Porphyry (philosopher)

Porphyry of Tyre (/ˈpɔːrfɪri/; Greek: Πορφύριος, Porphýrios; Arabic: فرفوريوس, Furfūriyūs; c.234c.305 AD) was a Phoenician[1] Neoplatonic philosopher born in Tyre, Roman Syria[2] during Roman rule.[lower-alpha 1] He edited and published The Enneads, the only collection of the work of Plotinus, his teacher. His commentary on Euclid's Elements was used as a source by Pappus of Alexandria.[3]

Porphyry of Tyre
Porphire Sophiste, in a French 16th-century engraving
Bornc.234 AD
Died305 (aged 7071)
Notable work
  • Introduction to Categories (Εἰσαγωγή; Introductio in Praedicamenta or Isagoge et in Aristotelis Categorias commentarium), The Life of Pythagoras (Πυθαγόρου βίος; Vita Pythagorae), On Abstinence from Animal Food (Περὶ ἀποχῆς ἐμψύχων; De Abstinentia ab Esu Animalium), On the Cave of the Nymphs in the Odyssey (Περὶ τοῦ ἐν Ὀδυσσείᾳ τῶν Νυμφῶν Ἄντρου; De Antro Nympharum), Introduction to Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos (Εἰσαγωγὴ εἰς τὴν Ἀποτελεσματικὴν τοῦ Πτολεμαίου), Commentary on Ptolemy's Harmonics (Εἰς τὰ ἁρμονικὰ Πτολεμαίου ὑπόμνημα), On the Life of Plotinus and the Arrangement of his Work (Περὶ τοῦ Πλωτίνου βίου καὶ τῆς τάξεως τῶν βιβλίων αὐτοῦ; Vita Plotini), Starting-points leading to the intelligibles (Ἀφορμαὶ πρὸς τὰ νοητά; Sententiae ad intelligibilia ducentes), Philosophy from Oracles (Περὶ τῆς ἐκ λογίων φιλοσοφίας; De Philosophia ex Oraculis Haurienda), Against the Christians (Κατὰ Χριστιανῶν; Adversus Christianos)
EraAncient philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Main interests
Metaphysics, astrology
Notable ideas
Porphyrian tree, criticism of Christianity, vegetarianism

He wrote original works in the Greek language on a wide variety of topics, ranging from music theory to Homer to vegetarianism.[lower-alpha 2] His Isagoge, or Introduction, an introduction to logic and philosophy,[lower-alpha 3] was the standard textbook on logic throughout the Middle Ages in its Latin and Arabic translations.[4] Through works such as Philosophy from Oracles and Against the Christians (which was banned by Constantine the Great),[5] he was involved in a controversy with early Christians.[6]