Online Lecture on «Porphyry on Soul» by George Karamanolis
Within the framework of the Research Project “Between Athens & Alexandria. Platonism, 3rd-7th c. CE” (2022-2024) supported by the A. S. Onassis Foundation, the IMS-FORTH, in collaboration with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s Center for Hellenistic Studies (ACHS), organizes a monthly online lecture series on late antique Neoplatonism (3rd-7th c. CE).
The series hosts invited talks in English or French by leading scholars in the field. Lectures take place via Zoom at 7pm Athens & Alexandria. Prior registration is required.
The topic of the 2023 talks is "Porphyry, Iamblichus, and 4th Century Neoplatonism".
Οn Thursday, October 12, at 19:00 (Athens time) Associate Professor George Karamanolis (University of Vienna) will give a lecture on “Porphyry on Soul”.
Like Plotinus and most ancient Platonists, Porphyry was particularly concerned with the nature of the soul in general, and with the nature of the human soul and its operation, in particular. Quite importantly, Porphyry distinguishes between the soul in itself and the soul in relation, i.e. in relation to the body (κατὰ σχέσιν; Porphyry, On the Faculties of the Soul, fr. 253.114-117 Smith). The soul in relationship is the embodied soul, while the soul in itself is presumably the intellect that does enter the body but does not engage with the body, although it is not entirely clear whether this soul should be identified with the intellect. What is clear, though, is that the soul in itself is the real human soul, which enters the human body only later in life. This is what Porphyry argues in his Ad Gaurum. The soul in relation, the embodied soul, is the empsychia, which is poured into the body (εἴσκρισις; Ad Gaurum 33.1). In my paper I will consider the relevant evidence which includes Porphyry’s polemical treatise Against Boethus which survives in fragments, the also fragmentary On the Faculties of the Soul and the Ad Gaurum, and I will attempt to reconstruct Porphyry’s theory of the soul, which, I will argue, differs in some respects from Plotinus’ mature theory of the soul.
You can register in advance to our seminar meetings using the following LINK.