Since it is your opinion that it would be requisite for me to collect together what I have discoursed and written dispersedly in several treatises explaining, as we apprehended his sense and meaning, what opinion Plato had concerning the soul, as requiring a particular commentary by itself; therefore I have compiled this discourse, which asks for your consideration and pardon not only because the matter itself is by no means easy to be handled, but also because the doctrines herein contained are somewhat contrary to those held by most of the Platonic philosophers. And I will first rehearse the words as they run originally in the text itself of Timaeus.1

‘There being one substance not admitting of division, but continuing still the same, and another liable to be divided among several bodies, out of both these he produced for a middle mixture a third sort of Substance, partaking of the nature of the Same and of the nature of the Other, and placed it in the midst between that which was indivisible and that which was subject to be corporeally divided. Then taking [p. 327] all three, he blended them into one form, forcibly adapting to the Same the nature of the Other, not readily condescending to a mixture. Now when he had thus mixed them with the Substance, and reduced the three into one, he again divided this whole matter into so many parts as were thought to be necessary; every one of these parts being composed of the Same, the Other, and the Substance And thus he began his division.’

By the way, it would be an endless toil to recite the contentions and disputes that have from hence arisen among his interpreters, and to you indeed superfluous, who are not ignorant yourselves of the greatest part.

But seeing that Xenocrates won to his opinions several of the most eminent philosophers, while he defined the substance of the soul to be number moved by itself; and that many adhered to Crantor the Solian, who affirmed the soul to consist partly of an essence perceptible to the mind, partly of a nature concerned with sensible things and subject to opinions; I am apt to believe that the perspicuity of these matters clearly dilucidated will afford you a fair entrance into the knowledge of the rest.

1 Timaeus, p. 35 A–B.

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