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Open Access The One in Syrianus’ Teachings on the Parmenides: Syrianus on Parm., 137d and 139a1

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The One in Syrianus’ Teachings on the Parmenides: Syrianus on Parm., 137d and 139a1

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This article describes Syrianus’ teachings on the One, as found in his testimonia on the Parmenides. In order to preserve the transcendence of the One, while still providing a fluid universe connected to the One, Syrianus shows how the nature of the One is seen in the structure of the Parmenides itself: the first hypothesis of the Parmenides outlines the primal God, while the intelligible universe is the subject of the second hypothesis, in so far as the intelligible universe is a product of the One. Thus, whatever is negated of the One in the first hypothesis contains a positive analogue in the second hypothesis. With this description of the One in the Parmenides, Syrianus is able to create a complete, fluid universe. Readings of two lemmata, in particular, illuminate Syrianus’ manner of interpreting the Parmenides to show how the One is both transcendent and connected to the universe. In his interpretations of Parmenides 137d and 138a, Syrianus shows how the One is partless with respect to itself, but contains parts with respect to the rest of the universe; and that the One is in itself and in another, again, with respect to itself and with respect to the rest of the universe. With his interpretation of the Parmenides, moreover, one can see how Syrianus differs from the interpretations of Porphyry and Iamblichus, and how he paves the way for Proclus’ reading of the dialogue.

Affiliations: 1: Franciscan University of Steubenville Steubenville, Ohio USA, Email: swear@franciscan.edu

This article describes Syrianus’ teachings on the One, as found in his testimonia on the Parmenides. In order to preserve the transcendence of the One, while still providing a fluid universe connected to the One, Syrianus shows how the nature of the One is seen in the structure of the Parmenides itself: the first hypothesis of the Parmenides outlines the primal God, while the intelligible universe is the subject of the second hypothesis, in so far as the intelligible universe is a product of the One. Thus, whatever is negated of the One in the first hypothesis contains a positive analogue in the second hypothesis. With this description of the One in the Parmenides, Syrianus is able to create a complete, fluid universe. Readings of two lemmata, in particular, illuminate Syrianus’ manner of interpreting the Parmenides to show how the One is both transcendent and connected to the universe. In his interpretations of Parmenides 137d and 138a, Syrianus shows how the One is partless with respect to itself, but contains parts with respect to the rest of the universe; and that the One is in itself and in another, again, with respect to itself and with respect to the rest of the universe. With his interpretation of the Parmenides, moreover, one can see how Syrianus differs from the interpretations of Porphyry and Iamblichus, and how he paves the way for Proclus’ reading of the dialogue.

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2011-01-01
2016-12-03

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