Ammonius, while giving a critique of previous discussions. A significant feature of the situation of Ammonius Saccas, Leiden, ). But this gives rise to some. Ammonius Saccas Plotinus Porphyry Iamblichus Emperor Julian Hypatia of Alexandria He [ Ammonius ] adopted the doctrines which were received in Egypt. Ammonius Saccas (Greek: Ἀμμώνιος Σακκᾶς; fl. 3rd century AD) was a Greek philosopher from Alexandria who is often referred to as one of.

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Zmmonius [ Ammonius ] adopted the doctrines which were received in Egypt concerning the Universe and the Deity, considered as constituting one great whole; concerning the eternity of the world, the nature of souls, the empire of Providence and the government of the world by daimons.

He also established a system of moral discipline which allowed the people in general to live according to the laws of their country and the dictates of nature; but required the wise to exalt their minds by contemplation and to mortify the body.

In order to reconcile the popular religions, and particularly the Christian, with this new system, he made the whole history of the heathen gods an allegory, maintaining that they were only celestial ministers entitled to an inferior kind of worship; and he acknowledged that Jesus Christ was an excellent man and the friend of God, but alleged that it was not his design entirely to abolish the worship of demons, and that his only intention was to purify the ancient religion.

I have urged that Ammonius was an independent thinker who, though a Platonist, had a weaker commitment to Plato than most of his contemporary Platonists and hence was uninterested in interschool polemics.

His concern rather was to search for the truth in philosophy, which led him to study the works of both Plato and Aristotle and appreciate them savcas to their merits.

Ammonius Saccas

Focusing on the underlying thought behind the texts, Ammonius left aside doctrines forged by later philosophers, points of detail, and also certain akmonius of the philosophers themselves, and reached an understanding of Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy as a whole, concluding that their basic doctrines are essentially the same.

We do not know which these doctrines were, but I have proposed that one such doctrine was sacacs Plato and Aristotle maintain that there is only one God, that is, an intellect which accounts for both the intelligible and the sensible reality and this principle summarizes the entire intelligible realm, on the assumption that the transcendent Forms constitute the divine thoughts.

I have also argued that Ammonius is likely to have considered the two philosophers in accord also on how God accounts for the existence of the world and how the ammoniuw and the sensible realm relate to ammoniuw other. Plato and Aristotle in Agreement: Platonists on Aristotle from Antiochus to Porphyryfirst published in N eoplatonism begins with Ammonius Saccas, but almost nothing is known of this philosopher.

Ammonius Saccas

He was born in Alexandria, Egypt in about A. His parents were poor and he received little formal education. Ammonius Saccas was a self-taught philosopher; even so, he is the actual founder of Neoplatonism. Ammonius was a charismatic teacher. He wrote no books and, with the aid of his pupils, kept his teachings secret after the manner of the Pythagoreans. Accordingly, we have no direct evidence of his philosophical beliefs. He was a mysterious figure, almost a cult-leader. He seems to have been able to form a mystical syncretism of Plato with Indian and Egyptian philosophies and theologies.

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We do know that two of his pupils were extremely important and brilliant eaccas Origen was a Xaccas but Plotinus was not.

From the fact that the aaccas of both Origen and Plotinus contain many references to Plato’s dialogues and viewpoints, I infer that Ammonius Saccas must have been, in large measure, a Platonist. But his new strain of Platonism was so distinctive that it came to be called Neoplatonism.

Hierocles affirms that Ammonius’ aim was to reconcile the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, and to combine mysticism with eclecticism. Nemesisa Christian bishop and Neoplatonist of the late fourth century A. These teachings concerned the nature of the soul and its relation to the body; they were stated to be oral teachings only, since Ammonius was strongly opposed to making any written accounts of his beliefs.

Ammonius Saccas is reputed to be the first philosopher to employ the word theosophiameaning “divine wisdom. Porphyrythe most important student of Plotinus, in his book entitled On the Life of Plotinus and the Arrangement of his Work, says the following: At twenty-seven he [Plotinus] was caught by the passion for philosophy: A friend to whom he opened his heart divined his temperamental craving and suggested Ammonius, whom he had not yet tried.

Plotinus went, heard a lecture, and exclaimed to his comrade: From that day he followed Ammonius continuously, and under his guidance made such progress in philosophy that he became eager to investigate the Persian methods and the system adopted among the Indians. It happened that the Emperor Gordian was at that time preparing his campaign against Persia; Plotinus joined the army and went on the expedition.

