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Plotino - Tratado 33,10 (II, 9, 10) — O mito de Sophia

Enéada II, 9, 10

domingo 19 de junho de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Capítulo 10: o mito de Sabedoria.

  • 1-17. Renunciamos a refutar todas suas doutrinas.
  • 17-26. O ponto mais absurdo é o relato deles sobre a Sabedoria que se inclina ou não aqui em baixo.
  • 26-33. O demiurgo é segundo eles uma imagem na matéria.

Míguez

10. Tratemos de averiguar ahora muchos otros puntos; todos, si lo preferís mejor; materia abundante se ofrecerá aquí para probar, argumento por argumento, en qué consiste esa doctrina. Yo debo declarar que siento vergüenza de que algunos de nuestros amigos, que habían encontrado tal doctrina antes de hacerse amigos nuestros, persistan todavía en ella, en circunstancia que me parece inconcebible. Y, por añadidura, no les domina la vacilación, sino que desean que su doctrina se aparezca como verdadera y digna de todo crédito, creyendo que efectivamente lo es y hablando por ello de la manera que lo hacen. Estoy dirigiéndome, sin embargo, a mis discípulos, y no a esos hombres — de nada serviría lo que yo digo para convencerles — , y he de procurar que no se vean perturbados, no realmente por las demostraciones que ellos introducen — ¿cómo imaginarlas? — , sino por la arrogancia con que las presentan. Escribiría de una manera muy distinta si yo hubiese de defenderme del ridículo en que quieren dejar las palabras hermosas y tan ajustadas a la verdad de los hombres divinos de la antigüedad. Pero ésta es cuestión que convendrá dejar a un lado; porque, una vez comprendidas perfectamente estas razones, lo dicho será suficiente para comprender todo lo demás. Sea permitido, pues, que abandonemos la cuestión, luego de habernos fijado en un punto de la doctrina que sobrepasa a todos los demás por su carácter de absurdo, si es que aún cabe hablar así.

Afirman esos hombres que el alma y una cierta sabiduría han inclinado hacia abajo, ya porque el alma haya inclinado la primera, ya porque la sabiduría haya sido la causa de la inclinación de aquélla, ya porque el alma y la sabiduría quieran ser una y la misma cosa. Dicen también que las otras almas, para ellos miembros de la sabiduría, han inclinado a la vez y se han revestido de cuerpos, esto es, de cuerpos humanos, en tanto no ha llegado a descender esa misma razón que ocasiona el descenso de las almas; esto es, no ha inclinado hacia abajo, limitándose tan sólo a iluminar las tinieblas, de donde resulta la imagen que se produce en la materia. E imaginan luego una imagen de esta imagen que recorre en este mundo la materia, o la materialidad, o como ellos quieran llamarla — pues unas veces emplean un nombre, otras otro, y aun muchos otros nombres para oscurecimiento de lo que dicen — , y así producen el llamado demiurgo que, según ellos, ha de apartarse de su madre; de él hacen proceder el mundo por una serie de imágenes sucesivas que llevan hasta el final, a fin de censurar violentamente a ese mismo demiurgo que las ha diseñado.

Bouillet

[10] En examinant beaucoup d’autres assertions [des Gnostiques] ou plutôt toutes leurs assertions, on trouve surabondamment de quoi juger leur doctrine dans ses détails. Nous ne pouvons nous empêcher de rougir en voyant quelques-uns de nos amis (105), qui s’étaient imbus de ces opinions avant de se lier avec nous, y persévérer je ne sais comment, travailler avec ardeur à essayer de prouver qu’elles méritent pleine confiance, ou parler comme s’ils étaient persuadés qu’elles sont fondées. Nous nous adressons. ici à nos amis, et non aux partisans des Gnostiques. Nous essaierions vainement de persuader à ces derniers de ne pas se laisser abuser par des hommes qui ne donnent pas de démonstrations (quelles démonstrations en effet pourraient-ils donner ?), mais qui ne font qu’en imposer par leur jactance (106).Il y aurait encore un autre mode de discussion d’après lequel on pourrait écrire une réfutation de ces gens assez hardis pour railler les doctrines que des hommes divins ont professées dans les temps anciens et qui sont parfaitement conformes à la vérité. Mais nous n’emploierons point ce mode de discussion : car ceux qui comprendront bien ce que nous venons de dire pourront par là juger du reste.

