Platonopolis: Platonic Political Philosophy in Late Antiquity

Paperback | September 15, 2005

byDominic J. OMeara

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Conventional wisdom suggests that the Platonist philosophers of Late Antiquity, from Plotinus (third century) to the sixth-century schools in Athens and Alexandria, neglected the political dimension of their Platonic heritage in their concentration on an otherworldly life. Dominic O'Mearapresents a revelatory reappraisal of these thinkers, arguing that their otherworldliness involved rather than excluded political ideas, and he proposes for the first time a reconstruction of their political philosophy, their conception of the function, structure, and contents of political science,and its relation to political virtue and to the divinization of soul and state.Among the topics discussed by O'Meara are: philosopher-kings and queens; political goals and levels of reform: law, constitutions, justice, and penology; the political function of religion; and the limits of political science and action. He also explores various reactions to these political ideas inthe works of Christian and Islamic writers, in particular Eusebius, Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, and al-Farabi.Filling a major gap in our understanding, Platonopolis will be of substantial interest to scholars and students of ancient philosophy, classicists, and historians of political thought.

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Conventional wisdom suggests that the Platonist philosophers of Late Antiquity, from Plotinus (third century) to the sixth-century schools in Athens and Alexandria, neglected the political dimension of their Platonic heritage in their concentration on an otherworldly life. Dominic O'Mearapresents a revelatory reappraisal of these think...

Dominic J. O'Meara is at University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

other books by Dominic J. OMeara

Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.62 inPublished:September 15, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199285535

ISBN - 13:9780199285532

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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION1. The Two Functions of Political Philosophy2. Neoplatonist Philosophers in Time, Place, and Social ContextNEOPLATONIC POLITICAL THEORY RECONSTRUCTEDI. THE DIVINIZATION OF SOUL3. Divinization in Greek Philosophy4. The Scale of Virtues5. The Scale of Sciences6. The CurriculumII. THE DIVINIZATION OF STATE7. Philosopher-Kings and Queens8. Political Science: Legislative9. Political Science: Judicial10. The Political Function of Religion11. The Limits of Political ActionPLATONOPOLIS IN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM12. Eusebius and Augustine13. Ideals of Church and State in the Sixth Century14. Platonopolis in Islam: Al-Farabi's Perfect StateConclusionAppendix I: Themistus and Neoplatonic Political PhilosophyAppendix II: Notes on a Platonist Rhetor: Sopatros 3BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`... a lucid, orderly and comprehensive survey ... Erudite and judicious.'Bryn Mawr Classical Review