dialecture

February 26, 2011

Plotinus and Porphyrius

Filed under: Philosophy — dialecture @ 9:41 am

τοῦ χειμῶνος δὲ τὰς νύκτας ἐκτείνοντος ἄνευ πολλῶν καὶ καλλῶν ἑτέρων λόγων

ἐπιθέμενος ταῖς βίβλοις αἵ τὸν ἐκ Παλαιστίνης ἄνθρωπον θεόν τε καὶ θεοῦ παῖδα ποιοῦσι,

μάχῃ τε μακρᾷ καὶ ἐλέγχων ἰσχύι γέλωτα ἀποφήνας καὶ φλήναφον τὰ τιμώμενα σοφώτερος

ἐν τοῖς αὐτοῖς δἐδοικτο τοῦ Τυρἰου γἐροντος. ἳλεως δὲ οὗτος ὁ Τύριος εἲη καὶ δέχοιτό γε

εὐμενῶς τὸ ῥηθέν, ὡς ἂν ὑιέος ἡττώμμενος.

Libanius Or 18.178.1 to Or 18.178.8

 

 

 

(read hereafter the excerpt from THE ROMAN EMPIRE AT BAY, AD 180–395 by David S. Potter)

Plotinus and Porphyry

In the late fourth century, Eunapius of Sardis wrote a book entitled The Lives of the Philosophers, in which he traced the succession of philosophers whom he felt were important in his own time. These philosophers he saw as a “third group” succeeding, first, the philosophers that had flourished in the time of Plato, and then those who had flourished in the early empire from the reign of Claudius until the time of Severus, noting “this is part of the good fortune of the emperors, that according to history, the apogee of virtue is the same as that of fortune.”98 The third group of philosophers were those of his own time, men who preserved classical learning in the face of Christian emperors. He traces the succession of these philosophers to Plotinus, about whom he says that he need say little, since his life was recorded by Porphyry. And indeed it was, revealing a man of great complexity, as do the works that Porphyry edited in six groups of nine discourses each, the Enneads. The problem with Eunapius’ historical vision of Plotinus and Porphyry is that, by placing them at the head of a succession of philosophers that ends in his own time, he misrepresents them in their context. Porphyry makes it very clear that Plotinus saw himself as working within the con-temporary limits of Platonism even as he introduced ideas derived from other philosophic schools, notably the Pythagoreans, into his analysis of Platonic topics.99 The bulk of Porphyry’s Life of Plotinus is concerned with the problem of editing Plotinus’ works – the master had poor eyesight, sohe could not copyedit texts produced by his scribes – Plotinus’ relationship with his students, with other intellectuals (including Porphyry’s other mentor, Longinus), and his ascetic lifestyle.100 Although Porphyry observes that Plotinus’ teaching was often quite original, Plotinus himself tended to stress his place within the tradition, portraying himself as a simple exegete of the tradition.101 In this Plotinus was very much a product of his time, and he had therefore to forge a narrative of his own attachment to the past in order to gain authority for his thoughts. And, of course, so too was Porphyry, who made sure that the life that he composed for his master included all the appropriate themes of a philosophic life.102

One of the most significant contributions of Plotinus appears in his discus-sion of cognition. In the modern, western, tradition of thought, it was René Descartes who arguably developed the modern understanding of the mind as the locus of subjective truth.103 In taking this view, Descartes was influ-enced by Augustine, who appears in turn to have been influenced by Plotinus, who advanced the view that the body had no life without the soul.104 The soul, however, did have a life that was independent of the body. In taking this stand he was developing the Platonic notion of the soul through a dialogue with the view in contemporary Stoicism that thought was the product of a soul that was of a bodily nature.105

For Plotinus subjective truth, the possession of the Intellect, existed outside the soul.106 It was possible for a person to perceive the truth by joining the soul with the Intellect, which was itself a product of the One.107

