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  • Cult Statues in Porphyry of Tyre and Macarius Magnes:Porph. Chr. fr. 76 and fr. 77 (von Harnack)

In an apologetic work dated between the end of the third and the beginning of the fifth centuries and generally known as Apocriticus, Macarius Magnes reports and refutes the views of an anonymous pagan thinker, whom he designates as "the Hellene." In 1916, Adolf von Harnack identified the anonymous Hellene as Porphyry of Tyre and used Macarius's text to reconstruct Porphyry's lost treatise Against the Christians. Since then, the relation between Porphyry's anti-Christian work and Macarius Magnes's Apocriticus has been subject to an ongoing scholarly debate. In this paper, I focus on fragments 76 and 77 von Harnack. I argue for the significant Platonic foundation of both criticisms and endeavor to show that the views expressed in them share similarities with Porphyrian views, although the fragments' relation to Against the Christians remains uncertain.


In an apologetic work dated between the end of the third and the beginning of the fifth centuries1 and generally known as Apocriticus,2 Macarius Magnes, a Christian author of whom almost nothing is known,3 reports and refutes [End Page 187] the views of an anonymous pagan philosopher, whom he designates as "the Hellene."4 In 1916, von Harnack identified the anonymous Hellene as Porphyry of Tyre and used Macarius's text to reconstruct Porphyry's lost treatise Against the Christians. Since then, the relation between Porphyry's anti-Christian work and Macarius Magnes's Apocriticus has been subject to an ongoing scholarly debate. Although brought into question by Timothy Barnes5 and others,6 von Harnack's reconstruction remains influential. In fact, the Porphyrian origin of the pagan objections in Apocriticus is still widely accepted.7 Yet, various other hypotheses have been advanced, since the anonymous Hellene has also been identified as being Sossianus Hierokles,8 Iamblichus,9 and the emperor Julian.10 Thus, the problem of the origin of the fragments remains open.

I submit that the only secure way to determine the origin of the pagan objections in Apocriticus is through a careful study of each of them.11 Given [End Page 188] that the pagan author's identity cannot be established beyond doubt, the possibility that Apocriticus draws from a variety of sources should not be excluded.12 In other words, it is not impossible that Macarius drew his material either from a variety of pagan authors or from earlier Christian refutations of pagan views or even from an anthology of pagan objections to Christianity.13 In that case, Macarius's opponent would be a literary construction combining anti-Christian views of different pagan authors, rephrased and refuted by Macarius in a work meant to be an overall denial of various pagan objections to Christianity. As a result, one should rather seek to identify the source of each of the objections separately than determine the source of the objections as a whole.

In this paper, I will focus on the fragments 76 and 77 (von Harnack), which deal with cult statues. Using both literary and philosophical arguments, I will argue for the significant Platonic foundation of both the Hellene's criticisms and endeavor to show that the views expressed in them share similarities with Porphyrian views, although the fragments' relation to Against the Christians remains uncertain.

Chr. fr. 76 von Harnack and Porphyry's On Statues

In fr. 76 von Harnack, the Hellene argues as follows:

Therefore, as it is agreed that the angels participate in divine nature, those who give the appropriate reverence to the gods do not think that the god is in the wood or the stone or the bronze from which the mere image is fashioned, nor if a piece of the statue is broken off do they judge that the divine power has been diminished. For the wooden statues and the temples were established by the ancients as a memorial, so that those passing by and coming in would come to think about God, or taking leisure and purifying themselves [End Page 189] from all else, that they would make use of prayers and supplications, each one asking of them whatever he needed. For if one makes an image of a friend, he does not at all think the friend himself is in it, or that the limbs of the friend's body are enclosed within the limbs of the painting, but he [wants] to show honor for the friend through the image. But the sacrifices offered to the gods do not so much give honor to them as much as they are an evidence of the motive of those sacrificing and of the fact that they must not approach them ungratefully. But, fittingly, the shape of the statues is anthropomorphic, since humans are considered to be the finest of living beings and the image of God.14

This fragment shares similarities with two fragments of Porphyry's On Statues (Περὶ Ἀγαλμάτων): fr. 35115 and fr. 352.11–13 (Smith).16 Porphyry's fragments on cult statues are mainly preserved in the third book of Eusebius's Praeparatio evangelica. It is noteworthy that no mention of a treatise entitled Περὶ Ἀγαλμάτων is made before Stobaeus (fifth century).17 Could this mean that the actual existence of a separate work under this title is doubtful and that, by consequence, Eusebius may have drawn from another Porphyrian treatise dealing with, among other matters, cult images?

I believe that this cannot be the case. First, the fragments' content does not fit well within the content of any of the extant Porphyrian treatises, with [End Page 190] the possible exception of Philosophy from Oracles, which also contains some references to divine statues.18 However, in the case of Philosophy from Oracles, the general framework is quite different, since the focus is on the proper construction of statues. On the contrary, in On Statues, cult statues are considered as symbols (σύμβολα) or images (εἰκόνες) of powers (δυνάμεις), and there is no reference to their construction or to oracles. Andrew Smith wonders whether this change in approach, already observed by Geffcken,19 reflects "a difference in purpose between the two works" or "a profound change in Porphyry's understanding of the situation."20 I believe that it can be explained by the fact that, in Philosophy from Oracles, the fragments that refer to cult statues do not contain Porphyry's own views on the topic but rather views reported by Porphyry. Second, the fragments of On Statues offer allegorical interpretations of the iconographical features of various gods. Well-known Porphyrian treatises, such as On the Cave of the Nymphs and On Styx, are concerned with unveiling the "real" philosophical meaning behind the literal one. It is thus very likely that Porphyry also composed a separate work providing allegorical readings of divine iconography. Moreover, the fact that some textual corruptions in Eusebius's manuscripts can be corrected by the use of Stobaeus's codex F21 shows that the latter had direct access to Porphyry's text, so that his mention of a single work under the title Περὶ Ἀγαλμάτων must be taken seriously. But what do we know about the date and scope of this fragmentary work?

As I have argued elsewhere, Porphyry's On Statues is not an early work from the philosopher's youth in Phoenicia (or even Athens), as Bidez proposes, but a mature work dating after Porphyry's time with Plotinus in Rome, and engaging in dialogue with Iamblichus.22 According to Photius (ninth century), Iamblichus also wrote a now lost treatise titled Περὶ Ἀγαλμάτων, which was refuted by Philoponus.23 From Photius's reference as well as from two excerpts [End Page 191] of On the Mysteries and On the Pythagorean Way of Life, it can be infered that Iamblichus approved the rite of statue animation for divinatory purposes.24 On my hypothesis, Porphyry and Iamblichus engaged in a debate concerning the correct attitude towards cult statues and, within this framework, the former's symbolic interpretation in Περὶ Ἀγαλμάτων was juxtaposed to the latter's theurgic approach.25 Traces of this debate can also be encountered in On Abstinence, where Porphyry criticizes the theurgic approach to cult statues, underlining the cleavage between it and the Platonic tradition.26 Thus, I [End Page 192] submit that the scope of Porphyry's On Statues was primarily anti-theurgic and anti-Iamblichean and that any anti-Christian allusions should be considered within this framework.

One could object that, as plausible as it may sound, the above suggested reading remains conjectural, since it is based on the meagre evidence of isolated fragments removed from their context and probably alternated (paraphrased or summarized) by Eusebius so that they fit within his own remit, namely, the critique of physical allegory.27 However, importantly, in the case of fr. 351 and 352 (Smith), Eusebius explicitly states that he quotes Porphyry's ipsissima verba (πρὸς λέξιν). It has been shown that, when making such a claim, Eusebius is remarkably faithful to his sources.28 It can therefore be admitted that fr. 351 and 352 (Smith) preserve Porphyry's very words.

Now we must examine more closely the parallels between, on the one hand, fr. 76 (von Harnack) and, on the other, fr. 351 and 352 (Smith). The first parallel between Apocriticus and On Statues is encountered in the latter work's introduction (fr. 351):29

To whom it is lawful I will speak; close your ears, all you profane. To those who have learnt to pick out the characters of the gods from the statues as if from books, I will show the wise theological meanings, according to which men revealed God and the powers of God through sensible images, delineating invisible things in visible forms. For it is not surprising at all that the most uneducated consider the statues to be wood and stones, just as indeed those ignorant of letters see inscribed columns as mere stones, writing tablets as pieces of wood, and books as woven papyrus.30 [End Page 193]

Beyond some linguistic similarities in the Greek (see Appendix, Table 1), three observations can be made with respect to this parallel. First, in De simulac. fr. 351, Porphyry says that a statue, a ξόανον, is not only wood and stone, as most uneducated think. In other words, a statue is something more than the material it is made of. In fr. 76, the Hellene says wood and stone and bronze are only what a statue (βρέτας) is made of. This means that the statue is actually something more than these materials.

But the Hellene also emphasizes that these materials are not the dwellings of the gods, for he says that those who "give appropriate reverence to the gods" know that the god is not in the material of which the statue is fashioned (οὐκ ἐν ξύλῳ ἢ λίθῳ ἢ χαλκῷ). How should we understand the god's being in the material here? In ancient Greek and Roman religion, there are two possible ways of understanding the god's dwelling within a material statue:31 on the one hand, there is the belief that, being omnipotent, a god can enter a statue.32 Heraclitus's famous criticism33 can be taken as implying that a statue is somehow the god's δόμος, that is, the god's abode (to which the ignorant address their prayers as if the statues were gods, instead of addressing them to the gods themselves, who are the inhabitants of the statues), while one of the ancient Greek words for "statue," ἕδος, also means "dwelling place."34 But, beyond these attestations, the idea that the gods literally reside within their statues is not very well attested in archaic and classical Greece.35 On the other hand, there is the widespread late antique theurgic idea that, as a result of a specific rite, the god can be called into an inanimate statue in order to inhabit it. Both ideas are to be distinguished from the naïve identification between a divinity and its statue.36 Heraclitus, quoted by Celsus, famously criticizes this belief: if statues are dwellings (δόμοι) of the gods—that is, if the gods can enter or be somehow present in their statues—this does not entail that one [End Page 194] should take statues to be gods and pray to them as if (s)he were praying to the gods. For this would be tantamount to identifying a building's resident with the building and to converse with the latter as if it were animate. Christian apologetics later appropriated this criticism, so that pagans like Celsus often needed to reply to their Christian opponents by repeating that they did not believe that the god was identical to the statue.37 I submit that, most probably, the Hellene's criticism concerns the late antique theurgic idea that gods can dwell within their statues—thus made appropriate for divination—rather than the general assumption that a god can enter a statue, for which, as mentioned above, we have little support. If this insight is correct, then here the Hellene criticizes theurgy, like Porphyry does in On Abstinence and in the Letter to Anebo.38

The second observation concerns the fact that both Porphyry and the Hellene posit a relation between statues and divine powers. Porphyry considers statues as sensible images (εἰκόνες σύμφυλοι αἰσθήσει) that reveal (μηνύουσιν) divine powers (τοῦ θεοῦ δυνάμεις). The Hellene also considers statues as images (εἰκόνες) and states that the god's power (δύναμις) is not diminished if a piece of the statue is broken off. The divine power is thus somehow related to the statue. It clearly does not reside in the statue, since the Hellene's view is that "those who give the appropriate reverence to the gods do not think that the god is in the wood or the stone or the bronze from which the mere image is fashioned." How can we understand the power's relation to the statue? The comparison between the image of a god and the image of a friend ("if one makes an image of a friend, he does not at all think the friend himself is in it or that the limbs of the friend's body are enclosed within the limbs of the painting, but he [wants] to show honor for the friend through the image") shows that, like Porphyry, the Hellene takes statues to be images (εἰκόνες) of divine powers.

