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Religion and Identity in Porphyry of Tyre
The Limits of Hellenism in Late Antiquity

$38.99 (C)

Part of Greek Culture in the Roman World

  • Publication planned for: December 2020
  • availability: Not yet published - available from
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108971669

$ 38.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Porphyry, a native of Phoenicia educated in Athens and Rome during the third century AD, was one of the most important Platonic philosophers of his age. In this book, Professor Johnson rejects the prevailing modern approach to his thought, which has posited an early stage dominated by 'Oriental' superstition and irrationality followed by a second rationalizing or Hellenizing phase consequent upon his move west and exposure to Neoplatonism. Based on a careful treatment of all the relevant remains of Porphyry's originally vast corpus (much of which now survives only in fragments), he argues for a complex unity of thought in terms of philosophical translation. The book explores this philosopher's critical engagement with the processes of Hellenism in late antiquity. It provides the first comprehensive examination of all the strands of Porphyry's thought that lie at the intersection of religion, theology, ethnicity and culture.

    • The first comprehensive treatment of the works of Porphyry relevant for understanding his religious and cultural philosophy
    • Proposes a new interpretation of the whole corpus of his work in terms of a complex unity of thought
    • Examines Porphyry as a product of Hellenism, while at the same time recognizing the complexities of ancient processes of cultural exchange and ethnic identifications
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Anyone interested in the philosophical and religious world of late antiquity should read this indispensable work …it is a pleasure to read because it is well argued, well organized, and original. Johnson has an intimate knowledge of all the relevant ancient sources and his mastery of the scholarly literature is superb."
    Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    "This is a fine work … It will be useful for students of Hellenistic philosophy … Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty."
    P. W. Wakefield, Choice

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: December 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108971669
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
    • contains: 1 table
    • availability: Not yet published - available from
  • Table of Contents

    1. At the limits of Hellenism: an introduction
    Part I. A World Full of Gods: Porphyry the Theologian:
    2. Porphyry's taxonomy of the divine
    3. Salvation, translation, and the limits of cult
    4. The master reader: contexts of translation
    Part II. A World Full of Nations: Porphyry the Ethnographer:
    5. Knowledge and nations: Porphyry's ethnic argumentation
    6. Ethnic particularism and the limits of Hellenism
    7. The way home: transcending particularism
    Epilogue: translation after Porphyry.

  • Author

    Aaron P. Johnson, Lee University, Tennessee
    Aaron Johnson is Assistant Professor of Humanities and Classics at Lee University, working on the intellectual and cultural history of late antiquity. He is also the author of Ethnicity and Argument in Eusebius' Praeparatio Evanglica (2006).

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