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Open Access Porphyry and Black Magic

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Porphyry and Black Magic

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image of The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition

In the De abstinentia( II, 41, 5) Porphyry is the first philosopher to give an exact definition of goeteiaor black magicsaying: “All black magic is accomplished through the opposite sort [i.e. evil] daemons. This paper will be presented in two parts: in the first part, there is the description about the difference between Magic—the sacred science of the Persian Magi ( De abstinentia IV, 16, 1)—, and the black magic ( De abstinentia II, 41, 5); in the second part, using Porphyry’s definition of black magic and other philological data, it’s shown that Porphyry was not merely a philosopher interested in black magic in a theoretical manner, but also a practicing sorcerer.

Affiliations: 1: Università degli Studi di Macerata giuseppe.muscolino@alice.it

In the De abstinentia( II, 41, 5) Porphyry is the first philosopher to give an exact definition of goeteiaor black magicsaying: “All black magic is accomplished through the opposite sort [i.e. evil] daemons. This paper will be presented in two parts: in the first part, there is the description about the difference between Magic—the sacred science of the Persian Magi ( De abstinentia IV, 16, 1)—, and the black magic ( De abstinentia II, 41, 5); in the second part, using Porphyry’s definition of black magic and other philological data, it’s shown that Porphyry was not merely a philosopher interested in black magic in a theoretical manner, but also a practicing sorcerer.

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2015-09-11
2017-11-19

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