Publication Date



Aeneas of Gaza’s late fifth-century dialogue the Theophrastus investigates philosophical theories about the pre-existence and immortality of the soul in the course of making a Christian case against the Neoplatonic doctrine of the eternity of the world. I explore Aeneas’ knowledge of theories about the soul in the Greek philosophical tradition and his rebuttals of them. Aeneas’ arguments are indebted to earlier philosophers and touch on Origenist ideas most likely arising in local monasteries. His arguments about the pre-existence of the soul thus illumine creative interactions between Christians and philosophers, monks and school-men in late antique Gaza.


Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

Document Type

Open Access Conference Paper

Access Rights

Open Access

Included in

Religion Commons