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By Philoponus

This is often the most fascinating of all post-Aristotelian Greek philosophical texts, written at an important second within the defeat of paganism via Christianity, advert 529, while the Emperor Justinian closed the pagan Neoplatonist college in Athens. Philoponus in Alexandria was once a super Christian thinker, steeped in Neoplatonism, who grew to become the pagans' rules opposed to them. the following 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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Additional resources for Against Proclus On the Eternity of the World 6-8 (Ancient Commentators on Aristotle)

Sample text

And, moreover, why does he add ‘having started from some beginning’ after ‘has come to be’? It would have been enough just to say ‘whether it has always 5 10 15 20 25 157,1 5 10 15 20 25 36 158,1 5 10 15 20 25 159,1 5 10 15 20 Chapter 6, Sections 11-12 been or has come to be’. So by asking ‘whether, always being (that is, “being simple”), it has no beginning to its generation (that is, according to them, to its composition), or whether it has come to be (that is, “has been composed”), having started from some beginning’, and deciding that it has come to be (for he says: ‘It has come to be’), he is clearly stating that the world has been composed, having started from some beginning; for the whole of what he is asking is ‘whether it has come to be, having started from some beginning’, and he decides that it has come to be, having started from some beginning.

12. 160 If there is some other sense of ‘beginning’, it will not help us with the present inquiry, so to go into it needlessly would be a waste of time. 161 (In the case of a house, the builder is the efficient cause; the pattern is the plan in his head (en autôi) after which he builds the house; the matter is the stones and timbers; the form, its shape; the instrument[s], the straight-edge, the plumbline, the chisel, and the rest; the end, the purpose for which it is made, [namely,] to shelter us from rain and heat).

He says that a thing which is described as [subject to] generation118 is said to be generated even though it has never [actually] come to be; examples are words and syllables, because they can be analysed into letters and are composed of letters, and diagrams, [among which] rectilinear figures, for example, are notionally divided into triangles and constructed from triangles. It is, I presume, clear that this comes to the same thing as being composed of matter and form, for things which are generated in the sense that they are not simple but composed of matter and form are said to be generated on the same basis as diagrams are [said to be]: because things simpler than either,119 out of which their composition and into which their dissolution notionally (theôreitai) take place, are conceived of as having prior existence, they are, in contrast to things that are simple from every point of view and carry with them no notion of composition, referred to as generated.

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