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Commentary on Plato's Symposium on Love Paperback – July 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 213 pages
  • Publisher: Spring Publications (1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0882146017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882146010
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,319,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Language Notes

Text: English, Latin (translation)

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Evans on February 21, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ficino's treatise is referred to as the 'De Amore,' 'On Love' among Ficino-lovers. This English translation by Sears Jayne is an indispensable tool for a series of classes I'm teaching on "Platonic Traditions: Virtue Ethics and the One" in theory and practice. As the first text in the series, I'm teaching the 'De Amore' as a foundational treatise in Renaissance Natural Magic. As such, it can be called a sacred "magical text" in the sense that Ficino's treatise embodies the Love itself that he so effortlessly confers on his disciples at the Florentine Platonic Academy, and which modernday readers are fortunate to also receive. Ficino's is a wisdom received through reading Plato's 'Symposium,' making this philosophical treatise truly a text for today's philosophers, lovers of wisdom.

An example of how this text embodies the creative "magic" of Love is the fact that Ficino delineates the entirety of the treatise in the first few chapters, so that, like the emanation of creation itself from God, called "the Good," the treatise embodies spheres within spheres of the genesis of creation out of that One.

In Speech I Chapter 3 "On the origin of love," Love is found to be the oldest, or first god, created by the Good and residing in the bosom of Chaos before the World. Out of that Love in the bosom of Chaos, the Good creates the World composed of three worlds: "first the Angelic Mind, then the World Soul, as Plato calls it, and last the World Body " (38). So, from the beginning of the treatise, Ficino guides the student using the Theological theory and practice of Lover and Beloved, with divine Love as the most useful god for this journey of return to God.
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10 of 39 people found the following review helpful By D. Roberts VINE VOICE on June 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was very excited to read this book. I've always been a big fan of the SYMPOSIUM (and the PHAEDRUS) and Marsilio Ficino

is supposed to be one of the top Plato commentators of all-time. Unfortunately, the accolades bestowed upon him were a bit misplaced.

The more I read this book, the more I felt as though I was reading St. Thomas Aquinas. For people like me, that's not good news. What was worse, only maybe 35-40% of this book actually dealt with Plato. Much of it was typical medieval theological conjecture, with an occassional reference to the SYMPOSIUM.

On the upside, the strongest section of the book was the chapter on Aristophanes' speech. This I found to be quite insightful, and it dealt directly with Plato on his own terms (as opposed to trying to twist him into a pseudo-Christian prophet of some kind). The Aristophanes chapter is perhaps worth the price of the book.

As for the rest of it, there are some snippets of cogent polemics & insights here and there, but not a litany of them. Many of the claims contained in the book have been disproved by our modern understanding of physics (although this cannot be entirely held against the text).

In sum, this book is mainly for 3 kinds of people: those who relish medieval theology, those who adore Plato and those who are huge fans of Aristophanes. Anyone outside these parameters who is searching for a commentary on Plato would be better suited looking elsewhere.
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