The Elements of Theology

By Proclus Diadochus

Preface to the Second Edition

Besides correcting a number of misprints and other minor errors inthe text, I have taken advantage of this reprint to bring the work more nearly up to date by providing an appendix of ‘Addenda et corrigenda’. Asterisks in the body of the book refer the reader to this appendix. My thanks are due to Father H. D. Saffrey, O.P., and to Mr. Lionel Strachan for helpful corrections; to Professor S. Pines and Dr. Richard Walzer for information about a fragmentary Arabic version; and above all to Dr. D. M. Lang and the Georgian Academy of Sciences, whose generous assistance hasenabled me to give a fuller account of Petritsi’s Georgian translation.

E. R. D.
Oxford, 12 April 1962.

Preface to the First Edition

This edition owes its inception to Professor A. E. Taylor, who indicated to me the need for something of the kind more years ago than I care to remember. Its publication has been rendered possible by the generosity of the Delegates of the Clarendon Press. I wish to take this opportunity of thanking all those who have helped me in the work of preparation, including the many librarians who have assisted me with information or by arranging, often at considerable personal trouble, for the loan of MSS. or their photographic reproduction. I owe an especial gratitude to Monsignor Mercati, for his courteous help in connexion with Vatican MSS.; to Mr. J. L. Zimmerman, for the loan of rotographs; to Mr. Stephen Gaselee, who arranged for me the transport of MSS. from abroad; to the Birmingham University Research Committee, who contributed to the cost of having MSS. photographed; to Mr. R. P. Blake, Director of the Harvard University Library, Professor R. P. Casey of the University of Cincinnati, and my colleague Professor S. Konovalov, who aided me to trace the history of the little-known Georgian and Armenian versions; and to Dr. S. Kauchtschischwili of the University of Tiflis, who has allowed me to use a portion of his unpublished collation of the Georgian. In the later stages of the work my prime helpers have been Professor A. D. Nock of Harvard, who read the whole book in manuscript and made a number of valuable suggestions; Mr. B. S. Page of this university, whose vigilant proof-reading has saved me from many inaccuracies; and the admirably patient Readers of the Press. For the imperfections which remain I alone am responsible.

E. R. D.
Oxford, 12 November 1962


In citing ancient texts for which custom has not yet established a universally recognized system of reference, I have usually specified the edition referred to. The following are the chief exceptions:

Proclus’ commentaries on the Alcibiades I and the Parmenides, also the de decem dubitationibus, de providentia et fato and de malorum subsistentia, are cited by pages and lines of Cousin’s 2nd edition (Procli Opera Inedita, Paris 1864); the other commentaries by pages and lines of the Teubner texts — in Cratylum sometimes also by paragraphs (small roman numerals); the Elements of Physics by paragraphs.

For the Platonic Theology I have where possible cited the book and chapter in addition to the page of the editio princeps; but the chapter numeration in the text of the edition is often faulty. Chapter numbers in brackets, e.g. III. (vi.) 126, refer to the more correct numbering given in the table of contents.

Plotinus is cited by the traditional subdivisions or by Volkmann’s pages and lines. For the convenience of readers I have usually given both references, the latter in brackets.

Porphyry’s ἀφορμαί (sententiae) by Mommert’s pages and lines, or by paragraphs (small roman numerals, Mommert’s numeration); fragments of the de regressu from Bidez’s Vie de Porphyre; other works by paragraphs.

Iamblichus de mysteriis by Parthey’s pages and lines, or by book and chapter; other works by pages and lines of the Teubner editions.

Sallustius by Nock’s pages and lines, or by chapters (small roman numerals).

Damascius by Ruelle’s pages and lines (the fragments of the Life of Isidorus by those of Asmus).

Stobaeus by Wachsmuth and Hense’s subdivisions, or by the pages and lines of their edition: Heeren’s pages are added in brackets.

Albinus (Alcinous) didascalicus (εἰσαγωγή) by C. F. Hermann’s pages and lines (Appendix Platonica, Teubner).

Nicolaus Methonensis ἀνάπτυξις της θεολογικης ιώσεωςστοιχε Πρόκλου (Anapryxis tēs theologikēs stoicheiōseōs Proklu Platōniku) by pages and lines of Voemel’s text (in Creuzer’s Initia Philosophiae, pars iv, Frankfurt, 1825).

Patristic texts by pages of the Patrologia, unless otherwise stated.

Modern works are cited by pages.

Arnou = R. Arnou, Le Désir de Dieu dans la Philosophie de Plotin (Paris, Alcan, n.d.).

Bidez C.M.A.G. = Bidez, Catalogue des MSS. Alchimiques Grecs, vol. vi. (containing Bidez’s Introductions to various works of Psellus and to Proclus’ fragment περὶ της καθ Ελληνας ἱερατικης τέχνης).

Geffcken, Ausgang = J. Geffcken, Der Ausgang des griechischrömischen Heidentums, 1920.

Inge3 = W. R. Inge, The Philosophy of Plotinus, 3rd ed., 1929.

L.S.8 = Liddell and Scott’s Lexicon, 8th ed.

Praechter, Richtungen = K. Praechter, Richtungen u. Schulen im Neuplatonismus (in Genethliakon Robert, pp. 105-56).

Reitzenstein, H.M.-R3 = R. Reitzenstein, Die Hellenistischen Mysterien-Religionen, 3rd ed., 1927.

Taylor, Phil. of Pr. = Taylor, A. E. Taylor, The Philosophy of Proclus, in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society XVIII (1918).

Uberweg-Geyer11 Ueberweg’s Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie, Band II, 11th ed.

Whittaker2 = T. Whittaker, The Neoplatonists, 2nd ed., 1918 (reprinted 1928).

Zeller III4 = E. Zeller, Die Philosophie der Griechen, Teil III, 4th (and 5th) ed.

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Chapter I.
§ 1. Character and Purpose of the ‘Elements of Theology’

He who presents the world with an elaborate edition of a book dating from the last age of Graeco-Roman decadence labours prima facie under the suspicion of contributing to that most extensive of all sciences, the Wissenschaft des Nichtwissenswerthen. My justification lies partly in the historical significance of Proclus as one of the chief links between ancient and medieval thought; partly in the unique position of the Elements of Theology as the one genuinely systematic exposition of Neoplatonic metaphysic which has come down to us.

For the student, and especially for one who is grappling for the first time with this complicated body of thought, its systematic character lends it an importance second only to that of the Enneads of Plotinus. The Enneads, though they stand on an incomparably higher philosophical level than any subsequent product of the school, are in form a collection of occasional essays or lectures. Originating as they did in school discussions,1 they are not, and were not meant to be, either individually or collectively, the ordered exposition of a system: each essay presupposes a large body of doctrine common to the writer and his audience, and proceeds at once to illuminate some particular aspect of it which has been discussed at the seminar (τὰς ἐμπιπτούσας ὑποθέσεις, Porphyry, vita Plotinus 4) or to examine some ἀπορία which has been raised in connexion with it. The general logical principles which form the structural skeleton of the system are for the most part referred to only incidentally, and their structural significance remains implicit, becoming clear only upon a comparison of a number of different passages. Among later works, neither Porphyry’s ἀφορμαὶ πρὸς τὰ νοητά nor the little treatise of Sallustius περὶ θεων καὶ κόςμου presents the system as a structurally coherent unity. Both seem designed rather for the general public of their time than for professional students of philosophy; and in both the selection of material is governed less by considerations of logic than by an ethical or religious purpose. The ἀφορμαὶ, as we have it now,2 |x| is a disjointed and lop-sided collection of edifying thoughts, mainly quotations from or paraphrases of Plotinus, some in the form of brief apophthegms, others expanded into little essays. The περὶ θεων καὶ κόςμου is “an official catechism of the pagan Empire,”3 the work of a man interested in philosophy less for its own sake than as a means of fortifying the minds of the next generation against the corrupting influence of Christianity.

In strong contrast with these earlier manuals, the Elements of Theology is a purely academic and theoretical work, containing little or nothing that appears to be directed either to spiritual edification or to religious controversy. It is, as Bréhier observes,4 an “oeuvre de professeur assagi par une longue tradition scolaire.” And it is nothing if not systematic. We may regard it, in fact, as an attempt to supply the comprehensive scheme of reality desiderated by Plato in the seventh book of the Republic — to exhibit, that is to say, all forms of true Being as necessary consequences derived in conformity with certain general laws from a single ἀρχή. It is not, indeed, a complete epitome of Neoplatonism; for the constitution of the changing world beneath the moon belongs not to θεολογία but to φυσιολογία, and ethics too are touched on only incidentally, since the main concern of θεολογία is with “procession” and not with “reversion.” But it is a complete system of “theology” in the Aristotelian sense of “first philosophy” or metaphysic.5 The book falls into two main sections. The first of these (props, 1 to 112) introduces successively the general metaphysical antitheses with which Neoplatonism operated — unity and plurality, cause and consequent, the unmoved, the self-moved and the passively mobile, transcendence and immanence, declension and continuity, procession and reversion, causa sui and causatum, eternity and time, substance and reflection, whole and part, active and passive potency, limit and infinitude, being, life, and cognition. The remaining part (props. 113 to 211) expounds in the light of these antitheses the relations obtaining within each of the three great orders of spiritual substance, gods or henads, intelligences, and souls; and the relations connecting each of these orders with the lower grades of reality. The emphasis throughout is on structure; and for this reason, abstract and desiccated as the treatise appears on a first acquaintance, it has for the student of Neoplatonism the same sort of value relatively to the Enneads which the study of anatomy has for the zoologist relatively to the examination of the living and breathing animal. |xi|

The style6 and method of the book are in strict conformity with its systematic purpose, and therefore differ considerably from those employed by Proclus in his longer works. The vast prolixities of exposition which uncoil their opulence in the bulky and shapeless sentences that fill most of the 1100 pages of the Timaeus commentary, and riot unchecked in the jungle of the Platonic Theology, are here pruned to a brevity which leaves no room for parenthetic digression or rhetorical ornament. And in place of the constant appeals to authority — now to Plato, now to “Orpheus” or the Chaldaean Oracles — which irritate the reader of the major works and confuse him by their ingenuity of misinterpretation, in the Elements of Theology Proclus has adopted, at least in appearance, the method of pure a priori deduction known to the ancient mathematicians as synthesis and familiar to us from Euclid and Spinoza. It is substantially, as Professor Taylor points out,7 the Platonic method of hypothesis; and Proclus found a model for it in the hypothetical argumentations put into the mouth of Parmenides in Plato’s dialogue of that name.8 As a means of exhibiting succinctly the logical presuppositions on which a system of belief implicitly rests it has great and obvious advantages. To carry the method through a philosophical work with the degree of formal precision attempted in the Elements of Theology is, however, no easy task, whatever the system expounded. Ingenious as Proclus is, too often his “demonstration,” though formally correct, in fact merely repeats the “enunciation” at greater length; and lapses even from formal correctness of reasoning may be detected here and there,9 though less frequently than one might have expected. These weaknesses are inherent in the method: the coherence of a body of philosophical thought cannot be fully expressed in a chain of logically flawless syllogisms.

A more serious fault is Proclus’ trick of confusing the accidental with the essential by introducing in the guise of a priori deductions doctrines which owe their form, and even sometimes their being, to |xii| a chance phrase in the Timaeus or the Chaldaean Oracles. Although no authorities are directly quoted in the Elements of Theology, its pages are haunted by the ghosts of authorities. Genuinely “free” thought was no more possible to a pagan writer in the fifth century after Christ than it was to his Christian contemporaries. There is, it is true, a substantial difference of method between Proclus and, for example, his Christian imitator “Dionysius”: the latter makes no pretence of reaching any of his conclusions by argument, but is content, when he cannot find a suitable scriptural text, to quote “Hierotheus” as sole and sufficient authority. But when Mr. Whittaker in his zeal for Proclus’ reputation goes so far as to deny that he is a scholastic “in the sense that he in principle takes any doctrine whatever simply as given from without,”10 he forgets for the moment that Proclus too had his scriptures. Plato is to Proclus something more than the supreme master and teacher which he is for Plotinus: he is definitely an inspired writer. His philosophy is an “illumination” (ἔκλαμψις), “according to the beneficent purpose of the higher powers, which to the souls that haunt generation, in so far as it is lawful for them to enjoy blessings so high and great, revealed therein their secret intelligence and the truth which is as old as the universe.”11 Nor is this the only revelation which the gods have vouchsafed. Have they not spoken to us more directly in the Chaldaean Oracles, uttered by them through the entranced lips of their servant Julianus, the theurgist “whom it is unlawful to disbelieve”?12 All that they tell us, and all that Plato tells us, we must “take as given”: our task is only to interpret. Where the two revelations appear to conflict, as unfortunately happens in some passages,13 the appearance is due to the crudity of our interpretation. The rest of Greek philosophy is in a different class: its chief usefulness is to enable us “to explain the obscure passages in Plato by the help of the nearest analogies in the doctrine of others.”14 All this is strictly parallel to Christian proceedings; and it accounts for the odd saying attributed to Proclus by his biographer Marinus,15 “If I had it in my power, out of all ancient books I would suffer to be current only the Oracles and the Timaeus; the rest I would cause to vanish from the world of today, because certain persons suffer actual injury from their |xiii| undirected and uncritical reading.” This remarkable pronouncement has often been misunderstood. It does not mean that the most learned Hellenist of his day wished to make a holocaust of Greek literature; he only wished to restrict its circulation for the time being to the initiates of Neoplatonism. Nor does it, I fear, mean, as Mr. Whittaker suggests it may,16 that Proclus had “seen the necessity of a break in culture if a new line of intellectual development was ever to be struck out.” New lines of intellectual development were as inconceivable to Proclus as to his Christian adversaries. Their business was to preserve the uninstructed from the poison of pagan philosophy; his, to preserve them from the deadly errors of such as put Aristotle on a level with Plato or set up Moses as a rival to the Chaldaeans. To either end a drastic censorship of literature was in an uneducated world the only practical expedient. When the gods have told us what to think, the study of man-made opinions becomes for the commonalty both unnecessary and dangerous, though scholars may profit by it.17 “In fact,” as Bidez has recently said, “this anti-Christian philosophy was more like the new faith which it attacked than like the ancient religion which it defended.” Top ↑

§ 2. The Place of the ‘Elements of Theology’ in the Work of Proclus

If we group the philosophical writings of Proclus according to their method and content they fall naturally into the following classes: —

1. The extant commentaries on the Republic, Parmenides, Timaeus, and Alcibiades I; and the commentary on the Cratylus, of which we possess only excerpts. All these show clear traces of their origin in lecture-courses; and the Cratylus excerpts may well be taken not from any published work of Proclus but from a pupil’s notebook. Among the lost writings are commentaries on the Phaedo, Gorgias, Phaedrus, Theaetetus, and Philebus and on the Chaldaean Oracles, and possibly others.18 The ἐπίσκεψις των πρὸς τρὸς τὸν Τίμαιον ’Αςιστοτέλους |xiv| ἀντιρρ ή σεων and the συναγωγὴ των τρὸς τὸν Τίμαιον μαθηματικων θεωρημάτων appear to have been respectively prolegomena and appendix to the Timaeus commentary.

2. The Platonic Theology, which shares to a great extent the exegetic character of the commentaries. Of the Orphic Theology and the Harmony of Orpheus, Pythagoras and Plato (both now lost) Proclus seems to have been editor rather than author.19

3. A group of lost works on religious symbolism,20 on theurgy, against the Christians, on Hecate and on the myth of Cybele. These are represented for us only by the fragment de sacrificio et magia, which, previously known only in Ficino’s Latin version, has now been published in the original Greek by Bidez (Catalogue des MSS. Alchimiques Grecs, VI. 148 ff.).

4. A number of occasional essays, three of which, the de decem dubitationibus circa providentiam, the de providentia et fato, and the de malorum subsistentia, survive in the mediaeval Latin version of William of Morbecca. To this class belonged the περὶ τόπου and (if this was an independent work) the περὶ των τριων μονάδων: also perhaps the controversial πραγματεία καθαρτικὴ των δογμάτωντου Πλάτωνος, which was directed against Domninus.

5. The two systematic manuals, the Elements of Theology and the Elements of Physics (formerly known as περί κινήσεως). These are distinguished from the other extant works by the use of the deductive method and the absence of reference to authorities.21

The attempt to determine the order of composition of these multifarious works is beset with difficulty. None of them contains any reference to external events by which it can be dated; and Proclus’ biographer supplies no such full chronological materials as |xv| Porphyry gives in the Life of Plotinus. He tells us (c. xiii) that Proclus had composed the commentary on the Timaeus, “and much else,” by his twenty-eighth year (a.d. 437-8); this is the only absolute date which we possess,22 and, as will presently appear, it is not really absolute. At first sight it would seem that the numerous references to other works of the author which occur in the commentaries furnish an easy means of fixing the relative dates of his writings; and a chronological arrangement based mainly on this evidence was proposed by Freudenthal.23 In this arrangement the Elements of Theology appears as the earliest of Proclus’ extant works (with the possible exception of the Elements of Physics); seven further works intervene between it and the Timaeus commentary, so that it is presumably a product of its author’s early twenties. Considerable doubt, however, is cast on these conclusions by a circumstance to which Praechter has called attention,24 viz. the existence of cross-references from the in Timaeus to the in Rempublicam and vice versa — showing that Proclus was in the habit of making additions to his commentaries after they had already been made public either in book-form or (more probably) as lectures. This fact seems to render futile any attempt to “date” the commentaries as we have them;25 and it invalidates many of the arguments by which Freudenthal supported his dating of the other extant works. As regards these latter almost the only certain conclusion to be drawn from the data collected by Freudenthal is that the Platonic Theology presupposes the publication in some form of the commentaries on the Timaeus and the Parmenides, both of which it cites. In the three Latin treatises no earlier works are mentioned by name; the de malorum subsistentia contains, however, what is probably, though not certainly, a reference to the Elements of Theology.26 There are also possible |xvi| allusions to the Elements of Theology in the in Timaeus and the in Parmenides;27 but we have no assurance that these references, even if they have been rightly identified, were not first introduced in a later revision of the commentaries. And the fact that the Elements of Theology itself contains no references to earlier works is (pace Freudenthal) of no evidential value whatever, since the method of the book precluded such references.

Freudenthal’s contention as to the early date of the Elements does not, however, rest entirely on evidence of this type. He asserts that Proclus is here still completely dependent on Plotinus and Porphyry, and that a wide gulf separates the doctrine of the manual from that of the Platonic Theology (which he places, probably rightly, at or near the end of Proclus’ literary career). The statement about the complete dependence of the Elements of Theology on Plotinus and Porphyry is repeated with little qualification by Zeller and others after him, but is rightly challenged by Mr Whittaker. How far it is from being true will be shown in the next section: it is sufficient to say here that the treatise is not only coloured throughout by the language and thought of Iamblichus but gives a prominent place to doctrines, such as that of the divine henads, which are peculiar (so far as we know) to the Athenian school. It is, however, true that there are considerable differences, though little in the way of direct contradiction, between the doctrine of the Elements of Theology on the one hand and that of the Platonic Theology and the commentaries on the other. In the first place, a number of secondary elaborations which appear in the latter are entirely missing from the former: among these may be mentioned the interposition between the “intelligible” and the “intellectual” gods of an intermediate class who are both intelligible and intellectual; the subdivision of the “supra-mundane” order of gods into ἀρχικοί (ἀφομοιωματικοί) and ἀπόλυτοι θεοί; and the subdivision into subordinate triads of the fundamental triad Being-Life-Intelligence.28 Secondly, certain of the late Neoplatonic doctrines which do appear in the Elements seem to have an insecure place there or to be rather carelessly combined with the Plotinian tradition: the most striking example of this is the twofold usage of the term νους [noûs], sometimes for the Plotinian hypostasis (as in props. 20, 57, 109, 112, 129, 171), sometimes for the lowest member of the |xvii| triad ὄν-ζωή-νους (prop, 101 etc.), without any warning to the reader or the addition of any distinguishing adjective; so too the Iamblichean doctrine of ἀμέθεκτα, accepted elsewhere in the Elements, seems to be ignored in prop. 109; and echoes of Plotinus’ teaching about the status of the human soul survive in imperfect harmony with theorems derived from Iamblichus.29 Such loose joints are discoverable elsewhere in Proclus’ work, but they are as a rule more skilfully concealed. Finally, all direct reference either to personal mysticism or to theurgy is absent from the Elements.

The importance of these facts for the dating of the Elements will be variously estimated. Those in the second category seem to me the most significant. The absence of certain subordinate distinctions may well be due merely to a desire for brevity and lucidity, though it is less easy to account in this way for the omission of the θεοὶ νοητοὶ καὶ νοεροί.30 In a voluminous writer who has an elaborate system to expound some minor variations and even inconsistencies are in any case to be expected; and in fact such variations may be observed, not only on comparing the commentaries with one another and the Platonic Theology, but sometimes even within the limits of a single work.31 Direct reference to mystical experiences or to occult practice may have been felt to be out of keeping with the rationalist character of the Elements or to infringe upon its a priori method of argument: that Proclus in fact believed in theurgy when he wrote it can hardly be doubted (cf. notes on props. 39 and 145). Nevertheless, the evidence as a whole seems to me to point definitely, if not quite decisively, to the conclusion that the Elements is a relatively early work. This is not to say, however, that it should be assigned with Christ-Schmid to the year 432 (when Proclus was twenty-two!): to regard it as the prentice essay of an undergraduate who has not yet developed “his own system” is a complete misconception. The system expounded in the Platonic Theology and the metaphysical commentaries is substantially the same as that of the Elements; and, as we shall see in a moment, scarcely anything in it is of Proclus’ own invention.

A minor question concerns the relationship of the Elements of Theology to the Elements of Physics. From the fact that the latter is based almost exclusively on Aristotle’s Physics its latest editor, |xviii| Ritzenfeld, argues that it was composed at a very early stage in Proclus’ philosophical education, when he was reading Aristotle with Syrianus (Marinus, vita Proculus c. xiii): he would therefore separate it from the relatively mature Elements of Theology. But the argument is not cogent; for in physics Aristotle is accepted by all the later Neoplatonists, no less than by their medieval successors, as the supreme authority. And the discrepancy alleged by Ritzenfeld between Elements of Physics II. prop. 19 and Elements of Theology prop. 14 disappears on examination.32 he two manuals resemble each other so closely in style and phraseology that I am inclined to accept the usual and natural view that they were composed about the same period of Proclus’ life and were intended to be complementary.

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§ 3. Proclus and His Predecessors

The body of thought whose structure is anatomized for us in the Elements of Theology is not the creation of one individual or of one age; it represents the last result of a speculative movement extending over some five centuries. If we look at this movement as a whole we can see that its direction is throughout determined mainly by two impulses, one theoretical and the other practical or religious. On the theoretical side it reflects the desire to create a single Hellenic philosophy which should supersede the jarring warfare of the sects by incorporating with the Platonic tradition all that was best in Aristotle, in Pythagoreanism and in the teaching of the Porch. On the practical side we can best understand it as a series of attempts to meet the supreme religious need of the later Hellenistic period by somehow bridging the gulf between God and the soul; to construct, that is to say, within the framework of traditional Greek rationalism a scheme of salvation capable of comparison and rivalry with those offered by the mystery religions.

In recent years we have learned to recognize with increasing clearness the directive influence of both these motives upon the teaching of Poseidonius, the first of the three dominant personalities who have left their individual impress upon Neoplatonism. But the Poseidonian synthesis was neither wide enough nor sufficiently coherent to win permanent acceptance; and the Poseidonian solution of the religious problem was too deeply infused with Stoic materialism for an age which was coming more and more to demand |xix| a purely spiritual conception both of God and of the soul. It was reserved for the dialectical genius of Plotinus to translate into achievement the ideal of philosophic unity, and for his mystical genius to transfer the “return of the soul” from the domain of astral myth to that of inner experience. Though Plotinus is commonly treated as the founder of Neoplatonism, in the wider movement we are considering he stands not at the point of origin but at the culminating crest of the wave. Formally, the later Neoplatonic school owes more to him than to any other individual thinker save Plato; yet spiritually he stands alone. He left to his successors a dialectical instrument of matchless power and delicacy and a vivid tradition of personal mysticism in the proper sense of that term, as the actual experience of the merging of the self at certain moments into some larger life. But within two generations the dialectical tension of opposites which is the nerve of the Plotinian system was threatening to sink into a meaningless affirmation of incompatibles; and “unification” (ἕνωσις) had ceased to be a living experience or even a living ideal and had become a pious formula on the lips of professors. At this point the history of Greek philosophy would have come to an end but for the introduction of new methods, both theoretical and practical, by the Syrian Iamblichus (d. circa 330).

The historical importance of Iamblichus has hardly been sufficiently recognized, no doubt because his metaphysical works have perished and the outlines of his doctrine have to be reconstructed mainly from Proclus’ report of his teachings together with the fragments preserved by Stobaeus and the semi-philosophical treatise On the Mysteries of the Egyptians.33> Mystagogue and thaumaturgist though he was, and in intellectual quality immeasurably inferior to a Poseidonius or a Plotinus, his contribution to the final shaping of Neoplatonism is scarcely less than theirs. With him, as Praechter has said,34 begins not merely a new school but a fresh direction of thought. Not only can we trace to him many individual doctrines which have an important place in the later system, but the dialectical principles which throughout control its architecture, the law of mean terms,35 the triadic scheme of μονή, πρόοδος and ἐπιστροφή,36 and the |xx| mirroring at successive levels of identical structures,37 though in part derived from earlier origins, appear to have received at his hands their first systematic application. To him rather than to Proclus belongs the honour or the reproach of being the first scholastic. Not less important is the new religious outlook, which discovered the key to salvation not in the Plotinian θεωρία, but in θεουργία, a form of ritualistic magic whose theoretical text-book was the Chaldaean Oracles, and whose procedure has its nearest parallels in the Graeco-Egyptian magical papyri. This change is a natural corollary to the humbler cosmic status assigned by Iamblichus and most of his successors to the human soul.38 As the ancient world staggered to its death, the sense of man’s unworthiness grew more oppressive, and the mystical optimism of Plotinus came to seem fantastic and almost impious: not by the effort of his own brain and will can so mean a creature as man attain the distant goal of “unification.” “It is not thought,” says Iamblichus,39 “that links the theurgist to the gods: else what should hinder the theoretical philosopher from enjoying theurgic union with them? The case is not so. Theurgic union is attained only by the perfective operation of the unspeakable acts correctly performed, acts which are beyond all understanding; and by the power of the unutterable symbols which are intelligible only to the gods.” With that the whole basis of the Plotinian intellectual mysticism is rejected, and the door stands open to all those superstitions of the lower culture which Plotinus had condemned in that noble apology for Hellenism, the treatise Against the Gnostics.40

In the light of this necessarily brief and incomplete outline of the development of Neoplatonism, and especially of the part played in it by Iamblichus, we may turn to consider what personal contribution was made by Proclus and in what relation he stands to his predecessors. On both questions widely different opinions have been expressed. Geffcken41 describes Proclus and his school as “philosophasters sleep-walking in a Utopian world,” and Christ-Schmid 42 calls him “an apologist who nowhere seeks to promote the |xxi| knowledge of truth, a compiler without spiritual independence.” To Whittaker,43 on the other hand, he is “not only a great systematizer but a deep-going original thinker”; and Prof. Taylor44 considers that “for the historian of thought his significance is hardly second to that of Plotinus himself.” Again, while Zeller45 represents the Athenian school (of which Proclus is for us the leading representative) as returning from the more extreme aberrations of Iamblichus to “a stricter dialectical procedure,” Praechter46 denies that there is any foundation for such a view: “the Athenian school goes full sail in the wake of the Syrian.”

As regards the second point, an analysis of the sources of the Elements, such as I have attempted in my commentary, tends generally to confirm Praechter’s opinion. It is true that the greater part of the treatise agrees with Plotinus in substance if not in form, and that occasional verbal echoes both of the Enneads47 and of Porphyry’s ἀφορμαί48 are not wanting. But (a) even the “Plotinian” theorems not infrequently betray intermediate influences both in their language and in the hardening to a “law” of what in Plotinus is the tentative expression of an individual intuition. (b) There are a number of particular doctrines which we can trace with more or less confidence to Iamblichus either as their originator or as the first to give them systematic importance: among them are the doctrine of “unparticipated” terms (prop. 23, etc.); that of “self-constituted” principles (props. 40-51); much of Proclus’ teaching about time and eternity (props. 52-5); the classification of gods (props. 162-5) and of souls (props. 184-5); the definite denial that the soul ever attains release from the circle of birth (prop. 206) and that any part of it remains “above” (prop. 211). (c) Even more important than these are the general structural |xxii| principles mentioned above as having been developed by Iamblichus. Again and again in the Elements, Proclus justifies his multiplication of entities, like Iamblichus in the same circumstances,49 by reference to the “law of mean terms,” viz. that two, doubly disjunct terms AB and not-A not-B cannot be continuous, but must be linked by an intermediate term, either A not-B or B not-A, which forms a ‘triad’ with them.50 Not less frequently does he save the unity of his system or reconcile conflicting traditions with the help of the principle — perhaps Neopythagorean, but first systematically applied, so far as we know, by Iamblichus — that “all things are in all things, but in each according to its proper nature.”51 And the exploitation at successive levels of the triad μονή-πρόοδος-ἐπιστροφή, which Zeller regarded as especially characteristic of Proclus, seems to be again a legacy from his too ingenious predecessor.52 Finally, (d) a comparison of the Elements with the de mysteriis shows that a considerable proportion of Proclus’ technical terminology was inherited from Iamblichus.53

The impression thus gained from the Elements is strengthened when we turn to Proclus’ other works. Iamblichus is for him ὁ πάντας ἐν πασιν ὀλίγου δέω φάναι κρατων;54 he shares with Plotinus the honorific epithet θειος or θειότατος (whereas Aristotle is merely δαιμόνιος). Proclus ventures to criticize him but rarely, and then with a hint of apology in his tone. 55 In the matter of superstitious respect for theurgy there seems little to choose between the two writers. According to Proclus it is “a power higher than all human wisdom, embracing the blessings of divination, the purifying powers of initiation, and in a word all the operations of divine possession.”56 Like Iamblichus, he thinks that “it is not by an act of discovery, nor by the activity proper to their being, that individual things are united to the One,”57 but by the mysterious operation of the occult |xxiii| “symbols” which reside in certain stones, herbs and animals.58 It is true that he is fond of introducing into his descriptions of “theurgic union” Plotinian tags such as μόνος μόνω συνειναι; but what for Plotinus was the living utterance of experience seems to be for him literary tradition. It is significant that Marinus never claims for his hero that he enjoyed direct union with God, as Plotinus and on one occasion Porphyry had done: instead he tells us that he was an expert in weather-magic and in the technique of evocation, and that while practising “the Chaldaean purifications” he was vouchsafed personal visions of luminous phantoms sent by Hecate.59 The fundamental change of outlook after Porphyry is clearly recognized and stated by Olympiodorus, who remarks that “some put philosophy first, as Porphyry, Plotinus etc.; others the priestly art (ἱερατικήν), as Iamblichus, Syrianus, Proclus and all the priestly school.”60

After making deduction of all theorems directly derived from Plato,61 Aristotle62 and Plotinus, and also of such as we have positive grounds for attributing to Iamblichus or other fourth-century writers,63 there is still in the Elements a substantial residue of ἀδέσποτα. But it must not be assumed that this residue represents the personal contribution of Proclus. Behind Proclus stands the figure of his master Syrianus, that teacher “filled with divine truth” who “came to earth as the benefactor of banished souls.… and fount of salvation both to his own and to future generations.”64 Proclus is said to have been chosen by Syrianus as “the heir capable of inheriting his vast learning and divine doctrine”;65 and to this rôle he remained faithful throughout his life. Seldom in the commentaries does he |xxiv| venture to innovate substantially upon earlier tradition without appealing to the authority of his teacher, guide and spiritual father, whose doctrine is his “trusty anchor.”66 Zeller and others have suspected him, it is true, of using Syrianus as a stalking-horse, or at any rate of unconsciously introducing his own ideas into reports of Syrianus’ teaching; but Olympiodorus makes the opposite accusation, that he put forward as his own certain of his master’s ideas, even perhaps of his master’s writings (in Phaedo 52. 18 Norvin). As no systematic treatise from the hand of Syrianus is preserved to us it is impossible fully to confirm or dispose of these conflicting suggestions. But sufficient evidence can be gleaned from Syrianus’ extant commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics to show that most of the theories commonly regarded as characteristic of Proclus were in fact anticipated, at least in part, by his master (who in turn may, of course, have taken them from some predecessor now lost). This appears to be the case with the most striking of all the later innovations, the doctrine of “divine henads,” which fills about a quarter of the Elements:67 I have tried to show in the commentary (note on sect. L) that these henads come from Plato’s Philebus by way of Neopythagoreanism, and that they were identified with the gods by Syrianus, though much secondary elaboration was no doubt contributed by Proclus. In the same category are the important principles that the causal efficacy of the higher hypostasis extends further down the scale of existence than that of the lower,68 and that generic characters in the effect proceed from a higher source than the specific;69 the exaltation of πέρας; and ἀπειρία into cosmogonic ἀρχαί (again a borrowing from Neopythagoreanism);70 “the curious doctrine of relative infinitude71; and the modification of earlier views on the relation of the Intelligence to the Forms.72 Were Syrianus’ other works preserved, this list could probably be extended; but even as it stands it suffices to prove that, in so far as a new direction was given to Neoplatonism after it took up its headquarters at Athens, that direction had already been determined |xxv| before Proclus succeeded to the chair of Plato. And the view that Proclus was not an innovator but a systematizer of other men’s ideas is strongly confirmed by the evidence of Marinus. Anxious as the latter naturally is to make the most of his hero’s originality, the best example of it which he can find is a minor change in the classification of ψυχαί;73 the main claim which he makes for him as a philosopher is that he expounded and harmonized all earlier theologies “both Greek and barbarian,” and critically sifted the theories of all previous commentators, keeping what was fruitful and rejecting the rest.74

Proclus, then, is not a creative thinker even in the degree of Iamblichus, but a systematizer who carried to its utmost limits the ideal of the one comprehensive philosophy that should embrace all the garnered wisdom of the ancient world. To attempt an absolute valuation of the system which he expounded lies outside the scope of this edition. I will only say that its fundamental weakness seems to me to lie in the assumption that the structure of the cosmos exactly reproduces the structure of Greek logic. All rationalist systems are to some extent exposed to criticism on these lines; but in Proclus ontology becomes so manifestly the projected shadow of logic as to present what is almost a reductio ad absurdum of rationalism. In form a metaphysic of Being, the Elements embodies what is in substance a doctrine of categories: the cause is but a reflection of the “because,” and the Aristotelian apparatus of genus, species and differentia is transformed into an objectively conceived hierarchy of entities or forces.75

Yet as the extreme statement of that rationalism which dominated European thought longer and to deeper effect than any other method, the Elements remains a work of very considerable philosophical interest. And its author was certainly something more than the superstitious pedant pictured for us by certain writers. Superstitious he unquestionably was, and pedantic also: in the fifth century after Christ it could hardly be otherwise. He believes in mermaids and dragons,76 in goat-footed Pans,77 in statues that move without contact like the tables of the spiritualists;78 from the fact that the Man in the Moon has eyes and ears but no nose or mouth he can argue seriously that astral gods possess only the two higher senses;79 and his interpretative zeal is such that a personage in a Platonic dialogue |xxvi| has but to smile for him to scent a profound symbolic meaning.80 Yet the man who was capable of these puerilities reveals not only in the Elements but in many passages of the commentaries a critical acumen and a systematic grasp not easily to be matched within the post-classical period in any philosophical writer save Plotinus. The paradox of Proclus has been well expressed by Freudenthal, 81, “in Proclus’ doctrines are profundity with boundless superstition, crystal-clear dialectics with illogical vagueness of concepts, healthy criticism with naive religious disbelief, mathematical thoughtfulness with the unreasonableness of a miraculous mysticism82 entwined into an indissoluble knot.” But critics are inclined to forget that Proclus’ qualities were all but unique in an age when his defects were all but universal. Standing as he does on the desert frontier between two worlds, with his face turned towards the vanishing world of Hellenism, he makes in the perspective of history a figure rather pathetic than heroic; to see his achievement in its true proportion we must set it against the impoverished and tormented background of his own century and those that followed. In this sense historians of Greek philosophy have in general done him considerably less than justice. Historians of the Middle Ages, on the other hand, are beginning to realize his importance in another aspect, as one of the fountain-heads of that Neoplatonic tradition which, mingling unrecognized with the slow-moving waters of medieval thought, issued beyond them at last to refertilize the world at the Renaissance. Wholly preoccupied as he was with the past, the philosophy of Proclus is not merely a summation of bygone achievement: the accident of history has given it also the significance of a new beginning.

