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Hypatia of Alexandria...Selective Links

"Many centuries before our time, in the learned circles of a wonderful city, men [and women] were greatly interested in the stars, in the elements, in the cosmic process, in time and space, in the relations of the spiritual to the material, in the possibilities of the ages yet to be and in the perennial riddle of the future of the human soul."... R. Tollinton, Alexandrine Teaching.
The last three years of her life were a highly charged time in the city. A new imperial Prefect named Orestes came to Alexandria and shortly afterwards the Patriarch Theophilus died leaving the church in the hands of his young and inexperienced nephew Cyril. Cyril wanted personal power and diligently pursued an agenda of ecclesiastical encroachment on secular prerogatives. Orestes resisted. Hypatia tried to mediate in this conflict between the new Patriarch and the Prefect but she was perceived as partisan by the ecclesiastical set. Hypatia came down on the side of traditional Greek values - discourse over violence, tolerance over bigotry, secular authority over religious authority.

Cyril faced a Prefect backed by an experienced woman with considerable authority, extensive influence, and the courage of her convictions. In addition, through her influential disciples, she might win support for Orestes among people close to the emperor. This aroused fear and consternation among Cyril's supporters....Hypatia, Lady Philosopher of Faith L. Justice

  • HYPATIA: Natural Philosopher (355? - 415 CE)
    She wrote that
    All formal dogmatic religions are fallacious and must never be accepted by self-respecting persons as final.
    Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.
    To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing.
    Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fancies.
    To teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing.
    The child mind accepts and believes them, and only through great pain and perhaps tragedy
    can he be in after years relieved of them.
    In fact men will fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth
    often more so, since a superstition is so intangible you cannot get at it to refute it,
    but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable.
  • Hypatia (Wikipedia)
  • Hypatia of Howard A. Landman
  • Primary Sources for the Life and Work of Hypatia of Michael A. B. Deakin
  • Hypatia: The Lady Philosopher of Alexandria b. 355(?) AD - d. 415 AD
    Although known as a mathematician and astronomer, Hypatia's first love was philosophy. The correspondence of her former student Bishop Synesius provides us with some insight into her passion. Students from wealthy and influential families in Egypt, Syria, Cyrene, and Constantinople came to Alexandria to study privately with Hypatia. Many of them later attained high posts in government and the Church.
  • Books on Hypatia of Alexandria: a Howard A. Landman
  • Hypatia of Alexandria...An Interview with Dr Michael Deakin
  • Life of Hyptia...From Damascius's Life of Isidore, reproduced in The Suda
    Such was Hypatia, as articulate and eloquent in speaking as she was prudent and civil in her deeds. The whole city rightly loved her and worshipped her in a remarkable way, but the rulers of the city from the first envied her, something that often happened at Athens too. For even if philosophy itself had perished, nevertheless, its name still seems magnificent and venerable to the men who exercise leadership in the state. Thus it happened one day that Cyril, bishop of the opposition sect [i.e. Christianity] was passing by Hypatia's house, and he saw a great crowd of people and horses in front of her door. Some were arriving, some departing, and others standing around. When he asked why there was a crowd there and what all the fuss was about, he was told by her followers that it was the house of Hypatia the philosopher and she was about to greet them. When Cyril learned this he was so struck with envy that he immediately began plotting her murder and the most heinous form of murder at that. For when Hypatia emerged from her house, in her accustomed manner, a throng of merciless and ferocious men who feared neither divine punishment nor human revenge attacked and cut her down, thus committing an outrageous and disgraceful deed against their fatherland. The Emperor was angry, and he would have avenged her had not Aedesius been bribed. Thus the Emperor remitted the punishment onto his own head and family for his descendant paid the price. The memory of these events is still vivid among the Alexandrians.
  • The Life of Hypatia...By Socrates Scholasticus, from his Ecclesiastical History
  • The Life of Hypatia...By John, Bishop of Nikiu, from his Chronicle 84.87-103
  • Hypatia of Alexandria Mathematician, Astronomer, and Philosopher (d. 415 C.E.)
    Hypatia's prominence was accentuated by the fact that she was both female and pagan in an increasingly Christian environment. Shortly before her death, Cyril was made the Christian bishop of Alexandria, and a conflict arose between Cyril and the prefect Orestes. Orestes was disliked by some Christians and was a friend of Hypatia, and rumors started that Hypatia was to blame for the conflict. In the spring of 415 C.E., the situation reached a tragic conclusion when a band of Christian monks seized Hypatia on the street, beat her, and dragged her body to a church where they mutilated her flesh with sharp tiles and burned her remains.
  • Hypatia and Her Mathematics...Michael A. B. Deakin
  • Hypatia of Maria Dzielska
    Socrates was executed by the state of Athens as a scapegoat for its defeat by the Spartans. His crime was being a free thinker in a short age of turmoil. He was however fondly remembered and documented. Hypatia was first brought to my attention by Carl Sagan in his television series Cosmos. She has often been represented as a pillar of wisdom in an age of growing dogma. Unlike with Socrates we know much less about her life and teachings. She is remembered precisely as a martyr who was sacrificed rather than executed by a literalist Christian mob inspired by "St" Cyril, apparently as she was regarded as a threat to Christendom and theology by certain regio-political figures. Enough material on her survived not least owing to the strong memories evoked at the manner of her despatch which turned her into a historical icon...A review by Sarakani
  • Hypatia of Alexandria
  • A history of the warfare of science with theology in Andrew Dickson White

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