The Life of the Soul

  • Jasper Reid
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas Archives internationales d'histoire des idées book series (ARCH, volume 207)


Through all of the contentious debates in which More engaged himself, although his position might have regularly reached considerably beyond the express tenets of the Church of England, at least it tended not to come into direct conflict with them. In his conviction that the human soul existed before it came to be united to a terrestrial body, however, he was on shakier ground. There was a fairly active debate on this question during More’s time, in England and further afield too; and, although the Church and intellectual society at large might have rather begrudgingly tolerated supporters of the pre-existence of the soul, they were far from keen on the doctrine. More was one of the few participants in this debate who felt confident enough to sign his name to works that argued for pre-existence; and, as luck would have it, he never actually got into any real trouble over this. But he recognised that he was in a precarious position, and he was always scrupulous to declare that he was offering the doctrine merely as a conjecture, one that he would be entirely content to abandon if the Church was to come down firmly against it.


Animal Life Human Soul Terrestrial Life Animal Spirit Plastic Faculty 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jasper Reid
    • 1
  1. 1.PhilosophyKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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