I shall address the topic of ‘materiality’ from the philosophico-theological viewpoint in late antique Christian Platonists: Origen, his follower Gregory Nyssen, and Evagrius, who was inspired by both (and by Plotinus). Origen argued philosophically for the creation of matter ex nihilo, which I shall connect with his view of the soul-body relation and his theory of ensomatosis (as opposed to metensomatosis and his purported theory of the preexistence of disembodied souls). I shall then point out how Nyssen’s ingenious theory of the creation of matter from immaterial Ideas in the mind of God relies on Origen, as does also Evagrius’ teaching of the unfolding of matter from nous and soul, and its subsumption into soul and nous in the end.
This paper will attempt to analyse the strategies used to define spiritual or religious notions (such as the concepts of patrono or crisma) in the Portuguese version of Alphonse X’s Primeyra Partida. This definition is achieved by linking new information and concepts to well-known objects/substances (and their associated properties) through use of comparative structures. The apprehension of the new information depends upon the identification of the material properties of the objects/substances invoked. Examples of this process will be analysed, as will the strategy which depends upon a common understanding of the physical characteristics of these objects.