Plotinus’ Ennead on Love – Juan and Maria Balboa’s Translation

Note: For ease of online reading, this translation by Juan and Maria Balboa has been altered and adapted for the web. If you’d like a copy of the original text, which includes the original Greek language text and notes by Juan and Maria, please email to be forwarded a copy. 

For a background on this work, it is recommended to also understand Plato’s speech on Diotima’s teachings about love, found in The Symposium.


Plotinus Ennead III – V: On Love.

On Love; whether it is a God or a Spirit or an affection of the soul, or whether
one kind is a God or a Spirit, while another kind is a certain affection, and what kind
each is.

It is worth while to consider the notions that have occurred to other humans,
and such thoughts about these subjects that have arisen in Philosophy, and especially,
such thoughts that The Divine Plato Understands, who has surely then also written much
concerning Love in many places of his works.

Erastes (lover) and eromenos (beloved) kissing. Detail from the tondo of a red-figure Attic cup, ca. 480 BC.
Erastes (lover) and eromenos (beloved) kissing. Detail from the tondo of a red-figure Attic cup, ca. 480 BC.

Surely then, Plato has said of Love that it is not only an affection that arises in souls, but he also says that It is a Spirit. He has also described Its generation; how and from what Source It came to be (Sym 203).

Therefore on the one hand, concerning the affection for which we make Love the Cause;
that it arises in souls who long to be engaged with some beauty, and that This Longing,
on the one hand, is That which comes from Those who are of Sound-Mind, who have
found Their Home in Beauty Itself, whereas on the other hand, without a doubt, no one
is ignorant of that which wants to find its fulfillment in some ugly act.

Continue reading Plotinus’ Ennead on Love – Juan and Maria Balboa’s Translation

Proclus Elements of Theology – Translated by Juan Balboa


Introduction to Juan’s Translation

by Pierre Grimes, Ph. D.

Philosophy has few friends, but those who have come to know her always are aware of the gift she has bestowed on them. Those who reject her are part of an opposition that is as ancient as philosophy itself.

For to present oneself as a knower of what most deny has any existence often makes one an object of derision and ridicule. Yet, even those who reject her insist that everyone has their own philosophy and they often retort that who is to say what philosophy is anyway since everyone has the right to name it whatever they want?

When it is pointed out to them that the name philosophy can be defined in terms of itself, then they deny its literal meaning. However, her name does define her uniqueness because, as we know, philosophy means the love of wisdom.

The name perfectly mirrors her nature because there is always a love for her simply because the experience of wisdom is beauty itself.

When she is seen in all her perfection it is impossible not to have an intense love for her. For love is the love of the beautiful and it awakens in the soul of those who have perceived her a sense of the wondrous nature of beauty.


In the astonishment of that vision is the awareness that whatever it is that has been called the self that here in this vision one is present before what truly is and in that recognition one can name the seeing and the object of seeing as truly mind alone.

Continue reading Proclus Elements of Theology – Translated by Juan Balboa

Proclus Elements of Theology: Proposition 1-10

Translated by Juan Balboa

Editor’s note: the original translation by the great Juan Balboa includes the original Greek version of Proclus Elements of Theology alongside Juan’s translation. It also includes illustrations by Juan as well as discussions regarding Greek/English words.  For ease of reading online, I’ve omitted the Greek. 

If you’d like a PDF copy of Juan’s translation, which includes the missing material, please email

The-Academy-of-AthensTo better understand the vocabulary of this translation, please read Pierre Grimes’ Introduction.

Proposition 1

All Multitude Participates, in a certain way, of The One.

For if It Participates, in no way (of The One), neither would The Whole be One, nor each of the many of which the multitude consists; but from each of these multitudes, even more multitudes would arise, and this will be the case into infinity, and each of these infinities, would in turn be, an infinite multitude.

For by participating in no way at all of The One; neither according to The Whole Itself, nor according to each of the multitude contained in Itself, thus it will be infinite, according to every particular, and according to all.

For each of the many, which you may take up, would be either One, or Not-one, and if Not-one, then either many or nothing.

But if, on the one hand, each is nothing, that also which consists of these would be nothing; And if, on the other hand, each is many, each will consist of an infinite number of infinities: but this, is impossible.

For neither are any of The Real-Beings composed of an infinite number of infinities (for there could not be more than that which is infinite; but That which consists of All, is more than each.) Nor is it possible for anything to be composed from that which in no way exists.

Accordingly then, All Multitude, Participates in a certain way of The One.


