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IN A WELL-KNOWN ESSAY, Charles Kahn has addressed the question of "why existence does not emerge as a distinct concept in ancient Greek philosophy."(1) The assumption that gives rise to this question--namely, that the Greeks did not distinctly address the concept of existence-may seem puzzling. After all, [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is one of the central terms of ancient metaphysics, and the Greeks engaged in endless wrangles over what deserves to be honored by that term and on what grounds the distinction is to be awarded. Aristotle goes so far as to call the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of each thing the "cause of its being" ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and to argue on this basis that the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of a thing must be its form.(2) Far from proving that there is no such lacuna in Greek metaphysics, however, Aristotle's argument actually illustrates it. Form is the cause of the being of something only in the sense that it makes the thing to be that thing, rather than something else; it is the source of the thing's specificity, of its existence qua entity of that type. Kahn's point is that the Greeks do not address the nature of existence as such, as opposed to the existence qua a particular type of thing that is imparted by form.

One of the most interesting features of Neoplatonism after Plotinus is that the Neoplatonists do recognize this distinction. Its sources are already present in Plotinus. He interprets the famous description of the Good as [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] to mean that the Good--that is, for Plotinus, the One--is not subject to the limitation by form that is characteristic of substance.(3) Since the One clearly exists, then, there must be a kind of existence transcending that of substance. Yet although Plotinus is committed to this position, he never states it in such a way as to distinguish the existence exhibited by the One from that of substance. Indeed, he would probably reject even the terms in which I have attempted to characterize his position. The One does not exhibit anything more general than itself, including a kind of existence. For Plotinus there is no concept of existence applying univocally to substance and the One; there is only being ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), the being of substance, and this being is located below the One at the level of Intellect.

The later Neoplatonists were well aware of the injunction against applying terms univocally to substance and the One. Yet they were also aware that the One exists in some fashion, and indeed is far more real than substance, whether judged by a Platonic criterion of absoluteness or an Aristotelian criterion of actuality. Their solution was to use different terms to designate the existence that is imparted by the limitation of form and the existence that is prior to such limitation. For the former they kept the terms in use ever since Plato, [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. The question was how to designate existence that is prior to form. Ultimately the term of choice came to be esse, or in Greek [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (or [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]).(4) Unfortunately, as I shall argue here, much of these Neoplatonic reflections about being failed to reach the philosophers of the Middle Ages. It was precisely the concept of esse as the act of being that was muted (though not wholly lost), and had therefore to be reconstructed--in a very different way--by Aquinas.

The central figure in this story is Marius Victorinus, a Christian Neoplatonist of the fourth century. Before turning to Victorinus, I would like to look briefly at another important document of the post-Plotinian era, the anonymous commentary on the Parmenides discovered in 1873 in the library of Turin.(5) A passage from that work bears directly on our theme and will provide a useful point of reference for Victorinus. The passage occurs as the commentator addresses a question raised at the beginning of the Second Hypothesis of the Parmenides: "If the One exists, can it exist without participating in being ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII])?"(6) The commentator writes:
 Behold whether Plato does not seem to speak in riddles, because the One,
 which is "beyond substance" and beyond being ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE
 IN ASCII] on the one hand is neither being nor substance nor activity
 ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), but on the other hand acts and is
 itself pure act ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), so that it is
 also the being before being ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). By
 participating in it the other One receives a derivative being, which indeed
 is to participate in being. Thus, being is double ([GREEK TEXT NOT
 REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]): the one exists prior to being, the other is
 brought forth from the One which IS beyond, the absolute being ([GREEK TEXT
 NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and as it were "idea" of being.(7)

There are several points here that will be elaborated by Victorinus. First is the distinction between absolute being, [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and derivative being, designated variously as [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and as a second [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. As emerges later in the Commentary, what makes the first being absolute is that it is prior to the limitation imposed by form: "it has neither form, nor name, nor substance, for it is dominated by nothing and given shape by nothing.(8) The second, derivative being is generated from absolute being. This is the commentator's adaptation of Plotinus's doctrine of the generation of Intellect from the One. Like Plotinus, the commentator assumes that the "One" of the First Hypothesis is the Plotinian One and the "One" of the Second Hypothesis is the Plotinian Intellect.(9) The commentator adds an un-Plotinian twist in the claim that the other One participates in the first One, thus making the first One something like the Idea of being.

The point I particularly wish to emphasize, however, is that the commentator does not choose [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] as the name for absolute being casually or unadvisedly, but with a clear philosophical intent. The fact that the One is [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is said to follow from the fact that it "acts ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and is itself pure act ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII])." Apparently the commentator chooses the term [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] to indicate that existence is itself a kind of activity, so that the One's being absolute existence is a consequence of its being pure act. The articular infinitive is well suited for this purpose. It proclaims its verbal origin on the surface, so to speak, in the presence of the infinitive; furthermore the infinitive, unlike an inflected verb, does not imply by its form that there is a particular subject performing the activity. Hence [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] conveys well what Pierre Hadot has called "l'idee verbale nue," the pure notion of activity not constrained within the categories of subject and attribute.(10) Of course, to speak of the One as [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] has more than one meaning; it indicates not only that the One acts without exhibiting any passivity, but also that it is fully actual and has no unrealized potentiality. In effect the commentator is trading on the two senses of [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "to act" and "to be actual," to make a direct connection between activity, actuality, and existence.

