Argumentative Strategies in the ‘Platonic Section’ of Plutarch’s De Iside et Osiride (chapters 45-64)

in Mnemosyne
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Plutarch’s De Iside et Osiride has been studied from several points of view. In this paper I set out to demonstrate first of all that the core of the work fully rests on Plato’s philosophy, since according to Plutarch’s methodological assumptions Plato had grasped the truth hidden behind the Isis myth. Then I shall focus on the argumentative structure of the work, highlighting its twofold nature. The De Iside is entirely structured as a philosophical zetema, whose apex rests on Plato’s doctrine. Finally, I will argue that the ‘Platonic section’ (45-64) is framed in a different way, its aim being to progressively deepen Plutarch’s underlying assumption: the notion of the dualistic nature of being.

Argumentative Strategies in the ‘Platonic Section’ of Plutarch’s De Iside et Osiride (chapters 45-64)

in Mnemosyne



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See Hirsch-Luipold 2002184. Scholars have also argued that Plutarch here does not endorse a dualistic perspective (see e.g. Brenk 1987 294-298). In the last twenty years however the fundamental role of dualism in the De Iside has been widely acknowledged albeit with different nuances: Bianchi 1987; Ferrari 1995 72-80; Chlup 2000; Opsomer 2007 384-385 (conclusively contra Chlup).


See above all Ferrari 1995103.


Ferrari 199569-113has conclusively demonstrated that Plutarch’s position is exegetically grounded in some key passages of Plato’s Timaeus.


See again Ferrari 199590-104and 1996.


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