The Metaphysical One in Platonic and Augustinian Thoughts Essay

The Metaphysical One in Platonic and Augustinian Thoughts Essay

Length: 2190 words (6.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The legacy of Plato left its distinctive brand of influence on St. Augustine's beliefs and writings, of this there is no doubt. In Confessions, Augustine himself professed that it was the Platonic books that enabled him to attach himself to his God. However, it is evident that Augustine re-augmented much of the Platonic thoughts and, combining them with the early Christian doctrines, configured the hybrid into what became the foundation of Catholicism. The differences—as well as similarities—that exist between the two thought systems can be dissected from two points: the nature of the metaphysical supreme One and its relationships with the Many.

At the heart of Platonism is the concept of eidos, or Forms: the theory of an absolute and unchangeable Idea that is manifest in all things that are made so by its essence. One of the best definitions of the concept is offered in "Meno" in regards to the Form of Virtue: "…what is this very thing, in which [the individual virtues] are all the same and do not differ from each other? … Even if they are many and various, all of them have one and the same Form which makes them virtues." ("Meno", 72c, p61.) Plato searched for not individual aspects of a concept but the exact, complete definition of it. It is clear that he did not concern himself with the physical realities of the world but rather The Reality, the Immaterial which supercedes the Material.

The questions then rises about Plato's attitudes towards the pagan gods and his belief about the totality of the universe. Judging from the absence of Greek deities from the Dialogues, one is compelled to believe that Plato thought of the conventional gods as unnecessary and sought after the very Being of the universe, which is the eterna...


... middle of paper ...


...ate Good the soul can achieve nothing. In addition, Augustine evidently was most anxious to attack Manicheism, hence altogether rejecting that God is within human beings (a notion echoed by the Manicheans) would have been essential.

In his Confessions, Augustine successfully remolded Platonism to match his Christian ideals and interpretations. According to Platonism, the abstract eidos is the metaphysical perfect existence and the primal Universal Principle can be perceived as the Form of Being. Augustine took after Plato in his belief of an eternal, immaterial and unifying One, but his God departs from its Platonic counterpart in that He is active, personal, and ultimately the only hope of human salvation. Still, through Augustine and the Catholic Church, the pantheistic Platonism and its metaphysical One has survived throughout the Middle Ages into the present.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Difference Between Romantic And Platonic Love

- Movies only scratch the surface of “best friends.” You see the typical girl duo that gossips and shops, completely joined at the hip, never without one another. They trade secrets and inside jokes like playing cars, and their names go hand in hand. That perception isn’t wrong; it’s just not the whole truth. Your best friend should be all that movies say, but it’s so much more complex than that. Have you ever met someone and when you start talking you’re left wondering where they’ve been all your life....   [tags: Love, Interpersonal relationship, Platonic love]

Powerful Essays
983 words (2.8 pages)

Metaphysical Thoughts During the Enlightenment Period Essays

- Metaphysical Thoughts During the Enlightenment Period The eighteenth century was fraught with change. Dryden, Pope and Johnson were dominating the literature. Fahrenheit was building his first mercury thermometer. The Boston Tea Party and the French Revolution occurred. However, some of the most drastic changes occurred in thought. Prior to the eighteenth century, thinkers such as Locke, Spinoza, Descartes, and Hobbes dominated Western thought to the extent that they changed the way people viewed the world....   [tags: American America History]

Powerful Essays
1774 words (5.1 pages)

Essay on Metaphysical Poetry By John Donne

- While metaphysical poetry consists of a specific style with expected patterns, different poets emphasize different aspects of as much, choosing to highlight the importance of the conceit, the intermingling of the spiritual and the physical, the need for meditation, and so on. For example, John Donne tends to worry himself with metaphysical conceits to the ends of the universe and back, overdeveloping extended metaphors to the point where the specific object that another is being compared to is referred to in every line....   [tags: Metaphysical poets, John Donne, T. S. Eliot]

Powerful Essays
1213 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on The Truth About Platonic Friendships

