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Free download ó PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ã Maria Dzielska

Ibrant Greek culture and circles of philosophers mathematicians astronomers and militant Christians Drawing on the letters of Hypatia's most prominent pupil Synesius of Cyrene Dzielska constructs a compelling picture of the young philosopher's disciples and her teaching Finally she plumbs her sources for the facts surrounding Hypatia's cruel death clarifying what the murder tells us about the tensions of this tumultuous er. Hypatia the woman philosophermathematician of the Fifth Century AD is a caricature with little or no grounding in reality For example in the 2009 film “Agora” she is portrayed as the youthful originator of heliocentrism killed by ignorant Christians opposed to science who for good measure burn down the famous Library of Alexandria of which Hypatia was Librarian None of this is true in any way of course although it fits the modern liberal desire to contemptuously dismiss Christians and Christianity and to assign historical importance based on identity rather than accomplishmentAs it happens denigrating Christians by mischaracterizing Hypatia isn’t just a modern liberal desire The use of a fictional Hypatia in this program began than two hundred years ago most notably with Gibbon’s “Decline And Fall” where a fictional Hypatia is used in service of Gibbon’s theory that Christianity destroyed the strong and thriving Roman Empire Since then variations on this theme have been modestly common in Western writers although the additional use of Hypatia as a pawn in the identity politics wars is new There were uite a few women intellectuals philosophers and writers of some note in the Classical world Christian and non Christian but that is usually ignored by those attempting to impute universal misogyny to our Christian ancestors in service of modern politicsHypatia though unlike most exemplars used in identity politics actually was very accomplished and recognized as such in her time Maria Dzielska’s “Hypatia Of Alexandria” is a short academic history from 1995 It is not an entry in the identity politics wars; it is not a political book at all It is a technical examination of what is really known about Hypatia drawing on the handful of contemporaneous resources and an attempt to harmonize the differences in those sources into a coherent picture of Hypatia’s time life and deathDzielska’s book divides her treatment into three sections She begins by outlining and rejecting the “literary Hypatia” She finds no example of any literary treatment of Hypatia in the past two centuries that bears anything but a tenuous if that relationship to the truth to the extent the truth is known If “Agora” had come out before this book was published Dzielska would doubtless have cast a jaundiced eye on it as well Such literary treatments include Gibbon Voltaire and numerous less famous writers all of whom either created or embellished a story not based on history revolving around a supposed beautiful young pagan philosopher the last line of defense of Greek philosophy and thought hater of Christianity opposed to Christian irrationality and obscurantism and murdered by the Christians as a result All of this is made up out of whole cloth as Dzielska notesIn the second section Dzielska digs deep into the source material to understand the milieu in which Hypatia lived and worked Alexandria was one of the chief cities of the Roman Empire sufficient to itself such that Hypatia and her also famous father Theon never once left it Dzielska closely parses the letters of Synesius of Cyrene a disciple of Hypatia and later a bishop with their numerous references to other disciples of Hypatia She also analyzes and compares the other primary sources all of whom were somewhat hostile to Hypatia Damascius the pagan Neoplatonist philosopher of Athens; Socrates Scholasticus a Christian writer of a church history that discusses Hypatia; and John of Nikiu a later Christian writer The analysis turns on careful reading of each writer in context made deeper by cross referencing other known facts that illuminate what is said about Hypatia and her circle Through this analysis Dzielska examines and attempts to view as clearly as possible not only Hypatia’s thought acts and writings but also the characteristics of her disciplesHypatia and her circle of disciples were upper class elitists devoted to the life of the mind and the Platonic contemplation of knowledge They were not populists and they occupied leading positions in city life They were heavily involved in patronage networks to obtain advantage for other upper class acuaintances and friends They were not theurgists ie interested in ritual magic even though other philosophers and Hypatia’s father were In Classical times the lines blurred among philosophers mathematicians astronomers astrologers theurgists and so forth but each individual tended to focus on one area They were not involved in any way in the debates among pagans and Christians; in fact Hypatia’s students included many Christians including a deacon and there does not appear to have been any concern about that Finally although Hypatia was heavily involved in mathematics and astronomy sometimes in conjunction with her father these were not her prime focus which was pure