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The Life of Proclus or Concerning Happiness: Being the Biographical Account of an Ancient Greek Philosopher Who Was Innately Loved by the Gods Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Phanes Press; First Printing edition (September 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0933999259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0933999251
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,285,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Produs poses a problem. This biography by his student and successor as head of the Academy established by Plato at Athens gives a charming portrait of a professional academic and his career in the fifth century C.E. Here is Proclus teaching five classes a day (including night school), knocking off 700 lines of prose daily, taking an enforced sabbatical to study the religions of Asia Minor, dabbling in politics, touchy about his reputation but otherwise a dynamic teacher. On the other hand, Proclus apparently convinced himself that the gods, especially Athena, had appeared to him and intervened directly in his life. And while working out in excruciating, scholarly, and occasionally original detail in emanationist doctrine of idealism, he was also composing hymns of yearning for the One, which he identified with God. John Michell's introduction thunders ineffectually against the decline of philosophy, but provides useful background on Thomas Taylor (17581835), who translated much of Proclus, including indifferent renditions of five hymns offered here. This reprint of Kenneth Guthrie's 1925 translation appeared on the 1500th anniversary of the publication of Marinus' original. An abbreviated bibliography suggests the flavor and range of Proclus' work, which exceeded the combined output of Plato and Aristotle and influenced Eastern and Western thought for a millenium. Sic transit. -- From Independent Publisher --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English, Greek (translation)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "mythologue" on September 12, 2002
Format: Unknown Binding
No one will try to prove that all the elements of Marinus's Life of Proclus are facts, but this isn't how we should approach this work anyway, much like Porphyry's Life of Plotinus. Its value is twofold: on one hand, it's a fascinating narrative depicting a deeply ascetic, pious and philosophical life at a time when pagan philosophers had to fight to keep their schools and traditions alive; on the other, it's an highly informative document about the period. It covers a wide variety of topics as to how platonism evolved in late Antiquity, including a classification of virtues that differs slightly from Plotinus's (physical, moral, political, purificatory, theoretic and theurgic), theology as the culminating science (and Plato as a theologian), the study of Aristotle's work as a preparation for the study of Plato's, the extreme importance of Orphism and the Chaldean oracles and the relations between neoplatonic philosophers and Christians. This edition also includes five hymns written by Proclus and a bibliography of his works (including those that are lost). This book is essential for those interested in the history of platonism.
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