The Myth of Human Races: Can Plutarch Help Us Understand Valentinian Anthropology?

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Abstract

The heresiological interpretation of Valentinian anthropology continues to be held as the Gnostic position regarding human origins, condition, and destiny. Church Fathers not only managed to distil and fabricate a coherent whole they could easily attack, but were also persuasive enough to perpetuate their interpretation for centuries to come. Given the lack of consensus in the analysis of Early Christian sources, this article intends to advance the discussion by placing Valentinian anthropology in the wider religious and philosophical context to which it belongs. In order to do so, I will compare Valentinian views with Plutarch’s conception of the human being as presented in his eschatological myths. Especially, the analysis of his De facie will show that Plutarch provides the best precedent for Valentinian anthropology, and that in both cases myths intend to convey a philosophical, holistic view of human life in which cosmology, theology, anthropology, and ethics are intrinsically connected.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Man of Many Interests
Subtitle of host publicationPlutarch on Religion, Myth, and Magic: Essays in Honor of Aurelio Pérez Jiménez
EditorsLautaro Roig Lanzillotta, Delfim F. Leão
Place of PublicationLeiden
PublisherBrill
Pages188-210
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-40447-2
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-40435-9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17-Oct-2019

Publication series

NameBrill's Plutarch Studies
PublisherBrill
Number2
ISSN (Print)2451-8328

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