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ξυγγενεῖ . νοῦς is akin to Being and the Eternal: cf. Phaed. 79 D, Tim. 90 A—C and infra X 611 E.

πλησιάσας κτλ.: ‘whereby having come nigh unto and married with true Being, begetting Reason and Truth, he attained unto knowledge and enjoyed true life and nourishment, and then but not before ceased from travail of the soul.’ The mystic union of the Soul with Being is here described in passionate and glowing language. Cf. Phaedr. 246 E—247 D, Symp. 210 A—212 A, and many parallels in Plotinus, for whom, as for the Neoplatonists generally, the mystic side of Platonism had an extraordinary fascination: see Zeller^{3} III 2, pp. 611—618. The imagery should be compared with Theaet. 156 A ff. where the phenomena of Perception are thus analysed. The Subject unites with the Object, and from this union are born two children, one the αἴσθησις e.g. Sight, the other the αἰσθητόν e.g. τὸ μέλαν. The former belongs more peculiarly to the Subject, the latter to the Object. Similarly with the phenomena of Knowledge. The Subject unites with the Idea, and the children of this union are νοῦς (or rather, strictly speaking, νόησις i.e. the action of νοῦς), on the side of the Subject, and the νοητόν, i.e. Truth, on the side of the Object. We miss an essential point if we take νοῦν as the object of Knowledge; it is the faculty of Reason, no longer dormant, but suddenly called into actuality. Plato means that Reason does not really live until it lays hold on the Idea. γνοίη corresponds to νοῦν; it is by the begetting of νοῦς that we come to know. The aorist denotes the instantaneous act; cf. Symp. 210 E πρὸς τέλος ἤδη ἰὼνἐξαίφνης κατόψεταί τι θαυμαστὸν τὴν φύσιν καλόν κτλ. See also on 508 D and cf. VII 517 C. In like manner ἀληθῶς ζῴη balances ἀλήθειαν: there is no true life without knowledge of the Truth. ἀληθῶς goes also with τρέφοιτο: cf. Phaedr. 247 D and 248 B, C. With ὠδῖνος cf. Phaedr. 251 E (ὠδίνων ἔληξεν) and Symp. 206 E. It is tempting to suppose that in ὠδῖνος Plato is thinking not merely of the lover's pangs, but also of the pangs of birth. The knowledge of the Idea is indeed in Plato's view an intellectual and moral regeneration. But ἀπολήγοι τοῦ ἔρωτος shews that ὠδῖνος means the throes of love; and the further view introduces a confusion of ideas which is alien to the peculiar character of Plato's ‘mysticism.’

μετέσται. With μετέσται cf. X 606 B λογίζεσθαι γὰρὀλίγοις τισὶ μέτ- εστιν and Theaet. 186 E. τι is adverbial and does not go with ψεῦδος. There is no occasion for Madvig's conjecture ἐπιμελὲς ἔσται: nor need we write ψεύδους, as I formerly proposed.

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hide References (10 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (10):
    • Plato, Phaedo, 79d
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 156a
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 186e
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 246e
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 247d
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 251e
    • Plato, Symposium, 206e
    • Plato, Symposium, 210a
    • Plato, Symposium, 210e
    • Plato, Timaeus, 90a
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