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Universal Salvation in Late AntiquityPorphyry of Tyre and the Pagan-Christian Debate$
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Michael Bland Simmons

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190202392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190202392.001.0001

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Porphyry and Iamblichus

Porphyry and Iamblichus

(p.134) 8 Porphyry and Iamblichus
Universal Salvation in Late Antiquity

Michael Bland Simmons

Oxford University Press

The differences and similarities between Porphyry and Iamblichus on the nature of the soul and the role played by philosophy and religion in enabling its purification and ultimate ascent to the One are the major themes examined in this chapter. Whereas Porphyry accentuated a “soteriology of ascent” in which philosophy represented the summit of the soul’s progression toward intelligible reality and the unio mystica, Iamblichus stressed the importance of theurgy and viewed the salvific process as one of descent to the world of becoming. The fine points of the three paths of Porphyry’s system are delineated with respect to the conventional tripartite soul of Platonism. Iamblichus’ letters provide invaluable insight into how Porphyry’s second path trajectory would have been lived out by the novice philosopher. This path required many years of studying mathematics and the dialogues of Plato and most likely required more than one life to complete.

Keywords:   temporal salvation, Porphyry, Iamblichus, Letters of Iamblichus, appetitive part, spirited part, rational soul, ontological levels, scala virtutum

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