The Problem of Cosmogony in Plato s Timaeus
The aim of this paper is to clarify some of the key problems of Plato’s
Timaeus. After the short introduction the question whether the cosmos,
according to Timaeus, once came into being or whether it never did but
is still coming into being is being discussed. In order to answer this question a careful analysis of the prooemium to the Timaeus’ speech (Tim. 27c1–29d3) is made and a distinction between so-called real and metaphorical interpretation is developed. Timaeus’ speech itself is introduced by a phrase εἰκὼς μῦθος (“a likely story” – Tim. 29d2) which qualifies it essentially, and the following section is, therefore, dedicated to an interpretation of the meaning of this phrase and generally to the topic of speech which can be delivered about cosmos. The last and longest part of the text builds on the results of preceding enquiry and answers the question how exactly should be the coming into being of cosmos understood. Theses of several renowned researchers are critically assessed and in the last section an interpretation which tries to combine both traditional approaches in an original way is presented.