Iamblichus was a Syrian Neoplatonist philosopher of Arab origin. He determined the direction that would be taken by Neoplatonic philosophy, he was the biographer of Pythagoras, a Greek mystic and mathematician. Aside from Iamblichus' own philosophical contribution, his Protrepticus is of importance for the study of the Sophists, owing to its preservation of ten pages of an otherwise unknown Sophist known as the Anonymus Iamblichi. Iamblichus was the chief representative of Syrian Neoplatonism, though his influence spread over much of the ancient world; the events of his life and his religious beliefs are not known, but the main tenets of his beliefs can be worked out from his extant writings. According to the Suda, his biographer Eunapius, he was born at Chalcis in Syria, he was the son of a rich and illustrious family, he is said to have been the descendant of several priest-kings of the Arab Royal family of Emesa. He studied under Anatolius of Laodicea, went on to study under Porphyry, a pupil of Plotinus, the founder of Neoplatonism.
He disagreed with Porphyry over the practice of theurgy. Around 304, he returned to Syria to found his own school at Apamea, a city famous for its Neoplatonic philosophers. Here he designed a curriculum for studying Plato and Aristotle, he wrote commentaries on the two that survive only in fragments. Still, for Iamblichus, Pythagoras was the supreme authority, he is known to have written the Collection of Pythagorean Doctrines, which, in ten books, comprised extracts from several ancient philosophers. Only the first four books, fragments of the fifth, survive. Scholars noted that the Exhortation to Philosophy of Iamblichus was composed in Apamea in the early 4th c. AD. Iamblichus was said to have been a man of great learning, he was renowned for his charity and self-denial. Many students gathered around him, he lived with them in genial friendship. According to Fabricius, he died during the reign of Constantine, sometime before 333. Only a fraction of Iamblichus' books have survived. For our knowledge of his system, we are indebted to the fragments of writings preserved by Stobaeus and others.
The notes of his successors Proclus, as well as his five extant books and the sections of his great work on Pythagorean philosophy reveal much of Iamblichus' system. Besides these, Proclus seems to have ascribed to him the authorship of the celebrated treatise Theurgia, or On the Egyptian Mysteries. However, the differences between this book and Iamblichus' other works in style and in some points of doctrine have led some to question whether Iamblichus was the actual author. Still, the treatise originated from his school, in its systematic attempt to give a speculative justification of the polytheistic cult practices of the day, it marks a turning-point in the history of thought where Iamblichus stood; as a speculative theory, Neoplatonism had received its highest development from Plotinus. The modifications introduced by lamblichus were the detailed elaboration of its formal divisions, the more systematic application of the Pythagorean number-symbolism, under the influence of Oriental systems, a mythical interpretation of what Neoplatonism had regarded as notional.
Unlike Plotinus who broke from Platonic tradition and asserted an undescended soul, Iamblichus re-affirmed the soul's embodiment in matter, believing matter to be as divine as the rest of the cosmos. It is most on this account that lamblichus was venerated. Iamblichus was praised by those who followed his thought. By his contemporaries, Iamblichus was accredited with miraculous powers; the Roman emperor Julian, not content with Eunapius' more modest eulogy that he was inferior to Porphyry only in style, regarded Iamblichus as more than second to Plato, claimed he would give all the gold of Lydia for one epistle of Iamblichus. During the revival of interest in his philosophy in the 15th and 16th centuries, the name of Iamblichus was scarcely mentioned without the epithet "divine" or "most divine". At the head of his system, Iamblichus placed the transcendent incommunicable "One", the monad, whose first principle is intellect, nous. After the absolute One, lamblichus introduced a second superexistent "One" to stand between it and'the many' as the producer of intellect, or soul, psyche.
This is the initial dyad. The first and highest One, which Plotinus represented under the three stages of being and intellect, is distinguished by Iamblichus into spheres of intelligible and intellective, the latter sphere being the domain of thought, the former of the objects of thought; these three entities, the psyche, the nous split into the intelligible and the intellective, form a triad. Between the two worlds, at once separating and uniting them, some scholars think there was inserted by lamblichus, as was afterwards by Proclus, a third sphere partaking of the nature of both, but this supposition depends on a conjectural emendation of the text. We read, that in the intellectual triad he assigned the third rank to the Demiurge; the Demiurge, the Platonic creator-god, is thus identified with the perfected nous, the intellectual triad being increased to a hebdomad. The identification of nous with the Demiurge is a significant moment in the Neoplatonic tradition and its adoption into and development within the Christian tradition.
