Hypatia 21 (2):1-27 (2006)

Like the goddess Demeter, Diotima from Mantineia, the prophetess who teaches Socrates about eros and the “rites of love” in Plato's Symposium, was a mystagogue who initiated individuals into her mysteries, mediating to humans esoteric knowledge of the divine. The dialogue, including Diotima's speech, contains religious and mystical language, some of which specifically evokes the female-centered yearly celebrations of Demeter at Eleusis. In this essay, I contextualize the worship of Demeter within the larger system of classical Athenian practices, and propose that Plato borrowed Eleusinian language because it criticized conventional notions of the divine, thereby allowing him to reimagine the possibilities for the philosophical process among humans.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2979/hyp.2006.21.2.1
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,276
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Fragility of Goodness.Martha Nussbaum - 1988 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (7):376-383.
Was Plato a Feminist?Gregory Vlastos - March 17-23 1989 - The Times Literary Supplement:276, 288-9.
Greek Homosexuality.John Boardman & K. J. Dover - 1980 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 100:244-245.
The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy.Paul B. Woodruff - 1989 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50 (1):205-210.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Diotima and Kuèsis in the Light of the Myths of the God’s Annexation of Pregnancy.Anne Gabrièle Wersinger - 2014 - Plato: The Internet Journal of the International Plato Society 14:23-38.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Moral of the Story: On Fables and Philosophy in Plato's 'Symposium'.Rick Benitez - 2015 - Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand) 1:1-14.
Plato's Symposium. Plato - forthcoming - Audio CD.
Plato's Symposium: Audio Cd. Plato - 2003 - Agora Publications.
The Ladder of Diotima. A Reading of Plato's' Symposium'.V. Melchiorre - 2001 - Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica 93 (3):343-371.
Zum Begriff der Liebe in Platons Symposion Oder.Eva-Maria Engelen - 2001 - Bochumer Philosophisches Jahrbuch Fur Antike Und Mittelalter 6 (1):1-20.
On Diotima’s Allusions to Earlier Speakers in Plato’s Symposium.Spyridon Rangos - 2005 - Skepsis: A Journal for Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Research 16 (1-2).


Added to PP index

Total views
28 ( #374,944 of 2,419,627 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #191,897 of 2,419,627 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes