2tJ. I disagree on thiNpoint with LII 111hll rd I. II "71111",.11.

1'" vtcrnmiun», 107, who, neglecting molitun affirms thut the Ciceronian """1/,1'11.1'1/",,,,,,,""'11'1"11 c"preNNt'sperfectly Plato's thought. 30. Cicero, Timaeus 52, for the translation of at' i.l 9d)~ cxu9' h~'iv aFawPlltCll (Plato, Timaeus 46E) by "donata hominum generi deorum munere." Note that here Cicero replaces the Platonic singular by a plural, which can also be interpreted as a misunderstanding or at least as an omission of the difference between the Demiurge and the gods he created. 31. De Republica 5.5 and De Oratore 2.38 show perfectly the functionalist sense of munus. Cf. E. Gavoille, Ars: Etude semantique de Plaute it Ciceron (Louvain: Peeters, 2000), 157-58. 32. Cicero, Timaeus 9: Quaeramus igitur causam quae impulerit eum, qui haec machinatus sit, ut originem rerum et molitionem novam quaereret. Probitate videlicet praestabat, probus autem invidet nemini. 33. Cf. Lucullus 25; 30; 66; 141; De Fato 43. 34. Cicero, Timaeus 20: Haec deus is qui erat, de aliquando futuro deo cogitans leuem illum effecit et undique aequabilem et a medio ad summum parem et perfectum atque absolutum ex absolutis atque perfectis. 35. Cicero, Timaeus 21: Sic deus ille aeternus hunc perfecte beatum deum procreavit. 36. Cicero, Timaeus 6: Atqui si pulcher est hie mundus et si probus eius artifex, profecto speciem aeternitatis imitari maluit. 37. Cf. Lucullus 100: probo navigio, bono gubernatore, where the artifex is said to be bonus, whereas the object is probum; De Finibus 2.99 (Epicurus). 38. Tusculanae Disputationes 2.51. We find also a relation between childhood/ youth and probitas in De Officiis 1.103; De Senectute 36. 39. Puelma, "Cicero als Platon-Ubersetzer," 173, gives some interesting remarks about corporatus as an adjective in -atus. We find corporeus in Cicero, Timaeus 13.26, to translate (JoollatOEt()E~, and with a Stoic nuance in De Finibus 3.45 and De Natura Deorum 2.41. Corporeus is used, without any addition, by Calcidius to translate this Platonic expression. 40. Academica 1.24: In eo quod efficeret vim esse censebant, in eo autem quod efficeretur materiam quandam; in utroque tamen utrumque, neque enim materiam ipsam cohaerere potuisse si nulla vi contineretur, neque vim sine aliqua materia. Cf. Powell, "Cicero's Translations of Greek," 281. 41. On the ambiguity of the Stoic notion of eternity, cf. Philo, De Aeternitate Mundi 9. 42. Lambardi, II "Timaeus" ciceroniano, 78. 43. Ibid., 124 - 42. 44. Cf. Seneca, Epistle 58.6; Calcidius, Commentary 27. 45. Cf. Academica 1.6; De Natura Deorum 3.92; and Fr. 2. 46. Lucullus 118: Plato ex materia in se omnia recipiente mundum factum esse censet a deo sempiternum. 47. On this treatise of Philo, cf. D. Runia, "Philo's De Aeternitate Mundi: The Problems of Its Interpretation," Vigiliae Christianae 35 (1981): 105- 51.




In the time of Marcus Aurelius, Plato expressed himself through the mouth a medium and, in the context of oracular consultations, set forth the (,NIlt'IIIII,1 points of his doctrine in the form they assumed in the Timaeus. Thus we encounter a strange interpretation of Platonism, which developed within tht' con text of magic and to which the surviving fragments of the Chaldaruu (Jrlldp,t attest. These are preserved primarily by the Neoplatonists Proclus and I)UIl1I1~ cius (fifth and sixth centuries A.D.). In this paper I will try to show how the Timaeus, interpreted in the Nt'l'Ollll century A.D. from a Middle-Platonist perspective, was reutilized in order 10 provide a context for the vicissitudes of the human soul: how once upon u t'lIIe it fell into the sensible world and has to return back to its origin, above. A II investigation of this type raises several original questions of primary impor tance: (1) that of the practice of commentary, conceived as a philosophical activity properly so called; (2) that ofthe reconciliation of a philosophical with a sacred text; (3) that of the foundation of soteriology upon cosmology. I would like to ask the reader to bear with me because of the novelty of this inq uiry, fill I will introduce a way of thinking that will seem strange at first, but that, one must understand, was very widespread at the end of Antiquity.




Plato wrote the Timaeus, together with the Critias, between 358 B.C. and 356 B.C., about ten years before his death. The goal of the Timaeus and the Critias - together with the Hermocrates, a dialogue which Plato announced but never wrote - was to describe the origin of the universe, of man, and even of society.


