Elias and David, Introductions to Philosophy, with Olympiodorus, Introduction to Logic
Ammonius (445-517/26 AD) set up a new teaching programme in Alexandria with up to six introductions to the philosophy curriculum, which made it far more accessible, and encouraged its spread from Greek to other cultures. From Olympiodorus, his pupil, we have an introduction to Aristotle’s Philosophy, an introduction to Logic and an introduction to Aristotle’s Categories. Olympiodorus’ students, Elias and David, both wrote introductions to Philosophy, which start with six definitions of Philosophy, to which David adds replies to the sceptical question whether there is such a thing as Philosophy. All these are translated here. From Ammonius we have an Introduction to Logic, to Aristotle’s Philosophy, and to Aristotle’s Categories, all translated earlier as the prooemium to Ammonius’ commentary on Aristotle’s Categories. Ammonius also wrote a commentary on an earlier introduction, Porphyry’s Isagoge (Introduction), and prefaced this with a further introduction. If we count in Porphyry’s Introduction itself, which has been translated elsewhere, this makes six introductions to the Philosophy curriculum. The texts translated by Sebastian Gertz go a long way towards completing our picture of what it would have been like to sit in a first year Philosophy course in Ancient Alexandria.
Elias and David, Introductions to Philosophy,
Olympiodorus, Introduction to Logic,
tr. S. Gertz
London: Bloomsbury, 2018
ISBN 9781350051744 (hb)