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Proclus' Commentary on Plato's "Parmenides" Reprint Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691020891
ISBN-10: 0691020892
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Editorial Reviews


"Plato's Parmenides was arguably the most important text in the curriculum of the Neo-Platonists, and is the key to understanding their philosophy. The influence of Proclus' commentary was immense.... Morrow and Dillon's translation will stand as a landmark in Neo-Platonic literature."--Lucas Siorvanes, Journal of Hellenic Studies

"Few now would turn to the commentary of Proclus, head of the Academy in the fifth century A,D. primarily in order to understand Plato. Nevertheless, the work is of great importance for the light it sheds on the interpretation of the dialogue
by Proclus and his predecessors.... [Scholars] have increasingly devoted attention to the way in which elaboration of the Neoplatonic metaphysical system went hand in hand with more and more complex interpretations of the hypotheses of Parmenides 137ff."--Anne Sheppard, The Times Higher Education Supplement

Language Notes

Text: English, Greek (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (October 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691020892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691020891
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,758,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books by Proclus Diadochus and we are also lucky to have this excellent translation by G.R. Morrow and J.M. Dillon. If anybody is interested in the Neo-Platonic philosophy, or in the ancient philosophy, he should not miss this book. Even if it is rather difficult for a beginner to read long discourses of Proclus on the most important topics of the philosophy, noone should leave this book without careful reading. If you have read the Elements of Theology by Proclus, then you are able to understand everything Proclus is telling us. This book thinks about the most difficult dialogue of Plato - about the Parmenides. In the beginning you are connected with the amazing world of Proclus' allegorical interpretation of Plato's dialogue. Then you can study the world of Ideas as seen by Proclus - you can learn about four problems concerning the Ideas, i.e. whether there are Ideas; what things have Ideas; what is the participation like; and finally where are the Ideas. Proclus shows you all the levels of the realms of the One (Hen) and the Mind (Nous) and you can enjoy also the Proclus' dialectics in the end of the Commentary. The author also tells us a lot of Ideas about the negative theology tells in the last book. The translation is as well of the best value.
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Format: Paperback
The Philosopher: Before discussing the content of Proclus' masterful 'Commentary on Plato's Parmenides,' let a few things be said as to the man and philosopher himself. Proclus (412-487 AD) was a native of Lycia in southern Asia Minor and it was in the nearby metropolis of Xanthus that his early education began. From there he was sent to Alexandria to receive a legal education, like his own father, who was reputed to be a successful pleader of the courts [G. Morrow, Proclus pg. 15]. Yet, while on a sojourn to Byzantium, Proclus underwent a conversion to the philosophic life, which his own pupil and biographer Marinus described as a "divine call" [Vita Procli, ch. 6]. This apotheosis of Proclus moved him such, that he abandoned his legal vocation and began to hear the lectures of Olympiodorus on Aristotle and Heron on mathematics; and though he excelled in these studies, Proclus nonetheless felt dissatisfied. Like Porphyry nearly two centuries before him, Proclus was looking for his Plotinus. It was in Athens, not in Alexandria, that Proclus would find the teacher and the ultimate destiny he was looking for. Proclus arrived at the Platonic school of Athens, in his early twenties, during the tenure of Plutarch the Athenian, a thinker of some weight and influence during his own era. This Plutarch was the teacher of Syrianus--the Syrianus who was to do for Proclus what Plotinus did for Porphyry. Syrianus introduced Proclus to the neo-Platonic curriculum, which began with an intensive study of the whole science of Aristotle, which culminated with a theoretic and mystical exegesis on core Platonic dialogues such as 'Parmenides' and 'Timaeus' [Dillon, N-Platonism pg. 15].Read more ›
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Proclus was one of Plato's most devout followers, along with Plotinus. He was also one of the most brilliant.

His commentary on Parmenides is a very long 'drawing out' of what Proclus considered to be the hidden meaning of Plato's dialogues; in effect, Plato was not just a philosopher but also a sage and divinely inspired figure who discovered the secret structure of the universe itself, visible and invisible.

In commenting on this difficult metaphysical dialogue of Plato, in which Plato himself tried to reach an understanding of Parmenides' philosophy of Being, Proclus 'discovers' a vast metaphysical reality beyond the realm of the senses. The structures Proclus outlines are quite complex and best left to the introductory essay in the translation itself. Suffice to say there is a transcendant 'One' which the source of all Being, and which then radiates itself to lower objects called 'Henads' which in turn produce visible reality. Along the way there is also a mixture of magic and prayer to various Gods and daimons.

Proclus was an important philosophical influence on Christian Neo-Platonists, such as Eckhart, Dionysius the Aeropagite and possibly Eriugena. Proclus was also an important influence in Renaissance Neo-Platonism and the influence of this philosopher continues today.

The book is very long (about 900 pages) and Proclus's digressions are exceedingly long winded. His work is not easy to read and will probably put off all but the most determined student of philosophy.
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Proclus' Commentary on Plato's "Parmenides"
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