Plotinus seemed to remain one of the best-kept secrets of antiquity. His vision is dazzling and his assumptions few.
Although there's a remarkable simplicity to his teachings, that simplicity may be obscured by the dust of 18 centuries as well as the detailed way in which Plotinus presents his teaching.
After my first reading of "The Enneads", I sought out a book which would provide me a better context for understanding it: information about the times including philosophies like Platonism. I've read a few now and this one has been the most helpful.
Margaret Miles appears to have a real love of Plotinus. At the same time, she's definitely a scholar, but a scholar who can write (and write well) to reach beyond other scholars to educated lay readers. Moreover, although she works at a theological school, she presents Plotinus on his own terms, rather than as nothing more than a Christian resource.
The themes Ms. Miles has wisely chosen, body and beauty, run deep and wide through Plotinus's teaching.
This is they way scholars should write, well-footnoted but not in a narrow scholarese. This is a great way to meet Plotinus, full of facts and insights from someone really sympathetic to Plotinus, someone who has obviously spent the time to understand him well. I feel quite fortunate to have found this book and appreciate Ms. Miles' caliber and efforts in keeping Plotinus contemporary.