Gretchen Reydams-Schils

senior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2017/2018
discipline Philosophy
University of Notre Dame, College of Arts & Letters, Professor, Program of Liberal Studies, Concurrent Professor, Departments of Philosophy, Theology, Classics

Research project

Self and God in Philosophical and Religious Thought of the First c. BCE to the End of the Second c. CE


For the current project I want to expand on my earlier work by providing a closer analysis of how selfhood relates to the theme of "becoming like god" in Philo of Alexandria, Christian authors, and philosophers of the so-called Middle-Platonist period (first c. BCE to end of the second c. CE).  First, this phase of the tradition has received new attention in recent scholarship, and it is both crucial for a deeper understanding of how Platonism influenced the subsequent tradition, and fluid enough to constitute a veritable laboratory of new ideas.  (Platonism will become much more systematized from Plotinus onwards.) Second, this project relies on another strand in my previous research that corroborates the realization that from very early on in the tradition (starting in the third c. CE), Stoic and Platonic elements of thought became intertwined, leading to philosophically fruitful tensions and questions.


Succinctly put, before Plotinus came up with his solution to this problem (which then, with some delay, started to exert an influence on the Christian tradition as well), these authors struggled with the tension between the divine as pure thought, turned inwards into itself and self-contained, and its relational or providential mode, as responsible for the structures and order of the universe. This theme, in turn, has far-reaching implications for the kind of self it presupposes, with (i) the balance, or lack thereof, between the so-called contemplative and the active life, (ii) the relations between the different virtues, (iii) the notion of justice, and (iv) the interaction between soul and body. In dealing with these tensions, the authors of this period display a very distinctive combination of Platonic and Stoic elements. The Stoic strand of thought tends to emphasize the immanent dimension of god and self, whereas the Platonist strand tends towards transcendence.






Gretchen J. Reydams-Schils is Professor in the Program of Liberal Studies of the College of Arts & Letters at the University of Notre Dame. She is also Concurrent Professor in the Departments of Philosophy, Theology, and Classics at the same university. She holds a Ph.D in Classics and Ancient Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley. Her main research interests are very wide ranging from ancient philosophy to feminist philosophy and including the social ethics of the Roman Stoics.


Selected publications


Pouvoir et Puissances chez Philon d’Alexandrie, with F. Calabi, O. Munnich, & E. Vimercati (eds), Monoth√©ismes et Philosophie SeriesBrepols, Turnhout, 2015.


'Teaching Pericles: Cicero on the Study of Nature', in K. Volk & G. Williams (eds), Roman Reflections. Studies in Latin Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 91-107.


'The Academy, the Stoics, and Cicero on Plato’s Timaeus', in A. Long (ed.), Plato and the Stoics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2013, pp. 29-58.


'Authority and Agency in Stoicism', Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, vol. 51, 2011, pp. 296-322.

The Roman Stoics: Self, Responsibility, and Affection, University of Chicago Press, Chicago/London, 2005. 




senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2013/2014
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline Archaeology
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2012/2013
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline Religious Studies
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2015/2016
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline History
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2014/2015
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline Art History