St. Augustine follows Plotinus by identifying nous, which bears the logos, with the creative principle
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, values, reason and language. Such questions are posed as problems to be studied or resolved; the term was coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will? "philosophy" encompassed any body of knowledge. From the time of Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to the 19th century, "natural philosophy" encompassed astronomy and physics. For example, Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy became classified as a book of physics. In the 19th century, the growth of modern research universities led academic philosophy and other disciplines to professionalize and specialize.
In the modern era, some investigations that were traditionally part of philosophy became separate academic disciplines, including psychology, sociology and economics. Other investigations related to art, politics, or other pursuits remained part of philosophy. For example, is beauty objective or subjective? Are there many scientific methods or just one? Is political utopia a hopeful dream or hopeless fantasy? Major sub-fields of academic philosophy include metaphysics, ethics, political philosophy and philosophy of science. Traditionally, the term "philosophy" referred to any body of knowledge. In this sense, philosophy is related to religion, natural science and politics. Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy is classified in the 2000s as a book of physics. In the first part of the first book of his Academics, Cicero introduced the division of philosophy into logic and ethics. Metaphysical philosophy was the study of existence, God, logic and other abstract objects; this division has changed.
Natural philosophy has split into the various natural sciences astronomy, chemistry and cosmology. Moral philosophy still includes value theory. Metaphysical philosophy has birthed formal sciences such as logic and philosophy of science, but still includes epistemology and others. Many philosophical debates that began in ancient times are still debated today. Colin McGinn and others claim. Chalmers and others, by contrast, see progress in philosophy similar to that in science, while Talbot Brewer argued that "progress" is the wrong standard by which to judge philosophical activity. In one general sense, philosophy is associated with wisdom, intellectual culture and a search for knowledge. In that sense, all cultures and literate societies ask philosophical questions such as "how are we to live" and "what is the nature of reality". A broad and impartial conception of philosophy finds a reasoned inquiry into such matters as reality and life in all world civilizations. Western philosophy is the philosophical tradition of the Western world and dates to Pre-Socratic thinkers who were active in Ancient Greece in the 6th century BCE such as Thales and Pythagoras who practiced a "love of wisdom" and were termed physiologoi.
Socrates was a influential philosopher, who insisted that he possessed no wisdom but was a pursuer of wisdom. Western philosophy can be divided into three eras: Ancient, Medieval philosophy, Modern philosophy; the Ancient era was dominated by Greek philosophical schools which arose out of the various pupils of Socrates, such as Plato, who founded the Platonic Academy and his student Aristotle, founding the Peripatetic school, who were both influential in Western tradition. Other traditions include Cynicism, Greek Skepticism and Epicureanism. Important topics covered by the Greeks included metaphysics, the nature of the well-lived life, the possibility of knowledge and the nature of reason. With the rise of the Roman empire, Greek philosophy was increasingly discussed in Latin by Romans such as Cicero and Seneca. Medieval philosophy is the period following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and was dominated by the ris
Kabbalah is an esoteric method and school of thought of Judaism. A traditional Kabbalist in Judaism is called a Mequbbāl; the definition of Kabbalah varies according to the tradition and aims of those following it, from its religious origin as an integral part of Judaism, to its adaptations in Western esotericism. Jewish Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between God, the unchanging and mysterious Ein Sof, the mortal and finite universe, it forms the foundation of mystical religious interpretations within Judaism. Jewish Kabbalists developed their own transmission of sacred texts within the realm of Jewish tradition, use classical Jewish scriptures to explain and demonstrate its mystical teachings; these teachings are held by followers in Judaism to define the inner meaning of both the Hebrew Bible and traditional rabbinic literature and their concealed transmitted dimension, as well as to explain the significance of Jewish religious observances. One of the fundamental kabbalistic texts, the Zohar, was first published in the 13th century, the universal form adhered to in modern Judaism is Lurianic Kabbalah.
