One of the most puzzling issues about Middle Platonism lies in the identification of a shared doctrinal core serving as a hallmark, that is, a common point of view that, being ascribable to (almost) all Middle Platonists, might positively distinguish them from Plotinus, the Neoplatonists, and other philosophical trends of the Imperial age. An apparently suitable candidate has been identified in a specific ‘Middle Platonist’ model of divine causation, which was reportedly endorsed by all leading pre-Plotinian Platonists. This can be defined as a model based on ‘craftsman-like divine causation’, implying that God is the cause of the generation of the world inasmuch as:

he exerts a direct action on the world and/or the soul (possibly with the support of other entities, such as the world soul),

and this action towards the world and/or the soul is intentional as it is based on planning and a will directed towards external entities. 1