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Numenius (fl. c. mid 2nd century AD)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-A076-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 13, 2024, from

Article Summary

Numenius was a Platonist philosopher. He came from Apamea (Syria) and wrote in Greek. His work – now lost – is usually considered Neo-Pythagorean in tendency, and exercised a major influence on the emergence of Neoplatonism in the third century. A radical dualist, he postulated the twin principles of god – a transcendent and changeless intellect, equated with the Good of Plato’s Republic – and matter, identified as the Pythagorean Indefinite Dyad: god is good, matter evil. In addition to this supreme god, he added at a secondary level a creator-god, one of whose aspects is the world-soul, itself further distinguished into a good and an evil world-soul. He had a strong interest in Oriental wisdom, especially Judaic, and famously called Plato ‘Moses speaking Attic’.

Citing this article:
Dillon, John. Numenius (fl. c. mid 2nd century AD), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-A076-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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