Yet the Commentary remains noncommittal regarding the precise nature of the activity of the One. Thanks to the influence of Plotinus, not to mention that of the First Hypothesis of the Parmenides, the Commentary displays a strong strand of negative theology; as already observed, it insists that the activity or actuality ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) which is the One "has neither form, nor name, nor substance, for it is dominated by nothing and given shape by nothing." It is on this point that Marius Victorinus will take a decisive step beyond the Commentary.


How Victorinus does so emerges gradually in the course of his attempt to adapt these Neoplatonic reflections about being to the doctrine of the Trinity. Victorinus has received relatively little attention even among scholars of Neoplatonism, and his importance in developing the idea that existence is a kind of activity has not been sufficiently recognized.(11) I will therefore discuss his work in some detail, particularly his two books against the Arians, Ad Candidum (359 A.D.) and Adversus Arium (359-362 A.D.).

Much of Victorinus's thought can be understood as an elaboration of two central passages of the New Testament. The first is Colossians 1:16-17, which states in reference to Christ that "all things were created by him, and for him, and he is before all things, and by him all things consist."(12) For Victorinus these words indicate that Christ as the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is both the cause of the existence of all things and the receptacle (receptaculum) in which they exist. The [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is therefore [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], the truly existent containing "the seed of all things," much like Plotinian Intellect. Thus Victorinus interprets Genesis 1:1, in principio fecit deum caelum et terram, by taking principium to refer to the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: "He created all things in Christ, for Christ as the seed of all things is the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]."(13) The [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] differs from Plotinian Intellect, however, in serving as the agent as well as the paradigm of creation. Drawing on the traditional Parmenidean conviction that being implies intelligibility, Victorinus describes the role of the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] as follows:
 This [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is the universal power of
 things, "through whom all has been made," containing in itself in a
 universal mode the substances of all things, and providing for the
 existence of each that which belongs to it and is proper to it.... By
 imposing a limit on the infinite in things, it forms each thing into its
 own existence, and, having removed infinity, it subjects the thing to the
 understanding. It is, therefore, as the power of things and in view of its
 begetting and bringing about existences, the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE
 IN ASCII]. Insofar as it defines and encloses, providing form to each, it
 is the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] the already existing, since
 [thanks to it] there has come to be a particular form of esse.(14)

This passage turns upon a contrast between esse, existence which is unqualified and in that sense infinite, and the circumscribed, intelligible existence of substance. Just as Victorinus identifies [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] with the Son, so he identifies esse in its original, uncircumscribed condition with the Father.
 REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] there is that force and that power of being that is
 designated by the word esse, in Greek [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN
 ASCII]. This very esse must be taken under two modes, one that is universal
 and originally original (principaliter principale), and from it comes esse
 for all others; and according to another mode, all others have esse, that
 is, the esse of all later things, genera or species and other things of
 that kind. But the first esse is so unparticipated that it cannot even be
 called one or alone, but rather, by preeminence, before the One, before the
 alone, beyond simplicity, preexistence rather than existence, universal of
 all universals, infinite, unlimited--at least for all others, but not for
 itself--and therefore without form.... Whence it is not [GREEK TEXT NOT
 something determined, knowable, intelligible.(15)

Here Victorinus contrasts [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in much the same way as the Anonymous Commentary. His association of [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] with form and intelligibility, though not to be found in the Commentary, is a natural elaboration of the distinction as there stated. Victorinus differs from the Commentary, however, in denying there to be any participation of [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in esse. This is a return to the position of Plotinus. He also gives no indication that esse and [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] are somehow the same reality viewed under different aspects, as the Commentary suggests in regard to the two Ones of the Parmenides.(16) In light of the identifications of esse and [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] with the Father and the Son, such a suggestion would be tantamount to the heresy of modalism.

What, then, is the relationship between the esse which is the Father and the 6v which is the Son? The answer lies in the second of the two key passages from the New Testament, the opening words of the Gospel of John: in principio erat verbum, et verbum erat apud deum. Victorinus finds these words freighted with ontological significance. The verbum is of course the Son; more surprisingly (in light of the interpretation of Genesis 1:1 mentioned earlier), the principium is the Father, the beginning of all things. In saying that the verbum was in principio and apud deum ("in the bosom of the Father," verse 18), St. John asserts that "initially"--that is, in the order of ontological priority--the Son is present in potentiality in the Father. This potential [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] comes forth as actual [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and in so doing becomes the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. To say that the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] does not mean, then, that the source of the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is not-being ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) in any absolute sense, but only that it exists in a way other than that characteristic of [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].
 [God the Father] is known neither as [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
 nor as [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], but as knowable in ignorance
 since He is simultaneously [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and not
 [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], who by His own power has produced
 and led [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] into manifestation.... For
 that which is above [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is the hidden
 [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Indeed the manifestation of the
 hidden is begetting, if indeed the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
 in potentiality begets the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in
 actuality. For nothing is begotten without cause. And if God is cause of
 all, He is cause also of the begetting of the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE
 IN ASCII], since He is certainly above [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN
 ASCII] although He is in contact with [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN
 ASCII] as both His father and begetter. Indeed, the one who is pregnant has
 hidden within what will be begotten.... What therefore was within, in God?
 Nothing other than [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], the truly [GREEK
 IN ASCII] [preexistent], which is above the universally existent genus,
 NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in potentiality now in actuality.(17)

