et Abel, 18) and standing still, "the only being who stands firmly" (De Somn. Pulsis a Deo, i. 43; ii. 32, 33. N.19.4; 20.6; 30.21).

8. This simultaneousness of motion and stillness practically results in strife, in which alone the soul-athlete gains a prize (Leg. Alleg. iii, 23; ii. 26; 1.31: Post. Cain. 18; Sobriet). (Mundi Opif. 1.26; iii. 68; Sacrc. Abel ett Cain, 4; de Inalt. Dei, 31; de Agric. Noachi 17; 25; 27; Plant. Noachi, 38; QOPL, 17; Migr. Abr. 6; 24; 36; de Fug. 7; Mut. Nom. 12; Somn. 1.21; Abrah. 10) Connected with this notion of soul-struggle is that of the spiritual armor (Leg. Alleg. 3.53; Abr. 41; Somn. 28. N. 49a).

9. Philo is very fond of looking on the Logos as Pilot of the world. (These numbers are vol. and page of Younge’s translation, i. 26, 167, 184, 278; ii. 154, 325, 411; iii. 222 or 227.) With this, he usually combines the figure of the Logos as Charioteer of the soul or world (i. 167, 26, 71, 392; ii. 154, 215, 325, 411. Num. 32).

10. Philo is fond of the thought that God is saviour of the world (i 50; 223; ii. 20, 48, 105, 227, 249, 278, 308, 424, 432, 493; iii. 222, 228, 232, 289; iv. 20, 105, 263, 289, 353, 354, 391. N.12, 30).

11. Philo also employs the figure of the sower (i. 186. N.28).

12. The number four is considered sacred and explained (i. 13). It would result from the threefold soul (i. 70. 137) with the addition of the superior faculty of aesthetic perception (N.60; 25.5.).

13. It is probable that in thus considering the number four sacred, Philo did so on Pythagorean grounds; for he must have sympathized with this school of thought, speaking of "the sacred sect of the Pythagoreans." Apparently this good feeling was returned, which interchange of sympathy would naturally open the way for interchange of thought (iii. 506; N.1.7-9).

14. Philo exerted this same philosophic sympathy towards the Platonists, of course, particularly mentioning their "participation," although applying it to |147| the relation between the wise man and unalloyed knowledge (i. 334. N.25, 27, 33, 34, 37, 40).

15. Connected with this is Philo’s metaphor for inspiration, namely, intoxication with spiritual wine; and, for vision, of feeding on celestial bread. The wise man, therefore, feeds on virtues (iii. 47, 289, 434; N.44; for intoxication, see i. 129, 144, 338, 450). This is the identical expression of Numenius, about "feeding" on the sciences, which is not easily explainable from any other source.

16. With Philo these metaphors represent the soberer scientific statements that each soul has a faculty of superior perception, above discursive reason, by which the soul may participate in the supersensual (ii. 297, 299; iii. 191, 221; iv. 309; i. 86, 75, 97, 208, 351. N.19).

17. The exercise of this psychological faculty then results in ecstasy (i. 20, 129, 338; ii. 50, 384; iv. 418. N.10).

18. We meet in Philo also the Empedoclean conception of flight (i. 374; ii. 48, 90, 213; N.10). Even the Logos is called a fugitive and suppliant (i. 235; ii. 134, 283).

19. We meet in Philo also the metaphor of the sun and the ray, to represent the method of divine giving (iv. 437. N.29).

20. Philo also employs the figure of the election of the soul which we find in Numenius (ii. 251, N.27.9).

21. Philo, anticipating Numenius and Plotinus, already taught that the Supreme transcended intelligence (iv. 210; N.10).

22. Elsewhere we have already noted Philo’s anticipation of Numenius in the use of the word "double" as applied to both the human soul, and to the Logos. It is, therefore, not unexpected to find that the two supreme Powers of God are the royal (or ruling, the Stoic term for "predominant"), and the creative (i. 219; ii. 426; iii. 95, 100; iv. 315, 416, 439. N.14, 27).

23. Of course, we must not forget the world-celebrated distinction between "the" supreme God, preceded by the definite article, and the lower Logos, or mere "God," without the article (ii. 209, 340; N.27a, b. Plotinus 6.7, 1) which reappears even in Plotinus. |148|

24. This double nature is elsewhere explained as male and female (ii. 216; iii. 347). Still, this seems a later distinction, adapted from common sense, inasmuch as originally man was created single, and only later came the female (i. 45). Later, we meet the Stoic conception of a God who is a hermaphrodite, or both male and female (i. 92, 459, 475). This, however, does not appear in the extant fragments of Numenius, though in Plotinus.

25. The basic conception of the Logos, with Philo, is doubtless that of mediation, which is only the rational explanation of the process of participation (Platonic) or emanation (Egyptian). It may have been the result of his reverence for the traditional "royal middle road" between extremes, philosophically employed already by Aristotle in the first book of his Nicomachean Ethics (i. 374; ii. 75; iii. 275, 396. N.27.9; 38).

26. Therefore, the Logos is an ambassador (ii. 134) or a mediator between God and man (ii. 134, 137, 322, 384, 385; iii. 201. N.2; 7; 8).

27. The result of this is that the universe appears as a triad (i. 182, 219, 349; ii. 240, 420, 421, 423) which may be illustrated by the names father, son and grandson (i. 349), strongly reminding us of Numenius (N.36a).

2. Valentinian Influence. Since we have seen reason to suppose Numenius visited Alexandria, and since his period of life is the same as that of Valentinus, a connection of some kind is not impossible. This, however, need not be actual debt of Numenius to Valentinus; it need be no more than a sharing of popular conceptions then current.

Ueberweg notes that Numenius might have been indebted for some of his conceptions to the Valentinians. Zeller (Philos, der Gr. iii.) suggests that Numenius (N.25, 26. Lex. Plat, sub voce Tim. 16) had from them derived the idea of a Demiurge. It is quite true that the Valentinians (Iren. 1.5; Clem. Al. Strom, vi. 509) taught them that Sophia and the aeon (elder) Jesus begat a son Achamoth (Mansel, 186) who gave birth to the world, and the Demiurge. This does, indeed, |149| prove that the Demiurge notion was current within contemporaneous Gnostic circles, but does not demonstrate that Numenius owed it to association with them, inasmuch as Numenius, a zealous restorer of Platonic doctrine might have taken it directly from Plato (Ast, ii., p. 219, n. 3). Besides, Numenius did not speak of the one demiurge, as did the Valentinians, but of hierarchically subordinated demiurges, which is far more Platonic than Valentinian. Moeller (p. 107) is also of this opinion.

Of points of contact, there are two more.

First, the Pythagorean "tetraktys," which Numenius employs in his description of the soul (N. 60), while Valentinus evidently applies it to the first syzygy of aeons (Iren. 1.1.1; Epiph. 31.11; Tert. adv. Valent. 7). Numenius employs it in his description of the soul (N.60), as well as also (N.25) in his division of the universe into four principles, although his enumeration seems to be five-fold.

Second, the Gnostic term "aeon," to which (N.19.2) Numenius states that he "has no objection if anybody desires to name eternity thus." This implies contact with persons who used that term familiarly, among whom Valentinus, with his detailed scheme of numerous aeons, must, of course, immediately come to mind. But the relation is not demonstrative; it is only suggestive, inasmuch as the term has a legitimate Platonic history (Plato Timaeus 37b), and was generally recognized as such (Alcinous, 15; Plotinus Enneads iii. 7.1 ; Censor, de Die Nat. xvi. 3; Apul. de Dogm. Plat. 1.10).

A point more definitely significant is the Atlantean legend. First found in Plato (Timaeus 24e. sqq. Kritias 108e. sqq.), it reappears in Cornutus, the Stoic mythologist (Villoison, on Cornutus, 301 sqq., Cornutus, c. 26, p. 202), where Athena is the symbol of the divine Intelligence, or Providence; or, in Stoic jargon, the pneumatical principle, while in Atlas is discovered the demiurgical power. But in Numenius (N.47) we find the Atlantean legend slightly different; Atlas is no longer the demiurge, but the lower god of procreation, who is attacked and overcome by the spirit who is struggling back to his origin; and who, therefore, may not be identified with Numenius’s |150| Second God, who is rather a epistemological intermediary. Thus Numenius’s Atlas is really a gnostic symbol which Moeller, in the later parts of his work, frequently points out.

In another place, however, Moeller practically confuses this distinction, for he points out Valentinian influence in Numenius’s reason for the creation of the world, which is a sort of fall, or loss of self of the Divinity (N.26.3). The Second God, in His demiurgic occupation with Matter, forgets himself, and thus is split, the formation of the world representing the Demiurge’s effort to return to immediate union with intelligence. Thus the creation is not only necessary, but represents also a sort of fall of the Divinity. Moeller acknowledges that this trend lies already implicit in Plutarch, and is a natural result of the dualistic scheme; but in Plutarch it has not yet become distinct. So we would have a Platonic origin for both the Gnostic and the Numenian idea.

There is, however, a point practically demonstrative, and this in connection with a fragment gathered by the writer, somewhat against the preference of Dr. Thedinga, who regretted to find in Numenius references to demons. The "hylic" demons of the West (in Fragment 64) were at first hard to trace. The word "hylic" seemed to indicate Stoic origin, but this source did not seem to have any Western reference. However, the word "hylic" might equally refer to Valentinian associations, as the Valentinian demiurge (Matter, ii. 136), created three substances, pneumatic, psychic, and hylic. The Western reference, was, however, at last uncovered in Budge, who mentions among the Egyptian divinities three material demons of the West, of which the chief was Sekhet, or the Crocodile. Now in the Pistis Sophia, where we find hylic demons, we find the great god Crocodile, in this very connection of souls before birth, which reappears both in Egyptian religion, |151| and in Numenius. While it is conceivable that Numenius might have derived this directly from Egyptian religion, the reproduction of this exact grouping of ideas indicates acceptation of Valentinian influence.

3. Marcion. Marcion and Valentinus were contemporaries at Rome under Eleutherius (Tert. de Prescr. Heret. 30). Later both retired to Alexandria. The possibility that Numenius might have entered into relations with these heresiarchs is therefore as great in one case as in the other. Which of them became of greatest philosophical utility to Numenius is a question which could be settled only by a careful analysis of the detailed correspondences involved.

