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Douglas Burton-Christie, The Pagan Philosopher's Quest for Holiness: Plotinus and his Circle


     The pagan philosopher was distinguished by a generally positive appraisal of his culture. We learn at the beginning of Porphyry's Vita Plotini that a crucial turning point in Plotinus's life came with his conversion to philosophy and the decision to spend time studying with the philosopher Ammonius Saccas. Conversion to philosophy meant then, as it had for some time in the Greek world, a profound inward reorientation in which one was, in a sense, reborn into a new awareness of everything most sublime in the cultural tradition. It was "a turning from luxury and self indulgence and superstition, to a life of discipline and sometimes to a life of contemplation, scientific or mystic." This note concerning Plotinus's conversion to philosophy helps to situate Plotinus's quest for holiness within his culture and society. Read Complete

Cf. Plotinus, The soul's movement will be about its source, Music leads to the absolute beauty
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