_ 'I!!lI'.. out of which all the other hodlt'li Wfl't formed. . can become objects of knowledge and receive a name only if they are considered as copies of realities that ensure them a minimum of stability.ueN which the Mlddle-Platonlste exploited to construct their new dogmatlsrn Were the Ttmarus lind the Rr/lUhlll'. the il1ll'lIi~ihlr lell'lIIlI are the "thoughts" of god.. and a work On Demons is attributed to him. and above all in its soul.\' remulns lulthful to the twofold distinction that characterizes Plutonic doctrine: intelligible forms vs.lIrll.. which only the soul could apprehend. some philosophers gradually felt the need for a more religious approach." The Demiurge fabricates the soul and also organizes the material necessary for the constitution of the four elements and of all sensible bodies that are derived from these four elements. the world. object of the thought of the first god. __ . By contemplating the universe's perfection manifested in its body. by means of transformations and combinations in dctcrminnte IlI'lI portions. ••• . water... eclectic Skepticism. god is to be identified with the Good of tht' Republic and the Oemiurge of the Timaeus. homogeneous. who are universes on a smaller scale. an intelligible form presents the following characteristics: it is a nonsensible entity. but people sought to find in them views on the divinity. who was called simply "the Theurgist. in tum. in which the totality of the elements are to be found. These were earth.. that never stop changing.. the model. 'I'h.. Julian senior is characterized as a philosopher.80). sentiment. water..". even if it is not possible to define it accurately. Particulars. the wanderings cause. however... a sort of undifferentiated chaos. human beings. air. and fire. We must recall that the universe itself is considered to be a living being: it has a body in the shape of a vast sphere. sensible reullly. These consist of revelations on the views which Plato develops. or Intellect.). primarily in the Timaeus. the origin of the Chaldaean Oracles' is traced back to two "Chaldaeans" or magicians. within the framework of a system articulated around three prln ciples or three key entities that were posited: god.. nothing could be superior to him.. The Middle-Platonists were accustomed to uppl'IIlIl'h the problem through the passage from the Timaeus (29A6 -7) in which th" Demiurge is said to "fix his gaze on that which always remains itlt'lItll-lIl. etc. at the same time.. Plato posits a divine entity that is pure intellect. '" According 10 my interpretntinn. This third kind was generally perceived as a corporeal. .elllll. The hypothesis of this material is unavoidable. and I11l1l1er. II1l1n. earth) and a soul that accounts for all movements characterizing the living being. For Pluto. including the universe. intellection. it maintains a relation of model to image with the particulars that "participate" in it..0_." To him are attributed works on Theurgy (8eoupyt1l::a)." From this they derived the conviction that. do not have the principle of their existence within themselves. The Middle-Platonists made this third kind into an equivalent of Aristotelian matter.. outside of till' IlIt('lIt'd. the model. out of which he extracts the four elements: fire. Both Julians are mentioned by the Suda.. water. A MIDDLE-PLATONISM THE CHALDAEAN ORACLES: RELIGIOUS INTERPRETATION OF THE TIMAEUS Confronted with an Aristotelianized and Stoicized Platonism. _. Thus. and undiffcrentlnted: the "third kind" of Plato's Timaeus.' sors in admitting only four elements. both named Julian. and noncomposite. This supn'nillry determines the type of relation the divine principle maintains with the st'l'ontl principle. in the first century of our era. etc.. Sensible things.. unmixed. Initiations (TeA. possessing a soul and a body.. With his gaze fixed on the Forms. soul vs. and Oracles (A6yux) in verse. All living beings are composites: they are bodies made up of the four elements (fire. it is pure. which he calls "Demiurge" and "Father. Because this god is the very fln. to be sure.ecr'ttlCa). but also those of all bodies that surround us. in which all the elements of the universe were mixed together. is external and infrrim 10 hllll. and it is moved by a soul that accounts for all the movements manifesting themselves within it: those of the stars. I For the Middle-Platonists. who lived under Marcus Aurelius (reigned A. he fabricates first the soul and then the body by introducing mathematical order into an indeterminate material. These l'It'II1t'nIN emerged out of a matter that was unique. In the Timaeus 1 Plato describes how the Demiurge fabricates the universe. and. which must be the Chaldaean Oracles.. lUI Ih.. above all.".. These dialogues were not the-subject of' continuous cornmentnrics. the dlalog..D. model corresponds to the forms and therefore to the Intelligible whlch. air. On the levei of exe. He turned Julian junior into a medium. happiness. and I't'~'rl} tacle.) or psychic movements (sensation. .. which occupied position" In space determined by the very constitution of the universe. in some way. which is a living being. Under these circumstances Plato's thought reappeared as a means of access to another order of realities: that of the Forms and the divine. Traditionally. air. 161. Julian the Theurge obtained them after he had been . whether these be physical movements (locomotion. this docs not prt'vrnl the forms from having an existence in themselves. extension. Plato merely followed hiN prt'. may achieve excellence and. emotion. always and absolutely.t god and supreme principle.. for they are mere images.It'l". the renaissance we call MiddlePlatonism took place among Platonists. sensible things. In order to construct them. body.. which exists in itself.' one that was also under the influence of a cultivated. and earth.. not subject to becoming. growth. therefore. the '/'I". '. and society. lit ICIINtit l first. According to the Middle-Platonists.

we can posit that the Timaeus seems to have been the text of reference. _IIIII+IIII . Engraved with multiform Ideas. Such thought.. or "Monad" (Fr. Yet he is a contradictory figure. is action. this. the Father who can be assimilated to the Good (Fr. 4). like the Good of the Republic and the One of the second part of the Parm. are the forms.. 1). and this collection of forms becomes the model of the universe (vv. . 2.13 -14) whence this fire flows.f. because he is "self-generated" (Fr. and they abound in neologisms and bizarre phraseology. But the Ideas were divided by the Intelligible Fire And allotted to other intelligibles. as they are in most of the other collections of oracles. cf. For the Ruler placed before the 111U1I1.. 1. moreover. it has been posited that the questions to which the oracles (A6rta) are the answers were not preserved. Thus. God In the Timaeus. The Father there fore begins by distinguishing the forms or the Ideas. ·"". we are very close to Numenius. and having found him it would be impossible to declare him to all mankind". shoot forth.. Like all other oracular responses transmitted in Greek. the Timaru« WII.. he receives a number of pONI· tive attributes. . On the one hand. while thinking with its vigorous will.8). The overall impression the Oracles give is one of "purple" poetry. "Prln ciple" (Fr. How were the Oracles presented in the original collection'! Because we find no questions among the preserved fragments.II reinterpreted in a Middle-Platonist context.) and (xod) father (1ta'tl)p) of the universe. yet the Republic. the Chaldaean Oracles are in dactylic hexameters. the firsl god. leplrated from III the reMIof reality (Fr. Shot forth the multiformed Ideas. formed cosmos An intelligible and imperishable model from which... however.i!! why he'is charucterlzed tiN the "hidden world" (Fr. There is only one Spring for IhcN". 15) of the Republic and to the One (Fr. 39).1.. and even the Protagoras also seem to playa role..). was inspired by Numenius to the point of being accused of plagiarism.'tfv. is outside the universe. owing to the fact that they are written in verse and that many of the Platonic terms they use would not fit the chosen meter. At the same time. _••. whose thoughts. and this would seem to imply that the forms are superior to him. is naturally considered as the primordial Spring (vv. he contains the forms within himself.W lJ . 5 .. the only references to the Father that could allude to the Timaeus are indirect. 16). In the Chaldaean Oracles the figure of the Father has absolute priority. 1.flashing here and there in various directions Are the Intelligible Thoughts from the Paternal Spring. __ . Consequently. which pluck ill abundance The flower of fire from the acme of sleepless Time. _ . 109. The Father With the figure of the Father... the Demiurge constructs the universe by contemplating the forms. H4). From which other terrible [Forms]. Theology and Cosmology Judging by the remaining fragments. that is why he is culled "once transcendent" (Fr... the Phaedrus (especially the central myth at 246A-249D). aloll). vlrtlllllly unknowable and ineffable. the Statesman. He then gathers some of them together. . however.. For from the Father come both will and perfection. who. 11) of the second part of the Parmenides. "Intellect" (Fr. 11). and even to Plotinus. 30). he -h.. as we know.II!II' trained hy his ruther in the procedures of theurgy. Yet this is a mere argument e silentio. Breaking themselves on the bodies of the world. At any rate. and he is suid to "reslde in silence" (Fr. divided. the Chaldaean Oracles posit the existence of a first Intellect. 3). such as "Father" (Fr.. the Fl1lh("l'. Probably in order to restore god to the first place. The Father's primary function is to think himself: in conformity with the Middle-Platonist interpretation.nld. (Fr.. etc. 169). 11. which corresponds to the Living Being of the Timaeus:" The universe's participation in the Living Being . 37) In the Chaldaean Oracles the Intelligible is systematically associated wuh fire.... '!"l''''!IIII' """".. The first self-perfected Spring of the Father spouted from the primonllul Ideas. All these leapt forth from only 111'(' Spring.' 1. 7. ~. which are his various thoughts (v. w " . unlike the god of the Stoics. Fr.1. The most complete description of the first god is to be found in Ih(" tol lowing fourteen verses: The intellect of the Father.. 198) and "paternal abyss" (Fr. 18).. They contain a great many Homeric citations or allusions. the Symposium. 7). 13). "Spring" (Fr. which is worth no more than any other argument of this type. which could be what is meant by the association of "will and perfection" (v.. as we shall see.. the world with its form hastened to appear.: u tliNII''lIol'l~ Trace. and thinks them (v..1. Thus. Those which '''''' hlll'll' around the frightful Wombs like a swarm of bees .. .. The only exception is Timaeus 28C: "It is a hard task to find the maker (1tot. in this passage "and" (xed) is interpreted as if the maker and the father were two different figures.

