Proclo: Teologia de Platão I-XI

Again, therefore, let us discuss this affair in another way, and view with the dianoetic power, where anything futile is delivered. For let it be said, if you please, and we will first of all allow it, that the conclusions of this second hypothesis are about true being. But as this is multitude, and not only one itself, like the one prior to beings; for being is that which is passive to the one, as the Elean guest in the Sophista informs us; and as it is universally acknowledged by our opponents, who establish that which is first as the one, but intellect, as one many, soul, as one and many, and body, as many and one; therefore, this has been asserted a thousand times, I mean that in true being there is multitude together with union, whether will they say that these things harmonize with the whole of being, but not with its parts, or both with the whole and its parts?

And again, we ask them whether they attribute all things to each part of being, or whether they ascribe different things to different parts?

If, therefore, they are of opinion, that each particular should alone harmonize with the whole of being, being will consist of non-beings, that which is moved, of things immovable, that which abides, of things deprived of permanency, and universally, all things will consist of their opposites, and we shall no longer agree with the discourse of Parmenides, who says that the parts of being characterized by the one, are in a certain respect wholes, and that each of them is one and being, in a manner similar to the whole.

But if we attribute all things to each part, and there is nothing which we do not make all things, how can the summit of being, and that which is most eminently one, contain a wholeness, and an incomprehensible multitude of parts?

How can it at one and the same time contain the whole of number, figure, motion and permanency, and in short all forms and genera?

For these differ from each other, and the hypothesis will assert things impossible. For things near to, will be similarly multiplied with things remote from the one, and that which is first, will not be a less multitude than that which is last; nor again, will the last of things be a less one than the first, and things in the middle will have no difference with respect to division from the extremes.

As therefore, it is not proper to ascribe all this multitude of conclusions to the whole alone, nor to consider all things in a similar manner in all the parts of being, it remains that different conclusions must harmonize with different things. It is necessary, therefore, that either the enumeration of the conclusions should be inordinate, or ordinate. But if they say they are inordinate, they neither speak agreeably to the dialectic method, nor to the mode of demonstrations, which always generate things secondary from such as are first, nor to the science of Plato, which always accompanies the order of things.

But if they say the conclusions are regular, I think it is entirely necessary, that they should either begin from things first according to nature, or from things last. But if from things last being characterized by the one will be the last, and that which is moved according to time, the first.

This, however, is impossible. For that which participates of time, must by a much greater priority participate of first being. But that which participates of first being, does not necessarily participate of time. First being, therefore, is above time.

If then Plato begins from first being, but ends in that which participates of time, he proceeds supernally from the first to the last parts of true being. Hence, the first conclusions are to be referred to the first orders, the middle, for the same reason, to the middle orders, and the last, as is evident, to such as are last.

For it is necessary, as our discourse has evinced, that different conclusions should be assigned to different things, and that a distribution of this kind should commence from such things as are highest.

But likewise, the order of the hypotheses, as it appears to me, is a sufficient argument of the truth of our assertion.

For with us the one which is exempt from all multitude, is allotted the first order, and from this the evolution of all the arguments commences. But the second order after this, is about true beings, and the unity which these participate.

And the third order in regular succession, is about soul. Whether, therefore, is it about every soul or not? In answer to this, we shall observe, that our leader Syrianus has beautifully shown, that the discourse about whole souls is comprehended in the second hypothesis.

If, therefore, the order of these three hypotheses proceeds according to the nature of things, it is evident that the second is produced from the first, and the last from the second.

For I would ask those who are not entirely unskilled in discourses of this kind, what can be more allied to the one, than being characterized by the one, which the first of the conclusions of the second hypothesis unfolds?

Or what can be more allied to soul, than that which participates of time, which subsists divisibly, and which is the last thing exhibited in this hypothesis?

For the life of partial as well as of total souls is according to time. And first being is that which first participates of the one, and through its connection with being, has a redundant hyparxis with respect to the imparticipable unity. But if this hypothesis is the middle, and if we aptly harmonize the highest conclusions with things highest, we should doubtless harmonize middles with middles.

For this hypothesis commencing from first being, proceeds through all the genera posterior to it, till it ends in a nature participating of time.

But, farther, from the common confession of those interpreters of Plato, who were skilled in divine concerns, we can demonstrate the same things as we have above asserted. For Plotinus, in his book On Numbers, enquiring whether beings subsist prior to numbers, or numbers prior to beings, clearly asserts that the first being subsists prior to numbers, and that it generates the divine number.

But if this is rightly determined by him, and being is generative of the first number, but number is produced by being, it is not proper to confound the order of these genera, nor to collect them into one hypostasis, nor, since Plato separately produces first being, and separately number, to refer each of the conclusions to the same order.

For it is by no means lawful, that cause and the thing caused, should have either the same power, or the same order: but these are distinct from each other; and the science concerning them is likewise distinct, and neither the nature, nor the definition of them is one and the same.

But, after Plotinus, Porphyry in his treatise On Principles, evinces by many and beautiful arguments, that intellect is eternal, but that at the same time, it contains in itself something prior to the eternal, and through which it is conjoined with the one.

For the one is above all eternity, but the eternal has a second, or rather third order in intellect. For it appears to me to be necessary that eternity should be established in the middle of that which is prior to the eternal, and the eternal. But of this hereafter.

At the same time, thus much may be collected from what has been said, that intellect contains something in itself better than the eternal. Admitting this, therefore, we ask the father of this assertion, whether this something better than the eternal is not only being characterized by the one, but is a whole and parts, and all multitude, number and figure, that which is moved, and that which is permanent; or whether we are to ascribe some of the conclusions to it, but not others?

