Neoplatonism, What is Neo Platonism, What Does It Mean?

Neoplatonism, What is Neo Platonism, What Does It Mean?

June 28, 2021 Off By Felso

Neoplatonism, or Neoplatonism, began with the work of Plotinus and was replaced by Emperor Justinian’s Plato’s Akademia A.D. It is the modern term used to describe the Platonic philosophical process that ended with its closure in 529 BC.

Neoplatonism was introduced by Ammonius Sakkas in Alexandria. That’s why it is also called the Alexandrian school (However, it would be more accurate to use this expression for Philo’s Jewish philosophy, who interpreted the Bible, and the Alexandrian Christian thinkers of the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD). Neoplatonism was founded by Plotinos, a student of Sakkas, in İ.S. It continued until 529. Syrian and Athenian Neoplatonism, which was completely mystified by Pythagorean elements, is also called Polytheistic Neoplatonism. Neoplatonism should not be confused with the new academy.

Neoplatonism began to dominate towards the end of Antiquity and is characterized as the end of Ancient Greek philosophy.

Neoplatonism began to dominate towards the end of Antiquity and is characterized as the end of Ancient Greek philosophy. It is Platonism, which was transformed into mysticism by fusing the teachings of Aristotle, Pythagoras and stoa, under the influence of Eastern religions and Christianity. It is stated that it has a reactionary nature because it explains the universal formation with the spiritual principle.

The philosophical system of Neoplatonism was developed primarily by Plotinus and these other names. It was a time when philosophy was religiousized. The concept of God came to the fore in this period. Hegel accused the Neo-Platonists of putting forward “a rather finely-chopped bullshit on god” in his lectures on the history of philosophy.

The philosophical movement formed by reconciling the teachings of Plato and Aristotle is called Neoplatonism. This type of Platonism is defined by its inherent mystical or religious elements.

Plotinos and Proklos are important thinkers of Neoplatonism. In addition, Plotinos’ student Porphyrios, the founder of the Pergamon Neo-Platonist school, Aedesius of Cappadocia, Plutarch of Athens and Hypatia of Alexandria are prominent names of Neoplatonism that can be given as examples.

The influence of Neoplatonism has been enormous. It influenced Christian philosophy, the entire theology of late Antiquity. In almost all of the Middle Ages, this system of thought was one of the most influential versions of Plato’s thought system. It was also influential on Islamic and Jewish thought. The understanding of theory in philosophy was opposed to the life practices that were given importance in the Ancient Age.

Especially during the Italian Renaissance, names such as Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Marsilio Ficino, Medici, Michelangelo and Sandro Botticelli contributed to neoplatonism. The manuscripts of Plato, brought to Italy from Byzantium, are translated by these names at the Academy of Florence. Also, in this period, the same names starting from Plato revealed the concept of platonic love.


Among the various schools and understandings of Neoplatonism, the most systematic and influential is Plotinianism. The teaching of Plotinus is a purely idealistic one that denies all materialism and asserts all spiritualism. According to Plotinus, the universe and man came from God and are returning to God. Spirits are on the first rung of the descent ladder, animals are on the second rung, and objects are on the third rung. The first step of the exit ladder is understanding, the second step is drawing conclusions, and the last step is mystical intuition (mysticism). Thus, the objective being that comes out of God as a spirit descends to the world and becomes material, and returns to God through ecstasy as matter (water ve uruç, emanation). God is nothing we think about, because he is everything. God is the Father who wants the best in all things. Human souls have separated their lives from the divine life and descended to earth in order to take on rough materials. What they suffer is the punishment for their behavior.

According to the tradition of Plotinos, there are three types of path that will lead people to God: Art, love, philosophy. Man can reach (like) God only by passing through these passages or by ascending these steps. The artist seeks the Ide in its sensible appearances, the lover in his soul, the philosopher in God. The famous concept of universal soul of Plotinos is expressed in Islamic mysticism with the terms of the soul, the soul and the mind, in the same sense. This concept was used much later in Western philosophy, especially by Hegel. Neoplatonism is characterized as the end of Ancient Greek philosophy.

Hegel, in his Lectures on the History of Philosophy, accused the neoplatonists of putting forward “a rather finely-chopped bullshit on God”. Next to this judgment of Hegel in his Philosophical Notebooks, Lenin wrote the following note: “But this clearly god-leading philosophical idealism is more honest than the hypocritical and cowardly agnosticism (N. idealism)”. Hense-Leonard describes Neoplatonism in his valuable work called Hellenic-Latin Antiquity: “In Alexandria, a large Jewish community bar was once inhabited by Hellenism.