Both Valentinus and Marcion employed the conception of a demiurge, or creator; but with Valentinus, this idea was not intimately bound up with that of the divine lawgiver, and formed no more than a negligible part of his system. With Marcion, on the contrary, just as in the case of Numenius, the demiurge formed the chief bond between the divinity and the world; and the idea of the lawgiver reappears in both. If we at all admit a Gnostic source for this idea of the lawgiver we should rather seek it with Marcion than with Valentinus. We must, however, acknowledge a difference of conception of this lawgiver in Marcion and Numenius. With Marcion, he was the promulgator of the Mosaic law; yet this Mosaic law was by Marcion considered cosmic in scope. With Numenius, however, no fragment remains even to hint any relation between the lawgiver and the Mosaic law; it might be no more than the "cosmic law" of Philo (Plant. Noe, ii. 2) which is eternal, which stretches from centre to circumference, and whose extremities return to the centre, forming thus the fundamental bond of the universe.

As to the Hebrew scriptures, it is perhaps not without |152| special significance that Marcion possessed and used special and peculiar versions of the Gospels, and perhaps also, therefore, of Old Testament literature. Numenius also seems to have had access to Hebrew writings (and of the Gospels, see 24) that were peculiar; for although Pliny does mention Jamnes (Hist. Nat. 30.2) it is to Numenius (N.23; which is in a work which nearby contained also another allegorical interpretation, N. 24) who is followed by Eusebius (Prep. Ev. ix; see 2 Timothy iii. 8) that we owe the preservation of the names of both Jamnes and Jambres.

Further, Marcion (Theodoret, Heret. Fab. 1.24) derived the human body from the world, but the soul from the divinity, the second God. This is quite Numenian (N. 28; 62a). Here again we find a parallelism drawn from the same work of Numenius’s.

That both Marcion and Numenius were acquainted with Empedocles does not, at first seem a very close connection. But this relation becomes more important in view of the charge of the Philosophoumena of Hippolytos (vii. 7) that all that is good in the writings of Marcion had been derived from Empedocles; and this claim is based on details that remind us of Numenius; friendship and discord (mixture and struggle), the avoidance of meats, so as not to eat any part of a body that might be the residue of a soul punished by the Demiurge in having been forced to enter on an incarnation; and abstinence from pleasures and marriage in order to perpetuate friendship which, in producing plurality (by the begetting of children) separates from unity.

Wretched Marcion! Like the lamb in the fable, he is condemned; if not for one reason, then for another. Here comes Tertullian (c. Marc. 30) who faults him for having followed in the footsteps of the Stoics, who, however, recommended those very practices mentioned above. Numenius was not a Stoic, surely; but his polemic directed against them indicates that he might have known their doctrines, or those of some philosopher connected with them.

It was, therefore, dualism which relates Numenius and Marcion. |153|

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Chapter XIII. Egyptian Sources

1. General Egyptian Sources. "General" resemblances are the easiest to establish, but the hardest to prove. We must, therefore, content ourselves with such general indications as may neither be objected to, nor prove much beyond the general atmosphere of the thought of Numenius.

A reference to the veiled image of Truth at Sais is possible in a search for an unveiled image of truth (N.18); inundations would naturally refer to the Nile (N.5.2), and that of the lotus-plant (N.7; 35a) is a pretty certain Egyptian reference. We find also the Egyptian myth of the sun setting in a bark (N.35a); the Egyptian opponents of Moses, Jamnes and Jambres, named (N.23), the doctrine of reincarnation interpreted literally, as would be the case in a country in which flourished animal-worship (N.57, M43, 55, 59, 64, 87); divine triads (N.28, 36; Morel, M.E. 128, 135); birth has wetness, which is very close to the Egyptian primordial water, as being full of the germs of life (N.35a, M.27).

Besides, there are three further points of parallelism. The hylic demons of the West, even though they came through Valentinus or Marcion, must have been of Egyptian origin, as Budge tells us. Then, if Numenius knew and discussed the Serapistic mysteries, which we learn, from Eusebius, to have been chiefly connected with these demonic powers, he must either have been initiated therein, or at least have had definite, |154| first-hand information about them. Last, and most important, we come to the philosophical doctrine of emanationism. In a rudimentary sense, it appeared already in Plato as the doctrine of participation which we find again in Numenius and Plotinus. It was explained by the simile of the kindling of one light from another. Chaignet quotes Philo, Justin and Tertullian (Chaignet, H. Ps. d. Gr. iii. 318; Philo, Gigant. i., p. 266, Mang.; Justin, Dial. 221; Tert. Ap. 31), and gives also the following lines of Ennius:

"Ut homo, qui erranti comiter monstrat viam,
Quasi lumen de suo lumen accendat, facit,
Ut nihilominus ipsi luceat, quum illi accenderet."

Ritter speaks as follows on the subject (p. 514):

"In truth, Numenius found it a different undertaking to connect God, the self-perfect essence, with matter. Indeed, he believed that every change is a further estrangement from the pure essence of God… He is but the father of the Creator deity, a proposition which in all probability implied the principle of the theory of emanation, which made the second cause proceed from the first without change of any kind… He seems to have placed this view in a very strong and suitable light, by denying that the divine giving was in any respect to be compared with the same act of man. In the latter, the gift, in passing to the recipient, passes wholly away from the donor, but with the gifts of God it is not so; for, on the contrary, as with science, the donor is rather benefited by the communication… Apparently we have here a doctrine whose object was to explain and account for the link which connects the supreme immutable divinity and the mutable world."

Nor must we forget that it was in Alexandria that dwelt Origen and Clement, the chief readers and quoters of Numenius, as well as Plotinus, whose dependence on Numenius will be studied elsewhere. |155-

2. Hermetic Sources. To general Egyptian similarities we must add definite quotations from the Hermetic writings, which seem to have been Greek versions or adaptations of texts of ancient Egyptian religion. These will have to be quoted rather more generously, because they are less known, and less accessible.

A. Divisions of the Universe. 1. Unity is the basis of the universe, and of all numbers. We hear continually of one world, one soul, and one God (Virgin, 48), and especially of one matter. (P(oem). X. 47, 48, 77, 120-122; xi. 79. This is quite a contrast to the later Platonic double world-soul, and double matter.) Unity is the root of all things (P. xii. 44), and contains all numbers (N.26.3; P. xii. 43. 47). "Unity, therefore, being the beginning, containeth every number, itself being begotten of no other number."

2. Why, however, this is to us so inexplicable interest in number? Because we find here, as in Plato, an identification of numbers with Ideas, which is suggested by a comparison of parallel passages, where, instead of numbers, we find the Idea of the One (p. vii. 49; N. 10, 28. 44, 46, 32).

3. In spite of this unitary basis of existence, Hermetic distinctions proceed by even multiplication. First, everything is double (p. i. 30; ii. 26; xvii. 16-18; 22; 33; 39). The primary explanation of this is hermaphroditism, or the view that everything, including the divinity, is both male and female (Virgin of the World, iv. 67; P. ii. 27; xiii. 33, 37). Besides this physiological explanation, we have a psychological one, a dichotomy of the soul: "Of the soul, that part which is sensible is mortal; but that which is reasonable is immortal (P. i, 27. N.25, 4a; 53).

4. Doubling two, we arrive at a fourfold division. Here we first have a physical application (like Num. 19.4; 44; P, iv. 36) of the (Platonic) four motions: "Which way shall I look? upward? downward? outward? inward?" Then, more generally (V. 53. P. xvii. 33, 39; like Num. 25.4, 5; 60) we have God and immortality, generation and motion. We must not leave this point without recalling the Pythagorean "tetraktys." |156-

5. Doubling four, we arrive at an eight-fold division, the octonary, or Gnostic ogdoad (P. ii. 68; vii. 58, 59) more cosmologically explained as eight spheres (v. 106). The Harmony has eight zones, through which the soul successively proceeds, gradually purifying itself therein of diminution, craft, lust, ambition, rashness, luxury and falsehood; then, "being made naked of all the operations of Harmony, it cometh to the eighth Nature." (P. ii. 68. In Numenins we find no definite eight-fold division, though we could distinguish eight orders of beings, the Soul of matter, the two World-souls, the World, the goddess of Wisdom, the god of Pro-creation, gods, heroes, souls and demons.)

6. In trying to discover the nature of these eight spheres, the first arrangement we find is that of the Demiurge hovering above the Seven Governors.

First, then, the Seven Governors (P. ii. 22-25). They hover between God and the world. In imitation of them Nature makes men; they operate the world (P. ii. 20, 23, 29). They are spoken of as the circumference of the Circles (P. 21). This, no doubt, constitutes the "fullness" or "pleroma" of the Gnostics (V. 49. 83, 93). Nature, being mingled with man, brought forth a wonder most wonderful; for he, having the nature of the harmony of the Seven, from God, who is fire and spirit. "Nature produced the seven governing Powers of Nature" (P. ii. 29). This reminds us of the five Powers of God, of Philo. We do not recall any similar arrangement in Numenius, unless we should take one of the several schemes of divisions of the universe, First, Second, and lower God, human soul, body, nature and matter.

Second, the Demiurge. "For indeed God was exceedingly enamoured of his own Form or Shape, and delivered to it all his own works (the Seven Governors?) But He, seeing or understanding the creation of the Workman in the whole, would needs also himself fall to work, and so was separated from the Father, being in the sphere of generation or operation (v. 2; P. ii. 13, 14, 19; x. 98; xiii. 26; v. 23. N.25; 36b).

7. When then we group the Seven Governors together below the Demiurge, the universe falls into a triad, God, Demiurge (containing the Seven), and the World. So the Demiurge is the mediator (P. xii. 10, 11) and Second |157| God (V. 54). In some places (p. ii. 13) the triad seems to consist of God, Demiurge and World, or again (V. 57, 68, 121; P. i. 25; iv. 51, 94; N.39) of God, World and Man.

8. We already found a binary psychology; but this cosmological triad would inevitably result in a trine psychology; so we read "There are three species in human souls: divine, human and irrational." This third or divine part of the soul is the capacity for, or function of ecstasy (V. 147; N.10; 16; 49; 51).

Such are the general divisions of the universe and the soul. We are now ready to attack individual points. These we may classify as follows: First, a group of minor, more or less Platonic points (9 to 14); then three distinctively Hermetic points, with their corollaries: emanation (15-18); positive evil (19 to 23); and last, but most important, ecstasy (24 to 26).

