Porphyry of Tyre (/ˈpɔːrfɪri/; Greek: Πορφύριος, Porphýrios; Arabic: فرفوريوس, Furfūriyūs; c. 234 – c. 305 AD) was a Neoplatonic philosopher who was born in Tyre, in the Roman Empire. He edited and 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 also wrote many works himself on a wide variety of topics. His Isagoge, or Introduction, is an introduction to logic and philosophy, and 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, which was banned by emperor Constantine the Great, he was involved in a controversy with a number of early Christians.
Porphyry of Tyre
Porphire Sophiste, in a French 16th-century engraving
|Born||c. 234 AD|
|Died||c. 305 AD|
|Criticism of Christianity, vegetarianism|
Porphyry was born in Tyre. His parents named him Malchus ("king" in the Semitic languages) but his teacher in Athens, Cassius Longinus, gave him the name Porphyrius ("clad in purple"), possibly a reference to his Phoenician heritage, or a punning allusion to his name and the color of royal robes. Under Longinus he studied grammar and rhetoric.
In 262 he went to Rome, attracted by the reputation of Plotinus, and for six years devoted himself to the practice of Neoplatonism, during which time he severely 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 (who had died in the meantime) together with a biography of his teacher. Iamblichus is mentioned in ancient Neoplatonic writings as his pupil, but this most likely 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 later years, he married Marcella, a widow with seven children and an enthusiastic student of philosophy. Little more is known of his life, and 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 (Ἀφορμαὶ πρὸς τὰ νοητά; Sententiae Ad Intelligibilia Ducentes), a basic summary of Neoplatonism, he is especially appreciated for his Introduction to Categories (Introductio in Praedicamenta or Isagoge et in Aristotelis Categorias commentarium), a very short work often considered to be a commentary on Aristotle's Categories, hence the title. According to Barnes (2003), however, the correct title is simply Introduction (Εἰσαγωγή Isagoge), and the book is an introduction not to the Categories in particular, but to logic in general, comprising as it does the theories of predication, definition, 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, species, difference, property, 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 (in later philosophy, "universal"). 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 ("Porphyrian Tree") illustrates his logical classification of substance. To this day, taxonomy benefits from concepts in Porphyry's Tree, in classifying living organisms (see cladistics).
The Introduction was translated into Arabic by Abd-Allāh Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ from a Syriac version. With the Arabicized name Isāghūjī (إيساغوجي) it long remained the standard introductory logic text in the Muslim world and influenced the study of theology, philosophy, grammar, 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 also known as an opponent of Christianity and defender of Paganism; his precise contribution to the philosophical approach to traditional religion may be discovered in the fragments of Philosophy from Oracles (Περὶ τῆς ἐκ λογίων φιλοσοφίας; De Philosophia ex Oraculis Haurienda), which was originally three books in length. There is debate as to whether it was written in his youth (as Eunapius reports) 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, especially Eusebius, Theodoret, Augustine, and John Philoponus. The fragments contain oracles identifying proper sacrificial procedure, the nature of astrological fate, and other topics relevant for Greek and Roman religion in the third century. Whether this work contradicts his treatise defending vegetarianism, which also warned the philosopher to avoid animal sacrifice, is disputed among scholars.
During his retirement in Sicily, Porphyry wrote Against the Christians (Κατὰ Χριστιανῶν; Adversus Christianon) which consisted of fifteen books. Some thirty Christian apologists, such as Methodius, Eusebius, Apollinaris, Augustine, Jerome, etc., responded to his challenge. In fact, everything known about Porphyry's arguments is found in these refutations, largely 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 disprove the substance of Christianity’s teachings but rather the records within which the teachings are communicated.
According to Jerome, Porphyry especially attacked the prophecy of Daniel because Jews and Christians pointed to the historical fulfillment of its prophecies as a decisive argument. But these prophecies, he maintained, were written not by Daniel but by some Jew who in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (d. 164 BC) gathered up the traditions of Daniel's life and wrote a history of recent past events but in the future tense, falsely dating them back to Daniel's time.
The first part of Daniel, with the exception of the dream in Daniel 2, is historic, not prophetic. Porphyry, attacking only the prophetic portion, declares it to be merely a late anonymous narrative of past events, purporting to have been predicted long before by Daniel. Thus Porphyry's scheme was based on the supposed spuriousness of Daniel's prophecies.