Of course, what an image represents is not affected when the image is destroyed. But it could be objected that this is not the best explanation for the [End Page 195] Hellene's general statement that the god's power (δύναμις) is not diminished if a piece of the statue is broken off, since, in some cases, the original may nevertheless be affected by accident when the image is broken off (as, to use an anachronistic example, in the case of being cut by the broken glass of one's own picture's frame). Porphyry's view that powers are not subject to dissolution as such might be a better explanation for the Hellene's statement. According to Porphyry, powers are not subject to dissolution because they are incorporeal (ἀσώματα) and incorporeals are not subject to dissolution.39 In sententia 42, powers are enumerated among immanent incorporeals as opposed to transcendent incorporeals.40 However, as I have shown elsewhere,41 powers can also be identical with the transcendent per se incorporeals, namely the One, the Intellect, and the Soul. Either as transcendent incorporeal, or as immanent incorporeals, powers are not subject to dissolution, unlike sensible bodies. Hence, for Porphyry, the statue, which is a sensible body, can have pieces broken off, but the power can never be diminished. Thus, Porphyry's views on powers could justify the Hellene's broad claim. [End Page 196]

Third, in De simulac. fr. 351 Porphyry compares statues to books, inscribed columns, writing tablets, and woven papyri. The idea that paintings and, by extension, other artistic representations are comparable to the written word goes back to Plato's Phaedrus.42 In this dialogue, Plato also argues that written word has the function of reminder (ὑπόμνημα)43 and calls the art of writing ὑπομνήσεως φάρμακον, an "elixir of reminding."44 It would then be reasonable for Porphyry to attribute the same function of reminding to statues as well. Krulak convincingly argues that the attribution of the role of ὑπομνήματα to statues fits well within the perspective of Porphyry's On Statues.45 Thus, it is not impossible that Porphyry used ὑπόμνημα and ὑπόμνησις in the lost parts of the On Statues. If this insight were correct, then Porphyry would share the Hellene's view that statues have a mnemonic function (ὑπομνήσεως ἕνεκα).

Let us now turn to the second parallel.46 Like the Hellene in fr. 76 (von Harnack), Porphyry deals with the question of anthropomorphism in De Simulac. fr. 352 (Smith) by bringing in the notion of beauty (κάλλος)47:

And they made the gods anthropomorphic because the divine is rational; and made them beautiful, because in them there is pure beauty.48

At first sight, a comparison with fr. 76 (von Harnack) shows that the Hellene's argument is not identical with Porphyry's. Porphyry first asks why the gods—that is, the gods' statues—have been made anthropomorphic (ἀνθρωποειδεῖς).49 He replies that this is so because the divine is rational (ὅτι λογικὸν τὸ θεῖον). The argument runs as follows: the gods' statues have been made anthropomorphic because the gods are rational and, among the forms of all living beings, the human form alone is appropriate for representing rationality (the property of being rational or being endowed with reason). The human form is the only appropriate one for representing rationality because [End Page 197] the human being is the only rational living being. Porphyry then goes on to ask why the gods' statues have been made beautiful (καλούς). His answer is that this is so because, in the gods, there is pure beauty (ὅτι κάλλον ἐν ἐκείνοις ἀκήρατον). What is tacitly understood here is the Platonic assumption that sensible beauty imitates pure divine beauty. In other words, Porphyry's argument is that the gods' statues are beautiful because, in the divine, there is pure beauty and the statues' sensible beauty is an image of pure divine beauty.

The Hellene, on the other hand, asks only one question, namely "why is the statues' shape anthropomorphic (ἀνθρωποειδῆ)?" His answer is twofold:(1) because the human being is considered to be the most beautiful living being (τὸ κάλλιστον τῶν ζῴων), and (2) because the human being is in the image of God (εἰκόνα Θεοῦ). What is tacitly understood in (1) is the assumption that the divine is absolutely beautiful. In other words, the Hellene states that the most appropriate shape for the gods' statues is human shape because the divine is absolutely beautiful and the human being is the most beautiful of all living beings. Thus, Porphyry's assumption that, in the gods, there is pure beauty (κάλλον ἐν ἐκείνοις ἀκήρατον), is an unstated premise in the Hellene's argument.

Regarding (2), I submit that the Hellene's argument runs as follows: the gods' statues have human form because the human being is in the image of God and the human being has this specific form, namely human form. How should we understand the idea that the human being is an image of God? Since the argument is put in the mouth of a pagan, it is legitimate to submit that the usage of εἰκὼν Θεοῦ here is not specifically Christian, although the expression would suit the viewpoint of a Christian like Macarius equally well. As van Kooten shows, there are many ways of understanding the notion of "image of God" (εἰκὼν Θεοῦ) in late antique pagan thinkers.50 On his reading in this specific case, by saying that the human being is the image of God, the Hellene in some way "implies that God himself has a human form."51 A little bit further, van Kooten notes that, in fr. 76 (von Harnack), which he unquestionnably takes as Porphyryian, "the notion of man as image of God is understood to comprise a bodily aspect."52 However, supposing that fr. 76 derives from Porphyry, it would be erroneous to interpret this passage as implying that God has a human form. As Gerson puts it, Porphyry attempted to "construe the divine according to the exigencies of a metaphysical system."53 In this Platonic [End Page 198] metaphysical–theological system, the hypostatic domain of divinity is that of transcendent incorporeal entities.54 As for the First God, his incorporeality is clearly stated in On Abstinence:

The First God, being incorporeal and unmoved and indivisible, neither contained in anything nor bound by himself, needs nothing external.55

In addition, whoever the pagan author behind the Hellene might be here, the view that God has human form is not found in pagan apologetical works and is even explicitly and severely criticized by Celsus in his True Word against the Christians (late second century): "Nor did he make man in his image, for God is not of that kind, nor does he resemble any other form at all."56 Thus, it seems very unlikely that, against Celsus and a long tradition dating back to Xenophanes,57 the Hellene reduces the notion of εἰκὼν Θεοῦ to a bodily sense.58 Moreover, if this were the only aspect involved in the notion of the human being as image of God, then the human being's status as an image of God would be no more than a superfluous repetition of the previous claim about the human being's status as the most beautiful (κάλλιστον) of all living beings. Thus, the idea that the human being is an image of God cannot be understood in a bodily sense here.

What then is the meaning of εἰκὼν Θεοῦ in the Hellene's argument? On my reading, in fr. 76 (von Harnack), the human being's status as an εἰκὼν θεοῦ is meant to be a broad claim, encompassing what has just been said about the beauty of human nature (τὸ κάλλιστον τῶν ζῴων), but also going further than this corporeal aspect. I submit that, in this passage, the notion of the human being as image of God can be primarily understood in the wake of the most ancient and widespread Platonic–Pythagorean meaning of εἰκὼν θεοῦ, which is related to the soul, virtue, and reason. The bodily meaning of the human being's status as an image of God would be secondary and justified by the body's relation to the soul, whose qualities are reflected on the body [End Page 199] it shapes and whose authentic nature is to be governed by reason (rationality being the property that man, unlike other living beings, shares with God). Interestingly, this understanding of the notion of εἰκὼν Θεοῦ is found in a contemporary letter of the Greek rhetorician Himerius (roughly 315–386), the pagan teacher of Gregory of Nazianzus and Basil of Caesarea.59 In Himerius's letter, the body presents itself as the image of a god, because the soul's qualities are reflected on the body. Penella mentions a notable parallel in the Panegyrici Latini dating from the fourth century.60 With reference to Himerius's passage, van Kooten insists on the "decisively sophistic shift" the orator gives to the text, despite the context's dependence on Plato's language of the soul.61 However, such developments also reflect the Neoplatonic idea that the soul shapes and molds the body so that it becomes living.62 In any case, the above sources from the fourth and fifth centuries support the understanding that the image of God was related to the soul and, in a secondary and derivative way, to human form. Thus, it is likely that in fr. 76 (von Harnack), εἰκὼν θεοῦ refers primarily to the soul, which is the seat of rationality, and secondarily to human form (as a visible expression of the soul's rationality and other qualities). In other words, although the point is not made in the Macarian fragment, one could be justified in supposing that, on the Hellene's view, in the final analysis man is the image of God, because man, like God, is rational. If this insight is correct, then Porphyry's premise that the divine is rational (λογικὸν τὸ θεῖον) is an unstated premise in the Hellene's argument about man's being an image of God.

In light of this analysis, it would seem that, although their arguments appear to be different, Porphyry and the Hellene nevertheless share common assumptions. What is more, the latter's argument seems to have been constructed starting from the former's clearly stated premises. In other words, it would seem that in this case Macarius's Hellene builds his argumentation [End Page 200] based on Porphyry's passage. One could take a step further and argue for literary dependence. However, it is crucial to bear in mind that the above is only a plausible hypothesis based on conjectures and that the stronger claim of a distinctively Porphyrian criticism is difficult to sustain with certitude, given the fragmentary nature of the evidence and our elliptic knowledge of much of Porphyry's thought.

To sum up, the Macarian fr. 76 (von Harnack) shares a series of similarities with views expressed in two fragments of Porphyry's On Statues, although it is doubtful whether Macarius, who had obviously reworked his source, draws directly from Porphyrian material or not. Macarius could have drawn either directly from Porphyry (although this might seem a rather strong claim, given the fragmentary nature of Porphyry's evidence and given the penury of evidence for Macarius's work on his source) or indirectly from Eusebius's refutation of Porphyry's On Statues, or from an anthology (although the nature of this anthology is uncertain), or even from a Platonist following Porphyry's views. Of course, it is not unlikely that, like many of his contemporaries (Stobaeus, for instance), Macarius knew Porphyry at first hand. But, on the other hand, Eusebius's Praeparatio Evangelica (or an anthology or even a Platonic source influenced by Porphyry) would perhaps have been more easily accessible than Porphyry's original work.

The question that subsequently arises concerns the debated relation between fr. 76 (von Harnack) and Porphyry's Against the Christians. The complex debate over Porphyry's Against the Christians remains open. Is Against the Christians to be considered to have been a single work, as seems to be proposed by the Suda63 and as Goulet,64 Riedweg,65 and Johnson66 believe? is it rather to be identified with Philosophy from Oracles, as Beatrice67 thinks? or is it even to be considered a collection of anti-Christian material scattered throughout the Porphyrian corpus, as Edwards suggests?68 A survey of these discussions is beyond the scope of this article. It can however be observed that, in the first instance, that is, in the case in which Against the Christians is considered a single work, a hypothetical relation between it and fr. 76 (von Harnack) would be conceivable, if one posited that, in Against [End Page 201] the Christians, Porphyry referred to cult statues by repeating or summarizing views exposed in detail in On Statues. Beatrice's hypothesis is not well supported, but, in the case in which Against the Christians is not considered a single work, as Edwards has proposed, a conjectural link between the pagan objection in Macarius and Against the Christians would be conceivable, if one posited that some extracts of On Statues were part of Porphyry's anti-Christian library.

Whatever the case may be, there is sufficient evidence for suggesting that fr. 76 (von Harnack) preserves Platonic views that could be Porphyry of Tyre's or derive from a source following Porphyry very closely. Unfortunately, our currently inadequate knowledge of much of Porphyry's thought does not allow us to go further in making a stronger claim concerning the Porphyrian origin of the pagan criticism.

