In the doctrines of the Neoplatonists, of whom Plotinus is the most important, we have the worldprocess represented after the example of Plato as a series of descending steps, each being less perfect than its predecessors, since it is further removed from the first cause.'
The six books pass in review (1) the doctrine of the soul, in which Gersonides defends the theory of impersonal reason as mediating between God and man, and explains the formation of the higher reason (or acquired intellect, as it was called) in humanity, - his view being thoroughly realist and resembling that of Avicebron; (2) prophecy; (3) and (4) God's knowledge of facts and providence, in which is advanced the curious theory that God does not know individual facts, and that, while there is general providence for all, special providence only extends to those whose reason has been enlightened; (5) celestial substances, treating of the strange spiritual hierarchy which the Jewish philosophers of the middle ages accepted from the Neoplatonists and the pseudo-Dionysius, and also giving, along with astronomical details, much of astrological theory; (6) creation and miracles, in respect to which Gerson deviates widely from the position of Maimonides.
The system culminates in a mystical act, and in the sequel, especially with Iamblichus and the Syrian Neoplatonists, mystical practice tended more and more to overshadow the theoretical groundwork.
He invented a religious system founded on the speculative mysticism of the Neoplatonists, and founded a sect, the members of which believed that the new creed would supersede all existing forms of belief.
He was a thorough Aristotelian, but by preference appears to have been drawn towards the mystical writings of the Neoplatonists and the pseudo-Dionysius.
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