Quae dicitur vita, mors est: The Platonic Doctrines of the Embodied Soul at the Outset of Neo-Platonism in Comparison to Their Gnostic Parallels
The article presents the leading Platonic doctrines of the embodied soul, examining the relation between their Orphic and Pythagorean roots and Plotinus’ correction of the Neo-Pythagorean pessimism on the one hand, and Gnostic solutions of the problem on the other. The analysis of certain Gnostic passages clearly shows that, in spite of Plotinus’ anti-Gnostic polemic, some of the ideas proposed by the philosopher as an alternative to his opponents’ pessimism are also present in the Gnostic descriptions of the emanation from the first Principle and the multiplication of the Eons. The article focuses on the passages which, avoiding an ethical valuation of the generation and multiplication process, limit the concept of sin to the human domain, where it belongs in Plotinus’ view as well. Moreover, the article endeavours to throw light on some of the most controversial themes, which were to remain irreconcilable despite a number of tenets shared by both sides.
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