This paper shows that our principal ancient source for the metaphysical views of the second-century Platonist Harpocration of Argos drew on his interpretation of Plato's Cratylus. This is important because there is no other evidence of the Cratylus being read for its metaphysical content until Proclus, 300 years later. It also changes our understanding of Harpocration: he is generally supposed to share the metaphysical views of Numenius, but his exegesis of the Cratylus reveals him to be a faithful student of (...) Atticus. (shrink)
It hardly needs repeating that Plato defined philosophy partly by contrast with the work of the poets. What is extraordinary is how little systematic exploration there has been of his relationship with specific poets other than Homer. This neglect extends even to Hesiod, though Hesiod is of central importance for the didactic tradition quite generally, and is a major source of imagery at crucial moments of Plato's thought. This volume, which presents fifteen articles by specialists on the area, will be (...) the first ever book-length study dedicated to the subject. It covers a wide variety of thematic angles, brings new and sometimes surprising light to a large range of Platonic dialogues, and represents a major contribution to the study of the reception of archaic poetry in Athens. (shrink)
Phaedo of Elis was well-known as a writer of Socratic dialogues, and it seems inconceivable that Plato could have been innocent of intertextuality when, excusing himself on the grounds of illness, he made him the narrator of one of his own: the "Phaedo". In fact the psychological model outlined by Socrates in this dialogue converges with the evidence we have (especially from fragments of the Zopyrus) for Phaedo's own beliefs about the soul. Specifically, Phaedo seems to have thought that non-rational (...) desires were ineliminable epiphenomena of the body, that reason was something distinct, and that the purpose of philosophy was its 'cure' and 'purification'. If Plato's intention with the "Phaedo" is to assert the separability and immortality of reason (whatever one might think about desire and pleasure), then Phaedo provides a useful standpoint for him. In particular, Phaedo has arguments that are useful against the 'harmony-theorists' (and are the more useful rhetorically speaking since it is only over the independence of reason that Phaedo disagrees with them). At the same time as allying himself with Phaedo, however, Plato is able to improve on him by adding to the demonstration that reason is independent a proof that it is actually immortal. (shrink)
According to the theoretical accounts which survive in the rhetorical handbooks of antiquity, allegory is extended metaphor, or an extended series of metaphors. This volume provides a critical discussion of ancient definitions of allegory and metaphor as merely ornamental 'tropes'. They examine metaphor and allegory from a variety of perspectives and compare theory with ancient literary practice.
This book traces, for the first time, a revolution in philosophy which took place during the early centuries of our era. It reconstructs the philosophical basis of the Stoics' theory that fragments of an ancient and divine wisdom could be reconstructed from mythological traditions, and shows that Platonism was founded on an argument that Plato had himself achieved a full reconstruction of this wisdom, and that subsequent philosophies had only regressed once again in their attempts to "improve" on his achievement.