Damascius was head of the Neoplatonist academy in Athens when the Emperor Justinian shut its doors forever in 529. His work, Problems and Solutions Concerning First Principles, is the last surviving independent philosophical treatise from the Late Academy. Its survey of Neoplatonist metaphysics, discussion of transcendence, and compendium of late antique theologies, make it unique among all extant works of late antique philosophy. It has never before been translated into English. The Problems and Solutions exhibits a thorough?going critique of Proclean metaphysics, starting with the principle that all that exists proceeds from a single cause, proceeding to critique the Proclean triadic view of procession and reversion, and severely undermining the status of intellectual reversion in establishing being as the intelligible object. Damascius investigates the internal contradictions lurking within the theory of descent as a whole, showing that similarity of cause and effect is vitiated in the case of processions where one order (e.g. intellect) gives rise to an entirely different order (e.g. soul). Neoplatonism as a speculative metaphysics posits the One as the exotic or extopic explanans for plurality, conceived as immediate, present to hand, and therefore requiring explanation. Damascius shifts the perspective of his metaphysics: he struggles to create a metaphysical discourse that accommodates, insofar as language is sufficient, the ultimate principle of reality. After all, how coherent is a metaphysical system that bases itself on the Ineffable as a first principle? Instead of creating an objective ontology, Damascius writes ever mindful of the limitations of dialectic, and of the pitfalls and snares inherent in the very structure of metaphysical discourse.
The Ubiquitous Siva
Author: John Nemec
Publisher: Oxford University Press
John Nemec examines the beginnings of the non-dual tantric philosophy of the famed Pratyabhij?a or "Recognition [of God]" School of tenth-century Kashmir, the tradition most closely associated with Kashmiri Shaivism. In doing so it offers, for the very first time, a critical edition and annotated translation of a large portion of the first Pratyabhij?a text ever composed, the Sivadrsti of Somananda. In an extended introduction, Nemec argues that the author presents a unique form of non-dualism, a strict pantheism that declares all beings and entities found in the universe to be fully identical with the active and willful god Siva. This view stands in contrast to the philosophically more flexible panentheism of both his disciple and commentator, Utpaladeva, and the very few other Saiva tantric works that were extant in the author's day. Nemec also argues that the text was written for the author's fellow tantric initiates, not for a wider audience. This can be adduced from the structure of the work, the opponents the author addresses, and various other editorial strategies. Even the author's famous and vociferous arguments against the non-tantric Hindu grammarians may be shown to have been ultimately directed at an opposing Hindu tantric school that subscribed to many of the grammarians' philosophical views. Included in the volume is a critical edition and annotated translation of the first three (of seven) chapters of the text, along with the corresponding chapters of the commentary. These are the chapters in which Somananda formulates his arguments against opposing tantric authors and schools of thought. None of the materials made available in the present volume has ever been translated into English, apart from a brief rendering of the first chapter that was published without the commentary in 1957. None of the commentary has previously been translated into any language at all.
Place and Dialectic
Author: Kitarō Nishida, John W.M. Krummel, Shigenori Nagatomo
Publisher: OUP USA
Place and Dialectic presents two essays by Nishida Kitaro, translated into English for the first time by John W.M. Krummel and Shigenori Nagatomo. Nishida is widely regarded as one of the father figures of modern Japanese philosophy and as the founder of the first distinctly Japanese school of philosophy, the Kyoto school, known for its synthesis of western philosophy, Christian theology, and Buddhist thought. The two essays included here are ''Basho'' from 1926/27 and ''Logic and Life'' from 1936/37. Each essay is divided into several sections and each section is preceded by a synopsis added by the translators.The first essay represents the first systematic articulation of Nishida's philosophy of basho, literally meaning ''place,'' a system of thought that came to be known as ''Nishida philosophy.'' In the second essay, Nishida inquires after the pre-logical origin of what we call logic, which he suggests is to be found within the dialectical unfoldings of world history and human society. A substantial introduction by John Krummel considers the significance of Nishida as a thinker, discusses the key components of Nishida's philosophy as a whole and its development throughout his life, and contextualizes the translated essays within his oeuvre. The Introduction also places Nishida and his work within the historical context of his time, and highlights the relevance of his ideas to the global circumstances of our day. The publication of these two essays by Nishida, a major figure in world philosophy and the most important philosopher of twentieth-century Japan, is of significant value to the fields not only of Asian philosophy and East-West comparative philosophy but also of philosophy in general as well as of theology and religious studies.
The first English translation of the Prison Narratives written by the seventeenth-century French mystic and Quietist, Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717). Guyon describes her confinement between 1695 and 1703 in various prisons, including the dreaded Bastille, and the introduction provides a comprehensive context for the historical, literary, and theological aspects of Guyon's writing.
