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IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 1509: The Timaeus Commentary Tradition, I

Thursday 13 July 2006, 09.00-10.30

Organiser:Mark Kauntze, University of Bristol
Moderator/Chair:Jacomien Prins, Onderzoekinstituut voor Geschiedenis en Cultuur (OGC), Universiteit Utrecht
Paper 1509-aThe Early History of the Timaeus
(Language: English)
Paul Scade, Department of Classics & Ancient History, University of Exeter
Index terms: Music, Philosophy
Paper 1509-bReading Plato in the 12th Century: The Case of Bernardus Silvestris
(Language: English)
Mark Kauntze, University of Bristol
Index terms: Music, Philosophy

Plato’s Timaeus, which is based on the Pythagorean belief that numbers are the principles of the universe, has known an impressive commentary tradition, of which many aspects are still virgin territory. In the cosmological monologue of the interlocutor Timaeus, Plato presents a scientific model of the cosmos by means of a narrative of the creation of the body and soul of the cosmos and of man, along with a description of their structure and operations. Creation is described as the imposition by the divine Demiurge of a mathematical order on matter, which has previously existed in a state of chaos, but is now transformed into order. This order is the foundation of the cosmic as well as the human body and soul, which are joined together through a mathematical bond. It is within this mathematical construction that metaphysical questions arise about the relationship between the Demiurge, the eternally existing model of creation, and the constantly changing created cosmos. The Timaeus commentary tradition can be considered as the history of reflections on these questions. In the first session cosmological and astronomical aspects of these reflections will be examined, while in the second session harmonic and musical aspects will be investigated.