ANIMA MUNDI

ANIMA MUNDI Even in the pre-Socratic tradition, there are indications of the notion of an anima mundi, based on an analogical relation between microcosm man and macrocosm world. But the only clear, organized theory of the doctrine of the cosmic soul, as the universal principle of harmony and the life of the All, is offered by Plato in the Timaeus, which depicts the cosmos as living, animated and intelligent 30 b, being composed of a body endowed with a soul and an intellect, perfect in all its parts because it is the best possible image of the transcendental level of the ideas. The universal soul, prior to the cosmic body, participates in rationality and harmony; endowed with a circular movement, it is the principle of knowledge, the intermediary between intelligible and sensible reality. This notion was received and elaborated in the later Platonic tradition, with various results, until arriving at Plotinus’s formula of the third principle, after the One and Nous, being the universal soul which, in its mediating function between the intelligible and sensible worlds, originates the cosmic soul and individual souls, through which it exercises its function of ordering matter to produce sensible beings. This Platonic doctrine, which likely used suggestions and themes already present in Pythagorean circles, is at the basis of a wide and varied speculative tradition with strong religious connotations. In fact, linked to the notion of the divine character of the heavenly bodies, inasmuch as they too are endowed with a soul, as is explicitly expressed in the chronicler Epinomis, it developed into intense forms of cosmic mysticism. The harmony of the cosmos, a reflection of the ordering action of the divine soul, offers itself to the devout contemplation of the wise person who thereby attains to knowledge of the divinity, conceived sometimes as transcendent but more often as immanent to the Great All, precisely as its soul. In Stoicism, the doctrine of Logos and Pneuma as the divine principle of rationality, immanent in the cosmos and bond of the All, was sometimes expressed in Platonic terms as equivalent to the notion of an anima mundi. This notion is also present in other philosophical contexts; e.g., Philodemus called the Logos world soul, and Plutarch closely linked this universal soul to the Nous, saying that to be able to order and hold united the great body of the cosmos, it must participate in intellect, logismos and harmony De animae procreat. in Tim. VI, 1014 E. Philo of Alexandria’s doctrine of the Logos blended biblical elements Wisdom as intermediary and instrument of creation, Platonic doctrines intelligible model of sensible reality and the Stoic notions of Logos and Pneuma. From the latter, Philo’s Logos derives its character of universal bond desmos, i.e., the element of cohesion and harmony of cosmic reality see De fuga et inv. 112; De plant. 8. The process by which the attributes of the Stoic Logos and Pneuma were transferred to the origininally Platonic anima mundi and also Philo’s doctrine of the Logos, which saw Stoic and Platonic categories assumed into a biblical context, helps us understand the position of those 2nd-c. Christian authors who transferred this complex of notions to the person of the Son-Logos, often in the framework of a particular symbolism of the cross. Thus Justin Martyr, explicitly citing Tim. 30 b-c, declares that the Greek philosopher speaks of the Son-Logos when he describes the X shape of the anima mundi I Apol. 60,1. Recalling the bronze cross raised by Moses Num 21:8, a figure of the cross of Christ, the apologist says that the Greek philosopher, misunderstanding the biblical text, expresses the theory that the second virtue after God, the first principle, was arranged as an X in the universe. With implict reference to the Platonic doctrine, an analogous symbolism of the cross as a figure of the universal presence of the Word of God is developed in a passage of Irenaeus’s Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, which says that he in an invisible form is diffused in us and in the whole world, whose length and breadth and height and depth he encompasses, since by God’s Word everything is administered and governed, and in these the Son of God was crucified, imprinted on the universe in the form of a cross ch. 34, tr. by E. Bellini, Milan 1979, 502. The notion of the cross of Christ as cosmic bond is also presented in some apocryphal texts Martyrdom of Andrew, ch. 14; Acts of John, ch. 99, confirming that the idea was widespread in primitive Christianity. Gnosticism also developed its own symbolism of the cross, understood as a limit between the level of the pleroma and that of the cosmos. This notion is also derived from the Timaeus, where the cosmic soul assumes the appearance of an X, since it is made up of the intersection of the two spheres, that of the planets and that of the fixed stars on the ecliptic. A.-J. Festugi¨re, La Rvlation d’Herm¨s Trismgiste, II, Le dieu cosmique, Paris 1949; J. Moreau, L’me du monde de Platon aux Sto¯ciens, Paris 1939; repr. Hildesheim-New York 1971. G. Sfameni Gasparro ANISIUS d. 410. Bishop of Thessalonica, disciple and successor of Acholius, saint. Feast 30 December. The letter of Siricius of Rome was addressed to him Ep. 4, PL 13, 1148-1149, in which it was established that, in the case of internal conflicts among the bishops of Illyricum, the final decision belongs to the bishop of Thessalonica: he will later be considered by Pope Leo the Great as a precedent of the apostolic vicariate. Anisius looked to Ambrose of Milan, who in turn esteemed Anisius greatly Ep. 15-16. Ambrose, in a letter that has also been attributed to Siricius Ep. 9, PL 13, 1176-1178, stresses Anisius’s role in the Synod of Capua 391392 against Bonosus. Anisius, though condemning Bonosus, confirmed the ordinations performed by him, a concession later revoked by Innocent I. Anisius was also a friend of John Chrysostom, actively supporting him in the West John Chrys., Ep. 162-163. Died ca. 410. R. Aignain, DHGE 3,909-910; BS 1,1267-1268; E. Cavalcanti, Siricio, santo, in EPapi I, 375-381.The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: a book review | The First Gate travelquaz

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