B. Various Minor Platonic Points. 9. Qualities are incorporeal (V. 107; P. xiii. 29; N. 37; N.44).

10. The seeds of things are from God (P. xiii. 32, 33. Num. 28).

11. Creation is explained as Becoming, which is caused by energy of being (V. 127; P. ii. 19; N.39).

12. The Demiurge, or Second God, appears also as the Word, an Egyptian conception (P. ii, 38, 14; ix. 72; xi. 37, 68; xiii. 7. N.27a).

13. The Demiurge, of course, is never idle (p. x. 47, 48; N.27.9).

14. The Supreme possesses stability (V. 81), and it is this very supreme stability which is the basis of movement, or fulcrum thereof (V. 93; P. X. 119). He is simultaneously swift, and still capaciously and firmly strong, his circulation being hidden by his station (P. ix. 33; N.20.21; 20.6; 19.4).

C. Emanation. We are now ready to study the actual process under lying emanation more minutely than before. This whole emanative trend is based on the fact of psychological suggestion, the Platonic photography of the |158| model into an image, by irradiation of light, by which the —?—?—?

15. Body is the image of the Idea, as the Idea is of the Soul. This irradiating process is really only the psychological application of that which appears cosmologically as emanation, or Platonically, "participation" (P. xi. 69; N. 25; 27; 33; 34; 37; 40).

16. The term "participation" occurs also (P. vi. 12; xii. 20). "Yet as the participation of all things is in the matter bound, so also of that which is Good."

"But as many as partook of the gift of God, these, O Tat, in comparison of their works, are rather immortal than mortal men." "This creation of life by the soul is as continuous as his light; nothing arrests it, or limits it. … Everything is a part of God; this God is all. In creating all, He perpetuates himself without intermission, for the energy of God has no past; and since God has no limits, his creation is without beginning or end" (V. 104, 106).

The whole of the third book of the Poemandres is a theodicy in which the emission of Becoming is represented as a stream, tending towards a circular renovation of the Gods (N.30.21).

17. In connection with this great unifying conception of the universe, we might mention the Pythagorean term of "harmony," or ordered existence. This celestial harmony is represented by sweet music:

"Having already all power of mortal things … God stooped down, and peeped through the Harmony." "Man, being above all harmony, he is made and be came a servant to Harmony, hermaphrodite." The material body of man is subject to change; passions function through the irrational nature, and the rest striveth upward by harmony" (V. 90; P. ii. 22, 27, 60; N.32).

18. The process of creation is, however, really one of incarnation of the divine:

"God, … stooped down and peeped through harmony, and breaking through! the strength of the Circles thus showed and |159| made manifest the downward borne nature, the fair and beautiful shape or form of God. Which, when he saw, having in itself the insatiable beauty and all the operation of the Seven Governors, and the form or shape of God, He smiled for love, as if He had seen the likeness or shape in the water, or, upon the earth, the shadow of the fairest human form. And seeing in the water a shape, a shape like unto himself, in himself he loved it, and desired to cohabit with it. Immediately upon that resolution ensued that operation, and brought forth the irrational image or shape. Laying hold of what it so much loved, Nature presently wrapped itself about it, and they were mingled, for they loved one another" (P. ii. 22.25; N. 38).

D. The Nature of Matter. 19. In contrast to the Stoics, who taught there was no positive evil, Hermetism teaches (as inheritance from the ancient Egyptian religion) the existence of positive evil. It teaches the existence of evil Demons (the hylic demons of the West already mentioned, among others).

"For there is no part of the world void of the Devil, which, entering privately, sowed the seed of his own proper operation; and the mind did make pregnant, or did bring forth that which was sown: adulteries, murders, strikings of parents, sacrileges, impieties, stranglings, throwings down head long, and all other things which are the works of evil demons" (P. xiii. 14).

Elsewhere they appear as the Avengers:

"But to the foolish and wicked and evil; to the envious and covetous, to the murderous and profane, I AM far off giving place to the Avenging Demon, who, applying to such a man the sharpness of fire, torments him sensibly, arming him the more to all wickedness, that he may obtain the greater punishment. Such an one never ceases, having unfulfillable desires and insatiable concupiscences, and always fighting in darkness, for |160| the Demon afflicts and torments him continually, and increases the fire upon him more and more … the idle manners are permitted, but left to the Demon" (P. ii. 56, 57, 59).

However, there appear also good demons, and these are called the "first-born of God." Their office is to teach excellent sayings, which would have profited all mankind, had they been delivered in writing. (P. xi. 37, 46; N. 62a, 64.)

20. Such demons, however, exist chiefly in the re ligious dialect; while in the philosophical language evil appears positively. We will begin with matter. It is the moist nature, and unspeakably troubled. It is the vehicle of Becoming. (P. ii. 5, 8, 23, 24; V. 133, 134; N.35a, 11.)

21. In this world, evil exists in everything. All things are constituted by contrariety. Everywhere exists change, fate and generation. (P. iv. 36; xi. 31, 36; xiii. 14; N. 49a.)

22. This world, therefore, is a prison, during incar nation. This incarceration may be caused by guilt from some pre-existent state. (V. ii. N. 50, 57.)

23. As a consequence of this, life is a flight from the evils of the world:

"Command thy soul to go into India, and sooner than thou canst bid it, it will be there. Command it to fly to heaven, and it will need no wings, neither shall anything hinder it, not the fire of the sun, nor the aether, nor the turning of the spheres, not the bodies of any of the other stars, but cutting through all, it will fly up to the last, and furtherest Body."

While man cannot escape change, fate and generation, he may, however, escape viciousness. We have elsewhere seen how this journey through each successive sphere is purificatory, leaving one sin in each, until after descending through each of the Seven Governors, she arrives pure at the Eighth Being, the Demiurge. (p. X. 120-122; xi. 36; N.10.)

E. Ecstasy, and the Superrational Divinity. This purificatory flight (reminding us of Empedocles’s "Purifications") ends in the (really double or |161| triple) crown of ecstasy, which condition entails two corollaries: a psychological faculty to act as basis of that experience, and a supereminent divinity, above rational limitations, to be communed with within that ecstatic condition.

24. We will begin with the, psychological faculty. "For only the understanding sees that which is not manifest or apparent; and if thou canst, O Tat, it will appear to the eyes of thy mind." "It is no hard thing to understand God." "The world has a peculiar sense and understanding not like man’s, nor so various or manifold, but a better or more simple." Elsewhere we have seen a two-fold psychological division; but where it becomes three-fold, it is through the existence of three kinds of souls. "There are three species in human souls: divine, human, and irrational." (P. V. 10; xi. Ill; xii. 51; xiii. 30; V. 56, 58, 82, 93, 147; N. 10, 51.)

25. On the other hand, we have the divinity which is above rational comprehension. The eighth sphere is that of the Supreme Divinity, He who was, is, and shall be. (V. 61, 79, 85.) The Supreme is difficult to understand, impossible to speak of or define. (V. 139, 140; this sounds very much like Plato, Timaeus 9; or 28 C.) God is above essence, because He is unintelligible. He is not understood by us because he is something different from us. It is not, therefore, to Numenius, let alone Plotinus, that is due the doctrines of the transcendence of the Supreme. (p. ix. 20, 23; N.10.)

26. The psychological experience which results from activity of the soul’s divine sense applied to the super-essential divinity is ecstasy, which appears often in these Hermetic writings.

"In man, the consciousness is raised to the divine order ... its function is great and holy as divinity itself ... I was speaking of union with the Gods, a privilege which they accord only to humanity. A few men only have the happiness of rising to that perception of the divine which subsists only in God, and in the human intelligence. ... Not all have the true intelligence. (V. 52.)

"Pray first to the |162| Lord and Father, and to the Alone and One, from whom is one to be merciful to thee, that thou mayest know and understand so great a God; and that he would shine one of his beams upon thee in thy understanding." (p. V. 9.) To be able to know God, and to will and to hope, is the straight way, and the divine way, proper to the Good; and it will everywhere meet thee, and everywhere be seen of thee, plain and easy, when thou dost not expect or look for it; it will meet thee waking, sleeping, sailing, traveling, by night, by day; when thou speakest, and when thou keepest silence. (P. x. 133.)

"As many as partook of the gift of God, these, O Tat, in comparison of their works, are men rather immortal than mortal. Comprehending all things in their minds, which are upon earth, which are in heaven, and if there be anything above heaven. Lifting themselves so high, they see the Good, and seeing it, they account it a miserable calamity to make their abode here; and despising all things bodily and unbodily, they make haste to the One and only." (P. xii. 20.)

"This image of God have I described to thee, O Tat, as well as I could; which if thou do diligently consider, and view by the eyes of thy mind, and heart, believe me, Son, thou shalt find the way to the things above; or rather, the Image itself will lead thee. But the spectacle or sight hath this peculiar and proper: them that can see it, and behold it, it holds fast, and draws unto it, as they say, the loadstone doth the iron." (P. xii. 51,52) |163|

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Chapter XIV. Numenius as Represented by Plotinus

Numbers without initials in this chapter are Enneads of Plotinus.

1. Historical Relations Between Numenius and Plotinus. We have, elsewhere, pointed out the historic connections between Numenius and Plotinus. Here, it may be sufficient to recall that Amelius, native of Numenius’s home-town of Apamea, and who had copied and learned by heart all the works of Numenius, and who later returned to Apamea to spend his declining days, bequeathing his copy of Numenius’s works to his adopted son Gentilianus Hesychius, was the companion and friend of Plotinus during his earliest period, editing all Plotinus’s books, until displaced by Porphyry. We remember also that Porphyry was Amelius’s disciple, before his spectacular quarrel with Amelius, later supplanting him as editor of the works of Plotinus. Plotinus also came from Alexandria, where Numenius had been carefully studied and quoted by Origen and Clement of Alexandria. Further, Porphyry records twice that accusations were popularly made against Plotinus, that he had plagiarized from Numenius. In view of all this historical background, we have the prima-facie right to consider Plotinus chiefly as a later re-stater of the views of Numenius, at least during his earlier or Amelian period. Such a conception of the state of affairs must have been in the mind of that monk who, in the Escoreal manuscript, substituted the name of Numenius for that of Plotinus on that fragment (iii. 6.6 to end) about matter, which begins directly with Numenius’s name of the divinity, "being and essence." Fragment 127 |164|

We may study the relations between Numenius and Plotinus from two standpoints: actual borrowings from such manuscripts as have come down to us, and then a comparison of their attitudes toward historic philosophical problems. The latter study will of course include the common use of extraneous philosophical terms and positions, and will lead to a perspective, in which their true general relation will appear with some certainty of outline.

