From the Pre-Socratics to Plato and His School


in Origen and the Life of the Stars

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780198263616
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191682612 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

From the Pre-Socratics to Plato and His School

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This chapter looks at the divinity of heavenly bodies from the pre-Socratics up to the time of Plato and his school. A formal cult of the stars was almost unknown in ancient Greece. Aristophanes, Plato, and Aristotle regarded their worship as either an archaic or foreign practice. The most powerful voice urging the Greeks to worship the stars in the 4th century was not that of popular religion but of a philosopher and astronomer. The author of the Epinomis was so skillful in attaching this treatise to Plato's Laws that he not only convinced many modern scholars that his work was genuine, but led others to consider the Epinomis as the nearest equivalent to a Platonic work, increasing the importance of the astral soul and astral religion in Hellenistic philosophy.

Keywords: Academy; Plato; Epinomis; Plato's Laws; Anaximander; World Soul; Socrates

Chapter.  9052 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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