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thought (élotpoon). Each of these three triads 1 reveals to those initiated into philosophy (uvOTIKW) one of the aspects of the first and supra-intelligible cause : first, his unspeakable unity; secondly, his inexhaustible fertility (úmepoxý); thirdly, his infinite perfection. These are the emanations of the absolute. The absolute in itself is superior to being and even to thought, as the principle is superior to its consequence and the cause to its effect, and therefore forever unknowable. Whatever is supernatural in its essence can be reached only by supernatural means ; theurgy 2 alone can reveal it to the initiated. Knowledge is confined to the intelligible sphere and needs the realities of religion in order to attain to the supra-intelligible.
This is, in language freed from senile pedantry, the last word of Neo-Platonic metaphysics, “ the last will and testament” of antique thought. From the ontological point of view and compared with primitive Platonism, Neo-Platonism would be an advance in the monistic direction, if it had been content to subordinate the Idea to a higher principle containing both being and thought. But its opposition to Christianity, the fundamental dogma 4 of which assumes the communicability of the divine, impelled it wantonly to exaggerate the transcendency of this supreme principle; which was precisely the chief defect of Platonism. And how much inferior it is to Platonism from the ethical and religious point of view! Proclus looks upon the practice of magic as the essence of religion; for Plato religion means the practice of justice. There is as great a
fference between these two conceptions as between macure, enlightened, and vigorous manhood and decrepit and superstitious old age.
1 Cf, the triple triad in the system of Hegel.
θεουργία, έργον του θεού, manifestation of the divine power. 8 The will of concrete spiritualism. * The dogma of the incarnation.
In 529 the last refuge of polytheistic Neo-Platonism, the school at Athens where Proclus had taught, was closed by order of the Emperor Justinian. The public manifested such indifference towards these ruins of the past, that the edict was scarcely noticed. Christianity had taken possession of the empire two centuries ago; the concrete and thrilling questions of religion, which is a product of the will, and the troubles caused by the invasions of the barbarians, superseded the serene and peaceful dewpía.
· The last scholarchs are: Marinus of Flavia Neapolis in Pales. tine, the successor of Proclus, Isidore of Alexandria, and Zenodotus and Damascius of Damas (Qucestiones de primis principiis, ed. Kopp, Francf., 1826). The school was closed while the latter was at its head. With the school of Athens is connected the name of the Cilician Simplicius, the excellent commentator of Epictetus and Asis. totle (Categories, De anima, De cælo, and Physics), who was a fellow student and afterwards a pupil and companion in exile of Damascius
PHILOSOPHY OF THE MIDDLE AGES
REIGN OF PLATONIC-CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY
§ 27. Christian Platonism? The breath of expiring Hellenism passed into Christianity. The doctrines of Plato and his latest interpreters continued to influence the ablest thinkers among the followers of the Gospel, and the philosophy of the Church during the entire Middle Ages merely re-echoes the teachings of the great Athenian philosophers.
In the cosmopolitan city of Alexandria, where the Greek mind came in contact with the Semitic genius, there was
1 For Patristic speculation, consult the general histories of philosophy, the Church histories, and the works mentioned on page 10; [Collection of the works of the Fathers, Patrum Apostolicorum Opera, ed. by O. de Gerhardt, A. Harnack, and Th. Zahn, Leipsic, 1875 ff.; Eng. trans., Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, ed. Schaff and Wace; Möller, Lehrbuch der Kirchengeschichte (vol. I., Die alte Kirche, Freiburg, i. B., 1889); À. Harnack, Geschichte der altchristlichen Litteratur bis Eusebius, Part I., Leipsic, 1893. - Tr.) For the systems classified under heretical Gnosticism, see [Neander, Genetische Entwickelung der rornehmsten gnostischen Systeme, Berlin, 1818; Engl. tr. by Torrey, Boston, 1865]; J. Matter, Histoire critique du gnosticisme, 3 vols., Paris, 1823; 2d ed., 1843; F. Chr. Baur, Die christliche Gnosis, Tübingen, 1835; [Lipsius Der Gnosticismus, etc., Leipsic, 1860 : W. Möller, Geschichte der Kosmologie in der griechischen Kirche bis auf Origenes, Halle, 1860, pp. 189-473; H. L. Mansel, The Gnostic Heresies, etc., London, 1875. — Tr.]
