- The fusion of Plato's philosophy with religious, Pythagorean, and other classical doctrines, originated by Plotinus in his Enneads . Plotinus conceived of the universe as an emanation or effulguration of the One, the omnipresent, transcendental Good derived from Plato's Parmenides . The One gives rise to the realm of nous (ideas, intelligence), and that in turn to soul, or souls, some of which sink into bodies (others remain celestial). For further detail, see Plotinus . Porphyry added Aristotelian elements. The school of Athens developed Neoplatonism in theological, but anti-Christian, directions, most notably in the work of Proclus in the 5th century. In Alexandria, however, a blend-ing of Neoplatonic and Christian elements took place, at its most developed in the work of Boethius . Neoplatonism had a profound influence on medieval and Renaissance philosophy (see, for example, Dante ), whilst elements from Plotinus are also present in the tradition of the cabbala . However, eventually the God of the Neoplatonists is too remote from the world to serve satisfactorily as the God of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. He or it is like a pool that is the source of a river, but is separated from its lower reaches by all the intervening waterfalls; it is not accessible to prayer nor remotely cognizant of nor concerned with events further down. One of the principal problems of early scholastic philosophy was to define and defend a concept of a God that, while entirely self-sufficient, was not entirely self-absorbed. See also mover, unmoved.
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.