Much like Plotinus, Victorinus insists that what is present in the effect must be present implicitly or in a hidden manner in the cause.(18) By understanding begetting as "the manifestation of the hidden," he identifies the relationship between Father and Son, esse and [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], as an instance of that between potency and act.(19)

To call the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] being ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) may be misleading insofar as it invites us to think of the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] as something fixed or static. Victorinus insists that the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] or [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is; intrinsically active. It is "a certain active paternal power (patrica activa quaedam potentia) which so moves itself and disposes itself that it is in act (in actu), not in potentiality"; it is "the active power which puts itself in motion so that what was potentiality might be actuality."(20) Since what exists in the Son preexists in the Father, it follows that esse itself must also be intrinsically active. The difference is that the action of the Father is directed inward, being a kind of active repose, whereas the action of the Son is directed outward, consisting in both its own movement toward existence and its creative act.(21) (Victorinus scarcely distinguishes these two, for the Son as [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] already contains "the seed of all things.") Attempting to explain the statement of Christ that "the Father is greater than I" (John 14:28)--always a difficult text for the orthodox--Victorinus writes:
 The Father is greater [than the Son] because He gave all to the Son and is
 the cause of the Son's being and mode of being. But He is also greater
 because He is inactive action (actio inactuosa). Such act is more blessed
 because it is without effort and unchanging, the source of all things that
 are, dwelling in repose, perfect in itself and needing nothing. The Son,
 however, received being, and proceeding from action to act comes into
 perfection. He is realized as a plenitude by motion, having become all
 things that are.(22)

In another text elaborating the distinction between the Father as internal act and the Son as external act we see more clearly the Biblical rationale for of the idea.
 Potency, which preexists all things, is both a "preprinciple" and exists
 prior to the truly [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].... Scripture and
 common knowledge affirm that this [preprinciple] is God and esse and that
 there is nothing before Him (ante ipsum nihil esse), He who is at once esse
 and operari. We confess and adore this God as the principle of all that is,
 for by act are those things which are; for before action they do not yet
 exist. For we believe in a God who acts, as for example: "In the beginning
 God made heaven and earth." ... Therefore He is the true God and the only
 God, because He is God both in power and in activity, but internal, whereas
 Christ is both in power and in activity, but now external and manifest. God
 the Father is therefore first act and first existence and first substance,
 the original [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], who by His own action
 begets Himself.(23)

Ultimately both Father and Son are esse and operari (or agere). The difference is that the Father is originally and purely esse, and agere in only a hidden or inward manner; the Son is esse in a secondary and derivative way, and principally and manifestly agere. Victorinus makes this commonality the basis for his central contention against the Arians--that the Father and Son are consubstantial, although remaining distinct. "Father and Son are [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], the Father existing as esse and also as agere, the Son existing as agere and also as esse. Each of the two has individuality according to what He especially is.... The Father is esse and above all that esse in which activity is potentially present (inest actio potentialiter). The Son, as a later existent, has agere as something later from that which is esse, possessing His being as Son, in that He is agere, from the first esse."(24)


What is this inner activity that Victorinus attributes to the Father? For the answer we must turn to Plotinus. It is well known that Plotinus denies that there is intellection ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) in the One on the grounds that intellection presupposes the duality of subject and object.(25) Yet he also says that the One "so to speak looks to himself" and "so to speak holds to himself," and he speaks of something in the One "like what is in Intellect, but in many ways greater."(26) That there is in the One an activity like that of Intellect, but not itself noetic, is necessary in light of Plotinus's principle that the effect is present implicitly in the cause.(27) Plotinus never directly explains how the "looking to himself" and "holding to himself" of the One is different from the self-thinking thought of Intellect, nor how it can fail to impart at least some degree of duality. With a little exegetical labor, however, it is not difficult to arrive at an answer.(28)

The vital clue is a distinction Plotinus draws between two states of Intellect. The first is the normal state of self-thinking thought, much like that of Aristotelian nous; the second is a higher kind of intuitive grasp by which Intellect directly apprehends the One, in the process losing its self-awareness. Plotinus appeals to a number of images to try to give a sense of what this direct awareness is like. Among them is the state of being drunk and in love:
 Intellect also, then, has one power of thinking, by which it looks at the
 things in itself, and one by which it looks at what transcends it by a
 direct awareness ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and reception
 ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), by which also before it saw only,
 and by seeing acquired intellect and is one. And that first is the
 contemplation of Intellect in its right mind, and the other is Intellect in
 love, when it goes out of its mind "drunk with the nectar"; then it falls
 in love, simplified into happiness by having its fill; and it is better for
 it to be drunk with a drunkenness like this than to be more respectably

