Talk:Porphyry (philosopher)

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Untitled[edit]

Actually, there is another theory about Porphyry's nickname, according to which it may have referred to his Phoenician origins. Helmut Uhlig is an adherent of this, but he may have borrowed it from someone else. --Oop 16:38, Dec 3, 2004 (UTC)

Isn't using "unfortunate" to describe Prophyry's opposition to Christianity a value judgement? I think that sentence would be fine without that word.

Porphyry's Works and the Astronomy/Astrology distinction[edit]

The popularized notion that astronomy was the same as astrology in Porphyry's time is simply incorrect. I have seen one academic reference to Porphyry's work, "Introductio in tetrabiblum Ptolemaei" as "Introduction to Ptolemy's Astronomy," but I suspect this is not commonly used (will follow up with the author who called it by this name for his sources). It is possible that Porphyry also wrote a work on Ptolemy's Almagest, and that it is being confused with his astrological work. A separate work on astronomy is not listed in the TLG so I will follow up by consulting other sources.

I'm changing this sentence: "Porphyry also wrote widely on astrology (what would be considered astronomy in our day), religion, philosophy, and musical theory; and produced a biography of his teacher, Plotinus."

I'm also adding a section on his works. Zeusnoos

Suicidal[edit]

I removed a while back the circumlocutory phrase "Having injured his health through overwork" and substituted the specific problem given by Eunapius, namely that he became suicidal through his studies. I've changed the text again; slightly surprised that anyone cared to try to hide this. Does anyone really want to avoid saying this, and if so, why? --Roger Pearse 17:53, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Ethnicity[edit]

Porphyry was NOT a Syrian, he was born in Tyre, he was a Phoenician.

--Antioco79 (talk) 19:51, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Being born in Tyre, which was a multi-ethnic city in its day (according to archaeologists), is not enough to establish his linguistic affiliation (which is essential what "Phoenician" is). No one knows whether the Phoenicians had a stable set of genetic categories, as they were a boating people whose ships contained mainly males. They picked up women in many different places. Further, it's not known where they came from before they established Tyre, but it would be highly unusual for a group of boating people not to have another home - where they built their boats, as well as acquired some experience in founding cities, before just popping up and building Tyre. Obviously, he has no nationality, since this all occurred before the invention of modern nation-states, but it isn't clear that his ethnicity/linguistic affiliations are well-known either. He didn't write in Phoenician and there's no evidence he spoke it, either.--Levalley (talk) 22:44, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree, since after all we're talking about the 3rd-4th century CE, not BCE. I don't know much about this, but doesn't "Phoenician" cease to be a useful ethnic label at some point? The article Phoenicia states as much; see Phoenicia#Decline: 539-65 BC (particularly in regard to Tyre), which is centuries before our philosopher. It also can't be assumed that ancient geographical names meant the same thing their modern counterparts — a problem which often arises with "Syria." Cynwolfe (talk) 18:58, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
I will change the lead to say that he was born in Tyre. Hopefully that will clear up any disagreement. Jwhosler (talk) 18:12, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

And Tyre was part of the Roman Empire at the time. An argument can be made that he was a provincial Roman. Sheherazahde (talk) 22:00, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Bad style in Wikipedia[edit]

Issues with the third paragraph in section Philosophy from Oracles:

  1. words like "fraudulent", "designed to be", "character as a vulgar forgery" adds a tone of author disgust to the text, wikipedia is absolutely precisely neutral in tone, and restricts to "a forgery", neither speculating about reason nor alleges this-or-that,
  2. "designed to be" - citation needed, such as either some confession of the guilty, or some author giving a reasonable presentation and clues on the context with the primary suspects,
  3. presumably the text is a forgery, but opposing views may be impossible by the political language full of allegations and black-painting by the paragraph.

