THEMISTIUS° (317–c. 388 C.E.), statesman, rhetorician, and philosopher, known to medieval Jewish philosophers as a major interpreter of Aristotle; the author of commentaries which Maimonides recommends highly (see maimonides ' letter to Samuel ibn Tibbon, in S. Pines' introduction to his translation of The Guide of the Perplexed (1963), lix). Themistius lived in Constantinople most of his life. A pagan, he held the office of senator and even prefect in the new Christian capital, and celebrated its emperors in several panegyrics. The pliant nature of Themistius' personality is also evident in his philosophical writings, in which he shows familiarity with the various currents of Greek philosophy and, in the tradition of late Greek thought, he believes Plato and Aristotle to be in substantial agreement. Only two of Themistius' commentaries were translated into Hebrew (from earlier Arabic translation): his paraphrase of Aristotle's De caelo by Zerahiah b. Isaac Gracian, in 1284; and his paraphrase of Book 12 of the Metaphysics by moses ibn tibbon , in 1255 (both edited by S. Landauer, Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca, 4 (1902), 1–167; 5 (1903), 1–35). Themistius' other commentaries, to the Prior and Posterior Analytics, the Physics, and De anima, were known either through Arabic translations or through secondary sources. He is often quoted by other late Hellenistic writers, notably John Philoponus, and by Islamic philosophers, particularly averroes . It is through supercommentaries to Averroes' writings that Themistius' views often find expression in the works of such late medieval Jewish figures as Levi b. Gershom and Moses of Narbonne. Themistius' own contribution to Peripatetic philosophy lies in the interpretation, not completely consistent, which he gave to Aristotle's doctrine of the intellect . He considered the "potential intellect" of Aristotle to be an independent, separate substance, though closely related, as matter is to form, to the similarly separate "agent intellect." He saw the intellect's bridge to corporeal forms and to man as accomplished through a "common," "passive intellect," neither separate nor immortal. Averroes was later to build upon this notion of an independent political intellect, identifying its substance completely with the universal Agent Intellect. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Pauly-Wissowa, 2nd series, vol. 5 (1934), S.V. Themistes; Steinschneider, Uebersetzungen, 125, 176; F.E. Peters, Aristoteles Arabus (1968), 16, 18, 34, 36, 42, 52; O. Hamelin, La théorie de l'intellect (1953), 38–43, 58–72. (Alfred L. Ivry)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Themistius — (317, Paphlagonia ca. 387 CE), named polytonic|εὐφραδής (eloquent) [Simplicius, in Cael. , C.A.G. vol. 7, p. 72, in Cat. v. 8 p. 1, in Phys. v. 9, p. 42 and v. 10, p. 968; Sophonias, Paraphr. Anima , C.A.G. v. 23, p. 1.] , was a statesman …   Wikipedia

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  • Themistius — Thémistios Thémistios (en grec Θεμίστιος ; en latin : Themistius), né vers 317 en Paphlagonie (au nord de la Turquie) et mort vers 388 à Constantinople, est un rhéteur et philosophe païen, surtout célèbre pour avoir inauguré la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Thémistius — Thémistios Thémistios (en grec Θεμίστιος ; en latin : Themistius), né vers 317 en Paphlagonie (au nord de la Turquie) et mort vers 388 à Constantinople, est un rhéteur et philosophe païen, surtout célèbre pour avoir inauguré la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Themistius — Themistios (* ca. 317; † nach 388) war einer der berühmtesten Rhetoren der Spätantike und ein bekannter Philosoph. Als Heide trat er dennoch für eine Kooperation mit den christlichen Kaisern seiner Zeit ein. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 1.1… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Themistios — (griechisch Θεμίστιος; * um 317; † nach 388) war ein berühmter spätantiker Rhetor, Philosoph und Politiker. Obwohl er kein Christ war, erfreute er sich der Gunst christlicher Kaiser, die ihn mit wichtigen Aufgaben betrauten. Seine Reden sind …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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