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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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Schism in the Ammonian Community

Schism in the Ammonian Community

Porphyry v. Methodius of Olympus

(p.128) Chapter 5 Schism in the Ammonian Community
A Threat to Public Piety

Elizabeth DePalma Digeser

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the ripple effect of Porphyry of Tyre's arguments against universalism within the branch of the Ammonian community represented by Origen's heirs. In Porphyry's view, both Iamblichaeans and Origenists failed to use appropriately the exegetical tools that were the cornerstone of their shared traditions. Although he was most concerned to set out the proper way of living for those who aspired to be philosophers, Porphyry also justified the pursuit of traditional ethnic cult rituals for ordinary people. This chapter considers the implications of Porphyry's response to what he saw as Origenist deviance and argues that he was concerned not only with Origen but also with the activities of Origen's followers, his contemporaries. It also discusses the writings of Methodius of Olympus to highlight the tensions between Porphyry and Origenists. Finally, it analyzes two profound disagreements that separated Christians like Methodius from Hellenes like Porphyry: their understanding of how divination worked through the world around them, and whether the founding, divinely ordained legislation of a given political community could ever be abrogated.

Keywords:   divination, Porphyry of Tyre, Origen, rituals, Methodius of Olympus, Christians, Hellenes

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