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  • Author or Editor: Ilaria Ramelli x
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In: Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity


In John 21:15 the much-debated expression αγαπας με πλεoν τoυτων; ought to be interpreted "Do you love me more than you love these things?," i.e. all the rest. This conclusion is strongly supported by compelling arguments concerning grammar (primarily the absence of συ as a subject and the frequently attested use of πλεoν τoυτων in the sense of πλεoν η ταυτα [accusative]), Johannine, NT and first-century linguistic usage (in John and the NT nominative personal pronouns are always expressed whenever emphasis lies on them, even when they are not particularly stressed, and in John the only other occurrence of πλεoν + genitive precisely corresponds to πλεoν η + plural accusative neuter pronoun), context and sense, ancient versions of this passage (Latin, Coptic, and Syriac), and some Patristic interpretations.

In: Novum Testamentum
In: The Origins of John’s Gospel


This study investigates the idea of harmony as a protological and eschatological principle in three outstanding Patristic philosophers, well steeped in the Platonic tradition: Origen, Gregory Nyssen, and Evagrius. All of them attached an extraordinary importance to harmony, homonoia, and unity in the arkhē and, even more, in the telos. This ideal is opposed to the disagreement/dispersion of rational creatures’ acts of volition after their fall and before the eventual apokatastasis. These Christian Platonists are among the strongest supporters of the final universal restoration. Their reflection on the unity-multiplicity dialectic, which parallels that between harmony and disorder/discord/dissonance, is informed by the Platonic tradition. In Gregory, the idea of harmony assumes musical connotations, especially in relation to the telos.

In this connection, I examine the relationship between their notion of harmony in the arkhē and telos and Plotinus’ concept of harmony. Plotinus was well known to Gregory, the author of a Christianized version of Plato’s Phaedo in which apokatastasis is prominent. Origen, whose readings included many Middle-Platonic and Neo-Pythagorean texts, in Alexandria attended the classes of the “proto-Neoplatonist” Ammonius, who was also Plotinus’ teacher. A wide-ranging methodical investigation of the relation between Origen’s and Plotinus’ philosophical thoughts is still a notable desideratum.

Finally, I concentrate on the concept of harmony in astronomy as a metaphor for intellectual harmony and apokatastasis in Patristic Platonism, especially in Evagrius’ Kephalaia Gnōstika. The noun apokatastasis was used in an astronomical sense, and employed in Stoicism for the conclusion of a cosmic cycle. Evagrius, who loved astronomical metaphors, focussed a kephalaion on a wordplay—which escaped Guillaumont and all other scholars—concerning the astronomical meaning of apokatastasis, thus embedding his theory of the eventual restoration in an allegorical framework that rests on a notion of astronomical harmony. A strong case is made in this connection that Evagrius was elaborating on Plato’s pivotal link between cosmological (astronomical) and intellectual harmony, and was aware that the Stoic theory of cosmological apokatastasis drew on Plato.

In: The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition
Elements of Ethics, Fragments, and Excerpts
Hierocles, the Stoic philosopher of the early imperial age, is a crucial witness to Middle and Neo-Stoicism, especially with regard to their ethical philosophy. In this volume, all of Hierocles’ surviving works are translated into English for the first time, with the original Greek and a facing English translation: the Elements of Ethics, preserved on papyrus, along with all fragments and excerpts from the treatise On Duties, collected by Stobaeus in the fifth century C.E. and dealing mainly with social relationships, marriage, household, and family. In addition, Ramelli’s introductory essay demonstrates how Hierocles was indebted to the Old Stoa and how he modified its doctrines in accord with Middle Stoicism and further developments in philosophy as well as his personal views. Finally, Ramelli’s extensive commentary on Hierocles’ works clarifies philosophical questions raised by the text and provides rich and updated references to existing scholarship.


Paul's statement that God will be all in all and other NT and OT passages are taken by Origen and by Gregory of Nyssa as the scriptural basis of their eschatological doctrine of apokatastasis and eventual universal salvation. At the same time, their doctrine rests (1) on philosophical arguments mainly deriving from Platonism (Gregory's De anima et resurrectione is deeply influenced by Platonism both in form and in content, and so is Origen, although both are Christians first and Platonists second), and (2) on the allegorical exegesis of Scripture, another heritage of Hellenistic culture: Origen was very well acquainted with the Stoic and Platonic allegorical interpretations of Greek myths.

In: Vigiliae Christianae


Origen was a Christian Platonist, which his adversaries (both Christians who opposed Greek philosophy and pagan philosophers like Porphyry who saw Christianity as a non-culture) considered to be a contradictio in adiecto. His formation and teaching centred on philosophy, and his Περì αρχων in its structure was inspired not so much by earlier Christian works as by pagan philosophical works stemming from the selfsame authors as those appreciated at Ammonius' and Plotinus' schools. A close examination of all extant sources and a careful investigation of Origen's philosophical formation, readings, and works show that Origen the Neoplatonist is likely to be our Christian philosopher. The presupposition of the incompatibility between Christianity and philosophy (especially Platonism), which provoked charges against Origen as a Christian Platonist from his lifetime onward, is still at work in modern theorizations concerning the “Hellenisation of Christianity,” which are here analysed and brought into connection with the supposed necessity of distinguishing Origen the Platonist from Origen the Christian. It is not the case that a “pure” Christianity was subsequently Hellenised: the NT itself was already Hellenised to some extent, and the Christian κηρυγμα, intended for all nations and cultures, was a σκανδαλον for the Jews as well as μωρìα for the Greeks.

In: Vigiliae Christianae
In: Paul and Scripture
In: The Seventh Book of the Stromateis