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Life as a Dead Platonist

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Chapter Summary

It is a learned commonplace that the Renaissance humanists, inspired by poets, by the Stoics, by Cicero, by Polybius and other classical historians, and by Ecclesiastes 1:9, revived, or at least toyed with, the notion of a cyclical or repetitive time. The theme may speak variously: to our occasional uncanny sense of déjâ vu; to the more familiar sense as we grow older that we have seen much if not all of it before (the consequence of our stock of memories increasing); or to our historical sense of connectedness to the past, of being subject to its consequences. Behind Virgil loomed the great myths of time in Plato. One such myth Ficino found in the Timaeus, where time is described as the moving image of eternity and where the markers of time are the sun, moon and stars in their eternal dance.

Keywords: Marsilio Ficino; Neoplatonists; Neopythagoreans; Plato's philosophy



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