The Demiurge in Ancient Thought: Secondary Gods and Divine - download pdf or read online

By Carl Séan O'Brien

ISBN-10: 110707536X

ISBN-13: 9781107075368

How was once the area generated and the way does subject stay ordered in order that the area can proceed functioning? Questions like those have existed so long as humanity has been able to rational notion. In antiquity, Plato's Timaeus brought the idea that of the Demiurge, or Craftsman-god, to respond to them. This lucid and wide-ranging ebook argues that the concept that of the Demiurge used to be hugely influential at the many discussions working in center Platonist, Gnostic, airtight and Christian contexts within the first 3 centuries advert. It explores key metaphysical difficulties comparable to the beginning of evil, the connection among subject and the 1st precept and the deployment of ever-increasing numbers of secondary deities to insulate the 1st precept from the practical international. It additionally specializes in the reducing significance of demiurgy in Neoplatonism, with its postulation of procession and go back.

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He also modified the Theory of Forms, equating them with Numbers. Unfortunately, the loss of all his works limits our knowledge of his doctrines, although information can be gleaned from Aristotle (particularly his Metaphysics), as well as from the Metaphysics of Theophrastus and the writings of Plutarch. The need to demarcate more strongly the First Principle from the demiurgic one was influenced by the Aristotelian concept of an Intellect (Nous) as the First Principle, but characterised as a self-thinking unmoved mover, whose sole ‘inner life’ consists of contemplating itself, which prevents it from intervening in the world.

Secondly, there would then be no explanation for how the Forms come to affect matter. ) Clearly, if there is no temporal creation, then there can never have been a stage when the Demiurge engaged in the activity envisaged in the Timaeus. The standard interpretation has been to assert that Plato is merely presenting an image of what the cosmos would be like if it were devoid of the influence of Reason. ). How, then, can the Demiurge be interpreted? He is envisaged as the artificer of the World-Soul, but since this stage hardly took place and the functions which would be left for the Demiurge to engage in, if the generative process is discounted, are those of the World-Soul, one can envisage a situation where Plato’s metaphysics could, in fact, have no requirement for a Demiurge and the task of functioning as a conduit between the suprasensible and material realms is effectively carried out by the World-Soul.

W. Hedrick, Nag Hammadi Studies 28, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1990, reprinted in Vol. 5 of The Coptic Gnostic Library: A Complete Edition of the Nag Hammadi Codices, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1981–90. chapter 2 Plato’s Timaeus, the original concept of the Demiurge and the exegesis of the dialogue The Timaeus According to a malicious story which seems to have originated with the satirist Timon of Phlius (c. 325–235 bc), Plato was so desperate to learn Pythagorean metaphysics that he paid ‘many pieces of silver’ (apparently a hundred minae) for a book of little worth, which he then attempted to pass off as his own.

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The Demiurge in Ancient Thought: Secondary Gods and Divine Mediators by Carl Séan O'Brien


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