2. Direct Indebtedness of Plotinus to Numenius. As Plotinus was in the habit of not even putting his name to his own notes; as even in the times of Porphyry the actual authorship of much that he wrote was already disputed; and as Porphyry acknowledges his writings contained many Aristotelian and Stoic principles and quotations, we must be prepared to discover Numenian passages by their content, rather than by any external indications. As the great majority of Numenius’s works are irretrievably lost, we may never hope to arrive at a final solution of the matter; and we shall have to restrict ourselves to that which, in Plotinus, may be identified by what Numenian fragments remain. What little we can thus trace definitely will give us a right to draw the conclusion to much more, and to the opinion that, especially in his Amelian period, Plotinus was chiefly indebted to Numenian inspiration. We can consider (5.1.9) the mention of Pythagoreans who had treated of the intelligible as applying to Numenius, whose chief work was "On the Good," and on the "Immateriality of the Soul."

The first class of passages will be such as bear explicit reference to quotation from an ancient source. Of such we have five: "That is why the Pythagoreans were, among each other, accustomed to refer to this |165| principle in a symbolic manner, calling him Apollo, which name means a denial of manifoldness." (5.5.6, Numenius 42, 67.) "That is the reason of the saying, The Ideas and numbers are born from the indefinite doubleness, and the One; for this is intelligence." (5.4.2, N.15-17.) That is why the ancients said that Ideas are essences and beings." (5.8.5; 6: 6.6.9; N.20.) "Let us examine the (general) view that evils cannot be destroyed, but are necessary." (1.8.6; 1.4.11; 3.3.7; N.16, 17.) The Divinity is above being." (6.8.19; N.10, 32.) A sixth case is, "How manifoldness is derived from the First." Fragment 124 A seventh case is the whole passage on the triunity of the divinity, including the term "Father." Fragment 132

Among doctrines said to be handed down from the ancient philosophers (6.4.16; 4.3.11) are the ascents and descents of souls (N.54) and the migrations of souls into bodies other than human. (N.49a.) The soul is a number. (6.5.9; N.46.)

Moreover, Plotinus wrote a book on the Incorruptibility of the soul (3.6), as Numenius had done (N.44), and both authors discuss the incorporeity of qualities. (2.7.2; 6.1.29; N. 44.)

Besides these passages where there is a definite expression of dependence on earlier sources, there are two in which the verbal similarity (in meaning at least) is striking enough to justify their being considered references: "Besides, no body could subsist without the power of the universal soul." "Because bodies according to their own nature, are changeable, inconstant, and infinitely divisible, and nothing unchangeable remains in them, there is evidently need of a principle that would lead them, gather them, and bind them fast together; and this we name soul." (4.7.2, 3; N.44.) This similarity is so striking that it had already been observed and noted by Bouillet. Compare "We consider that all things called essences are composite, and that not a single one of them is simple," with "Numenius, who believes that everything is thoroughly mingled together, and that nothing is simple." (4.7.2, 3; 5.9.3; 6.3.9; N.40.)

3. Uncertain Indebtedness of Plotinus. As Plotinus does not give exact quotations and references, it is difficult always to give their undoubted source. As probably Platonic we may mention the |166| passage about the universal Soul taking care of all that is inanimate (Philebus, in 4.3.1.); and "When one has arrived at individuals, they must be abandoned to infinity. (6.2.21.) Also other quotations. (1.2.6; 5.3.17; 3.4.) The line, "It might be said that virtues are actualizations (6.3.16), might be Aristotelian. We also find (1.6.6): "Thus, according to the ancient maximven prudence, are but pu, Courage, temperance, all the virtues, erifications"; "That is the reason that it is right to say that the soul’s welfare and beauty lie in assimilating herself to the divinity." This sounds Platonic, but might be Numenian.

In this connection it might not be uninteresting to note passages in Numenius which are attributed to Plato, but which are not to be identified: "O Men, the Mind which you dimly perceive is not the First Mind; but before this Mind is another one, which is older and diviner." "That the Good is One." (N.31.22; 33.8.)

We turn now to thoughts found identically in Plotinus and Numenius, although no textual identity is to be noted. We may group these according to the subject, the universe, and the soul.

4. Particular Similarities. God is supreme king. (4.8.2; N.27a. 8.) Eternity is now, but neither past nor future. (5.1.4; N.19.) The king in heaven is surrounded by leisure. (5.8.3; N. 27a. 8.) Nevertheless, the inferior divinity traverses the heavens (5.8.3; 3.4.2; N.27a. 8), in a circular motion. (3.8.8; 4.3.1, 8; 6.8.7; N.27b. 9.) While Numenius does not specify this motion as circular (still, see 30), it is implied, inasmuch as the creator’s passing through the heavens must have followed their circular course. With this perfect motion is connected the peculiar Numenian doctrine of inexhaustible giving (4.8.2; 6.9.9; N.29), which gave a philosophical basis for the old simile of radiation of light. (3.2.4; 5.1.6; 5.5.7; 5.1.6; N.29.18.) This process consists of the descent of the intelligible into the material, or, as Numenius puts it, that both the intelligible and the perceptible participate |167| in the Ideas. (6.5.6; N.37; 63.) Thus intelligence is the uniting principle that holds together the bodies whose tendency is to split up and scatter (4.7.1; 6.5.10; N.12.8), (making a leakage or wastage), Fragment 125, which process invades even the divinity. (5.8.13; N.26.3.) This uniting of scattering elements produces a mixture or mingling 17 of matter and reason, Fragment 126 which, however, is limited to the energies of the existent, not to the existent itself. (3.1.22; 4.2.1, 2; 4.7.2; N.38.) All things are in a flow (5.6.6; 6.5.3; N.15; 26.3), and the whole all is in all. (3.8.8; 5.8.4; N.48.) The divinity creates by glancing at the intelligence above, Fragment 128, as a pilot. Fragment 129 The divinity is split by over-attention to its charges. Fragment 130

This leads us over to consideration of the soul. The chief effort of Numenius is a polemic against the materialism of the Stoics, and to it Plotinus devotes a whole book. (4.7; N.44.) All souls, even the lowest, are immortal. (N. 55.) Even qualities are incorporeal. (2.7.2; 6.1.29; N.44.) The soul, therefore, remains incorporeal. (4.7.3; 6.3.16; N. 44.) The soul, however, is divisible. (2.3.9; 3.4.6; N.46, 52, 56.) This explains the report that Numenius taught not various parts of the soul (Still, see 1.1.9; 4.3.31; 6.4.15; N.53), but two souls, which would be opposed (4.2.2; N.53) by Plotinus in one place, but taught in another. Fragment 131 Such divisibility is indeed implied in the formation of presentation as a by-product (N.52), or a "common part." (1.1.10; 4.7.8; 5.8.3) Moreover, the soul has to choose its own demon, or guardian divinity. (3.4.4; N. 15.) Salvation as a goal appears in Numenius (30),> but not in Plotinus; though both insist on the need of a savior. (4.4.10; N. 12.) Memory is actualization of the soul. (4.3.25; N. 29.) In the highest ecstasy the soul is "alone with the alone." Fragment 133

5. Similarities Applied Differently. This comparison of philosophy would have been much stronger had we added thereto the following points in which we find similar terms and ideas, but which are applied differently. The soul is indissolubly united to intelligence according to Plotinus, but to its source, with Numenius. (4.8.8; N.51.) Plotinus makes discord the result of their fall, while with Numenius it is its cause. (4.8.1: N. 62a.) Guilt is the cause of the fall of souls, with Plotinus (4.8.1; quoting Empedocles; N. 43), but with Numenius it is impulsive passion. The great evolution or world-process is by Plotinus called the "eternal procession," while with Numenius it is |168| progress. (4.2.2; N.27b.) The simile of the pilot is by Plotinus applied to the soul within the body; while with Numenius, it refers to the logos, or creator in the universe. (4.3.21; N.32.) There is practically no difference here, however. Doubleness is, by Plotinus, predicated of the sun and stars, but by Numenius, of the demiurge himself. (2.3.8; 3.3.4; N.36; 5.3.) The Philonic term "legislator" is, by Plotinus, applied to intelligence, while Numenius applies it to the third divinity, and not the second. (5.9.5; N.28.) Plotinus extends immortality to animals, but Numenius even to the inorganic realm, including everything. (4.7.14; N.55, 56.)

We thus find a tolerably complete body of philosophy shared by Plotinus and Numenius, out of the few fragments of the latter that have come down to us. It would therefore be reasonable to suppose that if Numenius’s complete works had survived we could make out a still far stronger case for Plotinus’s dependence on Numenius. At any rate, the Dominican scribe at the Escoreal who inserted the name of Numenius in the place of that of Plotinus in the heading of (3.6.6 to end) the fragment about matter, must have felt a strong confusion between the two authors.

6. Philosophical Relations Between Numenius and Plotinus. To begin with, we have the controversy with the Stoics, which, though it appears in the works of both, bears in each a different significance. While with Numenius it absorbed his chief controversial efforts (14, 15, 16, 17, 44), with Plotinus (6.1, and passim) it occupied only one of his many spheres of interest; and indeed, he had borrowed from them many terms, such as "pneuma," the spiritual body, and others, set forth elsewhere. Notable, however, was the term "hexis," habituation, or form of inorganic objects (2.5.2; 2.4.16; N.55), and the "phantasia," or sense-presentation. (1.8.15; 4.7.8; N. 2; 3; 4.7; 24.) |169-

Next in importance, as a landmark, is Numenius’s chief secret, the name of the divinity, as "being and essence," which reappears in Plotinus in numberless places. (All of 2.6; 3.7.5; 3.8.9; 4.3.9; 4.3.24; 5.3.6, 15, 17; 5.4.1, 2; 5.5.10, 13, 55; 5.8.5; 5.9.3; 6.2.2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 13; 6.3.6, 16; 6.6.10, 13, 16; 6.7.41; 6.9.2, 3.) Connected with this is the idea that essence is intelligence. (5.9.3; N. 21, 22.)

