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Damascius Reading Group


Marcianus graecus 246, ms A of Damascius


Damascius Seminar | Easter Term 

On First Principles

(c. 515-529)


For the Easter Term, we start a new Seminar/Reading Group on Damascius’ masterpiece Problems and Solutions Regarding First Principles (De primis principiis / ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν). 

Damascius or Damaskios (c. 462-538), was the last diadoch or headmaster of the Neoplatonic school of Athens, which was closed down in the year 529 by the edict of Emperor Justinian prohibiting the teaching of philosophy in Athens. The members of the school (such as Damascius, Simplicius and Priscian of Lydia) dispersed that same year.

The treatise on the first principles, Problems and Solutions Regarding First Principles, was written by Damascius himself during his succession of the Neoplatonic school (c. 515-529).  In this masterpiece, Damascius discusses the Ineffable, the One, and  the ambiguity of a first principle. This philosophical treatise is therefore a major interpretation of the first hypothesis of Plato's Parmenides, and resembles in many ways to Martin Heidegger's and Jean-Luc Marion's discussions on God.

We will read the Greek text of L.G. Westerink & J. Combès (eds.), Damascius, Traité des premiers principes I (Paris: Belles Lettres, 2002 [1986]), and also consult the English translation of Sara Ahbel-Rappe: Damascius' Problems and Solutions Regarding First Principles (Oxford: OUP, 2010).


Meeting dates:

30 April, 7, 14, 21, *28 May

Tuesdays | 11.00 — 12.30 | Faculty of Divinity, Room 7

 (*28 May, Room 6)

Enquiries: Dr Adrian Mihai (Faculty of Divinity,


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