Traditional practitioners believe its earliest origins pre-date world religions, forming the primordial blueprint for Creation's philosophies, sciences and political systems. Kabbalah emerged after earlier forms of Jewish mysticism, in 12th- to 13th-century Southern France and Spain, was reinterpreted during the Jewish mystical renaissance of 16th-century Ottoman Palestine. Isaac Luria is considered the father of contemporary Kabbalah. During the 20th-century, academic interest in Kabbalistic texts led by the Jewish historian Gershom Scholem has inspired the development of historical research on Kabbalah in the field of Judaic studies. According to the Zohar, a foundational text for kabbalistic thought, Torah study can proceed along four levels of interpretation; these four levels are called pardes from their initial letters. Peshat: the direct interpretations of meaning. Remez: the allegoric meanings. Derash: midrashic meanings with imaginative comparisons with similar words or verses. Sod: the inner, esoteric meanings, expressed in kabbalah.
Kabbalah is considered by its followers as a necessary part of the study of Torah – the study of Torah being an inherent duty of observant Jews. Modern academic-historical study of Jewish mysticism reserves the term "kabbalah" to designate the particular, distinctive doctrines that textually emerged expressed in the Middle Ages, as distinct from the earlier Merkabah mystical concepts and methods. According to this descriptive categorisation, both versions of Kabbalistic theory, the medieval-Zoharic and the early-modern Lurianic kabbalah together comprise the theosophical tradition in Kabbalah, while the meditative-ecstatic Kabbalah incorporates a parallel inter-related Medieval tradition. A third tradition, related but more shunned, involves the magical aims of Practical Kabbalah. Moshe Idel, for example, writes that these 3 basic models can be discerned operating and competing throughout the whole history of Jewish mysticism, beyond the particular Kabbalistic background of the Middle Ages.
They can be distinguished by their basic intent with respect to God: The theosophical tradition of Theoretical Kabbalah seeks to understand and describe the divine realm. As an alternative to rationalist Jewish philosophy Maimonides' Aristotelianism, this speculation became the central component of Kabbalah The Ecstatic tradition of Meditative Kabbalah strives to achieve a mystical union with God. Abraham Abulafia's "Prophetic Kabbalah" was the supreme example of this, though marginal in Kabbalistic development, his alternative to the program of theosophical Kabbalah The Magico-theurgical tradition of Practical Kabbalah endeavours to alter both the Divine realms and the World. While some interpretations of prayer see its role as manipulating heavenly forces, Practical Kabbalah properly involved white-magical acts, was censored by kabbalists for only those pure of intent, it formed a separate minor tradition shunned from Kabbalah. Practical Kabbalah was prohibited by the Arizal until the Temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt and the required state of ritual purity is attainable.
According to traditional belief, early kabbalistic knowledge was transmitted orally by the Patriarchs and sages to be "interwoven" into Jewish religious writings and culture. According to this view, early kabbalah was, in around the 10th century BCE, an open knowledge practiced by over a million people in ancient Israel. Foreign conquests drove the Jewish spiritual leadership of the time to hide the knowledge and make it secret, fearing that it might be misused if it fell into the wrong hands, it is hard to clarify with any degree of certainty the exact concepts within kabbalah. There are several different schools of thought with different outlooks. Modern halakhic authorities have tried to narrow the scope and
The Academy was founded by Plato in c. 387 BC in Athens. Aristotle studied there for twenty years before founding the Lyceum; the Academy persisted throughout the Hellenistic period as a skeptical school, until coming to an end after the death of Philo of Larissa in 83 BC. The Platonic Academy was destroyed by the Roman dictator Sulla in 86 BC; the Akademia was a school outside the city walls of ancient Athens. It was located in or beside a grove of olive trees dedicated to the goddess Athena, on the site before Cimon enclosed the precincts with a wall; the archaic name for the site was Ἑκαδήμεια, which by classical times evolved into Ἀκαδημία, explained, at least as early as the beginning of the 6th century BC, by linking it to “Akademos”, a legendary Athenian hero. The site of the Academy was sacred to Athena; the site was also associated with the twin hero-gods Castor and Polydeuces, since the hero Akademos associated with the site was credited with revealing to the brothers where the abductor Paris had hidden their sister Helen.
