PROCLUS ON HUMAN REALITY

Douglass McFerran, MA

author's note

In 1959 I was in my final year at Mount St. Michael's in Spokane, Washington.  I was a Jesuit scholastic halfway through the training that would lead to my ordination as a priest, and the Mount, linked to Gonzaga University, was where we followed a three-year program in Thomistic philosophy.  Even though I would have preferred to obtain a master's degreee in history, those of us who had not had any college courses prior to entering the Society of Jesus were told to pursue a degree in philosophy.  As it turned out, this decision was to determine my career as a college professor after leaving the Jesuits three years later, but at the time I attempted to stay more the historian by examining a pivotal figure in the transition from ancient to medieval philosophy.  Thanks to interlibrary loan I managed to assemble almost everything written by Proclus, the greatest of the philosophers who headed Plato's Academy nine centuries after its founding, and with my Greek dictionary at hand I originally set out to examine the historical issue of how an avowedly pagan writer managed to survive in the new Christian world.  As you'll see in the thesis accepted for me to earn my MA, I was to discover the rather remarkable manner in which Proclus engaged in a systematic escape from history.

Later I thought I might update this thesis for one or other scholarly publication, but that never happened.  However, since so little has ever been published about Proclus, it did seem worthwhile to make what I had done available through the Internet to anyone who might be interested.  I have kept all the expected apparatus of notes and blibliography, and I will just point out that with the original difficulty of typing out anything in Greek the reader will have to rely more on my translations than would probably be acceptable today.  Anyone  using what I have here should also look for more recent editions of the source materials.  Also, I apologize for the editorial "we" that appears throughout.

 I wish to thank my daughter, Karin Gerber, for her work in taking the carbon copy of my thesis and converting it to something I could use in an electronic format.

The material on this website may be used with attribution.

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Proclus on Human Reality by Douglass McFerran is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


1.  THE TIMES, THE MAN, AND THE SYSTEM

    Fifth-Century Athens

    Proclus Diadochos

    The System

    Notes

2.  THE DISCRIMINATION OF KNOWLEDGE

    The Interpretation of Plato

    The Prerequisites for Wisdom

    The First Mode of Knowledge: Doxa

    Notes

3.  ANAMNESIS AND ANALOGY

    The Critique of Aristotle

    Intellection and Being

    The Idealist Conviction: "Complete Return"

    The Proportional Structure of Reality

    Notes

4.  PROCLUS AND HUMAN REALITY

    The Meaning of Man

    A Critical Summary of the Proclian Teaching

    Notes

BIBLIOGRAPHY