On the Title of Porphyry’s Categories Commentary Πρὸς Γεδάλειον

In: Phronesis

Simplicius cites Porphyry’s lost greater commentary on the Categories by the name of its addressee: Πρὸς Γεδάλειον. It has been assumed that we know nothing about Gedalius, and even suggested that he may have been a fictional construct. But his name is Jewish, and Porphyry had no reason to make up a Jewish addressee. It was extremely rare for Greek pagan texts to be dedicated to a Jewish addressee. But Porphyry had an unusual degree of involvement with Judaism. I collect the evidence, and make a tentative proposal about the context for Porphyry’s dedicating this work to Gedalius.

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    Eustathius, In Iliadem 1.610 cites Porphyry’s parody of a line of Homer, a mock-heroic description of the Stoics, as from his πρὸς Γαιδάλιον. (Thanks to Inna Kupreeva for pointing me to this passage.) This and the mentions in Simplicius are the only instances of γεδαλ- or γαιδαλ- in the online Thesaurus Linguae Graecae.

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