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Soteria (salvation)

Soteria (salvation)

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Published by John Uebersax
Soteria (salvation), from '10 Essential Greek Philosophical Terms'
Soteria (salvation), from '10 Essential Greek Philosophical Terms'

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Published by: John Uebersax on Oct 21, 2013
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05/30/2014

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σωτηρι
&alphaExplanation
Soteria
is what we would today call the
 self-actualizing principle
, a beneficent force that guides our development, helping us to reach the desired end of psychological salvation, integration and happiness.The principle of 
 soteria
is found throughout Greek philosophy. The name Socrates itself is said to derivefrom
 soter 
, which means savior. The fullest explanation of the soteric principle is found in the works of theMiddle Platonist,Philo of Alexandria(20 BC
 – 
50 CE), who formed a synthesis of Greek philosophy andJudaism.Philo also explains a second principle that opposes
 soteria
, namely the destructive or anti-integrativeforce,
 pthora
. It is characteristic of 
 pthora
to constantly try to unsettle, disturb and confuse.Understanding the nature of this destructive principle is essential for our progress.Our true enemy, i.e., what opposes our spiritual development, is not, as is sometimes thought, passions,appetites, desires, or sensual pleasure. Rather, it is when these things become disordered -- i.e., whenthey reach the point of displacing the pursuit of wisdom, virtue, truth, and genuine happiness -- that they become problematic. It is
 pthora
that causes this disharmonization of virtue and passions.In Christianity, the figure of Christ personifies
 soteria
. As Christ is understood as teacher, healer,redeemer, Good Shepherd, helmsman etc. of the soul, so all these attributes apply to the soteric principle. 
Transliteration:
soteria
 Definition:Salvation, salvific principle, salutary forcePronunciation:so-ter-ee'-a (hear )
 
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