Proposition 2

All that Participate of The One, are both One and Not-one.

For if It is not The One-Itself (for It Partakes of The One, by Being something else besides The One), It has undergone that Participation according to The One, and sustains having-become One.

If then, on the one hand, It is nothing besides The One, It “is” Simply One: and does not Participate of The One, but It “would be” The One-Itself.

But if, on the other hand, It is something besides That which is Not-one, (but That which Participates of The One, It is both, Not-one and One, not The Very One-Itself, but One-Being, by Participating of The One).

Accordingly then, by this, It is Not-one, nor The Very One: But One-Being, and at the same time, Participates of The One, and because of this, It is Not-one, According to Its Own Hyparxis, Being both One and Not-one, by Being something else besides The One; on the one hand, insofar as, It Abounds, It is Not-one; but on the other hand, insofar as, It has received (The One) from without, It is One.

Accordingly then, All that Participates of The One, is both One and Not-one.


Proposition 3

All that becomes One, becomes One by Participating of The One.

For if, on the one hand, It is Itself Not-one, then on the other hand, It is One, insofar as It has received from without Its Participation of The One, for if Those which are not In-Themselves One, were to become One, then surely They would Unite and Commune with each other in order to become One, and Abide in The Presence of The One, but not be The Very One Itself.

Accordingly then, this One Participates of The One insofar as, this One undergoes becoming One; For if on the one hand It “is” already One, then It will not become One: For by “being” That OneIt cannot become That which It “is” already.

But if They become One, from that which was formerly Not-one, then that certain One that has been generated in Them has come forth as One.


Proposition 4

All that is United is Other than The One Itself.

For if It is United, This should in a certain way Participate of The One, insofar as It is also said to be United. 

However, That which Participates of The One, is One and Not-one. But The One Itself is not both One and Not-one.

For if This were also One and Not-one, then The One in Itself would also have both of These, and this would proceed to infinity, if there were no One-Itself which would enable it to stop, but All would be One and Not-one.

Accordingly then, there is Something that Is United which is Other than The One.

For if The One were The Same with The United, then an infinite multitude would result, and so also for Each of Those Beings of which The United consists.

Continue reading Proclus Elements of Theology: Proposition 1-10

Proclus’ Elements of Theology Propositions 13-25

Proposition 13

All that is Good is The Unifying Principle of Its Participants, and All Union is Good, and The Good is The Same with The One.

For if The Good is The Preserving Principle of All Beings, (for which reason It is also The Object of Desire for All) but That which is Preservative and Connective of The Essential-Being of every being is The One (for All are Preserved by The One and dispersion removes every being from its Essential-Being).

For The Good Completes and Contains those, in which It is present, according to One Union.

And if The One is Collective and Connective of Beings, then It will Perfect every-being by Its Own Presence.

Accordingly then, it is also Good for All these to be United.

If then, The Union is according to The Good Itself, and Good is The Unifying Principle, then The Simply Good, and The Simply One are The Same, Unifying, and at the same time, Benefiting Beings.

Hence it is certainly the case that, those who, in a certain way, fall away, from The Good, are at the same time, also deprived of The Participation of The One.

And those which become destitute of The One, are “filled” with separation, and are also, in the same way, deprived of The Good.

Accordingly then, Goodness is Union, and Union is Goodness, and The Good is One and The One is Primarily Good.

Proposition 14

All Being is either Immovable or moved. And if moved, it is either moved By-Itself or by-another. And if indeed it is moved By-Itself, it is Self-motive; but if by-another, it is alter-motive.

Accordingly then, All is either Immovable or Self-motive or alter-motive. For it is necessary that since there are beings that are alter-motive, there should also be That which is Immovable, and that between these, there must be That which is Self-motive.

For if all that is alter-motive is moved in consequence of being moved by-another, then the motions will either move in a circle, or they will proceed towards infinity.

But they will neither be moved in a circle, nor will they proceed to infinity, if indeed all Beings are Limited/Defined by Their Source/Principle (P11) and if indeed The Mover is Superior than that which is moved.

(P7) Accordingly then, there will be something Immovable which is The Prime Mover.
But if this be the case, it is also necessary that The Self-motive exist.

For if everything should stop, what would be Primarily Moved at that time?For neither can it be The Immovable (for it is not naturally adapted to be moved), nor the alter-motive (for that is moved by another).

Accordingly then, it remains, that The Self-motive Nature is that which is Primarily Moved.

