Aeneas of Gaza

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Aeneas of Gaza (d. c. 518) was a Neo-Platonic philosopher, a convert to Christianity, who flourished towards the end of the fifth century. In a dialogue entitled Theophrastus he alludes to Hierocles of Alexandria as his teacher, and in some of his letters mentions as his contemporaries writers whom we know to have lived at the end of the fifth century and the beginning of the sixth, such as Procopius of Gaza.[1]

Like all the Christian Neo-Platonists, Aeneas held Plato in higher esteem than Aristotle. Like Synesius, Nemesius, and others, he found in Neo-Platonism the philosophical system which best accorded with Christian revelation. But, unlike Synesius and Nemesius, he rejected some of the most characteristic doctrines of the Neo-Platonists as being inconsistent with Christian dogma. For instance, he rejected the doctrine of pre-existence (according to which the soul of man existed before its union with body), arguing that the soul before its union with the body would have been "idle", incapable of exercising any of its faculties.[2]:947 Similarly, he rejected the doctrine of the eternal duration of the world, on the ground that the world is corporeal, and, although the best possible "mechanism", contains in itself the elements of dissolution[2]:958 sqq Again, he taught that "man's body is composed of matter and form", and that while the matter perishes the "form" of the body retains the power of resuscitating the "matter" on the last day.[2]:982

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Christie, Albany James (1867), "Aeneas Gazeus", in Smith, William (ed.), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, 1, Boston, p. 32
  2. ^ a b c Migne, Patrologia Graeca, LXXXV


  • Aeneas of Gaza, Theophrastus, transl. by John Dillon and Donald Russell. With Zacharias of Mytilene, Ammonius, transl. by Sebastian Gertz, coll. Ancient commentators on Aristotle, London, Bristol Classical Press, 2012.
  • Michael W. Champion, Explaining the cosmos : creation and cultural interaction in late-antique Gaza, coll. Oxford studies in late antiquity, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Manfred Wacht, Aeneas von Gaza als Apologet : seine Kosmologie im Verhältnis zum Platonismus, coll. Theophaneia, Bonn, Hanstein, 1969.