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.

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Philosophical Midwifery and Professionalism

By Pierre Grimes, Ph. D.

Clearly, there is no need to professionalize Philosophical Midwifery; since no academic program can qualify anyone. The qualifications to the title of PM are simple. If you can do it you are one, if you can’t you’re not. The standards are public and available on demand. The questions that PM explore are available and can be adapted by anyone.

There should be no difficulty for anyone to determine whether or not someone is competent or not in this art since after any demonstration it can be compared and judged against the many examples of Philosophical Midwifery that we have on video tape, audiotape,pamphlets, a workbook, there is also the To Artemis Macintosh program that outlines in detail a philosophical midwife exploration and a book on the subject with an accompanying validation study that covers multiple issues of Philosophical Midwifery.

However, while there is no need to turn Philosophical Midwifery into a licensed profession or to create licensing procedures that does not mean that participating in training programs at our Academy have no merit.

Our programs are designed to include

1. Carefully selected literature that reflects our fundamental concerns,

2. offers a method to practice in depth individual explorations,

3. and we supervise reviews of PM explorations,

4. we encourage all participants in our program to participate in telephone conferences,

5. to attend our regional conferences,

6. and to demonstrate their art before judges who have themselves demonstrated a level of competency in PM.

It will be expected that members will conduct themselves in such a way that their interactions will manifest the ideals which are the subject of Plato’s Republic. Obviously, those who depart from these ideals will include that departure as the subject of their own PM explorations.

As a natural consequence of our art of PM it is expected that at some point in the training the Philosophical Midwife will become an intern at the APM and volunteer their service to help others learn the art. This function will be managed through the e-mail and supervised by the staff of APM. The difficulties and problems that the philosophical midwife experiences will become the subject of reviews and they will be explored by the member of the APM who is in charge.

As one develops in the art of PM it is expected that the participant will be managed and direct other members in a meditation retreat based upon the highest principles of Platonic philosophy. It is expected, that to some degree, the past meditation retreats will be used as a model and they will explore and help others understand and encounter the Idea of the Good, Beauty Itself, Providence, and The Good. The problems participants experience will become the subject of reviews during these sessions and they will be explored by the member of the APM who is in charge. These meditation retreats will be in addition to managing and directing PM seminars. It is understood that these will also be supervised and reviewed.

Successful candidates are given recognition and as a sign of that achievement are given the title of Masters in Philosophical Midwifery by our Academy.