|P r o c l u s
C O M M E N T A R Y O N
T H E T I M A E U S
O F P L A T O
What is perpetual being, and what is that which is generated
Timaeus: "What that is which is always being, but is without generation,
and what that is which is generated indeed, [or consists in becoming to
be] but is never [real] being."
According to some, all beings whatever,
whether they subsist paradigmatically or iconically, are comprehended in
this distinction; but not all beings according to others. And the interpreters
contradict each other respecting this, not a little. We however, cannot
know which of these assertions it is fit to adopt, unless we examine each
of them by itself. Let us then consider from the beginning, what power
each of the words [of Plato] possesses in itself.
In the first place, therefore, `to
ti', or the what is definitive. For we are accustomed to give `ti' an antecedent
arrangement in definitions. But it is not a genus, as the Platonic Severus
thought it was, who says that `to ti' is the genus of being and that
which is generated; and that the all is signified by it. For thus that
which is generated, and likewise
perpetual being, will be all.
It was also doubted by some that preceded us, why Plato did not demonstrate
that there is such a thing as perpetual being, prior to the enquiry what
For whence is the subsistence of
being evident? And it is the law in demonstrative discussions, to consider
if a thing is previous to the investigation, what it is. In answer to this
doubt it may be said, that perhaps Timaeus did not think this was requisite
to his purpose; as the day before, it was shown by Socrates in what he
said about the soul, that the soul is unbegotten and incorruptible, and
that it philosophises through its alliance to real beings, with which it
comes into contact.
||is unbegotten and incorruptible
|philosophises through its alliance to real beings, with which it comes
And likewise, as it was shown by him,
that what is perfectly being, and truly the object of science, is one thing;
that what is partly being, and partly non-being, is another, and on this
account is of a doxastic nature; and that what in no respect is being,
and is entirely unknown, is another.
||is truly the object of science
partly being, and partly non-being
||is of a doxastic nature
what in no respect is being
||is entirely unknown
This was also granted to Timaeus by
Socrates, when he divides a line into four parts, the intelligible, the
dianoetic, the sensible, and the conjectural; where likewise speaking about
The Good he says, that it reigns in the intelligible place, in the same
manner as the sun in the visible region.
And farther still, the introduction
of prayer previous to the discussion, is a demonstration of the existence
of being which always is.
For if there are Gods, it is necessary
that there should be truly existing being; for this is united to the Gods;
but not that which is generated and which perishes, but is never
||truly existing being
that which is generated and which perishes
||is never truly being
Or rather prior to these things it
may be said, that the existence of something which always is, is deposited
in our common conceptions.
For whence was that which is generated
produced except from perpetual being? For if this also was generated,
it must have been generated from some other being. And this must either
perpetual being, or must likewise have been itself generated.
So that we must either proceed to infinity, or generation is in a circle,
or perpetual being has a subsistence. But it is not lawful to proceed to
infinity. For from one principle which is The One, all things originate.
Nor is generation in a circle, lest the same things be both better and
worse, causes and effects. Hence it remains that [true] being always is.
Why then, it may be said, is not
generation from The One? Because, we reply, it is absurd that multitude
should be entirely produced without being.
It is necessary therefore, that there
should be truly existing being, which primarily proceeds from The One,
in order that the first principle may not be alone the cause of the last
of things, but prior to these may be the cause of being, from which generation
After all that has been said, however,
the most true solution of the doubt is, what Plato now assuming as an hypothesis
that there is perpetual being, defines it.
But after the discussion about the
fabrication of the world, resuming this very thing, he demonstrates that
being has a subsistence. Preserving however, what pertains to physiology,
he proceeds from this hypothesis, and demonstrates such things as are consequent
to it. For science itself also is from hypothesis, and requires that hypotheses
should be assumed prior to its demonstrations.
In what he says therefore about matter,
he demonstrates not only that matter is, but also that being is. But a
little after, from one of the hypotheses, i.e. from the third, demonstrating
that there is a Demiurgus of the world, he obtains also from this that
being subsists prior to that which is generated.
And again from the fourth hypothesis
he evinces, that the Demiurgus fabricated the universe, looking to an eternal
paradigm. But in the place we have mentioned, he demonstrates that perpetual
being is itself by itself prior to generated natures. And thus much
for this particular.
With respect however, to perpetual
being itself, whether does it signify the whole intelligible world,
or the Demiurgus, or the paradigm of the universe? for it is differently
assumed by different interpreters.