Author: Emily T. Hudson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Winner of the Award for Excellence in Religion: Textual Studies from the American Academy of Religion Disorienting Dharma explores the relationship between ethics, aesthetics, and religion in classical Indian literature and literary theory by focusing on one of the most celebrated and enigmatic texts to emerge from the Sanskrit epic tradition: the Mahabharata. This text - one of the principal sources for the study of South Asian religious, social, and political thought - is considered a major transmitter of dharma, or moral, social, and religious duty. But basic questions such as precisely how the epic is communicating its ideas about dharma and precisely what it is saying about it are still being explored. In this book, Emily Hudson examines these issues through a variety of interpretive lenses including Sanskrit literary theory, reader-response theory, and narrative ethics. One of the first book-length studies to view the subject through the lens of Indian aesthetics, her work brings to light one of the primary narrative tensions of the epic: the vexed relationship between dharma and suffering. Hudson also seeks to make the epic interesting and accessible to a wider audience. She demonstrates how reading the Mahabharata, perhaps the most harrowing story in world literature, can be a fascinating, disorienting, and ultimately transformative experience.
Author: Sara Rappe
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Neoplatonism is a term used to designate the form of Platonic philosophy that developed in the Roman Empire from the third to the fifth century AD and that based itself on the corpus of Plato's dialogues. Sara Rappe's challenging study analyses Neoplatonic texts themselves using contemporary philosophy of language. It covers the whole tradition of Neoplatonic writing from Plotinus through Proclus to Damascius. Addressing the strain of mysticism in these works, the author shows how these texts reflect actual meditational practices, methods of concentrating the mind, and other mental disciplines that informed the tradition as a whole. In providing such a broad survey of Neoplatonic writing, the book will appeal to classical philosophers classicists as well as students of religious studies.
Debating the Dasam Granth
Author: Robin Rinehart
Publisher: Oxford University Press
The Dasam Granth is a 1,428-page anthology of diverse compositions attributed to the tenth Guru of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh, and a topic of great controversy among Sikhs. The controversy stems from two major issues: a substantial portion of the Dasam Granth relates tales from Hindu mythology, suggesting a disconnect from normative Sikh theology; and a long composition entitled Charitropakhian tells several hundred rather graphic stories about illicit liaisons between men and women. Sikhs have debated whether the text deserves status as a "scripture" or should be read instead as "literature." Sikh scholars have also long debated whether Guru Gobind Singh in fact authored the entire Dasam Granth. Much of the secondary literature on the Dasam Granth focuses on this authorship issue, and despite an ever-growing body of articles, essays, and books (mainly in Punjabi), the debate has not moved forward. The available manuscript and other historical evidence do not provide conclusive answers regarding authorship. The debate has been so acrimonious at times that in 2000, Sikh leader Joginder Singh Vedanti issued a directive that Sikh scholars not comment on the Dasam Granth publicly at all pending a committee inquiry into the matter. Debating the Dasam Granth is the first English language, book-length critical study of this controversial Sikh text in many years. Based on research on the original text in the Brajbhasha and Punjabi languages, a critical reading of the secondary literature in Punjabi, Hindi, and English, and interviews with scholars and Sikh leaders in India, it offers a thorough introduction to the Dasam Granth, its history, debates about its authenticity, and an in-depth analysis of its most important compositions.
This new edition features the Greek text reconstructed from Photius' Epitome and Suidas' Lexicon with critical apparatus, English translation, commentary, and a full historical introduction; there are three appendices, a bibliography, indices, and tables of concordance between the present edition and Zintzen's (Vitae Isidori Reliquiae.) Written in the early sixth century by the head of the Platonic Academy in Athens, this work tells the story of the pagan community from the late fourth century AD. The critical landmarks of this 'anti-ecclesiastical' history are the destruction of the Serapeion in 391 and the persecution of the pagan intelligentsia of Alexandria in 488/9. (The Philisophical History) also establishes a sacred geography of paganism, comprising not merely intellectual centres like Athens, Alexandria and Aphrodisias but sacred sites in the countryside of the Greater Eastern Mediterranean as well. Offering a panorama of the spiritual life of late antiquity from a pagan perspective, the book puts on stage orthodox and heretical exegetes of Hellinism - rhetors, philosophers, iatrosophists, poets, politicians and holy men and women. The linguistic, historical and philisophical commentary on the reconstructed text allows the solution of several prospographical enigmas, while providing at the same time fresh comparative evidence for the study of the period's historiographical methodology. Greek text, critical apparatus, English translation, commentary, historical introduction, appendices, bibliography, indices, and tables of concordance between the present edition and Zinten's
Rebecca J. Manring offers an illuminating study and translation of three hagiographies of Advaita Acarya, a crucial figure in the early years of the devotional Vaisnavism which originated in Bengal in the fifteenth century. Advaita Acarya was about fifty years older than the movements putative founder, Caitanya, and is believed to have caused Caitanyas advent by ceaselessly storming heaven, calling for the divine presence to come to earth. Advaita was a scholar and highly respected pillar of society, whose status lent respectability and credibility to the new movement. A significant body of hagiographical and related literature about Advaita Acarya has developed since his death, some as late as the early twentieth century. The three hagiographic texts included in The Fading Light of Advaita Acarya examine the years of Advaitas life that did not overlap with Caitanyas lifetime, and each paints a different picture of its protagonist. Each composition clearly advocates the view that Advaita was himself divine in some way, and a few go so far as to suggest that Advaita reflected even greater divinity than Caitanya, through miraculous stories that can be found nowhere else in Bengali Vaisnava literature. Manring provides a detailed introduction to these texts, as well as remarkably faithful translations of Haricarana Dasas Advaita Mangala, Laudiya Krsnadasas Balya-lila-sutra, and Isana Nagaras Advaita Prakasa.
