Jean-Marc Narbonne

Jamblique, le précurseur méconnu

Iamblichus, the Unknown Precursor

» CHORA 5/2007, pp. 45-55
Iamblichus has long lived under the shadow of Plotinus. One can easily recognize this from the historiography of the Neoplatonic School starting, for example, with J. J. Brucker's Historia critica philosophiae (1742) and continuing with Hegel and 19th century historians like Simon and Vacherot in France, Kroll and Zeller in Germany. But from Praechter on Iamblichus was acknowledged more and more as an original thinker and the real systematiser of the late Neoplatonic School. We can see more clearly now that the inclusion of theurgy into Neoplatonism does not mean a simple abandonment of philosophy or rational discourse, and that the discipline of textual exegesis does not negate the originality of the commentator. In Proclus, for one, these complementary strains are strongly present. In rebuilding the whole Platonic system, Iamblichus - the Chrysippus of Neoplatonism - skilfully incorporated elements like the Chaldean triads which were unknown to Plotinus, and presented a completely new account of the nature of theology. This feat shows a genius no less impressive, albeit of another type, than the one disclosed by Plotinus himself.
Language: French
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