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  Svetlana Messiats. Problem of the transcendent first principle and the doctrine of henads in Neoplatonism
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Svetlana Messiats. Problem of the transcendent first principle and the doctrine of henads in Neoplatonism

The doctrine of divine henads was developed in late Neoplatonism in the course of efforts to solve a problem of a transcendent First Principle. It seems probable that this theory appeared as a result of the exegesis of Plato’s Parmenides and in particular with the idea to consider predicates of the One in the first two hypotheses as the characteristics of the different classes of henads. We supposed that the author of this idea could be Iamblichus, because he was the first who mentioned divine henads in connection with Parmenides and conceived predicates denied of the One in the 1st hypothesis to be denied of henads also. We tried to reconstruct Iamblichus’ doctrine of henads, because some previous attempts of reconstruction, where henads were identified with monads of forms and ideas-numbers, seemed to us unsatisfactory. According to our interpretation, henads in Iamblichus’ theory were neither products of the One, nor some lower substances, following after it, but rather different modi of its being a cause, in so far as the One anticipates in itself this or that particular order of Being.

 

Keywords: Neoplatonism, problem of the transcendent first Principle, the primal One, divine henads, metaphysical interpretation of the hypotheses of Plato’s Parmenides, reconstruction of Iamblichus’ doctrine of henads.