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The influence which Proclus exercised upon early medieval thought may be called accidental, in the sense that it would scarcely have been felt but for the activity of the unknown eccentric who within a generation of Proclus’ death conceived the idea of dressing his philosophy in Christian draperies and passing it off as the work of a |xxvii| convert of St. Paul. Though challenged by Hypatius of Ephesus and others, in official quarters the fraud84 met with complete and astonishing success. Not only did the works of ‘Dionysius the Areopagite’ escape the ban of heresy which they certainly merited, but by 649 they had become an “Urkunde” sufficiently important for a Pope to bring before the Lateran Council a question concerning a disputed reading in one of them. About the same date they were made the subject of an elaborate commentary by Maximus the Confessor, the first of a long succession of commentaries from the hands of Erigena, Hugh of St. Victor, Robert Grosseteste, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas and others. ‘Dionysius’ rapidly acquired an authority second only to that of Augustine. In the East his negative theology and his hierarchical schematism exercised a powerful influence on John of Damascus (d. circa 750), who in turn influenced the later scholastics through the Latin version of his ἔκδοσις της ὀρθοδόξου πίστεως {An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith} made in 1151. But ‘Dionysius’ also affected western thought more directly, first through the clumsy translation made by Erigena in 858, and later through the versions of Johannes Saracenus and Robert Grosseteste. In Erigena’s own treatise de divisione naturae the Neoplatonism of ‘Dionysius’85 became the basis of a comprehensive world-system; it reappears in later writers like Simon of Tournai and Alfredus Anglicus, and influenced Bonaventura, Aquinas and Descartes.86 The authenticity of Dionysius’ works was denied by the renaissance humanist Laurentius Valla, but was not finally disproved until the nineteenth century (there are still Catholic theologians who profess belief in it).

The extent of pseudo-Dionysus’s dependence on Proclus was first fully revealed by the work of the Jesuit Stiglmayr and especially by the elaborate study of H. Koch, Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita in seinen Beziehungen zum Neuplatonismus u. Mysterienwesen. They show that not only did he reproduce with a minimum of Christian disguise the whole structure of Athenian Neoplatonism and take over practically |xxviii| the whole of its technical terminology,87 but he followed Proclus slavishly in many of the details of his doctrine. A single example from Koch must here suffice: Proclus in Alcibiades II 153 Cousin1 [as compared to] pseudo-Dionysus De divinis nominibus 4. 10. Many other borrowings are noted in the commentary. The effect of his imitations is not infrequently grotesque, as when he transfers to Christ and the Holy Ghost the epithets with which Proclus had adorned his henads.88

While Proclus was thus conquering Europe in the guise of an early Christian, in his own person he seems to have been studied at first only for the purpose of refuting his system and then not at all. At Alexandria the heritage of the Neoplatonic school passed without any breach of continuity into the hands of such Christian successors as Johannes Philoponus;89 but the resolute paganism of Proclus and the other Athenian Neoplatonists90 precluded any such evolution in their case. In the sixth century Proclus’ teaching was still sufficiently influential to call for detailed refutation — witness the extant work of Philoponus de aeternitate mundi contra Proclum, and the treatise composed by Procopius of Gaza in answer to Proclus’ commentary on the τελεστικά of Julianus.91 But thereafter, as Aristotle became the one officially licensed philosopher of the Byzantine world, Proclus and his brother Platonists sank into an obscurity from which they were retrieved only by the humanist revival under the Comneni.

During this period of eclipse, however, the knowledge of Proclus’ work was diffused in the East. His commentaries on Republic Book X, |xxix| the Gorgias, the Phaedo and (unless this is a misattribution) the Golden Verses, are known to have been translated into Syriac.92 Fragmentary Arabic versions of the two last-named are also recorded;93 and various others of his works were known at least by name to Mohammedan scholars.94 We hear also of an Arabic work by the physician Razi, entitled “Concerning Doubt, in connexion with [or, against] Proclus”; and of an Arabic version of the de aeternitate mundi contra Proclum.95 The de causis, of which we shall have occasion to speak in a moment, is thought by O. Bardenhewer, the editor of the Arabic text, to have been compiled from an Arabic translation of the Elements of Theology;96 but no record of such a translation has as yet been discovered, unless, with August Müller, we interpret in this sense an obscure entry in Haji Khalfa’s Lexicon Bibliographicum et Encyclopaedicum.97 The Elements of Theology was, however, translated into Georgian, with a commentary, by John Petritsi98 early in the twelfth century; thence99 into Armenian by the monk Simeon of Garni in 1248; furnished with a new Armenian commentary by bishop Simeon of Djulfa in the seventeenth century; and finally retranslated from the Armenian into Georgian in 1757.100 On these versions, which are still extant, see below, pp. xli-ii. They are of interest as showing a fairly continuous study of Proclus in the Near East from the later Middle Ages down to the eighteenth century.

Of much greater historical importance than these is the Liber de |xxx| causis, which passed in medieval times for the work of Aristotle, but is in fact (as Aquinas recognized101), a translation of an Arabic work based on the Elements of Theology. The original Arabic book, which has been published with a German version by O. Bardenhewer, would seem to have been composed by a Mohammedan writer in the ninth century. It was rendered into Latin between 1167 and 1187 by Gerhard of Cremona, and is constantly cited as an authority from Alanus ab Insulis (end of the twelfth century) onwards. It exists also in an Armenian102 and in no fewer than four Hebrew103 versions. The additions made to it by Albertus Magnus contain further material derived ultimately from the Elements, doubtless again, as Degen104 thinks, through an Arabic intermediary. In this extended form it was used by Dante, and is probably the main source of the Neoplatonic ideas which appear in the Convito and the Divine Comedy.105

Proclus’ ideas were thus for the second time introduced to Europe under a false name of singular inappropriateness. His direct influence upon the Byzantine world begins only with the renaissance of Platonism in the eleventh century, upon the Latin West with Aquinas and William of Morbecca in the thirteenth. The Byzantine Neoplatonist Michael Psellus (1018-78 or 1096) was steeped in Proclus, and has preserved for us much curious matter taken from his lost commentary on the Chaldaean Oracles (as does also Nicephorus Gregoras in his scholia on the de insomniis of Synesius).106 In his de omnifaria doctrina Psellus makes abundant use of the Elements of Theology, which he quotes as τὰ κεφάλαια.107 But despite the authority of ‘Dionysius,’ whose pagan imitator he was thought to be,108 the vogue of Proclus was looked upon with suspicion by the orthodox. Hence the next century saw the elaborate ’Ανάπτυξις της θεολογικης στοιχειώσεως Πρόκλου by the theologian Nicolaus, Bishop |xxxi| of Methone,109 which is directed against τινὲς της ἔνδονταύτης καὶ ημετέρας γεγονότες αὐλης who “think the propositions of Proclus worthy of admiration” (p. 2 Voemel). This ‘refutation’ was accompanied by a text of the original work, and is the source of a number of our MSS. of it (see below, pp. xxxiii-v).

The first work of Proclus to be made directly accessible in Latin was the Elements of Physics, which was translated from the Greek in Sicily somewhere about the middle of the twelfth century. The Elements of Theology was introduced to the West in 1268, when the Flemish Dominican William of Morbecca or Moerbeke, friend of Aquinas, papal chaplain, and afterwards Archbishop of Corinth, produced a Latin version of it (see below, p. xlii), followed later by a part of the in Timaeus, the de decem dubitationibus, de providentia et fato and the de malorum subsistentia. The recently discovered version of the in Parmenides may or may not be from the same hand; it belongs in any case to the latter part of the thirteenth century.110 These translations appeared at a time when Plotinus, and Plato himself (save for the Phaedo, the Meno, and part of the Timaeus), were still unknown in the West; and they played a decisive part in shaping the later medieval notion of “Platonism.”111 From them springs the prestige of Proclus as (in Tauler’s words) “the great pagan Master” — a reputation which he continued to enjoy down to the time of Leibniz. The translation of the Elements of Theology was used by Aquinas in his last years,112 and its influence |xxxii| was soon reflected in the German Dominican school: Dietrich of Freiberg (c. 1250-1310) repeatedly quotes it by name;113 another Dominican, Berthold of Mosburg, composed a lengthy commentary upon it which still exists in manuscript;114 and we ought probably to recognize in it one of the main sources of Eckhart’s peculiar type of negative theology.115 In the fifteenth century it formed with the Platonic Theology and the in Farm, the favourite reading of Nicholas of Cusa,116 who derived from Proclus important elements of his own doctrine and often cites him as an authority.

In the renewed popularity of the Neoplatonists at the Renaissance Proclus had a full share. For the Elements of Theology this is sufficiently attested by the great number of fifteenth- or sixteenth-century copies which have survived: over forty are known to me, and there are probably others still. In the importation of Proclus manuscripts from the East, Cardinal Bessarion was especially active,117, and no fewer than three of our MSS. of the Elements come from his library; another was written by Marsilio Ficino, the translator of Plato and Plotinus; another was owned by Pico della Mirandola, whose celebrated Fifty-five Propositions seem to be based exclusively upon Proclus.118 A new Latin translation of the Elements of Theology by Patrizzi was printed in 1583; but the first printed edition of the Greek text (with the Platonic Theology and the Life by Marinus) did not appear until 1618. Beyond this point I cannot attempt to carry the present survey. It shall end with two quotations which may be of interest to students of English literature.

The first is taken from Nature’s answer to Mutability at the end of the Faerie Queen (VII. vii. 58):

I well consider all that ye have said,
And find that all things stedfastnesse do hate
And changed be; yet, being rightly wayd,
They are not changed from their first estate;
But by their change their being do dilate,
And turning to themselves at length againe,
Do work their owne perfection so by fate.

|xxxiii| This strange-sounding doctrine becomes intelligible when we realize that it is a distant echo of Proclus’ theory that “every effect remains in its cause, proceeds from it, and reverts upon it” (Elements of Theology prop. 35). Spenser may possibly have read Patrizzi’s translation of the Elements, but more likely he came by the idea indirectly, through some Italian Neoplatonist (cf. Renwick, Edmund Spenser, 164).

The second is from Coleridge: ‘The most beautiful and orderly development of the philosophy which endeavours to explain all things by an analysis of consciousness, and builds up a world in the mind out of materials furnished by the mind itself, is to be found in the Platonic Theology of Proclus.’119


1^ Cf. Bréhier, La Philosophie de Plotin, 15 ff.

2^ The conjecture that our text is incomplete has been confirmed by the discovery of a σχόλιον in the Mediceus B of the Enneads which cites a passage of the ἀφορμαὶ as from the first book of τὰ περὶ νοητων ἀφορμων (Bidez, Vie de Porphyre, 106, n. 1).

3^ Cumont in Review de Philosophie 16 (1892) 55. Cf. also Nock, Sallustius, pp. ci ff.

4^ Philosophie de Plotin, 10.

5^ See Commentary, p. 187.

6^ Under “style” I do not include Proclus’s technical vocabulary, which is a heritage from his predecessors, and remains, so far as I have observed, fairly constant throughout his philosophical writings.

7^ Philosophy of Proclus, 606 ff. It may be doubted, however, whether Proclus fully realized the hypothetical character of his postulates, to which centuries of unquestioned tradition had given the appearance of self-evidence.

8^ Cf. Platonic Theology I. x.

9^ For examples of circular arguments cf. props. 3 and 77 nn.; prop. 169 n.

10^ Neoplatonists,2 161.

11^ Platonic Theology I. i.

12^ Timaeus III. 63. 24.

13^ Despite the fact that, according to Psellus (Rev. des Ét. Gr. 1873, p. 316), Julianus had the advantage of personal consultation with the ghost of Plato.

14^ Platonic Theology I. ii.

15^ vita Proclus xxxviii.

16^ Neoplatonists, 1 159.

17^ It has been asked why Proclus extends his proposed censorship to all but one of Plato’s dialogues. The answer is, I think, that in his judgement, as in that of Iamblichus, all the essentials of Plato’s philosophy are contained in the Parmenides and the Timaeus (in Timaeus I. 13. 14); and the former of these dialogues has been the subject of so much misunderstanding (in Parmenides 630 ff., Platonic Theology I. viii) that it must be presumed unsuitable for popular study. Zeller rightly compared the mediaeval exclusion of the laity from the study of the Bible.

18^ The line between “published” commentaries and “unpublished” lecture-courses is difficult to draw; notes of the latter taken by pupils were doubtless current within the school. All the lost commentaries mentioned above are referred to by Proclus himself. A commentary or lecture-course on Plotinus is cited by Damascius II. 253. 19 and by scholiasts on the in Rempublicam and the de mysteriis.

19^ Suidas attributes works under these two titles both to Proclus and to Syrianus. According to Marinus (vita Proclus 37) Proclus merely added scholia to the commentary of his master on the Orphica; and the double attribution of the Harmony probably has a similar explanation. Cf. Platonic Theology pp. 303, 215; Olympiod. in Phaedo, 52. 18 Norvin.

20^ For the meaning of σύμβογον in Proclus see prop. 39 n.

21^ The view suggested by Bardenhewer in his edition of the de causis, and apparently accepted in one place by Ueberweg-Geyer11 (p. 303: contrast pp. 149, 285, 409 etc.), that the Elements of Theology is probably not the work of Proclus himself but originated in his school, is not supported by any argument and hardly needs refutation. I can find nothing in the style or content of the treatise which lends colour to it; and the unanimous testimony of our MSS. is confirmed by Psellus and by the Arabic and Armenian tradition (see below).

22^ We are not justified in assigning the commentary on the Phaedo to 433-4 on the evidence of Marinus c. xii, though it may have been begun at that date. Marinus’ language in c. xiii rather implies that the in Timaeus was the first of the commentaries to be made public.

23^ Hermes 16 (1881) 314 ff.

24^ Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen 167 (1905) 505 ff.

25^ The most that can be said with any confidence is that the commentaries on the Parmenides, Alcibiades I and Cratylus probably received their present form later than the in Timaeus and in Rempublicam, as (a) they are never cited in the two latter (except for a very doubtful reference to in Cratylum, in in Timaeus 451. 8); (b) in Timaeus III. 13. 39 seems to refer to a prospective commentary on the Parmenides, (c) these three (especially the in Cratylum) stand closer in style and phraseology to the rather senile Platonic Theology than do the other two.

26^ de malorum subsistentia 203. 39, cf. Elements of Theology prop. 63. The alleged reference at 255. 17 to prop. 8 is too vague to carry any conviction, and the same thing is true of the supposed allusions in the de malorum subsistentia to the other two Latin treatises; in all these cases the reference may well be to one of the lost works.

27^ in Timaeus I. 385. 9, cf. prop. 92; II. 195. 27, cf. props. 67 ff.; in Parmenides 1147. 36, cf. prop. 17. Proclus nowhere cites the Elements of Theology by name.

28^ For the first two of these refinements see note on props. 162-5; for the third cf. esp. Platonic Theology III. xiv. ff.

29^ See notes on props. 193 and 195.

30^ That this particular doctrine is not an invention of Proclus’ latest period may, however, be inferred from in Parmenides 949. 38 ff. δεδείχαμεν γουν πάλαι διά των είς τὴν παλινῳδίαν γραφέντων (i.e. in the Phaedrus commentary) ὅτι πασα αἱ τάξεις ἐκειναι μέσαι των νοερων εισι θεων καὶ των πρώτων νοητων.

31^ Examples will be found in the notes on prop. 20, l. 18, and props. 75, 116, 167.

32^ See note on prop. 14; and for another discrepancy, which again is more apparent than real, prop. 96 n.

33^ The traditional ascription of this treatise to Iamblichus is rejected by Zeller and others; but the arguments adduced by Rasche (de Iamblicho libri qui inscribitur de mysteriis auctore, Münster, 1911) and Geffcken (Der Ausgang des Griechisch-Romischen Heidentums, 383 ff.) have convinced me that it is justified.

34^ Richtungen u. Schulen im Neuplatonismus, 114. Cf. also Bidez, Vie de Julien, chaps. XI. and XII.

35^ apud Proclus in Timaeus II. 313. 15 ff. The formal use of this principle is also implied in the Theologumena Arithmeticae (10. 9 ff. de Falco), a work which if not by Iamblichus' hand certainly reflects his teaching; and cf. Sall. 28. 31.

36^ apud Proclus in Timaeus II. 215. 5 (cf. III. 173. 16).

37^ apud Proclus in Timaeus I. 426. 20 ff.; cf. Praechter, op. cit. 121 ff.

38^ Cf. notes on props. 184 and 211; also in Timaeus 111. 165. 7, 331. 5 ff., 244. 22 ff.; in Parmenides 948. 12 ff.

39^ de myst. II. 11. The interest in occultism appears already in Porphyry's early work On the Philosophy of the Oracles (written before he knew Plotinus); but the distinctive features of Iamblicho-Procline theurgy do not.

40^ To speak, as even Hopfner does in his recent Gr.-Aegyptischer Offenbarungszauber (II. §§ 44, 79), of "theurgic excursions of the soul" in Plotinus is to commit a capital error in religious psychology by confusing mysticism with magic. Still commoner is the opposite error which lumps together as "mystics" the whole of the Neoplatonic school.

41^ Der Ausgang des Griechisch-Romischen Heidentums, 197.

42^ Geschichte der Griechen Literature II. ii. 1061.

43^ Neoplatonists2 233.

44^ Philosophy of Proclus 600.

45^ Philosophie der Griechen III. ii 4. 805.

46^ Richtungen 119. The close dependence of Proclus on Iamblichus had already been emphasized by Simon (History de l'école d' Alexandrie II. 428 ff.), although he failed to recognize its full extent.

47^ The following is perhaps the most striking verbal parallel: Elements of Theology, prop. 168: ἑαυτὸν καὶ δρα ἑαυτόν. δρων δὲ νοουντα; and Enneads II. ix.: ἑαυτὸν καὶ δρα ἑαυτόν δρων δὲ ἑαυτόν οὐκ ἀνοηταίνοντα ἀλλα νοουντα.

48^ e.g. Elements of Theology prop. 30 and prop. 142; Enneads xxiv. and xxxiii. § 2.

49^ apud Proclus in Timaeus II. 313. 19 ff.

50^ The principle is laid down in prop. 38. For examples of its application cf. props. 40, 55, 63, 64, 132, 166, 181. On its historical importance see Taylor, Philosophy of Proclus 608 f.

51^ Prop. 103, where see note. This principle underlies props. 121, 124, 125, 128, 129, 134, 140, 141, 170, 176, 177, 195, 197.

52^ Prop. 35 note. How much of the detailed working out of these ideas was done by Iamblichus, himself, and how much by Syrianus or Proclus, it is hard to say, as the remains of the two former are relatively so scanty.

53^ Technical terms characteristic of the de mysteriis which appear in the Elements of Theology include ἀλληλουχία, ἀρχηγικός, αὐτοτελής, ἄΧραντος, γενεσιουργός, διακόσμησις, διάταξις, ἰδιάζω, περιοχή, πλήρωμα, προόν(τως), πρωτουργάς, συναφή, τελεσιουργός (-γειν Elements of Theology), ὑπερηπλωμένος: to which we can add from other works of Iamblichus ἀορισταίνω and δμοταγής.

54^ in Timaeus III. 34. 5.

55^ e.g. in Timaeus I. 307. 14 ff. esp. 308. 17; III. 251. 21.

56^ Platonic Theology I. (xxvi.) 63.

57^ Platonic Theology II. vi. 96.

58^ See the passages quoted in my notes on props. 39 and 145.

59^ vita Proclus xxviii.

60^ in Phaed. 123. 3 Norvin. Compare the remark of Psellus that when Iamblichus and Proclus read the Chaldaean Oracles they abandoned Greek for Chaldaic doctrine: Catalogue des MSS. Alchimiques Grecs, VI. 163. 19 ff. Psellus’ source for this exaggerated statement is Procopius of Gaza (the Christian adversary of Proclus), as appears from the passage quoted by Bidez on p. 85.

61^ The direct influence of Platonic texts and especially of the Timaeus and the Parmenides is, as we should naturally expect, very strong.

62^ The influence of Aristotle, especially in the domain of logic, increased steadily from the time of Plotinus down to that of the last Alexandrine philosophers, who are almost as much Aristotelians as Neoplatonists. In the Elements it is seen especially in props. 20 (11. 16 ff.), 76, 77-9, 94, 96, and 198.

63^ To Iamblichus' pupil and rival, Theodore of Asine, may be due the formal discrimination of the three types of wholeness (props. 67-9); but apart from this I find nothing in the Elements to justify the obiter dictum of F. Heinemann, "(Proclus fühlt) dass der Weg von Plotin zu ihm mehr über Amelius und Theodor von Asine, als über Porphyr und Jamblich führt" (Plotin 107). Amelius and Theodore are frequently and sharply criticized in the in Timaeus, e.g. II. 274. 10, 277. 26 ff., 300. 23, III. 33. 33, 104. 8, 246. 27, 32 ff. and 333. 28.

64^ in Parmenides 618. 3 ff.

65^ Marinus, vita Proclus xii fin.

6^ in Timaeus III. 174. 14. In its earliest form the Timaeus commentary seems to have been a "critical summary" of Syrianus' lectures on the subject (Marinus xiii). Original additions are commonly prefaced by apologetic phrases.

67^ Props. 113-165.

68^ Prop. 57. This is not actually stated by Syrianus as a general law, but he affirms it formally of the relation between τὸ ἕν and τὸ ὄν in Metaphysics 59. 17).

69^ Props. 71, 72; Syrianus l. c. 29. 4 ff.

70^ Props. 89-92; Syrianus 112. 14 ff.

71^ Prop. 93; Syrianus 147. 14.

72^ Prop. 167. Proclus' profession that he is following Syrianus here in Timaeus I. 310. 4, 322. 18) is partly confirmed by Syrianus himself, 110. 5.

73^ vita Proclus xxiii.

74^ vita Proclus xxii, cf. Xxvi.

75^ Cf. notes on props. 6, 8, 67-9 and 70.

76^ in Timaeus II. 202. 24.

77^ in Cratylum lxxiv.

78^ in Timaeus III. 6. 12.

79^ in Cratylum lxxviii.

80^ in Parmenides 1022. 10 ff.

81^ Hermes 16 (1881) 218 ff.

82^ i.e. occultism. The genuine mystic is seldom ‘addicted to wonders’.

83^ All that is attempted here is to indicate a few salient points, with special reference to the Elements of Theology A detailed study of the subject would require a book to itself, and would demand a far more intimate knowledge of medieval and renaissance literature than I possess.

84^ It is for some reason customary to use a kinder term; but it is quite clear that the deception was deliberate (cf. H. Koch, Pseudo-Dionysius 3.

85^ Pseudo-Dionysius appears to be his main source in this work, though he used also Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa: see J. Dräseke, Joh. Scotus Erigena u. dessen Gewährsmänner (Stud. z. Gesch. d. Theol. u. Kirche Bd. ix, H. 2). The extent of his debt to Neoplatonism has recently been investigated by H. Dörries, E. u. d, Neuplatonismus, who, however, treats as original certain doctrines of E. which are in fact Neoplatonic, such as the simultaneous affirmation of divine transcendence and divine immanence (pp. 25, 29: cf. Elements of Theology, props. 98 n., 145 l. 20 n.) and the emphasis laid on the “vita-Begriff” (p. 43 n. 1: cf. props. 101-2 n.).

86^ Descartes owed much to his contemporary and intimate friend, the theologian Gibieuf, who was steeped in pseudo-Dionysus (E. Gilson, La Liberté chez Descartes 193, 201).

87^ To the long list of borrowed terms given by Koch may be added ἀγελαρχία, ἄζως, ἀνεκφοιτήτως, ἄσχετος, αὐτοτελής, οὐσιοποιός, περιοχή, πηγαιος, προαιωνίως, προόν, ὑπέρζωος, ὑφειμένος, etc.

88^ Proclus de malorum subsistentia, 209. 27, the henads are “velut flores et supersubstantialia lamina”: hence for pseudo-Dionysus, Jesus and the Πνεῦμα [Breath, Spirit] are οἱον ἄνθη καὶ ὑπερούσια φωτα (De divinis nominibus 2. 7).

89^ See Praechter, Richtungen; and P. Tannery, Sur la Periods Finale de la Philosophie Grecque, in Review Philosophique XXI (1896) 266 ff.

90^ Proclus’ attitude cost him a year’s banishment from Athens (Marinus xv). Direct criticism of the established religion was exceedingly dangerous in the fifth century, but he comes very near to it in such passages as in Rempublicam I. 74. 4 ff., in Alcibiades 531. 39, in Cratylum exxv. The same tone is perceptible in Damascius (vita Isidori 48. 11 ff., 92. 26 ff., 103. 12 ff.) and Simplicius (in Aristotle, de caelo 370. 29).

91^ This is referred to by a scholiast on Lucian, Philopseudes 12 (IV. 224 Jacoby): cf. Bidez in Catalogue des MSS. Alchimiques Grecs, VI. 85 n. 1.

92^ Baumstark, Geschichte der Syrischen Literatur p. 231.

93^ M. Steinschneider, Die Arabischen Uebersetzungen aus dem Griechischen (= Beihefte z. Centralblatt f. Bibliothekswesen 12) 92 f.

94^ Steinschneider op. cit. pp. 93, 105.

95^ p. 47 of his edition.

96^ See especially the list given in the Fïhrist of Muhammed ibn Ishaq (pp. 33-3 of the German translation by August Muller published under the title Die Griechischen Philosophen in der Arabischen Ueberlieferung, Halle 1873). It includes a θεολογία and a “Lesser στοιχείωσις,” which Muller identifies respectively with the Elements of Theology and the Elements of Physics. As, however, the latter appears to figure elsewhere in Muhammed’s list as “A work on the definitions of the natural elements,” it is perhaps more probable that the “Lesser στοιχείωσις” is the Elements of Theology and the θεολογία the Platonic Theology.

97^ Tom. V, p. 66 Fluegel, no. 10005: Kitáb-el-thálújiyá, liber theologiae, i.e. doctrinae religionis divinae, auctoribus Proclo Platonico et Alexandro Aphrodisiensi. Hunc librum Abu Othmán Dimeshcki anno … mortuus, transtulit. The date is lacking. Steinschneider, op. cit. p. 92, thinks that the title is corrupt and the ascription to Proclus due to a confusion.*

98^ Attributed in the Georgian MSS. to ‘John’ (Petritsi); in the Armenian to Amelachos or Iomelachos or Homelachos (? Iamblichus), ‘the Athenian bishop and philosopher and rhetor.’

99^ Dashien’s view, that the Armenian version was made direct from the Greek, is controverted by N. J. Marr, John Petritski, in Proc. Russ. Archaeol. Acad. (Zapiski Vostochnago) 19 (1909).

100^ See Marr, op. cit., and P. Peeters, Traduction et Traducteurs dans l’hagiographie orientale, in Analecta Bollandiana 40 (1922) 292.

101^ Aquinas’ words are: “Videtur ab aliquo philosophorum Arabum ex praedicto libio Proculi (sc. the Elements of Theology) excerptus, praesertim quia omnia quae in hoc libro continentur, multo plenius et diffusius continentur in illo.” His commentary on the de causis is variously dated between 1268 and 1271.

102^ in the Mechitaristen-Bibliothek at Vienna, no. 4836.

103^ (Steinschneider, Die Hebraischen Uebersetzungen des Mittelalters §§ 140 ff.

104^ E. Degen, Welches sind die Beziehungen Alberts des Grossen “Liber de causis et processu universitatis” zur στοιχείωσις θεολογική …? (München, 1902).

105^ M. Baumgartner, Dantes Stellung zur Philosophie, in Zweite Vereinschrift d. Görresgesellschaft (1921) 57 ff.

106^ See Bidez in Catalogue des MSS. Alchimiques Grecs VI. 83 n. 11, 104 ff.; and on Psellus’ Neoplatonism in general, C. Zervos, Un Philosophe néoplatonicien du XI6 siècle, Michel Psellos.

107^ Cap. 74 (cf. Elements of Theology props. 38, 39). Other borrowings from Elements of Theology appear in cap. 16 (= prop. 124) and caps. 19-26 (= props. 62, 166, 167, 169, 171, 173, 176, 177).

108^ Suidas s.v. Διονύσιος δ ’Αρεωαγίτης: Psellus de omnif. doct. cap. 74.

109^ A fragment contained in a Vatican MS. of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and there ascribed to Procopius of Gaza was published by A. Mai in 1831 and discovered sixty years later to be word for word identical with a passage in the ’Ανάπτυξις. On this basis J. Dräseke (Byz. Zeitschr. VI [1897] 55 ff.) erected the theory that Procopius is the real author of the ’Ανάπτυξις, which must therefore have been composed within a generation of Proclus’ death or even (as Dräseke prefers to think) during his lifetime. This conclusion, if sound, would obviously have a very important bearing on the history of the text of the Elements of Theology; but the objections urged by Stiglmayr (Byz. Zeitschr. VIII [1899] 263 ff.), which need not be recapitulated here, seem to me decisive. Additional arguments against Dräseke’s view are the following: (a) the confusion of dates by which Origen is said to have derived his heretical doctrine of ’αποκατάστασις from the Elements of Theology (’Ανάπτ. p. 57) is surely impossible for a writer almost Proclus’ contemporary; (3) ’Ανάπτ. p. 187 ὡς ἐν τοις περὶ ὄρου πλατύτερον ἡμιν διευκρίνηται would have to be treated as an interpolation, since it unmistakably refers to the treatise of Nicolaus πρὸς τὸν ἐρωτήσαντα εἰ ἔστιν ὄρος ζωης καὶ θανάτου p. 224 Demetrakopoulos (Έκκλησιαστικὴ βιβλιοθήκη, Lpz. 1866); (c) at Elements of Theology page 70 l. 35 f. and several other passages the reading implied in the text of the Άνάπτ, as well as given by our N MSS. of the Elements of Theology, involves a complex corruption such as could hardly have arisen by the date which Dräseke assumes.

