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


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This chapter examines Aristotle's view of the nature and religious function of the stars. In the De Caelo, he believes that a series of concentric spheres are responsible for heavenly movement. Aristotle believed that each one was a body and referred to this substance as ‘the first body’, ‘the first element’, or ‘ether’. Another explanation that he offered was the theory of existence of a mover outside of the heavens. During the later era, Aristotle was an important source of the understanding of the astral soul, of ether, and of a religion of the cosmos. The discussion notes that it was the way in which he was misunderstood which caused his most important contribution to the way that the astral soul was discussed by the age of Philo and Origen.

Keywords: Aristotle; heavenly motion; Cicero; ether; first body; De Caelo; De Philosophia

Chapter.  6700 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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