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Open Access Plotinus and Magic

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Plotinus and Magic

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Contemporary scholarship accents incipient theurgical practice for Plotinus; this lends a certain urgency to the question of his acceptance of magic. While use of magic recorded in Porphyry’s Vita Plotini has received considerable attention, far less has been done to analyze actual discussion in the Enneads. Examination of key passages brings to light the context for discussion of magic, particularly issues of sympathy, prayer, astrology and divination. Equally important is Plotinus’ understanding of the cosmos and role of the heavenly bodies. Plotinus’ affirmation of the highest part of the soul as undescended, together with the claim that our soul has a common origin with the World Soul in Soul-Hypostasis, is significant for the relative unimportance he attributes to the role and effect of magic.

Affiliations: 1: Religious Studies and Philosophy University of Jos Nigeria, West Africa, Email: w.helleman@utoronto.ca

Contemporary scholarship accents incipient theurgical practice for Plotinus; this lends a certain urgency to the question of his acceptance of magic. While use of magic recorded in Porphyry’s Vita Plotini has received considerable attention, far less has been done to analyze actual discussion in the Enneads. Examination of key passages brings to light the context for discussion of magic, particularly issues of sympathy, prayer, astrology and divination. Equally important is Plotinus’ understanding of the cosmos and role of the heavenly bodies. Plotinus’ affirmation of the highest part of the soul as undescended, together with the claim that our soul has a common origin with the World Soul in Soul-Hypostasis, is significant for the relative unimportance he attributes to the role and effect of magic.

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/content/journals/10.1163/187254710x524040
2010-10-01
2017-05-22

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