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A Threat to Public PietyChristians, Platonists, and the Great Persecution$
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Elizabeth DePalma Digeser

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801441813

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801441813.001.0001

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Plotinus, Porphyry, and Philosophy in the Public Realm

Plotinus, Porphyry, and Philosophy in the Public Realm

(p.72) Chapter 3 Plotinus, Porphyry, and Philosophy in the Public Realm
A Threat to Public Piety

Elizabeth DePalma Digeser

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how Plotinus took Ammonius Saccas's ideas to Rome and how he brought into sharp focus the role that Platonist philosophy played in the third-century public sphere. It first considers the careers of Plotinus and Porphyry of Tyre before discussing the extent to which Plotinus incorporated Ammonius's teaching into his own classroom. It argues that the exegetical practices, charismatic pedagogy, asceticism, and deep commitment to the teachings of Plato so apparent in Plotinus's circle can be attributed to the eleven years he spent as Ammonius's student in Alexandria. It also explores Plotinus's desire to found a community of philosophers in Campania and Porphyry's belief that he ought to help craft imperial legislation that would emulate divine law.

Keywords:   divine law, Plotinus, Ammonius Saccas, Rome, Porphyry of Tyre, Plato, Alexandria, Campania, Platonist philosophy, public sphere

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