Birth, Death, and Divinity in Porphyry’s <i>Life of Plotinus</i>

M. J. Edwards

in Greek Biography and Panegyric in Late Antiquity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2000 | ISBN: 9780520223882
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925052 | DOI:
Birth, Death, and Divinity in Porphyry’s Life of Plotinus

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This chapter examines the issues of birth, death, and divinity in Porphyry's biographical work Life of Plotinus. It argues that one of the cardinal aims of this work was to make the reader privy to a mystery hidden from all the pupils and antagonists of Plotinus during his lifetime, a mystery not even discovered by the biographer until a short time before he prepared the work. It provides commentaries on Porphyry's attribution of supernatural capacities to Plotinus and on the narrative of Plotinus' death.

Keywords: Porphyry; Life of Plotinus; Plotinus; birth; death; divinity; biography

Chapter.  8244 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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