the Demiurge's main task is to cause the intelligible tlre.') From the Father come the forms associated with the heavenly 111'('. For the Father perfected all things and handed them uver IlIlh" •• ~un" Intellect. to descend. In order that the All might continue to love for an infinite time and the things woven by the intellectual light of the Father might not collapse. Although the Father remains separated from everything. this doctrine is naturally complemented by a soteriology. With this love. th.111111"'''' (v. the self-generated Paternal Intellect Sowed the bond of Love. The source of the forms is thus the Father. .. uasa. Hecate (v. who is considered the "once Transcendent" (Fr. who is called "Monad" (Fr. 39) As Plato explains in the Symposium (211B-212A) and the Phaedrus (249C . source of which is the Father.9 In fact. u... .ln fact. " is described by means of the spectacular imuge of lightning: in order to make sensible things appear.. then. and thereby enables the appearance of sensible tbilllolli.. (Fr. And from him leap the girdling flower of fire And the powerful breath [situated] beyond the fiery poles. the first. Beside this one sits a Dyad For it has a double function: it both possesses the intelligibles in its mind And brings sense-perception to the worlds. taking the forms "" hili mlldo' (Fr. 11). heavy with fire." Yet such material realities are only the point of departure. the Intelligible. . (Fr. " .s_ _ . In the Chaldaean Oracles. 3). the elements of the world remain on course. which arouses the strongest love (see also Fr. the eternal model of the sensible universe. III l'IIlI trast to the Father.JIlt''''' •.1. A 7 . including. and these are called inexpressible beauties.. 33). According to the ('''IIIt/II'''''' (}.. ·. the Father sows within all things Eros. Metaphysics. a plant. 10. as found in the Timaeus. and the source of the universe is the Living Being that is its model.. Cratylus 396B).253C). into the depths of the receptacle called matter..... The Father gives form to the Living Being..' to which the final verses allude. for the Intelligible.l above). 35. (Fr. Remembering the pure. In addition to the first Intellect. (fir." 1. He is called a "skilled worker" and "craftsman of the fiery l'1I1i111UII" (Fr. Like Zeus hurling his lighlllillal.2. who iM the One (Fr: ·TO).J t" . can be assimilated to symbols (cru~~oA. 169). The Demiurge The relations between the first and the second Intellect two verses: 111'(' the' I'm'lIl! I" thl. which enables communication between souls and all the gods.~ (Dyad) and ~tO~(Zeus) (cf. 4).\. which.3). (Fr. 8) Consequently. in a process equivalent to that of reminiscence in the Phaedrus. allows a play on words between ~ua. a second one exists: the l)cmlur ••• whose role it is to produce the sensible world." stands in contrast to the Father... nothing can equal the beauty of the Intelligible. 5)..1072a26.a) or passwords (cruv911~a. But the Paternal Intellect does not receive the will of the soul Until it [the soul] emerges from forgetfulness and speaks a word. see also Fr.lblc. (lir. This seems to be Indicated hy the following verses: For implacable thunders leap from him And the lightning-receiving wombs of the shining my Of Hecate. as the "twice Transcendent. which the entire human race called the first lntellect. the Demiurge is considered a dyad. an animal. which will allow the human soul to reascend: For the Paternal Intellect has sown symbols throughout the cosmos He who thinks the intelligibles. paternal password (cruve-ll~a). This Intellect is no longer unique: a split has already taken place wlthln it.lIoulll can return to the Father becsuse everything cornell from him.. into all things. nssimilnted to fire. § 1. Ihl Demiurge hurls the fire of the Intelligible downward. the Demiurge. above all. or any other material element. which is within time. the World Soul (v. The last . 108) The recognition of these symbols is equivalent to the soul's perception of the Intelligible. From this follows the opposition between Eternity and time. 42-45). '"'"__ w w"'. b3).ta). Such signs may be a statue.'c'III two Intellects must be distinguished. which seems to be a characteristic of the Intelligible: For after he thought his works.. who is generated from the Father. as Proclus recalls at length. from which to re- allcend to the Intelll..~~ 4 . which the Father thinks and which he distributes to all things that participate in it.. 1). the universe appears as a vast system of signs and marks." ... he is nevertheless present to all. strikes them like lightning (v. and the spheres III'the' world tv. there is not just a single 1I11t'. . 7) The second verse seems to me to evoke the polemics SlilTIIlllldllllollho 1"'Ir' pretation of Timaeus 28C (cf. 109) Thus. for like Aristotle's First Mover who moves all things by means of desire (cf. for it can tum toward the intelligible or toward the sensible world.

