3rd-century Greek Neoplatonist philosopher
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Porphyry of Tyre (Πορφύριος, c. 234 – c. 305) was a Neoplatonic philosopher.
- The utility of a science which enables men to take cognizance of the travellers on the mind's highway, and excludes those disorderly interlopers, verbal fallacies, needs but small attestation. Its searching penetration by definition alone, before which even mathematical precision fails, would especially commend it to those whom the abstruseness of the study does not terrify, and who recognise the valuable results which must attend discipline of mind. Like a medicine, though not a panacea for every ill, it has the health of the mind for its aim, but requires the determination of a powerful will to imbibe its nauseating yet wholesome influence: it is no wonder therefore that puny intellects, like weak stomachs, abhor and reject it.
- Introduction to Aristotle's Organon, as translated by Octavius Freire Owen (1853), p. v
Auxiliaries to the Perception of Intelligible NaturesEdit
- Auxiliaries to the Perception of Intelligible Natures, in Select Works of Porphyry (1823) as translated by Thomas Taylor
- Every body is in place; but nothing essentially incorporeal, or any thing of this kind, has any locality.
- Things essentially incorporeal, because they are more excellent than all body and place, are every where, not with interval, but impartibly.
Things essentially incorporeal are not locally present with bodies but are present with them when they please; by verging towards them so far as they are naturally adapted so to verge. They are not, however, present with them locally, but through habitude, proximity, and alliance.
Things essentially incorporeal, are not present with bodies, by hypostasis and essence; for they are not mingled with bodies. But they impart a certain power which is proximate to bodies, through verging towards them. For tendency constitutes a certain secondary power proximate to bodies.
- 2 - 4
- Soul, indeed, is a certain medium between an impartible essence, and an essence which is divisible about bodies. But intellect is an impartible essence alone. And qualities and material forms are divisible about bodies.
Not everything which acts on another, effects that which it does effect by approximation and contact; but those natures which effect any thing by approximation and contact, use approximation accidentally.
- 5 - 6
- The soul is bound to the body by a conversion to the corporeal passions; and again liberated by becoming impassive to the body.
That which nature binds, nature also dissolves: and that which the soul binds, the soul likewise dissolves. Nature, indeed, bound the body to the soul; but the soul binds herself to the body. Nature, therefore, liberates the body from the soul; but the soul liberates herself from the body.
Hence there is a twofold death; the one, indeed, universally known, in which the body is liberated from the soul; but the other peculiar to philosophers, in which the soul is liberated from the body. Nor does the one entirely follow the other.
We do not understand similarly in all things, but in a manner adapted to the essence of each. For intellectual objects we understand intellectually; but those that pertain to soul rationally. We apprehend plants spermatically; but bodies idolically (i.e., as images); and that which is above all these, super-intellectually and super-essentially.
- 7 - 10
- Incorporeal hypostases, in descending, are distributed into parts, and multiplied about individuals with a diminution of power; but when they ascend by their energies beyond bodies, they become united, and proceed into a simultaneous subsistence, through exuberance of power.
On Abstinence from Killing AnimalsEdit
- On Abstinence from Killing Animals,  2014, as translated by Gillian Clark
- The fleshless diet contributes to health and to a suitable endurance of hard work in philosophy.
- 1, 2, 1
- I think that when friendship and perception of kinship ruled everything, no one killed any creature, because people thought the other animals were related to them.
- 2, 22, 1
- Every good thing is gentle and consistent, progressing in good order and not going beyond what is right.
- 2, 39, 4
- Not only can logos be seen in absolutely all animals, but in many of them it has the groundwork for being perfected.
- 3, 2, 4
- Animals are rational; in most of them logos is imperfect, but it is certainly not wholly lacking. So if, as our opponents say, justice applies to rational beings, why should not justice, for us, also apply to animals?
- 3, 18, 1
- The Pythagoreans made kindness to beasts a training in humanity and pity.
- 3, 20, 7
- So people should abstain from other animals just as they should from the human.
- 4, 9, 6
Quotes about PorphyryEdit
- Porphyry wrote in just about every branch of learning practiced at the time but only a portion of his large output is extant. Porphyry was an influential thinker. He applied Neoplatonism to pagan religion and other spheres and is as such a key figure the promulgation of Neoplatonic thought. … His name was ‘Malcus’, ‘king’ in his native tongue, hence he became ‘Basileus’ (‘king’) in Greek. He, however, calls himself Porphyry, which supposedly was a common name in Tyre, the city of purple, and is commonly known under that name. … In reality we do not know anything with certainty about where he lived in the latter half of his life. He may have been Iamblichus' teacher. The evidence for this, however, is not beyond dispute. It is clear, though, that Iamblichus was strongly influenced by Porphyry, even if he turned vehemently against him.
- Eyjólfur Emilsson, in "Porphyry" at Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2005)
- As a young man Porphyry tried to gain as broad a knowledge as he possibly could by studying many languages and religions. At that time Athens was the main centre for learning, so it was natural that someone with a thirst for knowledge as Porphyry had should travel there to continue his studies. In Athens Porphyry became a student of Longinus who: —
... was a 'living library and walking museum' and the academic's critical attention to detail, clarity of style and erudition left their permanent mark on the keen student.
It was Longinus who gave Porphyry that nickname. In fact it was a clever pun since 'Porphyry' means 'purple' in Greek and he was given this name since he came from Tyre which was famous for the production of the royal purple dye and his name 'Malchus' meant 'king' = 'royal' = 'purple'.
- J J O'Connor and E F Robertson, in "Porphyry Malchus" at University of St Andrews
- In the writings of such "pagan" philosophers as Plutarch and Porphyry we find a humanitarian ethic of the most exalted kind, which, after undergoing a long repression during medieval churchdom, reappeared, albeit but weakly and fitfully at first, in the literature of the Renaissance, to be traced more definitely in the eighteenth century school of "sensibility."
- One of the most erudite as well as one of the most spiritual, of the literati of any age or people, and certainly the most estimable of all the extant Greek philosophers after the days of Plutarch.
- Porphyry at Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2005)
- Porphyry Malchus (mathematician) - entry in MacTutor History of Maths Archives
- Porphyry, On Abstinence from Animal Food, Book I, translated by Thomas Taylor
- Porphyry, On Abstinence from Animal Food, Book II, translated by Thomas Taylor
- Porphyry, On Abstinence from Animal Food, Book III, translated by Thomas Taylor
- Porphyry, On Abstinence from Animal Food, Book IV, translated by Thomas Taylor
- Porphyry, On the Cave of Nymphs, translated by Thomas Taylor
- Porphyry, Auxiliaries to the Perception of Intelligible Natures, translated by Thomas Taylor
- Porphyry, Isagoge, translated by Octavius Freire Owen
- The Isagoge, or Introduction of Porphyry, translated by Thomas Taylor with an extensive preface by the translator
- Porphyry, On the Life of Plotinus
- Porphyry, Comments on the Book of Daniel
- Additional texts, edited by Roger Pearse
- Greek texts at Greek Wikisource: Πορφύριος
- Περὶ τοῦ ἐν Ὀδυσσείᾳ τῶν Νυμφῶν Ἄντρου (The Cave of the Nymphs in the Odyssey), original Greek text
- Εἰσαγωγὴ εἰς τὴν Ἀποτελεσματικὴν τοῦ Πτολεμαίου (Introduction to Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos), original Greek text