110^ R. Klibansky, Ein Proklos-Fund u. seine Bedeutung (Abh. Heidelberger Akad. 1929, no. 5), 30 ff. The Platonic Theology seems to have been first translated in the fifteenth century (ibid. 26 n. 2).

111^ Klibansky, op. cit. 18 ff.

112^ He quotes the book by name more than once in the de substantiis separatis. For parallels between the Elements and the teaching of Aquinas see on props. 28, 30, 50, 124, 190.

113^ See the passages cited in Ueberweg’s Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie, 11 556 f. De Wulf says that he put Proclus on a level with Augustine and Aristotle.

114^ In the library of Balliol College, Oxford, no. 224b; also Vat. Lat. 2192.

115^ E. Krebs, Meister Dietrich, 126 ff.; Klibansky 12 n. 2.

116^ His friend Giovanni Andrea de Bussi says of him “his ille libris veluti thesauris suis et propriis maxime recreabatur, ut nulli alii rei tantopere vigilaret” (quoted by Klibansky, 26 n. 3; cf. 29 n. 1). His copy, with autograph comments, of William of Morbecca’s version of Elements of Theology is preserved at Cues (no. 105 Marx, ff. 34v-66v).

117^ Klibansky, 24.

118^ See chap. II § 1, nos. 2, 14, 37; 45; 24.

119^ Memorials of Coleorton ff, January 1810.

Top ↑

Chapter II. §1. Manuscripts*

The MSS. which I have examined with a view to the present edition fall for the most part into three well-marked families, though some of the later copies show signs of conflation. The complete list (including a few known to me only from earlier collations) is as follows:—

First Family, representing the text used by Nicolaus of Methone in the twelfth century (see above, p. xxx f.). These MSS. contain props. 1-198 only.1

B 1. Vaticanus graec. 237 (formerly 171), ff. 76-181v, saec. xiv, chart, (see Mercati and Cavalieri, Codices Vaticani Graeci Descripti, T. I.). Very few corrections or marginalia. I have made a full collation (from photographs).

2. Marcianus graec. 403 (formerly 193), ff. 60-100v, saec. xv init., perg. (see Zanetti and Bongiovanni, Graeca D. Marci Bibliotheca Codicum Manu Scriptorum). Formerly in the possession of Bessarion. No corrections or marginalia. A full collation (which I had made before I had seen B) shows that this MS. has a number of errors and lacunae peculiar to itself, but otherwise (save for occasional correction of obvious miswritings) agrees very closely with B, on which it is mainly if not wholly dependent.

To this family belong also the MSS. (nos. 3-13) of Nicolaus of Methone’s Άνάπτυξις της θεολογικης στοιχειώσεως, which includes a complete text of props. 1-198 of Proclus’ work, but neither text of nor commentary on the remaining propositions. |xxxiv|

C 3. Vaticanus graec. 626, ff. 121-213v, saec. xiv (vel xiii fin.), chart. The earlier portion has been corrected by another hand (a contemporary διορθωτής?); in the later portions the διορθωσις seems to have been carried out by the scribe himself. This MS. gives a text of Proclus closely similar to B; but it is clearly independent of B, as B of it.2 I have made a full collation (from photographs).3

B 4. Lugdunensis B. P. graec. 23, saec. xvi (?), chart, (see Voemel i) in Initia Philosophiae ac Theologiae, Pars IV, Frankfurt am Main 1825, pp. viii-ix). Contains only the opening and closing words of each proposition; Voemel gives a collation of these (op. cit. pp. 252-4). Claims to be copied from a Vatican MS., which can with certainty be identified with C.

D 5. Ambrosianus graec. 648, ff. 1-26 + 727, ff. 193-237, saec. xiv fin. et xv, chart, (see Martini and Bassi, Catalogus codicum graecorum Bibliothecae Ambrosianae). This MS. is a patchwork product, (a) Props. 1-77 and 98-115 were written by one hand, props. 78 and 116-20 by another, props. 79-97 by a third. These three hands are contemporary, and seem to belong to the end of the fourteenth century, (b) Props. 121-98 are in a fourth and perhaps somewhat later hand, (c) A fifteenth-century hand (d) added props. 199-209 mid. (without commentary).4 (d) Finally, the book was rebound in two parts, with several leaves misplaced; and the leaf containing props. 6 and 7, which had been lost at some earlier stage, was replaced first by a faulty Latin version (not William of Morbecca’s) and then by the Greek in a sixteenth-century hand. Correctors: (i) in the earlier propositions occur sporadic corrections in at least two different hands, D2 (perhaps the scribe of props. 78 and 116-20) and D3; (ii) a further hand (D4) has corrected the work of all scribes down to prop. 198. This MS. is on the whole inferior to C, but is probably independent of it, being free from some of its characteristic errors.5) I have collated it for props. 1-198.

6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Ambrosiani graec. 203, 204, 207, 1016, 212, are sixteenth-century copies of D, made after stage (c) and before stage (d). The first four were written by Camillus Venetus.

E 11. Parisinus 1256, chart., saec. xv (see Omont, Inventaire |xxxv| Sommaire des MSS. grecs de la Bibliotheque Nationale). I have made a full collation of this MS.; but it is distinctly inferior to BCD, and its value as a source for the text is questionable. It has most but not all of the readings characteristic of D (stage (b) after correction), while in a few passages it reproduces the erroneous reading of D before correction. Where it differs from D, it either agrees with the older representatives of the family, or, more often, introduces errors of its own. It may be either a cousin of D or a descendant derived through a copy embodying occasional corrections from B or C.

(A oemeli) 12. Lugdunensis B.P. graec. 4, chart., saec. xvi (see Voemel, l.c.). This is the only MS. of the first family, if we except the fragmentary no. 4, of which a collation has hitherto been published (by Voemel, op. cit. pp. 233 ff.). It appears to be derived from D; but if Voemel’s collation is a complete one (I have not examined the MS.), it has been contaminated with readings from the second family.

13. Laurentianus plut. IX cod. 12, ff. 1-127, chart., saec. xv vel xvi (see Bandini, Catalogus Codicum Graecorum Bibliothecae Laurentianae, T. i, p. 406, where it is wrongly ascribed to saec. xiv). A partial collation indicates that this MS. is very closely related to E, though neither appears to be dependent on the other.

M Second Family. 14. Marcianus graec. 678 (formerly 512), ff. I28-76v, chart., saec. xiii fin. vel xiv init. (see Zanetti and Bongiovanni, op. cit.). From Bessarion’s library. Two leaves, containing respectively props. 10 init.-12 and 20-21 have been lost at some date since the beginning of the fifteenth century. Props. 203-211 fin. are in another hand contemporary with the first. There are a number of glosses, marginal and interlinear, in the first hand, mostly of little interest. The MS. has been much tampered with, and many of the original readings have been wholly or partially erased; but most of these can be recovered with greater or less certainty by the help of nos. 15-23, which descend from a copy of M made before correction. In the corrections themselves two stages can be distinguished, (a) Before 1358 (the date of O) two hands had been at work. One of these (M2) introduced a large number of readings, which agree sometimes with the first family, sometimes with the third, occasionally with neither (in the last case they are with the rarest exceptions worthless). To the other hand (M3) are due a few marginal variants, mostly from the |xxxvi| first family. (b) Between 1358 and about 1400 additional corrections were made (from the third family?) by another hand or hands (M4), the most important being the filling of the extensive lacuna in prop. 209. — I have made a full collation (partly from photographs).

The remaining MSS. of the second family are all dependent primarily on M, though many of them embody also a certain number of readings from other sources. They may be classified according to their derivation (a) from M before correction (group m i), (b) from M as corrected by M2 and M4 (group m. ii-iii), (c) from M as further corrected by M4 (group m. iv).

Group 15. m. i. [Argentoratensis] (= A Creuzeri): see Creuzer1 (= Initia Phil, ac Theol. Pars III), p. xvii, and Haenel, Catalogus librorum MSS. qui in bibliothecis Galliae etc. asservantur. This MS. perished in 1870, and no adequate description of it exists; but we have a collation by Schweighauser, which with Portus’s readings constitutes the whole apparatus criticus of Creuzer’s earlier text. Creuzer calls it ‘quantivis pretii codicem,’ and it in fact preserved many sound readings of M1 which were unknown to Portus, as well as a few incorporated from other sources (if the collation can be trusted); but it also exhibited many corruptions peculiar either to itself or to group m. i. It broke off at the lacuna in prop. 209, as do the other members of the group (except nos. 19 and 21-23).

16. Parisinus 2045, ff. 51v-106v, chart., saec. xv (see Omont, op.cit.). Props. 153-end are in another hand. Appears, so far as I have collated it, to be a representative of M1 slightly less corrupt than Argentoratensis.

(L a Creuzeri) 17. Lugdunensis Voss. graec. 14, chart., saec. xv vel xvi. Resembles, but is inferior to, no. 16 (of which, however, it is apparently independent). A few readings from this MS. are given in an appendix to Creuzer’s first edition.

18. Parisinus graec. 1885, chart., saec. xvi, is a copy of no. 17.

19. Vaticanus graec. 1036, ff. 101-204, chart., saec. xvi fin. Breaks off at prop. 208 fin., and is otherwise faulty.

(H Creuzeri) 20. Hamburgensis phil. graec. 25, saec. xvi, written by A. Darmarius and formerly in the possession of Lucas Holsten, who states that he ‘emended Portus’s whole edition’ from it: see H. Omont, Catal. des MSS. grecs.… des Villes Hanséatiques. I have not seen this MS., but there is a partial collation by J. Gurlitt in Creuzer1 pp. 319 ff. Creuzer’s assumption that it is a copy of a Vatican MS. seems to be mistaken. |xxxvii|

21. Parisinus 2028 contains the Στοιχείωσις Θεολογική (ff. 74-106), perg., saec. xiv, bound with paper MSS. of later origin (see Omont, Invent., where it is wrongly described as Theologicae Institutions libri sex). Props. 1-4 have been lost and supplied in a later hand on paper (apparently from O); prop. 211 is missing. This MS. is not the parent of nos. 15-20, but appears to be derived like them (through a common ancestor, as is shown by common omissions) from M1. It is not, however, a satisfactory representative of the text of M1, as it exhibits a large number of readings introduced from other sources.

22. Vaticanus 1444, ff. 45-90, chart., a. 1542. Prop. 211 is missing, as in no. 21, of which this MS. appears to be a corrupt descendant.

23. Parisinus 1842, ff. 156v318v, chart., saec. xvii. Lacks prop. 211, and abounds in the grossest errors.

Group m. ii-iii. All these MSS., while based on M2-3, agree in certain passages with BCD against all the hands in M. We may suppose them derived from M2-3 through a common ancestor which was occasionally corrected from the first family.6

O 24. Bodleianus Laud, graec. 18, ff. 242-88v, chart., a. 1358: written by Stelianos Choumnos, and formerly in the possession of Pico della Mirandola: see Coxe’s Catalogue (where it is wrongly described as containing 209 props, instead of 211). This MS., of which I had made a complete collation before I was acquainted with M, has some corruptions shared by the rest of the group, and a large number of others peculiar to itself and no. 25. Many of these errors figure in Portus’s text, and not a few are retained by Creuzer. Corrections have been introduced by several later hands. These are sometimes hard to distinguish; but O2 seems to have used a MS. of the first family, while O3 often emends conjecturally and wildly.

25. Parisinus 1830, ff. 279-330, chart., a. 1539: written by Valeriano Albino. Derived from O after that MS. had been corrected.

26. Riccardianus graec. 70, ff. 217-56, chart., saec. xv (see Vitelli’s catalogue). This and the following MSS. are independent of O. They have one or two sound readings peculiar to them which seem to be due to conjecture. |xxxviii|

27. Monacensis graec. 502, ff. 1-38, chart., saec. xv: formerly at Augsburg. Derived from no. 26.

28. Parisinus 2018, ff. 260-305, chart., saec. xv. Closely resembles no. 26.

29. Ambrosianus 38, chart., a. 1581: written by F. Patrizzi, who records that it was copied from a MS. written 112 years earlier. Closely resembles nos. 26-8, but appears to be independently derived from the common source of this sub-group.

30. Ambrosianus 1010, ff. 3612-429, chart., saec. xvi: written for Pinelli by Georgius Aetolus. An inferior copy.

31. Ambrosianus 812, ff. 31-84, chart., saec. xvi: written by Camillus Venetus, and formerly in the possession of F. Patrizzi. Copy of 30?

32. Bodleianus Misc. 84 (formerly 3036), chart., contains props. 1-32 (not 1-29 as stated by Coxe), bound with various late MSS. This fragment, in a fifteenth-century hand, resembles nos. 30-1.

33. Monacensis graec. 343, ff. 304-51, chart., saec. xv (init.?): formerly at Augsburg. Written in 3 hands: (i) props. 1-122; (ii) props. 123-4; (iii) props. 125-end. This MS. and the three following embody some further corrections of the text of M2-3, in addition to those found in nos. 24-32. Moreover, no. 33 has itself been extensively corrected from the first family.

34. Parisinus 1828, ff. 239-80v, chart., claims to be a copy ‘transcriptus et recognitus ex antiquo exemplari Bibliothecae D. Marci Venetiarum’ by Nicholas de la Torre in 1562. It proved on examination to be a copy, not of any MS. now at Venice, but almost certainly of no. 33 (made after that MS. had been corrected).7

35. Laurentianus plut. LXXXVI cod. 8, ff. 271v-92, chart., saec. xv. Resembles the original text of no. 33; but the two appear to be mutually independent.

(L b Creuzeri) 36. Lugdunensis B. P. graec. 59, ff. 15-70, chart., saec. xvi. Faulty copy of no. 35. Here again a corrector has introduced variants from the first family. A few readings from this MS. are given by Creuzer1, pp. 319 ff.

Group m. iv. 37. Marcianus graec. 613 (formerly 192), ff. 265-310v, perg., saec. xv (init.?). Formerly in the possession of Bessarion. [xxxix]

38. Vindobonensis graec. 38 (formerly 14), ff. 268-318, chart., c. 1548. Bought at Venice in 1672, and formerly in the possession of Sebastianus Ericius. Derived from no. 37.

Here should probably be classified also the two following:

39. Vaticanus 1737 (formerly 45), ff. 15-89, chart., saec. xv vel xvi. Formerly in the possession of Aloysius Lollinus.

40. Palatinus 347, ff. 1-4, pap. Contains props. 1-15 in a sixteenth-century hand.

The Third Family is represented, so far as I know, by three MSS. only, nos. 41-3. These offer a text which often differs very substantially (especially in order of words) from that of all other MSS. Many of their peculiarities appear to be due to deliberate and reckless “correction” of the tradition8 — a vice which imposes great caution in the use of these MSS. At the same time they show some signs of contamination from the first family: cf. especially p. 126, 11. 5-6. In a number of passages, however, they and they alone offer what is unmistakably the true reading (cf. e.g. pp. 18, 11. 24-5; 94, 1. 4; 160, 1. 22; 164, 11. 6, 9; and esp. 70 1. 35); and it is at least doubtful whether conjecture is in every case responsible for this.

P 41. Parisinus 2423, ff. 52-73v, chart., saec. xiii (see Omont, Invent.). Contains only props. 1-78. Injured here and there by worms. No marginalia, but one or two traces of correction by another hand.

Q 42. Marcianus graec. 316 (formerly 521), ff. 52-73v, chart., saec. xiv init. (?) (see Zanetti and Bongiovanni, op. cit.). Has a few marginalia and interlinear corrections in the original hand; and a number of wild readings, apparently due to conjecture, in a later hand (Q2). This MS. and the preceding appear to be mutually independent, though closely related: Q is on the whole the better. I have made a full collation of both.

43. Parisinus 1734, ff. 343-81v chart., saec. xv. Badly faded in places. I had collated this MS. before seeing Q; but it has probably no independent value. It bears convincing marks9 of derivation from Q as corrected by Q2; and where it departs from |xl| this text its readings are to all appearance either borrowed from the second family10 or the result of conjecture.11

There remain to be mentioned two incomplete MSS. apparently of mixed origin, viz.:

44. Laurentianus plut. LXXI cod. 32, ff. 81v-3v, chart., saec. xiv. Contains props. 1-13. Agrees sometimes with M2-3, sometimes with BCD; has also one reading found only in PQ, a number of errors and lacunae peculiar to itself, and several insertions in the text which evidently originated in glosses.

45. Ambrosianus 329, chart., saec. xv, is a book of extracts inscribed ‘Marsilii Ficini florentin, and written in his hand. Ff. 214v-26 contain a number of passages from the Στοιχείωσις Θεολογική. Ficino perhaps used no. 26 in conjunction with a MS. of the first family; but if so the result reflects little credit on his scholarship.

I append a list of other renaissance copies for the benefit of any one who thinks it worth while to examine them, and also in order to indicate the wide diffusion of the work during the sixteenth century.

Bibl. Bongarsiana, Berne, no. 150, containing props. 11-14 only, attributed by Hagen to saec. xvi-xvii init.; no. 362, containing props. 1-138 mid., attributed by Hagen to saec. xv and by Omont to saec. xvi.

Monastery of the Holy Sepulchre, Constantinople, no. 326 (Papadopoulos Kerameus, Ιεροσολυμιτικη βιβλιοθήκη, vol. IV), written in 1580 by A. Darmarius.

Offentl. Bibl., Dresden, no. Da 56, containing props. 1-29, attributed by v. Carolsfeld to saec. xvii.

Bibl. Escorialensis, ΣIII 8 (104), ff. 1-47, claims to have been copied from a recent exemplar in the possession of Pinelli [perhaps no. 30] by Sophianus Melessenus (sic) in 1569.12

Hamburgensis phil. graec. 26: a copy of C made for Lucas Holsten in 1636 (see Omont, Catalogue des MSS. grecs … des Villes Hanseatiques). |xli|

Royal Library, Madrid, no. O 37: claims to have been copied in Rome by Camillus Venetus in 1552.

Monacensis graec. 91, ff. 383-432v, containing props. 1-198 (and hence presumably of the first family), ascribed by Mommert to saec. xvi; 59, a copy of the Ανάπτυξις which claims to have been made by Michael Maleensis at Florence in 1550 [from no. 13?].

Bibl. Borbonica, Naples, graec. 343 (III E 21), written at Naples in 1582.

Bibl. Vallicellana, Rome, no. 51 (D 6), ascribed by Martini to saec. xvi.

Bibl. du Pilar, Saragossa, no. 3109, written in 1583 by A. Darmarius.

Bibl. Nazionale, Turin, no. 247 (Pas. graec. 345), attributed by Pasini to saec. xvi and described by Stampini as a fragment in bad condition.13

Parisinus supp. grec 450 contains only the beginning of a table of contents of the Στοιχείωσις Θεολογική.

I have failed to trace Bernard 4184 (misprinted 4183) Procli Elementa Theologiae, which is no. 4 in his Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum Edward Browne M. D. Londinensis; nor have I found the Gottorpiensis antiquissimus which Portus claims to have used.14

The above list could doubtless be still further enlarged if search were made in the smaller European libraries; but it seems improbable that anything of fresh value would be added.

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§ 2. Translations

Geo 1. The old Georgian version of John Petritsi (supra, p. xxix) represents a Greek text at least a century older than our earliest Greek MSS. I understand that Dr. S. Kauchtschischwili of Tiflis has in preparation a full study of this version. His work is unfortunately not yet available, but he has very kindly sent me a preliminary collation of propositions, 1-5 from a MS. in the University Library at Tiflis. It would seem from this that Petritsi took a certain amount of liberty with the original, sometimes supplying words which are not expressed in the Greek, varying the order of words or the construction, or using two Georgian words to represent one |xlii| Greek one. This increases the difficulty of reconstituting the Greek text used by him, and I have included in my apparatus such readings only as seemed to me fairly certain. They are sufficient to show that Petritsi’s text belonged to the MPQW group, not to the BCD group, and they suggest that its nearest congeners may be PQ; but the material at present available is too scanty to justify me in assigning it a more definite place in the stemma codicum. The collation of props. 1-5, while it exhibits a number of corruptions peculiar to the Georgian tradition, offers us no acceptable readings not otherwise evidenced; but here again a generalized inference would be rash*.

2. The Armenian version of the monk Simeon of Garni exists in MSS. in the Mechitaristen-Bibliothek of Vienna (no. 372), in the Biblioteca San Lazaro at Venice, and at Eschmiadzin in the Caucasus. It appears to be derived from Petritsi’s Georgian (supra, p. xxix, n. 8), and not directly from the Greek.

3. The second Georgian version is a retranslation from the Armenian (supra, p. xxix, n. 9).

W 4. The Latin version of William de Morbecca15 exists, like the three just mentioned, only in manuscript*. It was completed, as the colophon tells us, at Viterbo on June 15, 1268. It thus represents a text at least as old as the earliest extant MSS. of the original; and it can be shown not to be based on any of the latter. Being, like most medieval translations, perfectly literal, it constitutes a valuable subsidium (a fact first recognized by Holsten). But before it can be so used it is of course necessary to distinguish and discount errors which have arisen in the transmission of the Latin itself. Such errors are surprisingly numerous, considering that two of our MSS. appear to have been written within a generation of de Morbecca’s autograph, viz. Peterhouse 121, saec. xiii fin. (α) and Vaticanus 2419, c. 1300? (β). In addition to these I have used Vaticanus 4426, saec. xiv (γ), which is sometimes more correct than either.16 Even after comparing these three, there remain a number of passages where it is not easy to determine what de Morbecca |xliii| wrote, still less what he read.17 There can be no doubt, however, that his text implies (a) a large number of readings, sound and unsound, shared by M1 only; (b) a much smaller number, sound and unsound, shared by the third family only; (c) a few sound readings found only in MSS. of the first family. In addition, we can infer with more or less confidence at least a few readings not found in any extant MS.; and one or two of these merit serious consideration. De Morbecca’s own scholarship was not of a high order: e g. at page 64, l. 27, he takes τὸ ὄλον as nominative and τὰ μέρη (l. 26) as accusative; at page 128, l. 2, he takes γένεσιν as accus. of γένεσις; at page 134, l. 13, he is content to make nonsense of a sentence by reading ἀλλ’ for ἄλλ’. It seems unlikely that he ever had recourse to conjecture, though some of the copyists have done so.

5. A Latin version of the Ανάπτυξις and Στοιχείωσις Θεολογική by Bonaventura Vulcanius, autograph,18 saec. xvi, is preserved at Leyden (B.P. lat. 47). I have not seen this, but it is described by Voemel (Praef., p. ix) as a paraphrase of no critical value.

6. The Latin version of F. Patrizzi, printed at Ferrara in 1583, is based, so far as I have examined it, on renaissance copies of the second family.

7. Subsequent translations are numerous but unsatisfactory. Most of them suffer from an inadequate understanding of the subject-matter, and all are based on corrupt texts. Those known to me are:

Latin, Aem. Portus 1618; Creuzer 1822 (based on Portus), reprinted with a few changes 1855.

German, Engelhardt 1823 (in Die Angeblichen Schriften des Areopagiten Dionysius, vol. ii, pp. 139 ff.).

English, T. Taylor 1816 (based on Patrizzi); Thos. M. Johnson 1909; A. C. Ionides 1917.

Italian, M. Losacco 1917.

The Liber de Causis (see above, p. xxix f.) is not a translation, a paraphrase, or even a systematic abridgement of Proclus’ work, and much even of the substance has been modified to suit the requirements of a different theology; hence it has little or no value as a subsidium to the Greek text. The same may be said of the additions made to it by Albertus Magnus. |xliv|

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§ 3. Editions, etc.

Portus 1. The editio princeps, Aemilius Portus, 1618. I have failed, as Creuzer did, to trace the codex Gottorpiensis which Portus claims to have used; but it is evident that his text is based on an inferior MS. or MSS. of the second family. It is closely akin to O, many of whose characteristic errors it shares or corrupts further; it also contains a good many errors which I have not noted in any MS.19 There are no signs that Portus was acquainted with BCD or PQ, or W; and his emendations are seldom of any value.

Creuzer1 2. F. Creuzer, 1822 [= Initia Philosophiac ac Theologiae ex Platonicis Fontibus Ducta, Pars Tertia].20 The text of this edition is based solely on Portus and Argentoratensis. In more judicious hands Argentoratensis would have been of considerable value (vide supra); but Creuzer had neither critical instruments nor critical acumen to sift the wheat from the chaff, and his text is often actually worse than Portus’. His notes consist mainly of irrelevant references.

Creuzer2 3. F. Creuzer, 1855 [printed in the Didot Plotinus, pp. xlix-cxvii]. The chief change is the absence of any apparatus criticus, though Creuzer asserts in the preface to this edition that it is ‘much more accurate’ than its predecessor, as he has used codd. Leidensis A (my 17), Hamburgensis (my 20), and Leidensis B (my 36),21 as well as Taylor’s translation. None of these would have helped him much had he indeed used them; but that he should have ignored Voemel’s published collation of no. 12,22 a MS. of the first family though a corrupt one, is astonishing.

4. There has been no edition since Cr.2, and of other critical contributions I know only a few emendations by Schweighauser (quoted in the notes to Creuzer1) and T. Taylor (in notes to his translation). Holsten’s unpublished collations have already been mentioned.

5. The text of the present edition is based mainly on six MSS., viz. BCD of the first family, M of the second,23 and PQ of the third, together with de Morbecca’s version (W). The later MSS. seem to contribute only one or two plausible conjectures; and the Georgian |xlv| version (Geo) is available only for props. 1-5. If we symbolize the archetype of BCD by [N] and that of PQ by [II], then our sources are [N], M, [II] and W. It will, I think, be fairly clear from my collation (a) that in the main these four sources are mutually independent, though [II] may be contaminated here and there from [N]; (b) that if allowance is made for the influence of conjectural emendation upon the text of [II], M[II]W are more closely related to each other than any of them is to [N]; (c) that MW are more closely related to each other than either of them is to [II]. From (b) follows the important corollary that readings common to [N]M or to [N]W24 will usually be those of the common archetype [X] of all our MSS.

I cannot determine the date of [X] with any precision. If I am right in my view that the text used by Petritsi, the Georgian translator, belonged to the group M[II]W, then 1100 or thereabouts is the terminus ad quem for the archetype of this group, and a fortiori for [X]. Again, if it could be assumed that B (which does not contain the ’Ανάπτυξις) is not derived from a MS. of the ’Ανάπτυξις, then [N], the common ancestor of B and the ’Ανάπτυξις MSS., could not be later than the twelfth century. But this assumption is hardly warranted: a copyist more interested in pagan than in Christian philosophy might well extract the Proclus text from Nicolaus and leave the rest. And the abrupt manner in which Nicolaus’ commentary ends, together with the mention in the superscription to the Proclus text in C of 211 propositions (200 in B, no numeral in D), points rather to a mutilation of our text of Nicolaus than to Nicolaus’ having used a mutilated text of Proclus: if so, [N], which had this mutilation, must have been written later than the time of Nicolaus. [X] must in any case be a good deal earlier than [N], to allow for the development of the fairly complicated corruptions which the first family exhibits. On Dräseke’s view, that the ’Ανάπτυξις is the work of Procopius of Gaza, republished practically without alteration by the Bishop of Methone seven centuries later, we should expect the N text of Proclus to go back also to Procopius; so that [X] would be pushed back to a date in Proclus’ own lifetime or shortly after. But see above, p. xxxi, n. 1.

Only a very small fraction (probably not five per cent) of the errors which disfigure the editions of Portus and Creuzer go back to [X], so that the passages which call for conjectural emendation are |xlvi| relatively few. The chief part of my work has been in removing corruptions of late origin, attempting the reconstruction of [X], and endeavouring to introduce a system of punctuation which shall not needlessly obscure the author’s thought. — The stemma codicum facing this page makes no claim to complete accuracy: to obtain certainty as to the mutual relationship of the various renaissance copies would have involved a vast and unremunerative labour. But it may be useful as indicating what I conceive to be the main lines of affiliation. — In orthographical matters I have not deemed it prudent to impose a rigid consistency where the MSS. did not authorize it. But I have adopted γενητός,25 ἀγέητος, γίνομαι, γινώσκω, and -ττ- not -σσ- throughout, also ἑαυτό (ἑαυτου, etc.) not αὑτό except in the phrase καθ’ αὑτό, these being the spellings of BCDM in a large majority of passages. To avoid making the apparatus criticus too unwieldy, I have refrained from recording (a) variations of punctuation, (b) unimportant variations of orthography (such as those just mentioned) and accentuation, (c) presence or absence of -ν ἐφελκυστικόν, (d) a few obvious errors which are peculiar to one of the closely related MSS. BCD and are therefore unlikely to have stood in [N], their archetype, e.g. prop, i, l. 6, καθ ὄλον B. With these exceptions the collation of BCDM26 is, I hope, complete. As regards PQ, considerations of space prohibited printing a complete list of the errors peculiar to these MSS.; but I trust that I have ignored no reading of this group which has any possible bearing on the constitution of the text.


1^ Except D, where props. 199-209 mid. were added by a later hand, and the copies of D (nos. 6-10).

2^ Cf. e.g. p. 6 ll. 18-19; P. 20 l. 17.

3^ A collation by Holsten is preserved in his copy of Portus’ edition, Biblioteca Barberina J. iv. 31.

4^ The text of these props, is clearly borrowed from one of the copies of M classed below as group m. i, and has therefore no independent value.

5^ Cf. e.g. pp. 64 l. 5; 158, l. 15. At p. 54 l. 19 DE alone have the true reading.

6^ E.g. the missing words in prop. 78, l. 15 were supplied, and a characteristic reading of BCD introduced in prop. 198, l. 25.

7^ E.g. a scholion on prop. 5 from the margin of M was inserted in the text after ἅμα (p. 6, l. 16) in the archetype of nos. 33 and 35: in no. 33 it was struck out by the corrector, with the note τοῦτο σχόλιον ἦν: in no. 34 the gloss appears in the margin and the words τοῦτο σχόλιον ἦν in the text (subsequently deleted).

8^ Such “corrections” are sometimes stylistic: these MSS. fairly systematically try to avoid hiatus by elisions, transpositions, and writing γουν for οὖν. They also introduce Atticisms like γιγνώσκω for γινώσκω of the other MSS. Variants of this class are not as a rule recorded in my apparatus. Sometimes the motive is grammatical, e. g. p. 90, ll. 8 and 12, p. 102, l. 1; often a corruption is complicated by an attempted remedy, as p. 34 ll. 8-11, p. 68 ll. 13-15. Sometimes, again, the intention is to improve the sense, as p. 22 l. 3.

9^ Many of its corruptions are directly traceable to peculiarities in the handwriting of Q or to misreading of contractions in Q.

10^ E.g. p. 126, l. 4 παρόν των ὡς αύτως, as M; p. 164, l. 8 τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς μετέχον, as M2 BCD (suprascript. As Q).

11^ E.g. p. 20, l. 11 τὸ μὲν γὰρ πρώτως γὰρ (ω); p. 24 l. 18 ἄλλου … ἄλλο … ἄλλου PQ (ἄλλο … ἄλλου BCD[M]W).

12^ Another Escorial MS., catalogued by N. de la Torre in the sixteenth century, perished in the fire of 1671.

13^ Another copy, no. 316, was destroyed in the fire of 1904.

14^ No. 207 in the Royal Library, Copenhagen, is merely Portus’s autograph draft of his edition of 1618. Harleianus 5685, which is stated by Christ-Schmid, Griech. Literaturgcschichte6 II. 2, p. 1061, to be the oldest and best MS. of the Στοιχείωσις Θεολογική does not contain the Στοιχείωσις Θεολογική at all, but only the Στοιχείωσις φυσική.

15^ See above, p. xxxi. The name in its Latinized form is variously spelt: α and β give ‘Morbecca’.

16^ Of the later MSS., I have examined two in the Library of Balliol College, Oxford (one of which includes Berthold of Mosburg’s commentary, and is the ‘Berealdus’ erroneously regarded by Fabricius as an independent version); and one in the Bibliotheque Publique at Poitiers (no. 137). All these are exceedingly corrupt; but all of them here and there seem to imply a Greek original different from that implied by αβγ: see for example page 22 l. 31, page 56 l. 19, page 94 l. 1. Has the tradition been corrected from another version, or from a Greek MS.?

17^ I have not cited in my critical notes readings of these MSS. which are obviously due to corrupt transmission of de Morbecca’s Latin: e.g. page 2, l. 11, where for ἐστί τι των ὄντων αβ give ‘est aliquid totum’ (‘est aliquid entium’ γ recte); page 104, l. 29, where for ὥσπερ all MSS. give ‘sed’ (read ‘sicut’).

