""Love, Friendship, Beauty, and the Good debunks the academic myth which has encased ancient philosophy and its later pagan and Christian permutations in a curio box, available for a sterile analytical examination, but devoid of relevance to the nitty-gritty psychology of our daily life. It takes a lifetime of experience and expertise to reexamine the relationship between being and thinking in the most Cartesian of ways. Corrigan does just this with reason and passion.""
--Svetla Slaveva-Griffin, Florida State University
""In this small volume, Corrigan shows convincingly that . . . Plato and his successors held that such experiences as love, pleasure, and desire are entirely compatible with divine transcendence, without which there can be no real immanence and no real love of individuals without the vertical dimension that makes this possible.""
--John D. Turner, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
""Kevin Corrigan, noted authority on both Plato himself and the later Platonist tradition, particularly Plotinus, has here produced a remarkable study of the role of love in both stages of that tradition.""
--John Dillon, Trinity College Dublin
""In this multifaceted gem of a book, Corrigan expertly guides us to understand more deeply and anew the perennial themes of love and friendship both in Platonism and in our own lives. . . . This is a valuable book and a model of concision.""
--Arthur Versluis, author of Platonic Mysticism
""[A]n arresting revisionist essay. . . . This book should be required reading for students of ancient philosophy and early Christian theology.""
--John Peter Kenney, Saint Michael's College
Kevin Corrigan is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, Emory University, Atlanta. He is the author of Gregory and Evagrius: Mind, Soul and Body in the 4th Century (2009); Reason, Faith and Otherness in Neoplatonic and Early Christian Thought (2017); Plotinus, Ennead VI 8: On the Voluntary and on the Free Will of the One (2017, with John D. Turner).
About the Author
Table of Contents
1 Desire, Love, and Ascent through the Beautiful to the Good 1
1.1 Love and desire 4
1.2 Intellect and desire 9
1.3 Ascent to the beautiful and the good: Aristotle, Metaphysics 12.7 12
1.4 Ascent to the beautiful and the good: Plato, the Symposium and Republic 23
1.5 Plato and Aristotle 27
1.6 Alcinous 31
1.7 Plotinus (and Porphyry) 32
1.8 Proclus 37
1.9 Marsilio Ficino 44
1.10 Conclusions 45
2 Friendship and Love of the Individual 50
2.1 Friendship in the Platonic tradition: The Lysis, Alcibiades I, and Symposium 53
2.2 Loving individuals 59
2.3 The ambiguities of ordinary experience 60
2.4 The Symposium and Pausanias speech 62
2.5 Different models of erotic friendship in the Symposium, Phaedrus, and later Platonism 65
2.6 Plotinus: lateral attachment and reflexivity 67
2.7 Proclus: Pausanias' speech in light of the Phaedrus 69
2.8 Marsilio Ficino: Pausanias' speech and the Symposium as a whole 71
2.9 Conclusions 75
3 The Problem of Divine Love 82
3.1 Pleasure, pre-inclusion, joy, and vulnerability 82
3.2 Self-relatedness, inclusion, pre-inclusion? 83
3.3 Pleasure and indivisible wholeness 86
3.4 Plotinus: the joy of existence 96
3.5 Implicate and explicate orders in Plotinus: Divine love? 102
3.6 Later Neoplatonism: Iamblichus and Proclus 105
3.7 Dionysius and Divine loving 111
Select Bibliography 127
Index Locorum 135
Index of Subjects and Names 145