- (c. 205–70)Philosopher.Plotinus established an independent school of philosophy in Rome, Italy. He was himself of Egyptian origin, but he taught in Greek. He is remembered as the originator of the neo-Platonist system. He believed in a single indivisible being, who was the ultimate cause of the universe. This One stood at the top of a hierarchy of being – each stage proceeding from the one above. Thus the One was said to produce the Divine Mind and the Divine Mind produced the Soul, on which the entire created world depended for its existence. The soul of the individual, like its heavenly counterpart, must strive to know the truth through contemplation. Through reincarnation and ascetic living, each individual soul has the potential to achieve union with the One. Plotinus himself was not a Christian, but his philosophy was highly influential on theologians such as Augustine and Pseudo-Dionysius, and has thus become part of the mystical heritage of the Church.P. Merlan, From Platonism to Neo-Platonism 2nd edn (1960);J.M. Rist, Plotinus: The Road to Reality (1969).
Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.