Reading Plotinus: A Practical Introduction to Neoplatonism

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Purdue University Press
Professional & Scholarly


This book provides a practical reading guide to the thought of Plotinus, the great philosopher who was born in Alexandria in the third century a.d., lived in Rome and wrote in Greek. Deeply immersed in earlier Greek philosophy, especially Plato and Aristotle, Plotinus' thought was to have an immense influence upon the theology and philosophy of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, as well as to bear a deep resonance with the major forms of Eastern mystical thought, particularly Buddhism and Hinduism. At the same time, Plotinus' philosophy remains unique in its own right. Corrigan's work presents, in an accessible and yet authoritative way, three treatises translated in full, as well as several other major passages representative of the wide range of thought to be found in Plotinus' Enneads. There is extensive and detailed commentary accompanying each translation, which helps the reader to work his or her way through Plotinus' often highly compressed thought. The concluding chapter draws together the practical and theoretical significance of Plotinus' writings and situates them in an accessible manner for both first-time reader and scholar alike within the subsequent vast history of Neoplatonism which extends through the Mediaeval and Renaissance worlds and right into modern times. This book is intended to be of use for anyone who wants to read and understand Plotinus, non-specialists and specialists, and it will be particularly helpful for students and scholars of philosophy, history of ideas, aesthetic theory, and literature and religious thought, both Western and Eastern.