Plato's myths, the soul and its intra-cosmic future

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In Plato's myths of the afterlife (with the exception of the Gorgias), the destiny and judgement of souls after death are translocated to the cosmos experienced and inhabited by living people. For example, in the Timaeus’ account of metempsychosis, or reincarnation, rewarded souls are attached to a bodily part of the cosmos. In the Republic and elsewhere, a god's responsibilities can include both the cosmos and the judgement of souls, and there is no longer a firm boundary between the gods responsible for the living and the world of the living, and those responsible for the deceased. This chapter aims to explain this development in Plato's myths, and argues that it should be connected to his reflections on (a) godlikeness, (b) the soul's functions and (c) eschatological justice. It also draws a contrast between Plato's myths about the discarnate soul and Christian expectations for the afterlife.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEschatology in antiquity
Subtitle of host publicationforms and functions
EditorsHilary Marlow, Karla Pollmann, Helen Van Noorden
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781315459493, 9781315459486
ISBN (Print)9781138208315, 9781032043050
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2021

Publication series

NameRewriting antiquity


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