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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

During the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the soul, its nature, and its relationship with the body became focal points for religious, medical, political, and ethical debates, and the choice of vocabulary itself had profound implications in how human and divine nature were represented in early modern English writings. The perceived complexities of the relationship between the body and the soul as delineated in competing schools of classical philosophy provided English writers a fertile ground for analysing the human experience in general and the nature of individual identity. Debates over what happens to the body and the soul at death and at resurrection permeate the writings of the period. During the English Civil War years they were markers of both political and religious affiliations, and this chapter demonstrates how the medical turn in the late seventeenth century focused increasing attention on the separation of soul and mind.

Keywords: body, soul, spirit, flesh, brain, dualism, Neoplatonism, Lucretius, mortalist, self

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