The volume provides a new Italian translation of Plotinus’ treatise On Intelligible Beauty (Enn. V 8 [31]), along with a historico-philosophical introduction and a commentary. The first part of the introduction contains an outline of the concept of beauty in the history of ancient philosophy to illustrate how Plotinus, in his discussion of this topic in Enn. V 8 [31], both draws upon the Platonic tradition (as well as other traditions) and surpasses it. In contrast, the second part of the introduction is entirely devoted to an analysis of the Plotinian treatises on beauty (Enn. V 8 [31], but also Enn. I 6 [1]), along with a series of references to this theme scattered in the Enneads. An in-depth study of the genesis of the concept of artistic imagination, from Aristotle onwards, leads to a description of the change in the conception of the relationship between Platonic ideas and the man who creates something (or, especially in the Middle-Platonic tradition, between the ideas and God). Finally, the introduction deals with the problems raised by the treatise On Intelligible Beauty, and the argumentative strategies it employs, after framing this text within the Großschrift composed by Enn. III 8 [30], V 8 [31], V 5 [32], and II 9 [33], as shown by Richard Harder. The new Italian translation of Enn. V 8 [31] differs from other translations in its closer adherence to the Greek text and in its attempts to avoid ‘aestheticising’ elements that might lead us to misinterpret Plotinus’ words. The text established in the editio maior by Paul Henry and Hans-Rudolf Schwyzer is accepted, but in several places the translation follows different readings. The volume gives reasons for these choices in the commentary, which not only deals with the more difficult textual problems, but also attempts to explain, clearly and exhaustively, the most relevant philosophical questions raised by the individual chapters into which, from Marsilius Ficinus onwards, the treatise has conventionally been divided. On the philosophical level, in Enn. V 8 [31] Plotinus investigates the complex relationship between the ‘ideal’ character of beauty and the ‘real’ character of its various worldly manifestations. Among them, confined by the previous tradition within the bounds of imitative art, the Neoplatonic philosopher first focuses on sculpture. Then, setting out from this example, he turns to consider the broader aspects of the concept of beauty: in particular, its being (ontology) and its value (ethics). Far from merely being a testimony to the mystical side of ancient thought, the treatise On Intelligible Beauty is also (and perhaps above all) a call to action and a plea for every man to make himself first of all the object of his own action. Just as Phidias has shown through his Zeus that a great artist can not only conceive but also fully achieve ideal beauty in concrete reality, so every (true) man knows how to rise above the matter around him, making himself the temple of the intelligible Light that illuminates his life all around.

Plotino, La bellezza intelligibile (Enn. V 8 [31]): Introduzione, traduzione e commento

Christian Vassallo
2019

Abstract

The volume provides a new Italian translation of Plotinus’ treatise On Intelligible Beauty (Enn. V 8 [31]), along with a historico-philosophical introduction and a commentary. The first part of the introduction contains an outline of the concept of beauty in the history of ancient philosophy to illustrate how Plotinus, in his discussion of this topic in Enn. V 8 [31], both draws upon the Platonic tradition (as well as other traditions) and surpasses it. In contrast, the second part of the introduction is entirely devoted to an analysis of the Plotinian treatises on beauty (Enn. V 8 [31], but also Enn. I 6 [1]), along with a series of references to this theme scattered in the Enneads. An in-depth study of the genesis of the concept of artistic imagination, from Aristotle onwards, leads to a description of the change in the conception of the relationship between Platonic ideas and the man who creates something (or, especially in the Middle-Platonic tradition, between the ideas and God). Finally, the introduction deals with the problems raised by the treatise On Intelligible Beauty, and the argumentative strategies it employs, after framing this text within the Großschrift composed by Enn. III 8 [30], V 8 [31], V 5 [32], and II 9 [33], as shown by Richard Harder. The new Italian translation of Enn. V 8 [31] differs from other translations in its closer adherence to the Greek text and in its attempts to avoid ‘aestheticising’ elements that might lead us to misinterpret Plotinus’ words. The text established in the editio maior by Paul Henry and Hans-Rudolf Schwyzer is accepted, but in several places the translation follows different readings. The volume gives reasons for these choices in the commentary, which not only deals with the more difficult textual problems, but also attempts to explain, clearly and exhaustively, the most relevant philosophical questions raised by the individual chapters into which, from Marsilius Ficinus onwards, the treatise has conventionally been divided. On the philosophical level, in Enn. V 8 [31] Plotinus investigates the complex relationship between the ‘ideal’ character of beauty and the ‘real’ character of its various worldly manifestations. Among them, confined by the previous tradition within the bounds of imitative art, the Neoplatonic philosopher first focuses on sculpture. Then, setting out from this example, he turns to consider the broader aspects of the concept of beauty: in particular, its being (ontology) and its value (ethics). Far from merely being a testimony to the mystical side of ancient thought, the treatise On Intelligible Beauty is also (and perhaps above all) a call to action and a plea for every man to make himself first of all the object of his own action. Just as Phidias has shown through his Zeus that a great artist can not only conceive but also fully achieve ideal beauty in concrete reality, so every (true) man knows how to rise above the matter around him, making himself the temple of the intelligible Light that illuminates his life all around.
978-3-487-15806-8
Ancient Aesthetics, Ancient Philosophy, Beauty, Neoplatonism, Plotinus
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/296420
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