And if indeed, it is the whole intelligible
world, whence does the intelligible breadth begin, and where does it proceed?
But if it is the paradigm, how comes it to pass that the Demiurgus is not
being, if the paradigm is one thing, and the Demiurgus another? And
if it is the Demiurgus, whence is it that the paradigm is not a thing of
That the paradigmatic cause, therefore,
is to be arranged in perpetual being, is clearly evident from Plato
when he says, "According to which of the paradigms did the artificer fabricate
the world? Was it according to that which subsists with invariable sameness,
or according to that which was generated?" And he immediately decides by
saying, "If the world indeed is beautiful, and the Demiurgus is good, it
is evident that he looked to an eternal paradigm. But if the world is not
beautiful, and the Demiurgus is not good, which it is not lawful to assert,
then he looked to a generated paradigm." If therefore it is not lawful
to assert this, the paradigm of the universe is perpetual being.
But that this is also true of the
Demiurgus, is evident from this; that Plato calls the soul, which the Demiurgus
constitutes, the first of generated natures, and delivers the generation
of it. The Demiurgus, however, is prior to soul, so that he belongs to
eternal beings. Hence also Plato says concerning him, "After this manner
therefore was there truly an eternal reasoning of the God." And how is
it possible that being a divine intellect he should not rank among eternal
Is therefore every intelligible world
being? The divine Iamblichus, however, strenuously contends on this
subject, evincing that eternal being is superior both to the genera and
the species of being; and establishes it at the summit of the intelligible
essence, as that which primarily participates of The One.
But what is written in the Parmenides
concerning the one being [or being characterized by The One], and also
in the Sophista, bears testimony to these things. For there Plato arranges
the one being prior to whole, and prior to the intelligible all; though
the whole and the all are intelligible. Here, however, Plato clearly calls
the paradigm perpetual being, and a whole, and all-perfect. For
he denominates it all-perfect animal; and a whole, when he says, "of which
other animals are parts according to one, and according to genera." So
that if the paradigm is a whole and all-perfect, but that which is primarily
being is above whole and all, the paradigm and that being will not be the
Will it not, therefore, be better
to say, that there is indeed such an order of being, as that divine man
[Iamblichus] has delivered, and such as Plato elsewhere surveys; but that
now Plato thus denominates every eternal world? Nor is this at all wonderful.
For, at one time, the intelligible is asserted of every perpetual and invisible
as when it is said that the soul also is intelligible, as by Socrates in
the Phaedo. But at another time it is asserted of the natures that are
more excellent than every psychical essence, as the division in the Republic
manifests. And at another time, it is asserted of the first triads of being,
as is evident from what Timaeus a little after says of them.
After the same manner, therefore,
being in the Sophists, indeed, manifests the order of the one being; but
here it signifies the whole eternal world. For it is evident that being
which is primarily being, is the summit of the intelligible breadth, and
the monad of all beings.
For every where, that which is primarily
being in its own series, has the highest order; since if it ranked as the
second, it would not have the same form; for it would no longer be primarily
that which it is.
As therefore, virtue itself possesses
the highest place in the series of the virtues, as the equal itself in
equals, and animal itself in animals, thus also being itself which is primarily
being, is the summit of all beings, and from it all beings proceed.
But every intelligible and intellectual
being, and whatever appears to exist, has the appellation of being, yet
being and perpetual being are not the same. For the one being is
beyond eternity. For eternity participates of being. Hence all such things
as participate of eternity, have also a certain portion of being, but not
all such things as participate of being, participate likewise of eternity.
The natures therefore that exist
in time, participate also of being, so that what is primarily being is
beyond the order of eternity. But perpetual being is eternal. Hence
the reasoning demonstrates the very contrary, that every thing is rather
to be assumed from perpetual being, than the one being. For this
latter is better than the ever, as subsisting between The One and eternity,
and prior to eternity being denominated one being.
If, therefore, it be requisite that
I should say what appears to me to be the truth, Plato now precedaneously
assumes every thing which is eternally being; beginning, indeed, from the
nature of animal itself. For this is primarily eternal; but ending in partial
intellects. But the one being, he perhaps omits, in consequence of its
existing as the monad of these, and as being ineffable, and conjoined to
Hence Plato will now speak in reality
of every intelligible, if that intelligible is not assumed which is occult,
is the highest, and does not depart from The One.
He says, therefore, shortly after
this, that animal itself is the most beautiful of intelligibles, in consequence
of the natures prior to this, being through excess of union, superior to
a subsistence as objects of intellect. Unless he says that animal itself
is the most beautiful of all the objects of intellect, both animal itself
and the one being existing as objects of intellect also, the latter as
being causally ever, eternity as being so according to hyparxis, and animal
itself or the eternal, as existing always, according to participation.
Hence, if these things are admitted,
in that which always exists, eternity, animal itself, and the Demiurgus
will be comprehended, and likewise the one being itself, which possesses
the occult cause of eternity. So that it is evident from this, that perpetual
being comprehends every nature prior to souls, whether it be intelligible,
or intellectual; beginning indeed from being itself, but ending in a partial
intellect, and that it does not alone comprehend, as Iamblichus says it
does, the summit of all beings, such as the being is which is characterized
by The One, or the one being, through which all beings are said to be beings,
and to which The One Itself alone, and the principle of being [bound and
infinity] are superior.
The One, therefore, is better than
that which is self-subsistent. For it is necessary that it should be exempt
from all multitude. Perpetual being, however, is self-subsistent
indeed, but possesses the power of being so through The One. But that which
is posterior to it, such as is our nature, is self-subsistent, and at the
same time derives its subsistence from another producing cause. And the
last of things proceed indeed into existence from a more excellent cause,
but are not self- subsistent. It is not however yet time for these observations.
perpetual being signify...
||the whole intelligible world
|the paradigm of the universe
But with respect to perpetual being,
it must not be supposed, that it is partly being, and partly non-being;
for if it were, it would be a composite, and consisting of things of this
kind, it would be dissimilarly a composite. Nor is it at one time being,
and at another non-being; for it is said to be always being. But it is
simply and eternally being, and is unmingled with every thing whatever
it may be, that is of a contrary nature. For it appears to me that the
addition of the words, "but not having generation," indicates the unmingled
and undefiled purity of perpetual being, according to which it is
exempt from every hypostasis which is borne along in the images of being,
and is changed by time.
Not as some assert, that perpetual
being is said, for the sake of perspicuity, to be without generation; nor
according to others, that Plato was willing to speak of it both affirmatively
and negatively; but that it is necessary
perpetual being should
be intellectually perceived subsisting by itself, remote from all temporal
For soul participates of time, and
the heavens are allotted a life which is evolved according to time; but
the intelligible nature alone is, according to the whole of itself, eternal.
Hence, some of the ancients call the intelligible breadth truly existing
being; the psychical truly existing and at the same time not truly existing
being; the sensible not truly existing being; and matter, truly non-being.
the intelligible breadth
||truly existing being
||truly existing and at the same time not truly
||not truly existing being
||effective powetruly non-beingrs
After what manner, however, they made
this arrangement, we shall elsewhere investigate. But that the addition
of "not having generation," is for the sake of indicating the separate
essence of perpetual being, is I think evident from what has been
In the next place, with respect to that which is generated, whether
does it signify the whole world, or a material and perfectly mutable composition?
For some of the ancients explain this in one way, and others in another.
But we understand by it every corporeal formed nature, and not the soul
of the universe; so far as this nature is of itself indeed unadorned, but
is always or at a certain time, arranged by another.
For the soul of the universe is,
in a certain respect, perpetual being. Much less is intellect
which is generated: for this is immediately perpetual being.
But body alone is that which is generated, and is truly never real
being. For body is always in want of the world-producing cause, and is
always deriving from it the representation of existence.
the soul of the universe
||is, in a certain respect, perpetual being
||is always in want of the world-producing cause, and is always deriving
from it the representation of existence
Why then it may be said, did not Plato
add, always, and that which is generated, in the same manner as
being, or at a certain time, in order that he might have what is generated
entirely opposed to perpetual being? May we not say that Plato devised
this mode of expression, looking to the various nature of that which
is generated, and taking away from eternal being the existence at a
certain time, and the perpetuity of a generated nature? For the wholes
of such a nature are generated always, but the parts at a certain time.
And after another manner [of considering
the affair] with respect to forms, some are inseparable from matter, and
are always generated from that which is truly always; but others are in
time, and depart from matter. For corporeity, indeed, is always generated
and is always about matter; but the form of fire, or of air, enters into
and departs from matter, becoming separated from it and perishing, through
the domination of a contrary nature.
But if the perpetuity which detains
matter is always generated, it never therefore is; and if the existence
at a certain time is generated, it is never being. Every thing however,
which is generated, is either always generated, or at a certain time. Hence,
every thing which is generated, is never [real] being.
