Pagan-Platonic Anti-Christian Polemic (ISNS, Cardiff, 12-15 june)

à l’occasion de la prochaine rencontre de l’ISNS auprès de l’Université de Cardiff (12-15 juin 2013),
il y aura une section consacrée à la polémique païenne d’inspiration platonicienne contre les chrétiens, dont je suis la coordinatrice.
Toute personne intéressée à proposer une contribution sur ce sujet est priée de bien vouloir m’envoyer un résumé
d’ici le 25 février prochain.
Avec mes salutations cordiales,
Angela Longo
Università dell’Aquila, Italie)


A. Longo (, “Pagan-Platonic Anti-Christian Polemic”

In Ennead II 9 [33], which Porphyry entitled “Against the Gnostics” or “Against those who say that the Demiurge of the world is evil and that the world is evil,” Plotinus mentions various polemical themes against his opponents, who appear to be Christian and Gnostic, although he never calls them such.
Plotinus presents four main areas of criticism against his polemical target, not so much to attack them as to defend their influence on his students:
1) their theology and physics;
2) their ethics;
3) their attitude towards society;
4) their attitude towards culture, science, and philosophy (especially with regard to the doctrine of Plato).
In light of these, the principal theme of the panel would be to consider the precedents and effects of these Plotinian themes in Platonically-inspired authors before and after Plotinus.
Moreover, attention can usefully be paid also to the forms and styles of this controversy, as well as to its purpose. These sorts of argument can be multiplied and used to convince Christians to desist from their positions so that they will be reabsorbed into the customary beliefs of the Roman Empire, or—without aspiring to dislodge them from their positions–at least to try to defend other pagans so they do not fall into the Christian “trap” or so that they will simply survive as pagans in a world subject to profound cultural, political, and religious change.

All abstracts, whether individual or for inclusion in panels, are due by 25 February, 2013. Papers may be presented in English, French, German, Spanish, or Italian. It is recommended that those delivering papers in languages other than English provide printed copies to their audience at the conference.

Please note that anyone giving a paper at the conference must be a member of the ISNS. You may sign up and pay dues on the web site of the Philosophy Documentation Center:

Dues are $60.00 per year ($20.00 for students and retirees).

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