Proclo: Teologia de Platão I-V

As we have therefore enumerated all these modes of the Platonic theology, and have shown what compositions and analyses of fables are adapted to the truth respecting the Gods, let us consider, in the next place, whence, and from what dialogs principally, we think the dogmas of Plato concerning the Gods may be collected, and by a speculation of what types or forms we may be able to distinguish his genuine writings, from those spurious compositions which are ascribed to him.

The truth then concerning the Gods pervades, as I may say, through all the Platonic dialogs, and in all of them conceptions of the first philosophy, venerable, clear, and supernatural, are disseminated, in some indeed, more obscurely, but in others more conspicuously; conceptions which excite those that are in any respect able to participate of them, to the immaterial and separate essence of the Gods.

And, as in each part of the universe, and in nature herself, the demiurgus of all that the world contains, established resemblances of the unknown hyparxis of the Gods, that all things might be converted to a divine nature, through their alliance with it, in like manner I am of opinion, that the divine intellect of Plato weaves conceptions about the Gods in all his writing, and leaves nothing deprived of the mention of divinity, that from the whole of them, a reminiscence of wholes may be obtained, and imparted to the genuine lovers of divine concerns.

If however, it be requisite to lay before the reader those dialogues out of many, which principally unfold to us the mystic discipline about the Gods, I should not err in ranking among this number, the Phaedo and Phaedrus, the Banquet, and the Philebus, and together with these, the Sophista and Politicus, the Cratylus and the Timaeus. For all these are full through the whole of themselves, as I may say, of the divine science of Plato. But I should place in the second rank after these, the fable in the Gorgias, and that in the Pretagoras; likewise the assertions about the providence of the Gods in the Laws, and such things as are delivered about the Fates, or the mother of the Fates, or the circulations of the universe, in the tenth book of the Republic. Again, you may, if you please, place in the third rank those Epistles, through which we may be able to arrive at the science about divine natures.

For in these, mention is made of the three kings; and very many other divine dogmas worthy the Platonic theory are delivered. It is necessary therefore, looking to these, to explore in these each order of the Gods.

Thus from the Philebus, we may receive the science respecting the one good, and the two first principles of things, together with the triad which is unfolded into light from these. For you will find all these distinctly delivered to us by Plato in that dialogue. But from the Timaeus, you may obtain the theory about intelligibles, a divine narration about the demiurgic monad; and the most full truth about the mundane Gods.

But from the Phaedrus, [you may acquire a scientific knowledge of] all the intelligible genera, and of the liberated orders of Gods, which are proximately established above the celestial circulations. From the Politicus, you may obtain the theory of the fabrication in the heavens, of the uneven periods of the universe, and of the intellectual causes of those periods. But from the Sophista, the whole sublunary generation, and the peculiarity of the Gods who are allotted the sublunary region, and preside over its generations and corruptions. But with respect to each of the Gods, we may obtain many conceptions adapted to sacred concerns from the Banquet, many from the Cratylus, and many from the Phaedo.

For in each of these dialogs, more or less mention is made of divine names, from which it is easy for those who are exercised in divine concerns to discover by a reasoning process the peculiarities of each.

It is necessary however, to evince that each of the dogmas accords with Platonic principles, and the mystic traditions of theologists.

For all the Grecian theology is the progeny of the mystic tradition of Orpheus; Pythagoras first of all learning from Aglaophemus the orgies of the Gods, but Plato in the second place receiving an all-perfect science of the divinities from the Pythagoric and Orphic writings. For in the Philebus referring the theory about the two species of principles [bound and infinity] to the Pythagoreans, he calls them men dwelling with the Gods, and truly blessed. Philolaus therefore, the Pythagorean, has left us in writing many admirable conceptions about these principles, celebrating their common progression into beings, and their separate fabrication of things.

But in the Timaeus, Plato endeavoring to teach us about the sublunary Gods, and their order, flies to theologists, calls them the sons of the Gods, and makes them the fathers of the truth about those divinities.

And lastly, he delivers the orders of the sublunary Gods proceeding from wholes, according to the progression delivered by them of the intellectual kings. Again in the Cratylus he follows the traditions of theologists, respecting the order of the divine progressions.

But in the Gorgias, he adopts the Homeric dogma, respecting the triadic hypostasis of the demiurgi. And in short, he everywhere discourses concerning the Gods agreeably to the principles of theologists; rejecting indeed, the tragic part of mythological fiction, but establishing first hypotheses in common with the authors of fables.