18^ See the new catalogue, Codd. MSS. Bibl. Universitatis Leidensis.)

19^ In my apparatus I have as a rule recorded only those errors of Portus’ to which Creuzer has given currency by repeating them.

20^ Erroneously described by Christ-Schmid, l. c., as the editio princeps.

21^ A partial collation of these three MSS. is given in an Appendix to Creuzer1.

22^ Styled codex A by Voemel: not to be confused with Creuzer’s A (= my Argentoratensis) and Leidensis A (= my 17).

23^ I have cited Argentoratensis and O to supply the gaps in M, and occasionally to account for the readings of the printed editions. Where the reading of M1 cannot be made out with certainty, but the present state of the MS. supports the hypothesis that M1 read as Argentoratensis, I have used the symbol [M] for M as represented by Argentoratensis.

24^ Whether in any particular passage [N][II] has more authority than [N] is of course doubtful, if I am right in my suspicion that [II] has in places been contaminated from [N].

25^ In origin, γενητός and γεννητός are of course distinct words; but I can trace no distinction of usage in Proclus.

26^ Miswritings by the first hand in M which were corrected by the same hand are occasionally ignored: e.g. p. 164, l. 22, where the scribe first wrote ἡ ψυχὴ ἄρα αὐθυπόστατον — evidently out of carelessness—and then encircled this with a dotted line to indicate deletion and continued with the true text καὶ ἡ ψυχὴ ἄρα αὐθυπόστατος.

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The Theology of Plato

Proclus Diadochus, The ‘Elements of Theology’

A. Of the One and the Many

Proposition 1. Every manifold in some way participates1 unity.

For suppose a manifold in no way participating unity. Neither this manifold as a whole nor any of its several parts will be one; each part will itself be a manifold of parts, and so to infinity; and of this infinity of parts each, once more, will be infinitely manifold; for a manifold which in no way participates any unity, neither as a whole nor in respect of its parts severally, will be infinite in every way and in respect of every part. For each part of the manifold — take which you will — must be either one or not-one; and if not one, then either many or nothing. But if each part be nothing, the whole is nothing; if many, it is made up of an infinity of infinites. This is impossible: for, on the one hand, nothing which is is made up of an infinity of infinites (since the infinite cannot be exceeded, yet the single part is exceeded by the sum); on the other hand, nothing can be made up of parts which are nothing. Every manifold, therefore, in some way participates unity.

Proposition 2. All that participates unity is both one and not-one.

For inasmuch as it cannot be pure unity (since participation in unity implies a distinct participant), its ‘participation’ means that it has unity as an affect, and has undergone a process of becoming one. Now if it be nothing else but its own unity, it is a bare ‘one’ and so cannot participate unity but must be pure unity. But if it has some character other than oneness, in virtue of that character it is not-one, and so not unity unqualified. Thus being one, and yet (as participating unity) in itself not-one, it is both one and not-one. It is in fact unity with something added, and is in virtue of the addition not-one, although one as affected by unity. Everything, therefore, which participates unity is both one and not-one.

Proposition 3. All that becomes one does so by participation of unity.

For what becomes one is itself not-one, but is one inasmuch as it is affected by participation of unity: since, if things which are not in themselves one should become one, they surely do so by coming together and by communication in each other, and so are subjected to the presence of unity without being unity unqualified. In so far, then, as they undergo a process of becoming one, they participate unity. For if they already are one, they cannot become one: nothing can become what it already is. But if from a former not-one they become one, their unity must be due to a ‘one’ which has entered into them.

Proposition 4. All that is unified is other than the One itself.

For if it is unified, it must in some way participate unity, namely, in that respect in which it is said to be unified (proposition 3); and what participates unity is both one and not-one (proposition 2). But the One itself is not both one and not-one: for if it also be one and not-one, then the unity which it contains will in its turn contain this pair of elements, and there will be infinite regress, since we shall find no simple unity at which our analysis can stop, but everything will be one and not-one. The unified, therefore, is something other than the One. For the One, if identical with the unified, will be infinitely manifold, as will also each of the parts which compose the unified.

Proposition 5. Every manifold is posterior to the One.

For suppose a manifold prior to the One. The One will then participate the manifold, but the prior manifold will not participate the One, seeing that, in the first place, it exists as manifold before the One comes to be, and it cannot participate what does not exist; and secondly, because what participates the One is both one and not-one (proposition 2), but if the First Principle be plurality, no ‘…’one‘…’ as yet exists. But it is impossible there should be a manifold in no way participating the One (proposition 1). Therefore the manifold is not prior to the One.

Suppose now a manifold coexistent with the One; and that the two principles are coordinate in nature (to their temporal coordination there is no such objection): then the One is not in itself distinguished principles, inasmuch as neither is prior or posterior to the other. The manifold, then, will be in itself not-one, and each of its parts not-one, and so to infinity: which is impossible (proposition 1). By its own nature, therefore, it participates the One, and it will be impossible to find any part of it which is not one; since if it be not one, it will be an infinite sum of infinites, as has been shown. Thus it participates the One in every way.

If then that One whose unity is not derivative in no way participates plurality, the manifold will be in every way posterior to the One, participating the One but not participated by it.

If on the other hand the One in like manner participates plurality, being indeed one in substance, but by participation not-one, then the One will be pluralized because of the manifold as the manifold is unified because of the One. Thus the One communicates in the manifold and the manifold in the One. But things which come together and communicate in each other, if they are brought together by a third principle, have that principle as their prior; if on the contrary they bring themselves together, they are not opposites (for opposites do not tend towards opposites). Now on the supposition that the One and the manifold are contradistinguished, and the manifold qua manifold is not one, and the One qua one is not manifold, neither arising within the other, they will be at once one (by participation) and two (in substance). But if something prior to both is required to bring them together, this prior is either one or not-one; and if not-one, either many or nothing. But it cannot be many (else we have a manifold prior to the One); nor can it be nothing (how should a nothing draw them together?). It is one, therefore — and nothing but one; for plainly this One cannot be many, or we have infinite regress. It is, then, the One itself; and from the One itself every manifold proceeds.

Proposition 6. Every manifold is composed either of unified groups or of henads (units).

For it is evidently impossible that each constituent of a manifold should be in its turn a pure plurality, and each constituent of this plurality again a plurality (proposition 1). And if the constituent part is not a pure plurality, it is either a unified group or a henad: a unified group if it have unity by participation, a henad if it be a constituent of the first unified group. For if there is a ‘One itself’ (proposition 4), it must have a first participant, which is the first unified group. And this first group is composed of henads: for if it be composed of unified groups, these in turn will be composite, and so to infinity. The first unified group, then, is composed of henads; and we have found true what we enunciated.

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B. Of Causes

Proposition 7. Every productive cause is superior to that which it produces.

For if not superior, it must be either inferior or equal. Let us first suppose it equal. Now, either the product has itself power to produce a further principle, or it is altogether sterile. But if it be supposed sterile, it is thereby proved inferior to its producer: the impotent is not equal to the fecund in which is the power of creation. And if it be productive, the further product will again be either equal to its cause or unequal. But if it be equal, and if this be true universally, that the producer generates a consequent equal to itself, then all beings will be equal one to another, and no one better than another. And if it be not equal, neither was the former product equal to the former producer. For equal powers create equals; but if a cause, not being equal to its consequent, were yet equal to its own prior, we should have here equal powers creating unequals. Therefore it is impossible the product should be equal to the producer.

Again, it is impossible the produce? should ever be inferior. For as it gives the product existence, it must furnish also the power proper for that existence. But if it is itself productive of all the power which is in its consequent, it is able to create a like character in itself, that is, to increase its own power. The means to this cannot be lacking, since it has force sufficient to create; nor can the will be lacking, since by nature all things have appetition of their good. Therefore, were it able to fashion another thing more perfect than itself, it would make itself perfect before its consequent.

Since, then, the product is neither equal to the producer nor superior to it, the producer is necessarily superior to the product.

Proposition 8. All that in any way participates the Good is subordinate to the primal Good which is nothing else but good.

For if all things which exist desire their good, it is evident that the primal Good is beyond the things which exist. For if it be identified with any existent thing, either an existent thing is identical with the Good, and by this identity excluded from desiring the Good (since all appetite implies a lack of, and a severance from, the object craved); or (since this is impossible) its existence is to be distinguished from its goodness, and the latter will be immanent in the former and participated by it. If so, it is not the Good, but a good, being immanent in a particular participant: it is merely the good which this participant desires, not the unqualified Good desired of all existing things. For that is the common object of all yearning, whereas an immanent good belongs to the participant.

The primal Good, then, is nothing else but good. Add to it some other character, and by the addition you have diminished its goodness, changing it from the Good unqualified to a particular good. For that added character, which is not the Good but some lesser thing, by its coexistence has diminished the Good.

Proposition 9. All that is self-sufficient either in its existence or in its activity is superior to what is not self-sufficient but dependent upon another existence which is the cause of its completeness.

For if all things which exist have a natural appetition of their good; and if further there are things which derive their well-being from themselves and things which demand another’s help, things which have the cause of their good within them and things to which it is external: then in proportion as the former are nearer to the giver of their desire, so must they be superior to that which needs an extraneous cause of good and has its existence or its activity completed only by reception from without. Since, then, the self-sufficient has more likeness to the Good itself (yet falls short, in that it participates good and is not itself the primal Good), it is in some way akin to the Good, inasmuch as it can furnish its good out of its own being, whereas that which not only participates, but does so through an external medium, is at a further remove from the primal Good which is nothing else but good.

Proposition 10. All that is self-sufficient is inferior to the unqualified Good.

For what else is the self-sufficient than that which has its good from and in itself? And this means that it is indeed fulfilled with goodness, and participates good, but is not the unqualified Good itself: for the latter, as has been shown (proposition 8), transcends participation and fulfilment. If, then, the self-sufficient has fulfilled itself with goodness, that from which it has fulfilled itself must be superior to the self-sufficient and beyond self-sufficiency. The unqualified Good lacks nothing, since it has no desire towards another (for desire in it would be a failure of goodness); but it is not self-sufficient (for so it would be a principle fulfilled with goodness, not the primal Good).

Proposition 11. All that exists proceeds from a single first cause.

For otherwise all things are uncaused; or else the sum of existence is limited, and there is a circuit of causation within the sum; or else there will be regress to infinity, cause lying behind cause, so that the positing of prior causes will never cease.

But if all things were uncaused, there would be no sequence of primary and secondary, perfecting and perfected, regulative and regulated, generative and generated, active and passive; and all things would be unknowable. For the task of science is the recognition of causes, and only when we recognize the causes of things do we say that we know them.

And if causes transmit themselves in a circuit, the same things will be at once prior and consequent; that is, since every productive cause is superior to its product (proposition 7), each will be at once more efficient than the rest and less efficient. (It is indifferent whether we make the connexion of cause and effect and derive the one from the other through a greater or a less number of intermediate causes; for the cause of all these intermediaries will be superior to all of them, and the greater their number, the greater the efficiency of that cause.)

And if the accumulation of causes may be continued to infinity, cause behind cause for ever, thus again all things will be unknowable. For nothing infinite can be apprehended; and the causes being unknown, there can be no knowledge of their consequents.

Since, then, things cannot be uncaused, and cause is not convertible with effect, and infinite regress is excluded, it remains that there is a first cause of all existing things, whence they severally proceed as branches from a root, some near to it and others more remote. For that there is not more than one such first principle has already been established, inasmuch as the subsistence of any manifold is posterior to the One (proposition 5).

Proposition 12. All that exists has the Good as its principium and first cause.

For if all things proceed from a single cause (proposition 11), we must hold that this cause is either the Good or superior to the Good. But if it be superior to the Good, does it or does it not exercise some force upon things and upon the nature of things? That it does not would be a strange view: for thus it would forfeit its title to the name of cause. For something must in every case pass over from the cause to the effect; and especially must this be true of the first cause, from which all things depend and to which all things owe their several existence. But if things have participation in this supposed superior cause, as they have in the Good (proposition 8), they will possess some character higher than goodness, some character derived from this first cause: for surely the superior principle, transcending the Good, does not bestow upon secondary beings a meaner gift than does the Good which it transcends. And what should this character be which is higher than goodness? For by the very term ‘higher’ we mean that which in greater measure participates good. If, then, the not-good cannot be called ‘higher,’ it is necessarily posterior to the Good.

Again, if all things which exist have desire towards the Good, how can there be a further cause beyond it? For if they desire that other also, how can their desire be pre-eminently towards the Good? And if they desire it not, how comes it that they have no desire towards the universal cause whence they proceeded?

Again, if the Good is that from which all things depend, the Good must be the principium and first cause of all things.

Proposition 13. Every good tends to unify what participates it; and all unification is a good; and the Good is identical with the One.

For if it belongs to the Good to conserve all that exists (and it is for no other reason that all things desire it); and if likewise that which conserves and holds together the being of each several thing is unity (since by unity each is maintained in being, but by dispersion displaced from existence): then the Good, wherever it is present, makes the participant one, and holds its being together in virtue of this unification.

And secondly, if it belongs to unity to bring and keep each thing together, by its presence it makes each thing complete. In this way, then, the state of unification is good for all things.

But again, if unification is in itself good, and all good tends to create unity, then the Good unqualified and the One unqualified merge in a single principle, a principle which makes things one and in doing so makes them good. Hence it is that things which in some fashion have fallen away from their good are at the same stroke deprived of participation of unity; and in like manner things which have lost their portion in unity, being infected with division, are deprived of their good.

Goodness, then, is unification, and unification goodness; the Good is one, and the One is primal good.

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C. Of the Grades of Reality

Proposition 14. All that exists is either moved or unmoved; and if the former, either by itself or by another, that is, either intrinsically or extrinsically: so that everything is unmoved, intrinsically moved, or extrinsically moved.

For since there are things extrinsically moved it follows that there is also something unmoved, and an intermediate existence which is self-moved.

For suppose all extrinsic movement derived from an agent which is itself in motion; then we have either a circuit of communicated movement or an infinite regress. But neither of these is possible, inasmuch as the sum of existence is limited by a first principle (proposition 11) and the mover is superior to the moved (proposition 7). There must, then, be something unmoved which is the first mover.

But if so, there must also be something self-moved. For imagine all things to be at rest: what will be the first thing set in motion? Not the unmoved, by the law of its nature. And not the extrinsically moved, since its motion is communicated from without. It remains, then, that the first thing set in motion is the self-moved, which is in fact the link between the unmoved and the things which are moved extrinsically. At once mover and moved, the self-moved is a kind of mean term between the unmoved mover and that which is merely moved. Everything which exists, therefore, is unmoved, intrinsically moved, or extrinsically moved.

Corollary. From this it is apparent also that of things moved, the self-moved has primacy; and of movers, the unmoved.

Proposition 15. All that is capable of reverting upon itself is incorporeal.

For it is not in the nature of any body to revert upon itself. That which reverts upon anything is conjoined with that upon which it reverts: hence it is evident that every part of a body reverted upon itself must be conjoined with every other part — since self-reversion is precisely the case in which the reverted subject and that upon which it has reverted become identical. But this is impossible for a body, and universally for any divisible substance: for the whole of a divisible substance cannot be conjoined with the whole of itself, because of the separation of its parts, which occupy different positions in space. It is not in the nature, then, of any body to revert upon itself so that the whole is reverted upon the whole. Thus if there is anything which is capable of reverting upon itself, it is incorporeal and without parts.

Proposition 16. All that is capable of reverting upon itself has an existence separable from all body.

For if there were any body whatsoever from which it was inseparable, it could have no activity separable from the body, since it is impossible that if the existence be inseparable from bodies the activity, which proceeds from the existence, should be separable: if so, the activity would be superior to the existence, in that the latter needed a body while the former was self-sufficient, being dependent not on bodies but on itself. Anything, therefore, which is inseparable in its existence is to the same or an even greater degree inseparable in its activity. But if so, it cannot revert upon itself: for that which reverts upon itself, being other than body (proposition 15), has an activity independent of the body and not conducted through it or with its cooperation, since neither the activity itself nor the end to which it is directed requires the body. Accordingly, that which reverts upon itself must be entirely separable from bodies.

Proposition 17. Everything originally self-moving is capable of reversion upon itself.

For if it moves itself, its motive activity is directed upon itself, and mover and moved exist simultaneously as one thing. For either it moves with one part of itself and is moved in another; or the whole moves and is moved; or the whole originates motion which occurs in a part, or vice versa. But if the mover be one part and the moved another, in itself the whole will not be self-moved, since it will be composed of parts which are not self-moved: it will have the appearance of a self-mover, but will not be such in essence. And if the whole originates a motion which occurs in a part, or vice versa, there will be a part common to both which is simultaneously and in the same respect mover and moved, and it is this part which is originally self-moved. And if one and the same thing moves and is moved, it will (as a self-mover) have its activity of motion directed upon itself. But to direct activity upon anything is to turn towards that thing. Everything, therefore, which is originally self-moving is capable of reversion upon itself.

Proposition 18. Everything which by its existence bestows a character on others itself primitively possesses that character which it communicates to the recipients.

For if it bestows by mere existence, and so makes the bestowal from its own essence, then what it bestows is inferior to its essence, and what it is, it is more greatly and more perfectly, by the principle that whatever is productive of anything is superior to its product (proposition 7). Thus the character as it pre-exists in the original giver has a higher reality than the character bestowed: it is what the bestowed character is, but is not identical with it, since it exists primitively and the other only by derivation. For it must be that either the two are identical and have a common definition; or there is nothing common or identical in both; or the one exists primitively and the other by derivation. But if they had a common definition, the one could not be, as we have assumed, cause and the other resultant; the one could not be in itself and the other in the participant; the one could not be the author and the other the subject of a process. And if they had nothing identical, the second, having nothing in common with the existence of the first, could not arise from its existence. It remains, then, that where one thing receives bestowal from another in virtue of that other’s mere existence, the giver possesses primitively the character which it gives, while the recipient is by derivation what the giver is.

Proposition 19. Everything which primitively inheres in any natural class of beings is present in all the members of that class alike, and in virtue of their common definition.

For if it be not present in all alike, but be found in some and not in others, it is evident that it did not primitively reside in that class, but resides primitively in some, and by derivation in others whose participation of it is transient. For a character which at one time belongs to a subject, and at another does not, does not belong to it primitively nor in virtue of the subject’s nature, but is adventitious and reaches its possessor from an alien source.

Proposition 20. Beyond all bodies is the soul’s essence; beyond all souls, the intellective principle; and beyond all intellective substances, the One.

For every body is moved by something not itself: self-movement is contrary to its nature, but by communication in soul it is moved from within, and because of soul it has life. When soul is present, the body is in some sense self-moved, but not when soul is absent: showing that body is naturally moved from without, while self-movement is of soul’s essence. For that in which soul is present receives communication in self-movement; and a character which soul by its mere existence communicates must belong in a far more primitive sense to soul itself (proposition 18). Soul is therefore beyond bodies, as being self-moved in essence, while they by participation come to be self-moved

Soul again, being moved by itself, has a rank inferior to the unmoved principle which is unmoved even in its activity. For of all things that are moved the self-moved has primacy; and of all movers, the unmoved (proposition 14 corollary). If, therefore, soul is a self-moved cause of motion, there must exist a prior cause of motion which is unmoved. Now Intelligence is such an unmoved cause of motion, eternally active without change. It is through Intelligence that soul participates in perpetuity of thought, as body in self-movement through soul: for if perpetuity of thought belonged primitively to soul it would inhere, like self-movement, in all souls (proposition 19); hence it does not belong primitively to soul. Prior to soul, then, must be the first thinker: that is, the Intelligence is prior to souls.

Yet again, the One is prior to the Intelligence. For the Intelligence, though unmoved, is yet not unity: in knowing itself, it is object to its own activity. Moreover, while all things, whatsoever their grade of reality, participate unity (proposition 1), not all participate intelligence: for to participate intelligence is to participate knowledge, since intuitive knowledge is the beginning and first cause of all knowing. Thus the One is beyond the Intelligence.

Beyond the One there is no further principle; for unity is identical with the Good (proposition 13), and is therefore the principium of all things, as has been shown (proposition 12).

Proposition 21. Every order has its beginning in a monad and proceeds to a manifold coordinate therewith; and the manifold in any order may be carried back to a single monad.

For the monad has the relative status of an originative principle, and so generates the appropriate manifold. Hence a series or order is a unity, in that the entire sequence derives from the monad its declension into plurality: if the monad abode sterile within itself, there could be no order and no series.

And in the reverse direction the manifold may be carried back to a single common cause of all the coordinate terms. For that which is identical in every member of the manifold did not proceed from one of those members: that which proceeds from one out of many is not common to all, but is peculiar to the single individuality of that one. Since, then, in every order there is some common element, a continuity and identity in virtue of which some things are said to be coordinate and others not, it is apparent that the identical element is derived by the whole order from a single originative principle. Thus in each order or causal chain there exists a single monad prior to the manifold, which determines for the members of the order their unique relation to one another and to the whole. It is true that among members of the same series one is cause of another; but that which is cause of the series as a unity must be prior to them all, and qua coordinate they must all be generated from it, not in their several peculiarities, but as members of a particular series.

Corollary. From this it is apparent that in the nature of body unity and plurality coexist in such a manner that the one Nature has the many natures dependent from it, and, conversely, these are derived from one Nature, that of the whole; that the soul-order, originating from one primal Soul, descends to a manifold of souls and again carries back the manifold to the one; that to intellective essence belongs an intellective monad and a manifold of intelligences proceeding from a single Intelligence and reverting thither; that for the One which is prior to all things there is the manifold of the henads (divine units), and for the henads the upward tension linking them with the One. Thus there are henads consequent upon the primal One, intelligences consequent on the primal Intelligence, souls consequent on the primal Soul, and a plurality of natures consequent on the universal Nature.

Proposition 22. All that exists primitively and originally in each order is one and not two or more than two, but unique.

For, if possible, let it be two (there will be the same impossibility if it be more than two). Either, then, each of these two is primitively what it is called, or the combination of both is so. But if the combination is so, what is primitive will be one again and not two. And if each severally, either one is derived from the other, and so only one is primitive; or else the two are on a level. But if they be on a level, neither will now be primitive. For if either be primitive yet distinct from the other, why should it belong to the same order as the other? For the primitive is that which is nothing else than what it is called; but each of these two, being distinct from its fellow, both is, and at the same time is not, what it is called. If, then, they differ, but not in respect of their primitive quality (for both have this common quality as a primary affect), the primitive existent will be not the pair, but that by participation of which both are described as existing primitively.

Corollary. From this it is apparent that primal Being is one only, and there are not two or more primal types of Being; that primal Intelligence is one only, and there are not two primal Intelligences; that the primal Soul is one, and so with each of the Forms, as the primal Beautiful, the primal Equal, and all the rest in like manner; that so again the primal Form of animal is one, and that of man. For the same proof applies to all.

Proposition 23. All that is unparticipated produces out of itself the participated; and all participated substances are linked by upward tension to existences not participated.

For on the one hand the unparticipated, having the relative status of a monad (as being its own and not another’s, and as transcending the participants), generates terms capable of being participated. For either it must remain fixed in sterility and isolation, and so must lack a place of honour; or else it will give something of itself, whereof the receiver becomes a participant, whilst the given attains substantial existence as a participated term.

Every participated term, on the other hand, becoming a property of that particular by which it is participated, is secondary to that which in all is equally present and has filled them all out of its own being. That which is in one is not in the others; while that which is present to all alike, that it may illuminate all, is not in any one, but is prior to them all. For either it is in all, or in one out of all, or prior to all. But a principle which was in all would be divided amongst all, and would itself require a further principle to unify the divided; and further, all the particulars would no longer participate the same principle, but this one and that another, through the diremption of its unity. And if it be in one out of all, it will be a property no longer of all but of one. Inasmuch, then, as it is both common to all that can participate and identical for all, it must be prior to all: that is, it must be unparticipated.

Proposition 24. All that participates is inferior to the participated, and this latter to the unparticipated.

For the participant was incomplete before the participation, and by the participation has been made complete: it is therefore necessarily subordinate to the participated, inasmuch as it owes its completeness to the act of participation. As having formerly been incomplete it is inferior to the principle which completes it.

Again, the participated, being the property of one particular and not of all, has a lower mode of substance assigned to it than that which belongs to all and not to one: for the latter is more nearly akin to the cause of all things, the former less nearly.

The unparticipated, then, precedes the participated, and these the participants. For, to express it shortly, the first is a unity prior to the many; the participated is within the many, and is one yet not one; while all that participates is not-one yet one.

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D. Of Procession and Reversion

Proposition 25. Whatever is complete proceeds to generate those things which it is capable of producing, imitating in its turn the one originative principle of the universe.

For that principle because of its own goodness is by a unitary act constitutive of all that is: for the Good being identical with the One (proposition 13), action which has the form of Goodness is identical with unitary action. In like manner the principles consequent upon it are impelled because of their proper completeness to generate further principles inferior to their own being (proposition 7). For completeness is a part of the Good, and the complete, qua complete, imitates the Good. Now we saw that the Good was constitutive of all things (proposition 12). Accordingly the complete is by nature productive within the limits of its power. The more complete is the cause of more, in proportion to the degree of its completeness: for the more complete participates the Good more fully; that is, it is nearer to the Good; that is, it is more nearly akin to the cause of all; that is, it is the cause of more. And the less complete is the cause of less, in proportion to its incompleteness: for being more remote from that which produces all, it is constitutive of fewer things; since to constitute or regulate or complete or maintain or vitalize or create a large class of things approaches nearest to the universal performance of these functions, while a like service to a smaller class stands at a further remove.

Corollary. From this it is apparent that the principle most remote from the beginning of all things is sterile and a cause of nothing. For if it generate and have a consequent, it is plain that it can no longer be the most remote: its product is more remote than itself, and itself is brought nearer by the fact of producing another, whatever that other be, and thus imitating that cause which is productive of all that is.

Proposition 26. Every productive cause produces the next and all subsequent principles while itself remaining steadfast.

For if it imitates the One, and if the One brings its consequents into existence without movement, then every productive cause has a like law of production. Now the One does create without movement. For if it create through movement, either the movement is within it, and being moved it will change from being one and so lose its unity; or if the movement be subsequent to it, this movement will itself be derived from the One, and either we shall have infinite regress or the One will produce without movement. And secondly, every productive principle will imitate the One, the productive cause of the sum of things: for the non-primal is everywhere derived from the primal, so that a principle productive of certain things must derive from the principle which produces all things. Therefore every productive principle produces its consequents while itself remaining steadfast.

Corollary. It follows that the productive principles remain undiminished by the production from them of secondary existences: for what is in any way diminished cannot remain as it is.

Proposition 27. Every producing cause is productive of secondary existences because of its completeness and superfluity of potency.

For if it had produced not because of its completeness, but by reason of a defect of potency, it could not have maintained unmoved its own station: since that which through defect or weakness bestows existence upon another furnishes the substance of that other by a conversion and alteration of its own nature. But every producer remains as it is, and its consequent proceeds from it without change in its steadfastness (proposition 26). Full and complete, then, it brings to existence the secondary principles without movement and without loss, itself being what it is, neither transmuted into the secondaries nor suffering any diminution. For the product is not a parcelling-out of the producer: that is not a character even of physical generation or generative causes. Nor is it a transformation: the producer is not the matter of what proceeds from it, for it remains as it is, and its product is a fresh existence beside it. Thus the engenderer is established beyond alteration or diminution, multiplying itself in virtue of its generative potency and furnishing from itself secondary substances.

Proposition 28. Every producing cause brings into existence things like to itself before the unlike.

For since the producer is necessarily superior to the product (proposition 7), they can never be identical without qualification, or equal in potency. And if they are not identical and equal, but diverse and unequal, either they are altogether distinct from each other or they are at once united and distinguished.

But if they be altogether distinct they will be incapable of association, and there will be no sympathy between effect and cause. Accordingly the one will not participate the other, if they be completely diverse: for the participated bestows upon the participant communion in that which it participates. But it is necessary that the effect should participate the cause, inasmuch as it derives its being from the latter.

Let us suppose, then, that the product is distinguished in one respect from its producing cause, united to it in another. If it were affected in equal degrees by distinction and union, it would in equal degrees participate the cause and fail to participate it, so that it would both derive and in like manner not derive its being from its cause. And if it were distinguished more than united, the engendered would be more alien from the engenderer than akin to it and less adjusted to it than maladjusted; its capacity for sympathy would be less than its incapacity. Inasmuch, then, as derivative principles are in their very being cognate and sympathetic with their causes, inasmuch as they are by nature dependent from them and desire to be conjoined with them (for they desire the Good, and obtain their desire through the mediation of their cause), it is plain that products are more united to their producing causes than they are distinguished from them. But things which are united to, more than they are distinguished from, those principles with which they are most closely united are like them more than they are unlike. Every productive cause, therefore, brings into existence like things before unlike.

Proposition 29. All procession is accomplished through a likeness of the secondary to the primary.

For if the producing cause brings into existence like things before unlike (proposition 28), it is likeness which generates the product out of the producer: for like things are made like by likeness, and not by unlikeness. The procession, accordingly, since in declension it preserves an identity betwixt engenderer and engendered, and manifests by derivation in the consequent that character which the other has primitively (proposition 18), owes to likeness its substantive existence.

Proposition 30. All that is immediately produced by any principle both in the producing cause and proceeds from it.

For if in every procession the first terms remain steadfast (proposition 26), and if the procession is accomplished by means of likeness (proposition 29), like terms coming to existence before unlike (proposition 28), then the product in some sense remains in the producer. For a term which proceeded completely would have no identity with that which remained: such a term is wholly distinct from the prior. If it is to be united by any common link with its cause, it must remain in the latter as we saw that the latter remained in itself. If, on the other hand, it should remain only, without procession, it will be indistinguishable from its cause, and will not be a new thing which has arisen while the cause remains. For if it is a new thing, it is distinct and separate; and if it is separate and the cause remains steadfast, to render this possible it must have proceeded from the cause. In so far, then, as it has an element of identity with the producer, the product remains in it; in so far as it differs it proceeds from it. But being like it, it is at once identical with it in some respect and different from it: accordingly it both remains and proceeds, and the two relations are inseparable.

Proposition 31. All that proceeds from any principle reverts in respect of its being upon that from which it proceeds.

For if it should proceed yet not revert upon the cause of this procession, it must be without appetition of that cause, since all that has appetition is turned towards the object of its appetite. But all things desire the Good, and each attains it through the mediation of its own proximate cause: therefore each has appetition of its own cause also. Through that which gives it being it attains its well-being; the source of its well-being is the primary object of its appetite; and the primary object of its appetite is that upon which it reverts.

Proposition 32. All reversion is accomplished through a likeness of the reverting terms to the goal of reversion.

For that which reverts endeavours to be conjoined in every part with every part of its cause, and desires to have communion in it and be bound to it. But all things are bound together by likeness, as by unlikeness they are distinguished and severed. If, then, reversion is a communion and conjunction, and all communion and conjunction is through likeness, it follows that all reversion must be accomplished through likeness.

Proposition 33. All that proceeds from any principle and reverts upon it has a cyclic activity.

For if it reverts upon that principle whence it proceeds (proposition 31), it links its end to its beginning, and the movement is one and continuous, originating from the unmoved and to the unmoved again returning. Thus all things proceed in a circuit, from their causes to their causes again. There are greater circuits and lesser, in that some revert upon their immediate priors, others upon the superior causes, even to the beginning of all things. For out of the beginning all things are, and towards it all revert.

Proposition 34. Everything whose nature it is to revert reverts upon that from which it derived the procession of its own substance.

For if it reverts by nature, it has existential appetition of that upon which it reverts. And if so, its being also is wholly dependent on the principle upon which it reverts existentially, and in its existence it resembles this latter: hence it is naturally sympathetic with this principle, since it is akin to it in existence. If so, either the being of the two is identical, or one is derived from the other, or else both have received their like character from a single third principle. But if they be identical, how comes it that one is by nature reverted upon the other? And if the two be from one source, that source must be the goal of natural reversion for both (proposition 31). It remains, therefore, that one has its being from the other. And if so, its procession is from that upon which it naturally reverts.

Corollary. From this it is apparent that as the Intelligence is an object of appetition to all things, so all things proceed from the Intelligence, and the whole world-order, though eternal, has its being therefrom. The eternity of the world-order affords no ground for denying that it proceeds from the Intelligence; just as it keeps its own station for ever, yet is none the less reverted upon the Intelligence. It proceeds eternally, and is eternal in its being; it is eternally reverted, and is steadfast in its own station.

Proposition 35. Every effect remains in its cause, proceeds from it, and reverts upon it.

For if it should remain without procession or reversion, it will be without distinction from, and therefore identical with, its cause, since distinction implies procession. And if it should proceed without reversion or immanence, it will be without conjunction or sympathy with its cause, since it will have no communication with it. And if it should revert without immanence or procession, how can that which has not its being from the higher revert existentially upon a principle thus alien? And if it should remain and proceed, but not revert, how comes it that each thing has a natural appetition of its well-being and of the Good, and an upward tension towards its begetter? And if it should proceed and revert, but not remain, how comes it that being parted from its cause it endeavours to be conjoined with it, although before the severance there was no conjunction (since if it was conjoined with the cause it certainly remained in it)? Finally, if it should remain and revert, but not proceed, how can there be reversion without distinction (since all reversion seems to be the resolution of a principle into something from which its being divides it)?

