Olympiodorus of Alexandria: exegete, teacher, philosopher

Utrecht University (NL), 14-15 December 2017

Sweelinckzaal, Drift 21, room 0.05

Organised by Albert Joosse


Olympiodorus of Alexandria, who is often considered to have been the last leading, non-Christian philosopher of classical antiquity, has also been termed ‘the first classicist’ (Tarrant 1997). His place in the history of thought brings into focus issues of doctrinal difference and toleration, of the value of philosophical tradition, and of pedagogical concern for those coming of age in uncertain times. But there is more to Olympiodorus than the times in which he lived. His commentaries on Plato’s First Alcibiades, Gorgias and Phaedo, and on Aristotle’s Categories and Meteorology are now becoming better known and explored. Recent scholarship has also reopened the question of Olympiodorus’ philosophical calibre. There is reason enough, then, to try to present an all-round picture of Olympiodorus, as this conference intends to do.

(Text by the organizer)


Thursday December 14th                   


9.30-10.00       Coffee and Registration

10.00-10.15     Opening

10.15-11.00     Danielle Layne (Gonzaga) – The Virtue of Double Ignorance in Olympiodorus

11.00-11.15     Break

11.15-12.00     Albert Joosse (Utrecht) – Knowing Oneself in Olympiodorus

12.00-12.45     Pauliina Remes (Uppsala) – Olympiodorus on the Human Being

12.45-14.00     Lunch

14.00-14.45  Maria Chriti (Thessaloniki/CHS)  – Olympiodorus of Alexandria on ‘Composition’ in Language and Thinking  after Ammonius of Hermeias and John Philoponus

14.45-15.30     Bettina Bohle (Bochum) – Olympiodorus and Hermeias on the Platonic Theory of Rhetoric

15.30-16.00     Break

16.00-16.45     François Renaud (Moncton) – Reconciling Philosophy with Poetry: Olympiodorus’ Interpretation of the Gorgias Myth

16.45-17.30     Anne Sheppard (Royal Holloway) – Olympiodorus on Drama


Friday December 15th            


9.30-10.15       Cristina Viano (Paris, CNRS) – Olympiodore, le commentaire des Météorologiques et l’alchimie gréco-alexandrine

10.15-10.30     Break

10.30-11.15     Simon Fortier (Liège) – Olympiodorus and the Teaching of Transmigration

11.15-12.00     Péter Lautner (Budapest) – Olympiodorus’ Notion of aesthêsis and its Context

12.00-13.30     Lunch

13.30-14.15     Sonsoles Costero Quiroga (Madrid) – Scala virtutum in Proclus and Olympiodorus. Two Different Views about Grades of Knowledge in Late Neoplatonism

14.15-15.00     Michael Griffin (UBC) – Olympiodorus on the Scale of Virtues

15.00-15.15     Break

15.15-16.00     Harold Tarrant (Newcastle, Australia) – Special Kinds of Platonic Discourse: Does Olympiodorus Have a New Approach?

16.00-16.30     Closing discussion


All welcome. Please register by December 1st via olympiodorus2017@gmail.com

This conference is made possible by financial support from the Dutch Research Council (NWO), through the VENI project ‘Socratic Educations’.

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