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

88. Encyclopedic Phase of Neo-Platonism. Wane of Grecian philosophy.{1} -- During the closing period of its history, Grecian philosophy presents the characteristics common to all declines. Powerless to create, it merely commentates: it tries to make up for lack of originality by the great prolixity and excessive subtlety of its works. On the one hand, it amasses compilations of Neo-Platonism; on the other, it shows an increasing predilection -- ever more and more pronounced -- for commentaries on Aristotle. Porphyry had made this exegesis fashionable in the Neo-Platonic school (86); and his imitators were numerous. But still, not all Aristotle's commentators were recruited from the same ranks during this epoch of decline. Side by side with the Neo-Platonic interpreters, we have Peripatetic interpreters of the school of Andronicus of Rhodes and Alexander of Aphrodisias (74). While the successors of Porphyry try to reconcile Aristotle with Plato, the philosophers of the Lyceum, on the other hand, strongly accentuate the points of difference which separate the two great Grecian sages.

The philosophers of these later centuries are found in the three chief centres in the Eastern Empire: Constantinople, Athens, and Alexandria. With them we may also mention a few writers belonging to the period of the Latin decadence.

{1} Cf. TANNERY, "Sur La période finale de la philosophie grecque" (Revue Philosophique, 1896, pp. 266 sqq.).

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