Explaining the Cosmos: Creation and Cultural Interaction in Late-Antique Gaza

Hardcover | February 3, 2014

byMichael W. Champion

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Explaining the Cosmos analyzes the writings of three thinkers associated with Gaza: Aeneas, Zacharias and Procopius. Together, they offer a case study for the appropriation, adaptation, and transformation of classical philosophy in late antiquity, and for cultural transitions more generally inGaza. Aeneas claimed that the "Academy and Lyceum" had been transferred to Gaza. This book asks what the cultural and intellectual characteristics of the Gazan "Academies" were, and how members of the schools mixed with local cultures of Christians, philosophers, rhetoricians and monks from thelocal monasteries. Aeneas, Zacharias and Procopius each contributed to debates about the creation and eternity of the world, which ran from the Neoplatonist Proclus into the sixth-century disputes between Philoponus, Simplicius and Cosmas Indicopleustes. The Gazan contribution is significant in its own right,highlighting distinctive aspects of late-antique Christianity, and it throws the later philosophical debates into sharper relief. Focusing on the creation debates also allows for exploration of the local cultures that constituted Gazan society in the late-fifth and early-sixth centuries. Explaining the Cosmos further explores cultural dynamics in the Gazan schools and monasteries and the wider cultural history of the city. The Gazans adapt and transform aspects of Classical and Neoplatonic culture while rejecting Neoplatonic religious claims. The study also analyses the Gazans'intellectual contributions in the context of Neoplatonism and early Christianity. The Gaza which emerges from this study is a set of cultures in transition, mutually constituting and transforming each other through a fugal pattern of exchange, adaptation, conflict and collaboration.

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Explaining the Cosmos analyzes the writings of three thinkers associated with Gaza: Aeneas, Zacharias and Procopius. Together, they offer a case study for the appropriation, adaptation, and transformation of classical philosophy in late antiquity, and for cultural transitions more generally inGaza. Aeneas claimed that the "Academy and ...

Michael W. Champion is Lecturer in Classics at the University of Western Australia.

other books by Michael W. Champion

Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:February 3, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199337489

ISBN - 13:9780199337484

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAbbreviations1. Introduction1.1 Culture and Ideas, Conflict and Identity1.2 Introducing Aeneas, Zacharias and ProcopiusPart One: Creating Gazan Cultures2. Late-Antique Gaza: Teachers, Monks and Philosophers2.1 Social and Material Contours of Late-Antique Gaza2.2 Gazan Rhetorical Schools within Late-Antique Education2.3 Gazan Monasteries and the Schools2.4 Conclusions3. Gazan Culture Performed and Transformed by Aeneas, Zacharias and Procopius3.1 Gaza through Aeneas' Letters3.2 Creating Cultures through the Creation Debates3.3 Reconfiguring Neoplatonic Claims to Power through Narrative and Genre3.4 Conflict and ComplexityPart Two: Explaining Creation4. Christian and Neoplatonic Creations4.1 Christian Creations4.2 Gazans and Contemporary Neoplatonism4.3 Neoplatonic Creations4.4 Building on Different Traditions5. Procopius on Creation and Eternity5.1 Problems of a Commentator5.2 God and Matter5.3 Matter, Freedom and Determinism5.4 Time and Cause5.5 Theodicy5.6 Problems and Solutions6. Aeneas and Zacharias on Creation and Eternity6.1 Matter, Cause and Time6.2 Creation and Eschatology6.3 Creation and Ethics6.4 Creation and Triunity6.5 Creation and the Soul6.6 Monastic Problems: Aeneas and Origenism6.7 Problems and Solutions7. Conclusions: Creation Creating Cultures7.1 Creatio Continua7.2 Creation of Ideas and Local CulturesBibliographyIndex LocorumGeneral Index