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The Organization Of The Soul: Some Overlooked Aspects Of Interpretation From Plato To Late Antiquity

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Chapter Summary

There is a problematic complexity in the various presentations of tripartition/ bipartition of the soul in Plato?s dialogues that in turn seems in a puzzling way to have had a curious effect upon the presentation of the tripartite soul some 700 years later by Christian Fathers of the 4th Century, Evagrius of Pontus and Gregory of Nyssa, a presentation that suggests more than one version of tripartition. The tripartite presentation of book 4 is pivotal for understanding the structure of the Republic as a whole and its definitive character for ?Plato?s thought? is understandable in this context. The Fathers of the 4th Century recognize more than one configuration of the tripartite soul in Plato?s dialogues; they also realize that in the configuration of the soul undergoing degeneration, the human being is really divided in two so that a bipartite structure emerges that effectively refigures the original tripartite division.

Keywords: Christian Fathers; Plato?s dialogues; Republic; Soul



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