Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age


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This volume, edited by René Brouwer and Emmanuele Vimercati, deals with the debate about fate, providence and free will in the early Imperial age. This debate is rekindled in the 1st century CE during emperor Augustus’ rule and ends in the 3rd century CE with Plotinus and Origen, when the different positions in the debate were more or less fully developed. The book aims to show how in this period the notions of fate, providence and freedom were developed and debated, not only within and between the main philosophical schools, that is Stoicism, Aristotelianism, and Platonism, but also in the interaction with other, “religious” movements, here understood in the general sense of groups of people sharing beliefs in and worship of (a) superhuman controlling power(s), such as Gnosticism, Hermetism as well as Judaism and Christianity.

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René Brouwer, Ph.D. (2000), University of Cambridge, teaches philosophy and law at the University of Utrecht. He has published in ancient philosophy as well as in the philosophy and history of law, including The Stoic Sage (CUP, 2014) and Law and Philosophy in Late Republican Rome (CUP, forthcoming). Emmanuele Vimercati, Ph.D. (2004), University of Genoa, is Professor of History of Ancient Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University (Rome). He has published monographs, translations, and articles on Stoicism and Platonism, as well as on the relation between Greek philosophy and early Christianity.
Notes on Contributors
Introduction René Brouwer and Emmanuele Vimercati
1 Fate, Providence, and Free Will: Why Bother? John Rist
2 Divine and Human Will in Imperial Stoicism René Brouwer
3 Epictetus on What Is in Our Power: Modal versus Epistemic Conceptions Ricardo Salles
4 Providence and Cosmology in Philo of Alexandria Ludovica De Luca
5 Providence and Responsibility in Philo of Alexandria. An Analysis of Genesis 2.9 Roberto Radice
6 Stoic Freedom in Paul’s Letter to the Romans 6.1–8.30 and Epictetus, Dissertation 4.1: from Being under an Obligation to Wanting Troels Engberg-Pedersen
7 Middle Platonists on Fate and Providence. God, Creation, and the Governance of the World Emmanuele Vimercati
8 Determinism and Deliberation in Alexander of Aphrodisias Carlo Natali
9 Alexander of Aphrodisias on Fate as a Problem in Epistemology and Moral Psychology Péter Lautner
10 Free Will According to the Gnostics Aldo Magris
11 Providence, Fate and Freedom of the Hermetic Sage Claudio Moreschini
12 Early Christian Philosophers on Free Will George Karamanolis
13 Divine Causality. Demiurge and Providence in Plotinus Enrico Peroli
14 Lithoi Pheromenoi. Fate, Soul and Self-Determination in Enneads 3.1 Maria Luisa Gatti
15 “Both Sun and Night Are Servants for Mortals”? Providence in Celsus’ True Account Pia De Simone
16 Providence, Free Will and Predestination in Origen Mark Edwards
Index of Passages
General Index
Advanced students and specialists in ancient philosophy, ancient religions, Hellenistic Judaism, and early Christianity (including New Testament studies), and anyone interested in the origins of and the debate about the notions of fate, providence, and free will in philosophy and religion in the early Imperial age.
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