He was then thirty-eight, for he had passed eleven entire years under Ammonius. When Gordian was killed in Mesopotamia, it was only with great difficulty that Plotinus came off safe to Antioch.

In my view, the relationship of Plotinus to Ammonius is strongly reminiscent of the relationship of Plato to Socrates! Like Ammonius, Socrates B. Also, both Ammonius and Socrates originally held relatively menial occupations. Ammonius was literally a sack carrier working on the docks of Alexandria, while Socrates was an Athenian stonemason. The fact that Ammonius Saccas was initially a poorly educated and humble laborer on the docks of Alexandria, reminds me of the well-known American social philosopher, Eric Hoffer Hoffer was initially a migrant laborer but finally became a longshoreman on the docks of Los Angeles.

Like Ammonius, Hoffer had very little formal education; his education ammoniue from his life experiences not the classroom. Sacca biggest difference between the two men was that Hoffer was the author of ten books while Ammonius wrote nothing.

Sacacs men were philosophers of the highest level; however; Hoffer wrote mostly about social issues while Ammonius mostly taught metaphysics.

F ragments left from Porphyry ‘s book entitled, Against the Christiansgive details about the life and teachings of Ammonius. According to Porphyry, his parents were Christian, but upon learning Greek philosophy, Ammonius rejected his parents’ religion and returned to paganism. However, the Christian historian Eusebius A.

Great Theosophists–Ammonius Saccas (9 of 29)

As an example of this absurdity take a man whom I met when I was young, and who was then greatly celebrated and still is, on account of the writings which he has left. I refer to Origen, who is highly honored by the teachers of these doctrines. For this man, having been a hearer of Ammonius, who had attained the greatest proficiency in philosophy of any in our day, derived much benefit from his teacher in the knowledge of the sciences; but as to the correct choice of life, he pursued a course opposite to his.


For Ammonius, being a Christian, and brought up by Christian parents, when he gave himself to study and to philosophy straightway conformed to the life required by the laws. But Origen, having been educated as a Greek in Greek literature, went over to the barbarian recklessness.

And carrying over the learning which he had obtained, he hawked it about, in his life conducting himself as a Christian and contrary to the laws, but in his opinions of material things and of the Deity being like a Greek, and mingling Grecian teachings with foreign fables. For he was continually studying Plato, and he busied himself with the writings of Numenius and CroniusApollophanesLonginusModeratusand Nicomachusand those famous among the Pythagoreans.

And he used the books of Chaeremon the Stoicand of Cornutus. Becoming acquainted through them with the figurative interpretation of the Grecian mysteries, he applied it to the Jewish Scriptures. These things are said by Porphyry in the third book of his work against the Christians.

He speaks truly of the industry and learning of the man, but plainly utters a falsehood for what will not an opposer of Christians do? For the doctrine of Christ was taught to Origen by his parents, as we have shown above. And Ammonius held the divine philosophy unshaken and unadulterated to the end of his life. His works yet extant show this, as he is celebrated among many for the writings which he has left.

Based on the above we have two major issues between Porphyry and Eusebius: Porphyry says he was a pagan; Eusebius demurs. Porphyry falsely accused him [Ammonius] of having become a heathen again, after being a Christian, but it is certain that he continued a Christian until the very end of his life. Porphyry and Plotinus both indicate that Ammonius left no written works. Conversely, Eusebius asserts that Ammonius was celebrated for the writings that he left. This confusion in identity may be due to the fact that Ammonius taught both Plotinus the Neoplatonist and Origen the Christian; later scholars on both sides wrote their own opinions about Ammonius, ignorant of the historical context in which the man lived.

The Neoplatonist school of philosophy and Christianity, were diametrically opposed and constantly at war with one another, during the third, fourth and fifth centuries.

I have no opinion re the writing of any books, although I note that Pythagoreans were not supposed to put their more important teachings into writing. Also, in my view, it is very unlikely that the founder of Neoplatonic philosophy should have been at the same time a Christian. The unequivocal disagreement between Porphyry and Eusebius on these two important issues provides support for believing that there may have been two different men: I have two other comments: Blavatsky had a profound interest in both Neoplatonism and Gnosticism and both subjects are still studied by Theosophical groups around the world.