These things, therefore, having been
said, let us, recurring to the discussion from the beginning, show whether
being in this place is asserted of all beings, or not of all.
For if, indeed, we admit that
being indicates an eternal nature alone, having the eternal according
to the whole of itself, it is not asserted of all beings. For neither the
being prior to eternity, nor the order of eternity, nor again, such things
as have indeed an eternal essence, but produce energies according to time,
can be arranged under this being.
But if we assume every thing whatever
that is eternal, and which always is, either according to the whole of
itself, or partially, then soul also ranks among eternal natures, and also
that which contains in itself the causes of all things, unically, as it
is said, and universally.
For the case is as follows: one thing
[i.e. being itself] is super-eternal; [another thing is eternity;] another
is simply eternal, and another is in a certain respect eternal. With respect,
however, to each of these perpetual beings, the first is as the
power and fountain of the ever; the second, as that which is primarily
always being, and the ever itself, and not according to participation;
but the third is always, as participating of the ever, and as primarily
wholly eternal; and the fourth, is as that which is a certain respect participates
of a peculiarity of this kind.
||is as the power and fountain of the ever
||is as that which is primarily always being, and
the ever itself, and not according to participation
||is always, as participating of the ever, and
as primarily wholly eternal
in a certain respect eternal
||is as that which is a certain respect participates of a peculiarity
of this kind
For each thing subsists triply, either
according to cause, or according to hyparxis, or according to participation.
And the one being, indeed, is being alone according to hyparxis, but is
being according to cause. Eternity is perpetual being according
to hyparxis, but being according to participation. And the eternal is perpetual
being according to participation, but according to hyparxis is a certain
other intelligible, or intelligible and intellectual, or intellectual [only].
And if the last of these, it is either total or partial; and if this, it
is either supermundane or mundane; and if this, it is either divine, or
is posterior to the Gods, and is each of these either according to existence
alone, or according to power and energy, and as far as to the perpetual
being of things which are in a certain respect eternal.
the one being
is perpetual being
is being alone
is perpetual being
is a certain other intelligible, or intelligible and intellectual,
or intellectual [only]
is perpetual being
Again therefore, with respect to that
which is generated, if we assume the universal, we must assume generation
all-variously changed; but if every thing generated, in whatever way it
may be, we shall find that the heavens also are generated, so far as they
partake of motion and mutation, and that soul is the first of generated
natures, so far as it lives in time, and time is connascent with its energies.
And thus ascending from beneath,
we shall end in soul as the first of things that are generated; and descending
from above, we shall again terminate our progression in soul, as the last
of eternal natures.
For though a certain person rightly
says that the heavens always exist, yet their being is always generated
by something else; but soul possesses its own essence from itself. Hence
also, Socrates in the Phaedrus says, that it is unbegotten, and at the
same time self-moved, as being indeed the principle of all generation,
but generating and vivifing itself.
If therefore we say, that it is both
unbegotten and generated, eternal and not eternal, we shall speak rightly.
Hence too the Athenian guest thinks fit to call the soul indestructible,
but not eternal, because it is in a certain respect only eternal, and not
according to the whole of itself, in the same manner as truly existing
For it is one thing to be always,
and another to be generated always. And the heavens, indeed, are generated
always; for they do not possess being from themselves. But soul is always;
for it possesses being from itself. And every thing prior to soul is not
generated from a cause, but is from a cause. For generation is alone in
things which derive their subsistence from others.
Through these things therefore it
will be manifest after what manner there is a comprehension of all beings
in the before- mentioned portions of division, and after what manner all
beings are not comprehended in them. There is not a comprehension of all
beings, because that which is eternal only, and that which is generated
only, are assumed; one of which is prior to, but the other is posterior
to soul. And there is a comprehension of all beings, because the extremes
being assumed, it is possible from these to find the middle, which is at
one and the same time both being and that which is generated.
That these distinctions, however,
of that which always is, and of that which is generated, are necessarily
made prior to all other axioms, it is easy to learn; by observing that
this is the first of the problems which it is requisite to consider about
the universe in the beginning, i.e. whether it always was, having no beginning
of generation, or whether it was generated.
For if this is the first of the things
to be investigated, then what that is which is generated, and what that
is which is eternal, have very properly the first order in the axioms.
For the other axioms follow these, just as the remaining problems follow
the problem respecting the generation of the world.
