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 (a) the balance, or lack thereof, between the so-called contemplative and the active life, (b) the relations between the different virtues, (c) the notion of justice, and (d) 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.

 

Biography

Selected publications


The Roman Stoics: Self, Responsibility, and Affection. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2005. 210 pp.

 

Pouvoir et Puissances chez Philon d’Alexandrie, co-edited with F. Calabi, O. Munnich, and E. Vimercati. Monoth√©ismes et Philosophie. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016. xxx + 388 pp.

 

“Teaching Pericles: Cicero on the Study of Nature,” in Roman Reflections. Studies in Latin
Philosophy, ed. by K. Volk and G. Williams (Oxford University Press, 2015) 91-107.

 

“The Academy, the Stoics, and Cicero on Plato’s Timaeus,” in Plato and the Stoics, ed. by Alexander Long (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013) 29-58.

 

“Authority and Agency in Stoicism,” Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 51 (2011) 296-322.
 

institut

senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2015/2016
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline History
2015
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2012/2013
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline Linguistics
2012
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2014/2015
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline Indian Philosophy and Intellectual History
2014
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2012/2013
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline Linguistics
2012