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

104. Nemesius. -- Bishop of Emesa in Phoenicia about the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth century, Nemesius wrote a popular treatise peri phuseôs anthrôpon, used in the Middle Ages, and which may be considered as the first complete and systematic manual of anthropology.{1} The author endeavours to adapt to Christian dogma the psychological theories of antiquity. Eclectic like all the philosophers of his time, he borrows from the Neo-Platonists their doctrine on the nature of the soul and its union with the body, from Galen his new physiological data, from the Stoics their system of the passions, from the Epicureans their theory of pleasure, and, finally, from Aristotle his conception of the will. From this syncretism obscurities and contradictions necessarily arise. Though he did not openly profess his sympathies for the Stagirite, -- fearing to oppose the views of his contemporaries who preferred the spiritualism of Plato to the empirical naturalism of Aristotle, -- still this homage quietly paid to peripateticism is significant, and heralds an approaching change in the trend of thought.{2}

{1} Translated into English (The Nature of Man) by George Withers, London, 1636. -- TURNER, History of Philosophy, p. 223.

{2} See DOMANSKI, Die Psychologie des Nemesius (in the Beitr. z. Gesch. d. Phil. d. Mitt., iii., 1), Münster, 1900.

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