Nous ne discuterons pas non plus une assertion qui surpasse toutes les autres en absurdité, si toutefois le terme d’absurdité est assez fort. La voici :

« L’Âme et une certaine Sagesse ont incliné vers les choses d’ici-bas (νεῦσαι κάτω), soit que l’Âme ait incliné la première et de son propre mouvement, soit qu’elle y ait été entraînée par la Sagesse, soit que les Gnostiques regardent l’Âme et la Sagesse comme une seule et même puissance (107). Les autres âmes sont descendues ensemble ici-bas [avec l’Âme] (συγκατεληλυθέναι), ainsi que les membres de la Sagesse (μέλη τῆς σοφίας) (108), et sont entrées dans des corps, des corps humains probablement (109). Cependant l’Âme, à cause de laquelle les autres âmes sont descendues ici-bas, n’est pas descendue elle-même : elle n’a pas incliné (μὴ νεῦσαι) en quelque sorte, mais elle a seulement illuminé les ténèbres (ἐλλάμψαι τῷ σκότῳ) . De cette illumination est née dans la matière une image [la Sagesse, image de l’Âme]. Ensuite une image de l’image [le Démiurge] a été formée par le moyen de la matière ou de la matérialité (δι’ ὕλης ἢ ὑλότητος) ou d’un principe que les Gnostiques qualifient d’un autre nom (110) (car ils emploient beaucoup d’autres noms qu’ils inventent pour être obscurs) ; c’est ainsi qu’ils engendrent leur Démiurge. Ils supposent aussi que ce Démiurge s’est séparé de sa mère [la Sagesse], et ils font provenir de lui le monde jusqu’aux dernières images (ἐπ’ ἔσχατα τῶν εἰδώλων) . »

Écrire de pareilles choses, n’est-ce pas faire une satire amère de la puissance qui a créé le monde (111)?

Guthrie

PLOTINOS   ADDRESSES HIMSELF TO THOSE OF HIS FRIENDS WHO WERE FORMERLY GNOSTIC, NOT TO THE LATTER WHO ARE HOPELESS.

10. On examining many other assertions (of the Gnostics), or rather, all of their assertions, we find more than enough to come to some conclusion concerning the details of their doctrines. We cannot, indeed, help blushing when we see some of our friends, who had imbued themselves with (Gnostic) doctrines before becoming friends of ours, somehow or another persevere therein, working zealously to try to prove that they deserved full confidence, or speaking as if they were still convinced that they were based on good grounds. We are here addressing our friends, not the partisans (of the Gnostics). Vainly indeed would we try to persuade the latter not to let themselves be deceived by men who furnish no proofs — what proofs indeed could they furnish ? — but who only impose on others by their boastfulness.

PLOTINOS   HAS NO INTENTION OF WRITING A FULL CONFUTATION.

Following another kind of discussion, we might write a refutation of these men who are impudent enough to ridicule the teachings of those divine men who taught in ancient times, and who conformed entirely to truth. We shall not however embark on this, for whoever understands what we have already said will from that (sample) be able to judge of the remainder.

GNOSTIC THEORY OF CREATION BY MERE ILLUMINATION.

Neither will we controvert an assertion which overtops all their others in absurdity — we use this term for lack of a stronger. Here it is: "The Soul and another Wisdom inclined downwards towards things here below, either because the Soul first inclined downwards spontaneously, or because she was misled by Wisdom; or because (in Gnostic view), Soul and Wisdom were identical. The other souls descended here below together (with the Soul), as well as the "members of Wisdom," and entered into bodies, probably human. Nevertheless the Soul, on account of which the other soul descended here below, did not herself descend. She did not incline, so to speak, but only illuminated the darkness. From this illumination was born in matter an image (Wisdom, the image of the Soul). Later was formed (the demiurgic creator, called) an image of the image, by means of matter or materiality, or of a principle by (Gnostics) designated by another name (the "Fruit of the fall") — for they make use of many other names, for the purpose of increasing obscurity. This is how they derive their demiurgic creator. They also suppose that this demiurgic creator separated himself from his mother, Wisdom, and from him they deduce the whole world even to the extremity of the images." The perpetration of such assertions amounts to a bitter sarcasm of the power that created the world.

