Presocratic Theology

T. M. Robinson

in The Oxford Handbook of Presocratic Philosophy

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780195146875
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199892112 | DOI:


Presocratic Theology

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If in the context of early and classical Greek thought, the term “theology” is taken to mean “of God/gods/the gods and his/their putative relationship, causal and directive, to the world and its operations, and to ourselves within that world,” or something of that order, the first ascription of such a notion to a Presocratic philosopher is to be found in Aristotle's comment that “Thales thought that all things are full of gods”. The Presocratic period ends with no neat causal sequence. If one train of thinking was moving in the direction of a divinely guided, teleologically explicable universe, another was moving in exactly the opposite direction. For the atomists Democritus and Leucippus, the ever-changing universe is an infinity of space in which, across eternity, chance agglomerations of ever-moving atoms produce and will forever go on producing those contents of the universe that we call realities, from gazelles to galaxies.

Keywords: Greek thought; theology; Presocratic philosopher; Democritus; Leucippus

Article.  6836 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion

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