Discuss one central concept of neoplatonism and how or why it was influential.

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most important and influential aspects of Neoplatonism was its theory of aesthetics. The seminal work is, of course, Plotinus "On Beauty". It is possible, especially in light of recent scholarship concerning "Peri hupsous" to argue that it was in fact authored by Longinus and thus can be read within the context of Platonic interpretation. Major contributions to the study of Neoplatonic aesthetics after Plotinus would include Porphyry "On the Cave of the Nymphs" and Proclus' Republic commentary. In all of these we find an ontological shift from the Platonic claim that art is an imitation of sensibilia to the characteristically Neoplatonic one that art imitates the forms and thus functions anagogically. Many late medieval and Renaissance poets and theorists revived Neoplatonic aesthetic theory to create their own synthesis of poetry with theology, most importantly Dante and Petrarch.