1st Edition

Forms, Souls, and Embryos
Neoplatonists on Human Reproduction





ISBN 9780367874742
Published December 19, 2019 by Routledge
232 Pages

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Book Description

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 embryology.

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 Index

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Author(s)

Biography

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).