This is often probably the most attention-grabbing of all post-Aristotelian Greek philosophical texts, written at a very important second within the defeat of paganism via Christianity, advert 529, whilst the Emperor Justinian closed the pagan Neoplatonist college in Athens. Philoponus in Alexandria was once a super Christian thinker, steeped in Neoplatonism, who became the pagans' principles opposed to them. right here he assaults the main religious of the sooner Athenian pagan philosophers, Proclus, protecting the distinctively Christian view that the universe had a starting opposed to Proclus' eighteen arguments on the contrary, that are mentioned in eighteen chapters. Chapters 6-8 are translated during this quantity.
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Extra resources for Against Proclus On the Eternity of the World 6-8 (Ancient Commentators on Aristotle)
For [Plato] writes ‘whether it has always been, having no beginning [to its] generation’, adding ‘having no beginning [to its] generation’ after writing ‘has always been’ because if a thing always exists it follows that it has no beginning [to its] generation. So if ‘generation’ is being substituted for ‘composition’ and ‘always is’ for ‘is simple and Chapter 6, Section 12 37 incomposite’, and if ‘beginning’ is not to be understood temporally but as referring to the efficient cause or the form or one of the other [causes], it will follow that nothing simple and incomposite has any of the beginnings of composite things.
But in my opinion, these [arguments] are more deserving of ridicule than of rebuttal. Even body130 below the centre [of the universe131], since it belongs to the genus of visible things, will certainly, I presume, be visible by nature. If it is never seen, it is not because it is not visible by nature that it is not seen but because there are solid bodies in the way [and] our sight cannot penetrate things which are not transparent. 134 And so if the world too actually exists and is in the genus of things which are generated, it must also of necessity have come to be; [for] even though the origin of its generation has not come down to us, [this is] not because it is by nature ungenerated (in that case it would belong in the genus of things which are ungenerated rather than in that of things which are generated) but because our knowledge can only grasp things that currently exist.
How is it, then, that he says that there was no time before the heaven came to be? And if it is appropriate to talk of a time before it came to be in the case of the heaven, it will also be appropriate to talk of a time before Chapter 6, Section 7 27 he made [it] in the case of God. As Proclus himself says,89 it is when the maker makes that what comes to be comes to be. 90 If, then, time had always existed, and if Plato understands the correct usage of time words and has just explained their correct usage, he would never have ventured to use the words ‘before the heaven came to be’, nor indeed the words ‘but he now contrived their generation at the same time as the heaven was put together’ if he believed that the existence of the world is without a beginning.