Out of respect for its long tradition and its association with the Dioscuri – who were patron gods of Sparta – the Spartan army would not ravage these original ‘groves of Academe’ when they invaded Attica. Their piety was not shared by the Roman Sulla, who axed the sacred olive trees of Athena in 86 BC to build siege engines. Among the religious observances that took place at the Akademeia was a torchlit night race from altars within the city to Prometheus’ altar in the Akademeia; the road to Akademeia was lined with the gravestones of Athenians, funeral games took place in the area as well as a Dionysiac procession from Athens to the Hekademeia and back to the city. The site of the Academy is located near Colonus 1.5 kilometres north of Athens' Dipylon gates. The site was rediscovered in the modern Akadimia Platonos neighbourhood. Visitors today can visit the archaeological site of the Academy located on either side of the Cratylus street in the area of Colonos and Plato's Academy. On either side of the Cratylus street are important monuments, including the Sacred House Geometric Era, the Gymnasium, the Proto-Helladic Vaulted House and the Peristyle Building, the only major building that belonged to the actual Academy of Plato.
What was to be known as Plato's school originated around the time Plato inherited the property at the age of thirty, with informal gatherings which included Theaetetus of Sunium, Archytas of Tarentum, Leodamas of Thasos, Neoclides. According to Debra Nails, Speusippus "joined the group in about 390 BC", she claims, "It is not until Eudoxus of Cnidos arrives in the mid-380s BC that Eudemus recognizes a formal Academy." There is no historical record of the exact time the school was founded, but modern scholars agree that the time was the mid-380s sometime after 387 BC, when Plato is thought to have returned from his first visit to Italy and Sicily. The meetings were held on Plato's property as as they were at the nearby Academy gymnasium. Though the Academic club was exclusive and not open to the public, it did not, at least during Plato's time, charge fees for membership. Therefore, there was not at that time a "school" in the sense of a clear distinction between teachers and students, or a formal curriculum.
There was, however, a distinction between junior members. Two women are known to have studied with Plato at the Academy, Axiothea of Phlius and Lasthenia of Mantinea. In at least Plato's time, the school did not have any particular doctrine to teach. There is evidence of lectures given, most notably Plato's lecture "On the Good". According to an unverifiable story, dated of some 700 years after the founding of the school, above the entrance to the Academy was inscribed the phrase "Let None But Geometers Enter Here."Many have imagined that the Academic curriculum would have resembled the one canvassed in Plato's Republic. Others, have argued that such a picture ignores the obvious peculiar arrangements of the ideal society envisioned in that dialogue; the subjects of study certainly included mathematics as well as the philosophical topics with which the Platonic dialogues deal, but there is little reliable evidence. There is some evidence for what today would be considered scientific research: Simplicius reports that Plato had instructed the other members to discover the simplest explanation of the observable, irregular motion of heavenly bodies: "by hypothesizing what uniform and ordered motions is it possible to save the appearances relating to planetary motions."
Plato's Academy is said to have been a school for would-be politicians in the ancient world, to have had many illustrious alumni. In a recent survey of the evidence, Malcolm Schofield, has argued that it is difficult to know to what extent the Academy was interested in practical politics since much of our evidence "reflects ancient polemic for or against Plato", it is believed that above the door of Plato's Academy was written Ἀγεωμέτρητος μηδεὶς εἰσίτω ("Let
Macrobius Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius known as Theodosius, was a Roman provincial who lived during the early fifth century, at the transition of the Roman to the Byzantine Empire, when Latin was as widespread as Greek among the elite. He is known for his writings, which include the copied and read Commentarii in Somnium Scipionis, one of the most important sources for Platonism in the Latin West during the Middle Ages, the Saturnalia, a compendium of ancient Roman religious and antiquarian lore, De differentiis et societatibus graeci latinique verbi, now lost; the correct order of his names is "Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius", how it appears in the earliest manuscripts of the Saturnalia, how he is addressed in the excerpts from his lost De differentiis. Only in manuscripts were his names reversed as "Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius", which James Willis adopted for his edition of the Commentary. Alan Cameron notes that Cassiodorus and Boethius both refer to him as "Macrobius Theodosius", while he was known during his lifetime as "Theodosius": the dedication to the De differentiis is addressed Theodosius Symmacho suo, by the dedicatory epistle to Avianus's Fables, where he is addressed as Theodosi optime.
