This theological and philological commentary provides a detailed description of Augustine’s argument and reveals the areas where Augustine misrepresents or oversimplifies Porphyry’s thought in the Deregressu animae and other works.
This work establishes a new foundation for any future work on Porphyry’s Deregressu animae. Via comparison with Porphyry’s extant Greek works and fragments, the commentary sheds light on seven key topics in Augustine’s presentation:
1) the ‘spiritual soul,’
2) the nature of theurgy,
3) the report that Porphyry attributes passsiones to the gods,
4) the coherence of the De regressu animae with Porphyry’s other works, in particular his De philosophia ex oraculis and Epistula ad Anebontem,
5) the report on the purifying principia,
6) Porphyry’s views on reincarnation, and
7) the universal way of salvation.