Totally ensouling light. for her "womb" (Fr." ._= a •• _ M. in which the World Soul is fabricated by the Demiurge (Timaeus 35A-B). 56) In traditional mythology. The following verses allude to these: The Principles. (Fr. we find a third divine entity: a female divinity often identified with Hecate. in accordance with book 10 of the Laws (891C. Within this group. and the Demiurge). of which the divine principle consists. = 1.130. 40) 1. ~ Dr "'I"'" "". her assimilation to Hecate seems to imply that this goddess is the spouse-daughter of the first Father.23 Diehl Fr. obscures the flower of tire As it leaps into the hollows of the worlds.. 2. Rhea is the spouse of Kronos and the mother of Zeus.2.I· 35A-B. particularly in Orphism.2) is assimilated to the mixing bowl (Fr. 34) As a result. whose construction is described in Tima('II. I3 which ends with an allusion to knowledge and to friendship. which animates the entire world." and she is the "Power of the Father" (Fr. Like a membrane (Fr." Hecate is the source of souls. 28. Her intermediary "falus and her medlating actlon lire described in the following verses: From there. The Demiurge then uses this fire to fuhrlcate all 80uls and allllcnllible realille. 50) This is why she is qualified as "intermediary center. as we shall see below. both III' them associated with the soul: she is considered the source of Virtue and of Nnture: In the left flank of Hecate exists the source of virtue.3. This includes the Soul of the world. These three descriptions of Hecate's left side.. receives the birth of all these in her inexpressible womb. And pours forth [this birth] on the All as it runs its course. sweeping along. whose source is the Father. 32. which makes the fabrication of the totality of the soul possible. From Hecate's intermediary status. thull He&:plebecomes n source for everythlng else (Fr. and back may be the echo of a cultic image of Hecate." as we see in these verses. For from there. and the mother-sister of the Demiurge. is assimilated to Nature. 189).• . worlds. 37. 3. III the Demiurge is assisted by more recent gods. ". Which remains entirely within and does not give up its virginity. the Father and the Demiurge.1. 4). 51) In this context.293. 56. verse of Ihis fr ugrnent is difticull 10 interpret. All things begin to extend wonderful rays down below. first in power. no replica is known.899D) . but she also links the Father and the Demiurge insofar as she is called a "generative womb.2. 29) from which all souls come. Thux. (Fr.. 0 -r. of which. she keeps the first and second Intellects separate.19. the birth of variegated matter leaps forth.246.23 Diehl) and carries torches in both her hands (In Timaeum 2. Hecate is one of the three pr imordial divinities in which the god manifests himself. Concealed them with sense-perceptible works and bodies. 35.293. a lightning-bolt. Proclus returns to a passage of the Timaeus. we must abandon the universally admitted idea according III which Hecate is identified with the World Soul. For she. ~2) In order to explain why Hecate is the source of the virtue that is associutcd with the soul. she is the womb. in which Hecate is called Rhea: Truly Rhea is the source and stream of blessed intellectual [realities].." She is "generated from the Father." Her action is double: she dissociates and associates. hut one mii'hl consider il u poetic expression to designate the fabrication of sensible things. (Fr.J . celestial bodies as well as sublunary realities. Hecate receives into her womb that fire which is the Intelligible. it is the World Soul that emanates from her.Hccutc is too high in the hierarchy to be the World Soul. which perceived the intelligible works of the Father. instead. 54) The celestial bodies which the World Soul animates are thus assimilated to flowing hair.3) in which the Demiurge of the Timaeus (41D) mixes the ingredients (Fr. The center of Hecate is borne in the midst of the Fathers. right side. The Model This triad (the Father.2. the mixing bowl (Kpa't~p) according to the Timaeus." we know from elsewhere in Proclus that Hecate has four faces (In Timaeum 2. (Fr. Hecate. unfortunately. two other characteristics follow.. Hecate Between these two gods. is found in association with several other important divinities whose . As in the Timaeus.23. (Fr. A great stream of the primordially generated Soul gushes forth in abundance. whom he himself brings into being. 42. Hecate can be considered the source of nature: On the back of the goddess boundless Nature is floating. (Fr.10. From there. 31). fire.-''''" • • . thus. Insofar as the World Soul. 6). Around the hollow of her right flank . in accordance with a schema we find elsewhere..~"" •••. ether. 2.

163.. initiation may be defined as the dramatic reenactment of a change in state.. and after death. 78)..1. the passage in question is from a lower 10 II higher level within the framework of conversion. who. the third principle of the Timaeus. moreover. Neverthelellll. _'.2. This return may be carried out in two ways: during this life. Matter Matter.2). Fr. within the framework of this order. Although they are responsible for the cohesion of the universe. is rendered possible by two very important classes of gods: the Connectors.. 151) are a class of gods that issue forth from the Father.. who are assimilated to the Intelligible and to everything situated beyond this universe of ours. we mUlt recall the follow Ina two verlielithul pertain 10 the tirst of the Connectors. They no longer guarantee a function of transmission within the universe. there seem to be three 'Ieletarchs'? who look after euch world: empyrean (Fr. lightning designates the function of participation. 177). 82) 1... for in a Platonic context like that of the Symposium and the Phaedrus. it is associated with darkness and with Hades... which constitutes its nourishment (Fr. Fr. This is natural. as it were. the Intelligible is associated with the beautiful and the good..2-3). (Fr. and material (Fr.--. himself.. who maintain the order. and therefore the Connectors designate the guardians of the sensible things' participation in intelligibies. The [Iynges] which are thought by the Father also think themselves. 23). and of the links that unite its parts.2. (Fr. ethereal (Fr... in conformity with MiddlePlatonist doctrine. when the soul rises up through contemplation.. In the Chaldaean Oracles the forms are called "Iynges".. Since they are moved by his unspeakable counsels so as to think. situated below (K(l'tCO. and material. Because initiation constitutes the most important act in the celebration of the Mysteries.." The description in the Chaldaean As has been stated... as their name indicates. on this point.-'.. toward the Intelligible. They are even identified with "magic wheels" (Fr. Etymological Iy. " all things role is 10 give an account of the action of the god lit vurlous levels of reulity.. 34. 86). As an abyss (Fr. 84) 1. That is why.1). Among these divinities. whose name means "masters of initiation. We find nothing similar. the Iynges are the forms. 1. This function is essential in a system in which soteriology cannot be dissociated from a cosmology..2. they have as their function the "cohesion" of the Universe and its various parts (Fr. He has given the summits the protection of his [intellectual] Lightningbolts. the Connect. Thus. must alllo'He applied 10 the two others: For [the first Connector] encompassing exists. ethereal. but. and the Teletarchs. 80).3.16 They are thus the protectors. and that.'. with the object of the most powerful love (Eros). 79): empyrean. . Scholars speak of initiation for the rites of passage from adolescence 10 adulthood. They also speak of initiations for ceremonies of consecration that illustrate the passage from the profane to the sacred. 163.. in the heavens. a cosmic order can be established. 206) and thereby restored to their role as charms. The Teletarchs (TeA. which symbolically transform young boys into potential warriors and girls into potential mothers.""''IJ' .) The Teletarchs assist the "Connectors" (Fr. it is practically a synonym for "Mysteries. in the Timaeus. The Teletarchs. or for the sea. this is because they act as intermediaries between the Father and matter and because they inform matter. in Ihe case of priests and kings. The Connectors (I'I)voxei~) The Connectors" (Fr.3. is presented metaphorically as providing a bed for a river. however. the term iINt' It' is a compound of two words: archos (master) and telete (initiation). of the various parts of the Universe. They look after the initiation of souls in the course of their return and after their death. As in the case of the ( 'onnec tors. when it begins its return. (Fr. it concerns the establishment of new relations to the world of the gods. preside over the soul's return toward the Intelligible. and the Teletarchs." From an anthropological point of view. thus we can see why the Iynges are presented as the thoughts or works of the Father. II'S 1.2. are not part of the universe. entirely outside. 17)." constltute II rather mysterious third class of gods.. and the forms are the Father's thoughts.. that is to say. 85).£'tapx<xl.. which is intended to ensure the salvation of the human soul. Having mixed his own force of strength among the Connectors.. The Iynges ("I'I)'Y'Ye~) The Father possesses within himself all things in the mode of the Intelligible (Fr.. 22. If they are called "couriers" (Fr. Here. the most important lire the lynges. _I1111'''. 83). The maintenance of this order.. and in terms of a hollow (KOlA-coila. More precisely. We can thus see why they are called "Whole-makers" (Fr.. 77) From the Middle-Platonist perspective. the Connectors. -----I'' 1--'. the Chaldaean Oracles seem to take their inspiration from the central myth of the Phaedrus. it seeme.. .

