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A Threat to Public Piety: Christians, Platonists, and the by Elizabeth DePalma Digeser

By Elizabeth DePalma Digeser

In A chance to Public Piety, Elizabeth DePalma Digeser reexamines the origins of the good Persecution (AD 303–313), the final eruption of pagan violence opposed to Christians earlier than Constantine enforced the toleration of Christianity in the Empire. difficult the generally authorised view that the persecution enacted via Emperor Diocletian used to be principally inevitable, she issues out that during the 40 years major as much as the nice Persecution Christians lived principally in peace with their fellow Roman electorate. Why, Digeser asks, did pagans and Christians, who had intermingled cordially and productively for many years, develop into so sharply divided through the flip of the century?

Making use of facts that has just recently been dated to this era, Digeser exhibits falling out among Neo-Platonist philosophers, particularly Iamblichus and Porphyry, lit the spark that fueled the nice Persecution. within the aftermath of this falling out, a bunch of influential pagan clergymen and philosophers all started writing and conversing opposed to Christians, urging them to forsake Jesus-worship and to rejoin conventional cults whereas Porphyry used his entry to Diocletian to suggest persecution of Christians on account that they have been a resource of impurity and impiety in the empire.

The first ebook to discover intensive the highbrow social milieu of the past due 3rd century, A risk to Public Piety revises our figuring out of the interval by means of revealing the level to which Platonist philosophers (Ammonius, Plotinus, Porphyry, and Iamblichus) and Christian theologians (Origen, Eusebius) got here from a standard academic culture, frequently learning and educating part via aspect in heterogeneous groups.

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4 The citation appears in Eusebius’s defense of Origen (book 6 of the Ecclesiastical History), the motivations for which chapter 2 addresses. Eusebius’s label for the treatise he quoted may not have matched Porphyry’s title. Nevertheless, Eusebius’s description explains the treatise’s disappearance, since by 325 the Christian emperor Constantine would call for Porphyry’s anti-Christian works to be burned (Socr. 5 In the section quoting Porphyry, Eusebius is eager to assert Origen’s stature as a Christian teacher and establish his good name.

Mark J. Edwards, “Ammonius, Teacher of Origen,” JEH 44 (1993): 174–76.  R. Dodds, “Numenius and Ammonius,” in Les sources de Plotin, Entretiens Hardt (Geneva: Fondation Hardt, 1960), 24–25; W. Theiler, “Ammonios der Lehrer des Origenes,” in Forschungen zum Neoplatonismus, ed. W. Theiler (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1966), 1; and H. Dörrie, “Ammonios, der Lehrer Plotins,” Hermes 83 (1955): 439. Schroeder, “Ammonius Saccas,” 508, also rejects Plotinus’s teacher Ammonius as the author of the tract on Moses and Jesus.

2) Why is it necessary to say these things? Even Porphyry, having settled in our time 2. The Athenian philologist Longinus made the first extant references to Ammonius in his treatise Peri telous several decades before Porphyry wrote (Porph.  20). 3. All translations are my own unless stated otherwise. 4.  W. Burgess, “The Dates and Editions of Eusebius’ Chronici canones and Historia ecclesiastica,” J ThS n. s. 48 (1997): 471–504. 5. See the conclusion for a discussion of Porphyry’s religious writings and the difficult problem of their dates and titles.

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