Divine Powers in Late Antiquity

ISBN : 9780198767206

Anna Marmodoro; Irini-Fotini Viltanioti
304 ページ
153 x 234 mm

Is power the essence of divinity, or are divine powers distinct from divine essence? Are they divine hypostases or are they divine attributes? Are powers such as omnipotence, omniscience, etc. modes of divine activity? How do they manifest? In which way can we apprehend them? Is there a multiplicity of gods whose powers fill the cosmos or is there only one God from whom all power(s) derive(s) and whose power(s) permeate(s) everything? These are questions that become central to philosophical and theological debates in Late Antiquity (roughly corresponding to the period 2nd to the 6th centuries). On the one hand, the Pagan Neoplatonic thinkers of this era postulate a complex hierarchy of gods, whose powers express the unlimited power of the ineffable One. On the other hand, Christians proclaim the existence of only one God, one divine power or one 'Lord of all powers'. Divided into two main sections, the first part of Divine Powers in Late Antiquity examines aspects of the notion of divine power as developed by the four major figures of Neoplatonism: Plotinus (c. 204-270), Porphyry (c. 234-305), Iamblichus (c.245-325), and Proclus (412-485). It focuses on an aspect of the notion of divine power that has been so far relatively neglected in the literature. Part two investigates the notion of divine power in early Christian authors, from the New Testament to the Alexandrian school (Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius the Great) and, further, to the Cappadocian Fathers (Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa), as well as in some of these authors' sources (the Septuagint, Philo of Alexandria). The traditional view tends to overlook the fact that the Bible, particularly the New Testament, was at least as important as Platonic philosophical texts in the shaping of the early Christian thinking about the Church's doctrines. Whilst challenging the received interpretation by redressing the balance between the Bible and Greek philosophical texts, the essays in the second section of this book nevertheless argue for the philosophical value of early Christian reflections on the notion of divine power. The two groups of thinkers that each of the sections deal with (the Platonic-Pagan and the Christian one) share largely the same intellectual and cultural heritage; they are concerned with the same fundamental questions; and they often engage in more or less public philosophical and theological dialogue, directly influencing one another.


Anna Marmodoro and Eirini-Foteini Viltanioti: Introduction

Part 1 The Powers of the Gods: from Plotinus to Proclus
1 Kevin Corrigan: The Sources and Structures of Power and Activity in Plotinus
2 Paulina Remes: Human Action and Divine Power in Plotinus
3 Peter Struck: Iamblichus on Divination: Divine Power and Human Intuition
4 Todd Krulak: Powers and Poiesis: Statue Animation and Divine Manifestation in Proclus Diadochus' Commentary on the Timaeus
5 Marco Antonio Santamaria Alvarez: The Sceptre and the Sickle. The Transmission of Divine Power in the Orphic Rhapsodies.

Part 2 The Powers of God: from Philo of Alexandria to the Cappadocian Fathers
6 Baudouin Decharneux: Divine Powers in Philo of Alexandria's De opificio mundi
7 Johathan Hill: The Self-giving Power of God: Dunamis in Early Christianity
8 Mark Edwards: The Power of God in some Early Christian Texts
9 Ilaria Ramelli: Divine Power in Origen of Alexandria: Sources and Aftermath
10 Andrew Radde-Gallwitz: Powers and Properties in Basil of Caesarea's Homiliae in Hexaemeron
11 Anna Marmodoro: Gregory of Nyssa on the Creation of the World

Index of Names and Subjects
Index Locorum


Professor Anna Marmodoro is a Fellow in Philosophy at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford. She has a background in ancient and medieval philosophy, and a strong research interest in metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of religion. She is the editor of The Author's Voice in Classical and Late Antiquity (2013), The Metaphysics of Powers (2010), and The Metaphysics of the Incarnation (OUP, 2011).; Dr Irini-Fotini Viltanioti is Wiener-Anspach Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, University of Oxford and Associated Researcher at the University of Brussels and CNRS (Centre Jean PACOpin).