The philosophic ideal was knowledge of the One, which would enable a person to return to the true self as soul, to attain the divine intellect, and achieve union with the One.108 According to Porphyry, Plotinus was able to attain complete unity with the One on four occasions in his life,109 and it is plain that Plotinus recognized that such an ascent was not possible for everyone, for he wrote that

The man of real dignity must ascend in due measure, with an absence of boorish arrogance, going only so far as our nature is able to go, and consider that there is room for others at God’s side . . . (Enn. 2.9.9.47–51, trans. Armstrong)

The key to this ability for a human to join his or her mind with the One lay, in Plotinus’ thinking, to the distinction between body and soul, and the unity of the three hypostaseis, or substances.110 According to Plotinus, the One

is the productive power of all things. The things, then, of which it is the productive power are those which Intellect observes, in a way cutting itself off from the power; otherwise it would not be Intellect. For Intellect also has a kind of intimate perception of itspower to produce substantial reality. Intellect certainly, by its own means even defines its being for itself by the power that comes from the One . . . (Enn. 5.1.7.9–15, trans. Armstrong)

Intellect itself then

generates soul, since it is perfect Intellect. For since it is perfect it had to generate, and not be without offspring when it was so great a power. (Enn. 5.1.7.36–8, trans. Armstrong)

In defense of this highly original formulation, which was central to his belief that it was possible for the soul to ascend, and to his understanding of perception, he said:

This is the reason why Plato says that all things are threefold “about the king of all” – he means the primary realities – and “the second about the second and the third about the third.” But he also says that there is a “father of the cause,” meaning “Intellect” by “the cause”: for Intellect is his craftsman; and he says that it makes Soul in that “mixing-bowl” he speaks of . . . And [it follows] that these statements of ours are not new; they do not belong to the present time, but were made long ago, not explicitly, and what we have said in this discussion has been an interpretation of them, relying on Plato’s own writings for evidence that these views are ancient. (Enn. 5.1.8.1–7; 9–14, trans. Armstrong)

The defensive tone suggests that Plotinus was fully aware of the originality of what he was saying, and that, consequently, he needed to create a narra-tive of the history of thought in which his views could be submerged in those of Plato to gain authority. The path along which he trod was plainly a winding one, enabling him to speak his mind, while at the same time exalting antiquity against what he saw as the weaker products of modern times. He resented deeply the suggestion that he was plagiarizing the philosopher Numenius, whom he described as intellectually vapid.111

If it was the task of the philosopher to be the best possible exegete of tradition, so too it was his task to defend truth against what he considered light-weight speculation. It is in this context – remaining mindful of the fact that Plotinus could be scathing about fellow exegetes of the Platonic tradition – that his attack on the Gnostics must be read. In this case he states that he is worried about friends of his who were “falling for” the Gnostic line that held (as did Mani) that the material world was tinged with evil. His response to such arguments was that those who made them made “arbitrary and arrogant assertions” and it would require

Another type of writing . . . to repel those who have the insolence to pull to pieces what god-like men of antiquity have said nobly and in accordance with the truth. (Enn. 2.9.10.12–14, trans. Armstrong)

It is notable that this is not a plea for persecution. His response to those who thought otherwise than he did was to write about their folly. So too, it appears, did Porphyry, who says that

There were in his time many Christians and others, schismatics of the schools of Adelphius and Aculinus who abandoned ancient philosophy, possessing many books of Alexander the Libyan, Philocomus, Demostratus and Lydus, bringing forth apocalypses of Zoroaster and Zostrianos and Nicotheus and Allogenes and Messus and many other people of this sort, deceiving themselves and others as if Plato had not penetrated the depths of intelligible reality. (V. Plot. 16.1–9, trans. Armstrong, adapted)

