Authors
Jana Schultz
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Abstract
Diotima, the priestess of Plato’s Symposium, is an important reference for Proclus’ thinking about the role of women in philosophical and religious practices. This character does not just offer Proclus an example for women’s ability to attain the same level of virtue than men, but she is also a model for the joint work of philosophical and religious practices. Thereby she stands for practices which are orientated on the human condition and therefore depend on intermediary entities as demons, and for practices which transcend both the human condition and the intermediary entities. Most interesting in Proclus’ presentation of Diotima as a priestess and a philosopher is that he does not present her to fulfill these roles by masculinizing her soul through a sole focus on the intelligible entities – as for example Porphyry advises his wife Marcella – but by using the female element in her soul, i.e. the circuit of the Different, as an intermediate through which she can get in touch with the demons and – through them – also with higher entities. The ideal which Diotima incorporates is therefore not becoming masculine but harmonizing the male and female elements within the soul.
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DOI 10.1075/bpjam.00040.sch
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