Online Lecture on «Growing the Profile of Platonic Studies in Olympiodorus' Alexandria» by Harold Tarrant
Within the framework of the Research Project “Between Athens & Alexandria. Platonism, 3rd-7th c. CE” (2022-2024) supported by the A. S. Onassis Foundation, the IMS-FORTH, in collaboration with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s Center for Hellenistic Studies (ACHS), organizes a monthly online lecture series on late antique Neoplatonism (3rd-7th c. CE).
The series hosts invited talks in English or French by leading scholars in the field. Lectures take place via Zoom at 7pm Athens & Alexandria. Prior registration is required.
The topic of the 2022 talks is “Alexandrian and Athenian Neoplatonism”, with a special focus on Plotinus (204/5-270) as well as on later Neoplatonic developments on, and criticisms to, Plotinus.
Οn Tuesday Nov. 8, at 19:00 (Athens time) Prof. Harold Tarrant (University of Newcastle Australia) will give a lecture on «Growing the Profile of Platonic Studies in Olympiodorus' Alexandria».
When Olympiodorus wrote his Commentary on Plato’s Gorgias the place of Platonic Studies at Alexandria must have been rather insecure. Ammonius Hermeiou, to whom he looked as his teacher, failed to leave us any work that professed to teach Plato rather than Aristotle. Certainly he had an interest in Plato, but for some reason this was never reflected in extant writings or indirect reports. His immediate successor seems to have been the mathematician Eutochius, and Olympiodorus gives the impression of rebuilding Platonism from almost nothing. Extant work suggests a lively interest in Socrates in particular, a figure comparatively easily marketed to a Christian community, and able to be studied through some of the most appealing of Plato’s dialogues. Later Platonic commentaries suggest the growth of resources for Platonic studies, with more reference to the Athenian school, and a growing worry about the strength of the school’s Aristotelian foundations. The occasional hint of Socratic aporia and a complex approach to Plato seem to have enabled Olympiodorus to become one of the most respected teachers ever in the complex Alexandrian community.
You can register in advance to our seminar meetings using the following LINK.