His response was to write books explaining why their books were fakes. By the time that he wrote this passage, Porphyry had also written several works in which he specifically attacked Christian modes of exegesis and their use of scripture. These books fit with part of a defined intellectual program that sought to defend the teachings of “the ancients” against the folly of “the moderns.”112 The real problem was that “the moderns” denied the viability of the narrative to which men like Plotinus and Porphyry had attached them-selves, and the only way to deal with such people was to undermine their own narrative. There is no suggestion here that either Plotinus or Porphyry would encourage persecution as a way to deal with the problem, or that they were concerned with that narrative of Christianity that stressed the history of persecution.113 It was a man like Eusebius whom they would have despised. The one area where Porphyry, whose own intellectual production was truly staggering, may have differed from his master was in the area of religion. Plotinus’ belief that one could know the gods through contemplation stands in stark contrast with Porphyry’s evident need to seek assistance. It is perhaps significant that the oracle of Apollo that Porphyry quotes as a sign that the gods recognized Plotinus’ divine nature is posthumous.114 Although, according to Porphyry, Plotinus gave a demonstration of his divine nature when challenged by a magical attack, he plainly had no interest in anything that smacked of what he regarded as folly.115 In his attack on the Gnostics, Plotinus had said:
But they themselves most of all impair the inviolate purity of the higher powers in another way too. For when they write magic chants, intending to address them to those powers, not only to the soul but to those above it as well, what are they doing except making the powers obey the word and follow the lead of people who say spells and conjurations, any one of us who is well skilled in the art of saying precisely the right things in the right way, songs and cries and aspirated and hissing sounds and everything else which their writings say has magic power in the Higher World? But even if they do not want to say this, how are incorporeal beings affected by sounds? So by the sort of statement with which they give an appear-ance of majesty to their own words, they, without realizing it, take away the majesty of the higher powers. (Enn. 2.9.14.1–11, trans. Armstrong)

Plotinus believed that true Platonic doctrine involved the freedom of rational and virtuous action, that “the best actions come from ourselves.”116 Porphyry, however, was of a somewhat more traditional orientation, and his picture of Plotinus as a semi-divine being clashes with Plotinus’ own thought in a significant way. In his own attack on the narratives of non-traditionalists – Christians and others – he would look to the divine for guidance. Porphyry’s desire for divine guidance, his belief that the gods could provide direction for humans, surfaced in one of his earliest works, On Philosophy from Oracles.117 In it he appears to have made use of existing collections of oracles from the main oracular sites in Asia Minor, which he equipped with a commentary to show how the gods were teaching humans about their nature. In the preface to this book he stated his belief that a person who drew hope of salvation from oracles could be confident – especially as Porphyry had recorded the oracles accurately (he emended texts that he thought were incor-rect). The collection itself “contains the record of many philosophic doctrines that the gods themselves contain the truth,” and will give some instructions on proper methods of obtaining information.118 He then proceeds, as he does in his many exegetical works, by citing a text, commenting upon points that he thinks are significant, and moving on to the next, at times reading into it his own views. His technique in this regard is perhaps most obvious in a commentary upon Homer, selections from which are preserved in a Byzantine collection, where he explains, for instance, how Circe’s prescription for summoning spirits of the dead in the Odyssey is connected with the doctrines of Plato and Pythagoras on the soul.119

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the text, and one that bears upon his later works attacking what he regarded as bogus books of Zoroastrian revelation, as well as Christian folly, is that he admitted oracles that discussed the wisdom of non-Greek peoples. His approach may thus be seen to be remarkably inclusive. One text that he quotes validates the revelation of the
gods of Egypt, Assyria, Lydia, and the Jews.120 In another place, Apollo is quoted as saying that “only the Chaldaeans and the Hebrews have wisdom, worshipping properly the self-generated ruler God.”121 When it comes to the Christians, Porphyry produces an oracle in which Hecate proclaimed that Christ was a pious man, and that his soul was immortal, as were the souls of all pious persons. Where he erred was in suggesting that his soul had any special connection with wisdom. Christians, however, were regarded as blas-phemers for worshipping Christ as a god, and not recognizing true doctrines concerning the soul.122 These chiefly involved the possibility of the physical resurrection, which Porphyry thought was nonsense. It may also be presumed that he recognized a certain obduracy in Christians, whom he (along with Apollo) felt were not amenable to rational argument.123

