Theology of the ancient Greek philosophers









      PARMENIDES 500 B.C.

Parmenides, Greek philosopher, considered by many scholars to have been the greatest member of the Eleatic school. He is said to have visited Athens at the age of 65, and on that occasion Socrates, then a young man, heard him speak. Parmenides expounded his philosophy in verse form, his only surviving work being large fragments of a didactic poem, On Nature. This work argued for the existence of Absolute Being, the non-existence of which Parmenides declared to be inconceivable, but the nature of which he admitted to be equally inconceivable, since Absolute Being is dissociated from every limitation under which human beings think. Parmenides held that the phenomena of nature are only apparent and due to human error; they seem to exist, but have no real existence. He also held that reality, True Being, is not known to the senses but is to be found only in reason. This belief makes him a precursor of the idealism of Plato. Parmenides' theory that being cannot arise from nonbeing, and that being neither arises nor passes away, was applied to matter by his successors Empedocles and Democritus, who made it the foundation of their materialistic explanations of the universe.

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