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Volume 18/19, 2020/2021

Ousia: Essence ou Substance?

Béatrice Bakhouche
Pages 103-133

Les expressions de l’essence dans la traduction et le commentaire du Timée par Calcidius (IVe siècle)

Expressing ‘essence’ in the translation and commentary of Timaeus by Calcidius (4th c. p.D.) depends on Platonist terminology which is not completely stabilised. We will see how, in his translation, Calcidius translated Greek words as οὐσία or φύσις, but also how he used the word substantia whereas there was no expression of essence in the Greek text. The Latin commentator used both essentia and substantia, but the latter quite often. However, in doing so, he weakened the meaning of the word substantia. Lastly, Calcidius translated into Latin and used Greek no‑Platonist expressions with a very specific signification of ‘essence’.