7. Pythagorean Similarities. It is a common-place that Numenius was a Pythagorean, or at least was known as such, for though he reverenced Pythagoras, he conceived of himself as a restorer of true Platonism. It will, therefore, be all the more interesting to observe what part numbers play in their system, especially in that of Plotinus, who made no special claim to be a Pythagorean disciple. First, we find that numbers and the divine Ideas are closely related (5.4.2. N.10; 6.6.9; N.34). Numbers actually split the unity of the divinity (6.6.9; N.10, 21). The soul also is considered as a number (5.1.5; 6.5.9: 6.6.16; N.46), and in connection with this we find the Pythagorean sacred "tetraktys" (6.6.16; N.60). Thus numbers split up the divinity (6.2.9; N.26), though it is no more than fair to add that elsewhere Plotinus contradicts this, and states that the multiplicity of the divinity is not attained by division (6.4.2); still, this is not the only case in which we will be forced to array Plotinus against himself.

The first effect of the splitting influence of numbers will be a doubleness (2.4.5; 4.8.7; 5.5.4; N.36b), which, though present in intelligence (4.3.1; 5.4.2; N.36c?), nevertheless chiefly appears in matter (2.5.3; N.14,16,26), as the Pythagorean "indefinite dyad" (5.4.2; 5.5.4; N.14). Still, even the Supreme is double (2.9.1; N.25). So we must not be surprised if He is constituted by a trinity (3.8.9; 3.9.1; N.36, 39; also 5.1,8), in connection with which the Supreme appears as grandfather (5.5.3; N.36,39).

If then both Numenius and Plotinus are really under the spell of Pythagoras, it is pretty sure they will not be materialist, they will believe in the incorporeality of the divinity (1.3.4; N.10,13), of qualities (2.4.9; 2.7.2; 6.1.29; 6.3.16; N.44); and of the soul (4.9.4; N.44) which will be invisible (3.4.1; N.44) and possess no extension. (4.6.7; N.44) A result of this will be that the soul will not be located in |170| the body, or in space, but rather the body in the soul (4.3.20; N.12,44). From this incorporeal existence (N.20), there is only a short step to unchangeable existence (N.21), or eternity (3.7.3. 5; N.19). This, to the soul, means immortality (55; 56; 57), one theory of which is reincarnation (3.4.2; N.57). To the universe, however, this means harmony (4.7.14; 6.6.16; N.32).

There are still other Pythagorean traces in common between Numenius and Plotinus. The cause that the indeterminate dyad split off from the divinity is "tolma," rashness, or boldness (5.1.1; N.17, 26). Everything outside of the divinity is in a continual state of flux (6.5.3; 6.7.31; 8.5.3; N.11; 15; 16; 17; 12.7: 22; 26). Evil is then that which is opposed to good (5.5.13: N.15; 49b). It also is therefore unavoidable, inasmuch as suppression of its cosmic function would entail cosmic collapse (1.4.11; 1.8.6. 7; 3.8.9; N. 16; 17; 18). The world stands thus as an inseparable combination of intelligence and necessity, or chance (3.2.2: N. 15: 17. Alexander of Aphrodisia taught the world was a mixture, 2.7.1; 4.7,13).

8. Platonic Traces. Platonic traces, there would naturally be; but it will be noticed that they are far less numerous than the Pythagorean. To begin with, we find the reverent spirit towards the divinities, which prays for their blessing at the inception of all tasks (4.9.4; 5.1.6; N.26). To us who live in these latter days, such a prayer seems out of place in philosophy; but that is only because we have divorced philosophy from theology; in other words, because our theology has left the realm of living thought, and, being fixed once for all, we are allowed to pursue any theory of existence we please as if it had nothing whatever to do with any reality; in other words, we are deceiving ourselves. On the contrary, in those days, every philosophical speculation was a genuine adventure in the spiritual world, a magical operation that might unexpectedly lead to the threshold of the cosmic sanctuary. Wise, indeed, therefore, was he who began it by prayer. |171|

Of other technical Platonic terms there are quite a few. The lower is always the image of the higher (Plotinus passim, N.25). So the world might be considered the statue of the Divinity (6.1.23: N.18. Also 6.9.10, 11). The Ideas are in a realm above the world (passim: N.10; 37; 63). The soul here below is as in a prison (5.8.1; N.43). There is a divinity higher than the one generally known (3.9.3; N.31). The divinity is in a stability resultant of firmness and perfect motion (6.2.7 N.19.4; 20; 27a: 30). The perfect movement, therefore, is circular (3.7.3; 4.4.33; N.30). This inter-communion of the universe therefore results in matter appearing in the intelligible world as "intelligible matter" (2.4.2-5; 2.5.3; 5.4.2; N.26). By dialectics, also called "bastard reasoning (2.4.12, etc.), we abstract every thing (2.4.6: N.11, 18) till we reach the thing-in-itself (2.6.2; N.12.8; 18), or, in other words, matter as a substrate of the world (2.4.10; N.12; 16; 17). Thus we metaphysically reach ineffable solitude (5.1.6; 6.9.10, 11; N.10).

The same goal is reached psychologically, however, in the ecstasy (6.4.2; 6.9.3; N. 10). This idea occurred in Plato only as a poetic expression of metaphysical attainment; and in the case of Plotinus at least may have been used as a practical experience chiefly to explain his epileptic attacks; and this would be all the more likely as this disease was generally called the "sacred disease." Whether Numenius also was an epileptic, we are not told; it is more likely he took the idea from Philo, or Philo’s oriental sources; at least, Numenius seems to claim no personal ecstatic experiences such as those of Plotinus.

We have entered the realm of psychology; and this teaches us that that in which Numenius and Plotinus differ from Plato and Philo is chiefly their psychological or experimental application of pure philosophy. Nobody could subsist without the soul to keep it together (4.7.3; N. 13: 27; 44). Various attempts are made to describe the nature of the soul; it is the extent or relation of circumference to circle (4.4.16; N. 46). Or it is like a line and its divergence. (Might it mean an angle, and one of its sides.) In any case, the divinity and the soul move around the heavens (3.4.2; N.27), and this may explain the |172| otherwise problematical progress or evolution ("prosodos" or "stolos") of ours (4.8.5, 6; N.27b).

9. Various Similarities. There are many other unclassifiable Numenian traces in Plotinus. Two of them, however, are comparatively important. First, is a reaffirmation of the ancient Greek connection between generation, fertility or birth of souls and wetness (5.9.6; N.23), which is later reaffirmed by Porphyry in his "Cave of the Nymphs." Plotinus, however, later denies this (5,1.5). Then we come to a genuine innovation of Numenius’s: his theory of divine or intelligible giving. Plato had, of course, in his genial, casual way, sketched out a whole organic system of divine creation and administration of this world. The conceptions he needed he had cheerfully borrowed from earlier Greek philosophy without any rigid systematization, so that he never noticed that the hinge on which all was supposed to turn was merely the makeshift of an assumption. This capital error was noticed by Numenius, who sought to supply it by a psychological observation, namely, that knowledge may be imparted without diminution. Plotinus, with his winning way of dispensing with quotation marks, appropriated this (6.7.17; 36; 6.9.9; N.29), as also the idea that life streams out upon the world in the glance of the divinity, and as quickly leaves it, when the Divinity turns away His glance (3.4.2; 5.1.2; N.27b).

Other less important points of contact are: the Egyptian ship of souls (3.4.6; N.35a); the Philonic distinction be tween "the" God as supreme, and "god" as subordinate (6.7.1; N.27a, b); the hoary equivocation on "kosmos" (Creation or adornment; 2.4.4, 6; 4.3.14; N.14; 18); and the illustration of the divine Logos as the pilot of the world (4.3.21; N.32). |173|

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Chapter XV. Criticism of Numenius

Numenius has been studied by Ritter, Zeller, Ueberweg and Moeller among the Germans, and by Vacherot and Chaignet, among French philosophical writers. Their opinions could not be very well founded, as they were forced to advance them before the fragments were all gathered together; and then there were, of course, defective interpretations, as that of Ritter (page 318) who accuses Numenius (N.27b) of a return of the divinity into itself from a translation questioned already by Zeller.

1. Psychology. Zeller also notices in Numenius this higher faculty of cognition. Speaking of number, it is said to be the highest good of the soul, as insight (N.26, 27.33), by which we participate in the divinity. It is a gift of God, and operates like a flash of lightning. Zeller (53) also points out the distinction between the rational and irrational souls. The irrational is located in the body, which is the source of all evils. Sensual cognition is the result of reason.

Vacherot explains that, according to Numenius, God, the principle of the intelligible world, is unknowable by reason. "His psychology transcends Plato’s, and achieves ecstasy … only in his doctrine of ecstasy appear Oriental ideas." "Like Plato, Numenius |174| proclaims the impotence of reason to know this God who is the principle of the intelligible world. But he reserves this intelligible knowing to an extraordinary and mystic faculty of which Plato never spoke, and which will reappear in Neoplatonism" (i. 323).

Summing up this criticism, it amounts to no more than that Numenius had introduced into Greek philosophy the Oriental ecstasy, but they do not bring out that Numenius derived it from Egyptian Hermetism, although Zeller had already, in his study of Plato, shown that Plato had already employed theoretical expressions which easily lent themselves to this practical interpretation.

2. The Second Divinity. Ueberweg believes that the greatest innovation introduced by Numenius into Platonic doctrine was his considering the second principle to be a second divinity. Vacherot also sees a development in this formal and systematic distinction of the two divine principles. This same idea expressed in philosophic terms is that Plato held no more than two orders of substances: the Ideas, and the sense-objects that participated therein. On the contrary, Numenius introduces therein intelligible beings that participate in the Ideas; and Proclus (N.37) complains that Numenius had supposed that images existed among intelligibles. Here Zeller opposes Vacherot, denying that we should read participation in the intelligible into Fragments 37 or 31. But Zeller him self acknowledges that Numenius had followed the traces of Philo, with his Logos, and of Valentinus, with his demiurge; and Zeller praises Numenius for having introduced this second principle, thus constituting a triad. On the contrary, Vacherot finds the prototype of Numenius’s second divinity in Plato’s demiurge. |175|

Moeller finds in it the distinction between the transcendent divinity, and the revealed divinity that seeks immanence.

