Word and Meaning in Ancient Alexandria : Theories of Language from Philo to Plotinus book cover
1st Edition

Word and Meaning in Ancient Alexandria
Theories of Language from Philo to Plotinus

ISBN 9780754606963
Published July 7, 2008 by Routledge
132 Pages

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Book Description

During the late Hellenistic and early Imperial periods (B.C. 50 - A.D. 300), important developments may be traced in the philosophy of language and its relationship to mind. This book examines theories of language in the work of theologians and philosophers linked to Ancient Alexandria. The growth of Judaism and Christianity in cultural centers of the Roman Empire, above all Alexandria, provides valuable testimony to the philosophical vitality of this period. The study of Later Greek philosophy should be more closely integrated with the Church Fathers, particularly in the theologically sensitive issue of the nature of language. Robertson traces some related attempts to reconcile immaterial, intelligible reality and the intelligibility of language, explain the structure of language, and clarify the nature of meaning. These shared problems are handled with greater philosophical sophistication by Plotinus, although the comparison with Philo, Clement, and Origen illustrates significant similarities as well as differences between Neoplatonism and early Jewish and Christian philosophy.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Philo; Clement; Origen; Plotinus; Conclusion; Bibliography; Indexes.

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David Robertson is a faculty member in the Philosophy Department at Felician College, New Jersey, USA


’The book is clearly written, well illustrated with relevant quotations (in Greek and translation), and also contains an adequate bibliography and indices. It offers an illuminating guide to the interplay between religious and philosophical ideas of mind and language in these thinkers.’ Phronesis