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“Creatio ex nihilo” – a genuinely philosophical insight derived from Plato and Aristotle? Some notes on the treatise on the harmony between the two sages


Gleede, Benjamin (2012). “Creatio ex nihilo” – a genuinely philosophical insight derived from Plato and Aristotle? Some notes on the treatise on the harmony between the two sages. Arabic Sciences and Philosophy. A Historical Journal, 22(1):91-117.

Abstract

The article aims at demonstrating that in attributing the creatio ex nihilo to both Plato and Aristotle as their unanimous philosophical conviction the Treatise on the Harmony between the Two Sages deeply depends upon the Neoplatonic reading of those two philosophers. The main obstacles for such a view in the works of the two sages are Plato's assumption of a precosmic chaos in the Timaeus and Aristotle's denial of any efficient causality to the unmoved mover in the Metaphysics. Both of these points had been, however, done away with by the Neoplatonist commentators already, especially by Ammonius in his lost treatise on efficient and final causality in Aristotle the use of which in the Harmony is shown by a comparison with Simplicius. Christian and Muslim readers just had to transfer those arguments and hermeneutical techniques into an anti-eternalist context in order to make the two philosophers agree with one of the basic tenents of their face, a hermeneutical technique considerably different from the one employed by al-Fārābī in his exposition of Plato's and Aristotle's philosophy which is compared to the Harmony in a briefly sketched concluding section.

Abstract

The article aims at demonstrating that in attributing the creatio ex nihilo to both Plato and Aristotle as their unanimous philosophical conviction the Treatise on the Harmony between the Two Sages deeply depends upon the Neoplatonic reading of those two philosophers. The main obstacles for such a view in the works of the two sages are Plato's assumption of a precosmic chaos in the Timaeus and Aristotle's denial of any efficient causality to the unmoved mover in the Metaphysics. Both of these points had been, however, done away with by the Neoplatonist commentators already, especially by Ammonius in his lost treatise on efficient and final causality in Aristotle the use of which in the Harmony is shown by a comparison with Simplicius. Christian and Muslim readers just had to transfer those arguments and hermeneutical techniques into an anti-eternalist context in order to make the two philosophers agree with one of the basic tenents of their face, a hermeneutical technique considerably different from the one employed by al-Fārābī in his exposition of Plato's and Aristotle's philosophy which is compared to the Harmony in a briefly sketched concluding section.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology > Institute of Theology
Dewey Decimal Classification:230 Christianity & Christian theology
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:17 Jan 2013 12:35
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 18:06
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0957-4239
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0957423911000117

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