Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Proclus in the Renaissance

  • Guy ClaessensEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_412-1


From the beginning of the fifteenth century onwards, Greek manuscripts of the works of the fifth-century Neoplatonist Proclus start to circulate among humanists such as Cusanus, Bessarion, Ficino, and Pico, although some of the medieval Latin translations by William of Moerbeke continue to play an important role as well. Proclus’ metaphysical interpretation of Plato’s Parmenides, and especially its theory of the One, i.e., the first principle of reality, had a major impact on the thought of Cusanus, Ficino, and Patrizi. Cusanus follows Proclus’ sharp distinction between the first One – which transcends being – and the second One – which is – and he uses Proclus’ qualification of the One as “not other” (non aliud) as a name to express both God’s transcendence and immanence. Ficino makes extensive use of Proclus’ commentaries in his own exegesis of Plato’s Parmenides and Timaeus. Like Cusanus, he appears to adopt Proclus’ distinction between the first two principles, although he mainly uses Proclus as a doxographical source. Patrizi provides us with one of the most comprehensive receptions of Proclean metaphysics in the Renaissance. His discussion of the first principle, where he distinguishes between the absolute One and the essential One, is clearly based on the Neoplatonic interpretation of the first hypothesis of the Parmenides. In the sixteenth century, the rediscovery of Proclus’ commentary on Euclid’s Elements sparked off an intense debate on the certainty of mathematics, whereas its central claim, namely, that mathematical concepts are innate, was adopted by Kepler at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Philosophy (HIW)KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anna Laura Puliafito
    • 1
  1. 1.Universität BaselBaselSwitzerland