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The Phoenician Solar Theology: Investigation into the Opinion of the Sun in Julian's Hymn to Helios (New)
by Azize, Joseph
Publisher: Gorgias Press
Book ID: 9781593332105, 1593332106
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This is the first examination of the fragments of the solar theology of the Phoenicians. Beginning from the Emperor Julian’s fourth-century statement, that, in the opinion of the Phoenicians, "the sunlight which is sent forth everywhere is the immaculate action of pure mind itself," this book contends that there existed an authentic and ancient Phoenician solar theology, similar to that described by Julian, reaching back to the sixth or fifth century BCE. Such a theology is described in Damaskios’ quotation from Mochos, the Sidonian philosopher. A passage from Philo of Byblos, preserved in John Lydus, and referring to “the noetic light,” strengthens this argument. Phoenician funerary inscriptions are examined, together with relevant artistic evidence and some surviving accounts of Phoenician thought. Altogether, a portrait of Phoenician spiritual thought emerges: a native tradition not dependent upon Hellenic thought, but related to other Semitic cultures of the ancient Near East, and, of course, to Egypt. Many themes and motifs from ancient Phoenician religion are discussed, such as the phoenix bird (the “Phoenician” bird) which was associated with the concept of immortality, and the possibility that there was a Phoenician cult of “Yhwh”. The book abstracts seven ideas from the extant material as axial concepts. In light of this analysis, it can be seen that Phoenician religion possessed a unique organizing power in which the sun, the sun god, life, death, and humanity, were linked in a profound system, which seems to have been common amongst the Phoenician city states.
Analytic Table of Contents
The Question and the Method
Julian and the "Solar Pericope"
The Remaining Phoenician Pericopes
Julian and His Sources
Julian and Iamblichos
The Sun Goddess of Ugarit
Phoenician Solar Religion: The Funerary Inscriptions
Phoenician Solar Religion: Miscellaneous Evidence
Mochos, Eudemos, and Philo of Byblos
Other Late Evidence
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