The style is clearly unencyclopedic. Said: Rursus () 07:55, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

changed the tone, removed the banner. Ocanter (talk) 07:25, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

References are messy[edit]

I find the references for this article rather sloppy, and the best, most relevant references are not always cited. I tried to sort out the first paragraph by redoing the footnotes and adding more references to the list of references at the end of the article. I hope it is easier to understand now. If there are no objections, I will do likewise eventually to the rest of the article. Jwhosler (talk) 19:44, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Clarified Lead Paragraph[edit]

I clarified the lead paragraph by making it consistent with the work of Barnes 2003 and with the later section of this page on the Isagoge. I also added a couple of footnotes in support.Jwhosler (talk) 04:45, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

I have now made bigger changes to the lead paragraph. My goal was to highlight Porphyry's most influencial accomplishments in the order of their importance. Any thoughts? Next up the biography section...Jwhosler (talk) 05:14, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I just finalized (for now) the lead paragraph. I will do the Biography section next (I know, I already said I would. But the lead is fun). Then I figure one section should be devoted to the Isagoge and perhaps Philosophy from Oracles and Against the Christians can be combined into one section after that, a section about Porphyry and early Christianity. Another seciton might be devoted to Porphyry and exegesis, particularly conerning his On the Cave of the Nymphs and Homeric Questions. Lastly, a final section could concern more scattered topics that Porphyry treated in works that are either not terribly important or are fragmentary, topics such as music, vegetarianism, and mathematics. Any thoughts? Should I be surprised that nobody cares much about Porphyry? :-) Jwhosler (talk) 04:05, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Outsider input[edit]

The only additional comment that comes to mind immediately is that there should be more reference citations. Also, I think adding Category:Anti-Christianity or one of its subcategories might be useful as well, based on the extant content of the article. And, of course, it gives a reason for the Christianity banner to be placed, which helps the members of that project, of which I am one of the coordinators, an easier idea what's happening with the article through the article alerts function. I can try to add more comments later, but think the points you have already raised, and maybe a little general expansion and additional references, are probably the major concerns now. John Carter (talk) 15:28, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the comments. I do intend to add a great deal more references as I continue to revise the current text. And I will add the article to Anti-Christianity since Porphyry was one of the major "pagan" philosophical opponents to Christianity. Jwhosler (talk) 21:52, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

I think it's pretty good[edit]

Coming in from the world of copyediting, mostly, I want to congratulate on a well-organized article and for gracefully making the changes suggested to you by folks on this page. Also, since I have been editing stub/start articles in philosophy (most of them on living academic philosophers), I can only say that I wish those articles received the care and attention this one has. It is much more neutral than most of what I see in the stub/start category. Of course, I didn't see it before you made some changes, but from the general reader's point of view, I think it is a fine and informative article.Levalley (talk) 22:47, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

"in what is now Lebanon"[edit]

I recently changed the lead paragraph to say that Porphyry was born in Tyre in order to be more specific about his birthplace and to avoid the potentially misleading identification of him as "Phoenician" (see above). I now see that the phrase "in what is now Lebanon" has been added so the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with ancient geography (see the history). I for one disagree with adding this phrase, both because it makes the sentence very awkward and because "Tyre" links to the article about Tyre which explains in its first sentence that Tyre is in Lebanon.

Is there a Wikipedia guideline that suggests to include this kind of information anyways? If there is not, then I vote for removing the phrase, and if there is then we should find a more elegant way to get that information into the sentence. Jwhosler (talk) 18:47, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Very well, I will delete the phrase. Jwhosler (talk) 19:39, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Spiritual Exercises[edit]

There is nothing in the article about spiritual exercises. Philosophy was not purely intellectual for either Porphyry or Plotinus. Any comments? Oxford73 (talk) 04:52, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

I agree. Saying he "lectured" on philosophy is also misleading. For the Romans a philosopher was someone who lived according to a school of philosophical teaching, not someone who studied philosophy as an intellectual exercise. Particularly for Porphyry who moved from Greece to Rome to work with a teacher who focused more on practice than on theory. Sheherazahde (talk) 08:18, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

He has trances - 4 times[edit]

He was vegetarian he meditated on pure objects like Divinity .His servants sometimes entered his chamber ,while he levitated ,during his meditations. In his life ,as he wrote, he has four times trances or extasies - words meant ,in old philosophy, for cases when extreme purity and meditation leads soul of human to leave human body for some period of time , being able to witness the beauty of Absolute or talking in simple language Heavenly Kingdom. Plotinus had achived such state once too . Those trances are mentioned by Laertius Diogenes in his 'Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers'. Edelward (talk) 23:44, 6 March 2012 (UTC)