The Philosopher and Society in Late Antiquity

Essays in honour of Peter Brown

Brown, P. R. L., Smith, A., Alt, K., London: Bloomsbury, 2005


The philosophers of Late Antiquity have sometimes appeared to be estranged from society. ‘We must flee everything physical’ is one of the most prominent ideas taken by Augustine from Platonic literature. This collection of new studies by leading writers on Late Antiquity treats both the principles of metaphysics and the practical engagement of philosophers. It points to a more substantive and complex involvement in worldly affairs than conventional handbooks admit.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Introduction – Andrew Smith

  1. Philosophy as a profession in late antiquity – John Dillon
  2. Movers and shakers – Robin Lane Fox
  3. The social concern of the Plotinian sage – Alexandrine Schniewind
  4. Action and contemplation in Plotinus – Andrew Smith
  5. Man and daimones : do the daimones influence man’s life? – Karin Alt
  6. A Neoplatonist ethics for high-level officials : Sopatros’ letter to Himerios – Dominic J. O’Meara
  7. Live unnoticed! : the invisible Neoplatonic politician – Robert van den Berg
  8. Apamea and the Chaldaean Oracles : a holy city and a holy book – Polymnia Athanassiadi
  9. Sages, cities and temples : aspects of late antique pythagorism? – Garth Fowden
  10. Asceticism and administration in the life of St. John Chrysostom – Aideen Hartney
  11. Where Greeks and Christians meet : two incidents in Panopolis and Gaza – Mark Edwards
  12. Divine names and sordid deals in Ammonius’ Alexandria – Richard Sorabji
  13. An Alexandrian Christian response to fifth-century Neoplatonic influence – Edward Watts
  14. Appendix : Harran, the Sabians and the late Platonist ‘movers’ – Robin Lane Fox.



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