None of these critics seems to think of Plutarch, or of Maximus of Tyre, especially, who had already interrelated the whole universe by a hierarchical system. Besides, it was the Egyptian emanationism which demanded a mean between the two extremes, and Numenius did no more than to introduce it into Greek philosophy. But the participation itself was genuinely Platonic; and nothing was needed but the public recognition of a mediating term, either personified, or merely a "hypostasis." But, after all, Numenius probably owed this conception to his studies of the works of Philo. Ritter well says that the chief goal of the philosophy of Numenius was to find some means of passing from the superior sphere down into that of the senses, and permitting a return upwards thereafter. After all, this is no more than our modern evolutionary stand-point. In his Letters, Plato (?) had already spoken of three spheres of the divinity, respectively surrounding the First, the second, and the third principles.

3. The Splitting up of the Divinity. Ritter and Vacherot mention this doctrine of the divinity (26.3). Chaignet speaks of a Fragment (25.5), finding in it a fourfold division, although the words seem to imply a fivefold one. Moeller (p. 106) considers this a deviation from Neoplatonism, and as such an error on the part of Numenius.

"The second principle of Numenius contains both what Neoplatonism distinguishes as the second divinity, or intelligence, and the third, or soul. The very name of the demiurge suggests to us not only direction towards divine unity, that is, the intelligible world, but also the other direction |176| downwards and outwards, into the sphere of the senses, the which, by Plotinus, is reserved for the soul."

This criticism falls flat the moment that, according to his own footnote, we locate the world of Ideas in the second divinity, instead of in the third. Moeller probably committed this error as a result of not reading correctly the illustration of the Pilot, who surely is the third divinity. The Pilot steers by contemplating the stars or Ideas which are above him so certainly that he is compelled to look up to them (32).

None of these criticisms stand, therefore; and we may be allowed to observe that Numenius introduced this process of splitting up as a result of having made use of the Pythagorean term of "duality," instead of the Platonic "manifoldness." As a result, at once everything became double: world, soul, and divinity. And this was all the easier for Numenius as all he had to. do was to adopt the Egyptian divisions.

4. Incorporeity of Qualities. Numenius teaches the incorporeity of qualities (44). This was nothing original with Numenius, since Galen had written a treatise on the subject, in times almost contemporary with those of the activity of Numenius. Alcinoous also has read this doctrine into Plato’s works. Ritter (iv. 511) should therefore not blame Numenius for it, as a fault; on the contrary, we may well consider this an element in the struggle between Numenius and the Stoics, who insisted that magnitude and quality also were corporeal.

5. Name and Nature of the Divinity. Ritter blames Numenius for teaching an inactive divinity (27.10). But Ritter did not have before him fragments (N.30.21; 10) where Numenius speaks of an innate |177| movement. Numenius therefore no more than repeats the ancient Platonic doctrine of an innate movement that is simultaneous with absence of movement. This Plato illustrates for us by a spinning top, that moves so fast and smoothly that it remains standing. But it is to Vacherot that we owe a debt of gratitude for having (i. 325) grasped the intimate relation between this fact and the divinity’s name which Numenius thought he had invented. "Plato had often demonstrated that the instable and degenerating body did not possess true being, and that the sole true being was the intelligible and the incorporeal, the Idea and the soul. On the other hand, the Stoics had conceived of the soul as in relations with the body, as container and contained, the soul enveloping, chaining down, and supporting the parts of the body. These two opinions were by Numenius combined into one system that later was to become Neoplatonism. Being, if it is absolute, would have no motion; therefore we must seek Being in the incorporeal, which, as energy, organizes matter. That is why he tells us that the true name of the incorporeal is "Being and Essence." That is how he establishes the identity of the two supreme concepts, by vivifying Being, which thus produces "innate motion."

6. Criticisms Directed Against Numenius. Ritter is the only one who permits himself to blame Numenius. At first he finds fault with him for lacking philosophical studies; for vanity, for vaingloriousness. The first accusation falls before a reading of the fragments of the treatise on the Good, and on the Incorruptibility of the Soul; as to the History of the Platonic Succession, its purpose is very clear, and is of so great an importance as to merit for Numenius the title of Father of Neo-Platonism. His is indeed |178| the first philosophical study of the method of mysticism. As to the comic story of Lacydes, it is repeated also by Diogenes Laertes, and Eusebius; and its object, to discredit the incomprehensibility of presentation, was also attempted in a story about a certain Sphairos at Alexandria by Atheneus. Numenius is not worse than either of these writers, therefore, if fault there be.

Further, Ritter finds fault with Numenius for not having studied thoroughly the two extremes between which, according to Ritter, Numenius had established cosmic communication. To begin with, as we possess no more than fragments, it would seem very unjust to blame the author for having omitted any subject, which might have been studied in some lost work. Further, Numenius does indeed, and for the first time in Greek philosophy, establish the transcendence of the First Principle; and as to matter, Numenius divides it in two, just as he had done with the world-Soul, the human soul, and divinity, following Plutarch’s distinction between original and created matter. We could not, indeed, have expected much more from him.

7. Value of the Criticisms of Numenius. In the following table we may see the scope of the reflections of each one of those who have studied Numenius. On the whole, Zeller seems the most judicious, presenting to us subjects not advanced by others, while forming opinions that have sustained themselves. Vacherot, Chaignet and Ritter are the most original thinkers, but also those, whose conclusions are the least satisfactory. In respect to the scope of their studies, Moeller and Chaignet, though devoting considerable space to the subject, advance but trifling original contributions. Ueberweg limits himself |179| to two subjects, one important, the other unimportant.

Kilter’s observation that Numenius had left the supreme Divinity inactive has been annulled by the very words of Numenius, and by the conflicting criticism of Vacherot. Moeller’s and Vacherot’s accusations that Numenius had not reached the transcendence of the Supreme has also been annulled by the words of Numenius, and by the pointing. out of its Hermetic source. Ueberweg makes a definite error in stating that the second divinity derives knowledge from his contemplation of the intelligible, whereas the text suggests judiciousness. We have also seen that Zeller rejects the idea of Ritter of an emanation from and a return to the divinity, as resting on an error of translation.

On the whole the criticism is thin, and not well founded. But after all it is very interesting, in spite of its having been based on fragments that had not yet been gathered together. It is Vacherot who most distinguishes himself by relating together the new name of the divinity, and the simultaneity of His innate motion and repose. It is he who points out to us the most original contribution of Numenius, the conception of the undiminished divine giving.

8. Scope of Numenian Criticism

Numenian Criticism
 Ritter  1. Psychology. 2. Splitting God. 3. Soul-union. 4. Inactivity of God.
5. Incorporeity of Qualities. 6. Soul-excursion. 7. Emanation.
 Ueberweg  1. Second God. 2. Soul-guilt.
 Zeller  1. Psychology. 2. Second God. 3. Soul-union. 4. Struggle.
 Vacherot  1. Psychology of Ecstasy. 2. Splitting God. 3. Second God.
4. Soul-union. 5. Incorporeity of Qualities. 6. Transcendence of God. 7. Divinity Incomplete (Neoplatonically). 8. Life as a Struggle (Empedocles).
 Moeller  1. Splitting God. 2. Second God, 3. God Incomplete (Neoplatonically)
 Chaignet  1. Splitting God. 2. Soul-guilt. 3. Light-kindling.

Summary
 Number of Critics Noting  Second God, Splitting God (Philo), 4. Soul union (Philo), 3. Quality-incorporeity (Galen, the Hermetics), 3. God Incomplete, 2. Life as Struggle (Heraclitus, Empedocles), 2. Ecstasy-psychology (Hermetic), 2.
 Qualities Noted Only Once  Numenius as Vulgarizer. Excursion of Souls (Empedocles). Inactivity of God. Emanation (Hermetics). Light-kindling. Transcendence of God (this is a contradiction of the criticism on the incompleteness, Neoplatonically, of Numenius’s conception of the divinity).

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Chapter XVI. Progress of Platonism; or Platonism and Neo-Platonism

1. Plato Makes a Summary of Greek Philosophy. In vindicating, for Numenius, the title of "Father of Neoplatonism," it is evident that the Platonic sources will be the most important subject of consideration. But here we are met with the difficulty of defining what is really Platonic, for it is generally accepted that Plato’s views underwent a development from the time of the Republic to that of the Laws; and just as Schelling and Plotinus also underwent developments, no really active thinker would ever be able to hold unmoved to any one position, unless he had begun to petrify.

We must therefore preface any detailed study of the Platonic origin and Platonic consequence of the chief doctrines of Numenius by a sketch of the rise and progress of Platonism, as development of thought. This will have to begin with an appreciation of the significance of Plato himself; and Zeller’s estimate (Plato and Old Academy, 147), with the addition of the parenthesis, may represent this:

"Plato is the first of the Greek philosophers who not merely knew and made use of his predecessors, but consciously completed their principles by means of each other, and bound them all together in one higher principle (or system). What Socrates had taught with regard to the concept of knowledge; Parmenides and |182| Heraclitus, the Megarians and Cynics, on the difference between knowledge and opinion; Heraclitus, Zeno, and the Sophists on the subjectivity of sense-perception; all this he built up into a developed theory of knowledge. The Eleatic principle of Being, and the Heracleitian of Becoming, the doctrine of the unity and multiplicity of things, he has, in his doctrine of Ideas, quite as much blended as opposed; while at the same time he has perfected both by means of the Anaxagorean conception of spirit, the Megaro-Socratic conception of the Good, and the Pythagorean idealized numbers, matter, and indefinite duality. These numbers, when properly understood, appear in the theory of the World-soul, and the mathematical Laws, as the mediating element between the Idea and the world of sense. Their one element, the concept of the Unlimited, held absolutely, and combined with the Heracleitan view of the sensible world, gives the Platonic definition of Matter. The cosmological part of the Pythagorean system is repeated in Plato’s conception of the universe: while in his theory of the elements and of the physics proper, Empedocles and Anaxagoras, and more distantly the Atomistic and older Ionic natural philosophers, find their echoes. His psychology is deeply colored with the teaching of Anaxagoras on the immaterial nature of mind, and with that of Pythagoras on immortality. In his ethics, the Socratic basis can as little be mistaken as, in his politics, his sympathy with the Pythagorean aristocracy."

