Isidore of Alexandria

Isidore of Alexandria

Isidore of Alexandria was a Greek philosopher and one of the last of the Neoplatonists. He lived in Athens and Alexandria toward the end of the 5th century AD. He became head of the school in Athens in succession to Marinus, who followed Proclus.

His views alienated the chief members of the school and he was compelled to resign his position to Hegias. He is known principally as the teacher of Damascius, whose testimony in his "Life of Isidorus" presents Isidorus in a very favourable light as a man and a thinker.

It is generally admitted, however, that he was rather an enthusiast than a thinker; reasoning with him was subsidiary to inspiration, and he preferred the theories of Pythagoras and Plato to the unimaginative logic and the practical ethics of the Stoics and Aristotelians. He seems to have given loose rein to theosophical speculation and attached great importance to dreams and waking visions, on which he used to expatiate in his public discourses.

Damascius' "Life" is preserved by Photius in the "Bibliotheca", and the fragments are printed in the Didot edition of Diogenes Laërtius. See Agathias, "Hist." II 30; Photius, "Bibliotheca", 181; and histories of Neoplatonism.



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