Ennead III.6: On the Impassivity of the Bodiless

Ennead III.6: On the Impassivity of the Bodiless

Ennead III.6: On the Impassivity of the Bodiless

Ennead III.6: On the Impassivity of the Bodiless


Plotinus (c. AD 205-270) can be regarded as the greatest Greek philosopher of late Antiquity, and as the father of Neoplatonism. His Enneads ("the nines") are now recognized as seminal works in the development of Western thought. This book is the only detailed scholarly commentary available on this part of Plotinus's work, and should be invaluable to all scholars interested in ancient philosophy and early Christian theology. All Greek in the commentary is translated.


I was fortunate enough as an undergraduate at University College London to be taught Ancient Philosophy by David Furley. The group consisted of Tony Long, currently Professor of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley, the late Ray Selden, who went on to become Professor of English at the University of Lancaster, and myself. Over a two-year period, through a close reading of a wide range of Greek and Latin texts, we studied the Presocratics, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and the Epicureans. Writing and discussion were to the fore, reading of secondary source material in the background. My second piece of good fortune was to be supervised for my M.A. thesis at the University of Liverpool by Hilary Armstrong, and later by Henry Blumenthal. Although my topic was 'Dualism in Later Plato', my interest in Plotinus was aroused by the work on Neoplatonism that my two supervisors were engaged in. My third stroke of luck was to be offered a fellow-commonership at St John's College Cambridge under the aegis of Malcolm Schofield, at the time when Michael Atkinson was a fellow-commoner at Selwyn College, completing his edition of Ennead V. 1. A sub- sequent move to permanent residence in Cambridge proved the catalyst for allowing me to develop my interest in Plotinus, and to formalize it in this book. It was on one occasion gently, and I hope humorously, suggested to me that only retired professors of Greek Philosophy should attempt to write about Plotinus. I hope that I have refuted that suggestion.

I am grateful to the following:

Anglia Polytechnic University, especially John Shepherd, Jenny Houghton, and David Isaac for their help in formulating and expediting the original proposal.

The Open University, especially Lorna Hardwick and Chris Emlyn-Jones, for their encouragement and financial support.

The Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge for their generosity in allowing me the use of the Faculty Library and access to postgraduate seminars.

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