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


Miles, G, Mythic paradigms and the Platonic life: Becoming a Bacchus in Damascius' Philosophical History, Journal of Hellenic Studies, 138 pp. 55-66. ISSN 0075-4269 (2018) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2018 The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies

DOI: doi:10.1017/S0075426918000046


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 Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:myth, Bacchus, Damascius, biography, Philosophical History, Life of Isidore, Dionysus
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:History and philosophy of specific fields
Research Field:History of philosophy
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in philosophy and religious studies
UTAS Author:Miles, G (Dr Graeme Miles)
ID Code:129518
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2018-12-04
Last Modified:2019-05-14

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