Psychozoia: The Journey of the Soul

  • Robert Crocker
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Idées book series (ARCH, volume 185)


More’s Psychodia Platonica (1642) is in many respects a profoundly religious document, a ‘confession’ in verse, describing in sometimes obscure allegorical detail a quite unique illuminist revelation. More’s interest in philosophy was framed and inspired by specific spiritual and apologetic concerns, as both Ward’s biography, and the little autobiography included in the General Preface to More’s Opera Omnia (1679), make clear.1 For More the end of all ‘true’ philosophy was the defence and explication of Christian religion, and the end of all religion was the believer’s ‘Second Birth’, and his or her illumination or ‘deification’:2

our endeavour must be not onely to be without sin, but to become God, that is, impassible, immaterial, quit of all sympathy with the body, drawn up wholly into the intellect, and plainly devoid of all perturbation.


Mystical Experience Christian Religion Divine Life Base Affection Vital Spirit 
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  1. 1.
    See my article, “Illuminism”, in Rogers (1997): 129–144.Google Scholar
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    More was careful in the CC (1653) to emphasise that this `separation’ of the body from the soul was not a denial of the `natural pleasures’ of physical life, but only of the `inordinate desire for pleasure’ and the consequent dominance of the intellect by sense-impressions and the humours of the constitution. See The Moral Cabbala, iii,4.Google Scholar
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    Discourses: 66. This image of the two `eyes’ of the soul here is traditional, and derives from Matthew, vi, 22–3: “The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness…”. The Christian Platonists interpreted it via Plato, Republic: 508c ff. and Plotinus, Enneads: I,vi,8. More’s immediate source here is probably the Theologia Germanica (1854): vii. Compare also Smith (1660): 16.Google Scholar
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    Malachi: iv,2:“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing wings: and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” The image is also Platonic. See Plato, Republic, 508d ff.; and Plotinus: VI,vii,22; and the discussion in V. Lossky, Image and Likeness of God (1967): 45–69. See also Cudworth, Sermon, in Patrides (1969): 111; Smith (1660), The Excellency and Nobleness of True Religion, which forms an extended commentary on this kind of `light’ imagery. On the `scarcity’ of More’s poems, see Rust’s reported request from Ireland that More reissue them in folio, Ward: 232.Google Scholar
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    “Psychozoia”: iii,67 ff. Compare Discourses: 54; and DD: 303–6. See also Tollinton, Clement: II, 86 ff.Google Scholar
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    This controversial rejection of a purely physical resurrection was one of the main reasons More was later accused of heresy. See below, Chapter 7.Google Scholar
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    CC., Defence of the Moral Cabbala (1712): 222. See also GMG: VI,v,4–6.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Crocker
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AustraliaAustralia

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