Porphyry devised his own interpretation where the third “prophetic kingdom” was Alexander, and assigned the Macedonian Ptolemies and Seleucids to the fourth kingdom. From among these he chose ten kings, making the eleventh to be Antiochus Epiphanes. In this way he threw his main strength against the book of Daniel, recognizing that if this pillar of faith be shaken, the whole structure of prophecy must tremble. If the writer was not Daniel, then he lied on a frightful scale, ascribing to God prophecies which were never uttered, and making claim of miracles that were never wrought. And if Daniel's authorship could be shown to be false, then Christ Himself would be proved to bear witness to an imposter. (Matt. 24: 15.) Porphyry's thesis was adopted by Edward Gibbon, the English deist Anthony Collins, and most Modernist scholars.
Porphyry was opposed to the theurgy of his disciple Iamblichus. Much of Iamblichus' mysteries is dedicated to the defense of mystic theurgic divine possession against the critiques of Porphyry. French philosopher Pierre Hadot maintains that for Porphyry, spiritual exercises are an essential part of spiritual development.
Porphyry was, like Pythagoras, an advocate of vegetarianism on spiritual and ethical grounds. These two philosophers are perhaps the most famous vegetarians of classical antiquity. He wrote the On Abstinence from Animal Food (Περὶ ἀποχῆς ἐμψύχων; De Abstinentia ab Esu Animalium), advocating against the consumption of animals, and he is cited with approval in vegetarian literature up to the present day.
Porphyry also wrote widely on astrology, religion, philosophy, and musical theory. He produced a History of Philosophy (Philosophos historia) with vitae of philosophers that included a life of his teacher, Plotinus. His life of Plato from book iv exists only in quotes by Cyril of Alexandria. His book Vita Pythagorae on the life of Pythagoras is not to be confused with the book of the same name by Iamblichus. His commentary on Ptolemy's Harmonics (Eis ta Harmonika Ptolemaiou hypomnēma) is an important source for the history of ancient harmonic theory.
Porphyry also wrote about Homer. Apart from several lost texts known only from quotes by other authors, two texts survive at least in large parts: the Homerian Questions (Homēriká zētḗmata, largely a philological comment on the Iliad and Odyssey) and About the cave of the Nymphs in the Odyssey (Peri tou en Odysseia tōn nymphōn antrou).
The concept of the Absolute, also known as The (Unconditioned) Ultimate, The Wholly Other, The Supreme Being, The Absolute/Ultimate Reality, The Ground of Being, Urgrund, The Absolute Principle, The Source/Fountain/Well/Center/Foundation of Reality, The Ultimate Oneness/Whole, The Absolute God of The Universe, and other names, titles, aliases, and epithets, is the thing, being, entity, power, force, reality, presence, law, principle, etc. that possesses maximal ontological status, existential ranking, existential greatness, or existentiality. In layman's terms, this is the entity that is the greatest, highest, or "truest" being, existence, or reality.
There are many conceptions of the Absolute in various fields and subjects, such as philosophy, religion, spiritual traditions, formal science (such as mathematics), and even natural science. The nature of these conceptions can range from "merely" encompassing all physical existence, nature, or reality, to being completely unconditioned existentially, transcending all concepts, notions, objects, entities, and types, kinds, and categories of being.
The Absolute is often thought of as generating manifestations that interact with lower or lesser types, kinds, and categories of being. This is either done passively, through emanations, or actively, through avatars and incarnations. These existential manifestations, which themselves can possess transcendent attributes, only contain minuscule or infinitesimal portions of the true essence of the Absolute.
The term itself was not in use in ancient or medieval philosophy, but closely related to the description of God as actus purus in scholasticism. It was introduced in modern philosophy, notably by Hegel, for "the sum of all being, actual and potential".