Porphyry’s views in this work show considerable development from those of Celsus. While Celsus regarded Christians as a group that might as well be persecuted, Porphyry seems to regard them as a regular feature of the intellectual landscape. They may be misguided with respect to the doctrine of the Resurrection, but they are to be corrected rather than eliminated. And it was to the correction of the Christians that Porphyry turned on at least three occasions in his life.124

The style of Porphyry’s attack can be reconstructed, in the first instance through direct quotations or summaries of various statements in later Christian writers, primarily Jerome and Augustine.125 Jerome makes it clear that Porphyry compared Jesus unfavorably to Apollonius of Tyana, and to Apuleius, whose reputation as a magician stemmed from the knowledge of magical practices reflected in his works.126 He stated that people who believed the apostles were fools, and that the authors of the gospels were ignora-muses.127 In the latter case he showed that their quotations from Jewish scripture were incorrect.128 Elsewhere he assailed Christian understandings of world history, taking firm aim at the Book of Daniel, which he showed (correctly) to have been concerned with the Hasmonean revolt.129 He also seems to have found the story of Jonah and the whale rather amusing in no very polite way, and raised the critical issue of what happened to all those souls of humans who existed before Christ; could God be truly merciful if there could be no salvation for them?130

The direct quotations and summaries of Porphyry’s work make it look very much as if Porphyry’s arguments may be reconstructed in greater detail with the aid of a work by a fourth-century Christian, Macarius of Magnesia.131

Macarius produced a dialogue in which a Christian is depicted as defending the faith against attacks by a “pagan philosopher” whose arguments sound very much like those that can definitely be associated with Porphyry. Thus Macarius’ philosopher attacks the saying of Jesus:

In a short saying attributed to him, Christ says to his disciples, “You will always have the poor among you, but me you will not always have.” The occasion for the sermon is this: A certain woman takes an alabaster container filled with ointment and pours it over Jesus’ head. When [his disciples] complain about the inappropriateness of the action Jesus replies, “Why trouble the woman when she has done something good for me?” The disciples caused quite a stir, wondering why the ointment, expensive as it was, had not been sold for profit and distributed to the poor to ease their hunger. Thus Jesus’ nonsensical response: Poor people there will always be; but he will not always be with them. [Odd, therefore], that elsewhere he can say with confidence, “I shall be with you until the end of the world.” (Trans. R. J. Hoffmann, Porphyry’s Against the Christians: The Literary Remains [Amherst, NY, 1994], 48)132

In attacking the imagery of the gospels – for example, the statement at Matthew. 13:31 that the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed – the “pagan philosopher” will complain that these images are not those of the wise, or even of sibyls, as they are “degraded and unintelligible.”133 In a com-plaint that rings very true to the Plotinian vision of the world, the “philoso-pher” objects to Christian eschatological notions (involving, as they do, the coming of God and the ruin of the physical world) on the grounds that God does not work contrary to nature.134 Why, the philosopher says, did Jesus not do as did Apollonius of Tyana, if he were truly a man possessed of divine power, and vanish at his trial – or at the very least speak words of power?135

It is not clear that Celsus knew much of anything about Christian scrip-ture, but that is perhaps not too surprising, as the notion of an actual canon was relatively new in the second century: a hundred or so years later, for Porphyry, the canon of the New Testament provides the base narrative that he attacks in trying to show that Christians were deeply misguided. The technique is very much in accord with that employed in the Life of Plotinus, where the assertion that Plotinus had plagiarized Numenius needed to be refuted with abuse, since it would otherwise undermine the narrative of Plotinian originality and superiority.

————————

Notes

98 Eunap. VS 456 with P. Cox Miller, “Strategies of Representation in Collective Biography: Constructing the Subject as Holy,” in Greek Biography and Panegyric in Late Antiquity, ed. T. Hägg and P. Rousseau (Berkeley, 2000), 238.

