Hypatia of Alexandria

Whisper to me, my poet; confide in me from the beyond and tell me you walked the streets where she walked, the squares where she stood, maybe you entered a salon where she used to entertain.

Tell me, my poet, of her teachings on the afterlife as found in Plato or Plotinus. Tell me of her discussions with her father, her thoughts on her mother, her first true love, if there were one other than Sophia.

I could ask her myself, you know, as I do now with you, but I’m too shy. I talk to you in verse and metaphor and know you understand, but how could I talk to her? How could I ever even form a question that would match her brilliant intellect? I can’t; they couldn’t –those that used the cross as a dagger, their faith as an excuse, their prophet’s teaching of love as the sharpest of weapons: hate. Such hate for those who think; such hate for those who think before they follow; such hate for those who follow but still think.

Speak to me, my poet. Tell me, what were the likes of Theophilus and Cyril in your days? Did they still want to burn the Jew, the deviant, the heathen? Were they in your times still nurturing the hatred? Were there others caring only for their own like Gamaliel? Have you seen Pontius Pilate incarnate again after he left Orestes’ body? I know, I know, there is no shortage of fork-tongued hypocrites, or plain hypocrites, fullstop.

You spoke to me, my poet! You said at fault is neither the teaching nor the teacher. You said man’s mind is at fault, and I should take it easy. We still remember Hypatia, don’t we? And in her grace the names of those less than she in memory remain.



Hypatia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypatia_of_Alexandria

The Poet (Constantine P. Cavafy): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_P._Cavafy

Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Theophilus_of_Alexandria

Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyril_of_Alexandria

Jewish patriarch Gamaliel: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamaliel_VI

Orestes, Prefect of Alexandria: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orestes_(prefect)


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