‘Porphyry, An Anti-Christian Plotinian Platonist’

The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) (2017)

Authors
Yip-Mei Loh
Chung Yuan Christian University
Abstract
Porphyry, the Phoenician polymath, having studied with Plotinus when he was thirty years old, was a well-known Hellenic philosopher, an opponent of Christianity, and was born in Tyre, in the Roman Empire. We know of his anti-Christian ideology and of his defence of traditional Roman religions, by means of a fragment of his Adversus Christianos. This work incurred controversy among early Christians. His Adversus Christianos has been served as a critique of Christianity and a defence of the worship of the traditional gods, so it is inevitable that his texts involved Biblical culture and religious Hellenism. Augustine, in his De Civitate Dei 10. 28, reproves Porphyry for wasting so much time in learning the theurgic arts and rites. This paper does not inquire into whether Porphyry’s philosophical monistic theology is shown in Plotinus’ Enneads, but focuses on his anti-Christian thought through the fragments that we have, particularly Augustine’s De Civitate Dei.
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