For it is impossible that all these can accord with a nature prior to eternity since every intellectual motion, and likewise permanency, are established in eternity. But if we are to ascribe some of the conclusions to it, and not others, it is evident that other orders in intellect are to be investigated, and that each of the conclusions is to be referred to that order, to which it appears particularly adapted.

For intellect is not one in number, and an atom, as it appeared to be to some of the ancients, but it comprehends in itself the whole progression of first being.

But the third who makes for our purpose after these, is the divine Iamblichus, who, in his treatise Concerning the Gods, accuses those who place the genera of being in intelligibles, because the number and variety of these is more remote from the one.

But afterwards he informs us where these ought to be placed. For they are produced in the end of the intellectual order, by the Gods which there subsist. How the genera of being, however, both are, and are not in intelligibles, will be hereafter apparent.

But if, according to his arrangement of the divine orders, intelligibles are exempt from the genera of being, much more are they exempt from similitude and dissimilitude, equality and inequality. Each of the conclusions, therefore, ought not in a similar manner to be accommodated to all things, so as to refer them to the whole breadth of the intelligible, or intellectual order.

Hence from what the best of the interpreters have said, when philosophizing according to their own doctrines, both the multitude of the divine orders, and of the Platonic arguments, are to be considered as proceeding according to an orderly distinction.

In addition, likewise, to what has been said, this also may be asserted, that we cannot, on any other hypothesis, obtain a rational solution of the many doubts which present themselves on this subject, but shall ignorantly ascribe what is rash and vain to this treatise of Plato.

For in the first place, why are there only so many conclusions, and neither more nor less? For there are fourteen conclusions. But as there are so many, we cannot assign the reason of this, unless we distribute them in conjunction with things themselves.

In the second place, neither shall we be able to find the cause of the order of the conclusions with respect to each other, and how some have a prior, and others a posterior establishment, according to the reason of science, unless the order of the conclusions proceeds in conjunction with the progression of beings. In the third place, why do some of the conclusions become known from things proximately demonstrated, but others from preceding demonstrations?

For that the one is a whole and contains parts, is demonstrated from being, which is characterized by the one; but its subsistence in itself and in another, is placed in a proximate order, after the possession of figure, but is demonstrated from whole and parts.

Or why are some things often demonstrated, from two of the particulars previously evinced, but others from one of them? For we shall be ignorant of each of these, and shall neither be able scientifically to speculate their number, nor their order, nor their alliance to each other, unless following things themselves, we evince that this whole hypothesis is a dialectic arrangement, proceeding from on high through all the middle genera, as far as to the termination of first being.

Again, if we should say, that all the conclusions demonstrate syllogistically only, in what respect shall we differ from those who assert that the whole of this discussion consists of doxastic arguments, and only regards a mere verbal contest? But if it is not only syllogistic, but likewise demonstrative, it is doubtless necessary, that the middle should be the cause of, and by nature prior to the conclusion.

As, therefore, we make the conclusions of the preceding reasons, the media of those that follow, the things which the arguments respect, must doubtless have a similar order as to being, and their progeny must be the causes of things subject, and generative of such as are secondary.

But if this be admitted, how can we allow that all of them have the same peculiarity and nature? For cause, and that which is produced from cause, are separated from each other.

But this likewise will happen to those who assert that one nature is to be explored in all the arguments, that they will by no means perceive how in the three first conclusions, the one remains unseparated from being, but is first separated in the fourth conclusion.

But in all the following conclusions, the one is explored considered as subsisting itself by itself. Is it not therefore necessary, that these orders must differ from each other? For that which is without separation, in consequence of having an occult and undivided subsistence, is more allied to the one, but that which is separated, has proceeded farther from the first principle of things.

Again, if you are willing to consider the multitude of the arguments, and the extent of the hypothesis, how much it differs from that which follows it, – neither from this will it appear to you to be entirely about one and an unseparated nature. For reasonings about divine concerns, are contracted in the more principal causes, because in these the occult is more abundant than the perspicuous, and the ineffable than the known. But they become multiplied and evolved, by proceeding to divine orders more proximate to our nature. For such things as are more allied to that which is ineffable, unknown, and exempt in inaccessible places, are allotted an hyparxis more foreign from verbal enunciation. But such things as have proceeded farther, are both more known to us, and more apparent to the phantasy, than such as have a prior subsistence.

This, therefore, being abundantly proved, it is necessary that the second hypothesis, should unfold all the divine orders, and should proceed on high, from the most simple and unical to the whole multitude and all the number of divine natures, in which the order of true being ends, which indeed is spread under the unities of the Gods, and at the same time is divided in conjunction with their occult and ineffable peculiarities.

If, therefore, we are not deceived in admitting this, it follows that from this hypothesis, the continuity of the divine order and the progression of second from first natures, is to be assumed, together with the peculiarity of all the divine genera.

And indeed, that their communion is with each other, and what their distinction proceeding according to measure, likewise, the auxiliaries which may be found in other dialogues respecting the truth of real beings, or the unities which they contain, are all to be referred to this hypothesis. For, here we may contemplate the total progressions of the Gods, and their all-perfect orders, according to theological science.

For as we have before shown that the whole treatise of the Parmenides has reference to the truth of things, and that it was not devised as a vain evolution of words, it is doubtless necessary, that the nine hypotheses which it discusses, employing the dialectic method, but speculating with divine science, should be about things and certain natures, which are either middle or last.

If, therefore, Parmenides acknowledges that his whole discourse will be about the one, and how it subsists with respect to itself, and all other things, it is evident that the speculation of the one, must commence from that which is highest, but end in that which is the last of all things. For the hyparxis of the one proceeds from on high, as far as to the most obscure hypostasis of things.

PROCLUS. On the Theology of Plato (complete electronic text). (Martin Euser, Ed.), [s.d.]. Disponível em: <>