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Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity

Ed. by Brennecke, Hanns Christof / Drecoll, Volker Henning / Heil, Uta / Markschies, Christoph

Together with Elm, Susanna / Gemeinhardt, Peter / Meier, Mischa / Perrone, Lorenzo / Pollmann, Karla / Riedweg, Christoph / Schöllgen, Georg / Williams, Rowan / Wischmeyer, Wolfgang

CiteScore 2017: 0.14

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.108
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.447

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Volume 15, Issue 3


Der schlechtere Weg ist das Ziel: Zum Leitbild des Philosophen in den Biographien des Eunapios

Matthias Becker
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  • Sonderforschungsbereich 923 „Bedrohte Ordnungen“, Universität Tübingen, Fachbereich für Griechische Philologie, Brunnenstr. 30, 72074 Tübingen
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Published Online: 2015-04-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zac.2011.23


Many studies that deal with the Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists of Eunapius conclude that the Platonist philosophers portrayed in this collective biography avoided the general public and civic life of the cities. As a result, Eunapius is said to favour the philosophical retreat (anachoresis) from society and political activity. A close reading, however, shows that Eunapius quite subtly even criticizes this avoidance of the limelight. While acknowledging the central importance of contemplation, he argues that it is a crucial aspect of the pagan identity that philosophers use their teaching positions to reach out for potential future intellectuals and uneducated laymen alike. This almost missionary role of the philosopher in society is motivated by the growing importance of imperial Christianity on the one hand, and by an ethics of philanthropy on the other. It is the intention of Eunapius to substitute a tendency to escape from the world for a type of social behaviour that is reminiscent of Socrates.

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Published Online: 2015-04-18

Published in Print: 2011-09-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity, Volume 15, Issue 3, Pages 450–475, ISSN (Online) 1612-961X, ISSN (Print) 0949-9571, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zac.2011.23.

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