Elsewhere Plotinus describes the higher state as a vision of light, in distinction to the vision of things; made visible by light. The analogy is complicated by the fact that the light is not perceived by Intellect as something external to it, like a normal light, but as somehow its own. Plotinus likens it to the light that was then widely believed to be internal to the eye--light that can be seen when the eyelid is closed and the eye is pressed by its possessor.
 For then in not seeing it [the eye] sees, and sees then most of all: for it
 sees light; but the other things which it saw had the form of light but
 were not light. Just so Intellect, veiling itself from other things and
 drawing itself inward, when it is not looking at anything will see a light,
 not a distinct light in something different from itself, but suddenly
 appearing, alone by itself in independent purity, so that Intellect is at a
 loss to know whence it has appeared, whether it has come from outside or
 within, and after it has gone away will say, "It was within, and yet it was
 not within."(30)

Finally there is an intriguing passage in which Plotinus likens the presence of the "inner intellect" within us to a state of divine possession.
 Just as those who have a god within them and are in the grip of divine
 possession may know this much, that they have something greater within
 them, even if they do not know what, and from the ways in which they are
 moved and the things they say get a certain awareness of the god who moves
 them, though these are not the same as the mover; so we seem to be disposed
 to the One, divining, when we have our intellect pure, that this is the
 inner intellect ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]).(31)

All of these passages describe the state of higher awareness as one in which the duality of thought and its object is overcome in a way even more direct and immediate than that of self-thinking thought. It is likely that we should understand the "looking to himself" and "holding to himself of the One along similar lines. The difference is that, in the case of Intellect, the unity achieved is purely experiential; what is overcome is not the ontological duality of Intellect and the One, but only Intellect's awareness of that duality. In the One there is the same absence of experiential duality, but accompanied by ontological simplicity as well.

Let us call this self-directed activity of the One "nonintellective self-apprehension." The inward activity of the Father described by Victorinus turns out to be an activity of precisely this sort. Indeed, such non-intellective self-apprehension plays a greater role in the philosophy of Victorinus than in that of Plotinus. Whereas Plotinus attempts to explain the generation of the second hypostasis by a general proposition about the diffusiveness of the Good, Victorinus appeals to the specific nature of the Father's self-directed activity.(32) Speaking of the "movement in repose" which is the Father, he writes:
 This movement, when it looks; to the exterior--to look to the exterior is
 to be movement or motion, which is precisely to will to see oneself, to
 think of and to know oneself; but the one who sees himself exists and is
 understood as double, both as seeing and as that which is seen, the one who
 sees being himself the one seen, because he sees himself; this turning
 toward the exterior is, therefore, coming to be or existing in the exterior
 (foris genitus vel exsistens) in order to know what one is--therefore, if
 this movement is outside, it is begotten, and if begotten, it is the

Victorinus is at one with Plotinus in understanding intellective self-apprehension as implying a kind of duality. Nonetheless, the Father does possess such self-intellection. What enables Him to do so while remaining wholly simple is that He possesses it not inwardly or "in Himself," but in the Son. Precisely in viewing Himself and understanding Himself the Father becomes two, Father and Son. It would seem to follow--although Victorinus does not draw this conclusion explicitly--that since the Son is an image of the Father, the inward movement which is the Father must also be a kind of self-apprehension. But it must be one that entirely transcends the duality of subject and object, just as does the "holding to Himself" of the One.

If this interpretation is correct, then it provides an important clue to what Victorinus means by esse. The Father is esse, and He is also a kind of inward activity; evidently, then, esse is a kind of activity. It would now appear that this activity is specifically that of nonintellective self-apprehension, an activity having latent within it the fully intellective self-apprehension achieved in the Son. Confirmation of this view may be found in the use Victorinus makes of the so-called Intelligible Triad of Being, Life, and Intellect.(34) The account given so far of the generation of the Son would seem to suggest that the Son is the Father's self-intellection, His intellegere. Victorinus's more considered view is that the self-intellection of the Father has a kind of triadic structure, involving life as well as intelligence, and that properly speaking it is the Holy Spirit who is intellegere while the Son is vivere. Commenting on John 16:14, where Christ says of the Spirit, "He shall glorify me, for He shall receive of me and shall announce it unto you," Victorinus writes:
 He says "He shall receive of me" because Christ and the Holy Spirit are one
 movement, that is, act which acts. First there is vivere and from that
 which is vivere there is also intellegere; indeed, Christ is vivere and the
 Spirit is intellegere. Therefore the Spirit receives from Christ, Christ
 Himself from the Father.(35)

This is the first time that Victorinus mentions the identification of the Son with vivere and the Spirit with intellegere. For the moment he does not explain further, but the full import of the identification emerges when he appeals to the triadic structure of the Father's self-intellection to explain the procession of the Holy Spirit.
 By the serf-movement of the Spirit itself, that is, by the going forth of
 perfect life existing in motion, wishing to see itself--that is, its
 potency, the Father--there is achieved its self-manifestation, which is and
 is called a begetting, and through this it exists externally. For all
 knowledge, insofar as it is knowledge, is outside of what it desires to
 know.... Then in this time without a sense of time, going forth, as it
 were, from that which was esse, to perceive what it was, and because there
 all movement is substance, the otherness that is born returns quickly into
 identity.... Then, with no diminishment, the whole has remained always one,
 its internal unity brought to its highest power by the paternal power. The
 Holy Spirit is then the first interior movement, which is the paternal
 thought, that is, His self-knowledge. For pre-knowledge precedes knowledge.
 Therefore through this natural mode of knowledge understanding was
 externalized, the Son was born and became Life; not that there had not been
 life, but because life externalized is most truly life, for life is in

We can paraphrase this account as follows. Esse possesses an impulse for self-knowledge, which precisely in that it is a kind of movement comes forth as Life, that is, the Son. This impulse then returns to its source: "the otherness that is born returns quickly into identity." In so doing it knows that source, becoming Knowledge, that is, the Holy Spirit. There are close affinities between this account and that of the procession of the second One (or One-Being) from the One in the Anonymous Commentary.(37) What is most significant for present purposes is that, since esse gives rise to vivere and intellegere, it must (on Victorinus's principles) contain them already in a latent mode. This again indicates that Victorinus conceives the esse which is the Father as a kind of life and self-apprehension, but one that is inward rather than outward and manifest.