99 Porph. V. Plot. 20.72–74; 21.6–7; but see also V. Plot. 14.4–6 with discussion in M.-O. Goulet-Cazé, “Plotin, professeur de philosophie,” in Porphyre: La vie de Plotin, ed. L. Brisson, M.-O. Goulet-Cazé, R. Goulet, and D. O’Brien (Paris, 1982), 1: 257–76.

100 Porph. V. Plot. 8.16–19 (eyesight); 7–12 (associates); 17–20 (other intellectuals); on the lifestyle and its implications see Clark, “Philosophic Lives and the Philosophic Life: Porphyry and Iamblichus,” in Hägg and Rousseau, Greek Biography and Panegyric, 45–46.

101 Porph. V. Plot. 14.

102 Clark, “Philosophic Lives and the Philosophic Life: Porphyry and Iamblichus,” 29–51; M. Edwards, “Birth, Death and Divinity in Porphyry’s Life of Plotinus,” in Hägg and Rousseau, Greek Biography and Panegyric, 52–71.

103 See the valuable discussion in S. Rappe, “Self-Knowledge and Subjectivity in the Enneads,” in The Cambridge Companion to Plotinus, ed. L. P. Gerson (Cambridge, 1996), 250–2.

104 D. J. O’ Meara, Plotinus: An Introduction to the “Enneads” (Oxford, 1993), 19–21. I am grateful to Professor Sara Rappe for calling this book to my attention (and trusting me with her copy).

105 O’Meara, Plotinus, 16–17.

106 Porph. V. Plot. 18.10–11 with Rappe, “Self-Knowledge,”266–67.

107 Plot. Enn. 5.1.5.3; Porph. V. Plot. 23.16. 108 O’Meara, Plotinus, 103.

109 Porph. V. Plot. 17–21.

110 H. J. Blumenthal, “On Soul and Intellect,” in Gerson, The Cambridge Companion to Plotinus, 82–83.

111 Porph. V. Plot. 17–18.

112 See n. 131 below defending a date in the 270s.

113 It could be objected to this view that Porph. In Christ. fr. 1 (Harnack) advocates the persecution of Christians. Its attribution to Porphyry might be defended because of the similarity of the sentiments expressed therein with those attributed to the philosopher identified as Porphyry at Lact DI 5.2, but this identification has been decisively refuted by T. D. Barnes, “Monotheists All?,” Phoenix 55 (2001): 158. The failure of this identification decisively undermines part of the argument of E. Digeser, “Lactantius, Porphyry and the Debate over Religious Toleration,” JRS 88 (1998): 128–9 and M. B. Simmons, Arnobius of Sicca: Religious Conflict and Competition in the Age of Diocletian (Oxford, 1995), 77–78, though the thrust of Simmons’s case that Arnobius is responding to Porphyry does not require that Porphyry’s book be written ca. 300. All that is required is that Porphyry’s book was significant enough in 300 for a Christian to feel the need to respond, which may indeed indicate a rather earlier date. On the other hand, T. D. Barnes, “Scholarship or Propaganda? Porphyry Against the Christians and its Historical Setting,” BICS 39 (1994): 65 suggests that rather than being a fragment, it is in fact Eusebius’ summary of the thesis of the Against the Christians, and therefore suggests that a date ca. 300 is more probable. While Barnes is absolutely correct in stating that it is hard to reconstruct a work from fragments, this view does not seem to me to fit with what we have, or with Porphyry’s overall approach to intel-lectual controversy. For the date of the work see n. 131 below.

114 Porph. V. Plot. 22.9–10. See now the excellent discussion in R. Goulet, “L’oracle d’Apollon dans la vie de Plotin,” in Brisson et al., Porphyre: la vie de Plotin, 2: 372–412.

