On all the cardinal doctrines - God, matter, the relation of God to the world, freedom and evil - Augustine retained the impress of Neoplatonism; at the same time he is the theologian of antiquity who most clearly perceived and most fully stated wherein Neoplatonism and Christianity differ.
In short, Neoplatonism seizes on the aspiration of the human soul after a higher life, and treats this psychological fact as the key to the.
As forerunners of Neoplatonism we may regard, on the one hand, those Stoics who accepted the Platonic distinction between the sensible world and the intelligible, and, on the other hand, the so-called Neopythagoreans and religious philosophers like Plutarch of Chaeronea and especially Numenius of Apamea.
When Neoplatonism appeared, the Christian church had already laid down the main positions of her theology; or if not, she worked them out alongside of Neoplatonism - that is not a mere accident - but still independently.
It will be seen from the above that Neoplatonism is not.
Erigena's contemporaries, and was certainly unorthodox enough to justify the condemnation which it subsequently received from Honorius III.; but its influence, together with that of the Pseudo-Dionysius, had a considerable share in developing the more emotional orthodox mysticism of the 12th and 13th centuries; and Neoplatonism (or Platonism received through a Neoplatonic tradition) remained a distinct element in medieval thought, though obscured in the period of mature scholasticism by the predominant influence of Aristotle.
To Neoplatonism political affairs are at bottom as indifferent as all other earthly things.
This production is not a physical process, but an emission of force; and, since the product has real existence only in virtue of the original existence working in it, Neoplatonism may be described as a species of dynamic pantheism.
At the same time we ought not to overlook the affinities between the doctrine of Plotinus and that remarkable combination of Greek and Hebrew thought which Philo Judaeus had expounded two centuries before; nor the fact that Neoplatonism was developed in conscious antagonism to the new religion which had spread from Judea, and was already threatening the conquest of the GraecoRoman world, and also to the Gnostic systems (see Gnosticism); nor, finally, that it furnished the chief theoretical support in the last desperate struggle that was made under Julian to retain the old polytheistic worship.
When Justinian in 529 closed the university of Athens, the last seat of paganism in the Roman empire, the last seven teachers of Neoplatonism emigrated to Persia.