Friday, 17 May 2019

Lenka Karfikova: Souls of Stars and Ideas of Individuals: Origenian material in Augustine’s Ep. 14?

In his letter 14 addressed to Nebridius, Augustine answers two questions of his philosophically interested friend: (1) Why human individuals make many of the same things, whereas the Sun does not do the same as the other stars; (2) Whether God’s Wisdom contains onlythe form (ratio) of man in general, or also of each one of us in particular. These questions very probably have their source in Plato’s Timaeus and Plotinus’ Enneads (esp. V,7) respectively, but they also find very interesting parallels in Origen’sDe orat.7,1; De princ.I,7,3; III,5,4 and De princ. I,2,3; I,4,4-5; Comm. Ioh.I,19,111.113–115 respectively. My aim is not to speculate about any possible reading of Origen by the young Augustine but to explore the meaning of these topics in both Christian authors and to explain the prima facie incomprehensible connection of both Nebridius’ questions.

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