The Platonic Monotheism of Plotinus

  • John Peter Kenney


This paper will examine the concept of deity articulated in the Enneads of Plotinus. This conception of the divine is best understood as a type of monotheism, rooted both in the Greco-Roman theological tradition and in Platonism. Seven principal points will be considered:
  1. 1.

    The articulation of transcendence developed by the Platonic schools;

  2. 2.

    The Plotinian account of hypostatic levels of reality;

  3. 3.

    The levels of the self and of its noetic states that correspond to these hypostases;

  4. 4.

    The unique character of the One’s ‘deep’ transcendence;

  5. 5.

    The use of ‘pointer’ terms and the centrality of contemplation.

The paper will then conclude with a discussion of two further points:
  1. 6.

    The relation of this Platonic monotheism to classical theism;

  2. 7.

    The challenge of Plotinian contemplative theology to abstract modeling of the divine.



Late Antiquity Philosophical Theology Critical Advance Negative Theology Rational Intuition 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Religious StudiesSt. Michael’s CollegeColchesterUSA

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