Porphyry's Chr. fr. 77 (von Harnack)

In fr. 77 (von Harnack), Macarius's opponent argues against the doctrine of the Incarnation as follows:

But if one of the Hellenes is so empty in his opinions as to think that the gods reside within the statues, his thought would be much purer than that of the one who believes that the divine entered into the womb of Mary the Virgin and became an embryo and once born, was swaddled, covered with the blood of afterbirth and bile, and with things still much more incongruous than these?69

In this passage, the Hellene denies two distinct views, namely (1) the pagan view that the gods inhabit their statues, and (2) the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation. What is more, he rejects them on a common basis, which, however, he does not explicitly state. But, on his assumption, (2) entails a greater error than (1).

The doctrine of the Incarnation is often criticized in anti-Christian literature.70 Yet, in the extant sources, it is never criticized in conjunction with [End Page 202] the pagan idea that the gods reside within their statues. Thus, the question that arises here concerns the identity of the anonymous pagan thinker who refutes these two views on a common basis. Could this joint refutation have a Porphyrian origin? In what follows, I will first show that, like the Hellene, Porphyry denies both (1) and (2), and that, in addition, he denies them on a common basis, which, in his case, is the doctrine of the impassibility of the divine. Subsequently, I will turn to Macarius's response, which shows that Macarius understands the Hellene as building his arguments against (1) and(2) on the doctrine of the impassibility of the divine.

It is thus possible that the anonymous Hellene in fr. 77 (von Harnack) is a Porphyrian thinker or even Porphyry himself. On this latter point, it should be remembered, however, that later Christians found Porphyry helpful for their own attempts to account philosophically for divine impassibility and the Incarnation. Nemesius, for exemple, would draw on Porphyry as an inadvertent support for the Christian doctrine.71 This fact indicates the importance of Porphyry's arguments on the topic but also how difficult it is to use his doctrine of impassibility in order to confirm a connection between Porphyry and the Hellene in Macarius. In what follows, I will nevertheless attempt to show that Porphyry's ideas lie behind the criticism lodged in fr. 77.

The doctrine of divine impassibility goes back to Plato's Republic,72 so that every Platonist would have accepted with it. But what is peculiar to Porphyry is the fact that he particularly insists on this doctrine in his Letter to Anebo, where he uses the distinction between passible and impassible entities as an argument against theurgy. I take (1) to refer precisely to the theurgic rite of statue animation. In fact, as explained in the previous section, the idea that the gods reside within statues is not well attested earlier than and independently from late antique theurgic rites.

Porphyry's objections to theurgy in his Letter to Anebo are well-known. A major objection put forward in this work is that theurgic rites entail that the gods are passible (ἐμπαθεῖς):

But invocations are addressed to the gods as if they were subject to passion, so that it is not only daemons that are thus subject, but also the gods.73

[End Page 203] However, for Porphyry, the gods, as opposed to demons, are impassible (ἀπαθεῖς).74 And "the impassible cannot be seduced or violated or forced."75 "How is it then possible," he asks, "that theurgic rites are directed to the gods as if the latter were subject to passions (ἐμπαθεῖς)?"76 Thus, Porphyry refutes the validity of theurgic rites, including the animation of statues, on grounds of divine impassibility.77

Let us now come to the doctrine of the Incarnation. Here I argue that, from the extant evidence, we can infer that, in his lost writings, Porphyry is likely to have explicitely criticized the Incarnation on the basis of divine impassibility. In Book 10 of his City of God, Augustine acknowledges that Porphyry's views were close to Christianity, but he deplores the fact that he was enthralled by "malicious powers," which did not allow him to see the truth about Christ and the Incarnation:

But Porphyry was the thrall of malicious powers and he was both ashamed of them and at the same time held them in too much awe to dispute against them freely. He chose not to see that the Lord Christ is the principle by whose incarnation we are purified. Indeed, he despised him in the very flesh that he took upon him in order to be sacrificed for our cleansing.78

A little further on, Augustine criticizes Porphyry for denying the paternal Intellect's identification with Christ on grounds of the Incarnation: [End Page 204]

You say, it is true, that ignorance and the many vices to which it gives rise can never be cleansed by any rites, but only by πατρικὸς νοῦς, that is the mind or intellect of the Father's will. But you do not believe that this is identical with Christ, for you despise him because of the body that came to him from a woman and because of the reproach of the cross.79

For Augustine's Porphyry, Christ cannot be the πατρικὸς νοῦς because Christ was incarnated (and crucified). In other words, according to Augustine, Porphyry maintained that the πατρικὸς νοῦς cannot be incarnated.

But on what grounds would Porphyry maintain that being incarnated is incompatible with being the paternal intellect? I submit that his attitude is to be explained on the basis of divine impassibility and, more precisely, of the following statement deriving from Sententia 21 that concerns the impassibility of the incorporeals (analysed by Plotinus in Ennead 3.6):

All passions (πάθη) affect that which is also subject to dissolution (φθορά); for the admission of passion is the road to dissolution, and that which is subject to dissolution is also passible; no incorporeal entity (οὐδὲν τὸ ἀσώματον) suffers dissolution, but some incorporeals are and some others are not, so that, in both cases, they are not subject to any kind of passion; for that which is subject to passion must not be such a thing, but rather something which can be altered and disolved by the qualities of the things that enter into it and make it suffer passion [. … ] Thus, matter is not subject to passion, for it is devoid of qualities in itself, and the Forms that enter into it and depart from it are not subject to passion either, but passion concerns the composite (τὸ συναμφότερον) and that which has its being in the composite; […] For this reason, it is the things which have their life from outside and not from themselves that are subject to passion in the sense of possessing life and being deprived of life; on the contrary, the things whose being consists in impassible life necessarily remain in life, in the same way as not being subject to passion involves lifelessness inasmuch as lifelessness is the absence of life. As being subject to change and being passible (πάσχειν) is proper to that which is a composite of matter and form, namely, the body (this is certainly not proper to matter) so also being alive and passing away, and being passible [End Page 205] (πάσχειν) in this respect are observed in that which is a composite of soul and body.80

On my reading, the argument runs as follows: (1) being subject to passion (πάσχειν) is a necessary and sufficient condition for being subject to dissolution (φθείρεσθαι); (2) being subject to dissolution (φθείρεσθαι) is a necessary and sufficient condition for being a composite (ἐν τῷ συνθέτῳ). From (1) and(2) follows that (3) being subject to passion, or passible, is a necessary and sufficient condition for being a composite of matter and form, or of soul and body. If an entity is passible, then it is a composite of soul and body and, if an entity is a composite of soul and body, then it is passible. In other words, being passible is equivalent to being composite of soul and body. Being impassible, the gods are not composite of soul and body.

From the above, we can safely infer that, for Porphyry, if Christ is a god (if he is "the mind or intellect of the Father's will"), and thus impassible, he is not composite of soul and body, that is, he has not been incarnated. And, inversely, if Christ has a sensible body and is, in this sense, composite of soul and body, that is, if he has been incarnated, then he is not a god; he is not the paternal intellect. The reason is that gods do not acquire sensible bodies, that is, they are not composites of soul and body, because their having sensible bodies, or their being composites of soul and body, would be tantamount to their being passible. But this is impossible, because gods are impassible. Interestingly, in Book X of his City of God, Augustine seems to confirm that the doctrine of the incorporeals (incorporea) was involved in Porphyry's and his followers' rejection of the Incarnation.81

Hence, Porphyry rejects the pagan view that the gods inhabit their statues and the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation on the grounds of divine [End Page 206] impassibility. Like Porphyry, the Hellene refutes these views on the basis of the impassibility of the divine. This can be inferred from Macarius's response. My aim here is not to analyze the response, but only to pinpoint what it reveals about the pagan argument in fr. 77 (von Harnack). Macarius prefaces the refutation of fr. 77 by addressing the following words to his opponent:

But if it seems better to you that the divine consents to live in a statue, and did not become incarnate in Mary because of the inferiority of the passions (διὰ τὸ ἐλάττωμα τῶν παθῶν), hear the more complete mystery of this doctrine: that the perfectly all-sufficing and Creator Logos, being sufficient in power, great, alien to passions (παθῶν ἀλλότριος), has not feared what among us [seems] to be a cause of shame.82

This passage makes clear that divine impassibility plays a key role in the Hellene's demonstration. More precisely, the Hellene's argument, which Macarius endeavors to refute, seems to be that both the god's inhabitation of a statue and the god's incarnation compromise divine impassibility, and that, furthermore, the latter undermines it even more seriously than the former. This is because the passions involved in the incarnation are inferior to those involved in living within a statue (διὰ τὸ ἐλάττωμα τῶν παθῶν), which is understandable, since incarnation entails a change of substance. In response to this claim, Macarius endeavors to show that divine impassibility is preserved in both the Incarnation and in the animation of statues, which he now reinterprets in a new way according to which Christ is the living statue of God. In a sophistic manner, the apologist takes the very fact his opponent considers to be incompatible with divine impassibility, namely "descending into flesh," as a mark of Christ's being beyond passion:

For in this he [the Logos] is impassible (ἀπαθής), in that being born with that which experiences passions (μετὰ τοῦ πάσχοντος) he is not ashamed.83 [End Page 207]

To demonstrate the impassibility of the Logos, Macarius uses an image reminiscent of Plotinus's and Porphyry's comparison of the Intellect and the Soul to the sun and fire:84

For as the sun descending into moisture does not take on moisture nor is it found to be muddy, but drying the moisture from the mud it hardens it completely into scales, without its rays becoming turbid, so too God the Word, being the intelligible sun, descending into flesh, does not take up any sickness from the flesh nor is he caught up in the passions (ἐν τοῖς πάθεσιν), overcome and falling into the infirmity of vice.85

The notion of πάθος (oὐ πάθος λογιζόμενοι) appears once more in Macarius's attempt to justify the Incarnation by comparing it to the myths of man's creation by Prometheus and Pandora's creation by Zeus.86 To sum up, Macarius's answer shows quite clearly that the Hellene rejects both the view that the gods can inhabit their statues and the Christian doctrine of Incarnation for one and the same reason: their inconsistency with divine impassibility.

As shown above, the refutation both of the view that the gods inhabit their statues and of the Incarnation on grounds of inconsistency with the impassibility of the divine can reasonably be attributed to Porphyry. Hence, it is likely that in fr. 77 the Hellene's objection derives from Porphyry, from a Neoplatonic author following Porphyry's views, or even from an anthology of pagan objections including, among others, this Porphyrian criticism. It is [End Page 208] impossible to know which of the above scenarios is actually the case. Establishing a link with a specific treatise in which Porphyry would have dealt with this topic is highly problematic as well, given the fragmentary state of the evidence and our inadequate knowledge of many aspects of Porphyry's thought. One could naturally think of Against the Christians, since this anti-Christian treatise would be a particularly suitable context for the refutation of the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation.

However, as mentioned in the previous section, the very existence of a separate work Against the Christians is open to question. The mention of cult statues could evoke On Statues or even Philosophy from Oracles, while the debate about passibility and impassibility and the critique of theurgy are encountered in the Letter to Anebo. Unfortunately, there is nothing within Macarius's testimony that would allow us to decide in favor of one or the other of the above treatises. And it is, of course, impossible to determine the degree to which Macarius alternates, paraphrases, or summarizes this source. The only safe conclusion that can be reached on the basis of the extant evidence is that fr. 77 is consistent with Porphyry's refutation of both the theurgists' view that the gods inhabit their statues and of the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation on grounds of divine impassibility, as well as with his approach to statues in Περὶ ἀγαλμάτων.

