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Numenius of Apamea was a Greek philosopher, who lived in Apamea in Syria and flourished during the latter half of the second century AD He was a Neo-Pythagorean and forerunner of the Neo-Platonists.

He seems to have taken Pythagoras as his highest authority, while at the same time he chiefly follows Plato. He calls the latter an "Atticizing Moses." In which he comparatively states that Plato was the Hellenic Moses (see Treatise of the Good First book, Practical Questions 13 Plato as a Greek Moses). His chief divergence from Plato is the distinction between the "first god" and the "demiurge." This is probably due to the influence of Jewish-Alexandrian philosophers (especially Philo and his theory of the Logos). According to Proclus (Comment. in Timaeum, 93), Numenius held that there was a kind of trinity of gods, the members of which he designated as "father," "maker," and "that which is made," i.e. the world. The first is the supreme deity or pure intelligence, the second the creator of the world, the third the world. His works were highly esteemed by the Neoplatonists, and Amelius (who was critical of gnosticism see Neoplatonism and Gnosticism) is said to have composed nearly two books of commentaries upon them.

Fragments of his treatises on the points of divergence between the Academicians and Plato, on the Good (in which according to Origen, Contra Celsum, iv. 51, he makes allusion to Jesus Christ), and on the mystical sayings in Plato, are preserved in the Praeparatio Evangelica of Eusebius. The fragments are collected in F. G. Mullach, Frag. Phil. Gram. iii.; see also F. Thedinga, De Numenio philosopho Platonico (Bonn, 1875); Ritter and Preller, Hist. Phil. Graecae (ed. E. Wellmann, 1898), 624-7; T. Whittaker, The Neo-Platonists (1901), E.-A. Leemans, Studie over den Wijsgeer Numenius van Apamea met Uitgave der Fragmenten, Brussels 1937, and E. Des Places, Numénius, Fragments, Collection Budé, Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1973.

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.


'Numenius', 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica ]

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  • The Neoplatonic Writings of Numenius Translated by Kenneth Guthrie Selene Books ISDN 0-933601-03-4

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