Reading Plato in Antiquity

Harold Tarrant, Dirk Baltzly (eds.), London: Bloomsbury, 2006


This important collection of original essays is the first to concentrate on how the ancients responded to the challenge of reading and interpreting Plato, primarily between 100 BC and AD 600. It incorporates the fruits of recent research into late antique philosophy, in particular its approach to hermeneutic problems. While a number of prominent figures, including Apuleius, Galen, Plotinus, Porphyry and Iamblichus, receive detailed attention, several essays concentrate on the important figure of Proclus who provides the theme for the jacket of this book, with his characterisation of the true interpreters of Plato’s philosophy as a chorus of Bacchants. The essays appear in the chronological order of their focal interpreters, giving a sense of the development of Platonist exegesis in this period. Reflecting their devotion to a common theme, the essays have been selected and are presented with a composite bibliography and indices.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

List of Contributors
Introduction, Harold Tarrant & Dirk Baltzly
1. Platonic interpretation and eclectic theory, Harold Tarrant
2. Pedantry and pedestrianism? Some reflections on the Middle Platonic commentary tradition , John Dillon
3. Apuleius on the Platonic gods, John F. Finamore
4. ‘Plato will tell you’: Galen’s use of the Phaedrus in De Placitis Hippocratis et Platonis IX, Julius Rocca
5. Platonists on the origin of evil, John Phillips
6. The species infima as the infinite: Timaeus 39e7-9 Parmenides 144b4-c1 and Philebus 16e1-2 in Plotinus Ennead VI.2.22 73, Atsushi Sumi
7. The doctrine of the degrees of virtues in the Neoplatonists: an analysis of Porphyry’s Sentence , its antecedents, and its heritage, Luc Brisson
8. The mathematics of justice, Hayden W. Ausland
9. A historical cycle of hermeneutics in Proclus’ Platonic Theology, Tim Buckley
10. Proclus as a reader of Plato’s Timaeus, John J. Cleary
11. The eikôs mythos in Proclus’ commentary on the Timaeus, Marije Martijn
12. Pathways to purification: the cathartic virtues in the Neoplatonic commentary tradition, Dirk Baltzly
13. The transformation of Plato and Aristotle, Richard Sorabji
14. The harmony of Plato and Aristotle according to Neoplatonism, Lloyd P. Gerson
15. Reading Proclus Diadochus in Byzantium, Ken Parry
Index Locorum
Index of Ancient Names
Index of Modern Names
Index of Selected Topics


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