Hypatia 36 (1):120-144 (2021)

Danielle A. Layne
Gonzaga University
Notorious for advancing a strict dichotomy between the masculine “demiurgic father” and the feminine “nurse/receptacle of becoming” as the “natural” origin of the cosmos, Plato's Timaeus has become a site for feminist interrogation. Most critics easily deem the text a masculine fantasy that projects feminine impotence and obligatory heterosexuality, reinforcing patriarchal power structures that are blindly reproduced in their historical reception. Consequently, this article analyzes the Neoplatonic replication of this framework, but with special attention given to Proclus's challenges to this gendered and sexual context. In this late, sometimes forgotten figure, we find, rather surprisingly, a Platonist who neither sequesters the feminine to the domain of the passive receptacle nor charges her simply with being a bastard image of the masculine. Rather, for Proclus, the feminine becomes the site of lived, erotic power that produces and sustains the value of authentic otherness. Furthermore, Proclus offers a challenge to the naturalness of the sex binary, suggesting a radical queerness as the basis of all identity. Overall, we shall see how classical patriarchal thinkers may, despite themselves, offer subversive models that might present readers with possibilities for troubling the sexual prejudices of ancient metaphysical schemas.
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DOI 10.1017/hyp.2020.48
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References found in this work BETA

Mütterliche Ursachen in Proklos’ Metaphysik.Jana Schultz - forthcoming - Philologus: Zeitschrift für Antike Literatur Und Ihre Rezeption.
Conceptualizing the ‘Female’ Soul – a Study in Plato and Proclus.Jana Schultz - 2019 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 27 (5):883-901.
The Value of the Present Moment in Neoplatonic Philosophy.Danielle A. Layne - 2019 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (2):445-460.

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Commentary on Plato's Timaeus. Proclus - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.


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