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demiurge (dĕmˈēûrjˌ) [key] [Gr., = workman, craftsman], name given by Plato in a mythological passage in the Timaeus to the creator God. In Gnosticism the Demiurge, creator of the material world, was not God but the Archon, or chief of the lowest order of spirits or aeons. According to the Gnostics, the Demiurge was able to endow man only with psyche (sensuous soul)—the pneuma (rational soul) having been added by God. The Gnostics identified the Demiurge with the Jehovah of the Hebrews. In philosophy the term is used to denote a divinity who is the builder of the universe rather than its creator.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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