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Volume 18/19, 2020/2021

Ousia: Essence ou Substance?

Clara Auvray·Assayas
Pages 91-102

Quel concept grec traduit essentia?
Contribution préliminaire à une histoire critique du lexique philosophique latin

Which Greek concept is translated by essentia ? The question is raised from a methodological perspective and aims at re‑examining the Latin texts on which philologists have based the history of essentia. Neither Cicero nor Seneca used the term, because they did not need it: its philosophical meaning is fully developed only when the theological discussions about the Trinity arise. The absence of essentia in the classical period gives some useful information about the way Plato was read at Rome: thus a critical history of the Latin philosophical lexicon should contribute to a better understanding of the reception of Greek philosophy in Rome.

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