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On Abstinence from Eating Animals – Wikipedia

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**Historical Background and Literature**:
– Porphyry, a Neoplatonist philosopher, wrote ‘On Abstinence from Eating Animals’ in the 3rd century.
– The treatise was part of a historical debate on vegetarianism, influenced by previous philosophers like Pythagoras and Seneca the Younger.
– Various translations of Porphyry’s work, including English translations by Thomas Taylor and Gillian Clark, have contributed to the dissemination of his ideas.
– The influence of philosophers like Pythagoras on vegetarianism and the promotion of vegetarianism by notable figures in the late 19th century are highlighted.

**Philosophical and Ethical Discussions**:
– Porphyry’s treatise presents arguments for vegetarianism, discussing the implications of meat-eating on the soul, body, and animal suffering.
– The work addresses the rationality and souls of non-human animals, emphasizing the moral obligation to treat animals justly.
– Porphyry challenges traditional beliefs on animal sacrifice and extends arguments to advocate for ethical veganism.
– Scholarly interpretations differ on Porphyry’s consistent beliefs on animal rationality, sparking debates on the philosophical basis of vegetarianism.

**Health, Nutrition, and Activism**:
– Advocates like William Metcalfe and Elmer McCollum emphasize the health benefits of a vegetarian diet, supported by scientific research on nutritional adequacy.
– Organizations like Viva! and notable activists like Henry Stephens Salt advocate for vegetarianism and animal rights.
– Discussions on the role of vegetarianism in preventing chronic diseases and the impact of activism on policy changes and public perception are highlighted.
– Campaigns and initiatives promoting vegetarianism in society are discussed in the context of legal and ethical considerations on animal rights.

**Literary Impact and Contemporary Voices**:
– Works promoting awareness of vegetarianism, like ‘Behind the Scenes in Slaughter-Houses,’ and authors like Carol J. Adams contribute to vegetarian literature.
– Modern figures like Mayim Bialik and Nava Atlas, along with chefs and cookbook authors, influence the narrative around vegetarianism in contemporary discourse.
– Ethical discussions on animal rights by authors like Steven Best and Paola Cavalieri intersect with environmental concerns in shaping contemporary perspectives on vegetarianism.

**Manuscript Traditions and Translations**:
– Two manuscript traditions exist for Porphyry’s work, with errors and deviations from the original text.
– Various translations, including Latin and English versions by Thomas Taylor and Gillian Clark, provide accessibility to Porphyry’s arguments on vegetarianism.
– Scholarly references and further reading on Porphyry’s work, including critiques on existing manuscripts’ fidelity to the original, are highlighted.

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