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Fragments of the Lost Writings of Proclus

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Author Topic: Fragments of the Lost Writings of Proclus  (Read 1324 times)
Major Weatherly
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« on: February 06, 2009, 01:16:12 pm »

you again conjoin this cause with the universe, it will be moved to infinity through it. Nor is there any absurdity in separating by conception things which are conjoined, in order that we may perceive what will happen to the one from the other; and, in consequence of perceiving this, may understand what the inferior nature possesses from itself, and what it derives, from its co-arrangement, from that which is superior to it. For, in short, since, in terrestrial natures, we see that they are partly corrupted through imbecility, and are partly preserved through power, much more will perpetuity and immortality * be inherent in things incorruptible, through infinite power: for every finite power is corrupted.


For the celestial fire is not caustic, but, as I should say, is vivific, in the same manner as the heat which is naturally inherent in us. And Aristotle himself, in his Treatise on the Generation of Animals, says, that there is a certain illumination from which, being present, every mortal

p. 10

nature lives. All heaven, therefore, consists of a fire of this kind; but the stars have, for the most part, this element, yet they have also the summits of the other elements. * Moreover, if we likewise consider, that earth darkens all illuminative natures, and produces shadow, but that the elements which are situated between earth and fire being naturally diaphanous, are the recipients of both darkness and light, and yet are not the causes of either of these to bodies, but that fire alone is the supplier of light, in the same manner as earth is of darkness, and that these are at the greatest distance from each other,—if we consider this, we may understand how the celestial bodies are naturally of a fiery characteristic. For it is evident that they illuminate in the same manner as our sublunary fire. If, however this is common to both, it is manifest that the fire which is here, is allied to the fire of the celestial bodies. It is not proper, therefore, to introduce to the universe a celestial nature, as something foreign to it, but placing there the summits of sublunary natures, we should admit that the elements which are here, derive their generation through an alliance to the nature of the celestial orbs.


3:* See my Dissertation on the Philosophy of Aristotle, in which the opposition of Aristotle to Plato's doctrine of ideas is shewn to have been employed for the purpose of guarding from misapprehension, arid not of subverting that doctrine.

3:† Proclus here uses the word γινεται, generated, because the universe, on account of the flowing condition of its nature, is always rising into existence, or becoming to be.

6:* In the original, αλλ᾽ ουποτε εις αλλο αει μεθισταμενον. But the sense requires (and this is confirmed by the version of Mahotius,) that we should read, conformably to the above translation, αϖο του ϖοτε εις αλλο, κ.τ.λ..

6:† The corporeal world is continually rising into existence, or becoming to be, but never possesses real being. Hence, like the image of a tree in a rapid torrent, it has the appearance of a tree without the reality, and seems to endure perpetually the same, yet is continually renewed by the continual renovation of the stream. The world therefore was, and is, and will be at a certain time, in the same manner as it may be said of the image of a tree in a torrent, that it was yesterday, is to-day, and will be to-morrow, without any interruption of the continuity of its flux. Philoponus, not perceiving this, has, with his usual stupidity, opposed what is here said by Proclus.

7:* In the original, αναγκη μη ειναι τον κοσμον αει. For the world is not always, αλλα γιγνεται αει, i.e. but is always becoming to be, or, rising into existence; since it has not an eternal sameness of being, but a perpetually flowing subsistence.

9:* In the original, πολλῳ μαλλον εν τοις αφθαρτοις η αφθαρσια δια δυναμιν δηλονοτι απειρον. But from the version of Mahotius,—which is, "Multo magis his, quæ non intereunt, conveniat perpetuitas, atque immortalitas, propter vires, easque infinitas,"—it appears that, for η αφθαρσια, it is requisite to read η αϊδιοτης και αθανασια, agreeably to the above translation.

10:* Viz. the sublunary elements have, in the stars and in the heavens, a causal subsistence. See more on this subject in the third book of my translation of Proclus on the Timæus of Plato.

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