Author: Damaskios, Olympiodorus (the Younger, of Alexandria)
Author: Geert Roskam
This book casts new light on Epicurus' famous ideal of an 'unnoticed life' (lathe biosas). It also shows how this ideal was received during the later history of Epicureanism and how it occasionally occurs in ancient Latin poetry.
Hypatia of Alexandria
Author: Maria Dzielska
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Hypatiaâe"brilliant mathematician, eloquent Neoplatonist, and a woman renowned for her beautyâe"was brutally murdered by a mob of Christians in Alexandria in 415. She has been a legend ever since. In this engrossing book, Maria Dzielska searches behind the legend to bring us the real story of Hypatia's life and death, and new insight into her colorful world. Historians and poets, Victorian novelists and contemporary feminists have seen Hypatia as a symbolâe"of the waning of classical culture and freedom of inquiry, of the rise of fanatical Christianity, or of sexual freedom. Dzielska shows us why versions of Hypatia's legend have served her champions' purposes, and how they have distorted the true story. She takes us back to the Alexandria of Hypatia's day, with its Library and Museion, pagan cults and the pontificate of Saint Cyril, thriving Jewish community and vibrant Greek culture, and circles of philosophers, mathematicians, astronomers, and militant Christians. Drawing on the letters of Hypatia's most prominent pupil, Synesius of Cyrene, Dzielska constructs a compelling picture of the young philosopher's disciples and her teaching. Finally she plumbs her sources for the facts surrounding Hypatia's cruel death, clarifying what the murder tells us about the tensions of this tumultuous era.
Author: Leszek Kolakowski, Agnieszka Kolakowska
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
For over a century, philosophers have argued that philosophy is impossible or useless, or both. Although the basic notion dates back to the days of Socrates, there is still heated disagreement about the nature of truth, reality, knowledge, the good, and God. This may make little practical difference to our lives, but it leaves us with a feeling of radical uncertainty, a feeling described by Kolakowski as "metaphysical horror." "The horror is this," he says, "if nothing truly exists except the Absolute, the Absolute is nothing; if nothing truly exists except myself, I am nothing." The aim of this book, for Kolakowski, is finding a way out of this seeming dead end. In a trenchant analysis that serves as an introduction to nearly all of Western philosophy, Kolakowski confronts these dilemmas head on through examinations of several prominent philosophers including Descartes, Spinoza, Husserl, and many of the Neo-Platonists. He finds that philosophy may not provide definitive answers to the fundamental questions, yet the quest itself transforms our lives. It may undermine most of our certainties, yet it still leaves room for our spiritual yearnings and religious beliefs. The final sentence of the book captures the hopefulness that has survived the horror of nothingness when Kolakowski asks: "Is it not reasonable to suspect that if existence were pointless and the universe devoid of meaning, we would never have achieved not only the ability to imagine otherwise, but even the ability to entertain this very thought—to wit, that existence is pointless and the universe devoid of meaning?" The answer, of course, is clear. Now it is up to readers to take up the challenge of his arguments.
The Animal Kingdom
Author: Georges baron Cuvier, Edward Griffith, Charles Hamilton Smith, Edward Pidgeon, John Edward Gray, George Robert Gray
The new and revolutionizing ideas which the early Greek thinkers developed about the nature of the universe had a direct impact upon their conception of what they called, in a new sense, 'God' or 'the Divine.' The history of the philosophical theology of the Greeks is thus the history of their rational approach to the nature of reality itself in its successive phases. The late Professor Jaeger's classic book traces this development from the first intimations in Hesiod of the theology that was to come, through the heroic age of Greek cosmological thought, down to the time of the Sophists of the fifth century B.C.