The doctrine of the world soul (anima mundi) is characteristic for the period of Middle and Neoplatonism. It first emerges in Plato’s Timaeus and was shortly afterwards subjected to an interesting criticism by Plato’s direct pupil Aristotle. Our research project focuses on two main aspects:
(1) the world-soul and its relation to space/place;
(2) the way early Christian thinkers dealt with the Platonic concept of a divine cosmic soul.
The account in Plato’s Timaeus inspired later Neoplatonist to develop a rather dynamic conception of space (ensouled space, as it were). What is more, some of them even claimed that soul is the metaphysical cause of dimensionality and space. Regarding early Christian reactions to the Platonic world soul, we shall address the question as to whether it is, after all, appropriate to speak of a Christian Platonism.