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Plato and Theodoret: The Christian Appropriation of Platonic Philosophy and the Hellenic Intellectual Resistance (Cambridge Classical Studies) 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0521880732
ISBN-10: 0521880734
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Book Description

In late antiquity, Plato's philosophy became a battlefield between the competing discourses represented by Hellenism and Christianity. Focusing on Theodoret of Cyrrhus' Graecarum Affectionum Curatio, this volume reassesses the strategies of appropriation and reconstructs a vital trial of strength between Neoplatonic hermeneutics and the Christian rhetorical mode of rewriting Plato.

About the Author

Niketas Siniossoglou is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow and Junior Research Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge. He is the author of Plato and Theodoret: The Christian Appropriation of Platonic Philosophy and the Hellenic Intellectual Resistance (Cambridge University Press, 2008).
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Classical Studies
  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (March 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521880734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521880732
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,914,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
With its admiration of mathematical science, its tolerance of religious diversity, its reverence for bodily health, and its deference to philosophical argument in all things spiritual, Hellenic Neoplatonism constituted the greatest obstacle to Christian hegemony in late Roman antiquity. Three hundred years after Constantine's conversion, pagan religions still flourished thanks to the persistence of Neoplatonic language among Roman intellectuals. Key terms from Plato's dialogues--"askesis," "melete thanatou," "paidia," and even "philosophia" itself--pervaded high culture, continually invoking the very un-Christian attitudes of intellectualism and religious pluralism.

For Christendom to conquer its opponents, it was necessary to manipulate these and other bits of Platonic vocabulary, to draw close associations between the Platonic and Abrahamic canons, and to thereby acclimate a secular public to religious exclusivism. For educated Christians of late antiquity--Clement, Eusebius, and Augustine--this meant showing that Plato's dialogues harmonized better with a literal interpretation of the Bible than with Neoplatonic paganism.

Their efforts, unsurprisingly, were initially unsuccessful. Neoplatonic paganism was practically *constituted* by Plato scholarship, and the most systematic interpretation of Plato was seldom in accord with Christian scripture. Consequently, Church fathers found themselves needing to appropriate Plato while only being able to do so by deliberately misquoting him.

Niketas Siniossoglou's 270-page "Plato and Theodoret" dissects one of the most extensive and influential of such efforts: Theodoret of Cyrrhus' "Graecarum Affectionum Curatio," or "Cure for the Greek Illness.
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