Concluding Remarks

My purpose in this paper has not been to analyse Macarius's refutation of the pagan objections contained in fr. 76 and 77 (von Harnack). However, by way of conclusion, I would like to focus on Macarius's answer and offer some remarks not on what divides the pagan source and Macarius but rather on what unites them, namely their common Platonic backround. Of course, this is a separate question, which needs further investigation, but I hope that the remarks that follow will open further discussion.

First, Macarius does not call into question the doctrine of divine impassibility. On the contrary, he considers it to be an axiomatic principle. Macarius's and the Hellene's point of disagreement consists only in whether this axiom is consistent with Christian belief or not: Macarius strives to demonstate that, despite what his opponent thinks, divine impassibility is not undermined by the doctrine of Incarnation. In addition, as mentioned above,87 the Apologist's comparison of Christ to the sun that descends into moisture "without taking on moisture or being found to be muddy," evokes Plotinus's and Porphyry's analogies between, on one hand, the Intellect (Plotinus) and the Soul (Porphyry), [End Page 209] and, on the other, the sun. Moreover, like Porphyry, who alternates between the philosopher as a temple of God (adorned with a living statue, that is, the Intellect88) and the philosopher as a statue of God,89 Macarius alternates between Christ as a temple of God90 and Christ as a living statue of God. For the Christian Apologist, Christ stands in for the philosopher, and Christian piety replaces the Platonic ideal of the philosophical βίος as path to salvation.

With respect to living statues, we make one final observation. Macarius's argument that God fastens upon "the more-honourable compound of earth" (τοῦ τιμιωτέρου τῆς γῆς φυράματος) to construct (ἐργάσεται) his own statue, a "uniquely-made, god-bearing statue (θεοφόρον ἄγαλμα), residing within which he shakes the inhabited world"91 is reminiscent of Iamblichus's reference to the theurgic rite of statue animation in De mysteriis.92 A comparison with Iamblichus's passage shows that "the more-honorable lump of earth," namely the Virgin's body, corresponds to the "adapted receptacles" (τὰς προσφόρους ὑποδοχὰς), which are made of perfect and pure matter (ὕλην τινὰ καθαρὰν καὶ θείαν; τελεία καὶ καθαρὰ καὶ ἀγαθοειδὴς), while God himself replaces the theurgist. In De mysteriis, Iamblichus argues that theurgy does not compromise divine impassibility since it is not "a human achievement," but rather "a thing divine, supernatural, sent from heaven above."93 For "[a]ll foreknowledge and execution of eternal works are divine works, not accomplished by [End Page 210] necessity or by other human causes, but by reason of such as the gods alone know."94 For Iamblichus, theurgic rites are a divine work because the theurgist becomes somehow divine through the theurgic σύμβολα. The fact that the work of theurgy is divine and not human explains the preservation of divine impassibility: the gods do not receive orders from humans nor do they obey or subordinate themselves to humans, who are ἐμπαθεῖς, but rather they act by their own will. Macarius advances a stronger claim: the construction of God's living statue is a divine work because God himself fashions his own god-bearing statue (θεοφόρον ἄγαλμα). Thus, God is presented as a divine artisan who makes (ἐργάσεται) a god-bearing statue, in the manner of the Demiurge in Plato's Timaeus,95 and as a divine theurgist, who animates this "uniquely-made" statue. Yet, Iamblichus's and Macarius's approaches differ in two major respects: first, the nature of the pure and perfect matter of which the divine statue is made; second, the role of human intervention, which, indirect and secondary in Iamblichus, becomes entirely absent in Macarius. From this point of view, Macarius appears to be a precursor of Pseudo Dionysius the Areopagite's elaboration of the Christian notion of θεουργία considered as the divine work of salvation through the Incarnation.96

If this insight is correct, it would mean that Macarius takes Iamblichus's part rather than Porphyry's inasmuch as he defends theurgy, to which, nevertheless, he attributes an entirely new, Christian sense, which is relevant to the doctrine of the Incarnation. Thus, the apologist's rejection of the Hellene's views on cult statues would be an example not only of a Christian refutation of pagan opinions but also of Christian appropriation of pagan ideas and Christian involvement in an inter-pagan debate—namely, the contest between Porphyrian and Iamblichaean views on theurgy—in order to exploit these in favor of an argument on behalf of Christianity.97 [End Page 211]

Irini-Fotini Viltanioti
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University

Appendix: Tables

Table 1. Macarius and Porphyry on Cult Statues and Divine Powers
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Table 1.

Macarius and Porphyry on Cult Statues and Divine Powers

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Table 2. Macarius and Porphyry on the Question of Anthropomorphism
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Table 2.

Macarius and Porphyry on the Question of Anthropomorphism

[End Page 213]

Table 3. Macarius and Iamblichus on Theurgy and Statue Animation 1 See also Acts 17.24–25; n. 91. Macarius could have used Paul's statement in support of his defense of theurgy, which he considered in a new Christian sense.
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Table 3.

Macarius and Iamblichus on Theurgy and Statue Animation

1 See also Acts 17.24–25; n. 91. Macarius could have used Paul's statement in support of his defense of theurgy, which he considered in a new Christian sense.

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An earlier version of this paper was presented in Oxford in June 2014. I am grateful to Mark Edwards for his feedback and for giving me access to his translation of the Apocriticus prior to publication. Special thanks are due to Gillian Clark, Richard Goulet, Aaron Johnson, and Richard Sorabji for written comments. I also thank Noel Lenski and the two anonymous referees.

2. Three titles are attested in the manuscripts: Ἀποκριτικὸς πρὸς Ἕλληνας (attested in Nicephorus's Ἐπίκρισις in the ninth century; see infra n. 4); Μονογενὴς πρὸς Ἕλληνας (Vaticanus graecus 1650, about 1036); and Ἀποκριτικὸς ἢ Μονογενὴς πρὸς Ἕλληνας (early modern manuscript from Epirus). See the analysis of Goulet 2003, 1: 41–67. Schott and Edwards 2015, 61 propose to translate the title as "Unique Discourse to the Hellenes."

3. Macarius is sometimes identified with the bishop of Magnesia who accused John Chrysostom's friend, Heraclides, bishop of Ephesus, of Origenism, in the Synod of the Oak in 403; see Phot. Bibl. 59 (PG 103.105): Ὁ δὲ κατήγορος Ἡρακλείδου τῆς Μαγνητῶν πόλεως ἐπίσκοπος ἦν ὀνόματι Μακάριος. The identification was first proposed by Le Quien 1740, 1: 698–99. On the author's identity, see Goulet 2003, 1: 48–51.

4. The first modern edition (based on an early modern copy discovered in Ioannina Region, Epirus, Greece, in 1867) was that of Paul Foucart in 1876, who completed the editorial work of Charles Blondel after the latter's premature death. A milestone in the study of the Apocriticus was reached in 2003 with Richard Goulet's monograph on the topic. The first English translation was that of Thomas Crafer in 1919. A new English translation, with introduction and commentary, has recently been published; see Edwards and Schott 2015. See also the edition and German translation by Volp 2013. On the history of the study of Macarius, see Goulet 2003, 1: 14–40. Interestingly, during the Byzantine period, the Apocriticus (particularly 4.27.1–2, which is related to this paper's topic) was used in an anonymous Iconoclast collection refuted by the Patriarch of Constantinople, Nicephorus I (806–815) in his Critique (Ἐπίκρισις). On Nicephorus, see Alexander 1958. On the Ἐπίκρισις, see the edition by Pitra 1852, 302–5, and the edition and English translation by Featherstone 2002.

5. Barnes 1974, 428–29; Barnes 1994. Since Moeller 1877 (echoed by Barnes 1974), it has been argued that Macarius cannot have taken Porphyry as his direct source, since at Apocriticus 3.42.6 he treats Porphyry as someone known to but distinct from his opponent. However, this would not be a problem if the Pagan represented a compendium of pagan objections. For a counterargument, see Goulet 2003, 1: 128: "Sans nier la difficulté que présente ce passage, il faut tenir compte du point de vue de Macarios. Meme s'il savait que les objections provenaient de Porphyre, il n'avait aucun intérêt à nous révéler ce détail qui aurait enlevé toute valeur à sa fiction littéraire, d'autant plus qu'il entendait faire subir au texte du païen des modifications considérables. Dans cette perspective, l'objection n'est pas peut-être aussi gênante qu'il apparaît au premier abord."

7. De Labriolle 1929; Anastos 1966; Demarolle 1972; Waelkens 1974; Cook 2000, 126–27 and 172–75; Berchman 2005, 4–6. According to Goulet 2003, 1: 139: "C'est en effet avec les fragments du Contra Christianos et leur perpective polémique fondamentale que les objections du Monogénès offrent le plus de similitudes." Schott and Edwards 2015, 35–39, observe: "the Hellene's objections have more points of contact with known testimonia to and fragments of Porphyry than either Hierocles or Julian. […] It should be stressed, however, that these are philosophical and theological articulations common among many later Platonists, and could point to a source text in the Porphyrian tradition, rather than Porphyry himself."

10. Frassinetti 1949. The link with Julian was first established by Neumann 1880. See also Goulet 2003, 1: 279–87 (annexe 2).

11. See also Goulet 2003, 1:139: "Ce n'est que par l'étude de chaque passage et grâce à la comparaison avec d'autres témoignages que l'on peut espérer établir l'origine porphyrienne de telle outelle critique." For a similar view, see Johnson 2013, 47: "Those fragments not explicitly attributed to Porphyry, especially those deriving from Macarius Magnes' Apocriticus, must be treated with caution and reserved for consideration only after thorough analysis of the undisputably Porphyrian fragments."

12. The plural πρὸς Ἕλληνας in the title could be taken to imply that Macarius answers to more than one pagan author. However, Richard Goulet has brought to my notice the fact that this assumption risks introducing a confusion between literary fiction (the Ἕλληνες to whom Macarius answers) and Macarius's actual pagan source(s). According to Goulet, the plural is simply to be explained by the fact that the debate between Macarius and his opponent takes place in presence of a pagan audience. But an interplay between fiction and the pagan source(s) is not impossible, so that the plural could still be taken to imply the existence of more than one author behind the Hellene.

13. The latter view has been advanced by Corsaro 1957, 16: "Io ritengo che alla base delle quaestiones stia non un'opera o l'excerptum di un'opera attribuibile a una figura di primo piano del neoplatonismo al secolo III o IV, come ritiene la generalità della critica macariana, ma un florilegio della polemica neoplatonica contro il cristianesimo, messo insieme da un anonimo sotto forma di pamphlet per fini eminantemente divulgate e propagantistici." See also Pezzella 1962.

