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The fate of Proclus' "On the Eternity of the World"

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  • Curt Steinmetz
    Is there evidence that Proclus On the Eternity of the World was systematically suppressed? If I am not mistaken there is no real doubt among modern scholars
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 5, 2008
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      Is there evidence that Proclus' "On the Eternity of the World" was
      systematically suppressed? If I am not mistaken there is no real doubt
      among modern scholars that all copies of the major works of Celsus,
      Porphyry and Julian critiquing Christianity were physically destroyed
      because of their subject matter - but people seem to treat the
      "disappearance" of Proclus' De Aeternitate Mundi as "just one of those
      things". Or have I missed something?

      While Proclus may not have directly addressed the Christians in his book
      (which is "likely to have been the result of disdain or discretion, or a
      combination of the two" according to Michael Share), nevertheless De
      Aeternitate Mundi was treated as an anti-Christian tract by Christians,
      especially Philoponus, who wrote against it. And the issue at hand
      became a philosophical shibboleth for distinguishing "true" Christians
      (for example, adhering to the doctrine of the eternity of the world was
      was one of the charges that John Italos was convicted of).

      Curt Steinmetz

      P.S. The quote from Share is lifted from the BMCR review of his
      translation of Philoponus:
      http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2006/2006-01-31.html
    • Harold Tarrant
      The problem of treating this one text as a candidate for suppression is that we do have, perhaps miraculously (?), quite a lot that one might easily suppose to
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 5, 2008
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        The problem of treating this one text as a candidate for suppression is that we do have, perhaps miraculously (?), quite a lot that one might easily suppose to be more offensive to Christian sensibilities, of which the in Parm. is probably rather inoffensive compared with the Platonic Theology, or much of the surviving in Crat. (whatever one thinks of its status). And then there are the Hymns. By comparison the Eternity might have seemed a relatively academic sort of treatise! But all these things depend upon the location of individual copies, and the diligence of the scholars who owned them.

        Harold

        Prof. Harold Tarrant,
        School of Humanities and Social Science,
        University of Newcastle,
        NSW 2308 Australia
        Ph: (+61) 2 49215230
        Fax: (+61) 2 49216933
        *Eu Prattein*

        >>> Curt Steinmetz <curt@...> 6/08/2008 7:47 am >>>
        Is there evidence that Proclus' "On the Eternity of the World" was
        systematically suppressed? If I am not mistaken there is no real doubt
        among modern scholars that all copies of the major works of Celsus,
        Porphyry and Julian critiquing Christianity were physically destroyed
        because of their subject matter - but people seem to treat the
        "disappearance" of Proclus' De Aeternitate Mundi as "just one of those
        things". Or have I missed something?

        While Proclus may not have directly addressed the Christians in his book
        (which is "likely to have been the result of disdain or discretion, or a
        combination of the two" according to Michael Share), nevertheless De
        Aeternitate Mundi was treated as an anti-Christian tract by Christians,
        especially Philoponus, who wrote against it. And the issue at hand
        became a philosophical shibboleth for distinguishing "true" Christians
        (for example, adhering to the doctrine of the eternity of the world was
        was one of the charges that John Italos was convicted of).

        Curt Steinmetz

        P.S. The quote from Share is lifted from the BMCR review of his
        translation of Philoponus:
        http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2006/2006-01-31.html
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