The Platonic Heritage: Further Studies in the History of Platonism and Early Christianity, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Platonic Heritage

Further Studies in the History of Platonism and Early Christianity, 1st Edition

By John Dillon


332 pages

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This third collection of articles by John Dillon covers the period 1996-2006, the decade since the appearance of The Great Tradition. Once again, the subjects covered range from Plato himself and the Old Academy, through Philo and Middle Platonism, to the Neoplatonists and beyond. Particular concerns evidenced in the papers are the continuities in the Platonic tradition, and the setting of philosophers in their social and cultural contexts, while at the same time teasing out the philosophical implications of particular texts. Such topics are addressed as atomism in the Old Academy, Philo's concept of immateriality, Plutarch's and Julian's views on theology, and peculiar features of Iamblichus' exegeses of Plato and Aristotle, but also the broader questions of the social position of the philosopher in second century A.D. society, and the nature of ancient biography.


'Dillon, long-time professor at Trinity College Dublin, has been a leading authority on Platonism since the publication of his The Middle Platonists (1977). This volume … reflects the depth derived from a life immersed in the study of this field. … For all but those with access to the finest research libraries, this should be compelling, but even for many of those, having a decade of Dillon ready to hand will be worth the price.' Religious Studies Review

Table of Contents

Contents: The riddle of the Timaeus: is Plato sowing clues?; Plotinus, Speusippus and the Platonic Parmenides; The Timaeus in the old Academy; Philip of Opus and the theology of Plato's Laws; Atomism in the old Academy; Theophrastus' critique of the old Academy in the Metaphysics; The pleasures and perils of soul-gardening; Asômatos: nuances of incorporeality in Philo; Thrasyllus and the Logos; Plutarch's debt to Xenocrates; Plutarch and the inseparable intellect; Plutarch and God: theodicy and cosmogony in the thought of Plutarch; Plutarch's use of unidentified quotations; The social role of the philosopher in Athens in the 2nd century CE: some remarks; Pedantry and pedestrianism? Some reflections on the middle Platonic commentary tradition; Monotheism in the Gnostic tradition; An unknown Platonist on God; Holy and not so holy: on the interpretation of late antique biography; Plotinus on whether the stars are causes; Iamblichus' Noera Theoria of Aristotle's Categories; Iamblichus' identifications of the subject-matters of the hypotheses; Iamblichus on the personal daemon; The theology of Julian's Hymn to King Helios; A case-study in commentary: the neoplatonic exegesis of the Prooimia od Plato's dialogues; Damascius on procession and return; 'The eye of the soul': the doctrine of the higher consciousness in the neoplatonic and sufic traditions; Indexes.

About the Author

John Dillon is Emeritus Professor of Greek at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]om

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
PHILOSOPHY / Criticism