14. Macar. Magn. Apocr. 4.21b (ed. Goulet 2003, 2: 310–12 = ed. Blondel and Foucart 1876, 200–201) = Porph. Chr. fr. 76 von Harnack: Ὁμολογουμένου τοίνυν θείας φύσεως τοὺς Ἀγγέλους μετέχειν, οἱ τὸ πρέπον σέβας τοῖς θεοῖς ποιοῦντες, οὐκ ἐν ξύλῳ ἢ λίθῳ ἢ χαλκῷ, ἐξ οὗ τὸ βρέτας κατασκευάζεται, τὸν Θεὸν εἶναι νομίζουσιν, οὐδ' εἴ τι μέρος ἀγάλματος ἀκρωτηριασθῇ, τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ δυνάμεως ἀφαιρεῖσθαι κρίνουσιν. Ὑπομνήσεως γὰρ ἕνεκα τὰ ξόανα καὶ οἱ ναοὶ ὑπὸ τῶν παλαιῶν ἱδρύθησαν, ὑπὲρ τοῦ φοιτῶντας ἐκεῖ τοὺς εἰσίοντας εἰς ἔννοιαν γίνεσθαι τοῦ Θεοῦ ἢ σχολὴν ἄγοντας καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν καθαρεύοντας εὐχαῖς καὶ ἱκεσίαις χρῆσθαι, αἰτοῦντας παρ' αὐτῶν ὧν ἕκαστος χρῄζει. Καὶ γὰρ εἴ τις εἰκόνα κατασκευάσει φίλου, οὐκ ἐν ἐκείνῃ δήπουθεν αὐτὸν νομίζει τὸν φίλον εἶναι, οὐδὲ τὰ μέλη τοῦ σώματος ἐκείνου τοῖς τῆς γραφῆς ἐγκεκλεῖσθαι μέρεσιν, ἀλλὰ τὴν εἰς τὸν φίλον τιμὴν δι' εἰκόνος δείκνυσθαι· τὰς δὲ προσαγομένας τοῖς θεοῖς θυσίας οὐ τοσοῦτον τιμὴν εἰς αὐτοὺς φέρειν, ὅσον δεῖγμα εἶναι τῆς τῶν θρησκευόντων προαιρέσεως καὶ τοῦ μὴ πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἀχαρίστως διακεῖσθαι. Ἀνθρωποειδῆ δὲ τῶν ἀγαλμάτων εἰκότως εἶναι τὰ σχήματα, ἐπεὶ τὸ κάλλιστον τῶν ζῴων ἄνθρωπος εἶναι νομίζεται καὶ εἰκὼν Θεοῦ. Translation from Schott and Edwards 2015, 247–48.

16. Goulet 2003, 2: 427. Schott and Edwards 2015, 38 note 127, point out a parallel with On Abstinence 2.34–35 (ed. Bouffartigue and Patillon 1979, 100–102) as well, observing that the Hellene's "theology of religious iconography accords with what we know of Porphyry's." I will return shortly to the passage from On Abstinence, which I understand as containing a criticism directed against Iamblichean theurgy (see n. 26 below). For Abst. 2.35 as a criticism of theurgy, see Bouffartigue and Patillon 1979, 42–43 and 102 n. 2; Girgenti and Sodano 2005, 411–12, who juxtapose it to Iamb. Myst.–177.6 (ed. Des Places 1966, 144). I think that Porphyry's criticism in Abst. 2.35.1 is directed against Iamblichus's views on statues in Myst.–16 (ed. Des Places 1966, 178).

17. Porph. De Simulac. fr. 354a (ed. Smith 1993, 414) and 360a (ed. Smith 1993, 435). On the title, see Bidez 1913 149–50.

18. Porph. Phil. orac. fr. 316–321 (ed. Smith 1993, 364–69).

22. Viltanioti 2017b. If this hypothesis is correct, one could wonder why Eusebius has not highlighted this fact if he was aware of it. I believe that Eusebius did not need to highlight it, since he uses Porphyry's fragments for this own aim, which is the refutation of physical allegory, and he is not interested in the treatise's real scope, which we need to reconstruct on the basis of the extant evidence.

23. Phot. Bibl. 215 (ed. Bekker 1824–1825, 173b): Ἀνεγνώσθη Ἰωάννου τοῦ Φιλοπόνου κατὰ τῆς σπουδῆς Ἰαμβλίχου, ἣν ἐπέγραψε περὶ ἀγαλμάτων. Ἔστι μὲν οὖν ὁ σκοπὸς Ἰαμβλίχῳ θεῖά τε δεῖξαι τὰ εἴδωλα (ταῦτα γὰρ ὑποβάλλει τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ ἀγάλματος) καὶ θείας μετουσίας ἀνάπλεα, οὐ μόνον ὅσα χεῖρες ἀνθρώπων κρυφίᾳ πράξει τεχνησάμεναι διὰ τὸ ἄδηλον τοῦ τεχνίτου διοπετῆ ἐπωνόμασαν (ταῦτα γὰρ οὐρανίας τε φύσεως εἶναι κἀκεῖθεν ἐπὶ γῆς πεσεῖν, ἐξ οὗ καὶ τὴν ἐπωνυμίαν φέρειν συνεστήσαντο), ἀλλὰ καὶ ὅσα τέχνη χαλκευτική τε καὶ λαξευτικὴ καὶ ἡ τεκτόνων ἐπιδήλῳ μισθῷκαὶ ἐργασίᾳ διεμορφώσαντο. Τούτων οὖν ἁπάντων ἔργα τε ὑπερφυῆ καὶ δόξης ἀνθρωπίνης κρείττονα γράφει ὁ Ἰάμβλιχος, πολλὰ μὲν ἀπίθανα μυθολογῶν, πολλὰ δὲ εἰς ἀδήλους φέρων αἰτίας, πολλὰ δὲ καὶ τοῖς ὁρωμένοις ἐναντία γράφειν οὐκ αἰσχυνόμενος. Εἰς δύο δὲ ἦν ὅλην πραγματείαν τέμνει, τὴν μὲν μείζονα καλῶν, τὴν δὲ ἐλάττονα κτλ. See also Tanaseanu-Döbler 2013, 109 n. 325.

24. One could be justified in supposing that, in the passage from Photius, the statues modulated by human art (ὅσα τέχνη χαλκευτική τε καὶ λαξευτικὴ καὶ ἡ τεκτόνων ἐπιδήλῳ μισθῷ καὶ ἐργασίᾳ διεμορφώσαντο) designate the "ensouled" statues of theurgy as opposed to traditional cult statues (ὅσα χεῖρες ἀνθρώπων κρυφίᾳ πράξει τεχνησάμεναι διὰ τὸ ἄδηλον τοῦ τεχνίτου διοπετῆ ἐπωνόμασαν) and that Iamblichus presented both as filled with divine presence (θείας μετουσίας ἀνάπλεα). I submit that the rite of statue animation for divinatory purposes is already mentioned in Iamb. Myst.–16 (ed. Des Places 1966, 178). See also Dodds 1951, 292–93; Johnston 2008, 462–65; and Tanaseanu-Döbler 2013, 109. Against the view that Myst.–16 refers to statue animation, see Van Liefferinge 1999, 96. As Addey 2014, 254–55, correctly points out, Iamblichus's approval of divination by statues can also be inferred by Iamb. VP 28.151.1–14 (ed. Deubner and Klein 1975, 85).

25. My reading is indebted to Krulak 2011 and Johnson 2013, 165–71. On the opposition between Porphyry's and Iamblichus's On Statues, see also Dodds 1951, 294. Dillon 2009, 23 notes that Iamblichus's Περὶ ἀγαλμάτων was probably written with reference to Porphyry's homonymous work, and that Iamblichus could also have dealt with cult statues in his lost work Περὶ θεῶν. See also Addey 2014, 255–56 nn. 74–75.

26. Porph. Abst. 2.35 (ed. Bouffartigue and Patillon 1979, 101–2): Νῦν δὲ τοῦτο μὲν ποιεῖν ὀκνοῦσι καὶ πολλοὶ τῶν φιλοσοφεῖν ἐσπουδακότων, δοξοκοποῦντες δὲ μᾶλλον ἢ τὸ θεῖον τιμῶντες περὶ τὰ ἀφιδρύματα στρέφονται, οὐδὲ πῇ ἀπαντητέον ἢ μὴ ἐπεσκεμμένοι, οὺδὲ παρὰ τῶν θεοσόφων μαθεῖν σπουδάσαντες, ἄχρι τίνος καὶ πόσου κἀνταῦθα παραβλητέον. Ἀλλ᾽ ἡμεῖς οὐδὲν διοισόμεθα τούτοις, μή πῇ δὲ καὶ αὐτοὶ τοιοῦτον σπουδάσομεν διαγιγνώσκειν, καὶ τοὺς ὁσίους καὶ παλαιοὺς ἐκμιμησόμεθα, τὸ πλέον ἀπαρχόμενοι ἐκ τῆς θεωρίας, ἧς ἡμῖν αὐτοὶ δεδώκασιν, καὶ ἧς ἐν χρείᾳ πρὸς τὴν ὄντως σωτηρίαν καθεστήκαμεν. Who are these philosophers who, despite the teachings of the θεόσοφοι, δοξοκοποῦντες […] περὶ τὰ ἀφιδρύματα στρέφονται. The word ἀφιδρύματα can denote either the images or the temples of the gods. We do not know of any philosophers busying themselves (στρέφονται) at temples, but we do know that theurgists engaged with rituals dealing with statues, such as statue animation. Thus, it is likely that the text refers to statues. Interestingly, θεωρία ("contemplation") could here be opposed to the ἔργον involved in θεουργία. It is not through the "divine" work of θεουργία and through rites related to statues that one is saved, the argument goes, but through θεωρία, in conformity with the tradition imparted by holy and ancient men of the past (θεόσοφοι). How does this contemplation apply to statues? This is, I submit, the fundamental question of On Statues. In fact, it has been convincingly argued that this work aimed at instructing novice philosophers in the appropriate way to approach (πῇ ἀπαντητέον ἢ μὴ) statues. See also Krukak 2011; Johnson 2013, 165–71; and Viltanioti 2017b. Going a step further, the statement ὰλλ᾽ ἡμεῖς οὐδὲν διοισόμεθα τούτοις, μή πῇ δὲ καὶ αὐτοὶ τοιοῦτον σπουδάσομεν διαγιγνώσκειν could be taken as an indication that On Statues should be dated after On Abstinence: if Porphyry had already composed On Statues, this would be an appropriate context for referring to it. Furthermore, the expression ἄχρι τίνος καὶ πόσου seems to evoke Porphyry's view that theurgy can be useful up to a certain point. See Aug. Civ. Dei 10.9 and 10.28; see also below n. 77.

27. On the study of fragments, see Most 1997; Magny 2014.

29. See Table 1 in the Appendix.

30. Porph. De simulac. fr. 351, 14–24 (ed. Smith 1993, 408): Φθέγξομαι οἶς θέμις ἐστί, θύρας δ' ἐπίθεσθε βέβηλοι, σοφίας θεολόγου νοήματα δεικνύς, οἷς τὸν θεὸν καὶ τοῦ θεοῦ δυνάμεις διὰ εἰκόνων συμφύλων αἰσθήσει ἐμήνυσαν ἄνδρες, τὰ ἀφανῆ φανεροῖς ἀποτυπώσαντες πλάσμασιν, τοῖς καθάπερ ἐκ βίβλων τῶν ἀγαλμάτων ἀναλέγειν τὰ περὶ θεῶν μεμαθηκόσι γράμματα. θαυμαστὸν δὲ οὐδὲν ξύλα καὶ λίθους ἡγεῖσθαι τὰ ξόανα τοὺς ἀμαθεστάτους, καθὰ δὴ καὶ τῶν γραμμάτων οἱ ἀνόητοι λίθους μὲν ὀρῶσι τὰς στήλας, ξύλα δὲ τὰς δέλτους, ἐξυφασμένην δὲ πάπυρον τὰς βίβλους. Translation from Johnson 2013, 165, slightly modified. See also the parallel with Jul. Ep. 89b [294 b–d] (ed. Bidez 1924, 162): Ἀφορῶντες οὖν εἰς τὰ τῶν θεῶν ἀγάλματα, μήτοι νομίζωμεν αὐτὰ λίθους εἶναι μήτε ξύλα, μηδὲ μέντοι τοὺς θεοὺς αὐτοὺς εἶναι ταῦτα. Καὶ γὰρ οὐδὲ τὰς βασιλικὰς εἰκόνας ξύλα καὶ λίθον καὶ χαλκὸν λέγομεν, οὐ μὴν οὐδὲ αὐτοὺς τοὺς βασιλέας, ἀλλὰ εἰκόνας βασιλέων. Ὅστις οὖν ἐστι φιλοβασιλεύς, ἡδέως ὁρᾷ τὴν τοῦ βασιλέως εἰκόνα, καὶ ὅστις ἐστὶ φιλόπαις, ἡδέως ὁρᾷ τὴν τοῦ παιδός, καὶ ὅστις φιλοπάτωρ, τὴν τοῦ πατρός· οὐκοῦν καὶ ὅστις φιλόθεος, ἡδέως εἰς τὰ τῶν θεῶν ἀγάλματα καὶ τὰς εἰκόνας ἀποβλέπει, σεβόμενος ἅμα καὶ φρίττων ἐξ ἀφανοῦς ὁρῶντας εἰς αὐτὸν τοὺς θεούς. In all probability, Julian drew from Porph. De simulac. fr. 351.14–24. However, unlike Macarius, he makes no reference to divine powers (δυνάμεις), which have a central role in On Statues; see Viltanioti 2017b. This supports the hypothesis that Macarius, who acknowledges the role of powers in the Hellene's account, could not draw from Julian.

