Forms, Souls and Embryos

Forms, Souls and Embryos : Neoplatonists on Human Reproduction

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Forms, Souls, and Embryos allows readers coming from different backgrounds to appreciate the depth and originality with which the Neoplatonists engaged with and responded to a number of philosophical questions central to human reproduction, including: What is the causal explanation of the embryo's formation? How and to what extent are Platonic Forms involved? In what sense is a fetus 'alive,' and when does it become a human being? Where does the embryo's soul come from, and how is it connected to its body? This is the first full-length study in English of this fascinating subject, and is a must-read for anyone interested in Neoplatonism or the history of medicine and more

Product details

  • Hardback | 242 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 17.78mm | 522g
  • Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1138955272
  • 9781138955271
  • 1,421,455

About James Wilberding

James Wilberding is Professor of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at Ruhr University, Bochum (Germany). Previously he was a lecturer in Classics at Newcastle University (UK) and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Williams College (USA).show more

Review quote

"Wilberding's Forms, Souls, and Embryos is a pioneering work. It explores the uncharted territory of late ancient philosophy's growing interest in medicine and biology. Its distinguished achievement lies in discovering a new world for future research - the metaphysical foundation of the key concepts of conception and the origin of life, as presented in Neoplatonism, the school which carried the vitality of ancient thought into the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Wilberding's conclusion that the Neoplatonic attribution of causal significance to both sexes in biological generation does not constitute as quiet a revolution as it seems originally, is equally valid for the achievement of his book itself." - Dr. Svetla Slaveva-Griffin, Florida State University, USA "This is a fascinating book, well worth reading if you have any interest in Platonic philosophy or ancient philosophy more generally ... It is time that we took more notice of philosophical engagement with embryological theory from the earliest thinkers to the early modern period. Wilberding's book is a major advance in scholarship in this area and will surely open up substantial avenues for further research. The typescript is immaculate; there are comprehensive notes, an excellent bibliography and index locorum. In short, this book in outstanding in content, style and presentation." - Sophia M. Connell, University of Cambridge, UK, in the Bryn Mawr Classica Reviewshow more

Table of contents

Introduction Chapter 1: The Embryological Background General Background: Four Key Issues in Ancient Embryology Embryology in Plato Chapter 2: The Metaphysical Background Metaphysical Models in Embryology The Biological Development of the Theory of Forms Chapter 3: Neoplatonic Embryology: The Core Theory The One-Seed Theory The Origin and Nature of the Seed The Maternal Actualization of the Seed Other External Factors in the Formation of the Offspring Appendix to Chapter 3: Eclectic Theories The Commentary on the Hippocratic On the Nature of the Child by John of Alexandria Theophilus Protospatharius' On the Construction of the Human Being Pseudo-Galen's De Spermate Pseudo-Iamblichus' Theology of Arithmetic Pseudo-Galen's Whether What is Carried in the Womb is a Living Thing The Commentary on Aristotle's On the Generation of Animals by Michael of Ephesus Michael's Interpretation of Aristotle's Embryology Michael's Interpretation of Plato's Embryology Chapter 4: Formation and Animation of the Embryo The Order of the Embryo's Formation The Animation of the Embryo Chapter 5: The Problem of Teratogenesis Epilogue Bibliography Index Locorum Subject Indexshow more