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Stephen Gersh

This volume deals with the relation between Jacques Derrida’s writing and Neoplatonism (ancient, patristic, medieval). Starting from the undeniable fact of Derrida’s continuous engagement with this tradition, the present study deals not only with the actual reading of the Neoplatonists by Derrida (“Derrida after Neoplatonism”) but also with a hypothetical reading of Derrida by Neoplatonism (“Neoplatonism after Derrida”). Thus, the intended audience is both philologists and philosophers interested in the encounter of ancient and contemporary thought. Separate chapters are devoted to a general study of Neoplatonism and Deconstruction, commentaries on three Derridean texts in which their 'Neoplatonic' implications are developed, and a treatment of the problem of non-discursive thought in which all Neoplatonic and Derridean perspectives are transcended.

Κίνησις ακίνητος (Kínēsis akínētos)

A Study of Spiritual Motion in the Philosophy of Proclus

Series:

Stephen Gersh

Stephen Gersh

Abstract

This essay attempts to provide more evidence for the notions that there actually is a Latin (as opposed to a Greek) Neoplatonic tradition in late antiquity, that this tradition includes a systematic theory of first principles, and that this tradition and theory are influential in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. The method of the essay is intended to be novel in that, instead of examining authors or works in a chronological sequence and attempting to isolate doctrines in the traditional manner, it proceeds by identifying certain philosophemes (a concept borrowed from structuralist and post-structuralist thought and here signifying certain minimal units from which philosophical “systems” can be constructed), and then studying the combination and re-combination of these philosophemes consciously and unconsciously by a selection of important medieval writers. These philosophemes occur in Augustine, De Genesi ad Litteram; Augustine, De Trinitate; Augustine, De Vera Religione; Augustine, De Musica; Macrobius, Commentarius in Somnium Scipionis; and Boethius, De Consolatione Philosophiae. The sampling of medieval authors who use these philosophemes includes Eriugena, William of Conches, Thierry of Chartres, and Nicholas of Cusa.