By Miall D.S. (ed.)
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Extra info for Metaphor, problems and perspectives
Both Paul and Plotinus appear to dwell on the question of how the inner man relates to virtues and sin. I shall first focus on Plotinus’ view on this relation, in order to provide a context in which Paul’s reflections on the inner man can be appreciated more clearly. To this end, we shall now first address the question of what Plotinus thinks of the vices which, despite the process of becoming god-like, remain in man. Plotinus devotes much discussion to this specific topic, and his deliberations help us to understand the ins and outs of the notion of the ‘inner man’.
This compliance with divine law is also brought out in Plotinus. According to him, when a man (. ) comes to the divine, it stands over him and sees to it that he is man; that is, that he lives by the law (νόμος) of providence, which means doing everything that its law says (ὃ δή ἐστι πράττοντα ὅσα ὁ νόμος αὐτῆς λέγει). 9). There is fundamental agreement between Plotinus and Paul about the ethical purpose of the notion of the ‘inner man’, and of the real possibility that man rejoices in God’s law, the law of providence.
They had made researches into the nature of the soul and observed that its components were three-fold, reason (logos), spiritedness (thymos) and desire (epithymia). To reason, as sovereign, they assigned for its citadel the head as its most suitable residence, where are also set the stations of the senses, like bodyguards of their king, the intellect (nous). (trans. Colson, slightly adapted). e. g. at On the Creation of the World 117, where is engaged in extolling the Hebdomad, and a group of seven dependent on a monad is what suits his book:8 Since things on earth are dependent on the heavenly realm through a natural affinity, the principle of the seven, which began on high, has also come down to us and made its presence felt among the mortal kinds.
Metaphor, problems and perspectives by Miall D.S. (ed.)