But the effect must either remain simply, or revert simply, or proceed simply, or combine the extreme terms, or combine the mean term with one of the other two; or else combine all three. By exclusion, then, every effect remains in its cause, proceeds from it, and reverts upon it.

Proposition 36. In all that multiplies itself by procession, those terms which arise first are more perfect than the second, and these than the next order, and so throughout the series.

For if procession is that which distinguishes product from cause, and there is a declination in secondaries relatively to primals (proposition 28), then the first terms in such processions are more closely conjoined with the causes, since they spring direct from them; and so throughout. But that which is closer and more akin to the cause is more perfect (for causes are more perfect than effects (proposition 7)); and the more remote is less perfect, as it loses the likeness of the cause.

Proposition 37. In all that is generated by reversion the first terms are less perfect than the second, and these than the next order; and the last are the most perfect.

For if reversion is the return of a circuit (proposition 33), and the goal of reversion is the source of procession (proposition 34), then if the procession is from the most perfect term (proposition 36), the reversion is toward the most perfect term. And if the last term of the procession is the first term of the reversion, and the least perfect term of the procession is its last, then the reversion begins from its least perfect term. In the order of reversion, then, the least perfect terms are first and the most perfect last.

Proposition 38. All that proceeds from a plurality of causes passes through as many terms in its reversion as in its procession; and all reversion is through the same terms as the corresponding procession.

For since both procession and reversion are accomplished through likeness (props. 29, 32), that which proceeds immediately from any principle is immediately reverted upon it, the likeness being immediate. But that which requires mediation in its procession requires it also in its reversion, since both moments must be related to the same term (proposition 34): so that it will revert first to the mean term, then to that superior to the mean. Accordingly the well-being of each thing is derived through as many causes as its being; and conversely.

Proposition 39. All that exists reverts either in respect of its existence only, or in respect of its life, or by the way of knowledge also.

For either it has from its cause existence only, or life together with existence, or else it has received from thence a cognitive faculty also. In so far, then, as it has bare existence, its reversion is existential; in so far as it also lives, vital; in so far as it has knowledge likewise, cognitive. For as it proceeds, so it reverts; and the measure of its reversion is determined by the measure of its procession. Some things, accordingly, have appetition in respect of bare existence only, that is, a fitness for the participation of their causes; others have a vital appetition, that is, a movement towards the higher; others, again, a cognitive appetition, which is a consciousness of the goodness of their causes.

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E. Of the Self-Constituted

Proposition 40. All that proceeds from another cause is subordinate to principles which get their substance from themselves and have a self-constituted existence.

For if all that is self-sufficient either in its existence or in its activity is superior to that which depends upon another cause (proposition 9); and if that which produces itself, having the power of furnishing its own being, is self-sufficient in respect of its existence, whereas that which is produced entirely by another is not self- sufficient; and if the self-sufficient is nearer akin to the Good (proposition 9); and if terms which have more of kinship and likeness to their causes are generated from the cause before the unlike terms (proposition 28): then terms which are produced by themselves and self- constituted are senior to those which derive their being solely from another.

For either there is nothing self-constituted, or the Good is such, or else the principles which arise first from the Good. But if there be nothing self-constituted, there will be no true self-sufficiency in anything: neither in the Good, which is superior to self-sufficiency (proposition 10), since it is not a possessor of the Good, but is One (proposition 13) and Good-absolute (proposition 8); nor in things posterior to the Good, since each will depend upon another, belonging not to itself but wholly to its prior. And if the Good be self-constituted, producing itself it will lose its unity, inasmuch as that which proceeds from the One is not-one (proposition 2) (for if it be self-constituted it proceeds from itself): accordingly the One will be one and at the same time not-one. It follows, then, that the self-constituted must exist, but posterior to the First Principle. That it is prior to those terms which proceed wholly from another cause, is evident: for it is more autonomous than they, and nearer akin to the Good, as has been shown above.

Proposition 41. All that has its existence in another is produced entirely from another; but all that exists in itself is self constituted.

For that which exists in another and requires a substrate can never be self-generative, since a principle capable of generating itself needs no alien seat, being contained by itself and conserved in itself without a substrate. On the other hand, that which can remain firmly seated in itself is self-productive, since it proceeds from itself to itself: it has the power of containing itself, and is in itself not spatially, nor as in a substrate, but as the effect is in the cause. For space and substrate are alike distinct from their content, whereas the principles in question are self-identical. Such a term, therefore, exists in itself by self-constitution, and as the consequent exists in the cause.

Proposition 42. All that is self-constituted is capable of reversion upon itself.

For if it proceeds from itself it will also revert upon itself, since the source of the procession of any term is the goal of the corresponding reversion (proposition 31). If, proceeding from itself, it should in proceeding not revert, it could never have appetition of its proper good, a good which it can bestow upon itself. For every cause can bestow upon its product, along with the existence which it gives, the well-being which belongs to that existence: hence it can bestow the latter upon itself also, and this is the proper good of the self-constituted. Of this good it will have no appetition if it be incapable of reversion upon itself; not desiring, it cannot attain; and not attaining, it will be incomplete and not self-sufficient. But self-sufficiency and completeness belong to the self-constituted if they belong to anything. Accordingly the self-constituted must attain its proper good; and must therefore desire it; and must therefore revert upon itself.

Proposition 43. All that is capable of reversion upon itself is self-constituted.

For if it is by nature reverted upon itself, and is made complete by such reversion, it must derive its existence from itself, since the goal of natural reversion for any term is the source from which its existence proceeds (proposition 34). If, then, it is the source of its own well-being, it will certainly be also the source of its own being and responsible for its own existence as a substance. Thus what is able to revert upon itself is self-constituted.

Proposition 44. All that is capable in its activity of reversion upon itself is also reverted upon itself in respect of its existence.

For if, being capable of reversion upon itself in its activity, it were not reversive in its existence, its activity would be superior to its existence, the former being reversive, the latter not: inasmuch as what belongs to itself is superior to that which belongs wholly to another, and what conserves itself is more complete than that which is conserved wholly by another (proposition 9). If, then, anything is capable of reversion upon itself in respect of the activity which proceeds from its existence, its existence is likewise reversive, so that it not only has an activity directed upon itself but also belongs to itself and is by itself contained and perfected.

Proposition 45. All that is self constituted is without temporal origin.

For if it have an origin, qua originated it will be in itself incomplete and need the perfective operation of another, whereas qua self-produced it is complete and self-sufficient. For all that has an origin is perfected by another, which brings into being that which as yet is not, since coming-to-be is a process leading from incompleteness to the opposite completeness. But whatever produces itself is perpetually complete, being perpetually conjoined with — or rather, immanent in — its cause, which is the principle that perfects its being.

Proposition 46. All that is self-constituted is imperishable.

For if it be destined to perish, it will then desert itself and be severed from itself. But this is impossible. For being one, it is at once cause and effect. Now whatever perishes is in perishing severed from its cause: for each thing is held together and conserved so long as it is linked with a principle which contains and conserves it. But the self-constituted, being its own cause, never deserts its cause since it never deserts itself. Therefore all that is self-constituted is imperishable.

Proposition 47. All that is self constituted is without parts and simple.

For if, being self-constituted, it yet have parts, it will constitute itself as a divisible principle; and it will be reverted upon itself in its entirety, so that every part will be immanent in every other: which is impossible. The self-constituted is therefore without parts.

Again, it is simple. For if it be composite, there will be a worse and a better part in it; and the better will be derived from the worse as well as the worse from the better, since it proceeds from itself as a whole from a whole. Further, it will not be self-sufficient, since it will need its own elements, out of which it is composed. Therefore all that is self-constituted is simple.

Proposition 48. All that is not perpetual either is composite or has its subsistence in another.

For either it is dissoluble into elements (and if so, it is necessarily composite of those elements); or else it needs a substrate, and passes into non-existence by abandoning that substrate. If it were simple and existed in itself, it would be subject neither to dissolution nor to dispersion.

Proposition 49. All that is self-constituted, is perpetual.

For anything which is not perpetual must be so in one of two ways, either as being composite or as existing in another (proposition 48). But the self-constituted is simple, not composite (proposition 47), and exists in itself, not in another (proposition 41). It is therefore perpetual.

Proposition 50. All that is measured by time either in its existence or in its activity is in process of coming-to-be in that respect in which it is measured by time.

For if it is measured by time, it must have a temporal existence or activity, and a past and a future which are mutually distinct; since if its past and its future be numerically identical, it is unaffected by the passage of time, which always contains a distinguishable ‘earlier’ and ‘later.’ If, then, its past and its future are distinct, it is something which becomes and never is, but moves with the movement of the time which measures it; it exists in becoming and is not steadfast in its own essence, but continually admits of being one thing and then another, as the temporal ‘now’ is different in every moment by reason of the passage of time. Accordingly it does not exist as a simultaneous whole; for it has the dispersed existence of temporal duration, and is extended with extending time: that is, it has its being in not-being; for what is coming-to-be is not the thing which it is becoming. Therefore what exists in this way is in process of coming-to-be.

Proposition 51. All that is self-constituted, transcends the things which are measured by time in respect of their existence.

For if the self-constituted is without temporal origin (proposition 45), it cannot be measured by time in respect of its being; for coming-to-be is predicated of everything that is measured by time (proposition 50). Nothing, therefore, which is self-constituted has its subsistence in time.

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F. Of Time and Eternity

Proposition 52. All that is eternal is a simultaneous whole.

If its existence alone be eternal, that existence is simultaneously present in its entirety; there is not one part of it which has already emerged and another which will emerge later, but as yet is not; all that it is capable of being it already possesses in entirety, without diminution and without serial extension. If its activity be eternal in addition to its existence, this too is simultaneously entire, steadfast in an unvarying measure of completeness and as it were frozen in one unchanging outline, without movement or transition.

For if the ‘eternal’ (aionion) means, as the word itself shows, that which always is (aei on), as distinct from temporary existence or coming-to-be, then its parts cannot be distinguished as earlier and later; otherwise it will be a process of coming-to-be, not something which is (proposition 50). And where there is neither an earlier nor a later, neither a ‘was’ nor a ‘will be,’ but only a being what it is, there each thing is simultaneously the whole of what it is. A like argument applies to activity.

Corollary. From this it is apparent that eternity is the cause of things existing as wholes, inasmuch as all that is eternal in its existence or in its activity has the whole of its existence or activity simultaneously present to it.

Proposition 53. Prior to all things eternal there exists Eternity; and prior to all things temporal, Time.

For if everywhere participated principles exist before the participants, and unparticipated principles before the participated (proposition 23), it is plain that an eternal thing is distinct from its eternity, and both these from Eternity in itself, the first being a participant, the second participated, the third unparticipated; and again that a temporal thing, which is a participant, is distinguished from its time, which is participated, and this in turn from a more primitive unparticipated Time. Each of these unparticipated terms is identically present everywhere and in all members of its order (proposition 19), while the participated term exists only in those members which participate it. For the eternal things are many, and likewise the temporal: all the former have an eternity by participation, all the latter a time which is parcelled out. But prior to these are the undivided Eternity and the one Time; these are the Eternity of eternities and the Time of times, since they generate the participated terms.

Proposition 54. Every eternity is a measure of things eternal, and every time of things in time; and these two are the only measures of life and movement in things.

For any measure must measure either piecemeal or by simultaneous application of the whole measure to the thing measured. That which measures by the whole is eternity; that which measures by parts, time. There are thus two measures only, one of eternal things, the other of things in time.

Proposition 55. Of things which exist in time, some have a perpetual duration, whilst others have a dated existence in a part of time.

For if all procession is through likeness (proposition 29), and the first term of any series is immediately succeeded by terms which are like it rather than unlike, the wholly unlike having a lower station (proposition 28); and if it is impossible to attach directly to the eternals things which come-to-be in a part of time (since the latter are doubly distinguished from the former, both as things in process from things which are and as dated from perpetual existences), so that there must be an intermediate order which resembles the eternals in one respect but differs from them in the other: then the mean between things which come-to-be for a time and things which perpetually are is either that which perpetually comes-to-be or that which is for a time. Now ‘that which is for a time’ may refer either to a temporary being which is not fully real or to a temporary true being. But no true being can be temporary; and temporary being which is not fully real is one with coming-to-be. Therefore ‘that which is for a time’ is not the mean. It remains that the mean is that which perpetually comes-to-be: which in virtue of its coming-to-be is attached to the inferior order, while in its perpetuity it imitates the eternal nature.

Corollary. From this it is apparent that the perpetuity we spoke of (propositions 48, 49) was of two kinds, the one eternal, the other in time; the one a perpetual steadfastness, the other a perpetual process; the one having its existence concentrated in a simultaneous whole, the other diffused and unfolded in temporal extension; the one entire in itself, the other composed of parts each of which exists separately in an order of succession.

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G. Of the Grades of Causality

Proposition 56. All that is produced by secondary beings is in a greater measure produced from those prior and more determinative principles from which the secondary were themselves derived.

For if the secondary has its whole existence from its prior, thence also it receives its power of further production, since productive powers reside in producers in virtue of their existence and form part of their being. But if it owes to the superior cause its power of production, to that superior it owes its character as a cause in so far as it is a cause, a character meted out to it from thence in proportion to its constitutive capacity. If so, the things which proceed from it are caused in virtue of its prior; for the same principle which makes the one a cause makes the other an effect. If so, the effect owes to the superior cause its character as an effect.

Again, it is evident that the effect is determined by the superior principle in a greater measure. For if the latter has conferred on the secondary being the causality which enabled it to produce, it must itself have. possessed this causality primitively (proposition 18), and it is in virtue of this that the secondary being generates, having derived from its prior the capacity of secondary generation. But if the secondary is productive by participation, the primal primitively and by communication, the latter is causative in a greater measure, inasmuch as it has communicated to another the power of generating consequents.

Proposition 57. Every cause both operates prior to its consequent and gives rise to a greater number of posterior terms.

For if it is a cause, it is more perfect and more powerful than its consequent (proposition 7). And if so, it must cause a greater number of effects: for greater power produces more effects, equal power, equal effects, and lesser power, fewer; and the power which can produce the greater effects upon a like subject can produce also the lesser, whereas a power capable of the lesser will not necessarily be capable of the greater. If, then, the cause is more powerful than its consequent, it is productive of a greater number of effects.

But again, the powers which are in the consequent are present in a greater measure in the cause. For all that is produced by secondary beings is produced in a greater measure by prior and more determinative principles (proposition 56). The cause, then, is cooperative in the production of all that the consequent is capable of producing.

And if it first produces the consequent itself, it is of course plain that it is operative before the latter in the activity which produces it. Thus every cause operates both prior to its consequent and in conjunction with it, and likewise gives rise to further effects posterior to it.

Corollary. From this it is apparent that what Soul causes is caused also by Intelligence, but not all that Intelligence causes is caused by Soul: Intelligence operates prior to Soul; and what Soul bestows on secondary existences Intelligence bestows in a greater measure; and at a level where Soul is no longer operative Intelligence irradiates with its own gifts things on which Soul has not bestowed itself — for even the inanimate participates Intelligence, or the creative activity of Intelligence, in so far as it participates Form.

Again, what Intelligence causes is also caused by the Good, but not conversely. For even privation of Form is from the Good, since it is the source of all things; but Intelligence, being Form, cannot give rise to privation.

Proposition 58. All that is produced by a greater number of causes is more composite than the product of fewer causes.

For if every cause gives something to that which proceeds from it, the more numerous causes will bestow more gifts, the less numerous fewer. So that of the participants some will be made up of more participated elements, others of fewer, in virtue of their respective procession from more or fewer causes. But things made up of more elements are more composite; things made up of fewer of the same elements are less so. The product, then, of more causes is always more composite; of fewer causes, less so. For what the latter participates is participated by the former; but not conversely.

Proposition 59. Whatever is simple in its being may be either superior to composite things or inferior to them.

For if the extremes of being be produced by fewer and simpler causes, the intermediate existences by more, the latter will be composite (proposition 58), while of the extreme terms some will be simpler as being higher, others as being lower. But that the extreme terms are produced by fewer causes is plain, since the higher principles both begin to operate before the lower and extend beyond them to things which the lower by remission of power are precluded from reaching (proposition 57). For the last being is, like the first, perfectly simple, for the reason that it proceeds from the first alone; but the one is simple as being above all composition, the other as being beneath it. And the same reasoning applies to all other terms.

Proposition 60. Whatever principle is the cause of a greater number of effects is superior to that which has a power limited to fewer objects and which gives rise to parts of those existences constituted by the other as wholes.

For if the one is cause of fewer effects, the other of more, and the fewer form a part of the more numerous, then whatever is produced by the former cause will be produced also by the latter, but the former is not productive of all that the latter produces. The latter is therefore the more powerful and comprehensive: for as consequent is to consequent, so is cause to cause, considered relatively, and that which can give rise to more effects has greater and more universal power. But this means that it is nearer to the cause of all things; and what is nearer to the cause is in a greater measure good, the Good being that cause (proposition 12). The cause of more numerous effects is therefore superior in its being to that which produces fewer.

Proposition 61. Every power is greater if it be undivided, less if it be divided.

For if it be divided, it proceeds to a manifold; and if so, it becomes more remote from the One; and if so, it will be less powerful, in proportion as it falls away from the One which contains it in unity, and imperfect, inasmuch as the good of each thing consists in its unity (proposition 13).

Proposition 62. Every manifold which is nearer to the One has fewer members than those more remote, but is greater in power.

For that which is nearer to the One is more like to it; and we saw that the One is constitutive of all things without becoming manifold (proposition 5). Accordingly that which is more like to it, being the cause of more existences, as the One is of all existences, will be more unitary and less divisible, as the first cause is One. The less pluralized is more akin to it qua One; and qua universal cause, the more productive — that is to say, the more powerful.

Corollary. From this it is apparent that bodily natures are more numerous than souls, and these than intelligences, and the intelligences more numerous than the divine henads. And the same principle applies universally.

Proposition 63. Every unparticipated term gives rise to two orders of participated terms, the one in contingent participants, the other in things which participate at all times and in virtue of their nature.

For what is enduringly participated is more like to the unparticipated than what is participated for a time only. Prior, therefore, to the constitution of the last-named, there will be constituted something enduringly participated (proposition 28), which qua participated does not differ from the succeeding term, but qua enduring is more akin to the unparticipated and more like to it. Terms participated for a time only are not the sole class of participated terms: for prior to them there exist terms enduringly participated, through which they too are linked with the unparticipated in an ordered sequence of procession. Nor are terms enduringly participated the sole class: for inasmuch as they exist perpetually they have an inextinguishable power, whereby they are productive of further terms (proposition 25), namely those which are participated for a time only; and this is the limit of declension.

Corollary. From this it is apparent that the states of unity with which the One irradiates existents are participated some enduringly, others for a time; and in like manner intellective participations are of two kinds, and the ensoulments produced by souls, and similarly the participations of Forms also — for beauty and likeness and steadfastness and identity, being unparticipated, are yet participated by certain participants enduringly, and derivatively by others for a time in the same class of existents.

Proposition 64. Every original monad gives rise to two series, one consisting of substances complete in themselves, and one of irradiations which have their substantiality in something other than themselves.

For if the outgoing proceeds by a declension through terms akin to the constitutive causes (proposition 28), from the wholly perfect must arise things complete in their kind, and by these latter the origin of things incomplete must be mediated in due sequence: so that there will be one order of substances complete in themselves, and another of incomplete substances. The latter are upon such a level that they belong to their participants: for being incomplete they require a substrate for their existence. The former make the participants belong to them: for being complete they fill the participants with themselves (proposition 25) and establish them in themselves, and for their substantial existence they have no need of inferior beings. Accordingly those substances which are complete in themselves, while by their discrimination into a manifold they fall short of their original monad, are yet in some wise assimilated to it by their self-complete existence; whereas the incomplete not only as existing in another fall away from the monad which exists in itself, but also as incomplete from the all-completing monad. But all procession advances through similars until it reaches the wholly dissimilar (proposition 28). Thus each of the original monads gives rise to two series.

Corollary. From this it is apparent that of the henads some proceed self-complete from the One, while others are irradiated states of unity; and of the intelligences some are self-complete substances, while others are intellectual perfections; and of souls some belong to themselves, while others belong to ensouled bodies, as being but phantasms of souls. And so not every unity is a god, but only the self-complete henad; not every intellectual property is an intelligence, but only the existential; not every irradiation of Soul is a soul, but there are also reflections of souls.

Proposition 65. All that subsists in any fashion has its being either in its cause, as an originative potency; or as a substantial predicate; or by participation, after the manner of an image.

For either we see the product as pre-existent in the producer which is its cause (for every cause comprehends its effect before its emergence, having primitively that character which the latter has by derivation (proposition 18)); or we see the producer in the product (for the latter participates its producer and reveals in itself by derivation what the producer already is primitively); or else we contemplate each thing in its own station, neither in its cause nor in its resultant (for its cause has a higher, its resultant a lower mode of being than itself, and besides these there must surely be some being which is its own) — and it is as a substantial predicate that each has its being in its own station.

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H. Of Wholes and Parts

Proposition 66. Every existent is related to every other either as a whole or as a part or by identity or by difference.

For either some are comprehensive and the rest comprehended; or else neither of two existents comprehends or is comprehended by the other. In the latter case either they have a common affect, as participating a common principle, or they are mutually diverse. But comprehensive terms must be wholes, and comprehended terms parts; if the many participate one, they are identical in respect of that unity; and if on the other hand they are a mere plurality, in that respect in which they are many they differ one from another.

Proposition 67. Every whole is either a whole-before-the-parts, a whole-of-parts, or a whole-in-the-part.

For either we contemplate the form of each thing in its cause, and to this form pre-existing in the cause we give the name of whole-before-the-parts; or else we contemplate it in the parts which participate the cause, and this after one of two manners. Either we see it in all the parts taken together, and it is then a whole-of- parts, the withdrawal from which of any single part diminishes the whole; or else we see it in each part severally, in the sense that even the part has become a whole by participation of the whole, which causes the part to be the whole in such fashion as is proper to a part. The whole-of-parts is the whole as existence; the whole-before-the parts is the whole in its cause; the whole-in-the-part is the whole by participation (proposition 65). For this last is still the whole, though in its extreme declension, in so far as it imitates the whole-of-parts: which is not true of any and every part, but only of such as can assimilate themselves to a whole whose parts are wholes.

Proposition 68. Every whole-in-the-part is a part of a whole-of-parts.

For if it is a part, it is a part of some whole; and this must be either the whole which it contains, in virtue of which it is called a whole-in-the-part, or else some other whole. But on the former supposition it will be a part of itself, and the part will be equal to the whole, and the two identical. And if it is a part of some other whole, either it is the only part, and if so will again be indistinguishable from the whole, being the one part of a pure unity; or else, since the parts of any whole are at least two, this whole will include a further element and, being composed of a plurality of parts, will be a whole of the parts which compose it. Accordingly, the whole- in-the-part is a part of a whole-of-parts.

Proposition 69. Every whole-of-parts participates the whole-before-the-parts.

For if it is composed of parts, it has wholeness as an affect, since the parts in becoming one acquired the character of wholeness through their unification; and it is a whole immanent in a sum of parts which are not wholes. But prior to every participated term there exists the unparticipated (proposition 23). Therefore the unparticipated whole exists prior to the participated. Prior to the whole-of-parts there is thus a Form of wholeness, which does not possess wholeness as an affect, but is Wholeness-itself, from which is derived the wholeness-of-parts.

For again, wholeness-of-parts exists in many places and in many diverse wholes composed of diverse parts; and the monad of all these wholenesses must exist in independence of them. For each of these wholes is impure, since it needs the parts of which it is composed, and these latter are not wholes. And since each resides in a particular group of parts it cannot be the cause of the wholeness of all other wholes. Accordingly that which makes all wholes to be wholes is prior to the parts. For if this too be composed of parts, it will be a particular whole, and not Wholeness unqualified; thus it in turn will be derived from another, and either there will be infinite regress or there will exist a term which is primitively whole, not a whole-of-parts but Wholeness in its essence.

Proposition 70. All those more universal characters which inhere in the originative principles both irradiate their participants before the specific characters and are slower to withdraw from a being which has once shared in them.

For the higher cause begins its operation upon secondary beings before its consequent, and is present concomitantly with the presence of the latter, and is still present and operative when the consequent has ceased to operate; and this is true not only in respect of the range of objects affected (proposition 57) but in regard to each several contingent participant. Thus, for example, a thing must exist before it has life, and have life before it is human. And again, when the logical faculty has failed it is no longer human, but it is still a living thing, since it breathes and feels; and when life in turn has abandoned it existence remains to it, for even when it ceases to live it still has being. So in every case. The reason is that the higher cause, being more efficacious (proposition 56), operates sooner upon the participant (for where the same thing is affected by two causes it is affected first by the more powerful); and in the activity of the secondary the higher is cooperative, because all the effects of the secondary are concomitantly generated by the more determinative cause; and where the former has withdrawn the latter is still present (for the gift of the more powerful principle is slower to abandon the participant, being more efficacious, and also inasmuch as through the gift of its consequent it has made its own irradiation stronger).

Proposition 71. All those characters which in the originative causes have higher and more universal rank become in the resultant beings, through the irradiations which proceed from them, a kind of substratum for the gifts of the more specific principles; and while the irradiations of the superior principles thus serve as a basis, the characters which proceed from secondary principles are founded upon them: there is thus an order of precedence in participation, and successive ray s strike downwards upon the same recipient, the more universal causes affecting it first, and the more specific supplementing these by the bestowal of their own gifts upon the participants.

For if the more determinative causes operate before the secondary (proposition 70), being present through their superfluity of power even to things which have less perfect capacity of reception, and irradiating even these (proposition 57), whereas causes subordinate in rank confer their gifts later, then it is plain that the irradiations of the superior causes, being the first to occupy the common participant, serve as a support to the bestowals of their subordinates, which use these irradiations as a foundation and act upon a participant prepared for them by the more general principles.

Proposition 72. All those characters which in the participants have the relative position of a basis proceed from more complete and more universal causes.

For the cause of more numerous effects is more powerful and universal, and nearer to the One, than the cause of fewer (proposition 60). And the principles which bring into existence the prerequisite foundations for other gifts are causes of more effects, since they generate even the receptivity which is a condition of the presence of the specific Forms. These characters, therefore, are as they exist in the causes more universal and more complete than the rest.

Corollary. From this it is apparent why Matter, taking its origin from the One, is in itself devoid of form; and why body, even though it participates Being, is in itself without participation in soul. For Matter, which is the basis of all things, proceeded from the cause of all things; and body, which is the basis of ensouled existence, is derived from a principle more universal than soul, in that after its fashion it participates Being.

Proposition 73. Every whole is at the same time an existent thing, and participates Being; but not every existent is a whole.

For either ‘existent’ and ‘whole’ mean the same thing, or one of these terms is prior to the other.

But if even the part qua part is an existent (for a whole must be composed of existent parts), although it is not in itself a whole, then ‘existent’ and ‘whole’ cannot be identical. For this would make the part non-existent, and thereby the whole also; since every whole is a whole of parts, either as prior to them or as immanent in them (proposition 67), and if the part do not exist, neither can the whole.

And if Wholeness be prior to Being, all that exists will immediately be a whole, and thus again the part will not exist as a part. But this is impossible: for if the whole is a whole because it includes a part, so also a part will be a part because it belongs to a whole. By exclusion, then, every whole is existent, but not every existent is a whole.

Corollary. From this it is apparent that primal Being is beyond Wholeness, inasmuch as the former is present to a greater number of participants (since existence is predicable even of parts qua parts), and the latter to fewer; for the cause of more effects is superior, that of fewer, inferior, as has been shown (proposition 60).

Proposition 74. Every specific Form is a whole, as being composed of a number of individuals each of which goes to make up the Form; but not every whole is a specific Form.

For even the atomic individual is a whole as being atomic, although it is not a Form; since anything is a whole which is composed of parts, but a Form is that which is actually divided into a plurality of individuals. Wholeness and Form are therefore mutually distinct; and the former is the more extensive predicate. Accordingly Wholeness is above the Forms of Being (proposition 60).

Corollary. From this it is apparent that Wholeness occupies a mean station between Being and the Forms. It follows that Being is prior also to the Forms; and that the Forms are existent things, but not every existent is a Form. Hence in the resultants, privations are in some sense existent although they are not Forms; for through the unitary power of Being they too have received some feeble irradiation of existence.

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I. Of the Relation of Causes to their Effects; and of Potency

Proposition 75. Every cause properly so called transcends its resultant.

For if such a cause were immanent in its effect, either it would be a complementary part of the latter or it would in some way need it for its own existence (proposition 64), and it would in this regard be inferior to the effect. That which exists in the resultant is not so much a cause as a by-cause, being either a part of the thing produced or an instrument of the maker: for the several parts of the thing exist within it, but are less perfect than the whole; and the instrument serves the maker for the process of production, but is unable to determine for itself the limits of creation. Accordingly every cause properly so called, inasmuch as it both is more perfect than that which proceeds from it (proposition 7) and itself furnishes the limit of its production, transcends the instruments, the elements, and in general all that is described as a by-cause.

Proposition 76. All that arises from an unmoved cause has an invariable substance; all that arises from a mobile cause, a variable.

For if the maker be wholly unmoved, it produces from itself the secondary not through a movement but by its mere existence (proposition 26); and if so, concurrently with its own being it contains the being which proceeds from it; and if this be so, while it continues to exist it continues to produce. But it exists perpetually: therefore it perpetually produces its consequent, so that the latter arises perpetually from it and perpetually exists, attaching its ceaseless procession to the ceaseless activity of its cause.

If on the other hand the cause be mobile, that which arises from it will be correspondingly variable in its being. For that which gets its being through a movement varies its being with the variation of the mobile cause. If being produced by movement it remained itself invariable it would be superior to its originative cause, and this is impossible (proposition 7): therefore it is not invariable. It will therefore be variable and mobile in its existence, imitating the movement which gave rise to it.

Proposition 77. All that exists potentially is advanced to actuality by the agency of something which is actually what the other is potentially: the partially potential by that which is actual in the same partial respect, and the wholly potential by the wholly actual.

For it is not in the nature of the potential to advance itself to actuality, being imperfect; since if being imperfect it became the cause of its own perfection or actualization the cause would be less perfect than the effect. Thus the potential qua potential is not the cause of its own actualization: for in that respect in which it is imperfect it would be the cause of perfection, inasmuch as everything potential is imperfect qua potential, while everything actual is perfect qua actual.

If, then, the potential is to exist in actuality, it must derive that perfection from another. And either this other is itself potential — but if so, the imperfect will again be parent to the perfect — or it exists actually, and is actually either some other thing or else that which the thing being actualized was potentially. But the agent will not render actual that which is potential in this latter if it be itself actually some other thing, for it produces according to its own character (proposition 18); nor will the latter be actual unless it be made actual in that respect in which it is already potential. It follows by exclusion that any particular thing passes into actuality through the agency of that in which its potentiality is already actual.

Proposition 78. There is a perfect and. an imperfect potency.

For the potency which brings to actuality is perfect, since through its own activities it makes others perfect, and that which can perfect others is itself more greatly perfect. But that potency which needs some extraneous presubsistent actuality (proposition 77), the potency in virtue of which a thing exists potentially, is imperfect. For it needs the perfection which resides in another in order to become perfect by participating it: in itself, therefore, such a potency is imperfect. Thus the perfect potency is that which resides in the actual and breeds new actuality; the imperfect is that which resides in the potential and derives its fulfilment from the actual.

Proposition 79. All that comes to be arises out of the twofold potency.

For the subject of the process must itself be fitted for it and so possess an imperfect potency; and the agent, being already in actuality what the subject is potentially (proposition 77), must already have a perfect potency. For every actuality proceeds from the indwelling potency; if the agent should be without potency, how shall it be operative and act upon another? and if the subject of the process should lack the receptive potency, how shall the process occur? An agent acts always upon something capable of being affected, and not on any chance subject, whose nature may prevent it from responding.

Proposition 80. The proper nature of all bodies is to be acted upon, and of all incorporeals to be agents, the former being in themselves inactive and the latter impassible; but through association with the body the incorporeal too is acted upon, even as through partnership with incorporeals bodies too can act.

For body, qua body, has no character save divisibility, which renders it capable of being acted upon, being in every part subject to division, and that to infinity in every part. But the incorporeal, being simple, is impassible: for that which is without parts cannot be divided, and that which is not composite is not subject to change (proposition 48). Either, then, there is no active principle or the incorporeal is such, since body, qua body, is not an agent but is subject only to being divided and acted upon;

Again, every agent has an active potency; but body in itself is without quality and without potency: therefore it cannot act in virtue of being body, but only in virtue of a potency of action residing in it — that is, it acts, when it does act, by participation of potency. Further, even incorporeals participate passive affections when they come to be in a body, because they are then divided along with their bodies and feel the effect of the divisible nature of the latter, although in their own being they are without parts.

