Aeneas of Gaza

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Aeneas of Gaza (d. c.518) was a Neo-Platonic philosopher, a convert to Christianity, who flourished towards the end of the fifth century. In a dialogue entitled Theophrastus he alludes to Hierocles of Alexandria as his teacher, and in some of his letters mentions as his contemporaries writers whom we know to have lived at the end of the fifth century and the beginning of the sixth, such as Procopius of Gaza.

Like all the Christian Neo-Platonists, Aeneas held Plato in higher esteem than Aristotle, although his acquaintance with Plato's doctrine was acquired through traditional teaching and the study of apocryphal Platonic writings, and not—to any great extent, at least—through the study of the genuine Dialogues. Like Synesius, Nemesius, and others, he found in Neo-Platonism the philosophical system which best accorded with Christian revelation. But, unlike Synesius and Nemesius, he rejected some of the most characteristic doctrines of the Neo-Platonists as being inconsistent with Christian dogma. For instance, he rejected the doctrine of pre-existence (according to which the soul of man existed before its union with body), arguing that the soul before its union with the body would have been "idle", incapable of exercising any of its faculties.Migne, Patrologia Graeca, LXXXV Similarly, he rejected the doctrine of the eternal duration of the world, on the ground that the world is...
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