formed, at the beginning of the third century, a kind of Christian Neo-Platonic school. The Latin Fathers, Tertullian, Arnobius, and Lactantius, rejected philosophy as a heathen product, contact with which must be avoided. The Greek and Egyptian Fathers, however, never ceased to cultivate it. Indeed, the attacks directed against the Gospel by philosophy itself compelled them to study it. Owing to the successful pressure thus exerted, the Christian faith was reduced to dogma (Córyma); it was formulated and systematized. The authors of the dogmas had to philosophize in spite of themselves and in self-defence, so to speak. Some of them went so far as to regard the teachings of the heathen sages as divine revelations similar to the Gospel. Plato was the only philosopher who received serious consideration. The school of Alexandria taught an essentially religious philosophy, differing in this respect from the other schools, which were, for the most part, sceptical. One could not but recognize certain similarities between Plato and Christianity; but how was this relationship, which sometimes amounted to identity, to be explained ? Some — and they were in the majority believed that Plato had drawn from the writings of the Old Testament. The enlightened minority concluded that the philosophers worthy of the name must have been inspired by the same divine reason (óryos) which revealed itself in Jesus of Nazareth. Still others had recourse to both hypotheses. Justin the Martyr, the author of an Apology of Christianity, assumes that the Lóryos is
1 Tertull., De præscript. hær., c. 7; Apol., c. 47; Adv. Marcion., V., 19. The Credo quia absurdum of Tertullian is to be taken literally. If reason has become deceptive in consequence of the Fall, it is evident that a doctrine contradicting it (an absurd doctrine) has more chances of being true than one conforming to it. Nothing is more cogical than the challenge which this distinguished theologian hurls at reason.
9 Lact., Div. instit., III., 1.
universal in its operation, and claims eternal happiness for Socrates, Heraclitus, and, in general, for those among the heathen, who, though not knowing Jesus, lived according to Reason. Athenagoras, the author of the treatise On the Resurrection of the Dead, Tatian the Apologist, St. Clement of Alexandria, and his disciple Origen, all express Neo-Platonic conceptions in their writings. The apostles, says Origen, have set forth the fundamental doctrines of the faith in a manner capable of being understood by the ignorant and the learned alike, leaving it to such among their successors as were endowed with the Spirit to discover the reasons for their assertions. Origen consequently makes a distinction between the popular and the scientific manner of expressing the Christian faith, between the form it assumes in the writings of the apostles and the form in which it must be conceived by the Christian philosopher: a distinction which forms the basis of Scholastic rationalism. Finally, Athanasius, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, and among the Latin Fathers (most of whom were hostile to philosophy), Augustine, were directly or indirectly influenced by Academic and Alexandrian teachings.
It would be impossible to enter upon a detailed study of the Patristic doctrines without encroaching upon the domain of pure theology; hence it will be enough for our special purpose to explain the philosophy of Augustine, whose writings form the connecting link between Greek thought and Scholastic speculation.
1 Apology, II., p. 83: Τον Χριστόν πρωτότοκον του θεού είναι εδιδάχθημεν, και προεμηνύσαμεν λόγον όντα ου παν γένος ανθρώπων μετέσχε και οι μετά λόγου βιώσαντες χριστιανοί εισι, κάν άθεοι ένομίσθησαν, οίον έν "Ελλησι μεν Σωκράτης και Ηρακλείτος και άλλοι πολλοί.
2 De principiis, Preface. J. Denis, De la philosophie d'Origène, Paris 1884.