What is the estimate resulting from this?

"Yet Plato is neither the envious imitator that calumny has called him, nor the irresolute eclectic, who only owed it to favoring circumstances that what was scattered about in earlier systems united in him to form a harmonious whole. We may say more truly that this blending of the rays of hitherto isolated genius into one focus is the work of his originality, and the fruit |183| of his philosophic principle. The Socratic conceptual philosophy is from the outset directed to the contemplation of things in all their aspects, the dialectical combination of these various definitions of which now one, and now another, is mistaken by a one-sided apprehension for the whole to the reduction of the multiplicity of experience to its permanent base. While those assumptions had related entirely and exclusively to one another, Plato’s scientific principles required that he should fuse them all into a higher and more comprehensive theory of the world, perfecting ethics by natural philosophy and natural philosophy by ethics. Thus Plato has accomplished one of the greatest intellectual creations known."

It may be interesting to add to this an incidental description of Platonism by Plotinus (2.9.6):

"The immortality of the soul; the intelligible world; the First God; the soul’s obligation to flee association with the body; its discerption therefrom; and the Flight out of the region of Becoming into that of Being." These are clear Platonic thoughts."

Plotinus continues the definition negatively, by the faults he finds with Gnostics: introducing manifold generations, and entire destruction; finding fault with the All, or Universal Soul; blaming the soul for its association with the body on the score of guilt; finding fault with the Guide or Leader of this universe; identifying the World-creator with the Soul (Of the world? That is, degrading creation from the second to the third sphere), and in attributing to him the same affections as manifest themselves in individuals.

In other words, Plato conveniently sums up earlier Greek thought. That is the reason of his importance, just as that of every other writer: not originality, but faithfulness to sources, well adapted. That is why we cannot break with Platonism, for in doing so we are losing one of the great constructive processes of our Aryan civilization. That is why Platonism survived; why Neoplatonism arose, why it reappeared in the Middle |184| Ages, why it interests the world still today. It is not the personality of Plato that kept him alive for modern life; but his personality has been a convenient rallying-point, and that is why Numenius demands reverence for him, and indeed why we do reverence him still today.

This is the very reason why the world decided for Plato, as against his rival Xenophon; why we have not a Neo-Xenophontianism instead of a Neoplatonism. Xenophon was an active rival of Plato s, matching his Socratic dialogues with the Memorabilia, the Republic, with the Cyropedia. But Xenophon was a literary man who wrote out his own system or views, which the world has passed by, just as it has passed by the much more historical Socrates of the Memorabilia. The world could not pass by Plato, because of what a literary man would call his defects; his failure to come to conclusions, his dialogue-form, which ever leaves it uncertain what he himself really intended, whether the statement is to be credited to the characters, Socrates, Timaeus, or Parmenides, or whether these are merely symbolic suggestions. Thus Plato stimulates thought in his readers, and does not impose his views on them; that is why reading Plato will never entirely pass out of fashion; it is a sort of philosophical gymnasium. Is it any wonder, then, that he himself progressed in his views, and after the Republic, gave us the Laws? So pronounced is this uncertainty of statement that Numenius felt justified in magnifying it into a purposive reserve of expression of secret mystery-doctrines. Besides, this uncertainty allows anybody and everybody to appeal to Plato, and thus put himself in touch with the ideals and poetry of a whole era of humanity. Consequently, any appeal to Plato in the following pages is not to vindicate the copyright of Plato on certain ideas and statements, but merely to show that such a view is in harmony with the general Platonic sphere |185| of thought, and that the later Numenius is entitled to seek to reconstruct a Platonic school of thought.

2. Development of Plato in His Earlier Stage. We are now ready to scrutinize more minutely the several steps of the development of Platonic speculation.

1. The first stage in the progress of Platonic doctrine is the familiar experience of conscience, in which the higher, or better self struggles with the lower or worse self. This is, for instance, found in Republic iv. 9,

"Is not the expression superior to oneself ridiculous? for he who is superior to himself must somehow also be inferior to himself; and the inferior be superior. … The expression seems to denote, that in the same man, as regards his soul, there is one part better, and another worse; and that when the better part of his nature governs the inferior, this is what is termed being superior to himself, and expresses a commendation; but when, owing to bad education or associations, that better and smaller part is swayed by the greater power of the worse part then one says, by way of reproach or blame, that the person thus affected is inferior to him self, and altogether in disorder."

We find the same in Xenophon’s Cyropedia, which is practically a parallel work (61.41):

"A single soul cannot be bad and good at the same time, affect both noble and dishonorable ones, or wish and not wish the same things simultaneously; but it is plain that there are two souls, and when the good one prevails, noble actions are performed; when the evil one prevails, dishonorable actions are attempted."

Numenius himself (P. 4.7.3; 6.3.16; N. 44.) did not hesitate to use the same expression: "Others, among whom is Numenius, do not hold three, or at least two parts of the soul as the thinking and irrational part; but they think we have two souls, a thinking one, and an irrational one." |186-

Plotinus, on the other hand, continually analyses the world into two parts: "Every person is something duplex; a composite being, and then himself" (P. 2.3.9). The soul is never without form. Reason discovers the doubleness. (One of form and matter.) The creator is not satisfied with the intelligible world, but demands an image, the third world (2.9.5). Returning to the ethical conception of the doubleness of life (2.9.9):

"Life here is ever duplex; one for the virtuous, the other for the rest of the human crowd. That of the virtuous is directed upwards and above, while that of the more materially-minded is again duplex; one still has participation with the Good by memory at least, while the common crowd, on the contrary, is composed of tools for the needs of the better element of society." Psychologically even (3.9.3d) the "thinking faculty thinks of itself, and is defective, for its excellence lies in thinking, not in existence."

We might here refer to the two-fold aspiration of the soul, the upward flight, and the downward tendency, mentioned elsewhere. "We" are the "other" soul; these two wish to become one, and their grief lies in that the means of unification is an external, and therefore difficult atonement (4.4.18). Plotinus (4.7.19) insists that pure souls lay aside as soon as possible the forms with which they have been endued with at birth; and that the worse part, even when laid aside at death, does not immediately evanesce, so long as its original cause subsists. "Every soul, namely," (4.8.8) "possesses a capacity facing the body, as well as a higher one trending towards reason." Here we might add the passages describing the soul as an amphibian, with its feet in a bathtub, while the intelligible part, like a head, transcends the first part. This doubleness appears also in Numenius 25 and 36. |187|

3. Development of Plato in Later Stage. 2. The next step in the development of Platonism was the application of this doubleness of psychology to cosmology, in the later Laws (x. 8, 9, 13). Here there are two World-souls, a good one that steers the world in circular motion, and an evil one to which are attributable all earthly disorders. "Is it not necessary to assert that soul, which administers and dwells in all things that are solved in every way, administers likewise the heaven? — How not? — One soul, or many? Many; for I will answer you. Let us not then lay down less than two, one the beneficent, and the other able to effect things of the contrary kind. … The most excellent soul takes care of the whole world, and leads it along a path of that very kind. — Right. — But if it proceeds in a mad and disordered manner, then the evil (soul leads it). — And this too is correct." "Heaven is full of many good things, but there are some of the opposite kind; the majority, however, is of those that are not."

4. Development of Xenocrates. The next step in the evolution of Platonism was effected by Xenocrates, on logical grounds. If the good and evil in this world are respectively the results of the good and bad World-souls, and if, besides, the good acts are administered by the agency of a hierarchy of good demons, then it seems but natural to conclude that evil actions will likewise be administered by a complementary hierarchy of evil demons.(Zeller, Plato a. O. A., 593. Plutarch, Def. Or. 17.) In addition to this result in anthropology, in the sphere of cosmology logic demands the Pythagorean indefinite Duality as principle opposing the Unity of goodness. He also taught that the soul fed on intelligible sciences. |188-

5. Development of Plutarch. Plutarch took the next step. These demons, in Stoic dialect called physical, evidently stand to matter in the relation of soul to body. Original matter, therefore, was two-fold: matter itself, and its moving principle, the soul of matter, and was identified with the worse World-soul by a development, or historical event, the ordering of the cosmos, or creation.

6. Development of Numenius. Numenius was chiefly a restorer, trying to go back to original Platonism, and Pythagoreanism. His interest lay in comparative practical religion. He therefore went back to the later Platonic stage, approving of the evil World-soul; but the achievements of Plutarch were too convenient to be entirely ignored, and Numenius still speaks of the Soul of matter. He was drawn to Xenocrates by two powerful interests: the Egyptian, Hermetic, Serapistic, in connection with evil demons; and the Pythagorean, in connection with the indefinite Duality. His History of the Platonic Succession was therefore not a delusion; he really did sum up the progress of Neoplatonism, not omitting Maximus of Tyre’s philosophical explanation of the emanative, participative streaming forth of the Divine. But Numenius did more: he made a religion of this philosophy, and, like Pythagoras originally, reconnected it with all current mystery-rites, and continued the traditional Academic-Stoic feud, in which he would naturally take a living interest, inasmuch as Posidonius, the last great light of Stoicism (A.D. 135-151), also hailed from his home town Apamea. |189|

7. Development of the Younger Plotinus. The earlier Plotinus, under the influence of Amelius, continued Numenius’s direction, but Plotinus had no constructive world-mission; he was no student of comparative religion. He was a pure Greek philosopher, relapsing into provincialism. When Amelius invited him to the New Moon festivals, he said, with some scorn: "The gods must come to me, not I to them." He ceased the traditional Stoic feud, for Stoics were of the past; Numenius had sung their swan-song, as a constructive sect. In their place, Plotinus was troubled by the Gnostics, and he tried to rescue Platonism from them, who represented the popular, practical aspect of Numenius.

In other words, Numenius was split into two, for there were none left great enough to hold together both the practical and theoretical aspects of life. For those modern students who consider Neoplatonism to begin with the practically mythical Ammonius Saccas, Numenius remains the immediate forerunner of Neoplatonism. So Vacherot: "In the philosophic movement which was to eventuate in Neoplatonism, he is the most considerable intermediary." Zeller (Ph. d. Gr. 3.2.217) thinks Numenius should be considered the immediate forerunner of Neoplatonism. So also Moeller (106):

"It will have become clear that Numenius’s philosophy is by no means the Neoplatonic one; but it must also be plain that it leads over to it," and he considers in detail such advances of Neoplatonism as the denying of thought to the Supreme, as well as the splitting of the Second God, which, however, as we have seen, were really Numenian, and even Platonic. In this early period Plotinus still used Numenius’s name for the Supreme, "Being and Essence." |190-

8. Development of the Porphyrian Plotinus. When, however, Plotinus settled in Rome, the home of ethical Stoicism (Cicero, Seneca), and Amelius the Numenian left him, and the Alexandrian Gnostic controversy faded away, and Porphyry, who had had a long controversy with Amelius took his place, then Plotinus passed over from Platonic dualism to Stoic monism, which must have been a natural result of his living so abstemious a Stoic life.

