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Title: Thomas Traherne in tradition : an analysis of Platonist cognition through the writings of Plotinus, Ficino, Traherne, and Hobbes
Author: Guertin, Frank John
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 3364
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2017
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Since the initial discovery of Traherne at the turn of the twentieth century, studies of his work have often neglected theological and philosophical analyses. Early caricatures of Traherne as a proto-Romantic have also colored his reception as a serious theologian. By placing the critical emphasis on the literary dynamics within the corpus, the intellectual history influencing Traherne and the construction of his ideas has subsequently been lightly addressed in scholarship over the years. This dissertation presents Traherne as a sophisticated thinker who draws on the resources of Christian Platonism in an effort to create a philosophy for life. The argument puts him in dialogue with three other writers he knew well: Plotinus, Marsilio Ficino, and Thomas Hobbes. Plotinus and Ficino help locate the Platonist philosophical stream Traherne participates in. Thomas Hobbes helps illuminate the nascent empiricism indicative of the early modern period, a mechanical philosophy Traherne critiques in various ways. With all four voices engaged, the topics of evil, soul, sense, and memory are investigated in order to reveal the textures of a Trahernian anthropology. A portrait then emerges where Traherne opens up, for the reader, possibilities of transformation arising from ordinary experience. The argument ultimately provides a re-interpretation of innocence in view of Traherne’s Christian Platonism, showing how the concept of innocence works as a Platonic call to transformation and originary wholeness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available