Proposition 81. All that is participated without loss of separateness is present to the participant through an inseparable potency which it implants.

For if it is itself something separate from the participant and not contained in it, something which subsists in itself, then they need a mean term to connect them, one which more nearly resembles the participated principle than the participant does, and yet actually resides in the latter. For if the former is separate, how can it be participated by that which contains neither it nor any emanation from it? Accordingly a potency or irradiation, proceeding from the participated to the participant, must link the two; and this medium of participation will be distinct from both.

Proposition 82. Every incorporeal, if it be capable of reverting upon itself when participated by other things is participated without loss of separateness.

For if it be participated inseparably, its activity will no more be separable from the participant than will its existence. And if so, it will not revert upon itself: for if it do so, it will be separate from the participant as one distinct thing over against another (proposition 16). If, then, it be capable of reverting upon itself, when participated by others it is separably participated.

Proposition 83. All that is capable of self knowledge is capable of every form of self-reversion.

For that it is self-reversive in its activity is evident, since it knows itself: knower and known are here one, and its cognition has itself as object; as the act of a knower this cognition is an activity, and it is self-reversive since in it the subject knows itself. But if in activity, then also in existence, as has been shown: for everything whose activity reverts upon itself has also an existence which is self- concentrated and self-contained (proposition 44).

Proposition 84. All that perpetually is is infinite in potency.

For if its subsistence is unfailing, then the potency, in virtue of which it is what it is and is able to exist, is likewise infinite: since this potency of being, if it were finite, would one day fail; which failing, the existence of its possessor would also fail and that possessor would no longer be perpetual. Accordingly that potency in perpetual Being which maintains it in existence must be infinite.

Proposition 85. All that perpetually comes to be has an infinite potency of coming to be.

For if it perpetually comes to be, the potency of becoming is unfailing in it: since if this be finite, it will cease in the course of infinite time; and when the potency of becoming ceases, the subject which comes to be in virtue of it must also cease and be no longer a subject of perpetual process. But by hypothesis it is such a subject: therefore its potency of coming to be is infinite.

Proposition 86. All true Being is infinite neither in number nor in size, but only in potency.

For all infinitude is either of quantity or of bulk, or else of potency. Now true Being is infinite as having an unquenchable life, an unfailing subsistence and an undiminished activity (propositions 49, 84). But it is not infinite in virtue of its size: for true Being, as self-constituted, is devoid of magnitude, since all that is self-constituted is without parts and simple (proposition 47). Nor is it so in virtue of its number: for it has the utmost unity as standing closest to the One, and is most nearly akin to the latter (proposition 62). Its infinitude is in respect of potency. Accordingly what renders it indivisible makes it also infinite; and a being is more infinite in proportion as it is more one and indivisible. For as a potency is divided it becomes weak and finite (proposition 61), and potencies completely divided are in every way finite: the last potencies, which are most remote from the One, are in every way finite because of their partition, while the first are infinite because they are without parts. For partition dissipates and dissolves the potency of the individual, but indivisibility, compressing and concentrating it, keeps it self-contained without exhaustion or diminution. But infinitude of size or number signifies a complete lapse from indivisibility and total privation of it: for the quantitative finite is nearest to the indivisible, and the quantitative infinite, which has completely escaped from unity, is the most remote. Hence infinitude of potency cannot reside in anything infinite in number or size, since infinite potency accompanies indivisibility, and the infinite of number or size stands furthest from the indivisible. If, then, Being were infinite in size or number, it would not have infinite potency; but it has infinite potency (proposition 84): therefore it is not infinite in number or size.

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J. Of Being, Limit, and Infinitude

Proposition 87. All that is eternal has Being; but not all that has Being is eternal.

For participation of Being is in some sense predicable even of things having temporal origin, inasmuch as they are distinct from the non-existent, and if the thing of process is not non-existent, it in some sense is. But eternity is in no sense a predicate of things originated, and least of all is it a predicate of such as do not participate even temporal perpetuity. On the other hand all that is eternal perpetually is; for it participates Eternity, which bestows perpetuity of Being upon its participants. Thus Being is participated by a greater number of terms than Eternity. Therefore Being is beyond Eternity (proposition 60): for what shares in Eternity shares also in Being, but not all that shares in Being shares also in Eternity.

Proposition 88. There is true Being both prior to and in Eternity, and there is also true Being which participates Eternity.

For that true Being exists prior to Eternity has already been shown (proposition 87). But it exists also in Eternity: for Eternity has perpetuity combined with Being. And as a participant of Eternity: for all that is eternal is so called because it participates both perpetuity and Being. This last grade has both its characters by participation, perpetuity and Being; Eternity has perpetuity primitively, Being by participation; while Being itself is primitively Being.

Proposition 89. All true Being is composed of limit and infinite.

For if it have infinite potency, it is manifestly infinite, and in this way has the infinite as an element. And if it be indivisible and unitary, in this way it shares in limit; for what participates unity is finite. But it is at once indivisible (proposition 47) and of infinite potency (proposition 84). Therefore all true Being is composed of limit and infinite.

Proposition 90. Prior to all that is composed of limit and infinitude there exist substantially and independently the first Limit and the first Infinity.

For if prior to the characters of individuals there subsist these characters in themselves as universal and originative causes, belonging not to some but to all without restriction (proposition 23), then before their common product there must exist the first Limit and the primitively Infinite. For the limit contained in the mixture has a share of infinitude, and the infinite of limit; but the first manifestation of any principle is free from alien elements, and hence the primitively Infinite can have no infusion of limit, nor the first Limit of infinitude: therefore these characters exist primitively prior to the mixture.

Proposition 91. There are both finite and infinite potencies; but all finite potency arises from infinite potency, and this latter from the first Infinity.

For temporal potencies are finite, having lapsed from the infinitude of perpetual Being; but those of perpetual things are infinite, never abandoning the existence to which they belong (props. 84, 85).

Proposition 92. The whole multitude of infinite potencies is dependent upon one principle, the first Infinity, which is not potency in the sense that it is participated or exists in things which are potent, but is Potency-in-itself not the potency of an individual but the cause of all that is.

For even if primal Being itself possesses potency, yet it is not simple Potency. For it also possesses limit (proposition 89); whereas the first Potency is Infinity. For infinite potencies are such by participation of Infinity; so that prior to all potencies there must be simple Infinity, in virtue of which Being is infinite in potency (proposition 86) and all things have a portion of infinitude. Infinity is not the First Principle; for that is the measure of all things, being the Good (proposition 12) and Unity (proposition 13). Neither is it Being; for Being is infinite and not Infinity. Cause of all things infinite in potency and cause of all infinitude in things, Infinity falls between the First Principle and Being.

Proposition 93. All infinitude in things which have Being is infinite neither to the superior orders nor to itself.

For to whomsoever anything is infinite, to him it is also uncircumscribed. But among things which have Being each is determinate both to itself and to all principles prior to it. It remains, then, that the infinitude in such things is infinite only to inferior principles, above which it is so supereminent in potency as to escape the grasp of any of them. For though they extend themselves toward it with whatsoever reach, yet it has something which altogether transcends them; though all of them enter into it, yet it has something which for secondary beings is occult and incomprehensible; though they unfold the potencies contained in it, yet it has something unattainable in its unity, an unexpanded life which evades their explication. But containing and determining itself as it does, it cannot be infinite for itself; and still less for those above it, since it possesses but a parcel of the infinitude which is in them. For the potencies of the more universal terms are more infinite, being themselves more universal and nearer in rank to the primal Infinity.

Proposition 94. All perpetuity is a kind of infinitude, but not all infinitude is perpetuity.

For of things infinite many have this attribute in a sense other than that of perpetuity; as the infinitude of quantity and of bulk, and the infinitude of Matter, and the like, which are infinite either because they cannot be enumerated or traversed or else by the indetermination of their essence. But it is plain that perpetuity is an infinitude; for that which never fails is infinite, and this is what we mean by perpetuity, which involves an unfailing subsistence. Hence infinitude is prior to perpetuity, since that principle is the more causative which gives rise to the greater number of terms and is the more universal (proposition 60). Thus the first Infinity is prior to Eternity.

Proposition 95. The more unified potency is always more infinite than one which is passing into plurality.

For if the first Infinity is nearest to the One (proposition 92), then of two potencies that which is more akin to the One is infinite in a greater degree than that which falls away from it; since a potency as it becomes manifold loses that likeness to the One which caused it while it abode therein to transcend the rest, concentrated in indivisibility. For even in things subject to division potencies are multiplied by coordination, enfeebled by partition.

Proposition 98. If the potency of any finite body be infinite, it is incorporeal.

For suppose the potency to be itself a body: if this body be infinite, the infinite will be contained in the finite. And if it be finite, the potency is not potency in that respect in which it is a body: for if it be finite qua body and infinite qua potency, in that respect in which it is body it will not be potency. Therefore infinite potency resident in a finite body must be incorporeal.

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K. Supplementary Theorems on Causality, Etc.

Proposition 97. The originative cause of each series communicates its distinctive property to the entire series; and what the cause is primitively the series is by remission.

For if it is sovereign over the whole series and all the members are grouped together by their relation to it (proposition 21), it is plain that from it all derive the single form in virtue of which they are ranked under the same series. For either their common likeness to it is uncaused or all derive from their cause this element of identity. But the former supposition is impossible: for the uncaused is spontaneous; and spontaneity can never occur where there is order and continuity and perpetual freedom from variation. From its cause, then, the entire series receives the distinctive character proper to the being of that cause.

If so, it manifestly receives it with remission, that is, with the declension appropriate to secondary existences. For this character belongs either in the same degree to the antecedent term and to the rest — and how then can the one still be antecedent, the others posterior in being? — or in an unequal degree. In the latter case it is plain that the identical element is derived by the manifold from the one, and not reversely; so that the distinctive character peculiar to the series, which pre-exists primitively in the unitary term, exists in the manifold by derivation.

Proposition 98. Every cause which is separate from its effects exists at. once everywhere and nowhere.

For by the communication of its proper potency (proposition 97) it is everywhere: we mean by ‘cause’ that which fills all things naturally capable of participating it, which is the source of all secondary existences and by the fecund outpouring of its irradiations is present to them all. But by its mode of being, which has no admixture of the spatial, and by its transcendent purity it is nowhere: for if it is separate from its effects it is enthroned above all alike and resides in no being inferior to itself. If it were merely everywhere, this would not hinder it from being a cause and present in all the participants; but it would not exist separately prior to them all. Were it nowhere without being everywhere, this would not hinder it from being prior to all and pertaining to no inferior existent; but it would not be omnipresent in that sense in which causes are capable of immanence in their effects, namely by unstinted self bestowal. In order that as cause it may be present in all that can participate it while as a separate and independent principle it is prior to all the vessels which it fills, it must be at once everywhere and nowhere.

It is not in part everywhere and in some other part nowhere: for thus it would be dismembered and disparted from itself, if one portion of it were everywhere and in all things, another nowhere and prior to all. It is entire everywhere, and likewise nowhere. Whatsoever can participate it at all attains it in its entirety and finds it present as a whole: yet it is also transcendent as a whole; the participant does not absorb it, but derives from, it so much as it has been able to contain. Because it is separate it is not pinched in its self-bestowal if the number of participants be increased; because it is omnipresent the participants never fail of their due portion.

Proposition 99. Every unparticipated term arises qua unparticipated from no cause other than itself, but is itself the first principle and cause of all the participated terms; thus the first principle of each series is always without origin.

For if it is unparticipated, in its own series it has primacy (proposition 24), and does not proceed from earlier terms; since if it received from an external source that character in respect of which it is unparticipated, it would no longer be the first term. If there be superior terms from which it is derived, it proceeds from them not qua unparticipated but qua participant. For those principles from which it has taken its rise are of course participated by it, and the characters which it participates it does not possess primitively; but it has primitively what it has imparticipably: so that qua unparticipated it is uncaused. Qua caused, it is a participant, not an unparticipated principle; qua unparticipated, it is a cause of the participated and not itself a participant.

Proposition 100. Every series of wholes is referable to an unparticipated first principle and cause; and all unparticipated terms are dependent from the one First Principle of all things.

For if each series is affected throughout by some identical character, there is in each some dominant principle which is the cause of this identity: as all existence proceeds from a single term (proposition 11), so also do all the members of any series (proposition 21).

Again, all the unparticipated monads are referable to the One, because all are analogous to the One (proposition 24): in so far as they too are affected by a common character, namely their analogy to the One, so far we can refer them to the One. In respect of their common origin from the latter none of them is a first principle, but all have as their first principle the One; each, however, is a first principle qua unparticipated (proposition 99). As principles of a certain order of things they are dependent from the Principle of all things. For the Principle of all things is that which all participate, and this can only be the primal cause; the rest are participated not by all but by a certain some. Hence also that cause is ‘the Primal’ without qualification, while the rest are primal relatively to a certain order, but when considered absolutely are riot primal.

Proposition 101. All things which participate intelligence are preceded by the unparticipated Intelligence, those which participate life by Life, and those which participate being by Being; and of these three unparticipated principles Being is prior to Life and Life to Intelligence.

For in the first place, because in each order of existence unparticipated terms precede the participated (proposition 100), there must be Intelligence prior to things intelligent, Life prior to living things, and Being prior to things which are. And secondly, since the cause of more numerous effects precedes the cause of fewer (proposition 60), among these principles Being will stand foremost; for it is present to all things which have life and intelligence (since whatever lives and shares in intellection necessarily exists), but the converse is not true (since not all that exists lives and exercises intelligence). Life has the second place; for whatever shares in intelligence shares in life, but not conversely, since many things are alive but remain devoid of knowledge. The third principle is Intelligence; for whatever is in any measure capable of knowledge both lives and exists. If, then, Being gives rise to a greater number of effects, Life to fewer, and Intelligence to yet fewer, Being stands foremost, next to it Life, and then Intelligence.

Proposition 102. All that in any sense exists is composite of limit and infinite because of the primal Being; all that lives has self-movement because of the primal Life; and all that is cognitive participates knowledge because of the primal Intelligence.

For if the unparticipated term in each series communicates its own distinctive property to all existences which fall under the same series (proposition 97), it is plain that the primal Being communicates to all things limit together with infinitude, being itself the primal compound of these two (proposition 89); that Life communicates the movement inherent in it, inasmuch as Life is the first procession or movement away from the steadfast substance of Being; and that Intelligence communicates knowledge, since the summit of all knowledge is in the Intelligence, which is the first Knower.

Proposition 103. All things are in all things, but in each according to its proper nature: for in Being there is life and intelligence; in Life, being and intelligence; in Intelligence, being and life; but each of these exists upon one level intellectually, upon another vitally, and on the third existentially.

For since each character may exist either in its cause or as substantial predicate or by participation (proposition 65), and since in the first term of any triad the other two are embraced as in their cause, while in the mean term the first is present by participation and the third in its cause, and finally the third contains its priors by participation, it follows that in Being there are pre-embraced Life and Intelligence, but because each term is characterized not by what it causes (since this is other than itself) nor by what it participates (since this is extrinsic in origin) but by its substantial predicate, Life and Intelligence are present there after the mode of Being, as existential life and existential intelligence; and in Life are present Being by participation and Intelligence in its cause, but each of these vitally, Life being the substantial character of the term; and in Intelligence both Life and Being by participation, and each of them intellectually, for the being of Intelligence is cognitive and its life is cognition.

Proposition 104. All that is primitively eternal has both eternal existence and eternal activity.

For if it primitively participates the distinctive character of eternity, it shares in eternity not in one way only, but in all. Suppose the contrary: either it participates in respect of its activity but not of its existence — which is impossible, since activity will then be superior to existence — or in respect of existence but not of activity. In the latter case the same thing which primitively participates Time will also be primitively eternal, and while Time will be the primal measure of the activity of certain beings (proposition 54), Eternity, which is superior to all Time, will have none to measure, if the primitively eternal be not contained by Eternity in respect of its activity. Therefore all that is primitively eternal has both eternal existence and eternal activity.

Proposition 105. All that is immortal is perpetual; but not all that is perpetual is immortal.

For if the immortal is that which always participates Life, and such participation of Life involves participation of Being (proposition 101), then the ever-living is ever existent: thus whatever is immortal is perpetual, the immortal being that which excludes death and is ever-living, while the perpetual is that which excludes not-being and is ever existent.

But if there exist many things both above life and below it which are ever existent but insusceptible of the predicate ‘immortal,’ then the perpetual is not of necessity immortal. Now it is plain that there are many things ever existent but not immortal: some are devoid of life although ever existent and imperishable. For as Being is to Life, so is the perpetual to the immortal, since immortality is inalienable Life and inalienable Being is perpetuity; but Being is more comprehensive than Life: therefore perpetuity is more comprehensive than immortality.

Proposition 106. Intermediate between that which is wholly eternal (viz. in respect both of existence and of activity) and that which has its existence in time there is a principle eternal in one regard but in another measured by time. For that which has its existence embraced by time is in all respects temporal, since a fortiori it has a temporal activity; and the fully temporal is altogether unlike the fully eternal; but all procession is through like terms (proposition 29): therefore there exists an intermediate principle. This mean term will be either eternal in its existence and temporal in its activity, or conversely. But the latter is impossible: for activity will then be superior to existence. It remains that the mean must be the former.

Proposition 107. All that is eternal in one regard and temporal in another is at once a Being and a coming-to-be.

For all that is eternal has Being (proposition 87), and that which is measured by Time is a process of coming-to-be (proposition 50): so that if the same thing participate at once Time and Eternity, though not in the same regard, the same thing will be at once a Being and a coming-to-be, but in different respects.

Corollary. From this it is apparent that coming-to-be, which is temporal even in its existence, is dependent upon that which shares partly in Being, partly in coming-to-be, participating at once Eternity and Time; and this latter is dependent upon the fully eternal; and the fully eternal upon Eternity (proposition 53); and Eternity upon Being, which is pre-eternal (proposition 87).

Proposition 108. Every particular member of any order can participate the monad of the rank immediately supra-jacent in one of two ways: either through the universal of its own order, or through the particular member of the higher series which is coordinate with it in respect of its analogous relation to that series as a whole.

For if all things achieve reversion through likeness (proposition 32), and if the particular member of the inferior order differs from the monadic universal of the superior both as particular from universal and also by the difference of its order, whereas it resembles the universal of its own series by sharing in the same distinctive character and resembles the corresponding term of the immediately supra-jacent series in virtue of its analogous place in the procession, it is plain that the two latter are the mean terms through which its reversion upon the former can take place, advancing through similars to the dissimilar: for the one resembles it through their common particularity, and the other is closely bound to it as a member of the same series, while the universal of the supra-jacent series is unlike it in both these respects.

Proposition 109. Every particular intelligence participates the first Henad, which is above intelligence, both through the universal Intelligence and through the particular henad coordinate with it; every particular soul participates the universal Intelligence both through the universal Soul and through its particular intelligence; and every particular corporeal nature participates the universal Soul both through universal Nature and through a particular soul.

For every particular participates the monad of the supra-jacent order either through its own universal or through that particular in the higher order which is coordinate with it (proposition 108).

Proposition 110. The first members of any transverse series, which are closely linked with their own monad, can participate in virtue of their analogous position those members of the supra-jacent series which lie immediately above them; but the less perfect members of the lower order, which are many degrees removed from their proper originative principle, are incapable of enjoying such participation.

For because the first members are akin to the higher order in that their natural place in their own order is higher and more divine, whereas the others have proceeded further from their source and have been endowed not with a primitive and dominant but with a secondary and subordinate rank in the series as a whole, it necessarily follows that the former are conjoined by community of nature with the members of the supra-jacent order, while the latter have no contact with it. For not all things are of equal worth, even though they be of the same cosmic order: such terms are not in fact identical in definition, but are coordinate only as proceeding from, and referable to, a single common principle. Differing in definition, they differ also in potency: some of them are capable of receiving participation in the principles immediately supra-jacent to them, while others are deprived of this kind of power, losing likeness to their origins in proportion to their extreme remoteness from them.

Proposition 111. The intellective series comprises divine intelligences which have received participation in gods, and also bare intelligences; the psychical series comprises intellective souls, linked each with its own intelligence, and also bare souls; corporeal nature comprises natures over which souls preside, and also bare natures destitute of a soul’s company.

For not all the members of any series are capable of being linked with the prior order, but only those more perfect members which are fit to identify themselves with the higher principles (proposition no). Accordingly not every intelligence is attached to a god, but only the supreme intelligences which have the most unity (these being akin to the divine henads); not all souls communicate in the participable intelligence, but only the most intellective; not all bodily natures enjoy the presence of, and participation in, a soul, but only the more perfect, which have a more rational form. The same principle of demonstration may be applied universally.

Proposition 112. The first members of any order have the form of their priors.

For the highest classes in each order are conjoined with the supra-jacent principles because of their likeness to them (proposition 110) and because of the continuity of procession in the universe: so that they are endowed with a form akin to the nature of the supra-jacent order and reproducing the attributes proper to it. The distinctive character of their being thus appears as a reflection of their priors.

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L. Of Divine Henads, or Gods

Proposition 113. The whole number of the gods has the character of unity.

For if the divine series has for antecedent cause the One, as the intellective series has Intelligence and the psychical series Soul (proposition 21 corollary), and if at every level the manifold is analogous to its cause (proposition 97), it is plain that the divine series has the character of unity, if the One is God. Now that the One is God follows from its identity with the Good (proposition 13): for the Good is identical with God, God being that which is beyond all things and to which all things aspire, and the Good being the ‘whence’ and the ‘whither’ of all things. Thus if a plurality of gods exist they must have the character of unity. But it is evident that such a plurality in fact exists, inasmuch as every originative cause introduces its proper manifold, which resembles it and is akin to it (propositions 21, 97).

Proposition 114. Every god is a self complete henad or unit, and every self-complete henad is a god.

For if there are two orders of henads, as has been shown above (proposition 64 corollary), one consisting of self-complete principles, the other of irradiations from them, and the divine series is akin to the One or the Good and of like nature with it (proposition 113), then the gods are self-complete henads.

And conversely, if a henad be self-complete it is a god. For qua henad it is most closely and especially akin to the One, and qua self-complete, to the Good; participating in both these respects the distinctive character of godhead, it is a god. If, on the other hand, it were a henad but not self-complete, or a self-complete principle but no longer a henad, it would be assigned to another order in virtue of its variation from the divine character.

Proposition 115. Every god is above Being, above Life, and above Intelligence.

For if each god is a self-complete henad (proposition 114), whereas Being, Life, and Intelligence are not henads but unified groups, then it is plain that every god transcends all the three principles in question (proposition 5). For if these three, though mutually distinct, are each implicit in the other two (proposition 103), then no one of them can be a pure unity, since each contains all.

Again, if the First Principle transcend Being, then since every god, qua god, is of the order of that Principle (proposition 113), it follows that all of them must transcend Being. But that the First Principle transcends Being is evident. For unity and Being are not identical: it is one thing to say ‘it exists’ another to say ‘it has unity.’ Now if they are not identical, either both must be attributes of the First Principle — on which hypothesis, it will be not merely one but also something other than one, and we are left with a principle participating unity, in place of Unity itself (proposition 4) — or it has one of these attributes only. If it have Being only, it will lack unity. But it is impossible to ascribe deficiency to the First Principle, which is the Good (propositions 10, 12). Therefore it has unity only, which implies that it transcends Being. And if every principle bestows upon the whole of its order the distinctive character which belongs primitively to itself (proposition 97), then the whole number of the gods transcends Being. Or again, every originative cause produces like terms before unlike (proposition 281): if, then, the primal Godhead transcends Being, all the other gods will resemble it in this respect. Were they existences, they would owe their origin to the primal Being, since this is the monad of all existences.

Proposition 116. Every god is participable, except the One.

For in the first place it is clear that the One is imparticipable: were it participated, it would thereby become the unity of a particular and cease to be the cause both of existent things and of the principles prior to existence (proposition 24).

That with the other henads we reach the participable, we shall prove as follows. If after the First Principle there be another imparticipable henad, how will it differ from the One? If it be one in the same degree as the latter, why should we call it secondary and the One primal? And if in a different degree, then relatively to simple Unity it will be one and not-one. If that element of ‘not-one’ be nothing substantive, the henad will be pure unity (and identical with the One); but if it be a substantive character other than unity, then the unity in the henad will be participated by the non-unity. What is self-complete will then be this unity whereby it is linked to the One itself, so that once more the god, qua god, will be this component (proposition 114), while that which came into existence as not-one exists as one by participation in the unity. Therefore every henad posterior to the One is participable; and every god is thus participable.

Proposition 117. Every god is a measure of things existent.

For if every god has the character of unity (proposition 113), he defines and measures all the manifolds of existent things. For all manifolds are in their own nature indeterminate, but receive determination through unity (proposition 1); and that which has the character of unity tends to measure and delimit the subjects in which it is present and by its virtue to bring the indefinite to definition. By participation in it even the indefinite acquires a unitary form (that is to say, it loses its indetermination or infinitude); and the more it has of unitary form, the less is it indeterminate or measureless. Thus every manifold of existent things is measured by the divine henads.

Proposition 118. Every attribute of the gods pre-subsists in them in a manner consonant with their distinctive character as gods, and since this character is unitary (proposition 113) and above Being (proposition 115), they have all their attributes in a unitary and supra-existential mode.

For if all attributes subsist in one of three ways, by implication in their cause, or as substantial predicates, or by participation (proposition 65), and the divine order is the first order of all, the gods will have no attribute by participation, but all as substantial predicates or as implicit in their causality. Now besides their substantial predicates, those attributes which the gods pre-embrace as causes of all things are pre-embraced by them in a manner conformable to their unity; for every sovereign principle which is related as cause to secondary existences contains the cause of the inferior order in the mode which is proper to its own nature (proposition 18). Thus the gods have all their attributes in a unitary and supra-existential mode.

Proposition 118. The substance of every god is a supra-existential excellence; he has goodness neither as a state nor as part of his essence {for both states and essences have a secondary and remote rank relatively to the gods), but is supra-existentially good.

For if the First Principle is One and the Good, and qua One is the Good, and qua the Good is One (proposition 13), then likewise the entire series of gods has the form of unity and the form of goodness as a single character: they are not henads in one respect, excellences in another, but each is an excellence qua henad and a henad qua excellence. As derivative terms proceeding from the First Principle, they have the form of goodness and unity, inasmuch as that Principle is One and the Good; as gods, all are henads and excellences. Now the unity of the gods being supra-existential (proposition 115), so also is their goodness, which is indistinguishable from their unity. Neither their goodness nor their unity is a quality superadded upon other qualities; they are pure goodness, as they are pure unity.

Proposition 120. Every god embraces in his substance the function of exercising providence towards the universe; and the primary providence resides in the gods.

For all things else, being posterior to the gods, exercise providence in virtue of divine compresence, whereas the gods do so by their very nature. For if the office distinctive of the providential character is the bestowal of good things upon the beings which are its objects, and if every god is an excellence (proposition 119), then either the gods will communicate themselves to no recipient, and there will thus be nothing good in the secondary existences (whence should they procure participation of things good, if not from the principles which have these characters primitively?); or, if they communicate anything, what they communicate is good, and in this way they will exercise providence towards all things. Providence, then, resides primitively in the gods. For indeed, where should an activity prior to Intelligence be found, if not in the principles above Being? And providence, as its name (pronoia) shows, is an activity prior to Intelligence (pro nou). In virtue of their being, then, and in virtue of being excellences, the gods exercise providence towards all things, filling all with a goodness which is prior to Intelligence.

Proposition 121. All that is divine has a substance which is goodness (proposition 119), a potency which has the character of unity, and a mode of knowledge which is secret and incomprehensible to all secondary beings alike.

For if it has the function of exercising providence towards the universe (proposition 120), then it has a potency which dominates the objects of its providence, a potency past all resisting and without all circumscription, in virtue of which the gods have filled all things with themselves; all things are subjected to them, since every cause which originates and dominates other existences by superfluity of potency is naturally originative and dominative. Thus the primary potency resides in the gods, not dominant over a part only, but pre-embracing in itself the potencies of all existent things alike; it is not an existential potency, and still less a non-existential, but congruent with the substance of the gods, that is, supra-existential (proposition 118).

Again, the determinative principles of all forms of knowledge presubsist in the gods after the mode of unity. For all other forms of knowledge came into existence in virtue of the divine knowledge, which transcends the sum of things; it is not intellective, and still less is it any of the modes of cognition posterior to Intelligence, but it is enthroned above Intelligence according to the distinctive character of godhead (proposition 118).

Thus if there is a divine knowledge, this knowledge is secret and unitary; if a divine potency, it is without all circumscription and embraces all alike; if a divine goodness, it defines the substance of the gods — for notwithstanding they have all three attributes, knowledge, potency, and goodness, yet their substance is characterized and their proper nature determined by that which is best, namely, their goodness.

Proposition 122. All that is divine both exercises providence towards secondary existences and transcends the beings for which it provides: its providence involves no remission of its pure and unitary transcendence, neither does its separate unity annul its providence.

For without declension from the unity which is their substance the gods have filled all things with their power (proposition 121); and whatsoever is able to participate them enjoys such good things as it is capable of receiving according to the limitations of its own nature, whilst they radiate good to all existents in virtue of their very being, or rather their priority to Being. For being pure excellences, by their very being they furnish to all things good without stint; they make no calculated apportionment, but the participants receive according to their deserts what the gods bestow according to their own substance. Thus in exercising providence they assume no relation to those for whom they provide, since it is in virtue of being what they are that they make all things good, and what acts in virtue of its being acts without relation (for relation is a qualification of its being, and therefore contrary to its nature). Nor, again, does their separateness annul their providence; for it would at the same time annul — a thing unlawful even to suggest — their substance, whose distinctive character is goodness (proposition 119). For it is the mark of goodness to bestow on all that can receive, and the highest is not that which has the form of goodness but that which does good. If the latter character belongs to any being it must belong to the gods prior to Being: for the greater goodness cannot be a character of principles good by participation and the lesser of those whose goodness is primal.

Proposition 123. All that is divine is itself ineffable and unknowable by any secondary being because of its supra-existential unity, but it may be apprehended and known from the existents which participate it: wherefore only the First Principle is completely unknowable, as being unparticipated.

For all rational knowledge, inasmuch as it grasps intelligible notions and consists in acts of intellection, is knowledge of real existents and apprehends truth by an organ which is itself a real existent; but the gods are beyond all existents (proposition 115). Accordingly the divine is an object neither of opinion nor of discursive reason nor yet of intellection: for all that exists is either sensible, and therefore an object of opinion; or true Being, and therefore an object of intellection; or of intermediate rank, at once Being and thing of process (proposition 107), and therefore object of discursive reason. If, then, the gods are supra-existential, or have a substance prior to existents, we can have neither opinion concerning them nor scientific knowledge by discourse of reason, nor yet intellection of them.

Nevertheless from the beings dependent upon them the character of their distinctive properties may be inferred, and with cogency. For differences within a participant order are determined by the distinctive properties of the principles participated; participation is not of all by all, since there can be no conjunction of the wholly disparate (proposition 29), neither is it a random connexion, but to each cause is attached, and from each proceeds, that effect which is akin to it.

Proposition 124. Every god has an undivided knowledge of things divided and a timeless knowledge of things temporal; he knows the contingent without contingency, the mutable immutably, and in general all things in a higher mode than belongs to their station.

For if the gods have all their attributes in a mode consonant with their character as gods (proposition 118), it is surely manifest that their knowledge, being a divine property, will be determined not by the nature of the inferior beings which are its object but by their own transcendent majesty. Accordingly their knowledge of things pluralized and passible will be unitary and impassive: though its object be a thing of parts, yet even of such the divine knowledge will be undivided; though its object be mutable, itself will be immutable; though contingent, necessary; and though undetermined, determinate. For the divine does not get knowledge extraneously, from its inferiors: why then should its knowledge be restricted by the nature of its object? Those inferiors, on the other hand, have an indeterminate thought of the determinate divine nature, and changing concepts of the immutable; its impassibility they conceive in terms of passion, its timelessness in terms of time. For the lower can fall away from the higher; but that the gods should receive aught from their inferiors is a thing which may not be.

Proposition 125. From that station wherein he first reveals himself every god proceeds through all the secondary orders, continually multiplying and particularizing his bestowals, yet preserving the distinctive character of his proper nature.

For all procession, operating through remission, multiplies its first characters in declining to derivative terms (proposition 62); but these latter receive a rank in their own order determined by their likeness to their producing causes (proposition 28). So that the entire procession is in a sense one and identical, although that part which proceeds is distinct from that which remains steadfast, appearing to differ from it in kind because of the remission, but continuous with it and therefore not losing its identity with it, existing as its analogue in the derivative order and so maintaining the unbroken bond of common quality which links the series. Each of the gods reveals himself in the modes proper to those orders in which he makes the revelation, and thence proceeds even to the last regions of being — such is the generative power of first principles. Because the procession is from unity to a manifold, his character is continually multiplied; yet in the procession identity is preserved, because of the likeness of the successive terms of each series to its sovereign primordial cause.

