Unpublished 246. Review of The Essence of Plotinus (typed)

[1935. Review of The Essence of Plotinus, by Grace H. Turnball. The New Scholasticism Jan.]

The Essence of Plotinus. By Grace H. Turnball. New York: Oxford University Press, 1934. Pp. Viii + 303.

This book consists of selections based on the recent translation of Stephen Makenna. The wording, however, has been frequently modified, usually without note, to eliminate technicalities and soften asperities for non-philosophical readers. Individual words have been changed, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs have been omitted.

Whether a book of selection appeals to one or not depends on the similarity of purpose between the editor and the reader. It seems to the reviewer that too much of the first Ennead is quoted, but perhaps this, like the omission of words and phrases, was necessary to present “to those who have not made a special study of Plotinus” his mystical religion without “the veil of metaphysical subtleties and outworn science which have long obscured him from our view and to show the shining soul of him alone.”

The book contains a Foreword by Dean Inge, extracts from Plato and Aristotle utilized by Plotinus, and quotations from Dante, Schiller, Spenser, Tennyson and others, showing Plotinus’ wide influence.


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