115 Porph. V. Plot. 10.15–25.

116 Plot. Enn. 3.1.10.10–11; see also Enn. 6.8.5–6 and Enn. 3.4 passim.

117 J. Bidez, Vie de Porphyre le philosophe néo-platonicien (Leipzig, 1913), 17–28. His view is challenged by J. J. O’Meara, Porphyry’s Philosophy from Oracles in Augustine (Paris, 1959), 34–37, who argues that the work should date to 268. The core of his argu-ment is that Porphyry shows knowledge of the Chaldaean oracles in the De philosophia ex oraculis, as well as in the De regressu animae – something denied by Bidez. O’Meara bases his case, in turn, on H. Lewy, The Chaldaean Oracles and Theurgy, rev. edn., ed. M. Tardieu (Paris, 1978). Lewy’s case is overstated, and O’Meara ignores the crucial evidence for the date (exploited at great length by Eusebius in the Praeparatio Evangelica), which is the flat contradiction between the contents of the De philosophia ex oraculis and the De abstinentia. For the early date see now A. Smith, Porphyry’s Place in the Neoplatonic Tradition (The Hague, 1974), 134–37, accepted by Barnes, “Scholarship or Propaganda?” 59.

118 Porph. fr. 303 (Smith).

119 Porph. fr. 382 (Smith).

120 Porph. fr. 323 (Smith); this may be explained by Porphyry’s consciousness of his Phoenician background, on which see Millar, “Porphyry,” 241–62.

121 Porph. fr. 324 (Smith); see also fr. 344 (Smith).

122 Porph. fr. 345 (Smith) with O’Meara, Porphyry’s Philosophy, 53, 72–83.

123 Porph. fr. 343 (Smith).

124 Euseb. Hist. eccl. 6.19.1–5; a date ca. 300 for at least one of his works against the Christians could be defended on the basis of Macarius, Apocr. 4.1–7 (also in Porph. In Christ. 34 (Harnack)), but see n. 131 below.

125 On this point see the reconstruction of Porphyry’s argument minus the fragments from Macarius in A. Meredith, “Porphyry and Julian against the Christians,” ANRW 2.23.2 (1980): 1125–37.

126 Porph. In Christ. fr. 4, 46, 63 (Harnack); the comparison was made also by Celsus and Hierocles (Lact. DI 5.2.12) and noted in Aug. Ep. 102.32, 136.1, 138.18. For Apuleius see also Lact. DI 5.3. See n. 131 below for discussion of Harnack’s edito-rial principles, which have been challenged with respect to Macarius Magnes, but not with respect to Jerome (who says that he is quoting Porphyry in the fragment quoted here and others that are adduced in the text).

127 Fools: see Porph. In Christ. fr. 5 and 6 (Harnack). Evangelists: Porph. In Christ. fr. 9, 55 (Harnack).

128 Incorrect citations: Porph. In Christ. fr. 9, 10, 12, 14, 21, 22 (Harnack).

129 Porph. In Christ. 43, 47 (Harnack); see also P. M. Casey, “Porphyry and the Origin of the Book of Daniel,” JTS 27 (1976): 15–33, showing that Porphyry may have had access to a Syrian Christian tradition of interpretation.

130 Porph. In Christ. fr. 46, 81, 82 (Harnack).

131 A. von Harnack, Porphyrius “Gegen die Christen,” 15 Bücher: Zeugnisse, Fragmente und Referate, Abhandlungen der königlich preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Phil-Hist. Kl. 1916, vol. 1 (Berlin, 1916), 6–7, 19–21, contra the view that Macarius used the work of Sossianus Hierocles (which was arguably based on Porphyry). See also A. von Harnack, Kritik des Neuen Testament von einem grieschischen Philosophen des 3. Jahrhunderts, Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 37, pt. 4 (Leipzig, 1911), 137–44, arguing that Macarius used a summary of Porphyry’s work. I see no reason to question Harnack’s analysis of the relation-ship between Macarius and Porphyry. For the contrary view see T. D. Barnes, “Porphyry Against the Christians: Date and Attribution of the Fragments,” JTS 24 (1973): 424–42, with a valuable discussion of fragments attributed to Porphyry after Harnack’s edition. He is correct that the attribution of the opinions in Macarius to Porphyry is conjecture, but does not do justice to the point that the non-Macarian fragments bear out the Porphyrian nature of the Macarian fragments, which seems to me to be decisive. For another reconstruction of Porphyry’s thought, based on Arnobius, Adversus Nationes, see Simmons, Arnobius of Sicca, which remains useful despite the failure of the identification of Lactantius’ philosopher as Porphyry (n. 113 above). Barnes (who is followed in this by Simmons) also argues for a rela-tively late date (just prior to the outbreak of persecution in 303) for Porphyry’s work. Harnack favored a date ca. 270 on the grounds that Eusebius says that Porphyry wrote the book while he was in Sicily. Barnes is correct in pointing out that quotation of Callinicus’ book on Alexandria may indicate a date later than 270 (in fact it must indicate a date ca. 270–72 at the earliest) (see p. 267 above). On the other hand, Eusebius cites the book in the context of the 270s, and that seems to me to be preferable to assuming that the work was connected with the persecution of 303; see also B. Croke, “The Era of Porphyry’s Anti-Christian Polemic,” Journal of Religious History 13 (1984): 1–14, who restates arguments for a date in the early 270s.

