Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity


Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity offers a comprehensive account of the ways in which ancient readers responded to Plato, as philosopher, as author, and more generally as a central figure in the intellectual heritage of Classical Greece, from his death in the fourth century BCE until the Platonist and Aristotelian commentators in the sixth century CE. The volume is divided into three sections: ‘Early Developments in Reception’ (four chapters); ‘Early Imperial Reception’ (nine chapters); and ‘Early Christianity and Late Antique Platonism’ (eighteen chapters). Sectional introductions cover matters of importance that could not easily be covered in dedicated chapters. The book demonstrates the great variety of approaches to and interpretations of Plato among even his most dedicated ancient readers, offering some salutary lessons for his modern readers too.

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Harold Tarrant, Ph.D. (1972), Durham University, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Newcastle Australia. He has published, as author, editor or translator, numerous articles and fourteen books relating to ancient Platonism, including Proclus: Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, vols. I and VI (Cambridge).

Danielle A. Layne, Ph.D (2009), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Gonzaga University, Spokane WA. She is the author of numerous articles on Plato and Neoplatonism and was the co-editor with Harold Tarrant of The Neoplatonic Socrates (Penn Press).

Dirk Baltzly, Ph.D. (1994), Ohio State University, is Professor and Head of Philosophy & Gender Studies at the University of Tasmania. He has published extensively on ancient Platonism, including Proclus: Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, vols. III-V. His current projects include Proclus’ Republic Commentary and the Phaedrus Commentary of Hermias.

François Renaud, Ph.D. (1996), Universität Tübingen, is Professor of Philosophy at the Université de Moncton (Canada). He has published mostly on Plato and Platonic interpretation, including The Platonic Alcibiades I: The Dialogue and its Ancient Reception co-authored with Harold Tarrant.

Contributors are: Crystal Addey, Sara Ahbel-Rappe, Francesca Alesse, Polymnia Athanassiadi, Dirk Baltzly, Mauro Bonazzi, Michael Chase, Dennis Clark, John Finamore, Ryan C. Fowler, Gary Gabor, Lloyd Gerson, Michael Griffin, Christina Hoenig, Phillip Sidney Horky, Danielle A. Layne, Carl S. O’Brien, Dominic J. O’Meara, Jan Opsomer, Federico M. Petrucci, Ilaria Ramelli, François Renaud, Julius Rocca, Geert Roskam, Charles Snyder, Harold Tarrant, John D. Turner, Gerd Van Riel, Sarah Klitenic Wear, Sami Yli-Karjanmaa.

