On Aristotle's "On the Heavens 1.10–12"
Translated by R.J. Hankinson
In the three chapters of "On the Heavens" dealt with in this volume, Aristotle argues that the universe is ungenerated and indestructible. In Simplicius' commentary, translated here, we see a battle royal between the Neoplatonist Simplicius and the Aristotelian, Alexander, whose lost commentary on "On the Heavens" Simplicius partly preserves. Simplicius' rival, the Christian Philoponus, had conducted a parallel battle in his "Against Proclus" but had taken the side of Alexander against Proclus and other Platonists, arguing that Plato's "Timaeus" gives a beginning to the universe. Simplicius takes the Platonist side, denying that Plato intended a beginning. The origin on which Plato refers is, according to Simplicius, not a temporal origin, but the divine cause that produces the world without beginning.