Philos. school reputedly founded by Ammonius* Saccas; chief exponents included Plotinus,* Porphyry,* and Iamblichus.* Tried to develop new thoughts from Platonic ideas (see Plato). Speaks of the One (source of all being), of the Over-Mind (mind, spirit, intelligence; Gk. nous) which emanates from the One, and of the Over-Soul (or World-Soul; Gk. psyche), which emanates from the Over-Mind. The Over-Soul makes, produces, or generates individual souls and matter (the concrete, corporeal, or phenomenal world), which is evil. Man is part spirit, part matter; his soul is part of the World-Soul; he should strive to free himself as far as possible from the body and from sin and achieve communion with the One by avoiding what is sensual, but without excessive asceticism. The most important Neoplatonic contribution to Eur. thought and culture was the influence of a diluted and transformed Neoplatonism in such traditional Christian theol. as that of Augustine* of Hippo (cf. esp. his Confessions, Book VIII).
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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