"Viene ricostruito, in maniera sempre chiara e ben argomentata, non solo quanto e come i filosofi, in nove secoli di storia, si siano sentiti legati a Platone a tal punto da costruirne ognuno una immagine coerente col proprio sistema di pensiero, ma anche e soprattutto quanto articolata sia stata la creazione e la difesa di una auctoritas filosofica, scientifica, teologica e letteraria. Gli editori – nomi ben noti nel panorama dei pioneristici ma anche recenti studi sul Platonismo –, Harold Tarrant, Danielle A. Layne, Dirk Baltzly e François Renaud, hanno il merito di costruire attorno a un’idea un disegno narrativo unitario. (...) tutti i saggi, benché ognuno a suo modo, appaiono costituire in sé una unità testuale che non interrompe, ma anzi consolida l’unitaria finalità del volume. Da esso traspare come la lettura e l’interesse per Platone riescano a nutrire intellettuali di eccezionale erudizione che hanno mantenuto viva l’eredità scritta del grande filosofo facendosi suoi interlocutori sulla scena delle diverse epoche storiche." - Anna Motta, in: Elenchos 2018; 39(1): 171–178
"(...) this collection covers a vast range of material in a solid, perspicuous and enlightening way, and has given me, at least, a much better grasp of the foundation of Platonism and the way Plato was read for nearly a millennium." - Øyvind Rabbås, in: The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 2019; 13: 87-90
"Although the reception of Plato’s philosophy is discussed to various degrees in the standard handbooks and companions to Plato published in the last two decades, Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity is the first English-language publication to do so in a truly comprehensive and systematic manner. (...) The volume will certainly set a new standard for research on the reception of Plato in Antiquity, but it will hopefully also encourage scholars specializing on Plato to reconsider Plato’s thought in light of later Platonism." - Adrian Pirtea, in: Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2019.06.31
"In jedem Falle trägt Brill's Companion damit den Bedürfnissen eines Publikums Rechnung, das eine erste Orientierung auf einem Gebiet sucht, das selbst unter Altertumswissenschaftlern nur wenigen vertraut ist. Doch auch ein Spezialist dürfte kaum mit allen Bereichen des antiken Platonismus so vertraut sein, dass er nicht etliche Artikel mit Gewinn lesen wird." - Christian Pietsch, in: H-Soz-Kult February 2019
Notes on Contributors
Part I. Early Developments in Reception
Introduction: The Old Academy to Cicero
1 Speusippus and Xenocrates on the Pursuit and Ends of Philosophy
Phillip Sidney Horky
2 The Influence of the Platonic Dialogues on Stoic Ethics from Zeno to Panaetius of Rhodes
Francesca Alesse
3 Plato and the Freedom of the New Academy
Charles E. Snyder
4 Return to Plato and Transition to Middle Platonism in Cicero
François Renaud
Part II. Early Imperial Reception of Plato
Introduction: Early Imperial Reception of Plato
5 From Fringe Reading to Core Curriculum: Commentary, Introduction and Doctrinal Summary
Harold Tarrant
6 Philo of Alexandria
Sami Yli-Karjanmaa
7 Plutarch of Chaeronea and the Anonymous Commentator on the Theaetetus
Mauro Bonazzi
8 Theon of Smyrna: Re-thinking Platonic Mathematics in Middle Platonism
Federico M. Petrucci
9 Cupid's Swan from the Academy (De Plat. 1.1, 183): Apuleius' Reception of Plato
Geert Roskam
10 Alcinous' Reception of Plato
Carl S. O'Brien
11 Numenius: Portrait of a Platonicus
Polymnia Athanassiadi
12 Galen and Middle Platonism: The Case of the Demiurge
Julius Rocca
13 Variations of Receptions of Plato during the Second Sophistic
Ryan C. Fowler
Part III. Early Christianity and Late Antique Platonism
Introduction: Early Christianity and Late Antique Platonism
14 Origen to Evagrius
Ilaria Ramelli
15 Sethian Gnostic Appropriations of Plato
John D. Turner
16 Plotinus and Platonism
Lloyd P. Gerson
17 Porphyry
Michael Chase
18 The Anonymous Commentary on the Parmenides
Dennis Clark
19 Iamblichus, the Commentary Tradition, and the Soul
John Finamore
20 Amelius and Theodore of Asine
Dirk Baltzly
21 Plato's Political Dialogues in the Writings of Julian the Emperor
Dominic J. O'Meara
22 Plato's Women Readers
Crystal Addey
23 Calcidius
Christina Hoenig
24 Augustine's Plato
Gerd Van Riel
25 Orthodoxy and Allegory: Syrianus' Metaphysical Hermeneutics
Sarah Klitenic Wear
26 Hermias: On Plato's Phaedrus
Harold Tarrant and Dirk Baltzly
27 Proclus and the Authority of Plato
Jan Opsomer
28 Damascius the Platonic Successor: Socratic Activity and Philosophy in the 6th Century CE
Sara Ahbel-Rappe
29 The Anonymous Prolegomena to Platonic Philosophy
Danielle A. Layne
30 Olympiodorus of Alexandria
Michael Griffin
31 Simplicius of Cilicia: Plato's Last Interpreter
Gary Gabor
General Index
Index Locorum