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6069RE: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Calling all astrologers!

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  • Goya
    Oct 11, 2013
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      > Mike, this is all really fascinating. I am still trying to catch up here,
      > but one question I had.
      > The decans are a feature originally of Egyptian astrology, correct?
      > Obviously both he and Iamblichus were familiar with them, though I guess
      > I didn't know really till now that Porphyry was. I am just wondering now
      > about the means by which Porphyry got his familiarity with Egyptian
      > astrology. I touched upon possible channels in my article on Book VIII of
      > the Response to Porphyry, but I couldn't really nail anything down
      > absolutely.

      M.C. This kind of stuff was in the air at the time. There was a basic
      onflict between Ptolemaic astronomy - and remember Porphyry wrote a
      commentary on the Tetrabiblos - and the Egyptianizing/Her,etic version
      that went back to Teucros and Nechepso-Petosiris. In the Letter to Anebo
      (fr. 2.12 Sodano) Porphyry quotes Chairemon and the Salmeskhiniaka, who
      talk about "the so-called planets and those that constitute the Zodiac
      and the ones that rise alongside it (*paranatellontOn*), and the divisions
      into decnas and the horoscopes and the so-called mighty lords (*krataious
      hEgemonas*), etc.
      > Is Porphyry just being the polymath here, trying to incorporate these
      > Egyptian ideas into the Platonic system?

      M.C.The latter, I suspect.

      Though again, to me, that sort
      > of synthetic goal seems more likely of Iamblichus, whom I personally at
      > least see as very much driven in that direction.

      M.C. I suspect if we had more of Porphyry's works we'd see he was just as
      synthetic-minded as Iamblichus. He mentions Egyptian astrology favoaably
      in the De antro nympharum 24 and the De imaginibus (fr. 360 Smith been
      conjecturally attributed to Chairemon), while the Ad Gaurum 16.5 ff.
      contains an exposition of Chaldaean astrology that would be quite
      compatible with phil-Egyptian thought.
      > I guess there seems something a (tiny?) bit odd to me here that Porphyry
      > is pursuing this approach, though obviously he is.

      M.C. Doesn't seem odd to me. What's odd, or rather difficult, is the
      question of whether Porphy was always "superstitious", or became more
      rationalistic after studying under Plotinus. This latter is the
      traditional view, but I have my doubts.
      > Just some thoughts - I think you have something really important here.
      > Has no one much looked at these particular fragments of Porphyry before?
      > Or am I just showing (yet another) Bildungsloch of my own?!?

      M.C. I think it's safe to say there's no fragment of Porphyry that hasn't
      been studied. But an overall survey of Porphyry's position on astrology
      remains a scholarly desideratum which I may try to fulfill one day. One
      might start by translating the Introduction to Ptolemy, unless someone's
      already done so.

      All best, Mike

      Michael Chase
      CNRS UPR 76
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