33. Heracl. Fr. 5 (ed. Diels and Kranz 1964, 1: 151.15–152.2); Orig. Cels. 8.62.9–11 (ed. Bader 1940, 192): […] καὶ τοῖς ἀγάλμασι δὲ τουτέοισιν εὔχονται, ὁκοῖον εἴ τις τοῖς δόμοισι λεσχηνεύοιτο, οὔ τι γινώσκων θεοὺς οὐδ› ἥρωας οἵτινές εἰσι.

34. For the Greek words for "statue," see Viltanioti 2011, 29.

35. Johnston 2008 refers to the studies of Graf 2007 and Haluszka 2008, who, without excluding belief in divine presence within statues in the archaic and classical periods, offer a wider framework for understanding the relations between the gods and their statues: "statues served as what Peirce calls indices, signifying the existence of the god, and at times the presence of the god, without necessarily implying that the god was inside the statue" (449). For a similar approach, see Viltanioti 2011.

36. On this belief, see Bremmer 2013.

37. Cels. 1.5a (ed. Bader 1940, 40): Τὰ δὲ περὶ τῆς εἰδωλολατρείας ὡς ἴδια τῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ λόγου ἐκτιθέμενος καὶ ὑποκατασκευάζει λέγων αὐτοὺς διὰ τοῦτο μὴ νομίζειν ἂν τοὺς χειροποιήτους θεούς, ἐπεὶ μὴ εὔλογόν ἐστι τὰ ὑπὸ φαυλοτάτων δημιουργῶν καὶ μοχθηρῶν τὸ ἦθος εἰργασμένα εἶναι θεοὺς πολλάκις καὶ ὑπὸ ἀδίκων ἀνθρώπων κατασκευασθέντα. ἐν τοῖς ἑξῆς οὖν θέλων αὐτὸ κοινοποιῆσαι ὡς οὐ πρῶτον ὑπὸ τοῦ λόγου εὑρεθὲν ἐκτίθεται Ἡρακλείτου λέξιν τὴν λέγουσαν· κτλ. Cels. 8.62.16–19 (ed. Bader 1940, 192–93): εἰ μὲν ὅτι λίθος ἢ ξύλον ἢ χαλκὸς ἢ χρυσός, ὃν ὁ δεῖνα ἢ ὁ δεῖνα εἰργάσατο, οὐκ ἂν εἴη θεός, γελοία ἡ σοφία. τίς γὰρ καὶ ἄλλος εἰ μὴ πάντῃ νήπιος ταῦτα ἡγεῖται θεοὺς ἀλλὰ θεῶν ἀναθήματα καὶ ἀγάλματα. Here it is useful to draw attention to the difference between being in the statue and simply being the statue. The latter is the naïve belief Celsus argues against. Iamblichus also rejects the latter (as any true Platonist would) but not the former, since he refers to ὑποδοχὴ θεῶν; see Myst.–234.4 (ed. Des Places 1966, 178–79).

38. On Porphyry's criticism of theurgy, see Van Liefferinge 1999, 55–85. For a new edition of the Letter to Anebo, with introduction and commentary, see Saffrey and Segonds 2012.

39. Porph. Sent. 21 (ed. Lamberz 1975, 12.3–4): φθείρεται δὲ οὐδὲν τὸ ἀσώματον.

40. Porph. Sent. 42 (ed. Lamberz 1975, 53.6–20): Ἀσώματα τὰ μὲν κατὰ στέρησιν σώματος λέγεται καὶ ἐπινοεῖται κυρίως, ὡς ἡ ὕλη κατὰ τοὺς ἄρχαίους καὶ τὸ εἶδος τὸ ἐπὶ ὕλης, καὶ αἱ φύσεις καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις· οὕτως δὲ καὶ ὁ τόπος καὶ ὁ χρόνος καὶ τὰ πέρατα. τὰ γὰρ τοιαῦτα πάντα κατὰ στέρησιν σώματος λέγεται. ἤδη δὲ ἦν ἄλλα καταχρηστικῶς λεγόμενα ἀσώματα, οὐ κατὰ στέρησιν σώματος, κατὰ δὲ <τὸ> ὅλως μὴ πεφυκέναι γεννᾶν σῶμα. διὸ τὰ μὲν κατὰ τὸ πρῶτον σημαινόμενον πρὸς τὰ σώματα ὑφίσταται, τὰ δὲ κατὰ τὸ δεύτερον χωριστὰ τέλεον σωμάτων καὶ τῶν περὶ τὰ σώματα ἀσωμάτων· σώματα μὲν γὰρ ἐν τόπῳ καὶ πέρατα ἐν σώματι, νοῦς δὲ καὶ νοερὸς λόγος οὔτε ἐν τόπῳ οὔτε ἐν [τῷ] σώματι ὑφίσταται οὔτε προσεχῶς ὑφίστησι σώματα οὔτε παριφίσταται σώμασιν ἢ τοῖς κατὰ στέρησιν σώματος λεγομένοις ἀσωμάτοις. There are two kind of incorporeal entities: on one hand, transcendent incorporeals, namely the One, the Intellect, and the Soul, which are said to be incorporeals only improperly (καταχρηστικῶς λεγόμενα ἀσώματα), since, in this case, the notion of "incorporeal" refers improperly to their separation from and opposition to the world of sensible bodies and not to their being deprived of body within this world. On the other hand, immanent incorporeals are rightly (κυρίως) called "incorporeals" and are characterized by privation of body (κατὰ στέρησιν σώματος) within the world of sensible bodies. The former are described as beings (ὄντα); prior to bodies (πρὸ σωμάτων) and separated from bodies (χωριστὰ σωμάτων); as existing per se (καθ᾽ἑαυτὰ ὑφεστηκότα); and as activities and self-moving living beings (ἐνεργείαις τὰ αὐτὰ καὶ ζωαῖς αὐτοκινήτοις). In contradistinction, the latter are considered as non-beings (οὐκ ὄντα); accompanied by bodies (μετὰ σωμάτων); inseparable (ἀχώριστα); entities in need of something else in order to exist (ἄλλων εἰς τὸ εἶναι δεόμενα); and "by-products" depending on specific activities (τὰ αὐτὰ ζωαῖς παρυφισταμέναις ταῖς ποιαῖς ἐνεργείαις). See also Porph. Sent. 19 (ed. Lamberz 1975, 10.1–11): Ἡ τῶν ἀσωμάτων προσηγορία οὐ κατὰ κοινότητα ἑνὸς καὶ ταυτοῦ γένους καθάπερ τὰ σώματα, κατὰ δὲ ψιλὴν τὴν πρὸς τὰ σώματα στέρησιν· ὅθεν τὰ μὲν αὐτῶν ὄντα, τὰ δὲ οὐκ ὄντα εἶναι οὐ κεκώλυται. καὶ τὰ μὲν πρὸ σωμάτων, τὰ δὲ μετὰ σωμάτων· καὶ τὰ μὲν χωριστὰ σωμάτων, τὰ δὲ ἀχώριστα· καὶ τὰ μὲν καθ' ἑαυτὰ ὑφεστηκότα, τὰ δὲ ἄλλων εἰς τὸ εἶναι δεόμενα· καὶ τὰ μὲν ἐνεργείαις τὰ αὐτὰ καὶ ζωαῖς αὐτοκινήτοις, τὰ δὲ ταῖς ζωαῖς παρυφισταμέναις ταῖς ποιαῖς ἐνεργείαις. κατὰ γὰρ ἀπόφασιν ὧν οὐκ ἔστιν, οὺ κατὰ παράστασιν ὧν ἔστι προσηγορεύεται. On Porphyry's theory of immanent incorporeals, see Chiaradonna 2007.

41. See Viltanioti 2017a.

42. Pl. Phdr. 275d.4–5: Δεινὸν γάρ που, ὦ Φαῖδρε, τοῦτ' ἔχει γραφή, καὶ ὡς ἀληθῶς ὅμοιον ζωγραφίᾳ.

43. Pl. Phdr. 276d.3: ἑαυτῷ τε ὑπομνήματα θησαυριζόμενος. See also 275d.1–2: τὸν εἰδότα ὑπομνῆσαι περὶ ὧν ἂν ᾖ τὰ γεγραμμένα.

44. Pl. Phdr. 275a.7.

46. See Table 2 in the Appendix.

47. On beauty, see Konstan 2014.

48. Porph. De simulac. fr. 352, 11–13 (ed. Smith 1993, 409): καὶ ἀνθρωποειδεῖς μὲν ἀπετύπουν τοὺς θεοὺς ὅτι λογικὸν τὸ θεῖον, καλοὺς δέ, ὅτι κάλλος ἐν ἐκείνοις ἀκήρατον. On anthropomorphism, see also fr. 354 F.48–51 (ed. Smith 1993, 413): ἀνθρωπόμορφον δὲ τοῦ Διὸς τὸ δείκηλον πεποιήκασιν, ὅτι νοῦς ἦν καθ᾽ὃν ἐδημιούργει καὶ λόγοις σπερματικοῖς ἀπετέλει τὰ πάντα.

49. Porphyry refers to the case of non-anthropomorphic cult statues too; see De simulac. fr. 359.55–57 (ed. Smith 1993, 424); fr. 360.47–100 (ed. Smith 1993, 431–34). See also Edwards 2006 139.

50. Van Kooten 2008, 92–219, especially 93–118.

52. Van Kooten 2008, 108. On the notion of man as image of God in fr. 76 von Harnack and Van Kooten 2008, 107–9.

54. On the incorporeals, see above n. 40.

55. Porph. Abst. 2.37.1 (ed. Bouffartigue and Patillon 1979, 103): Ὁ μὲν πρῶτος θεὸς ἀσώματός τε ὢν καὶ ἀκίνητος καὶ ἀμέριστος καὶ οὔτε ἔν τινι ὢν οὔτ᾽ἐνδεδεμένος εἰς ἑαυτόν, χρῄζει οὐδενὸς τῶν ἔξωθεν. See Clark 2000, 154 n. 299; Johnson 2013, 61. The First God refers to the One. See also Porph. Sent. 31 (ed. Lamberz 1975, 22–24); Brisson and Dillon 2005, 2: 610–28 and 808–9.

