Maximus Philosophus

Maximus Philosophus.

Different parties of that name are known in ancient history.

1. A heathen eclectic-Platonic philosopher and conjuror, who was teacher to the emperor Julian, and had great influence over him.

2. Also a heathen, of Madaura, in Africa, is known to us by an interesting letter to Augustine. In consequence of his consciousness of the downfall of heathenism, he seeks to uphold a philosophical but impotent monotheism, which, in the worship of several deities, sees only the adoration of a higher or supreme deity who imparts to them their power; but he reproaches the. Christians with wishing to have that God all to themselves, and visiting the graves of the dead (martyrs). Regardless of the new life which Christianity awakened, or of the divine energy testified by its exclusiveness, he finally exclaims, wearily, "Trahit sua quemque voluntas." The answer of Augustine is somewhat haughty and ironical (August. Opp. 2:25 sq., ed. Venet.).

3. Eusebius mentions a Christian philosopher of that name in the 2d century, giving an interesting fragment of a work of his on the question, then much discussed, of the origin of evil (Praep. Evang. 7:21 fin., 22; Hist. Eccles. 5:27). He has been by some considered as the author of the Dialogus c. Marcion., formerly and erroneously attributed to Origen; but Gieseler (Stud. u. Krit. 1830-32, p. 380) successfully opposed this view.

4. Another Maximus, who represented himself both as a philosopher (cynic) and a Christian, and gave much trouble to Gregory of Nazianzum, at Constantinople. — Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 9:208.

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