Narrative Order and the Cosmo-Political Representations of the Characters in the Timaeus

Méthexis 1 (32):86-109 (2020)

Daniel Alejandro Restrepo
The New School (PhD)
In this essay, I argue that the ordering of the speeches in Plato’s Timaeus indicates two things. First, each speech represents one of the three genera or principles Timaeus discusses. Socrates’ summary represents the forms, Critias’ Atlantis story embodies Becoming, and Timaeus’ cosmology serves as χώρα. Second, Timaeus responds to the other speakers in the order in which they were presented before beginning again with χώρα. Once Timaeus introduces χώρα, one of his tasks is laying the groundwork for Critias’ war story. My reading would prioritize the moral and political underpinnings of Timaeus’ cosmology over the more scientific or metaphysical interpretations of the text.
Keywords Timaeus  Cosmology  Politics  Plato  Narrative Order
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