philosophy and the attainment of Platonic enlightenment to which end she and her circle were somewhat secretive of their learning fearing that it might be sullied if exposed to the uninitiated She therefore did not create any new advancements in philosophy mathematics or any other area but instead taught the teachings of and commented on earlier writers such as Plato Ptolemy whose earth centered universe she wholly endorsed and Diophantus the founder of algebra if there was one specific person who founded itFinally Dzielska discusses the specifics of Hypatia’s life and death She concludes Hypatia was about 65 when she died in 415 AD She was killed by a mob acting in the perceived interest of Cyril the recently elected archbishop of Alexandria Prior to that time Hypatia had had an excellent relationship with the Church authorities in the person of Theophilus the previous archbishop Cyril a hard and power hungry man though a canonized saint in the Roman Catholic Church was in a political conflict with Orestes the recently appointed prefect of Alexandria ie the representative of civilian Imperial power Hypatia well connected to the upper classes throughout the city was a supporter of Orestes and the upper classes generally in this struggle Orestes had ostensibly political power but Cyril had plenty of allies many among the lower classes who saw Hypatia’s alliance with Orestes as an obstacle to getting rid of himTherefore Orestes’s enemies spread rumors that Hypatia was an idolater and sorceress not a pagan which everybody knew and nobody cared These rumors were aided by her dead father’s known theurgical tendencies and her close relationship with her father This whipped up the lower classes against Hypatia who was already regarded as a member of the elite and no friend of the common people Then a political assassination of Hypatia was planned and executed involving a political riot common in Alexandria and the dismemberment and burning of Hypatia The act was probably done by the hired young thugs of the cathedral guard not by monks—although those had earlier attacked Orestes The murder was well planned and had its desired political effect Orestes left never to be heard from again and Cyril who may not have known of the plan at all but like Henry II in his struggle with Thomas Becket probably desired the effect acceded to the main political power in the citySuch political assassinations are of course common throughout history up to the present day just ask Hugo Chavez if you can find him among the plumes of sulfur or Vladimir Putin This was not at all a struggle between pagans and Christians Both Cyril and Orestes were very much Christian and Hypatia not only took no part or position in but was not affected in any way by Cyril’s earlier suppression of the pagans and their cult center at the Serapheum which was not the Library—that had likely been destroyed by Julius Caesar with the destruction completed under Aurelian both accidentally In fact Alexandrian mobs had earlier murdered two separate Christian bishops in a manner similar to how Hypatia was murdered so there was actually nothing uniue about her murderDzielska shows that most accepted facts about Hypatia are wrong She wasn’t a pagan in the sense of polytheist; philosophers who were pagan in that sense joined the Alexandrian mini civil war that ended in the sacking of Serapheum and had already all been killed or exiled Instead she was a Platonist philosopher attempting “to achieve religious experience as the ideal of philosophy” and not interested at all in religious struggles Misogyny had little or nothing to do with her death; men also died in similar ways in similar political struggles Nor did Hypatia’s death mark in any way the passing of the Classical world as Gibbon would have it Neoplatonist philosophy continued thereafter as did paganism And of course Christianity in the Classical world as later was not at all opposed to science and philosophy—the vast majority of scientific advances prior to the Industrial Age were made by avowed Christians in medieval times mostly under the aegis and financial support of the ChurchHypatia’s death didn’t mean anything at all really any than the death of Archimedes at the hands of Roman soldiers at Syracuse did All people die; some accomplish than others before it happens to them And although it may not be kind to say so Hypatia created nothing new and did not advance human knowledge although she undoubtedly was an excellent teacher of the work of others and her students were devoted to her Her work was purely derivative of the work of others; she made no advances in any area in which she studied nor did she invent any scientific instruments despite laughable claims she invented the astrolabe and the hydrometer Bluntly nobody at all would remember her except as an obscure figure any than hundreds of other known people of similar accomplishments had she not been a woman and her manner of death gruesome and endlessly fascinating to later writers But whatever the reason we do remember her such that Hollywood makes major movies about her and this book is an excellent summation of what we actually know about her in contradiction to what is normally said about her

Free read Hypatia z Aleksandrii

