Timaeus of Locri (ca. 400 B.C.E.)
One of the earliest known writers on the doctrines of magic.
He was a Pythagorean philosopher born in Locri, Italy, and
lived ca. 420–380 B.C.E. He is credited with the work On the Soul
of the Universe, although some historians believe this may be an
abridgement of Plato’s dialogue of Timaeus.
The Timaean theory of God, the Universe, and the Worldsoul
was thus set forth by A. F. Büsching
‘‘God shaped the eternal unformed matter by imparting to
it His being. The inseparable united itself with the separable;
the unvarying with the variable; and, moreover, in the harmonic
conditions of the Pythagorean system. To comprehend all
things better, infinite space was imagined as divided into three
portions, which are—the centre, the circumference, and the intermediate
space.
‘‘The centre is most distant from the highest God, who inhabits
the circumference; the space between the two contains
the celestial spheres. When God descended to impart His
being, the emanations from Him penetrated the whole of heaven,
and filled the same with imperishable bodies. Its power decreased
with the distance from the source, and lost itself gradually
in our world in minute portions, over which matter was still
dominant.
‘‘From this proceeds the continuous change of being and
decay below the moon, where the power of matter predominates;
from this, also, arise the circular movements of the heaven
and the earth, the various rapidities of the stars, and the peculiar
motion of the planets. By the union of God with matter,
a third being was created. namely, the world-soul, which vitalizes
and regulates all things, and occupies the space between
the centre and the circumference.’’
Plato’s Timaeus also tells the legendary story of the lost
drowned continent of Atlantis.