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Proclus-On Divine Names

The-Painted-Ceiling-of-the-Great-Vestibule-at-the-Dendera-Temple-Picture by Kelly at sparklesandshoes.


Today’s sharing from the Blue House of HYGEIA is a quote from Proclus’ manuscript scholia on Plato’s ‘Cratylus’, here translated by Thomas Taylor, as additional notes in his translation and edition of Proclus’ ‘Theology of Plato’, Prometheus Trust_1995 for the modern edition-here the 2009 third reprint.


…/…’Since, however, the present discourse is about divine names, it is necessary to speak a little concerning them. And in the first place, let us speak concerning the names which are occultly established in the Gods themselves; since some of the ancient said that these originated from the most excellent genera (angels, daemons and heroes), but that the Gods are established beyond a signification of this kind; but others admitted that names are in the Gods themselves, and in those Gods that are allotted to the highest order.

The Gods, therefore, possess an hyparxis (essential nature, Neoplatonic term for the summit, beginning, or hierarch of a hierarchy) uniform and ineffable, a power generative of wholes, and an intellect perfect and full of conceptions; and they give subsistence to all things according to this triad. Hence it is necessary that the participation of those divinities who are of a more elevated order, and who are arranged nearer to the ‘good’, should proceed triadically though all things to which they give subsistence. It is also necessary that among these, those participation should be more ineffable, which are defined according to the ‘hyparxes’ of the First Gods; but that those should be more apparent, and more divided, which are illuminated according to the ‘intellect’ of exempt causes; and that those participations which are between these, should be such as are the effluxions of ‘prolific powers’. For the fathers of wholes giving subsistence to all things, have disseminated in all things vestiges, and impressions of their own triadic hypostasis; since nature also inserts in bodies and exciting principle (εναυσμα, enafsma) derived from her proper idioms through which she moves bodies, and governs them as by a rudder. And the Demiurge has established in the universe an image of his own monadic transcendency, through which we he governs the world, holding a rudder, as Plato says, like a pilot. It is proper to think therefore, that these rudders and this helm of the universe, in which the Demiurge being seated orderly disposes the world, are nothing else than a symbol of the whole fabrication of things, to us indeed difficult of comprehension, but to the Gods themselves known and manifest. And why is it requisite to speak concerning these things, since of the ineffable cause of all, who is beyond intelligibles, there is an impression in every being, and even as far as to the last of things, through which all things are suspended from him, some more remotely, and others more near, according to the clearness and obscurity of the impression which they contain. This it is which moves all things to the desire of good, and imparts to beings this inextinguishable love. And this impression is indeed unknown: for it pervades as far as to things which are incapable of knowledge.

It is also more excellent than life; for it is present with things inanimate: and has not an intellectual power; since it lies in things destitute of intellectual energy. As nature therefore, the demiurgic monad, and the father himself who is exempt from all things, have disseminated in things posterior, impressions of their respective peculiarities, and through these convert all things to themselves, in like manner all the Gods impart to their progeny, symbols of their cause, and through these establish all things in themselves. The impressions, therefore, of the hyparxis of the higher order of Gods, which are disseminated in secondary natures are ineffable and unknown, and their efficacious and motive energy surpasses all intelligence. And of this kind are the characters of light, through which the Gods unfold themselves to their progeny; these characters subsist unically in the Gods themselves, but shining forth to the view in the genera more excellent than man, and presenting themselves to us divisibly, and accompanied with form. Hence, the Gods exhort: “To understand the fore-running form of light’ (Chaldean Oracles). …/…

Proclus-On Divine Names

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