56. Cels. 8.63 (ed. Bader 1940, 170): Εἶτά φησιν ὁ Κέλσος … τό· οὐδ' ἄνθρωπον ἐποίησεν εἰκόνα αὐτοῦ· οὐ γὰρ τοιόσδε ὁ θεὸς οὔτ' ἄλλῳ εἴδει οὐδενὶ ὅμοιος.

58. Van Kooten 2008, 115 thinks that the source of fr. 76 von Harnack and Celsus "flatly contradict each other."

59. Him. Or. 48.13, 155–60 (ed. Colonna 1951, 202): σῶμα δὲ διαπλάττει πρὸς τὴν ἑαυτῆς φύσιν ἁρμόζουσα, ὄμμα μέ<λαν> ζητεῖ, πρόσωπον ἐμβριθές, μελῶν συμμετρίαν ἀληθῆ, ὃ δὴ κάλλος σοφῶν παῖδες ἐπονομάζουσιν, ἵνα καλόν τε καὶ γενναῖον ἐξ ἀμφοῖν τὸ σῶμα πήξασα οἷον θεοῦ τινος εἰκόνα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις παρέχῃ ἰνδάλλεσθαι.

60. Pan. Lat. 2(12).6.3 (ed. Mynors 1964, 86): sive enim divinus ille animus venturus in corpus dignum prius metatur hospitium, sive cum venerit pro habitu suo fingit habitaculum, sive aliud ex altero crescit.

62. On the soul's connection to the body in Plotinus and Porphyry, see Smith 1974, 1–19; Karamanolis 2013, 218–29 and 287–303. See, for instance, Plot.–25: ἔστι γὰρ ἡ φύσις πρὸ τοῦ τὸ τοιόνδε σῶμα γενέσθαι, αὕτη γὰρ ποιεῖ τὸ τοιόνδε σῶμα πλάττουσα καὶ μορφοῦσα. The φύσις is the lower soul "which gives the trace of soul to the body"; Plot.–16: ἡ ψυχὴ ἡ ἐγγύς, ἣν δὴ φύσιν φαμὲν τὴν δοῦσαν τὸ ἴχνος. This idea goes back to Plato's Cratylus, where the soul gives signs (σημαίνει) by means of the body; see Pl. Cra. 400c.23): καὶ διότι αὖ τούτῳ σημαίνει ἃ ἂν σημαίνῃ ἡ ψυχή, καὶ ταύτῃ σῆμα ὀρθῶς καλεῖσθαι.

63. Suid. s.v. Πορφύριος: Πορφύριος, ὁ κατὰ Χριστιανῶν γράψας: ὃς κυρίως ἐκαλεῖτο Βασιλεύς: Τύριος, φιλόσοφος, μαθητὴς Ἀμελίου τοῦ Πλωτίνου μαθητοῦ, διδάσκαλος δὲ Ἰαμβλίχου, […]. ἔγραψε βιβλία πάμπλειστα, φιλόσοφά τε καὶ ῥητορικὰ καὶ γραμματικά […] Κατὰ Χριστιανῶν λόγους ιε […]. οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Πορφύριος ὁ τὴν κατὰ Χριστιανῶν ἐφύβριστον γλῶσσαν κινήσας.

69. Macar. Magn. Apocr. 4.22 (ed. Goulet 2003, 2: 312 = ed. Blondel and Foucart 1876, 202) = Porph. Chr. fr. 77 von Harnack: Εἰ δὲ καί τις τῶν Ἑλλήνων οὕτω κοῦφος τὴν γνώμην, ὡς ἐν τοῖς ἀγάλμασιν ἔνδον οἰκεῖν νομίζειν τοὺς θεούς, πολλῷ καθαρώτερον εἶχε τὴν ἔννοιαν τοῦ πιστεύοντος ὅτι εἰς τὴν γαστέρα Μαρίας τῆς παρθένου εἰσέδυ τὸ θεῖον, ἔμβρυόν τε ἐγένετο καὶ τεχθὲν ἐσπαργανώθη, μεστὸν αἵματος ⸢χορίου⸣ καὶ χολῆς καὶ τῶν ἔτι πολλῷ τούτων ἀτοπωτέρων. Translation from Schott and Edwards 2015, 248, modified.

70. Cels. 1.69b (ed. Bader 1940, 61): εἶτα ὁ Κέλσος φησὶν ὅτι οὐκ ἂν εἴη θεοῦ σῶμα τὸ οὕτω σπαρέν, ὡς σύ, ὦ Ἰησοῦ, ἐσπάρης. Cels. 6.73 (ed. Bader 1940, 173): Εἶθ' ἑξῆς ταυτολογῶν μετὰ τὸ πολλὰ ἐν τοῖς ἀνωτέρω εἰπεῖν καὶ χλευάσαι τὴν ἐκ παρθένου γέννησιν τοῦ θεοῦ, […], φησίν· εἰ δ' ἐβούλετο πνεῦμα ἐξ ἑαυτοῦ καταπέμψαι, τί ἐδεῖτο εἰς γυναικὸς γαστέρα ἐμπνεῖν; ἐδύνατο γὰρ ἤδη πλάττεινἀνθρώπους εἰδὼς καὶ τούτῳ περιπλάσαι σῶμα καὶ μὴ τὸ ἴδιον πνεῦμα εἰς τοσοῦτον μίασμα ἐμβαλεῖν· οὕτως μέντ' ἂν οὐδ' ἠπιστεῖτο, εἰ ἄνωθεν εὐθὺς ἔσπαρτο. Jul. Ep. 90 (ed. Bidez 1924, 174): Tu quidem, o Photine, verisimilis videris, et proximus salvari, benefaciens nequaquam in utero inducere quem credidisti deum.

71. Nem. NH 3.42–43 (ed. Morani 1987).

72. Pl. R. 2.380d.1–382a.3 (ed. Slings 2003, 79–82).

73. Porph. Aneb. fr. 15 (ed. Saffrey and Segonds 2012, 11 = Iamb.–16): Ἀλλ' αἱ κλήσεις, φησίν, ὡς πρὸς ἐμπαθεῖς τοὺς θεοὺς γίγνονται, ὥστε οὐχ οἱ δαίμονες μόνον εἰσὶν ἐμπαθεῖς, ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ θεοί. Translation Clarke, Dillon, and Hershbell 2004, 51.

74. Porph. Aneb. fr. 12 (ed. Saffrey and Segonds 2012, 7 = Iamb.–14): μετὰ δὲ ταύτην αὖθις ὑποτείνας σαυτῷ διαίρεσιν ἑτέραν, τῇ τοῦ ἐμπαθοῦς καὶ ἀπαθοῦς διαφορᾷ χωρίζεις τῶν κρειττόνων τὰς οὐσίας.

75. Porph. Aneb. fr. 13 (ed. Saffrey and Segonds 2012, 9 = Eus. Pr. Ev.5.10.10: ἀκήλητον γὰρ καὶ ἀβίαστον καὶ ἀκατανάγκαστον τὸ ἀπαθές.

76. Porph. Aneb. fr. 14 (ed. Saffrey and Segonds 2012, 10 = Iamb.–4): Πῶς οὖν πρὸς ἐμπαθεῖς αὐτοὺς πολλὰ δρᾶται ἐν ταῖς ἱερουργίαις; Translation Clarke, Dillon, and Hershbell 2004, 47.

77. According to Augustine, the efficacy of theurgic rites for Porphyry is strictly limited to the soul's "pneumatic (spiritualis) part, by which the images (imagines = phantasiae) of corporeal things are caught" and does not result in union with the divine, as the theurgists pretend. See Aug. Civ. Dei 10.9 and 10.28. For Porphyry, purification and assimilation to God can be achieved through virtue alone, which involves vegetarianism and continence; see, for example, Aug. Civ. Dei 10.28: Confiteris tamen etiam spiritalem animam […] posse continentiae virtute purgari; Porph. Marc. 16.2 (ed. Pötscher 1969, 22): ἡ δὲ ὁμοίωσις ἔσται διὰ μόνης ἀρετῆς. On salvation in Porphyry, see Simmons 2015, especially xi: "although Porphyry failed to find one way of salvation for all humanity, as Augustine informs us, he nonetheless arrived at a hierarchical soteriology, something natural for a Neoplatonist, which resulted in an integrative system based on religious and philosophical paganism and offered in a sense universal salvation, according to which stage on the ascending scale one belongs as the result of one's choice."

78. Aug. Civ. Dei 10.24: Sed subditus Porphyrius, invidis potestatibus de quibus et erubescebat, et eas libere redarguere formidabat, noluit intellegere Dominum Christum esse principium cuius incarnatione purgamur. Eum quippe in ipsa carne contempsit quam propter sacrificium nostrae purgationis adsumpsit. Translation Wiesen 1968, 355.

79. Aug. Civ. Dei 10.28 = Test. 21 (von Harnack): Ignorantiam certe et propter eam multa vitia per nullas teletas purgari dicis, sed per solum πατρικὸν νοῦν, id est paternam mentem sive intellectum, qui paternae est conscius voluntatis. Hunc autem Christum esse non credis; contemnis enim eum propter corpus ex femina acceptum et propter crucis opprobrium. Translation Wiesen 1968, 380. On Porphyry's and his followers' rejection of the Incarnation, see also Aug. Civ. Dei 10.29. Compare Aug. Civ. Dei 10.29, An forte vos offendit inusitatus corporis partus ex virgine?, with Macar. Magn. Apocr. 4.22 (ed. Goulet 2003, 2: 312 = ed. Blondel and Foucart 1876, 202) = Porph. Chr. fr. 77 (von Harnack), ὅτι εἰς τὴν γαστέρα Μαρίας τῆς παρθένου εἰσέδυ τὸ θεῖον Cf. above, n. 69.

80. Porph. Sent. 21 (ed. Lamberz 1975, 12.1–13.8): Τὰ πάθη περὶ τοῦτο <πάντα>, περὶ ὃ καὶ ἡ φθορά· ὁδὸς γάρ ἐστιν εἰς φθορὰν ἡ παραδοχὴ τοῦ πάθους, καὶ τούτου τὸ φθείρεσθαι, οὗ καὶ τὸ πάσχειν· φθείρεται δὲ οὐδὲν τὸ ἀσώματον, τινὰ δὲ αὐτῶν ἢ ἔστιν ἢ οὐκ ἔστιν, ὥστε πάσχειν οὐδέν· τὸ γὰρ πάσχον οὐ τοιοῦτον εἶναι δεῖ, ἀλλ' οἷον ἀλλοιοῦσθαι καὶ φθείρεσθαι ταῖς ποιότησι τῶν ἐπεισιόντων καὶ τὸ πάσχειν ἐμποιούντων […]. ὥστε οὔτε ἡ ὕλη πάσχει—ἄποιος γὰρ καθ' ἑαυτήν—οὔτε τὰ ἐπ' αὐτῆς εἴδη εἰσιόντα καὶ ἐξιόντα, ἀλλὰ τὸ πάθος περὶ τὸ συναμφότερον καὶ ᾧ τὸ εἶναι ἐν τῷ συναμφότερον· […] διὸ καὶ οἷς τὸ ζῆν ἔξωθεν καὶ οὐ παρ' ἑαυτῶν, ταῦτα τὸ ζῆν καὶ τὸ μὴ ζῆν παθεῖν οἷά τε· οἷς δὲ τὸ εἶναι ἐν ζωῇ ἀπαθεῖ, κατὰ ζωὴν μένειν ἀνάγκη, ὥσπερ τῇ ἀζωίᾳ τὸ μὴ παθεῖν καθ' ὅσον ἀζωία. Ὡς οὖν τὸ τρέπεσθαι καὶ πάσχειν ἐν τῷ συνθέτῳ τῷ ἐξ ὕλης τε καὶ εἴδους, ὅπερ ἦν τὸ σῶμα—οὐ μὴν τῇ ὕλῃ τοῦτο προσῆν—οὕτω καὶ τὸ ζῆν καὶ ἀποθνῄσκειν καὶ πάσχειν κατὰ τοῦτο ἐν τῷ συνθέτῳ ἐκ ψυχῆς καὶ σώματος θεωρεῖται […]. My translation is based on that of Dillon; see Brisson and Dillon 2005, 2: 801–2. This passage relates to the problem of the soul's connection with the body. See Smith 1974, 14–15 and Karamanolis 2013, 289.