Little is known for certain about Macrobius. He states at the beginning of his Saturnalia that he was "born under a foreign sky", both of his major works are dedicated to his son, Eustachius, his major works have led experts to assume. Which "foreign sky" Macrobius was born under has been the subject of much speculation. Terrot Glover considers Macrobius either an ethnic Greek, or born in one of the Greek-speaking parts of the Roman Empire, such as Egypt, due to his intimate knowledge of Greek literature. J. E. Sandys argued that Macrobius was born in one of the Greek provinces; however other experts, beginning with Ludwig van Jan, point out that despite his familiarity with Greek literature Macrobius was far more familiar with Latin than Greek—as evidenced by his enthusiasm for Vergil and Cicero—and favor North Africa, part of the Latin-speaking portion of the Roman Empire. Scholars have attempted to identify him with a Macrobius, mentioned in the Codex Theodosianus as a praetorian prefect of Spain, a proconsul of Africa.
The Codex Theodosianus records a praepositus named Macrobius in 422. A number of older authorities go so far as to identify Macrobius the author with the first, date his floruit to 399–410. There are objections to either identification: as Alan Cameron notes, the complete name of the first candidate is attested in an inscription to be "Flavius Macrobius Maximianus", while the second is excluded because "A praepositus must at this period have been a eunuch."However, since Macrobius is referred to as vir clarissimus et inlustris, a title, achieved by holding public office, we can reasonably expect his name to appear in the Codex Theodosianus. Further, Cameron points out that during his lifetime Macrobius was referred to as "Theodosius", looking for that name Cameron found a Theodosius, praetorian prefect of Italy in 430. "It is significant that the only surviving law addressed to this Theodosius sanctions a privilege for Africa Proconsularis on the basis of information received concerning Byzacena," Cameron notes.
Macrobius's most influential book—and one of the most cited books of the Middle Ages—was a commentary in two books on the Dream of Scipio narrated by Cicero at the end of his Republic. The nature of the dream, in which the elder Scipio appears to his grandson and describes the life of the good after death and the constitution of the universe from a Stoic and Neo-Platonic point of view, gave occasion for Macrobius to discourse upon the nature of the cosmos, transmitting much classical philosophy to the Middle Ages. In astronomy, this work is noted for giving the diameter of the Sun as twice the diameter of the Earth. Of a third work On the Differences and Similarities of the Greek and Latin Verb, we only possess an abstract by a certain Johannes, doubtfully identified with Johannes Scotus Eriugena. See editions by Ludwig von Jan, Franz Eyssenhardt, James Willis, R. A. Kaster; the grammatical treatise will be found in Heinrich Keil's Grammatici latini. Macrobius's Saturnalia consists of an account of the discussions held at the house of Vettius Agorius Praetextatus during the holiday of the Saturnalia.
It contains a great variety of curious historical, critical and grammatical discussions. "The work takes the form of a series of dialogues among learned men at a fictional banquet." Robert A. Kaster, Macrobius: Saturnalia. Loeb classical library 510-512. Cambridge, MA/ London: Harvard University Press, 2011. 3 volumes. Percival Vaughan Davies, Macrobius: The Saturnalia. New York: Columbia University Press, 1969. William Harris Stahl, Macrobius: Commentary on the Dream of Scipio. New York: Columbia University Press, 1952. Macrobius, Ambrosius Aurelius Theodosius. Seven Books of the Saturnalia: Codex from the Plutei Collection of the Bibli
Hypatia was a Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher and mathematician, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt part of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was a prominent thinker of the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria where she taught philosophy and astronomy, she is the first female mathematician. Hypatia was renowned in her own lifetime as a wise counselor, she is known to have written a commentary on Diophantus's thirteen-volume Arithmetica, which may survive in part, having been interpolated into Diophantus's original text, another commentary on Apollonius of Perga's treatise on conic sections, which has not survived. Many modern scholars believe that Hypatia may have edited the surviving text of Ptolemy's Almagest, based on the title of her father Theon's commentary on Book III of the Almagest. Hypatia is known to have constructed astrolabes and hydrometers, but did not invent either of these, which were both in use long before she was born. Although she herself was a pagan, she was tolerant towards Christians and taught many Christian students, including Synesius, the future bishop of Ptolemais.
