Plotinus and the Presocratics

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Book Details

Author  Giannis Stamatellos
Publisher  State University of New York Press
Publication Date   January 3, 2008
ISBN  0791470628
Pages  284

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The first book-length philosophical study on the Presocratic influences in Plotinus’ Enneads.

Filling the void in the current scholarship, Giannis Stamatellos provides the first book-length study of the Presocratic influences in Plotinus’ Enneads. Widely regarded as the founder of Neoplatonism, Plotinus (204–270 AD) assimilated eight centuries of Greek thought into his work. In this book Stamatellos focuses on eminent Presocratic thinkers who are significant in Plotinus’ thought, including Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, the early Pythagoreans, and the early Atomists. The Presocratic references found in the Enneads are studied in connection with Plotinus’ fundamental theories of the One and the unity of being, intellect and the structure of the intelligible world, the nature of eternity and time, the formation of the material world, and the nature of the ensouled body. Stamatellos concludes that, contrary to modern scholarship’s dismissal of Presocratic influence in the Enneads, Presocratic philosophy is in fact an important source for Plotinus, which he recognized as valuable in its own right and adapted for key topics in his thought.

“This book is destined to become the enduring classic in this aspect of ancient philosophy, with many topics of interest for scholars in modern philosophy and religion.” — M. R. Wright, editor of Empedocles: The Extant Fragments

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