Victorinus had little direct influence on subsequent philosophers. The reaction of Jerome was typical: he remarks that Victorinus wrote "some extremely obscure books against Arius in the dialectical manner, which are not understood save by the learned."(38) Certainly Augustine read Victorinus, and if we should expect to find Victorinus's influence anywhere it would be in Augustine's De Trinitate. But that work eschews the approach to the Trinity based on the Intelligible Triad in favor of a quasi-Aristotelian theory of subsistent relations. The closest point of contact is in the analogies to the Trinity Augustine finds in the human soul, for Victorinus too likens the Trinity to the structure of the soul.(39) Augustine's analogies are quite different, however, and do not make use of the Neoplatonic conception of act. As for medieval authors, Victorinus. seems to have been known, but was little read. His analogy between the Trinity and the triad of esse, vivere, and intellegere is repeated in an influential work by Alcuin entitled Dicta Albini, but even so it made little impression.(40)

The most important channel for Victorinus's influence was Boethius. Boethius is known to have read Victorinus's translation of the Isagoge and his commentary on the Topics, and, in view of his interest in theology, he is likely to have read the anti-Arian works as well.(41) The third of Boethius's theological tractates, known traditionally as De Hebdomadibus, makes a terse but highly influential distinction between esse and that which is (id quod est). Boethius presents the distinction through a series of axioms, of which the most important are the following:
 2. Esse and id quod est are different; for simple being (ipsum esse) is
 "not yet" (nondum est), but id quod est is and comes to a stand (consistit)
 when it has received the form that gives it being (forma essendi).

 3. Quod est can participate in something, but simple being does not
 participate in any way in anything. For participation takes place when
 something already is; but something is, when it has acquired esse.

 4. Id quod est can possess something besides what it is itself, but simple
 being has no admixture of anything besides itself.

 6. Everything that is (omne quod est) participates in that which is esse in
 order to exist; but it participates in something else in order to be
 something. Hence id quod est participates in that which is esse in order to
 exist, but it exists in order to participate in something else.

 7. Every simple thing possesses as a unity its esse and id quod est.

 8. In every composite thing esse is one thing, its particular being (ipsum
 est) another.(42)

Can there be any doubt that this is the distinction between esse and 5v of Victorinus? Recall that for Victorinus "esse must be taken under two modes, one that is universal and originally original, and from it comes esse for all others"--and that this later esse turns out to be just the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of particular things, as well as of genera and

species.(43) For Victorinus, "[GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is esse determined by a certain form.... That which is formed is esse, the form is that which makes known the esse."(44) This parallels precisely the statement of Boethius that "ipsum esse is `not yet,' but id quod est is and comes to a stand when it has received the forma essendi" (axiom 2). The precedent of Victorinus also allows us to make sense of Boethius's statements that "simple being has no xxx admixture of anything besides itself" and that "every simple thing possesses as a unity its esse and id quod est." The point is that the particular being of a simple thing is the same as universal being; there is no form to delimit the esse and so make it something other than universal esse.(45)

Where Boethius differs from Victorinus is, first of all, in allowing that id quod est participates in esse (axiom 6). Since Boethius offers no account of the procession of id quod est from esse, it is not surprising that he would conceive their relationship on the static model of participation rather than the more dynamic model of a potentiality coming to act.(46) Another difference is that, unlike Victorinus, Boethius does not view id quod est as a hypostasis distinct from esse. (This is of course the reason why he does not offer an account of procession.) For Boethius id quod est is the being of particular substances taken distributively rather than collectively; it corresponds, as Hadot remarks, "au concept general d'etant, commun a tous les etants."(47) This second difference is natural enough given that Boethius is writing a tract in general ontology rather than Trinitarian theology. Its result is to bring Victorinus's speculations down to earth, so to speak, incorporating the distinction between esse and [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] into the metaphysical analysis of sensible substance.