Ancient sources record that Hypatia was beloved by pagans and Christians alike and that she established great influence with the political elite in Alexandria. Towards the end of her life, Hypatia advised Orestes, the Roman prefect of Alexandria, in the midst of a political feud with Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria. Rumors spread accusing her of preventing Orestes from reconciling with Cyril and, in March 415 AD, she was murdered by a mob of Christians led by a lector named Peter. Hypatia's murder shocked the empire and transformed her into a "martyr for philosophy", leading future Neoplatonists such as Damascius to become fervent in their opposition to Christianity. During the Middle Ages, Hypatia was co-opted as a symbol of Christian virtue and scholars believe she was part of the basis for the legend of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. During the Age of Enlightenment, she became a symbol of opposition to Catholicism. In the nineteenth century, European literature Charles Kingsley's 1853 novel Hypatia, romanticized her as "the last of the Hellenes".
In the twentieth century, Hypatia became seen as an icon for women's rights and a precursor to the feminist movement. Since the late twentieth century, some portrayals have associated Hypatia's death with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, despite the historical fact that the library no longer existed during Hypatia's lifetime. Hypatia was the daughter of the mathematician Theon of Alexandria. According to classical historian Edward J. Watts, Theon was the head of a school called the "Mouseion", named in emulation of the Hellenistic Mouseion, whose membership had ceased in the 260s AD. Theon's school was exclusive prestigious, doctrinally conservative. Theon rejected the teachings of Iamblichus and may have taken pride in teaching a pure, Plotinian Neoplatonism. Although he was seen as a great mathematician at the time, Theon's mathematical work has been deemed by modern standards as "minor", "trivial", "completely unoriginal", his primary achievement was the production of a new edition of Euclid's Elements, in which he corrected scribal errors, made over the course of nearly 700 years of copying.
Theon's edition of Euclid's Elements became the most widely-used edition of the textbook for centuries and totally supplanted all other editions. Nothing is known about Hypatia's mother, never mentioned in any of the extant sources. Theon dedicates his commentary on Book IV of Ptolemy's Almagest to an individual named Epiphanius, addressing him as "my dear son", indicating that he may have been Hypatia's brother, but the Greek word Theon uses does not always mean "son" in the biological sense and was used to signal strong feelings of paternal connection. Hypatia's exact year of birth is still under debate, with suggested dates ranging from 350 to 370 AD. Many scholars have followed Richard Hoche in inferring that Hypatia was born around 370. According to a description of Hypatia from the lost work Life of Isidore by the Neoplatonist historian Damascius, preserved in the entry for her in the Suda, a tenth-century Byzantine encyclopedia, Hypatia flourished during the reign of Arcadius. Hoche reasoned that Damascius's description of her physical beauty would imply that she was at most 30 at that time, the year 370 was 30 years prior to the midpoint of Arcadius's reign.
In contrast, theories that she was born as early as 350 are based on the wording of the chronicler John Malalas, who calls her old at the time of her death in 415. Robert Penella argues that both theories are weakly based, that her birth date should be left unspecified. Hypatia was a Neoplatonist, like her father, she rejected the teachings of Iamblichus and instead embraced the original Neoplatonism formulated by Plotinus; the Alexandrian school was renowned at the time for its philosophy and Alexandria was regarded as second only to Athens as the philosophical capital of the Greco-Roman world. Hypatia taught students from all over the Mediterranean. According to Damascius, she lectured on the writings of Aristotle, he states that she walked through Alexandria in a tribon, a kind of cloak associated with philosophers, giving impromptu public lectures. According to Watts, two main varieties of Neoplatonism were taught in Alexandria during the late fourth century; the first was the overtly pagan religious Neoplatonism taught at the Serapeum, influenced by the teachings of Iamblichus.
