Myth and Exegesis in Plotinus: How to Divide and Recompose Words and Things

José María Zamora Calvo

Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain. Email:

Volume 9, Number 2, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n2.08

Received May 25, 2017; Revised July 15, 2017; Accepted July 17, 2017; Published August 09, 2017.


This paper explores the central thesis of the myth presented by Plotinus in his treatise On Love (III, 5 [50] 9, 24-29). Myth is a narrative that divides and deploys over time structures differentiated only by their “rank” or “powers”. First, the myth teaches, and then allows those who have understood it to “recompose” the data scattered through the discourse. The Hesiodic genealogy –Uranus, Kronos, Zeus– corresponds to the three main hypostases –the One, the Intelligence and the Soul. Likewise, the death and later dismemberment of child Dionysus symbolize the multiplicity and impassivity of sensible matter.

Keywords: myth; Plotinus; exegesis; Neoplatonism; Dionysus

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