Hypatia z AleksandriiHypatia brilliant mathematician elouent Neoplatonist and a woman renowned for her beauty was brutally murdered by a mob of Christians in Alexandria in 415 She has been a legend ever since In this engrossing book Maria Dzielska searches behind the legend to bring us the real story of Hypatia's life and death and new insight into her colorful worldHistorians and poets Victorian novelists and contemporary feminists have seen. When my youngest daughter started high school they had to do this thing for SOSE Studies of Society and Environment – I think it was what I used to call Geography and History but such names had to be replaced as they were a complete give away called The Night of the Notables Basically the kids had to pick someone from history that they would like to dress up as and to prepare a very brief talk about Maddy asked for my advice as she wanted to do a woman that was really impressive – I suggested HypatiaNow Hypathia of Alexandria was nothing if not impressive – she is the patron saint of Agnostics Enlightenment Types female mathematicians and anyone else annoyed with the Christian Dark Ages What I didn’t know was that like the stories of most other Saints she was somewhat different in ‘reality’The MythTake a beautiful woman and I’m talking seriously beautiful body of Aphrodite is the phrase that is constantly used to describe her and give her one of the finest minds of all time she gets compared to Plato Then just for good measure make her the embodiment of most of the virtues but mostly and most impressively as everyone that meets her agrees was her sophrosyne No I didn’t know what it meant either and it wasn’t in either the Concise Oxford nor the Shorter Oxford Answers dot com defines it as “Greek self control temperance soundness of mind One of the cardinal virtues consisting in a harmonious state of rational control of one's desires”She was so beautiful and so intelligent that an early Christian Saint Saint Cyril – I kid you not felt intimidated by her and decided to get his band of cronies to kidnap her drag her to a church strip her naked and cut her to pieces with sharpened sea shells before bringing the bits of her body to the outskirts of the city to burnWhat better symbol do you need for the death of rational thought that was brought about by the conversion of antiuity to Christianity Here is a Neo Platonist a mathematician a scientist a virgin a follower of the Greek Gods and she is hot being viciously murdered by a bunch of fundamentalist Christian thugs hell bent on bringing down the shutters on the best of Greek thought and replacing it with their band of narrow minded closed minded nonsense “Boo Boo Hiss” said Voltaire Gibbon and me A hero of Western Science and Feminism is bornThe RealityHave you ever noticed how reality is never half as much fun as the myth There are some little adjustments that need to be made to the standard myth in this case and this book does a good job in presenting its case – even convincing me who really did want to believe all of this myth to be honestThe first problem with this myth is that the original sources do show that some of Hypatia’s strongest followers and allies were Christians So the simple division of the world into Christians on one said and good guys on the other is a little difficult to sustain The next problem is that she is a Neo Platonist and so having her as the poster girl for the scientific team is obviously going to be a bit of a stretch She was a virgin and she probably was also very pretty – the story of one of her students falling in love with her this was one of the stories that struck my daughter the most at the time and her presenting him with her used sanitary napkin and saying that this is what he loved not her true self is rehearsed here That is the sort of story that would have Nietzsche jumping up and down saying “See see I told you so” Plato believed this world of appearances was degenerate and that one should reject the worldly pleasures in favour of the contemplative life And while I do think there is a place for the contemplative life which is particularly fun after sex I find I still do have problems with people who utterly reject sex I think such absolute convictions mess with one’s mind Plato was very keen on this sort of thing hence the phrase Platonic LoveThe other bit of the myth torn down here is how old Hypatia was In the myth she is around 30 and as I said HOT In fact it now seems she was probably in her 60s While being in your 60s is no reason to be stripped and murdered it probably does somewhat diminish the erotic undertone to the story The rest of the myth doesn’t actually seem to be too much of a myth It seems she was brilliantly clever There is reason to believe that the annotated versions of Ptolemy’s works that are extant may well have been annotated by Hypatia She had a clever father who since he was a Neo Platonist educated her Plato having famously been in favour of educating daughters – an interesting fact to remember when reading later philosophers who are generally excused of their sexism with reference to the age they lived in Her students seemed to have adored her Not just the guy who ended up with her sanitary napkin but some of the smartest people in the city at the time begged for her attention and adviceThe problem as is often the case was political When Cyril became patriarch he was less than the most popular choice for the job He did the