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  • Print publication year: 1967
  • Online publication date: March 2008

Chapter 18 - Porphyry and Iamblichus

Porphyry was born in about 232, the year when Plotinus started to study philosophy at Alexandria. The old-fashioned taste of the famous critic no doubt had some part in the clarity of Porphyry's style which was soon contrasted with Plotinus' indirectness. Iamblichus mentions that Plotinus, Amelius and Porphyry all distinguished only doubtfully or vaguely between Intellect and Soul. They agreed in denying that the soul in itself, or essentially, was divided into parts. Iamblichus wanted soul to be a genuine third thing which both proceeds integrally in its descent into nature and remains unmixed. Iamblichus has been described as more committed to theurgy and magic than to philosophy. Certainly it would be to misunderstand him to think of him merely as the father of the scholasticism which is associated with the Athenian School. Porphyry had professed to find a hypercosmic as well as cosmic soul in the Timaeus.
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The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy
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