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The Afterlife, Reincarnation and Return to the Divine in Neoplatonism

Chairs: Crystal Addey (addeycj@cardiff.ac.uk) and Deepa Majumdar (dmajumda@pnc.edu)

This panel welcomes papers on Neoplatonic eschatology, on views of the afterlife, as well as on related topics including (but not limited to) the themes of reward and punishment, judgement and purification, and the role of eschatology in the Orphic Gold Tablets and in Neoplatonic uses of Orphic material. We welcome papers on the nature, purpose and place of the doctrine of reincarnation, or rebirth, the transmigration of souls (especially the vexed question of whether human souls transmigrate into animal bodies), the difference between reincarnation and return (to the First Principle), and the relationship between reincarnation, self-knowledge, embodiment, becoming, and time. We also welcome papers on the nature of the respites (temporal and otherwise) from reincarnation, through death, forelife and afterlife, through the particular soul’s expiatory return to the World Soul, and through a rapturous awakening from the state of embodiment. The role played by reincarnation in bridging the immanent self to the transcendent self is another welcome topic. Yet another significant theme might be the possible relationship between the soul’s eschatological and spiritual journey(s). What is the relationship between reincarnation, and the central goal of Neoplatonic philosophy – namely, assimilation to the divine or becoming like a god?  What justifies the final exit from the otherwise endless temporal cycles of reincarnation? We particularly welcome papers which consider the possible implications of Neoplatonic views of the afterlife and reincarnation for metaphysics, psychology, ethics and ritual praxis, such as theurgy.