- The researcher's qualitative research consisted of speaking with platonic friends of the opposite sex in casual random settings. The qualitative research was completely random using friends by chance that had no idea of the experiment. In doing so the researcher realizes that it is unethical, but figured it was the only way to find the real answers to his problem. During the conversation the researcher at one point or another came to ask the same four questions to all of the subjects involved in the experiment....   [tags: Platonic Love and Friendship]

Free Essays
976 words (2.8 pages)

Platonic Dualism versus Atman Essay

- Dualism Vs Atman “What is really real?“ is a question that one has pondered at some point in his or her life. When this question is proposed many basic things become a complex never ending winding staircase of unsolved mysteries. Two philosophers who sought to find the answer were Plato and Shankara. Plato is found in history as one of Socrates star pupil and can be said to be one of the greatest philosophers in western philosophy. Shankara was commonly known throughout Indian philosophy. The two philosophers developed two ways of thinking: Plato Dualism and Shankara the concept of Atman....   [tags: Hindu notion of true self, philosophical analysis]

Powerful Essays
762 words (2.2 pages)

John Donne: The Creator of Metaphysical Poetry Essay example

- John Donne is recognized as being the poet who broke the Petrarchan tradition in England and created a new style of poetry: Metaphysical (The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 581, 585-586; TNAEL throughout). Metaphysical poems are not a completely new branch of poetry, but an extension of the point of the Elizabethan tradition (pg. 581, 585-586). “The Sun Rising,” by John Donne, is divided into three stanzas, each ten lines long. The rhyme scheme in each stanza is ABBACDCDEE. Lines one, five, and six are metered in iambic tetrameter, line two is in dimeter, and lines three, four, seven, eight, nine, and ten are in pentameter....   [tags: John Donne, Metaphysical, poetry, Sun Rising,]

Powerful Essays
987 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Platonic And Aristotelian Epistemology : Comparison And Contrast

- Platonic and Aristotelian Epistemology: Comparison and Contrast As teacher and student, both Plato and Aristotle believed that knowledge is possible and therefore attainable. They agreed that the mind connects the soul and the body, containing within it the key to understanding what it means to exist in this world and how our existences are interrelated. In other words, what is a man and what does it mean to know. For Plato, knowledge must consist of what is genuinely real and not appearance only; it must be acquired through thoughts and ideas....   [tags: Plato, Aristotle, Logic, Epistemology]

Powerful Essays
1213 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Death Presented in Metaphysical Poetry

- Death Presented in Metaphysical Poetry Death is presented in metaphysical poetry in a number of different ways. However, from the glorified object of desire in Henry Vaughan’s ‘They are all gone into the world of light’ to the way in which John Donne mocks the personified death in ‘Death be not proud’, there are also a lot of common points which are made. The historical context of the pieces is clearly an influential factor. With all the changes happening during the 16th and 17th centuries (the time in which most metaphysical poetry was being written) the only thing one could be certain of in life was death....   [tags: Death Metaphysical Poetry Poems Essays]

Powerful Essays
2392 words (6.8 pages)

Herbert's Metaphysical Poems Essay

- Herbert's Metaphysical Poems In the first portion of The Temple, specifically Perirrhanterium, Herbert prescribes the didactics necessary for the instruction of the catechumen in a simple, straightforward manner. As the reader moves into the main section of The Church, the author’s poetic wit becomes more complex in both its style and depth of topic. Although the starkness of the messages in Herbert’s metaphysical poems is not as palpable as those of the Church Porch, their ability to teach both abstractly and visually affords them a didactic nature much like the parables of Christ....   [tags: Herbert Metaphysical Poems Essays]

Powerful Essays
3456 words (9.9 pages)

Platonic Forms Essay

- One Example of a Platonic Form other than what the book suggests is the Form of a book. The idea to write this paper on the Form of book came to me while I was sitting in the library perusing the reference books, trying to decide on an answer to question 2. You could say that the answer was staring me right in the face. I believe that the Form of a book exists but I have to agree with Aristotle's idea that the Form is created when the object is created. I also think that Forms are eternal, but from the moment that they are first thought of and then brought into the physical world....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
540 words (1.5 pages)