In the Platonic, Neopythagorean, Middle Platonic, and Neoplatonic schools of philosophy, the demiurge is an artisan-like figure responsible for the fashioning and maintenance of the physical universe. The term was subsequently adopted by the Gnostics. Although a fashioner, the demiurge is not necessarily the same as the creator figure in the familiar monotheistic sense, because both the demiurge itself plus the material from which the demiurge fashions the universe are considered either uncreated and eternal, or the product of some other being, depending on the system.
The word "demiurge" is an English word from demiurgus, a Latinized form of the Greek, dimiourgos, literally "creator", and which was originally a common noun meaning "craftsman" or "artisan", but gradually it came to mean "producer" and eventually "creator". The philosophical usage and the proper noun derive from Plato's Timaeus, written c. 360 BC, in which the demiurge is presented as the creator of the universe. This is accordingly the definition of the demiurge in the Platonic (c. 310–90 BC) and Middle Platonic (c. 90 BC – 300 AD) philosophical traditions. In the various branches of the Neoplatonic school (third century onwards), the demiurge is the fashioner of the real, perceptible world after the model of the Ideas, but (in most Neoplatonic systems) is still not itself "the One". In the arch-dualist ideology of the various Gnostic systems, the material universe is evil, while the non-material worl . . . more