stage in the development of Platonic philosophy (90 BCE – 3rd century CE), starting from when Antiochus of Ascalon rejected the scepticism of the New Academy, ending with the development of Neoplatonism under Plotinus
Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC – when Antiochus of Ascalon rejected the scepticism of the New Academy – until the development of Neoplatonism under Plotinus in the 3rd century. Middle Platonism absorbed many doctrines from the rival Peripatetic and Stoic schools. The pre-eminent philosopher in this period, Plutarch (c. 45–120), defended the freedom of the will and the immortality of the soul. He sought to show that God, in creating the world, had transformed matter, as the receptacle of evil, into the divine soul of the world, where it continued to operate as the source of all evil. God is a transcendent being, who operates through divine intermediaries, which are the gods and daemons of popular religion. Numenius of Apamea (c. 160) combined Platonism with Neopythagoreanism and other eastern philosophies, in a move which would prefigure the development of Neoplatonism.
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