Since it is This which also Conjoins alter-motive natures to that which is Immovable, by being in a certain way, in the middle, moving, and at the same time, being moved.

For of these, The Immovable, on the one hand, Causes others to move, only, but on the other hand, the alter-motive is moved, only.

Therefore All Being, is either immovable, or self-motive, or alter-motive.


From these considerations likewise, it is clearly manifest, that on the one hand, of those which are moved, The Self-motive is The First; but on the other hand, of those which move, The Immovable is The First.

Continue reading Proclus’ Elements of Theology Propositions 13-25

Proclus’ Elements of Theology Propositions 26-50

Proposition 26

Every Cause that is Productive of others, while Abiding Itself of Itself, Produces Those Natures Subsequent to Itself, and those that are successive.

For if It imitates The One, but That, Immovably Provides The Underlying-Reality to Those that are subsequent to Itself, so also in a similar way, Every Productive Cause will possess The Causeof Production.

For if through motion, the motion will be in It, and by being moved, It will no longer still be The One, in consequence of being changed from The One.

But if motion subsists together with It, it will also be from The One, and either The One is an unlimited progression, or, The One will Produce Immovably.

Thus, All That Produces will imitate The One and The Producing Cause of Wholes.
For everywhere, out of That which is Primary, originates that which is not Primary:and hence, That which is Productive of certain subsequent naturesoriginates from That which is Productive of All.

And The Whole of Productive Natures, Abide in Themselves, while subsequent natures are produced from Them.

Accordingly then, The Productive Causes Abide Undiminished, while those that are secondary are produced from Them:For that which is in any respect diminished, is unable to Abide, such as It Is.

Proposition 27

Every Productive Cause, Pan to paragonon account of Its Perfection and Superabundance of Power, is Productive of Those that are Secondary.

For if it were not productive, through Its Perfection, but instead through a lessening of its power, then it would not be able to keep its own order, in an immovable way.

For that which imparts existence to another through loss and by weakening, does so, through its own mutation and change of quality.

But on the other hand, every Productive Cause, Remains such as It Is:and by Remaining/Abiding in this way, that which is subsequent to It proceeds into existence.

Accordingly then, by Being Full and Perfect, It Provides Underlying Reality to Those that are Secondary In an Immoveable Way and without being diminished, by Being The Very One That It Is, and by neither being changed into them, nor diminished.

For that which is produced, is not a distribution into parts of The Producing Cause; since this is neither appropriate to The Generating Energy, nor to Generating Causes.

Nor is it a transition:For It does not become the matter of that which proceeds; since It Remains/Abides such as It Is, Therefore, That which Generates, is Firmly Established and Undiminished, through Prolific Power, It multiplies Itself, and from Itself, It Imparts a Secondary Underlying Reality.

Proposition 28

Every Productive Cause Provides Underlying Reality to Those that are Like Itself, Prior to those that are unlike Itself.

For seeing that The Producing Cause is necessarily Superior than Those that are produced, thus on the one hand, They can never Simply Be and Be Equal in Power with Each other.

But on the other hand, if They are not The Same and Equal, but different and unequal, Then They are either entirely separate from each other, or they are both United and separated.

But if on the one hand, They are entirely separate, They will not accord with each other, and in no way, will that effect which proceeds from The Cause, sympathize with It.

Hence neither will the one Participate of The Other, by being entirely different from It:But it is certainly necessary that That which is caused, must Participate of Its Cause, by possessing Its Essential-Being from That Source.

But if, that which is produced, is in one way separated from, but in another way united toits Productive Cause, then on the one hand, if it undergoes/experiences each of these equally, Essential-being, in the same way, from The Productive Cause.

But, if it is more distinct/separate, than Akin with The Productive Cause, that which is generated will be more foreign to That by which it is generated, and will be more un-harmonic rather than being Harmonically Adapted with It, and it will be more unsympathetic, instead of being Sympathetic with It.

And therefore, if those who proceed from their Causes are Akin to Them, according to Their Very Being, and sympathize with Them, then They also naturally depend upon Them, and Aspire to Conjoin with Them, by aspiring after The Good, and by hitting The Mark of their Aspirationthrough The Cause of Their Very Being.

Then surely it is evident, that Those that are produced, are United in a greater degreeto their Productive Cause, than they are separated from Them.

But Those that are more United, are more Like than unlike to Those to which they are especially United.

Therefore Every Productive Cause Provides Underlying-Reality to Those Like Itself, Prior to those that are unlike Itself.

Continue reading Proclus’ Elements of Theology Propositions 26-50