am situated. as we have seen above. 55) This poetical description does not neglect the World Soul's function. Pure Love. matter is qualified. the birth of variegated matter leaps forth." Following Psellus (text quoted in §1. We must note.1. 1. The expression "without intellect" seems to refer to the fact that in the Timaeus a "bastard reasoning?" necessitates the positing of an entity that receives all sensible things. 34 is difficult: "From there. In order that the sky might run. however. In all probability.4. 1.i" Hence the receptacle cannot be perceived by any of the senses and in particular not by sight. or Nature We saw above that the World Soul originates from Hecate. it must be free of all characteristics. Hence. 88) This image is the world's body (Timaeus 92C). and we might therefore suppose that "variegated matter" means the sensible world.P Por untlrln. forever revolving around its maimed depth. (Fr. animating the All with my heat.1. (FI'. image of Nature. 163) Platonic "matter" plays the role of a receptacle and corresponds perfectly to this description. some interpreters have thought that matter is engendered by the Father. These.and workJ!. ~J) As we see in book 10 of the Laws. The Universe The universe is composed of a soul and a body.1. probably because she is usso· ciated with the celestial bodies. which are images (Timaeus 51A). I. 180) refers to the description of Necessity in the Timaeus. . precipitous. $ wee ••• Oracles roughly corresponds with what we tlnd in the Timurus and in the tradition that interpreted the Timarus: Do not lean down (K(Xtro) towards the dark-gleaming world beneath which an abyss is spread (i>1tEO'tpro't<Xt)." Yet there is a problem here.1. 70) The World Soul is said to float on Hecate's back.4. that in the verse in question.2 below). The Realities Explained by These Three Principles: Man and the Universe These three principles (god. as the master and holy bond of all things. ~4) For her hair appears dazzlingly in shimmering light. 101) 1. and that the offspring of evil matter are good and useful. the mention of "the turbulence of matter" (Fr. forever formless and invisible (aEtB~~). 103. (Fr. Intellect and divine Will. to which the Demiurge gives birth. hence the expression "delighting in images. forever wedded to an invisible frame. the Soul. but it is corporeal. The World Soul. as well as the realities it encompasses. idle. The World's Body The world is made in the image of the Living Being. to which he added a third.' . 153) takes place by means of the visible. Nature rulell both world. (Fr. (Fr.• __ _111!!'". who is a universe on a smaller scale. the World Soul is assimilated to Nature: [The Father] mixed the spark of soul with two harmonious qualities. . In this respect it resembles the intelligible. without breath. twisted. and matter) must explain the universe in its totality.1. (Fr.2... dark all around. whkh Iii to animate the universe: After the Paternal Thoughts. 102. who is considered as a mixing bowl (KP<X't~p). such as man. (FI'. foul. sensible world. consequently. which is the image of Nature: Do not invoke the self-revealed And it is this image which Persuades us to believe that the demons are pure. without intellect.4. delighting in images. are linked to her hair: On the back of the goddess boundless Nature is suspended. 44) Nature's association with Necessity and Destiny (Fr.4. (Fr.2.4.just as it is accustomed to do. dragging down its 'eternal course. the model.""".." The receptacle must receive all these images constituted by sensible things. in tum. And the swift sun might come around the center. The first thing animated by the World Soul is the Heaven: 1. this animating function is indissol'inhlr from a guiding function. for the interpretation of the first verse of Fr.

. zones" (Fr. ~." At any rate he says. another channel of fire.2 .Sun.B426 Proclus mentions the fixed stars ~n the . The Sun comes in fifth place: And there is a fifth in the middle. following the description given in the Timaeus (39B-E).32-41. the air: the ethereal course and the boundless impulse of the moon. Jupiter. hut the product hils something of the corporeal in it.. in that the Theurge has taught us to Judge m a similar way about the fixed and the wandering stars. for it is not only Time which they have celebrated as a god. to strain forwards.." and I.. flO) and why it is said that the Sun "was established at the site of the heart" (Fr .. when speaking of the creation of the fixed stars: In the Heavens he fixed a vast assembly of inerrant stars which do not strive.1. and after the Moon. two levels of reality must be distinguished: and the sublunary. Mars.. 67) More precisely. in the Chaldaean Oracles the Demiurge is said to have made the entire world from fire. 1.follo~i~g terms: "All the more so. The Sublunar World Bodies in our world are constructed from the four elements. breath of moon.2.40. 188) Diehl).-. Portion of ether. but stay fixed in their places. This expression can be everything disorderly in these stars (In Timaeum 3. the Demiurge. 36) in accordance WIth the same pomts.. · .ury.26-133. · . (Fr. Venus. 195. the All He worked with his own hands." The rites and invocations mentioned here by Proclus are brought up again further on: "In any case. particularly the kind associated with astrology.. For It~c sky I is lin imitutlon of Intellect.Mcn.'" The wandering litarl are seven (Moon •.." In his comments on Timaeus 40A8 . is said to fashion the world: For whatever other mass of fire there was. without any wandering. (9) In the Timaeus-' the world's body is composed of the four elements. (cf. so that the world-body might be fully completed and the world might be visible and not seem membrane-like. airy leaders Of solar circles and lunar soundings and airy wombs.1.. Fr.. · .4 Diehl). (Fr. 57) Among the celestial bodies.2. channel of fire .1. and all-nourishing air. The Oracles consider all the divisions of time as encosmic deities: "This is in agreement with the Theurgists. " it seems that the Chaldaean Oracles expressed great interest in the revolutions of the heavenly bodies... Night. Saturn): ." ."iK).2. in a work in which magic.. Fr. (Fr. and dispenser of fire" (Fr. (Fr. and telestical rites" (In Timaeum 3.. played an important role. For the Father has inflated the seven firmaments of the worlds.. and Year. (Fr. invocations.. water. earth.. the fire of the Sun27 while he suspended from well-ordered !presume that ~hat is meant b~ the w~rd. According to the testimony of Proclus in his Commentary on the "Timaeus. portion of ether and sun and channels of moon and air." (Fr. 61) This description corresponds to the long section in the Timaeus on astronomy (38C-39B).4. with regard to these gods the Theurgists have left us prayers. but they are characterized as "particular channels" (uepixoi oxetot). and airy streams Ether.132. cf. and moon and all those things which swim with ail'. 68) In the sensible world. the course of the moon and the eternal orbit of till' sun. After the Sun. on the other hand. Month. the Sun and the Moon are mentioned most often. but also Day itself.fixation is motion in the same place. he says that god has created them six in number (Timaeus 36D) by inserting in the middle. This is only natural. as the seventh. we find the Moon. 1. blameworthy. the celestial 6)) We can see why it is called "fire. WIth regard to the wandering stars. The World of Celestial Bodies The heavens comprise two domains: that of the fixed stars and that of the wandering stars. and expansive air. working with his own hands. sun. whence the life-bearing fire descends as far as the material channels.. sun.4.