132 Macarius, Apocr. 3.7 (also in Porph. In Christ. fr. 61 [Harnack]).

133 Macarius, Apocr. 4.8 (also in Porph. In Christ. fr. 90a [Harnack]).

134 Macarius, Apocr. 4.1 (also in Porph. In Christ. fr. 34 [Harnack]).

135 Macarius, Apocr. 3.1 (also in Porph. In Christ. fr. 63 [Harnack]).

136 Porph. Abst. 1.4.3–4, 4.22.1–5.

137 Porph. Abst. 1.27.1, 56.1.

138 Porph. Abst. 2.9–12, 60, 4.22.6.

139 Porph. Abst. 2.5–7.

140 For the story about Apollonius see Porph. Abst. 3.3.6.

141 Porph. Abst. 4.6–18.

142 Compare Plut. Mor. 408c.

143 Porph. Plot. 23.12–14.

144 Porph. fr. 362–68 (Smith) (esp. fr. 365; 366; 368).

145 For the text see É. Des Places, Oracles Chaldaïques avec un choix de commentaires anciens (Paris, 1971) and the commentary of R. Majercik, The Chaldean Oracles: Text, trans-lation and Commentary (Leiden, 1989) with further discussion of the date in D. S. Potter, Prophets and Emperors: Human and Divine Authority from Augustus to Theodosius (Cambridge, Mass.), 203–4. Goulet, “L’oracle d’Apollon,” 404–5 argues for a connection with Apamea for the oracle concerning the soul of Plotinus, an inter-esting case, but perhaps not a necessary one. See also J. Bouffartigue and M. Patillon, Porphyre: De l’abstinence, vol. 2 (Paris, 1979), 42–47 for an admirably cautious approach to potential parallels between Chaldaean Oracles and Porphyry, noting that parallels are not the same thing as quotations. P. Athanassiadi, “The Chaldaean
Oracles: Theology and Theurgy,” in Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity, ed. P. Athanassiadi and M. Frede (Oxford, 1999), 152–55 argues for the second-century date on the basis of the reference to the oracle of Zeus Belos at Apamea referred to at IG 14, no. 2482. I think that these are political oracles of the sort discussed on pp. 108, 150 above. It is tempting to see such a book as a source for Dio’s knowledge of the texts. I would concede, however, that her notion that there was an “early core” of texts that formed the basis of the collection known in the late third century may well be correct.

146 Iam. De myst. 1.2; 2.11 with Smith, Porphyry’s Place in the Neoplatonic Tradition, 82.

147 Porph. De regressu animae fr. 2, 7, 11 with G. Luck, “Theurgy and Forms of Worship in Neoplatonism,” in Religion, Science, and Magic, ed. J. Neusner, E. S. Frerichs, and P. V. McCracken Flesher (Oxford, 1989) (also in Luck, Ancient Pathways and Hidden Pursuits: Religion, Morals, and Magic in the Ancient World [Ann Arbor, 2000], 140–41).

148 Iam. De myst. 2.11.

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