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Mythic paradigms and the Platonic life: Becoming a Bacchus in Damascius’ Philosophical History

Miles, G ORCID: 0000-0003-3149-3963 2018 , 'Mythic paradigms and the Platonic life: Becoming a Bacchus in Damascius’ Philosophical History' , Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol. 138 , pp. 55-66 , doi: 10.1017/S0075426918000046.

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Abstract

The fragmentary biographical work by Damascius, known as either the Life of Isidore or Philosophical History, appears to have begun with the myths of the dismemberment of Osiris and Dionysus. These programmatic allusions establish an important theme in the text that followed: ‘becoming a Bacchus’. This, as is clear from Damascius’ Phaedo Commentary, refers to the process of unifying and liberating oneself from the body at the ‘cathartic’ stage in the Neoplatonic scale of virtues. The acquisition of likeness to this specific deity is, therefore, a vital though far from final stage in the progression towards the ultimate goal of late antique Platonic philosophy: ‘becoming like god as far as possible’.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Miles, G
Keywords: myth, Bacchus, Damascius, biography, Philosophical History, Life of Isidore, Dionysus
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Hellenic Studies
Publisher: Soc Promotion Hellenic Stud
ISSN: 0075-4269
DOI / ID Number: 10.1017/S0075426918000046
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies

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