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Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity$
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David Sedley

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520253643

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520253643.001.0001

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(p.93) IV Plato
Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity

David Sedley

University of California Press

Plato does not regard nature as in the last analysis anthropocentric unlike Socrates. A vast arrangement centered on enabling the soul to attain virtual divinity is a motif that people will meet, far more fully developed, in the Timaeus. It is both convenient and natural to speak of the Timaeus as Plato's “dialogue” on cosmology. The actual dialogue framing is moreover, an uncompleted one, the Timaeus-Critias, was a truncated series of monologues delivered by members of a small intellectual coterie, one of whom was Socrates. Plato's creator god in the Timaeus is billed as a craftsman or demiourgos, indeed that the word “Demiurge” has entered many people's language to signify a divine craftsman. Plato's own way has awed how far he will take this deliteralization. Timaeus still engaged in contention, as he will come to be seen throughout the remainder of the dialogue, to use past tenses in the familiar narrative way appropriate to a single past act of creation.

Keywords:   Plato, Timaeus, demiourgos, deliteralization, monologues

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