Proposition 126. A god is more universal as he is nearer to the One, more specific in proportion to his remoteness from it.

For the god who causes more numerous effects is nearer to the universal cause; he that causes fewer, more remote (proposition 60). And the cause of more numerous effects is more universal; the cause of fewer, more specific (ibid.). Each is a henad, but the former has the greater potency (proposition 61). The more universal gods generate the more specific, not by division (since they are henads) nor by alteration (since they are unmoved), nor yet being multiplied by way of relation (since they transcend all relation), but generating from themselves through superfluity of potency (proposition 27) derivative emanations which are less than the prior gods.

Proposition 127. All that is divine is primordially and supremely simple, and for this reason completely self-sufficient.

That it is simple, is apparent from its unity: all deity is perfectly unitary (proposition 113), and as such is simple in an especial degree. That it is completely self-sufficient, may be learned from the reflection that whereas the composite is dependent, if not upon things external to it, at least upon its own elements, the perfectly simple and unitary, being a manifestation of that Unity which is identical with the Good (proposition 13), is wholly self-sufficient; and perfect simplicity is the character of deity. Being a pure excellence (proposition 119), deity needs nothing extraneous; being unitary, it is not dependent upon its own elements.

Proposition 128. Every god, when participated by beings of an order relatively near to him, is participated directly; when by those more remote, indirectly through a varying number of intermediate principles.

For the higher orders, having themselves the character of unity through their kinship to the divine (proposition 62), can participate the divine henads without mediation; whereas the rest, because of their declension and their extension into multiplicity, require the mediation of principles more unified than themselves if they are, to participate what is not a unified group, but a pure henad. Between the henad and the discrete manifold lies the unified manifold, which in virtue of its unification is capable of identifying itself with the henad, but in virtue of its implicit plurality is in some fashion akin also to the discrete manifold.

Proposition 129. All divine bodies are such through the mediation of a divinized soul, all divine souls through a divine intelligence, and all divine intelligences by participation in a divine henad: the henad is immediate deity, the intelligence most divine, the soul divine, the body deisimilar.

For if the whole order of gods is above the Intelligence (proposition 115), and if all participation is accomplished through kinship and likeness (proposition 32), the primary participant of the supra-existential henads will be undivided Being, the next, that Being which touches process, and third, the world of process; and each will participate through the order immediately supra-jacent to it. The divine character penetrates even to the last terms of the participant series (proposition 125), but always through the mediation of terms akin to itself. Thus the henad bestows first on an intelligence that power among the divine attributes which is peculiarly its own, and causes this intelligence to be in the intellectual order what itself is in the order of unities. If this intelligence be participable, through it the henad is present also to a soul, and is cooperative (proposition 56) in linking the soul to the intelligence and inflaming it. Through this soul again, if it be participated by a body, the henad communicates even to the body an echo of its own quality: in this way the body becomes not only animate and intellective but also divine, in the sense that it has received from a soul life and movement, from an intelligence indissoluble permanence, and from the henad which it participates a divine unification, each successive principle communicating to the consequent terms something of its own substance (proposition 18).

Proposition 130. In any divine order the highest terms more completely transcend those immediately subordinate to them than do these latter the subsequent terms; and the second order of terms are more closely linked with their immediate superiors than are their consequents with them.

For in proportion as any principle is more unitary and more universal, its degree of superiority to later terms is correspondingly enhanced; while the declension of power which such a principle exhibits is the measure of its natural community with its consequents. And, again, the higher terms are more closely united to causes more fundamental than themselves, the lower less so. For a more complete transcendence of the inferior and a more complete union with the superior are marks of greater power; as on the other hand a wider separation from the latter and a closer sympathy with the former signify a diminution of power, such as we find in the later members of every order but not in the earlier.

Proposition 131. Every god begins his characteristic activity with himself.

For the quality which marks his presence in secondary beings is displayed first in himself, and it is indeed for this reason that he communicates himself to others, in virtue of the superabundance of his own nature. Neither deficiency nor a mere fullness is proper to the gods. Whatever is deficient is imperfect; and being itself incomplete, it is impossible that it should bestow completion on another. And that which is full is sufficient merely to itself, and still unripe for communication. Hence that which fulfils others and extends to others its free bestowals must itself be more than full. If, then, the divine from its own substance fulfils all things with the good which it contains (proposition 120), each divinity is filled to overflowing; and if so, it has established first in its own nature the character distinctive of its bestowals, and in virtue of this extends to others also communications of its superabundant goodness

Proposition 132. All orders of gods are bound together by mean terms.

For all procession of things existent is accomplished through like terms (proposition 29): much more do the ranks of the gods possess unbroken continuity, inasmuch as their substance is unitary and they take their definition from the One which is their originative cause (proposition 113). In the divine orders remission of power is introduced without loss of unity, and as the gods are more essentially unified than existents, so the likeness of the derivative to the primary is greater than in the existential orders. Accordingly all the classes of gods are bound together by the appropriate mean terms, and the first principles do not pass immediately into emanations wholly diverse from themselves; there are intermediate classes, having characters in common both with their causes and with their immediate effects. These intermediate principles link the extreme terms in one unified structure; by community of nature susceptible of influence from their neighbours above, transcending without interval their neighbours below, they preserve an ordered sequence in the generation of deities.

Proposition 133. Every god is a beneficent henad or a unifying excellence, and has this substantive character qua god (proposition 119); but the primal God is the Good unqualified and Unity unqualified, whilst each of those posterior to him is a particular excellence and a particular henad.

For the several henads and the excellences of the several gods are distinguished by their several divine functions, so that each in respect of some especial individuation of goodness renders all things good, perfecting or preserving in unity or shielding from harm. Each of these functions is a particular good, but not the sum of good: the unitary cause of the latter is pre-established in the First Principle, which for this reason is called the Good, as being constitutive of all excellence (proposition 8). For not all the gods together may be matched with the One, so far does it overpass the divine multitude.

Proposition 134. Every divine intelligence exercises intellection qua intelligence, but providence qua god.

For it is the peculiar mark of an intelligence to know the real existents and to have its perfection in intellective acts; but of a god to exercise providence and fulfil all things with good (proposition 120). This communication and fulfilment takes place in virtue of a union between the things fulfilled and the principles prior to them; which union the Intelligence imitates in identifying itself with its objects. In so far, then, as it exercises providence, which is a pre-intellectual activity, the Intelligence is a god. Hence it communicates itself qua god to all things; but it is not present to all qua intelligence. For deity extends even to those things which the distinctive character of intelligence cannot reach (proposition 57 corollary). Even things devoid of intelligence have appetition of providential care and seek to receive some portion of good; for whereas even of the beings fitted to participate intelligence not all desire it, towards the Good all things have desire and all endeavour its attainment.

Proposition 135. Every divine henad is participated without mediation by some one real-existent, and whatever is divinized is linked by an upward tension to one divine henad: thus the participant genera of existents are identical in number with the participated henads.

For there cannot be two or more henads participated by one existent: as the distinctive characters of the henads vary, so the existents whose nature is identified with theirs cannot but vary also, since conjunction comes by likeness (proposition 29). Nor, again, can one henad be independently participated by several existents. For a plurality of existents is doubly discontinuous with the henad, as existent with that which is prior to existents (proposition 115) and as plurality with a henad; whereas the participant must be like the participated in one respect though distinct and dissimilar in another. Since, then, the participant is an existent while the henad is above Being, and this is their dissimilarity, it follows that the participant must be one, in order that in this respect it may resemble the participated unity, even though the latter is the unity of a henad while the former is unified through participation in this henad and has unity only as an affect.

Proposition 136. Of any two gods the more universal, who stands nearer to the First Principle (proposition 126), is participated by a more universal genus of existents, the more particular and more remote by a more particular genus: and as existent to existent, so is henad to divine henad.

For if for every real-existent there is a henad and for every henad a real-existent, one existent only participating one henad only (proposition 135), it is evident that the order of real-existents reflects its prior and corresponds in its sequence with the order of henads, so that the more universal existents are united by their nature to the more universal henads and the more particular to the more particular. Otherwise, the unlike will here again be conjoined with the unlike, and apportionment will cease to bear any relation to desert. These consequences are impossible: all other things receive from the real-existents their unity and their appropriate measure, as an irradiation from that source; much more, then, must the real-existents themselves be governed by the law of participation which attaches to each principle a consequent of similar potency.

Proposition 137. Every henad is cooperative with the One in producing the real-existent which participates it.

For as the One is constitutive of all things (props. 12, 13), so it is the cause both of the participated henads and of the real-existents dependent upon them; at the same time the dependent existents are severally produced by the henads which irradiate them (proposition 125). To the One they owe simply their existence; their community of nature with a particular henad is due to the activity of that henad. Thus it is the henad which imposes its own character upon the participating existent and displays existentially in the latter the quality which itself possesses supra-existentially: for it is always by derivation from the primal that the secondary is what it is (proposition 18). Hence whatever supra-existential character is proper to a particular divinity appears existentially in the real-existent which participates it.

Proposition 138. Of all the principles which participate the divine character and are thereby divinized the first and highest is Being.

For if, as has been shown (proposition 101), Being is beyond both Intelligence and Life, since next to the One it is the most universal cause, it must be the highest participant. It has more of unity than Intelligence or Life, and is therefore necessarily more august (proposition 62). And prior to it there is no further principle save the One. For what else save unity can precede the unitary manifold? And Being, as composite of limit and infinite (proposition 89), is a unitary manifold. To use a more general argument, there can be nothing prior to the principle of Existence unless it be the supra-existential. For again, in the irradiation of secondary things Unity alone has a longer reach than Being (proposition 72 corollary), and Being stands immediately next to it. That which as yet is not, but exists only potentially, has already a natural unity; all that lies above this level has actual existence. So in the first principles there must be a corresponding order: immediately beyond Being must stand a not-Being which is Unity and superior to Being.

Proposition 139. The sequence of principles which participate the divine henads extends from Being to the bodily nature, since Being is the first {proposition i}8) and body (inasmuch as we speak of heavenly or divine bodies ) the last participant.

For in each class of existents — bodies, souls, intelligences — the highest members belong to the gods, in order that in every rank there may be terms analogous to the gods, to maintain the secondaries in unity and preserve them in being; and that each series may have the completeness of a whole-in-the-part (proposition 67), embracing in itself all things (proposition 103) and before all else the character of deity. Thus deity exists on the corporeal, the psychical, and the intellective level — evidently by participation in each case, since deity in the primary sense is proper to the henads. The sequence, then, of principles which participate the divine henads begins with Being and ends with the bodily nature.

Proposition 140. All the powers of the gods, taking their origin above and proceeding through the appropriate intermediaries, descend even to the last existents and the terrestrial regions.

For on the one hand there is nothing to exclude these powers or hinder them from reaching all things; they do not require space at all or spatial intervals, since they transcend all things without relation and are everywhere present without admixture (proposition 98). Nor, again, is the fit participant baulked of its participation; so soon as a thing is ready for communion with them, straightway they are present — not that in this moment they approached, or till then were absent, for their activity is eternally unvarying. If, then, any terrestrial thing be fit to participate them, they are present even to it: they have fulfilled all things with themselves, and though present more mightily to the higher principles they reveal themselves also to the intermediate orders in a manner consonant with such a station, and for the meanest orders there is a meanest mode of presence. Thus they extend downwards even to the uttermost existents; and hence it is that even in these appear reflections of the first principles, and there is sympathy between all things, the derivative pre-existing in the primal, the primal reflected in the derivative — for we saw that all characters have three modes of existence, in their causes, substantially, and by participation (proposition 65).

Proposition 141. There is one divine providence which transcends its objects and one which is coordinate with them.

For some divine principles in virtue of their substance and the especial character of their station are completely exalted in their simplicity above the beings which they irradiate (proposition 122); whilst others, belonging to the same cosmic order as their objects, exercise providence towards the inferior members of their own series, imitating in their degree the providential activity of the transcendent gods and desiring to fulfil secondary existences with such good things as they can.

Proposition 142. The gods are present alike to all things; not all things, however, are present alike to the gods, but each order has a share in their presence proportioned to its station and capacity, some things receiving them as unities and others as manifolds, some perpetually and others for a time, some incorporeally and others through the body.

For differences in the participation of the same principles must be due to a difference either in the participant or in that which is participated. But whatever is divine keeps the same station for ever, and is free from all relation to the lower and all admixture with it (proposition 98). It follows by exclusion that the variation can be due only to the participants; in them must lie the lack of uniformity, and it is they that are present to the gods diversely at different times and diversely one from another. Thus, while the gods are present alike to all things, not all things are present alike to them; each order is present in the degree of its capacity, and enjoys them in the degree of its presence, which is the measure of its participation.

Proposition 143. All inferior principles retreat before the presence of the gods; and provided the participant be fit for its reception, whatever is alien makes way for the divine light and all things are continuously illuminated by the gods.

For the divine principles are always more comprehensive and more potent than those which proceed from them (proposition 57), and it is the unfitness of the participants which occasions the failure of the divine light (proposition 142), obscuring by its weakness even that radiance. When the light is obscured, another principle appears to assume dominion; yet it is not by its own potency, but through the impotence of the participant, that it has the appearance of revolting against the divine form of illumination.

Proposition 144. The procession of all things existent and all cosmic orders of existents extends as far as do the orders of gods.

For in producing themselves the gods produced the existents, and without the gods nothing could come into being and attain to measure and order; since it is by the gods’ power that all things reach completeness, and it is from the gods that they receive order and measure. Thus even the last kinds in the realm of existence are consequent upon gods who regulate even these, who bestow even on these life and formative power and completeness of being, who convert even these upon their good; and so also are the intermediate and the primal kinds. All things are bound up in the gods and deeply rooted in them, and through this cause they are preserved in being; if anything fall away from the gods and become utterly isolated from them, it retreats into non-being and is obliterated, since it is wholly bereft of the principles which maintained its unity.

Proposition 145. The distinctive character of any divine order travels through all the derivative existents and bestows itself upon all the inferior kinds.

For if the procession of existents extends as far as do the orders of gods (proposition 144), the distinctive character of the divine powers, radiating downwards, is found in every kind, since each thing obtains from its own immediate cause the distinctive character in virtue of which that cause received its being. I intend that if, for example, there be a purifying deity, then purgation is to be found in souls, in animals, in vegetables, and in minerals; so also if there be a protective deity, and the same if there be one charged with the conversion or the perfection or the vitalizing of things existent. The mineral participates the purifying power only as bodies can; the vegetable in a clearer manner also, that is, vitally; the animal possesses this form in an additional mode, that of appetition; a rational soul, rationally; an intelligence, intellectually or intuitively; the gods, supra-existentially and after the mode of unity: and the entire series possesses the same power as the result of a single divine cause. The same account applies to the other characters. For all things, are dependent from the gods, some being irradiated by one god, some by another, and the series extend downwards to the last orders of being. Some are linked with the gods immediately, others through a varying number of intermediate terms (proposition 128); but ‘all things are full of gods,’ and from the gods each derives its natural attribute.

Proposition 146. In any divine procession the end is assimilated to the beginning, maintaining by its reversion thither a circle without beginning and without end.

For if each single processive term reverts upon its proper initial principle, from which it proceeded (proposition 31), much more, surely, do entire orders proceed from their highest point and revert again upon it. This reversion of the end upon the beginning makes the whole order one and determinate, convergent upon itself and by its convergence revealing unity in multiplicity.

Proposition 147. In any divine rank the highest term is assimilated to the last term of the supra-jacent rank.

For if there must be continuity in the divine procession and each order must be bound together by the appropriate mean terms (proposition 132), the highest terms of the secondary rank are of necessity conjoined with the limiting terms of the primal. Now conjunction is effected through likeness (props. 29, 32). Therefore there will be likeness between the initial principles of the lower order and the last members of the higher.

Proposition 148. Every divine order has an internal unity of threefold origin, from its highest, its mean, and its last term.

For the highest term, having the most unitary potency of the three, communicates its unity to the entire order and unifies the whole from above while remaining independent of it (proposition 125). Secondly, the mean term, reaching out toward both the extremes, links the whole together with itself as mediator (proposition 132); it transmits the bestowals of the first members of its order, draws upward the potentialities of the last, and implants in all a common character and mutual nexus — for in this sense also givers and receivers constitute a single complete order, in that they converge upon the mean term as on a centre. Thirdly, the limiting term produces a likeness and convergence in the whole order by reverting again upon its initial principle and carrying back to it the potencies which have emerged from it (proposition 146). Thus the entire rank is one through the unifying potency of its first terms, through the connective function of the mean term, and through the reversion of the end upon the initial principle of procession.

Proposition 149. The entire manifold of divine henads is finite in number.

For if it stands nearest to the One (proposition 113), it cannot be infinite, since the infinite is not cognate with the One but alien from it: for if the manifold as such is already a departure from the One, it is plain that an infinite manifold is completely bereft of its influence (and for this reason bereft also of potency and activity). The manifold of gods is therefore not infinite, but marked by unity and limit; and this in a higher degree than any other, since of all manifolds it is nearest akin to the One. Were the first Principle a manifold, then each should be more manifold in proportion as it stood nearer to that Principle, likeness being proportionate to nearness; but since the Primal is One (proposition 5), a manifold which is conjoined with it will be less manifold than one more remote; and the infinite, far from being less manifold, is the extreme manifold.

Proposition 150. Any processive term in the divine orders is incapable of receiving all the potencies of its producer, as are secondary principles in general of receiving all the potencies of their priors; the prior principles possess certain powers which transcend their inferiors and are incomprehensible to subsequent grades of deity.

For if the gods differ in their distinctive properties, the characters of the lower pre-subsist in the higher, whereas those of the higher and more universal are not found in the lower; the superior deities implant in their products some of their own characters, but others they pre-embrace as transcendent attributes. For it has been shown (proposition 126) that the gods nearer to the One are more universal, whilst the more remote are more specific; and since the former have more comprehensive potencies than the latter, it follows that gods of secondary and more specific rank will not comprehend the power of the primal. Thus in the higher gods there is something which for the lower is incomprehensible and uncircumscribed.

It has in fact been shown (proposition 93) that each divine principle is in this sense infinite, not for itself, and still less for its priors, but for all its consequents. Now the divine infinitude is an infinitude of potency (proposition 86); and the infinite is incomprehensible to those for whom it is infinite. Hence the inferior principles do not participate all the potencies which are pre-embraced by the superior: otherwise the latter would be no less comprehensible to the secondaries than the secondaries to them. Thus the lower, being more specific, possess only certain of the potencies of the higher; and even these they possess in an altered fashion, because of the infinitude which causes the higher to overpass them.

Proposition 151. All that is paternal in the gods is of primal operation and stands in the position of the Good at the head of the several divine ranks.

For by itself it produces the substantive existence of the secondary principles, the totality of their powers, and their being, in virtue of a single unspeakable transcendence: whence indeed it is named ‘paternal,’ as manifesting the unified and boniform potency of the One and the constitutive cause of all secondaries. In each order of gods the paternal kind is sovereign, producing from itself the whole and regulating it, as being analogous in station to the Good. Fathers differ in degree of universality, as do the divine orders themselves (proposition 136), in proportion to their causal efficacy; there are thus as many diverse fathers as there are entire processive orders of gods. For if in every order there is something analogous to the Good, the paternal must exist in all of them and each must proceed from a paternal unity.

Proposition 152. All that is generative in the gods proceeds in virtue of the infinitude of divine potency, multiplying itself and penetrating all things, and manifesting especially the character of unfailing perpetuity in the processive orders of secondary principles.

For to increase the number of processive terms by drawing them from their secret embracement in their causes and advancing them to generation is surely the peculiar office of the gods’ infinite potency, through which all divine principles are filled with fertile excellencies, each in its fullness giving rise to some further principle (proposition 25) in virtue of that superabundant potency (proposition 27). Thus the especial office of generative divinity is the governance of potency, a governance which multiplies and renders fertile the potencies of the generated and spurs them to beget or constitute still other existences. For if each principle communicates to the remaining terms its own distinctive character which it possesses primitively (proposition 97), then assuredly the fertile always implants in its consequents the succession of fertility, and so mirrors that Infinitude which is the primordial parent of the universe, whence proceeded all the generative potency (proposition 92) whose transcendent prerogative it is to diffuse the divine gifts in their unfailing succession.

Proposition 153. All that is perfect in the gods is the cause of divine perfection.

For as existents and the principles superior to existence differ in their mode of substance, so also do the perfections proper to the gods themselves differ in nature from the secondary perfections of existents: the former are self-complete and of primal operation, because the gods are the primal possessors of the Good (proposition 119), whereas the latter are perfect by participation. For this reason the perfection of the gods is distinct from that of things divinized. But the primal perfection which resides in the gods is the cause of being perfect not only to things divinized, but also to the gods themselves. For if every principle, in so far as it is perfect, is reverted upon its proper origin (proposition 31), then the cause of all the divine reversion has the office of making perfect the order of gods.

Proposition 154. All that is protective in the gods preserves each principle in its proper station, so that by its unitary character it transcends derivative existences and is founded upon the primals.

For if the divine protection immutably maintains the measure of the station assigned to each, and conserves in their proper perfection all the objects of its care, then it implants in all a superiority to lower principles, sets each in steadfast independence without alien admixture (for it has the property of causing in its objects an uncontaminated purity), and lastly founds the being of each upon the principles superior to it. For the perfection of any existent consists in its laying fast hold of the primals, remaining steadfast in its own being, and preserving the simplicity by which it transcends the lower.

Proposition 155. All that is zoogonic or life-giving in the divine kinds is a generative cause, but not all the generative order is zoogonic; for the generative is the more universal, and nearer to the First Principle.

For ‘generation’ signifies that cause which advances existents to plurality, but ‘zoogony’ describes the divinity which bestows all life. If, then, the former of these multiplies the number of substantive existences whilst the latter constitutes the successive orders of life, the generative order will be related to the zoogonic series as Being to Life. It will therefore be the more universal (proposition 101) and productive of more numerous effects; and for this reason it will be nearer to the First Principle (proposition 60).

Proposition 156. All that is the cause of purity is embraced in the protective order, but not all the protective is conversely identical with the purificatory.

For the divine purity isolates all the gods from inferior existences, and enables them to exercise providence toward secondary beings without contamination; whilst divine protection has, besides, the further task of maintaining all things in their proper being and of founding them securely upon the higher principles (proposition 154). Thus the protective is more universal than the purificatory: the distinctive office of protection, as such, is to keep each thing in the same station relatively to itself and its priors no less than to its consequents; that of purity, to liberate the higher from the lower. And these offices belong primitively to the gods. For any general character must have a single antecedent cause (proposition 21); and it is true universally that in the gods the unitary measures of all things good are pre-embraced, and nothing good is found in secondary existences which does not pre-subsist in the gods (what other source or cause could it have?). Purity, then, being a good, belongs primitively to the gods; and so also protection and other like offices.

Proposition 157. Whereas it is the function of all paternal causes to bestow being on all things and originate the substantive existence of all that is, it is the office of all demiurgic or formal causes to preside over the bestowal of Form upon things composite, the assignment of their stations, and their numerical distinction as individuals: the demiurgic is thus in the same succession as the paternal, but is found in the more specific orders of gods.

For both these causes are ranked under the principle of Limit, since existence has, like number and Form, a limitative character: in this respect the two are in the same succession. But the demiurgic advances the creative office into plurality, whilst the other without departure from unity originates the processive orders of things existent (proposition 151). Again, the one creates Form, the other existence. As Being, then, differs from Form, so does the paternal from the demiurgic. Now Form is a particular kind of Being (proposition 74 corollary). Accordingly the paternal, being the more universal and more comprehensive cause, transcends the demiurgic order, as Being transcends Form.

Proposition 158. All elevative causes among the gods differ both from the purificatory causes and from the conversive kinds.

For it is evident that this cause also must be found primitively in the gods, since all causes of all goods pre-subsist there. But it is prior to the purificatory, which liberates from the lower principles (proposition 156), whereas the elevative effects conjunction with the higher; on the other hand it has a more specific rank than the conversive, since anything which reverts may revert either upon itself or upon the higher principle, whereas the function of the elevative cause, which draws the reverting existence upwards to what is more divine, is characterized only by the latter mode of reversion.

Proposition 159. Every order of gods is derived from the two initial principles. Limit and Infinity; but some manifest predominantly the causality of Limit, others that of Infinity.

For every order must proceed from both, because the communications of the primal causes extend through all derivative ranks (proposition 97). But at some points Limit is dominant in the mixture, at others Infinity: accordingly there results one group of a determinative character, that in which the influence of Limit prevails; and another characterized by infinitude, in which the element of Infinity preponderates.

Proposition 160. All divine intelligence is perfect and has the character of unity; it is the primal Intelligence, and produces the others from its own being.

For if it is divine, it is filled with divine henads (proposition 129) and has the character of unity; and if this is so, it is also perfect, being full of the divine goodness (proposition 133). But if it has these properties, it is also primal, as being united with the gods: for the highest intelligence is divinized intelligence (proposition 112). And being the primal Intelligence, it bestows by its own act substantiality upon the rest: for all that has secondary existence derives its substance from a principle which exists primitively (proposition 18).

Proposition 161. All the true Being which is attached to the gods is a divine Intelligible, and unparticipated.

For since true Being is, as has been shown (proposition 138), the first of the principles which participate divine unification, and since it makes the content of the Intelligence (for the Intelligence too is an existent, because filled with Being), it surely results that true Being is a divine Intelligible—divine as being divinized, intelligible as the principle which gives content to the Intelligence and is participated by it.

And while the Intelligence is an existent because of primal Being, this primal Being is itself separate from the Intelligence, because Intelligence is posterior to Being (proposition 101). Again, unparticipated terms subsist prior to the participated (proposition 23): so that prior to the Being which is consubstantial with the Intelligence there must be a form of Being which exists in itself and beyond participation. For true Being is intelligible not as coordinate with the Intelligence, but as perfecting it without loss of transcendence, in that it communicates to the Intelligence the gift of being and fills it with a truly existent essence.

Proposition 162. All those henads which illuminate true Being are secret and intelligible: secret as conjoined with the One, intelligible as participated by Being.

For all the gods are named from the principles which are attached to them, because their diverse natures, otherwise unknowable, may be known from these dependent principles: all deity is in itself unspeakable and unknowable, being of like nature with the unspeakable One; yet from the diversities of the participants may be inferred the peculiar attributes of the participated (proposition 123). Thus the gods who illuminate true Being are intelligible, because true Being is a divine and unparticipated Intelligible which subsists prior to the Intelligence (proposition 161). For inasmuch as participated terms stand in the same mutual relation as their participants, it follows that true Being would not have been attached to the first order of gods did not that order possess a nature primal in its operation and a power of perfecting the remaining gods.

Proposition 163. All those henads are intellectual whereof the unparticipated Intelligence enjoys participation.

For as Intelligence is to true Being, so are these henads to the intelligible henads. As, therefore, the latter, illuminating Being, are themselves intelligible (proposition 162), so these, illuminating the divine and unparticipated Intelligence, are themselves intellectual — not as subsisting in the Intelligence, but in the causative sense (proposition 65), as subsisting prior to the Intelligence and bringing it to birth.

Proposition 164. All those henads are supra-mundane whereof all the unparticipated Soul enjoys participation.

For since the unparticipated Soul occupies the next station above the world-order, the gods whom it participates are also supra-mundane, and are related to the intellectual and the intelligible gods as Soul is to Intelligence and Intelligence to true Being. As, then, all Soul is dependent upon intelligences (proposition 20) and Intelligence is converted upon the Intelligible (proposition 161), so the supra-mundane gods depend from the intellectual in the same manner as these from the intelligible.

Proposition 165. All those henads are intra-mundane which any sensible body participates.

For through the mediation of Intelligence and Soul such henads irradiate certain parts of the world-order. Intelligence is not present without Soul to any intra-mundane body, neither is Deity directly conjoined with Soul, since participation is through like terms (proposition 32); and Intelligence itself participates the henad in virtue of its own highest element, which is intelligible. These henads, then, are intra-mundane in the sense that they give fulfilment to the entire world-order, and that they render certain visible bodies divine. For any such body is divine not because of Soul, which is not primally divine, nor because of Intelligence — for not even the Intelligence is identical with the One — but while it owes to Soul its life and its power of self-movement, and to Intelligence its perpetual freedom from variation and the perfection of its ordered motion, it is divine not through these things but because it is unified (proposition 129); and if it has a providential office, this character is due to the same cause (proposition 120).

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M. Of Intelligences

Proposition 166. There is both unparticipated and participated intelligence; and the latter is participated either by supra-mundane or by intra-mundane souls.

For of the whole number of intelligences the unparticipated is sovereign, having primal existence (propositions 23, 24). And of the participated intelligences some irradiate the supra-mundane and unparticipated soul, others the intra-mundane. For the intra-mundane class cannot proceed without mediation from the unparticipated Intelligence, since all procession is through like terms (proposition 29), and a class which is independent of the world-order bears more likeness to the unparticipated than one which is locally distributed. Nor, again, is the supra-mundane class the only one: but there must be intra-mundane intelligences, first, because there are intra-mundane gods (proposition 165); secondly, because the world-order itself is possessed of intelligence as well as of soul; third, because intra-mundane souls must participate supra-mundane intelligences through the mediation of intelligences which are intra-mundane (proposition 109).

Proposition 167. Every intelligence has intuitive knowledge of itself: but the primal Intelligence knows itself only, and intelligence and its object are here numerically one; whereas each subsequent intelligence knows simultaneously itself and its priors, so that its object is in part itself but in part its source.

For any intelligence must know either itself or that which is above it or that which is consequent upon it.

If the last be true, this will mean that intelligence reverts upon its inferior. And even so it will not know the object itself, upon which it has reverted, since it is not within the object but is extraneous to it; it can know only the impress produced upon it by the object. For it knows its own, not what is alien; its affects, not their extraneous source.

Suppose next that it knows what is above it. If it know this through knowing itself, it will have simultaneous knowledge of the two; but if it know the higher only, it will be an intelligence ignorant of itself. There is also the general consideration, that if it know its prior it must know that this prior is a cause, and must know the effects whereof it is a cause: for if it know not these effects, its ignorance of them will involve ignorance of their cause, which produces them in virtue of its being (proposition 18). But if it know what its prior constitutes or causes, it will know itself, since it is constituted thence. Thus if it know its prior it will necessarily know itself also.

If, then, there is an intelligible Intelligence, in knowing itself, being intelligible, it knows the intelligible which is its own being; whilst each subsequent intelligence knows simultaneously the intelligible which is its own content and the prior intelligible. There is thus an intelligible in the Intelligence and an intelligence in the Intelligible; but the higher Intelligence is identical with its object, whereas the lower is identical with its own content but not with the prior Intelligible — for the unconditioned Intelligible is distinct from the intelligible in the knower.

Proposition 168. Every intelligence in the act of intellection knows that it knows: the cognitive intelligence is not distinct from that which is conscious of the cognitive act.

For if it is an intelligence in action and knows itself as indistinguishable from its object (proposition 167), it is aware of itself and sees itself. Further, seeing itself in the act of knowing and knowing itself in the act of seeing, it is aware of itself as an active intelligence: and being aware of this, it knows not merely what it knows but also that it knows. Thus it is simultaneously aware of the thing known, of itself as the knower, and of itself as the object of its own intellective act.

Proposition 169. Every intelligence has its existence, its potency and its activity in eternity.

For if it knows itself, and intelligence and its object are identical (proposition 167), then also the intellective act is identical with the intellectual subject and the intelligible object. For being intermediate between the knower and the known, if these are identical, the intellective act will naturally be identical with both. Now it is plain that the existence of intelligence is eternal, since it is a simultaneous whole (proposition 52). So also is the intellective act, inasmuch as it is identical with the existence; for if intelligence is unmoved, it cannot be measured by time in respect either of its being or of its activity (proposition 50). And if the existence and the activity of intelligence are invariable, so likewise is its potency.

Proposition 170. Every intelligence has simultaneous, intellection of all things: but while the unparticipated Intelligence knows all unconditionally, each subsequent intelligence knows all in one especial aspect.

For if every intelligence has its existence established in eternity, and with its existence its activity (proposition 169), each one will know all things simultaneously. For if it knew them by parts and in a distinguishable succession, it would not be in eternity: all that is successive is in time, since it involves an earlier and a later and is not a simultaneous whole (proposition 52).

If, however, all intelligences are to be alike in their manner of knowing all things, there will be no distinction between them. For what they know is themselves (proposition 167); and if they be alike in their universal knowledge they are alike in their universal being, and there could thus be no distinction between unparticipated and participated intelligence: identity of intellection comports identity of existence, inasmuch as the intellection of each is the same as its being and each intelligence is identical both with its intellection and with its being.

It remains, then, if they are not alike in their knowledge, that each knows not all things but one thing; or more than one, yet not all; or else all things in one especial aspect. But to deny that they have intellection of all things is to assume an intelligence which is ignorant of a part of existence. For being unmoved, it cannot pass from point to point and gain knowledge of what before it did not know; and knowing one thing alone by reason of its steadfastness, it will be inferior to Soul, which in its movement gets knowledge of all things.

