Other Free Encyclopedias » Science Encyclopedia » Science & Philosophy: Mysticism to Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide » Neoplatonism - Terminology, Before Neoplatonism, Plotinus, Later Neoplatonists, Ancient Christian Neoplatonism, Medieval Neoplatonism, Neoplatonism In The Latin West

Neoplatonism - Terminology

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Neoplatonism initially had a negative connotation. Enlightenment historians developed the term to dissociate the Platonists of the late Roman Empire from Plato, believing that they had distorted his philosophy beyond all recognition by their eclecticism. Jacob Brucker (Historia critica philosophiae, 1742–1744) branded them "the Eclectic Sect" before A. F. Büsching (Grundriß einer Geschichte der Philosophie, 1772–1774) dismissively suggested the appellation "new Platonists" (neue Platoniker). Edward Gibbon similarly disparaged the philosophy of the "new Platonicians" (History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1776). The prefix neo did not appear in English until the 1830s. Yet the idea of Neoplatonism is, in certain ways, unsatisfactory. It implies a sharp break with the thought of preceding generations, whereas considerable continuity is evident; moreover, the Neoplatonists did not regard themselves as innovators but as elucidators of the true philosophy established by Plato. The word is now simply a term of convenience denoting a late phase in the reception of Plato's philosophy.

Neoplatonism - Before Neoplatonism [next]

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