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ἐνοῦσα φαίνεται: sc. καθαρὰ ὄψις, supplied from καθαρᾶς ὄψεως above. ‘<ὄψις> ἐνοῦσα <σαφὴς> lubens suppleverim’ says Herwerden, and ὄψις is found in a few MSS, including q. But the feminine inflexion prevents the possibility of mistake: cf. 503 E note The initial syllable of ἐνοῦσα should be emphasized to point the contrast with οὐκ ἐνούσης, where οὐκ is also emphatic.

ὅταν μὲν κτλ. ἀπερείσηται=‘is stayed upon’ (cf. IX 581 A), not ‘has fastened upon’ (D. and V.), which suggests an altogether different and much less appropriate idea. Cf. Phaed. 79 D πέπαυται τοῦ πλάνου, Plot. XX 4 Kirchhoff παύσασα δὲ τῆς περὶ τὸ αἰσθητὸν πλάνης ἐνιδρύει τῷ νοητῷ, and Dante Parad. 4. 124, 125 Io veggio ben che giammai non si sazia Nostro intelletto, se 'l ver non lo illustra. The soul can find no rest except in that ‘whereon Truth and Being shine’: elsewhere she is tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine (ἄνωμεταβάλλον. For ἄνω καὶ κάτω see Heindorf on Gorg. 495 A). Instead of οὗ, van Heusde proposes , but οὗ is proved correct by ὧν above. With ἐνόησέν τε καὶ ἔγνω cf. 490 B note Here, as there, the aorists denote instantaneous action. The faculty of νοῦς is suddenly actualized into νόησις by being turned upon its proper object. Then and not till then does the Soul ‘appear to have reason,’ for Reason has hitherto lain dormant within. Cf. (with Biehi l.c. p. 51) Tim. 37 C, Parm. 136 E and VII 518 C—519 A. See also on τοῦτο τοίνυν κτλ. below, and 508 E note

κεκραμένον. The suggestion κεκρυμμένον forgets that τὸ γιγνόμενον is not total darkness but only twilight. It is ἀμφοτέρων μετέχον, τοῦ εἶναί τε καὶ μὴ εἶναι (V 478 E: cf. also 479 C)—a halfway house between absolute Not-Being and absolute Being.

δοξάζει is explained by V 476 D ff.

τοῦτο τοίνυν κτλ. The following equations are involved:

With regard to (2), Light has been variously interpreted as symbolizing the Idea of Good (Plotinus, as appears from XXIII 4), Reason (Steinhart, Einleitung pp. 212 ff.), and the Ideas (Susemihl Gen. Entw. II pp. 195 ff.). But the chiasmus in 508 E, 509 A (<*>πιστήμηνὄψιν) clearly establishes equation (2) as well as (6), and the entire simile is plunged in confusion if Light is equated with anything except Truth. Cf. Stumpf l.c. p. 60 notes and Biehl l.c. pp. 50—53. Plato means that as Light, coming from the Sun, enables colours to be seen, and the faculty of Sight to see, so Truth (or rather Trueness, as Bosanquet remarks), coming from the Good, enables the Ideas to be known, and the faculty of νοῦς to know. It should be carefully noted that Truth (or its source, the Idea of Good) is not yet regarded as creating, but only as actualizing the faculty of Reason. The conception of the Good as the ultimate cause of all Existence follows later (509 B ff.): here it is represented only as the cause of Knowledge. See also on 490 B, 508 D (ὅταν μὲν κτλ.). If we would grasp the full significance of Plato's comparison, we must not be content with the merely philosophical interpretation of Light, but remember also the many poetical and religious associations which attached themselves to such words as φῶς and φέγγος, especially in the Mysteries: see Neil on Ar. Knights 1319, Mommsen Feste d. Stadt Athen pp. 229 f., 238 f. and Hatch on The influence of the Mysteries upon Christian usages in his Hibbert Lectures pp. 283—309. The prominent position occupied by Light in the half-religious, half-philosophical teaching of Plotinus (see Zeller^{3} III 2 pp. 498 f., 500 note 2, 616 al.) may to a large extent be attributed to the elaboration and expansion of the mystical elements involved in Plato's simile, the whole of which, together with the similes of the Line and the Cave, is of the greatest importance for the history of Neoplatonism. Cf. also 508 A, B notes

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hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (5):
    • Aristophanes, Knights, 1319
    • Plato, Phaedo, 79d
    • Plato, Parmenides, 136e
    • Plato, Gorgias, 495a
    • Plato, Timaeus, 37c
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