And if it be requisite that resuming
the discussion about the hypotheses, I should more fully explain what appears
to me on the subject, Plato in the same manner as geometricians, employs
definitions and hypotheses prior to demonstrations, through which he frames
demonstrations, and antecedently assumes the principles of the whole of
For as the principles of music are
different from the principles of medicine, and in a similar manner there
are different principles of arithmetic and mechanics; thus also there are
certain principles of the whole of physiology, which Plato now delivers
to us; [and these are as follow:] Truly existing being is that which may
be comprehended by intelligence in conjunction with reason.
is generated is to be apprehended by opinion in conjunction with irrational
sense. Every thing generated, is generated by a cause. That which does
not derive its subsistence from a cause, is not generated. That of which
the paradigm is eternal being, is necessarily beautiful. That, of which
the paradigm is generated, is not beautiful. Let the universe be called
heaven or the world.
Principles of the whole of physiology
||Truly existing being is that which may be comprehended by intelligence
in conjunction with reason
||That which is generated is to be apprehended by opinion in conjunction
with irrational sense
||Every thing generated, is generated by a cause
||That which does not derive its subsistence from a cause, is not generated
||That of which the paradigm is eternal being, is necessarily beautiful
||That, of which the paradigm is generated, is not beautiful
||Let the universe be called heaven or the world
For from these principles he produces
all that follows. And it appears to me, that on this account he shows what
being is, and also what that is which is generated, but does not show
us that each of them is. For the geometrician informs us what a point is,
and what a line is, prior to his demonstrations, but he by no means teaches
us that each of these is. For how can he be a geometrician, if he discusses
his own principles? After the same manner also, the physiologist says what
being is, for the sake of the demonstrations he is about to make, but
he by no means shows that it is; for in so doing, he would go beyond physiology.
But since, as we have before observed, Timaeus does not resemble other
physiologists, being a Pythagorean physiologist, and Plato exhibits in
this dialogue the highest science, hence he afterwards very divinely proves
that truly existing being is.
For his present purpose, however,
it is sufficient for him to admit that it is, preserving the boundaries
of physiology. He appears also to investigate the definition of perpetual
being and of that which is generated, in order that he may discover
the causes which give completion to the universe, viz. form and matter:
that which is generated is in want of these.
He assumes, however, the third hypothesis,
in order that he may discover the producing cause; but the fourth, that
he may be able to infer that the universe was generated according to a
paradigmatic cause; and the fifth, which is concerning the name of the
universe, in order that he may investigate the participation of The Good
and the ineffable by the world, as will be shown in what follows.
It appears also to me, that Aristotle
in his Physics, imitating Plato, assumes one hypothesis, when he says,
it is supposed by us with respect to things which have a natural subsistence,
that either all or some of them are moved. For it is entirely necessary
that there should be motion, if the discussion of the physical theory is
to proceed with success; since nature is a principle of motion. But in
his treatise On the Heavens, prior to every thing else, he assumes those
hypotheses concerning which Plotinus says, that Aristotle will find no
difficulty in his discussion if his hypotheses about the fifth body are
admitted, meaning these five; that the motion is simple of a simple body;
that a simple body has a certain simple motion according to nature; that
there are two simple motions; that one motion is contrary to one; and that
the thing which has not a contrary, has not that which can corrupt it.
||the motion is simple of a simple body
||a simple body has a certain simple motion according to nature
||there are two simple motions
||one motion is contrary to one
||the thing which has not a contrary, has not that which can corrupt
From which hypotheses, he frames his
demonstrations concerning the fifth body. Aristotle, however, shows that
the universe is unbegotten, from the hypotheses; but Plato that it is generated.
Whether therefore, they are discordant or not, will shortly after be manifest
to us. And this, indeed, will again be considered.
Why, however, does Plato, who is accustomed
to employ, when speaking of intelligibles, the term `auto' itself,
and `oper' that which, now assume neither of these, but rather prefers
the term `aei' always, as connascent with being. For this also is
attended with a doubt, through what cause he employs the third of these
terms, i.e. always, is better adapted to signify the nature of truly
In answer to this it may be said,
that the term itself manifests the simplicity of intelligibles,
a subsistence according to hyparxis, and an existence which is primary,
which is asserted conformably to the peculiarity, according to which intelligibles
are primarily that which they are, and fill secondary natures with the
participation of themselves. But the term that which is, indicates
purity, the unmingled, and the not being filled with a contrary nature.
