DAVID THE INVINCIBLE, David Nerginatsi, David Armenios was born approximately in 475, in Nergin village of Taron province. He was a philosopher, logician, representative of the Alexandrian school of Neoplatonism. 

David the Invincible studied and then taught at Olympiodorus philosophical school (Alexandria). He acquired the name “Invincible” for always winning in public philosophical disputes. He came back to his homeland when he was old, became the head of the Greek school and played a decisive role in the formation of Armenian secular philosophy and terminology. The conservative clergy was dissatisfied with Invuncible's activities; he was harassed and moved to Haghpat. Later, church appreciated his services and canonized him and his remains were transferred and buried in Msho Arakelots monastery. 

He is the author of the works “Prolegomena to Philosophy”, “Commentary on Porphyry's Isagoge”, “Commentary on Aristotle's Categories” and “Commentary on Aristotel’s Analytics”. David the Invincible criticized Agnosticism and skepticism, proved the possibility and the necessity of world’s recognition, as well as the right of existence of philosophy and suggested six philosophical definitions that he borrowed from Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle. The main issue of philosophy he solved from the position of objective idealism, i. e. God is the reason and creator of everything, and defended the idea of cosmological principle of existence. God is beyond recognition but one can come up to him recognizing the nature he created. The epistemology of David the Invincible is of materialistic character.  

According to him, cognitive process has sensual and rational forms and levels of sense, fantasy, belief, judgment and conscience: the first four are the base of experience, art and science and conscience is the base of philosophy, it recognizes the essence of objects.  David the Invincible put philosophy in the core of the classification of sciences, considering it to be “the art of all arts and science of all sciences”. He put grammar, rhetoric and logic or dialectics in the preparatory stage of sciences. In its highest development level dialectics forms the basic part of philosophy along with the theoretical and practical philosophy. 

Natural sciences or physics, mathematics and theology or metaphysics are the parts of theoretical philosophy. Ethics, economics and politics are the parts of practical Philosophy. The classification of David the Invincible contributed to the determination of different branches of science and became the base of the medieval education. According to him, the ideal of an individual is the perfect philosopher who is like God and helps the others to be like Him. He gave an emphasized ethical orientation to philosophy and assigned importance to the discussion of the problem of the individual. He is the founder of science of logic in Armenia. He viewed it as a part and tool of philosophy and core of it was the doctrine about deductive methods and syllogism. Origins of logical Statue of David of Invinciblecategories and actions were generated from the practical needs of people. The problem of universals he solved from the position of moderate realism (This form was later accepted by Ibn Sina, Thomas Aquinas and the others). 

The philosophy of David the Invincible initiated the Armenian Aristotelianism, the formation of Armenian philosophy and new philosophical directions. Anania Shirakatsi, Grigor Magistros, Hovhannes Sarkavag, Vahram Rabuni, Vovhan Vorotnetsi, Grigor Tatevatsi, Simeon Dzughayetsi, Simeon Yerevantsi and others were greatly influenced by views of David the Invincible. His works were translated into Georgian and contributed to the formation of secular movement in the Georgian philosophy. Thanks to the Greek manuscripts, his works influenced also Iranian, Arabian and especially Byzantine philosophy. He died in the half of the 6th century in Haghpat. 

From 1820s many Armenian and foreign scholars published his works and studied them from historical-philological angle.  In 1980, the 1500th anniversary of David the Invincible was celebrated by the decision of UNESCO. A Street and a square in Yerevan were named after him. The statue of David the Invincible is in the square named after him. 


Source - "Who is Who. The Armenians" Encyclopedia, Volume I, chief-editor Hovh. Ayvazyan, Yerevan, 2007.

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