The second variety was the more moderate and less polemical variety c
Porphyry of Tyre was a Neoplatonic philosopher, born in Tyre, in the Roman Empire. He published the Enneads, the only collection of the work of his teacher Plotinus, his commentary on Euclid's Elements was used as a source by Pappus of Alexandria. He wrote many works himself on a wide variety of topics, his Isagoge, or Introduction, is an introduction to logic and philosophy, in the Latin and Arabic translations it was the standard textbook on logic throughout the Middle Ages. In addition, through several of his works, most notably Philosophy from Oracles and Against the Christians, banned by emperor Constantine the Great, he was involved in a controversy with a number of early Christians. Porphyry was born in Tyre, his parents named him Malchus but his teacher in Athens, Cassius Longinus, gave him the name Porphyrius a reference to his Phoenician heritage, or a punning allusion to his name and the color of royal robes. Under Longinus he studied rhetoric. In 262 he went to Rome, attracted by the reputation of Plotinus, for six years devoted himself to the practice of Neoplatonism, during which time he modified his diet.
At one point he became suicidal. On the advice of Plotinus he went to live in Sicily for five years to recover his mental health. On returning to Rome, he lectured on philosophy and completed an edition of the writings of Plotinus together with a biography of his teacher. Iamblichus is mentioned in ancient Neoplatonic writings as his pupil, but this most means only that he was the dominant figure in the next generation of philosophers; the two men differed publicly on the issue of theurgy. In his years, he married Marcella, a widow with seven children and an enthusiastic student of philosophy. Little more is known of his life, the date of his death is uncertain. Porphyry is best known for his contributions to philosophy. Apart from writing the Aids to the Study of the Intelligibles, a basic summary of Neoplatonism, he is appreciated for his Introduction to Categories, a short work considered to be a commentary on Aristotle's Categories, hence the title. According to Barnes, the correct title is Introduction, the book is an introduction not to the Categories in particular, but to logic in general, comprising as it does the theories of predication and proof.
The Introduction describes how qualities attributed to things may be classified, famously breaking down the philosophical concept of substance into the five components genus, difference, accident. As Porphyry's most influential contribution to philosophy, the Introduction to Categories incorporated Aristotle's logic into Neoplatonism, in particular the doctrine of the categories of being interpreted in terms of entities. Boethius' Isagoge, a Latin translation of Porphyry's "Introduction", became a standard medieval textbook in European schools and universities, which set the stage for medieval philosophical-theological developments of logic and the problem of universals. In medieval textbooks, the all-important Arbor porphyriana illustrates his logical classification of substance. To this day, taxonomy benefits in classifying living organisms; the Introduction was translated into Arabic by Abd-Allāh Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ from a Syriac version. With the Arabicized name Isāghūjī it long remained the standard introductory logic text in the Muslim world and influenced the study of theology, philosophy and jurisprudence.
Besides the adaptations and epitomes of this work, many independent works on logic by Muslim philosophers have been entitled Isāghūjī. Porphyry's discussion of accident sparked a long-running debate on the application of accident and essence. Porphyry is known as an opponent of Christianity and defender of Paganism. There is debate as to whether it was written in his youth or closer in time to the persecutions of Christians under Diocletian and Galerius. Whether or not Porphyry was the pagan philosopher opponent in Lactantius' Divine Institutes, written at the time of the persecutions, has long been discussed; the fragments of the Philosophy from Oracles are only quoted by Christians Eusebius, Theodoret and John Philoponus. The fragments contain oracles identifying proper sacrificial procedure, the nature of astrological fate, other topics relevant for Greek and Roman religion in the third century. Whether this work contradicts his treatise defending vegetarianism, which warned the philosopher to avoid animal sacrifice, is disputed among scholars.
During his retirement in Sicily, Porphyry wrote Against the Christians which consisted of fifteen books. Some thirty Christian apologists, such as Methodius, Apollinaris, Jerome, etc. responded to his challenge. In fact, everything known about Porphyry's arguments is found in these refutations because Theodosius II ordered every copy burned in A. D. 435 and again in 448. Porphyry became one of the most able pagan adversaries of Christianity of his day, his aim was not to di