Volume 11, Issue 2, Spring 2007
Jena G. Jolissaint
Tracing the Body in Plato’s Timaeus
This paper develops a structural parallel between the maternal/feminine body in Greek mythology and the figure of the body in Plato’s Timaeus. Historically
Plato is often portrayed as a thinker who is concerned with the corporeal only insofar as philosophy is engaged in transcending bodily limitations. Yet the Timaeus is not engaged in producing a dualistic opposition between the intelligible and the sensible, nor is Platonic philosophy a rejection of life in favor of the perfect wisdom that comes with death. The following work will suggest that the Timaeus is a dialogue deeply concerned with the question of birth and corporeality and that this concern is disclosed (and not repressed) in and through Timaeus’s evocation of the body.