In itself. human beings are made up of a body and a soul.112. In fact. he. Fr. after reminding us that the Chaldaean Oracles accept the idea of rt'im'lIl'11!! tion as an Indissoluble law . at least.. (Fr.2." It is the Oemiurge who. Human Beings Like the universe. this associates them with Hecate (Fr. the goddess who rules over Nature...4. if we are to believe Psellus.'itc:li below in §2).2. we find allusions to demons: sometimes good.. discord. which is described in particularly vivid terms (Timaeus 43A-44B).. and that which is prior. This explains the difference between "channel-springs" (7t11Yatot6XE'wi. those which follow these. angels (Fr.29 Saffrey. channels (6XE'toi). 216)... Thus the whole sensible world is identical with the Intelligible.30. 142. who teaches the human soul about the laws of Nature. It is possible that. his sons. 2~) . corruptions.142. The Father thought these thin. .Westerink).24 Saffrey-Westerink Fr. Theologia Platonica 5. yet it entails profound disorder for the soul. This tumult. 135). . . the Chaldaean Ora des muy have preferred a specific interpretation of the Phaedrus to the Timaeus. from which the whole world.1!lil I "'''O~''''II'L..1.25 .201 Des Places). is what Proclus t')lpllllnN. They are linked to the sublunar elements (air and water.8. the body is bereft of quality. 65.. 143. 91.1. associated with the material world. The "particular channels" are sensible realities. as well as our bodies. The source of the intelligible is a volcano from which lava flows forth..tlllis. 94) OUl' = -csoul>.4.. teaches them how to escape from Fatality (cf. whereas the "channel" is the image of the effect and therefore of the dependency of that which is posterior. but more often bad ones. 92) or to the moon (Fr. At the very bottom of this psychic hierarchy. contiguous beings are called fountains (xpiivm). (Fr. 89.. Everywhere. point of departure. on this controversial point.. derive their figures. The summit of each chain (crnpa) is called a spring (ltrrYll). And he quotes this other verse: [The human soul] passes over again to a human life and not to the IiII. brooks (pEt9pa)" (Hypotyposis 27-28." . (Pr. 91).Westerink) and "particular channels" (uepucoi 6XE'toi. 160) 1. who seek to drag the soul down into the depths.. 1.2). e_bAas . Once the lava has become solid.=v. but in the sluggish body he has placed the Father of gods and m. it distributes itself among the four elements of the world. They are always designated by derogatory expressions (Fr. Obviously.'01 beasts. moreover. but once it has taken on diverse powers. that is of II ronllt'l'l)." .' As in the Timaeus." it is the recent gods. demons.. Theologia Platonica 5. provided we return to the image of the Intelligible as tire. we find the human soul. human soul migrating into an animal. 93). and fluctuating works.38. And just as in the Timaeus. 90. having sowed souls among the instruments of Time.. the particular channels. Theologia Platonica 5. 91. This. The channels admittedly are preceded by springs (ProcIus.l. This.. and not the recent ). Where there is murder. Psellus' description evokes a very powerful poetic image.18 -19 Saffrey. and mortal man waN brought to life by him. foul odors. boisterous with matter. heroes. and those which come afterwards. The sensible world is described in the most somber tones: Do not hasten to the light-hating world. 172).. disembodied souls (Fr. cause.en.4. we may say that the "spring" is the image of the principle. from the blessed ones. which is the same as to say that effects are preceded by causes and that sensible realities depend upon demiurgic activity. it flows down the side of the crater in channels that become diversified.a· . which is dragged by the violent flux of food and sensations. yet is in a different state. it is the recent gods who construct the human body (Fr. Fr.2. 130. Squalid illnesses. The Chaldaean Oracles agree with the Timaeus 30 that the Demiurge constructed the immortal component of the human soul: 1. "by which many are pulled down into twisted streams" (Fr. More generally. The Human Soul The world of the Chaldaeans is rich in entities that extend along an uninterrupted chain: archangels. is why it is the Demiurge.. The Human Body As in the Timaeus (42E). 138-39).. and it provides a bed for the body. it gives birth to sensible things. It seems that the Chaldaean Oracles did not accept a doctrine of l't'illl'lIl nation of the type set forth at the end of the Timaeus.. such as "dogs" (Fr. the entire sensible world may be described as a network of channels: "Matter comes forth from the Father. and/or IIssis tants who place the soul within a body: Intellect in Soul.a '0 __ explained without much difficulty. tends to diminish with age. 90.2.. 144) and who introduce a soul into it. 159).

45.. 2. uccurd ing to these verses. Let be the rushing motion of the moon. you must not think that intelligible violently But with the flame of intellect completely extended which nlt'IINUI't'N &til things.. 47). Hence comes the imperative to flee.. 149). In Timacum 1. All these are playthings. Except that intelligible. 206). goes without saying (Fr. He who intends to love the Intellect of the Father must flee these things. Where virtue. In order to reascend to the Father. I reiterate that research of this type allows us to call into question the nature of the relations between commentary and philosophical activity properly so called. as Plato seems to indicate in the final pages of the Timaeus.. 134) This flight begins with the understanding of the laws of Nature. . And rest in god.. 132). in which the sensible is opposed to the intelligible: Do not cast into your mind the huge measures of earth. 208). as they descend. Do not measure the extent of the sun by joining rods together.211." Flee these things. she forever runs her course by the action of Necessity. In closing. he who has attained the summit of Initiation. even more explicit. the soul must feed on the Intelligible. and Hope (Fr. 130) Made of the fire of the Intelligible. From these flames." the soul will be helped by Love (Fr... I'lli' It iN the power of strength. Soteriology: The Soul's Salvation We can now understand the importance of those two lines from the Timaeus (41E1-2) in which the Demiurge teaches the laws of Nature to souls. Salvation thus does not come from the contemplation of the world.. 46.. related to those we find in the My'" teries. 48). Proclus appeals to the Chaldaean Oracles of which he cites the following verses: ' [They] flee the shameful wing of allotted fate . but keeping turned away the pure eye Of your soul. drawing in the flowering flames Which come down from the Father. 46. Therefore.. and between cosmology and soteriology. wisdom. since it exists outside of your intellect. that is to say by practicing philosophy. (Fr. For the plant of truth does not exist on earth. When commenting on this passage. The object of this research is new. the soul will take part in a kind of treasure hunt. you should extend an empty intellect toward the intt'lIlallhl. 46. "Understanding heated by the Flame" (Fr. If you would open the sacred paradise of piety. which Marinus associates with the magician's supplication and his conjunction with the god (Fr. and good order are brought together.8 -10 Diehl).9) and the allusion to the stone that must be sacri Iiccd when a terrestrial demon approaches (Fr. the first stage of perfect prayer (Proclus. Truth (Fr. More directly magical is the mention of the spheres and tops of Hecate (Fr. (III'.. with the help of the symbols sowed by the Father (cf."'0= _.. Visible all around. but the atmosphere in which the Chaldaean Oracles are immersed was widespread at the end of Antiquity. In this context. addressed to the soul in these verses.. These rites are magical procedures. §l.. In order to comprehend it. I) Theurgy is a religious system that allows us to enter into contact with tht' ~ollN by means of concrete rites and material objects.0u would not think it. It seems the soteriology III' th" Chaldaean Oracles oscillated between the pure practice of philosophy nnd the concrete praxis of theurgy.-sp 5. The props of commercial fraud.. which i~ violently denounced in the following three verses: divination by birds and sacrifices are only business ventures. (Fr. For he is borne along by the eternal will of the Father and not for your sake.1.'4 And'] these lntelliglble« lure called Inexpressible beauties. w'. Yet it seems possible. between philosophy and religion.. The wide-winged flight of birds is never true Nor the cuttings and entrails of sacrificial victims. The soul plucks the soul-nourished flower of fiery fruits. For if you should incline your intellect toward it and think it As if you were thinking a specific thing.•. You must not think it Intently.. 48). as is the mention of symbols and passwords (Fr. to reach the Father only by elevating our intellect towltl'll him. 139) is the knowl edge of all divine orders.. In order to reach the "sacred paradise of piety. flashing with intellectual divisions. Beginning with Iamblichus. Faith (Fr. which is associated with Necessity.=_ '. 108 . which are equivalent to an Initiation.. Nor will salvation come from traditional religion.•• Wf. the silence inlpoNt'1i upon the "l'uO''tTJ<. the Neoplatonists were extremely sensitive to this aspect of things in which "theurgy" consists and to which the practice of the commentary is also related. 10K) The soul's goal is described as follows: For there exists a certain Intelligible which you must think by the flower of intellect. 48).mallntellect hall sown symbolll throughou! the Ctl!lI11(lH. . The starry procession has not been brought forth for your sake.. . (Fr.l above).. 107) The first six verses plead for a flight from the sensible world. y. The Intellect which thinks the Intelllglblcs. (Fr. For the Pat..

