Where did the idea behind the Elizabethan "Great Chain of Being" originate?
#86275. Asked by lexi_3333. (Sep 23 07 2:59 AM)
The Ontological Basis for the Gradation of Ex-|
isting Things. Historically we may trace the concep-
tion of a Chain of Being to the Platonic Idea of Ideas,
or Idea of the Good, discussed in the seventh book of
the Republic. This Idea is in fact the summit of the
hierarchy of knowable things, for not only do they owe
to it the quality of their being knowable, but derive
from it their very, existence by participating in various
degrees in its nature (509b). http://etext.virginia.edu/cgi-local/DHI/dhi.cgi?id=dv1-45
In The Divine Pymander, too, earth corresponds to|
cosmos, the microcosm of man to the macrocosm of
the universe. Like the figure of Hermes, the derivative
symbols of chain and ladder between heaven and earth
suggest that man is neither separated from God as in
the medieval view nor chained to his link as in the
neo-classical. Instead, he is linked to God; divinely
creative, he ascends, “... he leaveth not the Earth,
and yet is above; So great is the greatness of his Na-
ture” (p. 40). The ladder he ascends is the same that
God descends, “... an Earthly Man is a Mortal God,
and... the Heavenly God is an Immortal Man” (pp.
Find something useful here? Please help us spread the word about FunTrivia. Recommend this page below!