The term has since also been adopted in perennial philosophy.Antiphon (writer)
Antiphon (Ancient Greek: Ἀντιφῶν) was an author of ancient Greece who wrote an account of men distinguished for virtue (περὶ τῶν ἐν ἀρετή πρωτευσάντων), one of whom was Pythagoras.Avicenna
Ibn Sina (Persian: ابن سینا), also known as Abu Ali Sina (ابوعلیِ سینا), Pur Sina (پورسینا), and often known in the west as Avicenna (c. 980 – June 1037) was a Persian polymath who is regarded as one of the most significant physicians, astronomers, thinkers and writers of the Islamic Golden Age. He has been described as the father of early modern medicine. Of the 450 works he is known to have written, around 240 have survived, including 150 on philosophy and 40 on medicine.His most famous works are The Book of Healing, a philosophical and scientific encyclopedia, and The Canon of Medicine, a medical encyclopedia which became a standard medical text at many medieval universities and remained in use as late as 1650. In 1973, Avicenna's Canon Of Medicine was reprinted in New York.Besides philosophy and medicine, Avicenna's corpus includes writings on astronomy, alchemy, geography and geology, psychology, Islamic theology, logic, mathematics, physics and works of poetry.Hypomnemata
Hypomnemata (Ancient Greek: ὑπομνήματα) may refer to:
Plural of the Greek term hypomnema, later used by Michel Foucault
Several ancient literary works by writers including:
Ion of Chios
The title of a commentary, as in many of the Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca; including works by:
Several works by modern authors, including:
Heinrich von Cocceji
Christian August Crusius
Hypomnemata. Untersuchungen zur Antike und zu ihrem Nachleben, a series of scholarly publications in classical studiesIndex of ancient philosophy articles
This page is a list of topics in ancient philosophy.List of ancient Greeks
This an alphabetical list of ancient Greeks. These include ethnic Greeks and Greek language speakers from Greece and the Mediterranean world up to about 200 AD.List of metaphysicians
This is a list of metaphysicians, philosophers who specialize in metaphysics. See also Lists of philosophers.List of writers influenced by Aristotle
Many philosophers and other writers have been significantly influenced by Aristotle.Porfirio
Porfirio is a given name in Spanish, derived from the Greek Porphyry (porphyrios "purple-clad").
It can refer to:
Porfirio Salinas - Mexican-American artist
Porfirio Armando Betancourt - Honduran football player
Porfirio Barba-Jacob - Colombian poet and writer
Porfirio Becerril - Mexican diver
Porfirio Díaz - Mexican soldier and politician, seven times President
Porfirio DiDonna - American artist
Porfirio Lobo Sosa - Honduran President
Porfirio López - Costa Rican professional soccer player
Porfirio Muñoz Ledo - Mexican politician
Porfirio Rubirosa - Dominican diplomat
Hugo Porfírio - Portuguese footballerPorphyry
Porphyry (; Greek: Πορφύριος, Porphyrios "purple-clad") may refer to:
Porphyry (geology), an igneous rock with large crystals in a fine-grained matrix, or associated mineral deposit
Porphyritic, the general igneous texture of a rock with two distinct crystal (phenocryst) sizes
Porphyry copper deposit, a primary (low grade) ore deposit of copper, consisting of porphyry rocks
Porphyry Island in Lake Superior
Porphyry (philosopher) (234–305), Neoplatonic philosopher
Porphyry of Gaza (or "St. Porphyry of Gaza", 347–420), Bishop of Gaza
Porphyry, a system of astrological house division
Porphyry, a vineyard near Seaham, New South WalesReligion in Carthage
The religion of Carthage in North Africa was a direct continuation of the Phoenician variety of the polytheistic ancient Canaanite religion with significant local modifications. Controversy prevails regarding the possible existence and practice of propitiatory child sacrifice in the religion of Carthage. However, a recent study of archeological evidence confirms this ritual.Samian Sibyl
The Samian Sibyl was the priestess presiding over the Apollonian oracle near Hera's temple on the Isle of Samos, a Greek colony. The word Sibyl comes (via Latin) from the ancient Greek word sibylla, meaning prophetess. There were many Sibyls in the ancient world but she is the one who prophesied the Birth of Jesus in the stable. The Samian Sibyl, by name Phemonoe, or Phyto of whom Eratosthenes wrote.
The Suidas lexicon refers that the Erythraean Sibyl was also called Samian. Pausanias confirms that Erythraean Sibyl has lived the greater part of her life in Samos (Phocis, 12, 5). The Samian Sibyl known as Phyto, or better Foito, from the Greek world foitos which indicates the wandering, especially the mind's. Modern researchers of the Samos island consider that her house was in the cave of Panagia Spiliani monastery which probably is also the cavern of Pythagoras, according to the testimonies of the neoplatonic philosopher Porphyry.
Interesting is the reference of Symeon Metaphrastes (the largest of the Byzantine historians), which says that Samian Sibyl existed when the city of Byzantium was built, the famous ancient colony of the Megarians, which was converted by Constantine the Great into the capital of the empire, after having rebuilt, and was called Constantinople. "During this time Sibyl is known in Samos, and the Byzantium was built under the Megarians". (Simeon Logothetis, Leon Grammatikos chronographia, page 37)Timeline of mathematics
This is a timeline of pure and applied mathematics history.