Eternity, Perpetuity, and Time in the Cosmologies of Plotinus and Mīr Dāmād – Syed A. H. Zaidi


“The present piece focuses on the influence of Plotinus’ understanding of time and eternity as articulated in Plotinus’ third and fifth Enneads upon Mīr Dāmād’s(d. 1631–2) conception of eternity, perpetuity, and time found in his Book of Blazing Brands(Kitab al-Qabasāt).Although Mīr Dāmād’s conception of eternity, perpetuity, and time resembles that of Plotinus’ cosmologyand ontology, he departs from Plotinus’ hypostases in establishing strict parameters for each domain. Unlike Plotinus, Mīr Dāmād argues that the realm of eternity is reserved for God alone, while the realm of Perpetuity contains the Platonic Forms. For Mīr Dāmād, the realm of time is an effect of the realm of Perpetuity and a tool for human beings to understand how to measure eventsin the temporal world. Unlike many other Shī’ite philosophers, Mīr Dāmād’s articulation of these three cosmological realms incorporates thought found in the works of both prominent Sunni and Shī’ite scholars such as Ibn Sīnā, Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghāzālī, Suhrawardī, and Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī. Although his most successful student, Mullā Ṣadrā Shirazī, had ultimately disagreed with his teacher’s cosmological doctrine, he remained influenced by the multitude of sources that his teacher had used”