Late Antiquity

As we move into late antiquity, the podcast looks at the build-up to Plotinus and the tradition known as "Neoplatonism," when Aristotle and Plato became the basis for a new synthesis of ancient thought. Major philosophical themes include the nature of the First Principle, the nature of mind and soul, and the eternity of the world. We also start to see pagan thought interacting with the religions of Judaism and Christianity. Interviews with Jan Opsomer, Serafina Cuomo, James Wilberding, Anne Sheppard, Dominic O'Meara and Richard Sorabji.

 

Further reading:

• J.M. Dillon and L.P. Gerson, Neoplatonic Philosophy: Introductory Readings (Indianapolis: 2004).

• L. Gerson (ed.), The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity, 2 vols (Cambridge: 2010).

• P. Remes, Neoplatonism (Stocksfield: 2008).

P. Remes and S. Slaveva-Griffin (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Neoplatonism (London: Routledge, 2014).

• A. Smith, Philosophy in Late Antiquity (London: 2004).

• R. Sorabji, The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200-600 AD: a Sourcebook, 3 vols (London: 2004).

• M. Tuominen, The Ancient Commentators on Plato and Aristotle (Stocksfield: 2009).

Late Antiquity Episodes:

Posted on: 22 April 2012

Peter introduces philosophy in late antiquity, when Aristotelianism and Platonism made a comeback, and pagan philosophy developed alongside Judaism and Christianity.

10,694 views
10 comments
Posted on: 29 April 2012

Pioneering thinkers Eudorus, Alcinous, and Numenius fuse Pythagoreanism with Platonism and pave the way for Plotinus.

9,371 views
5 comments
Posted on: 06 May 2012

We put the Philo in philosophy this week, as Philo of Alexandria reads the Bible through the lens of Middle Platonism.

9,962 views
22 comments
Posted on: 13 May 2012

Plutarch, a major figure of early Imperial literature, was also a Platonist philosopher. He gives us insight into Platonism before Plotinus, and also the letter E.

8,911 views
3 comments
Posted on: 20 May 2012

Jan Opsomer helps Peter to understand principles, Plato interpretation, and Plutarch in a wide-ranging discussion of Middle Platonism.

8,461 views
Posted on: 27 May 2012

Peter looks at the history of Aristotelianism up the time of the Roman Empire and the beginning of commentaries on Aristotle's works.

8,862 views
2 comments
Posted on: 03 June 2012

Alexander of Aphrodisias writes the greatest ancient commentaries on Aristotle and tries to demolish the Stoic teaching on fate.

8,991 views
3 comments
Posted on: 10 June 2012

Peter looks at the interaction between rhetoric and philosophy in the Roman Empire, discussing authors like Quintilian, Lucian and Themistius.

9,354 views
Posted on: 17 June 2012

Ptolemy uses philosophy in the service of studying the stars, while philosophers of all persuasions evaluate the widespread practice of astrology.

11,773 views
3 comments
Posted on: 24 June 2012

How did the mathematics of figures like Euclid and Archimides relate to ancient philosophy? Peter finds out in an interview with Serafina Cuomo.

8,190 views
Posted on: 01 July 2012

Peter introduces Plotinus, the greatest philosopher of late antiquity and the founder of Neoplatonism.

11,558 views
2 comments
Posted on: 08 July 2012

Plotinus posits an absolutely transcendent first principle, the One. What is it (or isn’t it), and how does it relate to Intellect?

15,343 views
3 comments
Posted on: 15 July 2012

For Plotinus, Soul is on the border between the physical and intelligible realms. Can he convince us to identify ourselves with its highest part?

9,415 views
15 comments
Posted on: 22 July 2012

Plotinus struggles to explain the presence of suffering, evil and ugliness in a world caused by purely good principles – and tells us what role we should play in that world.

9,278 views
19 comments
Posted on: 25 August 2012

James Wilberding joins Peter to show that contrary to what is often claimed, Neoplatonists did make contributions to the philosophy of nature. Topics include Plotinus on the cosmos and Porphyry on embryology.

9,238 views
1 comments
Posted on: 02 September 2012

Porphyry fuses Platonism with Aristotelianism, exploring Aristotle’s logic and Plotinus’ philosophy. He also finds time to argue for vegetarianism.

8,745 views
2 comments
Posted on: 09 September 2012

Iamblichus fuses Platonism with pagan religious conviction and sets the agenda for Neoplatonism in generations to come.

8,497 views
4 comments
Posted on: 16 September 2012

Proclus’ system, presented in original works and in commentaries on Plato and Euclid, integrates Neoplatonic philosophy with pagan religious belief and practice.

8,485 views
5 comments
Posted on: 23 September 2012

Anne Sheppard discusses ancient aesthetics, touching on poetry, visual art and music in thinkers from Plato to Proclus.

8,307 views
1 comments
Posted on: 30 September 2012

Dominic O'Meara speaks with Peter about political philosophy and mathematics in Neoplatonism.

7,922 views
2 comments
Posted on: 07 October 2012

Neoplatonism had a long-standing association with traditional Greek religion. How did philosophers respond when Christians gained ascendancy?

8,912 views
1 comments
Posted on: 14 October 2012

John Philoponus refutes Aristotle’s and Proclus’ arguments for the eternity of the universe, and develops new ideas in physics.

7,456 views
10 comments
Posted on: 21 October 2012

Sir Richard Sorabji, founder of the Ancient Commentators Project, joins Peter to discuss the history of ancient commentary on Aristotle.

9,055 views
1 comments
Posted on: 28 October 2012

A special double interview with Caroline Humfress (Birkbeck College London) and Michael Trapp (King's College London) celebrates reaching 100 episodes by looking at the cultural status of philosophy in the ancient world.

8,653 views