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Proclus, Ammonius Of Hermias, And Zacharias Scholasticus: The Search After Eternity And The Meaning Of Creation

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Chapter Summary

Proclus distinguished between infinite duration, which he attributed to the universe and time, and eternity, which is proper to God alone. According to Proclus, God and the world cannot eternally coexist in the same manner, nor can the term ‘eternal’ be predicated of both in the same sense. It is Zacharias’s rejection of the Ammonian doctrine of coeternity, and his attempt to overcome it, that this chapter examines in its treatment of the Ammonius. Before attempting to define the precise meaning that the term ‘eternal’ held for Zacharias, it considers the evolution of this concept in earlier Greek thought. Among the Orphics the theme of eternity had already had a basic role, together with the immortality of the soul. By maintaining that God actually creates when he wills but that he is always potentially able to create, Zacharias introduces a distinction which cannot properly be predicated of God.

Keywords: Ammonian doctrine; Ammonius of Hermias; creation; eternity; Greek thought; immortality; Proclus; Zacharias Scholasticus



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