chapter  XVIII
12 Pages

Porphyry and the Intelligible Triad

ByMark Edwards

The triad is of fundamental importance to the successors of Plotinus, and Proclus is at pains to make his exposition both logical and clear. Porphyry anticipates the theology of the triad, as did Plato and Plotinus. Porphyry gave systematic form to the triad 'Etre-Vie-Pensee' and that he wrote the Commentary on the Parmenides, have been maintained with formidable eloquence and learning by the French scholar Pierre Hadot. While the arguments of Hadot are not absolutely disprovable, he embellishes the data with a subtlety that disguises important differences and lacunae, and ought not to command uncritical belief. It is unfortunate that the appeal of Hadot's theory must be to fragments and conjectures, and that the triad is lacking even in works which might have been expected to reveal the heart of Porphyry's philosophy. Hadot has assembled other evidence, both copious and persuasive, to prove that the intelligible triad was foreshadowed in writings of Porphyry's which are now lost.