Immortality in Empedocles

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The paper examines Empedocles’ attributions of immortality. I argue that Empedocles does not withhold immortality from the gods but rather has an unorthodox conception of what immortality is. Immortality does not mean, or imply, endless duration. A god’s immortality is its continuity, as one and the same organism, over a long but finite period. This conception of divine immortality then influences Empedocles’ other attributions of immortality, each of which marks a contrast with discontinuity, real or apparent. The nature of this contrast varies from context to context, and there is considerable heterogeneity in the list of immortal items. On the other hand, the attribution of immortality never implies that the item is completely changeless.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Issue number1
Early online date9 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Empedocles
  • Immortality
  • Gods
  • Theology


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