The importance of Victorinus as a source for Boethius was first recognized by Pierre Hadot in a pioneering article of 1963.(48) The variety of interpretations of De Hebdomadibus which have been offered through the centuries is sufficient proof that the perspective on the work afforded by knowledge of Victorinus (and, to a lesser extent, of the Anonymous Commentary) is by no means an obvious one. It is therefore remarkable that Aquinas, without any knowledge of these Neoplatonic antecedents, was able to find in the De Hebdomadibus an inspiration for his own conception of the act of being. Hadot pays him what seems just tribute in the remark that "son genie philosophique le guide et lui fait approfondir par intuition les formules de Boece."(49) As a footnote to the researches of Hadot, we may note one other way in which Boethius serves as a bridge between the Neoplatonism of Victorinus and medieval scholasticism. Near the end of De Hebdomadibus he states that "in Him [God] esse and agere are the same.... But for us esse and agere are not the same, for we are not simple." Although the simplicity of God was by the time of Boethius a firmly established point of Christian theology, Boethius seems to have been the first to explain that simplicity in terms of the identity in God of being and activity. In doing so he was merely extending to the Godhead a point Victorinus had labored to establish in relation to the Father and the Son. The identity of esse and agere in God became an integral aspect of the doctrine of divine simplicity in the Middle Ages.(50)


In summary, we have seen how the Anonymous Commentary identifies absolute being ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) with pure act ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). In effect we find in Victorinus a further specification of the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of the anonymous Commentary. This [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] now turns out to be esse, the unlimited and uncircumscribed being of the Father, from which is derived all the limited and circumscribed being ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) found in the Son. Such esse is anything but "being" considered as a static condition of existence; it is a kind of inwardly directed activity, a nonintellective self-apprehension containing implicitly life and intelligence as well as existence. In thinking itself it manifests itself as what it is, giving rise to the triad of esse, vivere and intellegere--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The divine self-intellection is thus the activity par excellence, the one that precedes all others, giving rise by virtue of its intrinsic structure to both the plurality-in-unity of the Godhead and the intelligible pattern ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) of the created world.

University of Kentucky

Correspondence to: Department of Philosophy, 1415 Patterson Office Tower, Lexington, KY 40506-0027.

(1) Charles Kahn, "Why Existence Does Not Emerge as a Distinct Concept in Ancient Greek Philosophy," in Philosophies of Existence: Ancient and Medieval, ed. Parviz Morewedge (New York: Fordham University Press, 1982), 7-17.

(2) Metaphysics 8.2 1043a2; compare 7.17 1041b4-33.

(3) Enneads 5.1.7, 5.5.6. (Translations of Plotinus are from the Loeb edition by A. H. Armstrong [Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966-88].) Compare John Rist, Plotinus: The Road to Reality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967), 21-37

(4) Damascius, writing early in the sixth century, adds another term: [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which he equates with [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; Dubitationes et Solutiones, ed. C. Ruelle (Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1966), 1:312. A similar use of [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is sometimes attributed to Marius Victorinus based on a passing remark about the word [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in Adversus Arium 3.7, in Marii Victorini Afri Opera Theologica (Leipzig: Teubner, 1976), 153; translations are adapted from Mary T. Clark, Marius Victorinus: Theological Treatises on the Trinity (Washington, D. C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1981). For an example of such attribution, see Charles Kahn, "On the Terminology for Copula and Existence," in Islamic Philosophy and the Classical Tradition, ed. S. M. Stem (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1972), 155. Earlier in the same work, however, Victorinus states explicitly that [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is equivalent to [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and signifies "esse with form"; Adversus Arium 2.4.

(5) Edited with French translation in volume 2 of Pierre Hadot, Porphyre et Victorinus (Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes, 1968).

(6) Parmenides 142b.

(7) Anonymous Commentary, 12.22-33; Hadot, 104-106.

(8) Anonymous Commentary, 13.17-19; Hadot, 106-108.

(9) See Enneads 5.1.8.

(10) Pierre Hadot, "Dieu comme acte d'etre dans le neoplatonisme: A propos des theories d'E. Gilson sur la metaphysique de l'Exode," in Dieu et l'etre: exegeses d'Exode 3,14 et de Coran 20,11-14 (Paris: Etudes Augustinnienes, 1978), 61. As Hadot observes, the Greek term for the infinitive is [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], an alpha-privative meaning "not determinative or indicative."

(11) The most important work on Victorinus is Hadot, Porphyre et Victorinus. For Victorinus's role in transmitting the idea of the act of being to Boethius, see also Hadot, "La distinction de l'etre et de l'etant dans le De Hebdomadibus de Boece," Miscellanea Mediaevalia 2 (1963): 147-53 and "Forma Essendi: interpretation philologique et interpretation philosophique d'une formule de Boece," Les Etudes Classiques 38 (1970): 143-56. Although Hadot's works are extremely valuable, his interpretation is colored by the fact that he ascribes the Anonymous Commentary to Porphyry. On the basis of this attribution, together with some late and rather sketchy testimonia, Hadot attributes to Porphyry an elaborate metaphysics, few traces of which are to be found in Porphyry's surviving works or fragments. See Hadot, "La metaphysique de Porphyre," in Entretiens Hardt 12: Porphyre (Vandoeuvres-Geneva: Fondation Hardt, 1966), 127-63. Finding traces of this alleged Porphyrian metaphysics in Victorinus, Hadot further adopts as a working hypothesis that whatever appears to be original in Victorinus can be ascribed to Porphyry's influence. The result is to minimize drastically the originality of Victorinus. Recently strong objections have been raised against the ascription of the Commentary to Porphyry, thus clearing the way for a reassessment of Victorinus's role. See Andrew Smith, "Porphyrian Studies Since 1913," Aufstieg und Niedergang der Romischen Welt II, 36.2 (1987), 717-73 at 727-29 and 739-41, and especially M. J. Edwards, "Porphyry and the Intelligible Triad," Journal of Hellenic Studies 110 (1990): 14-25.

