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Souls and their ruling parts in Stoicism: The case of the cosmos
Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. God and Cosmos in Stoicism by Ricardo Salles. This is a collective study, in nine new essays, of the close connection between theology and cosmology in Stoic philosophy. The Stoic god is best described as the single active physical principle that governs the whole cosmos. The first part of the book covers three essential topics in Stoic theology: the active and demiurgical character of god, his corporeal nature and ir This is a collective study, in nine new essays, of the close connection between theology and cosmology in Stoic philosophy.
The first part of the book covers three essential topics in Stoic theology: the active and demiurgical character of god, his corporeal nature and irreducibility to matter, and fate as the network of causes through which god acts upon the cosmos. The second part turns to Stoic cosmology, and how it relates to other cosmologies of the time. The third part examines the ethical and religious consequences of the Stoic theories of god and cosmos. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Other Editions 4.
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Introduction: God and cosmos in stoicism
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The theory of a recurrent cosmic conflagration, for example, could turn out to be true - if the density of matter is high enough to cause a recollapse of the universe. The Stoics also believed that the sun was a sphere of fire, larger than the earth, and that the moon shone with reflected light. At the height of Rome's power, Stoicism vied with Epicureanism and Platonism for dominance in the Roman intellectual elite.
The emperor Marcus Aurelius was an adherent. But like other rational creeds, as the Roman empire degraded into chaos, Stoicism succumbed to the mystery religions from the East. Hicks, Loeb Classical Library, , and A. Long and D. The primary matter they make the substratum of all things … By matter is meant that out of which anything whatsoever is produced.
Universal matter … neither increases no decreases. Zeno thought that it was totally impossible that something incorporeal. The world has no empty space within it, but forms one united whole. This is a necessary result of the sympathy and tension which binds together things in heaven and earth.
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The Stoics made god out to be intelligent, a designing fire which methodically proceeds towards creation of the world and encompasses all the seminal principles according to which everything comes about according to fate; and a breath pervading the whole world, which takes on different names owing to the alterations of the matter through which it passes. The term cosmos is used by them … of God himself, the individual being whose quality is derived from the whole of substance; he is indestructible and ungenerable, being the artificer of this orderly arrangement of things, who at stated periods of time absorbs into himself the whole of substance and again creates it from himself.
The world. They give him the name Dia, because all things are due to him; Zeus, in so far as he is the cause of life; the name Athena is given, because the ruling part of the divinity extends to the aether; the name Hera marks its extension to the air; he is called Hephaestus since it spreads to the creative fire; Poseidon, since it stretches to the sea; Demeter, since it reaches to the earth.
Mind penetrates into every part of the world, just as the soul pervade us… The whole world is a living thing endowed with soul and with reason. Zeno also argued as follows: "Nothing lacking sensation can have a sentient part. But the world has sentient parts. Therefor the world does not lack sensation. He then proceeds to a tighter argument: "Nothing without a share in mind and reason can give birth to one who is animate and rational.
But the world gives birth to those who are animate and rational. Therefore the world is animate and rational. The deity … is a living being, immortal, rational, perfect or intelligent in happiness, admitting nothing evil, taking providential care of the world and all that therein is, but he is not of human shape. At certain fated times the entire world is subject to conflagration, and then is reconstituted afresh.
But the primary fire is as it were a sperm which possesses the principles of all things and the causes of past, present and future events. Our individual natures are part of universal nature.
Hence the chief good is life according to nature, that is, according to one's own and to universal nature. God is the common nature of things; also the force of fate and the necessity of future events. In addition he is fire, and the aether.
Man himself has come to be in order to contemplate and imitate the world. But the world, since it embraces everything and there is nothing which is not included in it, is perfect from every point of view. Scientific Pantheism was partly inspired by Stoicism and is honoured to consider Stoicism a predecessor.
Stoics - The Temple of Nature
There are many areas of overlap. We share with Stoics a deep reverence for the cosmos.
We share a belief in living according to nature, and an acceptance of natural death. We also believe that body and spirit are both made of the same substance.