The Hypatian fallacy

One of the enduring legends of the West is that of Hypatia of Alexandra, immortalized by authors as far separated in time as Edward Gibbon and Carl Sagan as a humanist martyr, a scientist who was murdered by 5th Century Christian fanatics for the “sin” of inquiring into the mysteries of the natural world.

Our friend Ori Pomerantz directed me to this entry from the blog Armarium Magnum, concerning a recent movie about Hypatia. The author, who identifies himself as an atheist, points out that there is zero historical evidence for the idea that Hypatia died for science. According to the record, she got caught in a political crossfire and was killed by a mob that didn’t care (if it even knew) a bit about her scientific activities.

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