(12) "Omnia per ipsum et in ipso coustituta sunt et ipse est ante omnia et omnia in ipso consistunt"; Victorinus, Adversus Arium 1.24.

(13) Ad Candidum 27.

(14) "Et hic [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] rerum, per quem cream sunt omnia, universalis potentia continens universaliter omnium res et praestans ad exsistentiam unicuique sua et propria.... Imponendo enim infinito terminum rebus ad exsistentiam sui unicuique format rem et intelligentiae infinitate sublata subicit. Est ergo in eo, quod return est potentia, ad pariendas efficiendasque exsistentias [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Ex eo autem, quod definit atque concludit unumquidque formam tribuens, [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] est iam exsistens, cum fuerit eius, quod est esse, certa forma"; Adversus Arium 4.19.

(15) "Ante [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] et ante [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] vis et potentia exsistendi ilia est, quae significatur hoc verbo, quod est esse, Graece quod est [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Hoc ipsum esse duobus accipiendum modis, unum, ut universale sit et principaliter principale, unde in ceteris esse sit, alioque modo esse est ceteris, quod est omnium post vel generum vel specierum atque huiusmodi ceterorum. Verum esse primum ita inparticipatum est, ut nec unum dici possit nec solum, sed per praelationem ante unum et ante solum, ultra simplicitatem, praeexsistentiam poflus quam exsistentiam, universalium omnium universale, infinitum, interminatum, sed aliis omnibus, non sibi, et idcirco sine forma.... Unde nec [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Certum enim et iam quiddam est [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], intelligibile, cognoscibile"; Adversus Arium 4.19, Opera, 152.

(16) See Parmenides 14.10-16 (quoted below, note 37).

(17) "... non intellegatur ut [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] neque ut [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], sed ut in ignoratione intellegibile, quoniam [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] et quoniam non [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], quod sua ipsius potentia [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in manifestationem adduxit et genuit.... Quod enim supra [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] est, absconditum [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] est. Absconditi vero manifestatio generatio est, si quidem et potentia [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] operatione [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] generat. Nihil enim sine causa in generatione. Et si deus causa est omnium, causa est et [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in generationem, quippe cum super [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] sit, vicinus cum sit [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] et ut pater eius et genitor. Etenim gravida occultum habet, quod paritura est.... Quid igitur fuit intus in deo? Nihil aliud quam [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], verum [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], magis autem [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], quod est supra generale [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] genus, quod supra [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], iam operante potentia"; Ad Candidum 14, Opera, 18-19.

(18) For example, Enneads 6.8.18. This principle is a corollary of the theory of two acts, for which see Enneads 5.1.3, 5.1.6, 5.2.1, and 5.4.

(19) Here I disagree with the accounts of Victorinus in Etienne Gilson, Being and Some Philosophers, 2d ed. (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1952), 31-33, and Rist, Plotinus, 34-36. Both seem to me to take Victorinus's assertion that the Father is [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in too literal a fashion.

(20) Ad Candidum 17.

(21) This distinction between the Father as internal activity and the Son as external activity would appear to be Victorinus's adaptation of the Plotinian theory of two acts, one internal and one external. See particularly the labelling of the two activities as intus and foris at Ad Candidum 21 and Adversus Arium 1.4.

(22) "Sed maior pater, quod ipse dedit ipsi omnia, et causa est ipsi filio, ut sit et isto modo sit. Adhuc autem maior, quod actio inactuosa. Beatior enim, quod sine molestia et impassibilis et fons omnium, quae sunt, requiescens, a se perfecta et nullius egens. Filius autem, ut esset, accepit et in id, quod est agere, ab actione procedens in perfectionem veniens motu efficitur plenitudo, factus omnia, quae sunt"; Adversus Arium 1.13, Opera, 42-43.

(23) "Potentia enim omnia praeexsistens et praeprincipium et ante est quam vere [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ... Sed scriptura et omnis intelligentia istum deum et esse dicit et ante ipsum nihil esse, qui et id est, quod est esse, et id, quod operari. Istum deum confitemur et colimus principium omnium, quae sunt. Actione enim sunt, quae sunt. Ante enim actione nondum sunt. Actuosum enim deum accipimus, sicuti: in principio fecit deus caelum et terrain.... Iste igitur verus deus et solus deus, quia et potentia et actione deus, sed interna, ut Christus et potentia et actione, sed iam foris et aperta. Pater igitur deus, prima actio et prima exsistentia et substantia et principale [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], actione a se sua sese qui generet ..."; Adversus Arium 1.33, Opera, 68.

(24) Adversus Arium 1.20.

(25) For example, Enneads 3.9.9, 5.3.10, 5.3.13, and 5.6.1-5.

(26) Enneads 6.8.16 and 18, respectively; cf. and

(27) See above, note 18.

(28) The following paragraph is much indebted to John Bussanich, "Plotinus on the Inner Life of the One," Ancient Philosophy 7 (1987): 163-89.

(29) Enneads

(30) Enneads

(31) Enneads

(32) Something of a precedent may be found in Plotinus's description of the procession of Intellect from the One as an unformed potentiality which is then given definite being by its halt and turning toward the One (Enneads 5.2.1 and 5.3.11). Even here, however, Intellect comes forth as an external act, not as a further moment in the One's internal act of "looking to himself" and "holding to himself."