Since, then, it must know all things or one or else all in one especial aspect, we shall conclude that the last is the truth: intellection embraces all things perpetually, and in all intelligences, but in each it delimits all its objects by a particular character. So that in the act of cognition and in the content known there must be some one dominant aspect, under which all things are simultaneously known and by which all are characterized for the knower.

Proposition 171. Every intelligence is an indivisible existence.

For if it be without magnitude, body or movement, it is indivisible. For whatever is in any sense divisible is so either as a manifold or as a magnitude or else in respect of the temporal course of its activities; but intelligence is in all respects eternal, it transcends bodies, and its manifold content is unified: therefore intelligence is indivisible.

That intelligence is incorporeal is shown by its reversion upon itself (proposition 167); for bodies are incapable of such reversion (proposition 15). That it is eternal is shown by the identity of its activity with its existence, as has been proved above (proposition 169). That its multiplicity is unified is shown by the continuity of the intellectual manifold with the divine henads (proposition 160); for these are the first manifold (proposition 113), upon which the intelligences are consequent, and therefore every intelligence, though a manifold, is a unified manifold, since the implicit exists prior to the discrete and is nearer to the One (proposition 62).

Proposition 172. Every intelligence is directly constitutive of things which are perpetual and as regards their existence invariable.

For all products of an unmoved cause are invariable in their existence (proposition 76); and intelligence is unmoved, being eternal in every sense and steadfast in eternity (proposition 169). Again, it is in virtue of its being that intelligence gives rise to its products (proposition 26); and if its being is perpetual and unchanging, so also is its productive activity: therefore its effects exist not at certain times only, but perpetually.

Proposition 173. Every intelligence is intellectually identical both with its priors and with its consequents — with the latter as their cause, with the former by participation. But since it is itself an intelligence and its essence is intellectual, it defines everything, both what it is as cause and what it is by participation, according to its own substantive character.

For each principle participates its superiors in the measure of its natural capacity, and not in the measure of their being. On the latter supposition they must be participated in the same manner by all things, which is not the case: therefore participation varies with the distinctive character and capacity of the participants. In the Intelligence, accordingly, its priors are contained intellectually.

But again, it is also intellectually identical with its consequents. For it is not composite of its resultants: what it contains is not the resultants but their causes. Now it is in virtue of its being that it causes all things (proposition 26); and its being is intellectual: hence it contains intellectually the causes of all things.

Thus every intelligence is all things intellectually, both its priors and its consequents: that is to say, as it contains the intelligible world intellectually, so also it contains the sensible world in the same mode.

Proposition 174. Every intelligence gives rise to its consequents by the act of intellection: its creative activity is thinking, and its thought is creation.

For if intelligence is identical with its object (proposition 167) and the existence of each intelligence with its thought (proposition 169), and if further it creates by existing all that it creates, and produces by virtue of being what it is (proposition 26), then it must constitute its products by the act of thought. For its existence and its intellection are one thing, since intelligence is identical with the being which is its content. If, then, it creates by existing, and its existence is thought, it creates by the act of thinking.

Again, its thought is actualized in the act of thinking, which is identical with its existence; and its existence is creation (for that which creates without movement has its existence perpetually in the creative act): therefore its thought too is creation.

Proposition 175. Every intelligence is primarily participated by principles which are intellectual at once in their existence and in their activity.

For if not by these, then by principles which have an intellectual existence but do not at all times exercise intellection. But this is impossible. For the activity of intelligence is without movement (proposition 169), and consequently those principles which participate it do so at all times, enjoying a perpetual intellection whereof the activity of the intelligence perpetually makes them capable. For a being which has its activity in some certain part of time is discontinuous with one whose activity is eternal: as with existences (proposition 55), so in the gradations of activity there is an intermediate degree between any activity which is eternal and one which is complete in a certain time, namely the activity which has its completion in the whole of time. For nowhere does procession take place without mediation, but always through terms which are akin and alike (proposition 29); and this holds for the grades of completeness in activities no less than for substances. Accordingly every intelligence is primarily participated by principles which are at all times capable of intellection and enjoy it perpetually, notwithstanding that they exercise it in time and not in eternity.

Corollary. From this it is apparent that a soul which exercises intellection only at certain times cannot directly participate an intelligence.

Proposition 176. All the intellectual Forms are both implicit each in other and severally existent.

For if every intelligence is indivisible, and through this intellectual indivisibility its manifold content is also unified (proposition 171), then all the Forms, being contained in a single intelligence devoid of parts, are united with one another, and all interpenetrate all; but if all exist immaterially and without bodies, there is no confusion among them, but each remains itself, keeping its pure distinctness uncontaminated.

That the intellectual Forms are unconfused is shown in the specific participations enjoyed by the lower principles, which may participate any Form in independence of the others. For were not the participated terms mutually distinct and separate, the participants could not enjoy each of them discriminately, but the indiscriminate confusion would exist a fortiori in the later principles, since they are inferior in rank: from what source could they derive discrimination, if the Forms which constitute and perfect them were indistinguishable and confused?

On the other hand, the unity of the Forms is evidenced by the undivided substance and unitary existence of the intelligence which embraces them. For things which have their being in a unitary principle devoid of parts, existing in one same mind without division (how should you divide that which is one and without parts?), must be together and mutually implicit, interpenetrating one another in their entirety without spatial interval. For that which contains them is not spatially extended: it does not like extended things embrace a “here” and an “elsewhere,” but exists all together in an undivided unity. So that the Forms are also implicit each in other.

Thus all the intellectual Forms exist both in one another as a unity and also each apart in its distinctness. If in addition to the above proofs anyone should feel the need of examples, let him consider the theorems which are contained in a single soul. All these, existing in the same unextended substance, are united one to another, since the unextended embraces its content not spatially but without partition or interval. At the same time they are mutually distinct: for the soul can produce them all in their purity, bringing out each by itself and drawing forth nothing of the rest in its company; and the soul’s activity could not thus discriminate them were they not permanently discriminated in their passive state.

Proposition 177. Every intelligence is a complete sum of Forms, but certain of them embrace more universal and others more specific Forms; and while the higher intelligences possess in a more universal manner all that their consequents possess more specifically, the lower also possess more specifically all that their priors have more universally.

For the higher intelligences, being more unitary than the derivative, exercise greater powers, whereas the lower, being more advanced in plurality, thereby restrict the powers which they possess. For those principles which are more akin to the One, while their number is relatively contracted, excel their consequents in power; and of those more remote the opposite is true (proposition 62). Accordingly the higher intelligences, manifesting greater power with smaller numbers, produce in virtue of their power more effects by means of fewer Forms, while their consequents through defect of power produce fewer effects by more Forms. Now if this is so, the Forms embraced in the higher intelligences, are more universal, those in the lower more specific.

From which it follows that things generated out of the superior intelligences in virtue of a single Form are produced parcelwise from the derivative intelligences in virtue of a number of Forms; and conversely, things produced by the inferior intelligences through many distinct Forms are produced through fewer and more universal by the higher: what is general and common to all the participants comes to them from above, but the particular and peculiar quality of each species from secondary intelligences. Hence the secondary intelligences by their more specific discrimination of the Forms as it were articulate and elaborate in detail the formative work of the primals.

Proposition 178. Every intellectual Form is constitutive of things perpetual.

For if every such Form is eternal and unmoved, it is the cause of substances invariable in their existence and perpetual, not of things which come-to-be and perish (proposition 76): thus all that has its subsistence in virtue of an intellectual Form is perpetual.

For again, if all Forms produce their consequents in virtue of their mere existence (proposition 26), and their existence is perpetually free from variation, their products likewise will be unchanging and perpetual. Accordingly, things which have come-to-be at some point of time cannot take their subsistence from a Form as cause, nor can things perishable, qua perishable, have a pre-existent intellectual Form: for were their subsistence related to such Forms they would be imperishable and without temporal origin.

Proposition 179. The entire intellectual series is finite.

For if posterior to it there is another manifold, inferior in its mode of being, and if the intellectual series is nearer to the One, the other more remote, and if again that which is nearer to the One is quantitatively less, the more remote greater (proposition 62), then the intellectual series must be less in number than any subsequent manifold. It follows that it is not infinite: that is, the number of intelligences is limited. For that which is exceeded by another is not infinite, since the infinite is unexceeded in that respect in which it is infinite.

Proposition 180. Every intelligence is a whole, though not one composite of parts (proposition 171): whilst the unparticipated Intelligence is without qualification a whole, as having all its parts implicit in its totality, each of the specific intelligences contains the whole as a whole-in-the-part, and is thus all things specifically.

For if each is all things in one aspect (proposition 170), and ‘in one aspect’ means the same thing as ‘specifically,’ then the whole is in this sense contained in each specifically, being delimited by some one specific aspect which dominates the entire content of a specific intelligence.

Proposition 181. Every participated intelligence is either divine, as being linked to gods, or purely intellectual.

For if the primal Intelligence is divine (proposition 160) and unparticipated (proposition 166), its closest kin is evidently not an intelligence which differs from it in both regards, being neither divine nor unparticipated: for principles dissimilar in both regards are disjunct (proposition 28). It is plain, then, that the mean term resembles the primal Intelligence in one of these respects while differing from it in the other: either it is unparticipated but not divine, or it is divine but participated. But all that is unparticipated is divine, as being endowed with that rank in its own order which is analogous to the One (proposition 24). Accordingly there must be an intelligence which is at once divine and participated.

But again, there must also be an intelligence which does not participate the divine henads but merely exercises intellection: for while the first members of any series, which are closely linked with their own monad, can participate the corresponding members of the immediately supra-jacent order, those which are many degrees removed from their originative monad are incapable of being attached to that order (proposition no).

Thus there is both a divine intelligence and a kind which is purely intellectual, the latter arising in virtue of the distinctive power of intellection which it derives from its own monad, the former in virtue of the unity imposed by the henad which it participates.

Proposition 182. Every participated divine intelligence is participated by divine souls.

For if participation assimilates the participant to the participated principle and causes it to have the same nature, it is plain that a soul which participates and is annexed to a divine intelligence is itself divine, participating through the mediation of the intelligence the divinity immanent therein. For that divinity is cooperative in linking the participant soul to the intelligence and thus binding the divine to the divine (proposition 56).

Proposition 183. Every intelligence which is participated but purely intellectual is participated by souls which are neither divine nor yet subject to the alternation of intelligence with unintelligence.

For this order of souls cannot be divine, since they do not participate a divine intelligence, and it is through an intelligence that souls participate the gods, as has been shown above (proposition 129). Nor, on the other hand, can they admit of change: for every intelligence is participated by principles perpetually intellectual both in their existence and in their activity — this again is plain from what has been said earlier (proposition 175).

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N. Of Souls

Proposition 184. Every soul is either divine, or subject to change from intelligence to unintelligence, or else intermediate between these orders, enjoying perpetual intellection although inferior to the divine souls.

For if the divine intelligence is participated by divine souls (proposition 182), and the purely intellectual by souls which are not divine yet do not admit of change from intellection to unintelligence (proposition 183), and if there are also souls subject to such change and exercising intellection intermittently (proposition 63), it is apparent that there are three orders of souls: first the divine, then such of the remainder as perpetually participate intelligence, and third those which change now to intelligence and again to unintelligence.

Proposition 185. All divine souls are gods upon the psychic level; all those which participate the intellectual intelligence are perpetually attendant upon gods; all those which admit of change are at certain times attendant upon gods.

For if some souls have the divine light illuminating them from above, while others have perpetual intellection, and others again participate this perfection at certain times (proposition 184), then the first order occupy a station in the psychic series analogous to that of gods; the second, having an intellectual activity at all times, are at all times in the company of gods, and are linked to the divine souls, bearing that relation to them which the intellectual has to the divine; and those which enjoy intermittent intellection are intermittently in the company of gods, being unable perpetually and without change to participate intelligence or perpetually to consort with the divine souls — for that which shares in intelligence at certain times only has no means to be conjoined perpetually with the gods.

Proposition 186. Every soul is an incorporeal substance and separable from body.

For if it know itself, and if whatever knows itself reverts upon itself (proposition 83), and what reverts upon itself is neither body (since no body is capable of this activity [proposition 15]) nor inseparable from body (since, again, what is inseparable from body is incapable of reversion upon itself, which would involve separation [proposition 16]), it will follow that soul is neither a corporeal substance nor inseparable from body. But that it knows itself is apparent: for if it has knowledge of principles superior to itself, it is capable a fortiori of knowing itself, deriving self-knowledge from its knowledge of the causes prior to it.

Proposition 187. Every soul is indestructible and imperishable.

For all that is capable of being in any way dissolved or destroyed either is corporeal and composite or has its being in a substrate: the former kind, being made up of a plurality of elements, perishes by dissolution, while the latter, being capable of existence only in something other than itself, vanishes into non-existence when severed from its substrate (proposition 48). But the soul is both incorporeal and independent of any substrate, existing in itself and reverting upon itself (proposition 186). It is therefore indestructible and imperishable.

Proposition 188. Every soul is at once a principle of life and a living thing.

For that into which soul enters necessarily lives, and when a body is deprived of soul it is thereupon left lifeless. Now its life is due either to soul or to some other cause and not to soul. But that it should be wholly due to some other cause is impossible. For any participated principle gives to the participant either itself or some part of itself: unless it furnished one or the other, it would not be participated. Now soul is participated by that in which it is present, and we call ‘ensouled’ or animate that which participates a soul.

If, then, it bestows life upon animate bodies, soul is either a principle of life or simply a living thing or else both together, at once a principle of life and a living thing. But if it be simply a living thing and fall short of being a principle of life, it will be composite of life and not-life: upon which supposition it cannot know itself or revert upon itself. For cognition is a kind of life, and the cognitive is as such alive. If, therefore, soul contain a lifeless element, this element has in itself no cognitive faculty.

And if it be purely a principle of life, it will no longer participate the life of intelligence. For that which participates life is a living thing, and not purely a principle of life: the pure principle is the first and unparticipated Life (proposition 101), while that which is consequent upon it is not only a principle of life but a living thing. Now the unparticipated Life is not a soul. Therefore soul is at once a principle of life and a living thing.

Proposition 189. Every soul is self animated (or has life in its own right).

For if it is capable of reversion upon itself (proposition 186), and all that is capable of such reversion is self-constituted (proposition 43), then soul is self-constituted and the cause of its own being. But again, soul is both a principle of life and a living thing (proposition 188), and its essential character is vitality; for where it is present it communicates life by its mere being, and the participant, if it be fit for the reception, straightway becomes ensouled and alive; the soul does not calculate or choose, nor is it in consequence of any calculation or judgement that it animates the body, but simply through being what it is it endows with life that which is adapted to participate it (proposition 26). Its being, therefore, is being alive. If, then, its being is self-derived, and this being is the being alive which is its essential character, its life too must be self-furnished and self-derived. That is, soul must be self-animated.

Proposition 190. Every soul is intermediate between the indivisible principles and those which are divided in association with bodies.

For if it is self-animated and self-constituted (proposition 189) and has an existence separable from bodies (proposition 186), it is superior to all principles which are divided in association with bodies, and transcends them. For such principles are wholly inseparable from their substrates: they are partitioned together with the partitioned bulk, and falling away from their own nature, which is without parts, they are infected by corporeal extension; if they be of the order of vital principles, they belong as life-principles not to themselves but to their participants; if they be of the order of Being and the Forms, they belong as forms not to themselves but to that which they inform.

But on the other hand, if besides being these things, a self-constituted substance, a self-animated life, a self-cognitive knowledge, and on all these grounds separable from bodies, the soul be also something which has life, and consequently being, by participation, and knowledge too by participation of causes distinct from itself, it will then plainly be inferior to the indivisible principles. Now it is evident that it draws its life, and consequently its being, from a source other than itself; for prior to soul there is both an unparticipated Life and an unparticipated Being (proposition 101). Again, that it is not the first cognitive principle is apparent, since whereas every soul qua soul is alive (proposition 189), not every soul qua soul has knowledge: there are souls ignorant of reality which yet remain souls. Soul, then, is not the first cognitive principle, nor is it by its mere existence knowledge. Its existence, therefore, is secondary to those principles which are cognitive primally and in virtue of their being. And since in soul existence is distinct from knowledge, it cannot rank with the indivisible principles. But it has been shown that equally it does not rank with those which are divided in association with bodies. Therefore it is betwixt the two.

Proposition 191. Every participated soul has an eternal existence but a temporal activity.

For either it will have both its existence and its activity in eternity, or both in time, or else one in eternity and the other in time. But it cannot have both in eternity: otherwise it will be undivided Being, and there will be nothing to distinguish the psychic nature from intellectual substance, the self-moved principle from the unmoved (proposition 20). Nor can it have both in time: otherwise it will be purely a thing of process, and neither self-animated nor self-constituted; for nothing which is measured by time in respect of its existence is self-constituted (proposition 51). But the soul is self-constituted; for that which reverts upon itself in its activity is also self-reversive in respect of its existence (proposition 44), that is, it proceeds from itself as cause (proposition 43).

Accordingly it remains that every soul must be eternal in one regard and participate time in the other. Either, then, it is eternal in respect of its existence and participates time in respect of its activity, or the reverse. But the latter is impossible. Therefore every participated soul is endowed with an eternal existence but a temporal activity.

Proposition 192. Every participated soul is of the order of things which perpetually are and is also the first of the things of process.

For if it is eternal in its existence (proposition 191), its substance is true Being (proposition 87), and is perpetually; for that which participates eternity shares in perpetuity of being. And if it is in time as regards its activity (proposition 191), it is a thing of temporal process; for whatever participates time, perpetually coming-to-be in a temporal order of events and not being simultaneously the whole of what it is, is a thing of process (proposition 50). But if every soul is a thing of process in one aspect only, namely its activity, it must have primacy among such things; for that which belongs wholly to the temporal process is more remote from the eternal principles.

Proposition 193. Every soul takes its proximate origin from an intelligence.

For if it has an invariable and eternal existence (proposition 191), it proceeds from an unmoved cause, since all that proceeds from a mobile cause is variable in its existence (proposition 76). The cause of all soul, then, is unmoved. And if the proximate source of its perfection is an intelligence, it reverts upon an intelligence. Now if it participates the cognitive faculty which intelligence gives to principles capable of participating it (for all cognitive faculty is derived by its possessors from an intelligence), and if all things proceed in respect of their existence from that upon which they naturally revert (proposition 34), it follows that every soul proceeds from an intelligence.

Proposition 194. Every soul possesses all the Forms which intelligence possesses primitively.

For if soul proceeds from intelligence and has intelligence as its originative principle (proposition 193), and intelligence being unmoved produces all things by its mere existence (proposition 26), then it will give to the soul which arises from it, as part of that soul’s being, rational notions of all that it contains; for whatever creates by existing implants by derivation in its product that which itself is primitively (proposition 18). Soul, therefore, possesses by derivation the irradiations of the intellectual Forms.

Proposition 195. Every soul is all things, the things of sense after the manner of an exemplar and the intelligible things after the manner of an image.

For being intermediate between the indivisible principles and those which are divided in association with body (proposition 190), it produces and originates the latter and likewise manifests its own causes, from which it has proceeded. Now those things whereof it is the pre-existent cause it pre-embraces in the exemplary mode, and those from which it took its origin it possesses by participation as generated products of the primal orders. Accordingly it pre-embraces all sensible things after the manner of a cause, possessing the rational notions of material things immaterially, of bodily things incorporeally, of extended things without extension; on the other hand it possesses as images the intelligible principles, and has received their Forms — the Forms of undivided existents parcelwise, of unitary existents as a manifold, of unmoved existents as self-moved. Thus every soul is all that is, the primal orders by participation and those posterior to it in the exemplary mode.

Proposition 196. Every participated soul makes use of a first body which is perpetual and has a constitution without temporal origin and exempt from decay.

For if every soul is perpetual in respect of its existence (proposition 192), and if further by its very being it directly ensoul some body, it must ensoul it at all times, since the being of every soul is invariable (proposition 191). And if so, that which it ensouls is on its part ensouled at all times, and at all times participates life; and what lives at all times a fortiori exists at all times; and what exists at all times is perpetual: therefore a body directly ensouled and directly attached to any soul is perpetual. But every participated soul is directly participated by some body, inasmuch as it is participated and not unparticipated and by its very being ensouls the participant. Accordingly every participated soul makes use of a first body which is perpetual and in respect of its existence is without temporal origin or decay.

Proposition 197. Every soul is a vital and cognitive substance, a substantial and cognitive principle of life, and a principle of knowledge as being a substance and a life-principle; and all these characters coexist in it, the substantial, the vital and the cognitive, all in all and each severally.

For if it is intermediate between the indivisible Forms and those which are divided in association with a body (proposition 190), it is neither indivisible in the same sense as all the intellectual kinds nor divided in the same sense as those assimilated to body. Accordingly whereas the substantial, vital, and cognitive principles are in corporeal things disjoined one from another, in souls they exist as a unity, without division and without body; all are together because soul is immaterial (proposition 186) and has no parts. And again whereas in the intellectual kinds all exist as a unity (proposition 176), in souls they are distinguished and divided. Thus all exist both together and severally. But if all are together in one being devoid of parts, they interpenetrate one another; and if they exist severally, they are on the other hand distinct and unconfused: so that each exists by itself, yet all in all.

For in the substance of soul life and knowledge are implicit: otherwise not every soul will know itself, inasmuch as a lifeless substance is in itself bereft of knowledge. And in its life are implicit substance and knowledge: for a non-substantial life and one devoid of knowledge are proper only to lives involved in Matter, which cannot know themselves and are not pure substances. Finally, a knowledge without substance or life is non-existent: for all knowledge implies a living knower which is in itself possessed of substance.

Proposition 198. All that participates time but has perpetuity of movement is measured by periods.

For because it participates time, its movement has the character of measure and finitude (proposition 54) and its path is determined by a numerical principle; and because it moves perpetually, with a perpetuity not eternal but temporal, it must move in periods. For movement is a change from one set of conditions to another; and the sum of things is finite both in number and in magnitude; and the sum being finite, it is not possible that change should proceed in an infinite straight line, neither can anything perpetually in motion pass through a finite number of changes. Therefore what moves perpetually will return to its starting-point, so as to constitute a period.

Proposition 199. Every intra-mundane soul has in its proper life periods and cyclic reinstatements.

For if it is measured by time and has a transitive activity (proposition 191), and movement is its distinctive character (proposition 20), and all that moves and participates time, if it be perpetual, moves in periods and periodically returns in a circle and is restored to its starting-point (proposition 198), then it is evident that every intra-mundane soul, having movement and exercising a temporal activity, will have a periodic motion, and also cyclic reinstatements (since in the case of things perpetual every period ends in a reinstatement of the original condition).

Proposition 200. Every psychic period is measured by time; but while the periods of the other souls are measured by some particular time, that of the first soul measured by time has the whole of time for measure.

For if all movements involve an earlier and a later, then periodic movements do so; hence they participate time, and time is the measure of all psychic periods (proposition 54). If all souls had the same period and traversed the same course, all would occupy the same time; but if their reinstatements do not coincide, they vary also in the periodic times which bring about the reinstatements.

Now it is evident that the soul with which temporal measurement begins has the whole of time for measure. For if time is the measure of all movement (proposition 50), the first mobile principle will participate the whole of time and be measured by time in its entirety, since if the sum total of time do not measure its primal participant it cannot as a whole measure any other.

And that all other souls are measured by certain measures less universal than the whole of time is apparent from the above. For if they are less universal than the soul which primitively participates time, it follows that they cannot make their periods coextensive with time in its entirety: their many cyclic reinstatements will be parts of the single period or reinstatement wherein that soul is reinstated which is the primal participant of time. For the more specific participation is proper to the lesser potency, the more universal to the greater. Thus the other souls lack the capacity to receive the whole of the temporal measure within the limits of a single life, since they have been allotted a station subordinate to that of the soul with which temporal measurement begins.

Proposition 201. All divine souls have a threefold activity, in their threefold capacity as souls, as recipients of a divine intelligence, and as derived from gods: as gods they exercise providence towards the universe, in virtue of their intellectual life they know all things, and in virtue of the self-movement proper to their being they impart motion to bodies.

For because it belongs to their nature to participate the supra-jacent principles, because they are not souls merely but divine souls, manifesting on the psychic plane a rank analogous to the gods (proposition 185), it follows that they exercise not only a psychic but also a divine activity, in that the summit of their being is possessed by a god. And because they have an intellectual substance which renders them susceptible of influence from the intellectual essences (proposition 182), they use not only a divine but also an intellectual activity, the former based upon the unity within them, the latter upon their immanent intelligence. Their third activity is that proper to their especial mode of being, whose function it is to move what is naturally moved ab extra (proposition 20) and to bestow life upon principles whose life is adventitious (proposition 188); for this is the distinctive operation of every soul, whereas its other activities, such as intellection and providence, are derived through participation.

Proposition 202. All souls which are attendant upon gods and perpetually in their company are inferior to the divine grade, but are exalted above the particular souls.

For the divine souls participate both intelligence and deity (proposition 129) —hence it is that they are at once intellectual and divine (proposition 201) — and they have sovereignty over the other souls, as the gods are sovereign over all that is (proposition 144). On the other hand the particular souls are deprived even of attachment to an intelligence, being unable directly to participate intellectual existence — for if in respect of their existence they participated intelligence, they would not fall away from intellectual activity, as has been proved above (proposition 175). Intermediate, therefore, between these two classes stand those souls which are perpetually in the company of gods; which are recipients of a perfect intelligence and in this regard overpass the particular souls, but fall short of connexion with divine henads, since the intelligence they participate was not divine (proposition 185).

Proposition 203. In the entire psychic manifold the divine souls, which are greater in power than the rest, are restricted in number; those which are perpetually in their company have in the order as a whole a middle station in respect both of power and of multitude; while the particular souls are inferior in power to the others but are advanced to a greater number.

For the first class are nearer akin to the One because of their divine mode of being (proposition 113), the second are intermediate because they participate intelligence, the third are last in rank, differing in their existence both from the intermediate and from the primal (proposition 202). Now among perpetual principles those nearer to the One are more unified in number than the more remote, that is, they are restricted in respect of multitude, while the more remote are more numerous (proposition 62). Thus on the one hand the powers of the higher souls are greater, and bear that relation to the secondary powers which the divine has to the intellectual and this latter to the psychic (propositions 201, 202); on the other hand the members of the lower grades are more numerous, since that which is more remote from the One is more manifold, the nearer less so.

Proposition 204. Every divine soul is sovereign over many souls which are perpetually in the divine company, and over yet more which are at certain times admitted to that station.

For being divine, it must be endowed with a rank of universal sovereignty and primal operation in the order of souls, since in all orders of being the divine is sovereign over the whole (proposition 144). And each must govern not merely souls which perpetually enjoy its company nor merely such as enjoy it intermittently. For were one of them sovereign over these latter only, how should these be conjoined with the divine soul, being wholly disparate and participating not even an intelligence directly, still less any of the gods? And were it sovereign over the former only, how came the series to progress to the lower terms? On this supposition the intellectual principles will be the lowest, sterile and incapable of perfecting and exalting further beings. Of necessity, therefore, to every divine soul are attached directly those souls which at all times accompany it and use an intellectual activity and are linked by an upward tension to intelligences more specific than the divine intelligences (proposition 183); and in a secondary grade the particular souls, which through these intermediaries are able to participate intelligence and divine life — for through principles which perpetually participate the higher destiny the contingent participants are made perfect.

Again, each divine soul must have about it a greater number of souls which intermittently enjoy its company than of souls perpetually attendant; for as the power of the monad declines it proceeds ever further into plurality, making up in numbers what it loses in power. And moreover each of the souls perpetually attendant upon gods, imitating its divine soul, is sovereign over a number of particular souls, and thus draws upward a number of souls to the primal monad of the entire series. Therefore every divine soul is sovereign over many souls which are perpetually in the divine company, and over yet more which at certain times are admitted to that station.

Proposition 205. Every particular soul bears to the divine soul under which it is ranked in respect of its being the same relation as its vehicle bears to the vehicle of that divine soul.

For if the apportionment of vehicles to the several classes of souls be determined by their nature, the vehicle of every particular soul must bear that relation to the vehicle of a universal soul which the particular soul itself itself bears to the universal. But the apportionment must be so determined, since direct participants are conjoined by their very nature with the principles they participate (proposition 63). If, then, the particular soul is to the particular body as the divine soul to the divine body, each soul being participated in virtue of its very existence, the proposition we have enunciated is also true, namely that the vehicles bear the same mutual relation as the souls.

Proposition 206. Every particular soul can descend into temporal process and ascend from process to Being an infinite number of times.

For if at certain times it is in the company of gods and at others falls away from its upward tension towards the divine, and if it participates both intelligence and unintelligence (proposition 202), it is plain that by turns it comes-to-be in the world of process and has true Being among the gods. For it cannot (have been for an infinite time in material bodies and thereafter pass a second infinite time among the gods, neither can it) have spent an infinite time among the gods and again be embodied for the whole time thereafter, since that which has no temporal beginning will never have an end, and what has no end cannot have had a beginning. It remains, then, that each soul has a periodic alternation of ascents out of process and descents into process, and that this movement is unceasing by reason of the infinitude of time. Therefore each particular soul can descend and ascend an infinite number of times, and this shall never cease to befall every such soul.

Proposition 207. The vehicle of every particular soul has been created by an unmoved cause.

For if it be perpetually and congenitally attached to the soul which uses it, being invariable in respect of its existence it must have received its being from an unmoved cause, since all that arises from mobile causes is variable in its existence (proposition 76). But every soul has a perpetual body which participates it directly (proposition 196). Accordingly the particular soul has such a body. Therefore the cause of its vehicle is unmoved, and for that reason supra-mundane.

Proposition 208. The vehicle of every particular soul is immaterial, indiscerptible in respect of its existence, and impassible.

For if it proceeds from an immobile act of creation (proposition 207) and is perpetual (proposition 196), it has an immaterial and impassible being. For all things capable of being acted upon in respect of their existence are both mutable and material (proposition 8o), and since their states vary they are attached to mobile causes (proposition 76): hence it is that they admit all manner of change, sharing in the movement of their originative principles.

But again, it is clearly indiscerptible. For if anything be discerpted it perishes in that respect in which it is discerpted, since it loses its integrity and continuity. If, therefore, the vehicle is invariable in respect of its existence and impassible, it must be indiscerptible.

Proposition 209. The vehicle of every particular soul descends by the addition of vestures increasingly material; and ascends in company with the soul through divestment of all that is material and recovery of its proper form, after the analogy of the soul which makes use of it: for the soul descends by the acquisition of irrational principles of life; and ascends by putting off all those faculties tending to temporal process with which it was invested in its descent, and becoming clean and bare of all such faculties as serve the uses of the process.

For the congenital vehicles imitate the lives of the souls which use them, and move everywhere with their movements: the intellectual activity of certain souls they reflect by circular revolutions, the declension of others by a subsidence into process, the purgation of yet others by a conversion towards the immaterial. For because in virtue of the very existence of the souls these vehicles are animated by them and are congenital to them (proposition 196), they undergo all manner of changes in sympathy with the souls’ activities and accompany them everywhere: when the souls suffer passion, they suffer with them; when they have been purified, they are restored with them; when they are led upwards, they rise with them, craving their own perfection — for all things are perfected when they attain to their proper integrity.

Proposition 210. Every congenital psychic vehicle keeps the same shape and size perpetually, but is seen as greater or smaller and in varying shapes by reason of the addition or removal of other bodies.

For if it has its being from an unmoved cause (proposition 207), it is plain that both its shape and its size are determined for it by its cause, and both are immutable and invariable. Yet its appearances at different times are diverse, and it seems now greater, now smaller. Therefore it is by reason of other bodies, which are added to it from the material elements and again removed (proposition 209), that it appears of such and such a shape and magnitude.

Proposition 211. Every particular soul, when it descends into temporal process, descends entire: there is not a part of it which remains above and a part which descends.

For suppose that some part of the soul remains in the intelligible. It will exercise perpetual intellection, either without transition from object to object or transitively. But if without transition, it will be an intelligence and not a fragment of a soul, and the soul in question will be one which directly participates an intelligence; and this is impossible (proposition 202). And if transitively, the part which has perpetual intellection and that which has intermittent intellection will be one substance. But this is impossible, for they differ in kind, as has been shown (proposition 184); and it is, moreover, unaccountable that the highest part of the soul, if it be perpetually perfect, does not master the other faculties and render them also perfect. Therefore every particular soul descends entire.


1^ The transitive use of participate throughout the translation is dictated by the convenience of the passive form: the authority of Milton and Hooker may serve to excuse it.

Commentary by E. R. Dodds coming soon.

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Proclus Diadochus
412–485 AD
Neoplatonic philosopher in Late Antiquity,
head of the Platonic Academy
in Athens for 50 years.



Proclus Diadochus. The Elements of Theology: A Revised Text with Translation, Introduction, and Commentary by E. R. Dodds. London: Oxford University Press, 1933, 2nd ed. 1963 [accessed December 16, 2018].