Taylor

X. He, therefore, who investigates many other particulars, or rather every particular respecting their opinions, will be able to show copiously what the nature of them is. We, indeed, are ashamed of certain of our friends, [1] who before they were intimate with us were conversant with these opinions, and who still, I know not how, persevere in them, and endeavour to render them credible. We, however, speak to those with whom we are acquainted, and not to the many who are auditors of these men. For we shall effect nothing by endeavouring to persuade them not to be disturbed by the arguments of the Gnostics, which are not accompanied with demonstrations ; (for how is it possible they should ?) but are the assertions of arrogant men. For there is another mode of properly confuting those who dare to reprehend the doctrines of ancient and divine men, and a mode which adheres to the truth. We shall, therefore, dismiss the enquiry how they are to be persuaded. For those who accurately understand what has now been said, will know what the nature is of every other particular. We shall dismiss, however, the consideration of that assertion which surpasses every thing in absurdity, if it is requisite to call it an absurditv, viz. that soul and a certain wisdom verged downward, whether soul was the first that began to verge, or wisdom was the cause of this tendency to an inferior condition, or both had the same intention. They add, that other souls and the members of wisdom descended at the same time, and entered bodies, such for instance as those of men. They say, however, that the soul for the sake of which other souls descended, did not descend, as if it did not verge downward, but that it only illuminated the darkness j and that afterwards an image was from thence produced in matter. Again, also, after this fashioning an image of an image, they assert that it pervades through matter or materiality, or whatever else they may please to call it; for they call this by one name, and that by another, devising many appellations for the purpose of rendering what they say obscure. And thus they generate what is denominated by them the demiurgus. Making the world, likewise, to revolt from the mother, they say that it proceeds from the demiurgus as far as to the last of images.

MacKenna

10. Under detailed investigation, many other tenets of this school - indeed we might say all - could be corrected with an abundance of proof. But I am withheld by regard for some of our own friends who fell in with this doctrine before joining our circle and, strangely, still cling to it.

The school, no doubt, is free-spoken enough - whether in the set purpose of giving its opinions a plausible colour of verity or in honest belief - but we are addressing here our own acquaintances, not those people with whom we could make no way. We have spoken in the hope of preventing our friends from being perturbed by a party which brings, not proof - how could it? - but arbitrary, tyrannical assertion; another style of address would be applicable to such as have the audacity to flout the noble and true doctrines of the august teachers of antiquity.

That method we will not apply; anyone that has fully grasped the preceding discussion will know how to meet every point in the system.

Only one other tenet of theirs will be mentioned before passing the matter; it is one which surpasses all the rest in sheer folly, if that is the word.

They first maintain that the Soul and a certain "Wisdom" [Sophia] declined and entered this lower sphere though they leave us in doubt of whether the movement originated in Soul or in this Sophia of theirs, or whether the two are the same to them - then they tell us that the other Souls came down in the descent and that these members of Sophia took to themselves bodies, human bodies, for example.

Yet in the same breath, that very Soul which was the occasion of descent to the others is declared not to have descended. "It knew no decline," but merely illuminated the darkness in such a way that an image of it was formed upon the Matter. Then, they shape an image of that image somewhere below - through the medium of Matter or of Materiality or whatever else of many names they choose to give it in their frequent change of terms, invented to darken their doctrine - and so they bring into being what they call the Creator or Demiurge, then this lower is severed from his Mother [Sophia] and becomes the author of the Kosmos down to the latest of the succession of images constituting it.

Such is the blasphemy of one of their writers.


[1Plotinus, I suppose, alludes here to Origen the Christian father, I among others, who had formerly been one of his disciples.