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Reading Proclus and the Book of Causes, Volume 1

Western Scholarly Networks and Debates

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Edited by Dragos Calma

Reading Proclus and the Book of Causes, published in three volumes, is a fresh, comprehensive understanding of Proclus’ legacy in the Hellenic, Byzantine, Islamic, Latin and Hebrew traditions. The history of the Book of Causes, an Islamic adaptation of mainly Proclus’ Elements of Theology and Plotinus' Enneads, is reconsidered on the basis of newly discovered manuscripts. This first volume enriches our understanding of the diverse reception of Proclus’ Elements of Theology and of the Book of Causes in the Western tradition where universities and religious schools offered unparalleled conditions of diffusion. The volume sheds light on overlooked authors, texts, literary genres and libraries from all major European universities from the 12th to the 16th centuries.
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Edited by Petros Bouras-Vallianatos and Barbara Zipser

Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Galen presents a comprehensive account of the afterlife of the corpus of the second-century AD Greek physician Galen of Pergamum. In 31 chapters, written by a range of experts in the field, it shows how Galen was adopted, adapted, admired, contested, and criticised across diverse intellectual environments and geographical regions, from Late Antiquity to the present day, and from Europe to North Africa, the Middle and the Far East.
The volume offers both introductory material and new analysis on the transmission and dissemination of Galen’s works and ideas through translations into Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Hebrew and other languages, the impact of Galenic thought on medical practice, as well as his influence in non-medical contexts, including philosophy and alchemy.
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Plato’s Timaeus and the Missing Fourth Guest

Finding the Harmony of the Spheres

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Donna M. Altimari Adler

In Plato's Timaeus and the Missing Fourth Guest, Donna M. Altimari Adler proposes a new Timaeus scale structure. She finds the harmonic cosmos in Plato's text, mathematically, regarding it as a number generator. Plato's primary number sequence, she argues, yields a matrix defining a sophisticated harmony of the spheres. She stresses the Decad as the pattern governing both human perception and the generation of all things, in the text, including the World Soul and musical scale symbolizing it. She precisely identifies Plato's "fabric" and its locus of severance and solves other thorny problems of interpretation, e.g., properly naming the sets of three and four bands, born of splitting the band of difference, and explaining their differing motions and speeds.
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The School of Doubt

Skepticism, History and Politics in Cicero's Academica

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Orazio Cappello

The School of Doubt conducts a close philological and philosophical reading of Cicero’s Academica, a fragmentary work on sense-perception and Academic history written in the wake of Caesar’s victory in the civil wars (45 BCE). Focusing in turn on the author’s letters discussing the process of composition, the historiographical treatment of the Platonic tradition and the critical exploration of philosophical doubt, this volume presents Cicero as an original and sophisticated historian of philosophy and a radical figure in Western skeptical thought. Widely misconstrued as a technical treatise and a mere chronicle of the Greek debates on which it draws, the Academica here emerges as a key work in the evolution of Ciceronian philosophy and of ancient skepticism – and one that responds directly to the disintegration of Republican Rome.
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Laela Zwollo

In Augustine and Plotinus: the Human Mind as Image of the Divine Laela Zwollo provides an inside view of two of the most influential thinkers of late antiquity: the Christian Augustine and the Neo-Platonist Plotinus. By exploring the finer points and paradoxes of their doctrines of the image of God (the human soul/intellect), the illustrious church father’s complex interaction with his most important non-biblical source comes into focus. In order to fathom Augustine, we should first grasp the beauty in Plotinus’ philosophy and its attractiveness to Christians. This monograph will contribute to a better understanding of the formative years of Christianity as well as later ancient philosophy. It can serve as a handbook for becoming acquainted with the two thinkers, as well as for delving into the profundity of their thought.
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Brill’s Companions in Ancient Philosophy is a leading series of handbooks providing graduate-level synthesis of debate and the state of scholarship on key authors and topics in Ancient Philosophy. Planned volumes include: German Platonism, Greek Political Thought, Pre-Socratics Natural Philosophy and Islamic Political Thought.
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Aristotle on Prescription

Deliberation and Rule-Making in Aristotle’s Practical Philosophy

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Francesca Alesse

The focus of Aristotle on Prescription is Aristotle’s reflections on rule-making. It is widely believed that Aristotle was only concerned with decision-making, understood as a deliberative process enabling a person to arrive at particular, contingent decisions. However, rule-making is fundamental to Aristotle’s ethical texts. Establishing rules means indicating patterns for action that are sufficiently specific to meet situational difficulties and sufficiently constant in time to provide us with a code of behaviour to be used in similar situations. When we prescribe rules, we demonstrate the ability to direct not only our own life but also other people’s lives. Alesse’s book explores Aristotle’s deep reflections on the nature and functions of prescription, and on the relationship between rules and individual decisions.
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The Derveni Papyrus

Unearthing Ancient Mysteries

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Edited by Marco Antonio Santamaría Álvarez

The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries is devoted to this fascinating and challenging document, discovered in 1962 in a tomb in Derveni, near Thessaloniki, and dated c. 340-320 BCE. It contains a text probably written at the end of 5th c. BCE, which after some reflections on minor divinities and unusual cults, comments upon a poem attributed to Orpheus from an allegorical and philosophical perspective. This volume focuses on the restoration and conservation of the papyrus, the ideas of the anonymous author about Erinyes and daimons, the quoted Orphic poem in comparison with Hesiod’s Theogony and Parmenides’ poem, the exegetical approach of the commentator, his cosmogonic system, his attitude regarding mystery cults and his peculiar theology.
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Cristoforo Landino

His Works and Thought

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Bruce McNair

In Cristoforo Landino: His Works and Thought Bruce McNair examines the writings, lectures and orations of Landino (1424-98), Renaissance Florence’s famous teacher of poetry and rhetoric. McNair studies Landino’s lecture notes, public orations, poetry, philosophical works and most popular commentaries to show how Landino’s allegorical interpretations of Virgil and Dante grew in complexity as he studied philosophy and theology and how he understood Dante’s Commedia as completing and surpassing Virgil’s Aeneid. McNair also shows how Landino draws upon a wide range of thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato, Aquinas, Ficino, Argyropoulos and Bessarion, and how he incorporates his increasing knowledge of Plato into a scholastic framework and is better considered as a Dantean than a Neoplatonist.
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Margalit Finkelberg

In The Gatekeeper: Narrative Voice in Plato’s Dialogues Margalit Finkelberg offers the first narratological analysis of all of Plato’s transmitted dialogues. The book explores the dialogues as works of literary fiction, giving special emphasis to such topics as narrative levels, focalization, narrative frame, and metalepsis.


The main conclusion of the book is that in Plato the plurality of the speakers’ opinions is not accompanied by a plurality of points of view. Only one perspective is available, that of the narrator. Contrary to the widespread view, Plato’s dialogues cannot be considered multivocal, or “dialogic” in Bakhtin’s sense. By skillful use of narrative voice, Plato unobtrusively regulates the readers’ reception and response. The narrator is the dialogue’s gatekeeper, a filter whose main function is to control how the dialogue is received by the reader by sustaining a certain perspective of it.