81. Aug. C.D. X 29 (Loeb 413: 386): Quod nisi usitatissimum esset, hoc profecto esset incredibilius; facilius quippe in fidem recipiendum est, etsi humanum divino, etsi mutabile incommutabili, tamen spiritum spiritui, au tut verbis utar quae in usu habetis, incorporeum incorporeo, quam corpus incorporeo cohaerere.

82. Mak. Ap. IV 28, 11 (ed. Goulet 2003, 2: 338 = ed. Blondel and Foucart 1876, 216): Εἰ δέ σοι δοκεῖ πολὺ προφερέστερον ἐν ἀγάλματι τὸ θεῖον εὐδοκεῖσθαι μᾶλλον οἰκεῖν, καὶ μὴ ἐν τῇ Μαρίᾳ διὰ τὸ ἐλάττωμα τῶν παθῶν σεσαρκῶσθαι, ἄκουε ἐντελέστερον τοῦ δόγματος τὸ μυστήριον· ὡς ὁ παναρκέστατος καὶ δημιουργὸς Λόγος, ἱκανὸς ὢν καὶ πολὺς καὶ παθῶν ἀλλότριος, οὐ δέδοικεν ὅσα παρ' ἡμῖν αἰσχύνης καθέστηκεν αἴτια. Translation Schott and Edwards 2015, 261. As Richard Sorabji has pointed out to me, one might think that εἰ denotes possibility, which would mean that Macarius introduces his own reading of the pagan source as a likely one and that, as a result, divine impassibility may not have been the key to the pagan argument. However, I submit that what we have here is rather a special use of εἰ when citing a fact as a ground of argument: "but if it seems better to you [as it seems] …" or "since it seems better to you. …" For a similar use, see, for instance, Hdt. 5.97: πολλοὺς γὰρ οἶκε εἶναι εὐπετέστερον διαβάλλειν ἢ ἕνα, εἰ Κλεομένεα μὲν τὸν Λακεδαιμόνιον μοῦνον οὐκ οἷός τε ἐγένετο διαβάλλειν, τρεῖς δὲ μυριάδας Ἀθηναίων ἐποίησε τοῦτο.

83. Macar. Magn. Apocr. 4.28.12 (ed. Goulet 2003, 2: 338 = ed. Blondel and Foucart 1876, 216): Ἐν τούτῳ γὰρ ἀπαθής, ἐν ᾧ μετὰ τοῦ πάσχοντος γεννηθεὶς οὐκ αἰσχύνεται. Translation Schott and Edwards 2015, 261.

84. Plot.–9;–33; see also–36; Porph. fr. 248.12–15 (ed. Smith 1993, 265–66); and Porph. fr. 261 (ed. Smith 1993, 288–91). See Karamanolis 2013, 289 n. 151.

85. Macar. Magn. Apocr. 4.28.13 (ed. Goulet 2003, 2: 338 = ed. Blondel and Foucart 1876, 216): Ὡς γὰρ εἰς ὑγρότητα καταβαίνων ἥλιος οὐχ ὑγρότητα δέχεται οὐδὲ πηλώδης εὑρίσκεται, τὴν δ'ὑγρότητα τοῦ πηλοῦ ξηραίνων στεγανοῖ αὐτὸς ὅλως τὴν αὐγὴν οὐκ ἐπιθολούμενος, οὕτως ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος, ὢν ἥλιος νοητός, εἰς σάρκα κατελθών, οὐδὲν μὲν ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς ἀνιμᾶται νόσημα οὐδ' ἐν τοῖς πάθεσιν αὐτὸς ἁλίσκεται νικηθεὶς <καὶ> ἐν τῷ τῆς κακίας πίπτων ἀρρωστήματι. Translation Schott and Edwards 2015, 261. What lies behind this statement is the Neoplatonic doctrine of twofold power. It is the sun's power (δύναμις) that descends and not the sun itself. On the sun's power, see Pl. R. 6.509a–b (ed. Slings 2003, 254–55), where the Good is compared to the sun and described as "transcending in dignity and power" (πρεσβείᾳ καὶ δυνάμει ὑπερέχον).

86. Macar. Magn. Apocr. 4.28.16 (ed. Goulet 2003, 2: 340 = ed. Blondel and Foucart 1876, 217): Εἰ γὰρ ὁ παρ' ὑμῖν Προμηθεὺς λεγόμενος πλάττει τὸν ἄνθρωπον, μηδὲν ὅλως αἰδούμενος, Ζεὺς δὲ γυναῖκα ποιεῖ ἣν ἔζωσεν Ἀθηνᾶ, καὶ τὸν μῦθον ἐπαινεῖτε καὶ τὸ πρᾶγμα σεμνύνετε, οὐκ αἶσχος ὁρῶντες, οὐ πάθος λογιζόμενοι, οὐ κεκρυμμένων μορίων τὸν λόγον ἐξετάζοντες κτλ. The comparison between the Incarnation doctrine and man's or Pandora's creation, on one hand, and the theurgic ritual of statue animation (Macar. Magn. Apocr. 4.28.15 [ed. Goulet 2003, 2: 340 = ed. Blondel and Foucart 1876, 217; see below n. 91]), on the other, implies a relation between mythic instances and ritually animated statues. Was there really such a relation? For a positive answer, see Boyancé 1955. Against this view, see Johnston 2008, 447–48, who notes that "these tales discuss the manufacture of what we might call robots, rather than the process of calling an otherwise independent entity into an inanimate object" (448).

87. See above, nn. 84 and 85.

88. Porph. Marc. 11.4–7 (ed. Pötscher 1969, 16–18): τοῦτον δὲ εἶναι εἰκότως μόνον τὸν σοφόν, ᾧ τιμητέον διὰ σοφίας τὸ θεῖον καὶ κατακοσμητέον αὐτῷ διὰ σοφίας ἐν τῇ γνώμῃ τὸ ἱερὸν ἐμψύχῳ ἀγάλματι τῷ νῷ ἐνεικονισαμένου ἀγάλλοντος θεοῦ.

89. Porph. Abst. 2.49 (ed. Bouffartigue and Patillon 1979, 114): εἰκότως ἄρα ὁ φιλόσοφος καὶ θεοῦ τοῦ ἐπὶ πᾶσιν ἱερεὺς πάσης ἀπέχεται ἐμψύχου βορᾶς, μόνος μόνῳ δι' ἑαυτοῦ θεῷ προσιέναι σπουδάζων ἄνευ τῆς τῶν παρομαρτούντων ἐνοχλήσεως, καὶ ἔστιν εὐλαβὴς τὰς τῆς φύσεως ἀνάγκας ἐξιστορηκώς. ἵστωρ γὰρ πολλῶν ὁ ὄντως φιλόσοφος καὶ σημειωτικὸς καὶ καταληπτικὸς τῶν τῆς φύσεως πραγμάτων καὶ συνετὸς καὶ κόσμιος καὶ μέτριος, πανταχόθεν σῴζων ἑαυτόν· καὶ ὥσπερ ὅ τινος τῶν κατὰ μέρος <θεῶν> ἱερεὺς ἔμπειρος τῆς ἱδρύσεως τῶν ἀγαλμάτων αὐτοῦ τῶν τε ὀργιασμῶν καὶ τελετῶν καθάρσεών τε καὶ τῶν ὁμοίων, οὕτως ὁ τοῦ ἐπὶ πᾶσιν θεοῦ ἱερεὺς ἔμπειρος τῆς αὐτοῦ ἀγαλματοποιίας καθάρσεών τε καὶ τῶν ἄλλων δι' ὧν συνάπτεται τῷ θεῷ. See Plot.–16; Pl. Phdr. 252d.6–e.1. This passage is compatible with Abst. 2.49, if the philosopher is thought of as identical with his intellect, which becomes united with the divine Intellect. The notion of the virtuous and wise man as a living statue of God is a widespread idea among pagans; see Van Kooten 2008, 212–14.

90. Macar. Magn. Apocr. 4. 28.14 (ed. Goulet 2003, 2: 340 = ed. Blondel and Foucart 1876, 216): καὶ νῦν ἐκ παρθένου καὶ κόρης ναὸν ἑαυτῷ κατασκευάζει, χειρὸς ἀνθρωπίνης καὶ τέχνης μὴ δεηθείς. See also Act 17.24–25: οὐκ ἐν χειροποιήτοις ναοῖς κατοικεῖ οὐδὲ ὑπὸ χειρῶν ἀνθρώπων θεραπεύεται.

91. Macar. Magn. Apocr. 4.28.15 (ed. Goulet 2003, 2: 340 = ed. Blondel and Foucart 1876, 217): τοῦ τιμιωτέρου τῆς γῆς φυράματος ἅψεται καὶ θεοφόρον ἄγαλμα μονογενῶς ἐργάσεται, ἐν ᾧ κατοικήσας σαλεύει τὴν οἰκουμένην. Translation Schott and Edwards 2015, 262. Compare with Iamb. Myst.–16 (ed. Des Places 1966, 178). See Appendix, Table 3. Like Macarius, Paul alternates between man as God's image (1 Cor 11.7 and 15.19; 2 Cor 3.18 and 4.4) and man as God's temple (1 Cor 3.16–17 and 2 Cor 6.16). For Christ's body as a temple, see also Jn 2.19–21 and Mk 14.58.

92. Iamb. Myst.–234.4 (ed. Des Places 1966, 178–9). See also Appendix, Table 3.

93. Iamb. Myst.–8 (ed. Des Places 1966, 98). See Appendix, Table 3. Translation Clarke, Dillon, and Hershbell 2004, 119.

94. Iamb. Myst.–15 (ed. Des Places 1966, 126). Translation Clarke, Dillon, and Hershbell 2004, 169. See Appendix, Table 3.

95. Pl. Ti. 37c: Ὡς δὲ κινηθὲν αυτὸ και ζῶν ἐνενόησε τῶν ἀϊδίων θεῶν γεγονὸς ἄγαλμα ὁ γεννήσας πατἠρ, ἠγάσθη. See Cornford 1937, 99–102; Viltanioti 2011, 25.

96. On this topic, see Stock 2013.

97. It is not my aim here to solve the problem of Macarius's context and date. However, one's views of his work are obviously related to this problem. On the one hand, the discussion of imagines harks back to Christian writing in response to the pagan complaints that had launched Diocletian's persecution in the context of the contest between Porphyry's and Iamblichus's views on theurgy in the late third and early fourth century; see DePalma Digeser 2011. On the other, there was a Macarius active during the Synod of the Oak (see above n. 3), and we have the fifth-century exemple of Augustine, whose City of God preserves traces of the debate on theurgy in his refutation of Paganism.

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