Is God a mindless vegetable? Cudworth on Stoic theology

Sellars, J. (2011) Is God a mindless vegetable? Cudworth on Stoic theology. Intellectual History Review, 21 (2). pp. 121-133. ISSN 1749-6977 Available from:

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In the sixteenth century the Stoics were deemed friends of humanist Christians, but by the eighteenth century they were attacked as atheists. What happened in the intervening period? In the middle of this period falls Ralph Cudworth’s True Intellectual System of the Universe (1678), which contains a sustained analysis of Stoic theology. In Cudworth’s complex taxonomy Stoicism appears twice, both as a form of atheism and an example of imperfect theism. Whether the Stoics are theists or atheists hinges on whether their God is conscious and intelligent, or alive but unconscious like a plant or vegetable. Is God sentient or is he a mindless vegetable?

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Stoic theology, Cudworth, God
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education > Department of Arts and Cultural Industries
ID Code:8400
Deposited By: Dr J. Sellars
Deposited On:15 Jul 2010 15:11
Last Modified:02 Dec 2016 13:14

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