(33) "Qui cum foras spectat (hoc est autem foras spectare: motum vel motionem esse, quod ipsum hoc illud est se videre, se intellegere ac nosse velle; cum autem se videt, geminus exsistit et intellegitur videns et quod videtur, ipse qui videt, ipsum quod videtur, quia se videt. Hoc est igitur foras spectans, foris genitus vel exsistens, ut, quid sit, intellegat), ergo, si foris est, et si genitus, filius ..."; Adversus Arium 3.2, Opera, 116.

(34) For the earlier history of this triad see Pierre Hadot, "Etre, vie, pensee chez Plotin et avant Plotin," in Entretiens Hardt 5: Les sources de Plotin (Vandoeuvres-Geneve: Fondation Hardt, 1960), 105-41.

(35) "Dicit ergo: ex meo accipiet, quod una motio, hoc est actio agens, Christus est et spiritus sanctus. Et primum est vivere, et ab ipso, quod est vivere, et intellegere. Vivere quidem Christus, intellegere spiritus. Ergo spiritus a Christo accipit, ipse Christus a patre ..."; Adversus Arium 1.13, Opera, 43.

(36) "Spiritu enim moto a semet ipso, hoc est vitae perfectae in motione exsistentis, volentis videre semet ipsam, hoc est potentiam suam, patrem scilicet, facta est ipsa manifestatio sui, quae generatio est et dicitur, et iuxta hoc foris exsistens. Omnis enim cognoscentia, secundum quod cognoscentia est, foris est ab illo, quod cupit cognoscere.... In isto igitur sine intellectu temporis tempore ab eo, quod erat esse, veluti egrediens in inspiciendum ipsum, quod erat, quoniam ibi omnis motus substantia est, alteritas nata cito in identitatem revenit.... Nulla igitur deminutione totum semper unum mansit maxime potentificata counitione potentia patrica. Sanctus igitur spiritus motus primus intus, quae sit excogitatio patrica, hoc est sui ipsius cognoscentia. Praecognoscentia[m] enim cognoscentia<m> praecedit. Iuxta istum ergo cognoscentiae modum naturalem foris effecta[m] intelligentia[m] natus est filius, vita factus, non quo non fuerit vita, sed quoniam foris vita magis vita. In motu enim vita"; Adversus Arium 1.57, Opera, 92-3.

(37) Compare the following passage in the Commentary: "It [the One] is one and simple in its first form ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), `it itself' taken in itself, a power or rather to name it properly an unspeakable and inconceivable grace. But it is neither one nor simple in existence and life and thought ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). The thinker and that which is thought are the same in existence, but the thinker, when Intellect comes forth from Existence to become the thinker, so that it may return to the intelligible and behold itself, is Life. Hence it is infinite in life. All are acts: as Existence the act is immobile ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], as Thought the act has turned toward itself ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), as Life it has come forth from Existence ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]"; 14.10-26.

(38) St. Jerome, De Viris Illustribus, trans. E. C. Richardson, in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1983), 3:381.

(39) Adversus Arium 1.61-4.

(40) See David Bell, "Esse, Vivere, Intelligere: The Noetic Triad and the Image of God," Recherches de theologie ancienne et medievale 52 (1985): 6-43. I should add that the influence of the Anonymous Commentary was even more negligible than that of Victorinus. There has been some speculation that, since the Plotiniana Arabica cite Porphyry as a source, the authors of these works had access to the Commentary. As Cristina D'Ancona Costa has observed, however, the Plotiniana and the Liber de Causis (which derives partly from them) make no use of the Commentary's central distinction between [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and in fact the ontology of these works can be fully explained by reference to Plotinus and Proclus. See Cristina D'Ancona Costa, Recherches sur le Liber de Causis (Paris: Vrin, 1995), 138-47.

(41) See Pierre Courcelle, Late Latin Writers and Their Greek Sources (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1969), 280-81.

(42) Translation adapted from The Theological Tractates and the Consolation of Philosophy, ed. and trans. H. F. Stewart, et al. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1973).

(43) See Adversus Arium 4.19 (quoted above, note 15).

(44) Adversus Arium 2.4.

(45) Presumably, then, there can be only one simple thing. Boethius does not draw this conclusion, but neither does he say anything that would contradict kit.

(46) In light of his known interest in Neopythagoreanism, it is possible that Boethius was influenced at this point by the Neopythagorean identification of the first principle with the Monad that imposes limit, sameness, and unity on the Indefinite Dyad (and hence stands in the relation of form to the Dyad). The case for such an influence has been argued by Sarah Pessin, "Boethius and the Neoplatonic Good: Hebdomads and the Nature of God in the Quomodo Substantiae," Carmina Philosophiae (Journal of the International Boethius Society), forthcoming.

(47) Hadot, "Forma Essendi," 152.

(48) Hadot, "La distinction" (cited above, note 11); compare the survey of contemporary interpretations of De Hebdomadibus in Ralph McInerny, Boethius and Aquinas (Washington, D. C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1990), 161-98. My account differs from that of Hadot in its interpretation of the forma essendi.

(49) Hadot, "Forma Essendi," 154-5.

(50) For example, Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles 2.9.4: "Ergo suum agere est suum esse."
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Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
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Date:Dec 1, 1999

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