Looking for a new movie to watch? Give Agora a try. This intriguing and ultimately very moving  film tells the tale of Hypatia, the (atheist) mathematician and philosopher murdered by a Christian mob in 415 AD. Silver screen historical accuracy is what it is, and Agora definitely has more than a touch of hagiography about it (it also makes some fairly remarkable—and, I suspect, unprovable–assumptions about just how far Hypatia’s mathematical research had advanced by the time of her death), but this is a story that deserves to be heard more, and with Hypatia marvelously played by Rachel Weisz, this movie is as good an introduction as you are likely to find.

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5 Responses to Agora

  1. Snippet says:

    Thanks for the recommendation.

    I’ll wait for Netflix, but this looks like a promising and interesting tale of the clash between applied reason and a certain … ahem (cough! cough!) … nascent religious tradition.

    Not exactly a novel concept these days, but perhaps a necessary counterargument to the one commonly pushed these days that a … certain … religion promoted reason and science, rather than fighting it tooth and nail (and finally, Thank God! losing the battle.)

  2. Gracchus says:

    Was Hypatia an atheist or a pagan? Obviously, they are not the same.

  3. Panglos says:

    Interesting and voluminous comments at the link.

  4. J. says:

    Not sure “atheist” works as a description of Hypatia’s alleged neo-platonism. The history of her life looks rather murky. Regardless many in college town don’t realize that pagan and neo-platonic scribes battled against the christians (and jews), even until like the reign of Justinian (and a few decades after the fall of RE, another monotheistic sect, the, mohammedans arrive)

    Either way, the story of Hypatia is an interesting legend, and not exactly the normal HBO soft-porn product.

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