Proclo: Teologia de Platão I-XXVI

Again, let us, if you are willing, from other dialogues investigate the common dogmas of Plato about divine natures. Whence therefore, and what dogmas shall we assume, while we proceed in our search according to nature?

Are you willing that we should in the next place recall to our memory what is written in the Phaedo? Socrates therefore says in the demonstrations of the immortality of the soul which are derived from its similitude to divinity, that the essence which is superior to the soul, (and to which the soul is naturally similar, and being similar participates of an immortal allotment) is divine and immortal, intelligible and uniform, indissoluble and possesses an invariable sameness of subsistence; but that the essence which is inferior to the soul, is entirely the contrary, to which also it pertains to be corrupted and to be passive.

For a thing of this kind is sensible and multiform, and is dissoluble because it is a composite; and he predicates among these all such things as pertain to a corporeal subsistence. Let us therefore direct our attention to these common dogmas, and examine after what manner each of them pertains to the Gods.

In the first place then what is that which we look to when we speak of that which is said to be divine? From what has been said therefore, it is evident that every God subsists according to the highest union of beings. For to us ascending from bodies, the Gods have appeared to be superessential unities, the generators, perfectors and measurers of essences, and who bind all first essences to themselves.

But that which is divine, is not only hyparxis and the one in each order of being, but at the same time is that which participates and that which is participated; of which the latter is a God, but the former is divine. Whether however, prior to the participated unities, there is something which is separate and participated will be evident in what follows. But at present we shall define that which is divine to be a thing of this kind, viz. being which participates of the one, or the one subsisting contractedly together with being.

For we assume all things in the Gods except the one, as suspended from them and secondary, viz. essence, life and intellect. For the Gods do not subsist in, but prior to these, and they produce and contain these in themselves, but are not defined in them. But it is necessary not to be ignorant that these are in reality thus distinguished from each other. In many places, however, Plato magnificently celebrates the participants of the Gods by the same names, and denominates them Gods.

For not only the Athenian guest in the Laws calls a divine soul a God, but also Socrates in the Phaedrus. For he says “that all the horses and charioteers of the Gods are good and consist of things good”; and afterwards still more clearly, “and this is the life of the Gods.” But this is not yet wonderful.

For is it not admirable that he should denominate those beings Gods who are always conjoined with the Gods, and who together with them give completion to one series? For in many places he calls daemons Gods, though they are essentially posterior to, and subsist about the Gods. For in the Phaedrus and Timaeus, and in other dialogues, you will find him extending the appellation of the Gods even as far as to daemons. But what is still more paradoxical than these things, he does not refuse to call certain men Gods; for in the Sophista he thus denominates the Elean guest.

From all that has been said therefore, this must be assumed, that with respect to a God, one thing is simply a God, another according to union, another according to participation, another according to contact, and another according to similitude. For of super-essential natures indeed, each is primarily a God; of intellectual natures, each is a God according to union; and of divine souls each is a God according to participation. But divine daemons are Gods according to contact with the Gods; and the souls of men are allotted this appellation through similitude.

Each of these however is, as we have said, rather divine than a God. Since the Athenian guest calls intellect itself divine; but that which is divine is posterior to the first deity, in the same manner as that which is united is posterior to the one, that which is intellectual to intellect, and that which is animated, to soul.

And always those natures that are more uniform and simple have the precedency; but the series of beings ends in the one itself. Let this, therefore, be the definition and distinction of that which is divine.

In the next place, let us survey the immortal. For with Plato there are many orders of immortality, pervading from on high as far as to the last of things; and the last echo, as it were, of immortality, is in those visible natures that are perpetual; which the Elean guest, in his discourse about the circulation of the universe, says, are allotted from the father a renovated immortality.

For every body is allotted a being and a life dependent on another cause; but is not itself naturally adapted to connect, or adorn, or preserve itself. The immortality of partial souls is, I think, more manifest and more perfect than this; which Plato evinces by many demonstrations in the Phaedo, and in the 10th book of the Republic.

But I mean by the immortality of partial souls, that which has a more principal subsistence, as containing in itself the cause of eternal permanency. We shall not, however, err if prior to both these we establish the immortality of daemons. For the genera of these through which they subsist are incorruptible, and they neither verge to mortality, nor are filled with the nature of things which are generated and corrupted.

But I infer that the immortality of divine souls is still more venerable and essentially more transcendent than that of daemons; which divine souls we say are primarily self-motive, and are the fountains and principles of the life divided about bodies, and through which bodies obtain a renovated immortality. If, however, prior to these you conceive the Gods themselves, and the immortality in them, and how in the Banquet Diotima does not attribute an immortality of this kind even to daemons, but defines it to subsist in the Gods alone, such an immortality as this will appear to you to be separate, and exempt from the whole of things. For there eternity subsists, which is the fountain of all immortality, and through it all things live and possess life, some things indeed a perpetual life, but others a life dispersed into nonbeing.

In short, therefore, that which is divine is immortal so far as it generates and comprehends in itself a perpetual life. For it is immortal, not as participating of life, but as the supplier of a divine life, and as deifying life itself, whether you are willing to call such a life intelligible, or by any other name.

In the next place let us direct our attention to the intelligible. It is denominated, therefore, in opposition to that which is sensible and which is apprehended by opinion in conjunction with sense. For the intelligible is first unfolded into light in the most principal causes. For soul is indeed intelligible, is of this allotment, is exempt from sensibles, and obtains an essence separated from them.

Prior to soul also intellect is intelligible; for we rather think it fit to arrange soul in the middle, than to co-numerate it with the first essences. That likewise is denominated intelligible, which is more ancient than intellect, which replenishes intelligence, and is itself by itself perfective of it, and which Timaeus arranges prior to the demiurgic intellect and intellectual energy, in the order of a paradigm. But beyond these is the divine intelligible, which is defined according to union itself, and a divine hyparxis.

For this is intelligible as the object of desire to intellect, as perfecting and comprehending intellect, and as the plenitude of being.

In one way, therefore, we must denominate the intelligible as the hyparxis of the Gods; in another way as true being and the first essence; in another way as intellect and all intellectual life; and in another way as soul and the psychical order. It is likewise necessary not to fashion the different natures of things conformably to names.

Such, therefore, is the order of this triad; so that what is divine indeed is unmingled and ranks as the first; that which is immortal is the second; and that which is intelligible the third. For the first of these is deified being; the second is life subsisting according to the immortality of the Gods; and the third is intellect, which is denominated intelligible in consequence of being replete with union.

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