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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: May 2011

46 - Early Byzantine philosophy

from VIII - Philosophy in transition
It is only sixty years ago, that Byzantine philosophy emerged as a subject matter worth investigating in the history of philosophy. Nowadays, discussion on the question about the existence of Byzantine philosophy mainly revolves around the criteria which should be adopted in order to assess this period of philosophical thought without imposing on it on the basis of an anachronistic approach. There were six definitions of philosophy that were used by the Byzantines, which clearly suggest that the characteristics which they themselves attributed to philosophy were diverse. Talking of the philosophical production of the early Byzantine period, this chapter first presents the main authors who engaged themselves in a philosophical discourse, and then focuses on certain philosophical topics which were central at the time. Metaphysics, world, and anthropology are the topics of this period. Early Byzantine philosophy was characterized by the absence of a doctrinal system and of a well-defined philosophical community.
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The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity
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