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Victorinus, Parmenides Commentaries And The Platonizing Sethian Treatises

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Chapter Summary

There are four treatises Zostrianos, Allogenes, the Three Steles of Seth, Marsanes that form a distinctive group that can be called "the Platonizing Sethian treatises". The metaphysical hierarchy of the Platonizing Sethian treatises is headed by a supreme and pre-existent Unknowable One who, as in Plotinus, is clearly beyond being. The anonymous Parmenides Commentary clearly adumbrates the doctrine of the Existence, Life, and Intellect triad in the Platonizing Sethian treatises. It seems to know nothing of the doctrine of the mutual inclusion of these powers within one another that we find in both Victorinus and the Sethian treatises. The Platonizing Sethian treatise indicates the metaphysical doctrine of a supreme unity-in-trinity, whose nature could only be described in largely negative terms, need not be a post-Plotinian and therefore Neoplatonic invention, but already played a role in the thought of the Sethian Gnostics and certain Neopythagorean and Middle Platonic interpreters of Plato's Parmenides.

Keywords: metaphysical doctrine; Parmenides commentaries; Sethian treatises; trinity; Victorinus



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