ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf

86. Porphyry. -- PORPHYRY OF TYRE (232-33 to 304) is the most famous among the immediate disciples of Plotinus. He it was who popularized the master's tenets by collecting them into a treatise, Aphormai pros ta noêta. Porphyry adds nothing to Plotinus either in physics or metaphysics, but he develops the religious and ascetic side of Neo-Platonism. He tries to establish the doctrine of mystic union on the worship of divinities and the mortification of the body, -- which he subjects to purificatory privations in order to detach the soul from the senses. Porphyry serves in this twofold way as a link between Plotinus and Iamblichus.

Porphyry is also the first of the Neo-Platonic commentators on Aristotle. Neo-Platonism, in fact, considered the study of the Organon of Aristotle as an introduction to the philosophy of Plato. Porphyry devoted himself chiefly to formal logic, and he owes to the influence of the Stagirite the clearness and accuracy which posterity has always admired in his commentaries. His Eisagôgê eis tas Aristotelous katêgorias also called peri ton pente phônôn, met with unique success: it was not only commentated by the Neo-Platonists of the succeeding centuries but afforded food for discussion to several generations in the Middle Ages. Porphyry wrote two commentaries on the Categories, defending them against Plotinus, and probably also a commentary on the Prior Analytics.

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