1-2 Pasquali. Ibid. "After this sowing he left it to the newly made gods to mould mortal hodieN. 1996). which I have sometimes modified in view of my own: Platon: "Timee/Critias.83. 6. Studies in the History of Religions 41 (Leiden: Brill. On this subject. Kommentar.J. P. ed. I 10." trans. 17. Paris: FIarnmarion.2). 1: The School of Valentinus.. see G. and so he established one world alone. Brace/London: Kegan Paul.just as this world contains ourselves and all other creatures that have been formed as things visible" (Timaeus 30C-D. to fashion all that part of a human soul thatthere was stilI need to add and HII thllt the~e things entail. and to govern and guide the mortal creature to the best of their )1oWeI'N. 1989). Athanassiadi and M. needing no other acquaintance or friend but sufficient to itself.29. 1962). 8. 163. with the notes ad locum. vol.=s•• _ . •• . that in which it becomes. 11.2 Kroll and In Timaeum 2.. Tardieu (Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes.. "We must not suppose that it was any creature that ranks only as a species. cf." Monotheismes et Philosophie 2 (Turnhout. and hardly an object of belief" (Timaeus 52A. Connecticut. 38-40. ed. for no copy of that which is incomplete can ever be good. See also III ('1'lI/V/IIIII 171. reproHildesheim: OIms. ed. 80 B.(Fr. 51-52. Daemonologica. 1894. then. 1978. Des Places (3d ed.~ in the Chaldaean Oracles and Related Literature. Le Meme et l'Autre dans la structure ontologique du "Timer" cI. Die philosophische Lehre des Platonismus: Einige grundlegende AxiomelPlatonische Physik (im antiken Verstiindnis). 1995). 18. 13. nor any of their compounds or components. Orphee et l'Orphisme dans l'Antiquite grt'm-/YIlllolllr. Psellus (Exegesis 1136a-b. Layton. International Plato Studies 2 (2d ed.c~r It Wll' impllMNlhle confer In full In completeness on the acncrated thing. In Cratylum 52. 5. 20. the thing itself in which the impress comes to be situated. Ella<. Frede (Oxford: Clarendon. I. M.51.7 Saffrey-Westerink.5). aq>av£<. "La Gnose valentinienne et les Oracles Chaldaiques. 1996).17 -112. On the various techniques used by the Demiurge in the Timaeus.149. Chaldaean Oracles and Theurgy: Mysticism. N. "The Chaldean Oracles: Theology and Theurgy.111. Luc Brisson. NOTES I would like to thank Michael Chase for his English translation of this essay. Cf. which is everlasting. 1977).ut eternity that abides in unity. in that respect. Der Platonismus in der Antike: Grundlagen-System-Entwicklung 4 (Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog. d. 4. the mother and Receptacle of what has come to be visible and otherwise sensible must not be called earth or air or fire or water. On all these accounts the world which he brought into being was a blessed god" (Timaeus 34B3 . lOX. 1994). commenting on Fr. Publications de l'lnstitut francais d'archeologls orientale.B). to that Living Creature of which all other living creatures. he madc. Demiurge and Providence: Stoic and Plat~nist Readings of Plato's "Timaeus.11. International Library of Psychology. Theologia Platonica 4. Further we must observe that... Proclus' texts do not allow us to be more precise. 173 Des Places) comments 011 Fr. Sankt Augustin: Academia' Verlag. Hence that which is to receive in itself all kinds must be free from all characters" (Timaeus 50C . 194 -231. 3. I. 2. Variorum Collected Studies 476 (Aldershot: Variorum.' 1'1111011.uc Brisson. and the model in whose likeness that which becomes is born. Ubersetzung. Magic and Platonism in the Later Roman Empire. solitary but able by reason of its excellence to bear itself con 1)1l1l1y . o 19.. For the commentaries of Psellus. so far as might be. to A.1 (Vratislaviae: Koebner. We find crWEXElV twice in the Timaeus (43A.8). ed. On Hecate. Dorrie.. 1980). Usually "the maker and father" (1tonlt~v !Cat1tatEpa) is interpreted as a reference to the Demiurge. ed. Proclus. 1956).: Cornell University Press. 1937). Recherches d'archeologie. B. The Middle Platonists. "'. With the exception of a few modifications I use Ruth Majercik's translation in The Chaldean Oracles. and Ihl. see Matthias Baltes in M. In Rem Publiciun 2.94. March 28-31. Indeed we may fittingly compare the Recipient to a mother.E). cf. Cf.95.12-16 Saffrey-Westerink . The Demiurge places a soul within the body of the world: "And in the centre he set a soul and caused it to extend throughout the whole and further wrapped its hody round with soul on the outside.(Fr. E. The Chaldaean Oracles are cited from Oracles Chaldatques avec un choix de commentaires anciens. 1999).4 Pasquali.'_". 1999). Reydams-Schils. J. Baltes and H." in Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity. 1989).201. Collection GF 618 (5th ed.. Let us rather say that the world is like.C. Athanassiadi. 11M It were.111. one must now use Michaelis PseIIi.'('0/. for the present we must conceive three things: that which becomes.. See also Theologia Platonica 6. D. with the notes ad locum.. but we shall not be deceived . at th~ slime time that he ordered the Heaven. 12. Plato s Cosmology. New Haven. see also 39E). Hekate Soteira: A Study (if' 11. Belgium: Brepols. 126-48 nos. above all things. Ing likenes» of eternity. 1990). 1978). "So as that pattern is the Living Being that is forever existent. Breslauer Philologische Abhandlungen 7. But he tOOK thoulhl to 'make. 1: Bausteine 101-24: Text. dlUp. "This is Place.. I have used the translation of F. 7. 4. The main works on the Chaldaean Oracles are the following: Wilhelm Kroll. Com ford . O'Meara (Stuttgart: Teubner. Philosophy and Scientific Method (New York: Harcourt. Timaeus 51A-B: "For this reason.""". Via a wordplay on aetof]<. Hans Lewy. Sarah lies Johnston. 21. American Classical Silldie~ 21 (Atlanta: Scholars Press. 15. Michel Tardieu. vol. Paris: Belles Lettres. rev. Cf. 2: Opuscula Psychologica. if there is to be an impress presenting all diversities of aspect. an everlasting likeness moving according to number that to which we have given the name Time" (Timaeus 370)...39. and the nature that arises between them to the offspring. 220 (Ithaca." in The Rediscovery of Gnosticism: Proceedings of the International Conference on Gnosticism at Yale. round 111111 revolving in a circle.D. not admitting destruction. 1998). save in so far as it should be a cause of evil to itself" (Timaeus 420).10-202. Y. For that embraces and contains within itself all the intelligible living creatures . De Oraculis Chaldaicis. severally and in their families. 16. and. but itself apprehended without the senses by a sort of bastard reasoning. Dillon. the model to a father. providing a situation for all things that come into being. char. "Be that as it may. Theologica. Studies in Greek and Roman Religion 5 (Leiden: Brill. vol.21. are parts. cf. II muv •.129.. cannot have been duly prepared unless it is free from all those characters which it is to receive from elsewhere . 163.26-28 Saffrey-Westerink. Philosophica minora. See now P. More generally. M. de philologie et d'histoire 13 (Cairo: Institut francais d'archeologie orientale.-:\' Htllr. E).22-130. On this subject. Luc Brisson and Michel Patillon.39. Proclus. 9. 14.1 Diehl. Now the nature of Ihlll Llvlnl Belna waNetemal. he sought to make this universe also like it.

