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Presented at the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies Conference, Atlanta, 2011; a version published in John Shannon Hendrix, Robert Grosseteste: Philosophy of Intellect and Vision, Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag, 2010.


The Neoplatonism of Plotinus and Proclus played an important role in the development of the Aristotelian concepts of intellect and perception in the Arabic commentators on Aristotle. Plotinus was not known to Arab scholars by name, but books Four to Six of the Enneads from the third century, as compiled by Porphyry, were paraphrased in the text called the Theology of Aristotle, which was translated between 833 and 842 by the circle of al-Kindi in Baghdad. The translation combined Aristole, Plotinus, and Christian and Islamic doctrines, and had a significant effect on early Islamic philosophy. The al-Kindi circle also translated the Elements of Theology of Proclus in the ninth century. An Arabic work derived from the Elements of Theology, called Kitab al-khayr al-mahd, was believed to have been written in an early school of Neoplatonism in the eighth or ninth century in the Near East. It was translated into Latin as the Liber de Causis or Liber Aristotelis de Expositione Bonitatis Purae, by Gerard of Cremona in 1180.