What is Plotinianism?

What is Plotinianism?

July 2, 2021 Off By Felso

Plotinianism is the teaching of the Neoplatonist Plotinus and his followers. Plotinos, one of the Egyptian Greeks, is considered the founder of this understanding, although he learned the basic elements of Neoplatonism from his teacher Ammonios Sakkas of Alexandria. Because he developed the mystical side of Platonism by reconciling and codifying all the idealist thinkers of the Ancient Greeks. In this respect, Plotinianism is a selective doctrine.

The love of knowledge (Yu. Philosophia) of the Ancient Greeks turned into knowledge of God (Yu. Theosophia) in Plotinos. In this respect, Plotinianism is the main source of the church fathers who laid the foundations of Christianity.

The teaching of Plotinus is also known as genealogical Pantheism. Because, according to him, everything in the universe came from God and will return to God. Plotinos expressed this output, the spreading of the sun’s rays or the gushing of water from a spring, Yu. It is expressed with the term perilampsis.


The term perilampsis is the epitome of the Plotinus doctrine. He describes this spreading or gushing as follows:

“There must be something different from what comes before and after all things. This is One. Since it is the first of all, it is self-sufficient. Because what comes after needs what comes first, but what comes first does not need what comes after. If there are beings, all must come directly from him. If he is the first of all beings, and if he is One, he must be the most complete and most powerful of all. He who is in fullness and maturity cannot bear to be in himself, he creates other beings. This is not just for thinking beings, It is the same for vegetative, inanimate beings. For example, fire heats, snow cools. In short, nothing can be inactive. So how could the most complete and most mature remain on its own?” (Enneades 5th book 4, 1).

He also defines the god he expresses as one:

“The One is all things because none of all things exist. Because none of all things are in him, they come from him. One is complete because he seeks nothing, he has nothing, he does not need anything. Because it is complete, it overflows, and with its overflow it overflows from itself. Thus, everything is one, but nothing is one. Everything is one because it takes its existence from it. Yet it remains in itself. Just as the previous point of the line does not disappear at the next point” (Anneades, 5, p. book, 2, 1-2).

With this saying, Plotinos wants to explain that God does not decrease in substance by creating beings. It says: “Because it is nowhere, it is everywhere” (Ibid).

According to Plotinos, the one is truly unique. Because “if he had a wife, the two would have to be only one thing,” says Plotinos and, according to Plotinos, the world of reason spreads before God, the world of spirit spreads from him, and the world of bodies spreads from the world of spirit. The universe thus consists of three stages. Plotinus describes it this way:

“Existence begins with the world of reason. The spirit world springs out of it. There are incorporeal spirits, the mind is fully present. Reason remains forever indivisible and indivisible. There, the soul is also indivisible and indivisible, but there is division and disintegration in its essence. Division of the soul, its departure from the world of mind. and it creates bodies. As a matter of fact, it is said that the soul is divided in bodies. Then how can it remain indivisible at the same time and at the same time? Plato’s statement that the soul is made of an essence that is divided in bodies with an indivisible essence, means: The soul is made of an essence that remains in the world of reason and, by adhering to this essence, from an essence that extends here like a radius coming out of the center. It is divisible and indivisible. The soul enters the body completely, not with a part (?N.) That is why it is not divided. But it covers the whole of the body, for this reason it is is dead. He is immobile and has not done anything. Just as a face is reflected in many mirrors, it has only fully reflected itself” (Enneades, 1, 4).

The soul, of course, is immortal in Plotinus, as in Plato:

“Don’t we each die? Or do we perish altogether? Or do some parts of our being perish but some parts of our being, the parts that really make our being, remain forever? We can learn this by following nature. Man is not a simple being, he has a soul and a spirit. it has a body. This body is the instrument of the soul. If we examine the nature of both, we will see that the body is complex and cannot last. Our reason and senses prove that this is so. We see that it deteriorates, dissolves, suffers all kinds of losses and returns to its original form. transforms and destroys. Even if we consider each of the things that are born separately, we will see that they are not in a single whole, they are divided into two as form and matter. Even the simplest bodies carry this duality.