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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Ammonius Saccas

(c. 175-242). Founder of Neoplatonism and teacher of Plotinus. Ammonius founded the Eclectic Theosophical School in Alexandria in 193 CE, which according to Helena P. BLAVATSKY, was the precursor of the modern Theosophical Society (TS). Among his pupils was Origen, who is widely considered as perhaps the greatest biblical scholar and Church Father. Another is Clement of Alexandria.

Ammonius was born a Christian, but later renounced it, according to Porphyry. Prof. Alexander Wilder spoke of him as “a man of rare learning and endowments, of blameless life and amiable disposition. His almost superhuman ken and many excellencies won for him the title of theodidaktos, or “God-taught.”

Ammonius and his followers called themselves Philalethians, or lovers of truth. Others called them Analogists or Analogeticists due to their method of interpreting religious scriptures through rules of analogy and symbolism. He sought to reconcile the many religions by pointing out their common root, which is the Wisdom-Religion, identified with the Hermetic teachings in the Egyptian Book of Thoth.

The Philalethians were divided into neophytes, initiates, and hierophants or masters. Their core teachings had three important aspects: the existence of a supreme, universal essence; the eternity of the human spirit; and teaching of theurgy, or the practice of inner powers due to the awakening of one’s higher nature. He bound his disciples not to reveal his higher teachings.

Ammonius himself did not write anything although two works are sometimes attributed to him. What is known of him and his teachings come from the writings of his disciples.

V.H.C.

 

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