Nemesius - Encyclopedia




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NEMESIUS (fl. c. A.D. 390), a Christian philosopher, author of a treatise irepi 41o-Ews avOpc'orov (On Human Nature), was, according to the title of his book, bishop of Emesa (in Syria); of his life nothing further is known, and even his date is uncertain, but internal evidence points to a date after the Apollinarian controversy and before the strife connected with the names of Eutyches and Nestorius, i.e. about the end of the 4th century. His book is an interesting attempt to compile a system of anthropology from the standpoint of the Christian philosophy. Moses and Paul are put side by side with Aristotle and Menander, and there is a clear inclination to Platonic doctrines of preexistence and metempsychosis. In physiological matters he is in advance of Aristotle and Galen, though we can hardly assert - as has sometimes been thought - that he anticipated Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood. The treatise is conclusive evidence as to the mutual influence of Christianity and Hellenism in the 4th century. John of Damascus and the schoolmen, including Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas, held Nemesius in high esteem, believing his book to be the work of Gregory of Nyssa, with whom he has much in common.

Editions: Antwerp, 1 575; Oxford, 1671; Halle, 1802; Migne's Patrol. Gr. vol. 40. Versions: Latin by Alsanus, ed. Holzinger (1887); by Burgundio, ed. Burkhardt (1891-1896). Literature: Bender, Untersuch. fiber Nemesius (5898). See further HerzogHauck's Realencyklop, s.v.

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