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Rome, the Greek World, and the EastVolume 3: The Greek World, the Jews, and the East$
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Fergus Millar, Hannah M. Cotton, and Guy MacLean Rogers

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780807830307

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807876657_millar

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Porphyry: Ethnicity, Language, and Alien Wisdom*

Porphyry: Ethnicity, Language, and Alien Wisdom*

Chapter:
(p.331) Chapter Thirteen Porphyry: Ethnicity, Language, and Alien Wisdom*
Source:
Rome, the Greek World, and the East
Author(s):

Fergus Millar

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807876657_millar.19

This chapter discusses Porphyry's linguistic and educational background, his identity in terms of his Tyrian origins, and the possible relevance of these origins to his relationship to the Semitic-language cultures of the areas in the Near East. It also examines the works of Porphyry and attempts to interpret them as the product of an oriental culture and mentality. In Porphyry's use of foreign cultures, three oriental features stand out: (1) his sources were works that had either been composed in Greek or had already been translated from some other language; (2) he deploys a wide variety of non-Greek belief systems; and (3) he does not seem to give any special place to “Phoenicians” or “Syrians,” or to assert any positive relationship to them.

Keywords:   Porphyry, Tyrian, Semitic, Near East, oriental culture, Phoenicians, Syrians

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