"Augustine’s Motivations for his Refutation of Porphyry and Theurgy in The City of God"

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This article explores the many different motivations as to why Augustine deals with the Neo-Platonist, Porphyry, in The City of God. It places Augustine’s treatment of Porphyry in the general theological and political context (such as that given in books 1-6 of this work), as well as the context of Augustine’s treatment of Platonism in book 8. It also gives a portrait of Porphyry, reconstructed by modern Porphyrian scholars. A brief exposition will be given of Augustine’s treatment of Porphyry and his refutation of this philosopher’s involvement with theurgy from book 10. The main questions here seek to better understand the extensiveness and vehement tone of this church father’s refutation of this particular philosopher.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudia Patristica
Subtitle of host publication‘Augustine of Hippo’s De ciuitate Dei : Content, Transmission, and Interpretations’
EditorsAnthony Dupont, Gert Partoens
Place of PublicationOxford
Pages177 -190
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Augustine, City of God, Porphyrius


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