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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: May 2011

33 - Plutarch of Athens

from VI - Late Platonism
Plutarch of Athens was the philosophy teacher of Hierocles of Alexandria, Syrianus and the young Proclus. The three also lived in the same house in Athens, which was close to the temple of Asclepius and that of Dionysus, near the theatre. Based on the current state of ancient evidence, the greatest contribution of Plutarch of Athens in the context of Platonic exegesis is his interpretation of the structure of the Parmenides. Both Plutarch and Syrianus made substantial and respectful use of the exegetic texts of Alexander of Aphrodisias. They provided a structural and comprehensive reading of the Parmenides, whose methodological principle is that of a correspondence between the phases of the arguments in the dialogue and the hierarchical levels of reality; this principle was also adopted and developed by Proclus. Both show the influence of Iamblichus' teachings in their treatment of theurgy, the theological reading of the Parmenides, and psychology, and in their close comparison between Plato and Aristotle.
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The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity
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