standard things Christians of the age did to become popular – he persecuted the local Jews eventually kicking them all or possibly only most out of the city This had a bad effect on the city’s economy and made the smart people of the city even opposed to his remaining patriarch One of these smart people was probably Hypatia who was less ‘other worldly’ than she is often made out Cyril was mostly opposed by Orestes and Orestes seems to have had his courage and arguments strengthened by Hypatia – her making the bullets and Orestes firing them Cyril or perhaps just his supporters decided that getting Hypatia out of the picture was what was called for Because she was so interested in plotting the courses of the planets they decided she was a witch always a good first guess and so they started to spread rumours about her Although she was greatly loved by the ruling classes of the city she was to become a victim of that other obnoxious bit of Plato’s philosophy – that the only people who really matter are the elite So while she had lots of friends among the educated the great unwashed didn’t really think much of her at all and were than happy to believe she was a witch This grew commands were given and then all smiles stopped together It seems she was stripped was cut to pieces and killed and then was burned by a Christian mob If this was not done under Cyril’s direction it was done for his advantageThis book is an academic text and could have done with being re drafted to tell the story in a bit lively fashion If you are thinking of reading this you might just want to read the conclusion a mere 6 pages – which tells the story in a much readable way than the book itself did I found the book was just a bit too concerned with sources to be truly readableSo although there are some differences between the myth and the reality she is still one of my heroes and still deserves to be remembered My daughter once told me she will think about naming a daughter Hypatia And that is a pretty cool idea if you ask me

Maria Dzielska ã 0 Review

Free read ß Hypatia z Aleksandrii ↠ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook õ Hypatia brilliant mathematician elouent Neoplatonist and a woman renowned for her beauty was brutally murdered by a mob of Christians in Alexandria in 415 She has been a legend ever since In this engrossing book Maria Dzielska searches behind the legeHypatia as a symbol of the waning of classical culture and freedom of inuiry of the rise of fanatical Christianity or of sexual freedom Dzielska shows us why versions of Hypatia's legend have served her champions' purposes and how they have distorted the true story She takes us back to the Alexandria of Hypatia's day with its Library and Museion pagan cults and the pontificate of Saint Cyril thriving Jewish community and v. A scholarly paper turned to book form this helpful review of documents and literary references to Hypatia goes a long way to clearing the view of this remarkable woman While the referencing makes it difficult to follow at times the arguments set up for seeking a clearer idea of the potential for Hypatia to have been a Christian herself or just a learned woman exploring the range of ideas of those around her are compelling The sense that there were other women of the same name around in circles of influence as well makes the importance of finding these threads and weaving each into their own design and shape even importantThere is such a cast of characters introduced as “Her Circle” in the second chapter that it would have been helpful to be introduced to the setting of the time and places from which they came together Working out the speculations from contemporary letters without this ground to anchor all the new information to makes it very difficult for those new to this area of study to gain a grip of the huge amount of information this scholar has at her disposal A chart of times people and places may need to be constructed by the reader to gain a better perspective of how the material has been twisted to the use of later writers Going through those writers and then back to the earlier sources is enticing for those who need deconstruction first Might it be possible to find Hypatia’s own voice by taking a direct routeI find it curious that the letters of Synesius one of Hypatia’s students who became a bishop of Cyrene are considered so reliable a source How is it possible that the words of this character to a whole range of other students along with Hypatia herself and a number of others in those circles who may not have directly studied under her – can be in existence yet most of those people do not have their own replies to Synesius in the historical record Did Synesius keep copies of all the letters he wrote or are they possible reconstructions of some kind possibly even by his own hand for some other purpose than giving a true and accurate account of the conversations he took part in at that timePoliticians memoires are becoming uite common these days and they are often uestioned for there accuracy by contemporaries Surely a top scholar would feel an obligation to ground this material adeuately at the beginning of her argument as wellI find this a very important work but I would suggest there is much to be done in this area and my uestions only begin to hint at what may be involved Certainly well begun here