Who Are We Really? A Platonist's Contribution to Christianity

Prof. Margaret R. Miles

The 2005-2006 Weltin Lecture in Early Christianity

The core of any religion is its teaching on the human being. The third century Platonist philosopher, Plotinus, proposed a distinctive answer to the question posed by the title of this lecture. Through the Platonist Christian, St. Augustine, Plotinus’s answer had a long and rich history within Christianity. The lecture explores this wonderfully quirky philosopher to whom Christian mysticism owes a large debt.

Professor Margaret R. Miles was Dean from 1996 until her retirement in 2003 of the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. Before that, she taught for eighteen years on the faculty of Harvard University Divinity School, where she was Bussey Professor of Theology. Her most recent publications include The Word Made Flesh: A History of Christian Thought (Blackwell, 2004); Plotinus on Body and Beauty (Blackwell, 1999); Seeing and Believing: Religion and Values in the Movies (Beacon, 1996); as well as numerous chapters in books and articles. She is currently writing a book entitled A Complex Delight: The Secularization of the Breast, 1350-1700, scheduled for publication this year by University of California Press.