Middle Platonism  

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Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Plato's philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC, when Antiochus of Ascalon rejected the skepticism 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 preeminent philosopher in this period was Plutarch (c. 45-120), who 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, but where it continued to operate as the source of all evil. God is a transcendent being, which 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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