And the ever manifests the eternal, the immutable, and the invariable,
according to hypostasis.
||manifests the simplicity of intelligibles
that which is
||indicates purity, the unmingled, and the not
being filled with a contrary nature
||manifests the eternal, the immutable, and the
invariable, according to hypostasis
Thus for instance, when we say the
beautiful itself, and the just itself, we survey beauty which is
not so by the participation of the beautiful, and justice which is not
so by the participation of the just; but that which is primarily beautiful,
and that which is primarily just. But when we say that which is
beautiful we mean that which is not mingled with deformity, nor contaminated
by its contrary, such as is material beauty, which is situated in deformity,
and is itself replete with its subject nature. And when we use the term
or always we indicate beauty which is not at one time beautiful,
and at another not, but which is eternally beautiful.
||we survey beauty which is not so by the participation
of the beautiful, but that which is primarily beautiful
that which is beautiful
||we mean that which is not mingled with deformity,
nor contaminated by its contrary
always (ever) beautiful
||we indicate beauty which is not at one time beautiful,
and at another not, but which is eternally beautiful
So that the first of these terms manifests
the simplicity of intelligibles, and the supplying all other things from
themselves. For such is the beautiful itself, by which all beautiful
things are beautiful, and the equal itself, by which all equal things are
equal, and in a similar manner in other things of this kind.
But the second of these terms, indicates
onlyness and purity, the unmingled and the undefiled. For the that which
is this, i.e. it is something which is not various, and which does
not attract to itself any thing of a foreign nature.
And the ever manifests immutability,
for the ever is this. Yet it does not simply indicate immutability, but
a permanency in eternity.
||manifests the simplicity of intelligibles, and
the supplying all other things from themselves
that which is
||indicates onlyness and purity, the unmingled
and the undefiled
||manifests immutability, for the ever is this
For a temporal ever is one thing,
and an eternal ever, another; the latter being every thing collectively
and at once; but the former being co-extended with the whole continuity
of time, and being infinite. And the latter subsisting in the now, but
the former, in interval, the interval being unceasing, and always in generation,
or becoming to be.
||is every thing collectively and at once
||co-extended with the whole continuity of time, and is infinite
The term therefore itself,
is derived to beings from the paradigm. For that is the cause of simplicity
to beings, and of imparting to other things that which it primarily possesses.
But the term that which is,
is derived from the one being. For that is primarily exempt from non-being,
and privation; because it is primarily being, and all things subsist in
it occultly and indivisibly.
And the term ever, is derived
from eternity. For as the one being is the supplier of existence, so eternity
imparts perpetuity to intelligibles.
Hence, if Plato had been speaking
about participants and things participated, and for this purpose had required
being, he would have inquired what being itself is. And if he had
been discussing things unmingled, and things that are mingled, he would
have used the term that which is. But since he discourses about
generation and the unbegotten, and for this purpose requires these definitions,
he very properly inquires what that is which is always being. For
this distinguishes the eternal from that which is temporal, in the same
manner as the unbegotten distinguishes eternity. Hence also the nature
of animal itself, which is comprehensive of all intelligible animals, is
eternal; but time was generated together with heaven, as Plato says in
the course of the dialogue.
Moreover, though perpetual being
is said to proceed from a cause, yet it must not be asserted that it is
generated according to all causes, but that it is according to them.
For it is `di o', that on account
of which, and `pros o', that with relation to which, and `uph ou', that
For perpetual being is self-subsistent,
and is not generated by itself, lest not existing at a certain time, it
should be generated. For that which is generated, when it is becoming
to be is not. Nor is it generated with relation to itself, lest it should
be a composite. Nor on account of itself, lest it should be imperfect.
But that which is generated is suspended from another thing, and
has its progression from other causes; and such is every corporeal-formed
After what manner however, is
which is generated never being, concerning which Plato speaks clearly
in the Sophista? Not that it is non-being, but that it is never truly being.
Now, however, it is said to be never
at any time being, because being has a prior arrangement in an eternal
nature; but that which is generated, is never that which always
is. If, therefore, existence, so far as it is being, is unreceptive of
non-existence, it is evident that what is generated, since it has the being
which is in it, of whatever kind it may be, mingled with non-being, is
never at any time being, so as to be genuinely being; and being which subsists
by itself, since this pertains to real existence alone, which has not in
a certain respect non- existence in conjunction with existence, at one
and the same time being and not being.
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©1999 Roy George