A pleasant aspect of this theme is that it tak~s me back ~: l~ast m p. he undertook to be the maker. the process of creation is described in the following terms (12. although some of these thinkers did manage to emancipate themselves from its do~inant i~ftue~ce. PUZ/. so is air to water.27. _"~"flIP"~ if wc ~'1I11 II nature lnvlsihle IIIllI dlllrllclcrlcNN. so is water to earth. the sensible world is assimilated to an irrigated field.art to the subject of my first book. pllrlllklnl! in Nomevery it ing wily of the intelllgthlc lind very hard Itl upprehcnd.18 Diehl). AND EARLY CHRISTIAN. they fou. In Timaeum 3. and thus he bound together the frame of a world visible and tangible. and as air is to water. RUNIA The theme of my paper is fairly well covered by the title. "And he gave the supremacy to the revolution of the Same and uniform. and to govern and guide the mortal creature to the best of their powers. "And he assigned to each [circle] two motions: one uniform in the same place. not unlike the human body at the end of the Timaeus (80E. Tl.10 Diehl)." 27. which itself was in motion like an instrument for shaking. so that coming into unity with itself it became indissoluble by any other save him who bound it together" (Timaeus 32B-C). he showed them the nature of the universe and declared to them the laws of Destiny" (Timaeus 41EI-2). Note the brutal anacoluthon. save in so far as it should be a cause of evil to itself" (Timaeus 42D. so that as fire is to air. 32. I will be arguing that the 111ftuence of the Timaeus was strong and that. There I could not avoid the related and highly contentious issue of whether creation should be understood as taking place ex nihilo. "Accordingly the god set water and air between fire and earth. the indications given by such an organ [i. THE BACKGROUND: THE TIMAEUS AND THE BIBLE We begin our discussion with a historical paradox. 22. Before that. 30. 31. but deprived of life it becomes blind and its signs are too dim to convey any certain meaning" (Timaeus 72B). Philo of Alexandria and the . The~e cannot be the slightest doubt that the Timaeus played a fundamental role 10 the development of the doctrine of principles in later Antiquity. The zones are the orbits of the planets (cf. Timaeus 38C-E. Proclus.27.' which dealt quite extensively with the theme of first principles l~ the context of Philonic thought. AND CREATION IN PHILO. Perhaps an allusion to the state of the embryo.e. 34. "There mounting them [the souls] as it were in chariots. 28.E). especially when phIlosophIcal Issues w~re 111volved. as each is subjected to the revolution of the Same and uniform. In the Timaeus Plato criticizes traditional sacrifices and divination: "So long as any creature is yet alive. if one counts starting from the circle of fixed stars. which speaks of "the light-hating world. 23. even before the ordered whole consisting of them came to be. and from these it acquired Amity. This question will also be broached in the present paper.10. 25. the body of the universe was brought into being.~.! PLATO'S TIMAEUS. as much as possible.ull recelvtng. four in number. That is. 33.81B). in order that each might be as perfect as possible. the task of making the generation of mortals. coming into concord by means of proportion. Julian had written a book entitled On Zones (cf. 26. but the inner revolution he split in six places into seven unequal circles" (Timaeus 36C-D). proportional to one another. whereby the different kinds came to have different regions. he laid upon his own offspring" (Timaeus 69C). for he left that single and undivided. FIRST PRINCIPLE(S). all these kinds were without proportion or measure" (Timaeus 53A). To take one of the best ~nown examples of this application. cf. to fashion all that part of a human soul that there was still need to add and all that these things entail. 29.mae~s oj Plato. "After the sowing he left it to the newly made gods to mould mortal bodies. 24.1. the liver] are comparatively clear. I wish to examine the role that the Timaeus and the tradition of its interpretation played in the questions of first principles and the relation between God and cr~ation as th~se were treated in Philo and early Christian thought." may he understood ill Ihis sense. when the circulation of the blood is described. as each always thinks the same thoughts about the same things. and made them. But in respect of the other five motions he made each motionless and still. the other a forward motion.32. in the Middle-Platonist handbook of Alcinous. From another point of view. For these reasons and from such constituents. 3. and it separated the most unlike kinds farthest apart from one another. and thrust the most alike closest together.2): 133 . Proclus. I believe these words refer to the following passage: "In the same way at that time the four kinds were shaken by the Recipient.nd it by no means easy to do so.." "'1'111(111('111 IKI. "Of the divine part. THOUGHT DAVID T. In Timaeum 3.

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