9. Development of Proclus Diadochus. Proclus Diadochus, finally, with a new method of comparative philosophy, became the first genuine commentator. As philosopher, rather than practical leader of religion, he preferred Plutarch to Numenius, and did not hesitate to attribute the whole Neoplatonic movement to Plutarch. But we demur to this, because Plutarch made no open effort at restoration of Platonism, as did Numenius in his History of the Platonic Succession, and because we saw that Numenius summed up the whole movement, including the contributions by Xenocrates and Speusippus, as well as taking the results of Plutarch, whose chief activity lay in biography, which however we must recognize as being comparative. |191-

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Chapter XVII. Conclusion

1. The Message of Numenius. We have now a perspective sufficient to ask ourselves the supreme question of this work: What is the message of Numenius to us? What do we owe to him? What did he really accomplish?

An answer to this would fall under three heads: what he introduced into Greek philosophy; what philosophical thoughts he himself seems to have developed; that is, what is original with him. Last, we may group together general traits that go to form his character.

2. What Numenius Introduced into Greek Philosophy. To begin with, we will mention the point that seemed the most important to Ueberweg: the definite assertion of the divinity of the second principle; and this was unquestionably due to Philo Judaeus. Actually the most important, however, is the ecstasy, as the crown of ethical development, and as a human experience. This is indeed found in Philo Judaeus, but is also due to Hermetic writings; and the Gnostics may have been deciding factors in its adoption. This teaching, however, logically implies that of a psychological faculty which would make such an experience possible; and this indeed seems to have been derived |192| from Hermetic sources. While Numenius, in his conception of a cosmic hierarchy of divine principles, might have done no more than follow in the footsteps of Maximus of Tyre, he bound them together as moments of an emanative world-process, suggested by the Hermetic writings. The latter implied various corollaries: splitting of the divinity into various principles (from Pythagoras and Hermetism), among which is the Lawgiver (from Marcion); the "material demons" (from the Stoics and Valentinus) "from the West" (from Egyptian religion). As result of his polemic against the Stoics may have come his teaching of the incorporeity of qualities, shared by contemporaries of his, such as Galen.

3. What Was Original With Numenius. Numenius at least seemed to believe that the double name of the divinity, "Being and Essence" was a secret teaching of his own. Underlying this attempt at a unification of dualism, as Vacherot points out, was his characteristic theory of divine giving, which takes nothing from the giver. Had this theory of Numenius’s been reproduced after Plotinus, it would have saved the Christian Church much of the Arian controversy, which mainly rested on a more or less scientific analysis of the light and ray simile, properly subordinating the effect to the cause. Plotinus did indeed reproduce it, but only as an alternative explanation of the world-process, and after him it seems to have been overlooked; strange fate for the best and still valid foundation for a spiritual monism.

Another achievement of Numenius’s seems to have been, not so much the divinization of the second Deity, that must have come from Philo Judaeus, as the philosophical or psychological foundation therefor. So we |193| learn that there are intelligibles that participate in the Ideas (N.37, 63); that there are forms in the intelligible (63); and that existence is not mingled with matter, but only with its energies (52). This cosmological foundation is supplemented by the psychological one, that presentation is a by-product of the synthetic power of the soul.

4. General Standpoint of Numenius. Numenius stands as the precursor of psychical research (45), and as the leader of scientific comparative religion. He considered it the chief duty of a philosopher to interpret the best result of philosophy to the common people; he thus was a prophet, in the best sense of the word.

From a philosophical stand-point, he was one of the first pragmatists, showing the limitations of logic, asserting a presentation of the actual facts of life; he was not afraid to be counted a dualist, if necessary, but he really sought a spiritual monism that would not close its eyes to the sanities of the situation. He was the first explicit champion of a return to Plato, and gives us the first philosophical study of mysticism, or allegorical interpretation.

Last, he interpreted life as, above all, a virile moral achievement, resulting in the universally attainable reward of the ecstasy, for which he properly supplied the necessary psychological foundation.

In these his general efforts, Numenius is no stranger to the noblest impulses of our own modern times whose scientific methods he anticipated in attempting to quote his authorities for any statement he made. In this respect at least, what a step backward do we observe in Plotinus! |194|

5. Contact With Theology. Numenius is perhaps the only recognized Greek philosopher who explicitly studied Moses, the prophets, and the life of Jesus, although he did so in a strictly comparative spirit, on an equality with the Brahmins, the Magi, and the Egyptians. His mention of Jamnes and Jambres by name seems to imply some special knowledge; his reference to the "Lawgiver" is very suggestive. Whatever influence he may have had on Christian thought, outside of Clement of Alexandria and Origen, we cannot trace positively. But we may unhesitatingly point out certain definite doctrines of his, which will speak for themselves. He was the first philosopher to teach both the unity of God (14), and three Gods in the divinity (39, 36), with definite names, approximating the Christian formulations (36), and besides, being "consubstantial" (25). This he based on Greek philosophy exclusively, drawing much from Philo. Elsewhere (p. 103) we have referred to his expressions reminding us of an arisen or standing divinity, of salvation, a sower-parable, of the "all in all," and of predestination; as well as of atonement, and immortality. That references so rich occur in mere fragments of his works makes us all the more regret the loss of their bulk. Even as they stand, these fragments form the earliest philosophical system of theology. Next was to come Plotinus with his illustration of the three faces around the same head (Ennead vi. 5.7), and his "eternal generation" (Ennead vi. 7.3, vi. 8.20).

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Index of Sources

1. Eusebius, Praeparatio evangelii, XIV. 4, p. 727 a.

2. Diogenes Laertius, VII 2, 24, 25; IV. 29, 33.

3. Ib. IV. 59.

4. Euseb. Praeparatio evangelii, XIV. 8.

5. Ib. sectio 2.

6. Ib. s. 13.

7.Ib. s. 14.

8.Ib. s. 15.

9 a. Euseb. Praeparatio evangelii, IX. 7, i.

9 b. Origenes contra Celsum I. 15. p. 13 H.

10. Euseb. Praeparatio evangelii, XI. 22 extr. p.543b, c; 32, 3.

11. Euseb. Praeparatio evangelii, XV. 17, I, 2.

12. Ib. s. 3.

13. Clemens Alexandrinus Stromata I. p. 411 Pott Oder Euseb. Praeparatio evangelii,IX, 6, 9, p. 411a.

14-18. Chalcidius commentarii in Platonis Timaeum cap. 293 bis 297, p. 393 sqq. Meurs. ’Nunc iam Pythagoricum dogma recenseatur Numenius eqs.’

19. Eusebius, Praeparatio evangelii, XI. 9,10 p. 5 25b.

20. Ib. p. 526.

21. Ib. p. 527a.

22. Ib. p. 527b.

23. Euseb. P. E. IX. 8, Orig. c. Cels. IV. 51.

24. Origenes contra Cels. IV. 51, p. 204. sq. H.

25. Euseb. Praeparatio evangelii, XI. 22, 3, p. 543.

26. Euseb. Praeparatio evangelii, XI. 18, 11, p. 536d.

27. Euseb. ib. p. 537.

28. Euseb. ib. XI. 18, p. 538.

29. Euseb. ib. ib. p. 538.

30. Euseb. ib. ib. p. 538.

31. Euseb. ib. p. 538.

32. Ib. ib. p. 539.

33. Euseb. XI. 22, 6, p. 544b.

34. Ib.

35. Porpbyrius, de antro nymph. 10. 34.

35b. Ib. c. 34.

36. Proclus, in Tim. p. 93; Philo LXX (1, 265 Mang.).

37. Syrian, in Aristotle Metaphysics p. 894 b, 24; cf. Proclus l. l. p. 249.

38. Proclus. l. l. p. 299.

39. Ib. p. 268.

40. Ib. p. 141.

41. Eusebius, Praeparatio evangelii, X in, 4 extr. p. 650c.

42. Macrobius, Saturn. I. 17, 65.

43. Olympiodorus, in Phaedonem, p. 66, 23 Finck. 44. Nemesius, περὶ πύοεωο ἀνθρώρου, p. 29 Aut. V (69 Matth).

45. Origines, contra Cels. V, 57.

46. Proclus in Tim. p. 187, 944

47. Proclus in Tim. p. 24, 26, 20c.

48. Iamblichus apud Stob. ecl. I. 44. 32. p. 896.

49. Ib. fr. 37, p. 894.

50. Ib. fr. 40, p. 910.

51. Ib. fr. 69, p. 1066.

52. Porphyrius, ap. Stob, ecl. I. 41, 25, p. 834.

53. Ib. p. 836.

54. Porphyrius, de antro nymph. Cap. 21, 22.

55. Olympiodorus in Phaed. p. 98, 10 Finkh.

56 Ioh. Philoponus in Aristotle de Anima, Venet. 1535, quat. A. f. 3rv. 8.

57. Aeneas Gazaeus, Theophrastus p. 12, Boiss. Oder 16.

58. Thedinga, p. 18. Origenes c. Cels. IV. 51.

59. Ib. 19. Macrobius in Somn. Scip. I, 219.

60. Proclus in Tim. 225a, 226.

61. Origines c. Cels. V. 38.

62. Proclus, in Tim., 24d.

63. Proclus, in Tim., 249a.

64. Grig. c. Cels. 7. 6.

65. Grig. c. Cels. 4. 51.

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Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie
1871–1940
Episcopal Priest, M.D., PhD., polymath, and self-published translator of several Greek Neoplatonic manuscripts, which have remained in print continuously.


Reference

Guthrie, Kenneth Sylvan. Numenius of Apamea, The Father of Neo-Platonism. London: George Bell and Sons; Grantwood, NJ: Comparative Literature Press, 1917. This work is in the public domain.