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Order of Platonic Dialogues

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  • bzingle23
    I was wondering if someone could refresh my memory and list the common order that Plato s dialogues were read by the Neoplatonists. I know I read it somewhere,
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 30, 2003
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      I was wondering if someone could refresh my memory and list the
      common order that Plato's dialogues were read by the Neoplatonists.
      I know I read it somewhere, but I can't seem to find it.

      Also, did this order have anything to do with the Neoplatonic
      interpretation of the Forms? If not, what was their reasoning for
      this order?


      Thanks for your help;

      Brett
    • Yvan Bubloz
      Bonjour, Je suis désolé de vous répondre en français, mais il m est plus commode de m exprimer dans ma langue maternelle. Avant d aborder la question que
      Message 2 of 10 , May 1 3:22 AM
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        Bonjour,

        Je suis désolé de vous répondre en français, mais il m'est plus commode de m'exprimer dans ma langue maternelle.

        Avant d'aborder la question que vous nous posez, j'aimerais préciser que la lecture d'Aristote était conçue comme une propédeutique nécessaire à l'étude de la philosophie de Platon. La lecture d'Aristote s'effectuait aussi dans un ordre précis: on commençait par les écrits logiques, on poursuivait par l'éthique, la politique, la physique, et on concluait avec la théologie. Je n'en dirai pas plus, mais je vous renvoie à l'article suivant d'Ilsetraut Hadot: "Aristote dans l'enseignement philosophique néoplatonicien", Revue de théologie et de philosophie 124 (1992): 407-425. Peut-être que cet ouvrage vous sera plus accessible: Ilsetraut Hadot, Le problème du néoplatonisme alexandrin: Hiéroclès et Simplicius, Paris, Etudes augustiniennes, 1978.

        Quant à l'ordre de lecture des dialogues de Platon, il semblerait qu'il ait été institué par Jamblique. On doit à André-Jean Festugière un très bon article sur la question. Le voici: A.-J. Festugière, "L'ordre de lecture des dialogues de Platon aux Ve/VIe siècles", in: Etudes de philosophie grecque, Paris, Vrin, 1971, p. 535-550. Il faut remarquer que la lecture ordonnée de Platon n'avait pas seulement une visée intellectuelle mais aussi une visée spirituelle: en parcourant l'oeuvre de Platon, on acquérait une série de vertus qui se hiérarchisaient en plusieurs niveaux: vertus politiques, cathartiques, théorétiques, paradigmatiques (depuis Porphyre) et théurgiques (depuis Jamblique). La lecture de chaque dialogue de Platon actualisait dans l'âme de l'apprenti philosophe une classe de vertus particulière. L'ordre de lecture est le suivant:
        Alcibiade (but: faire prendre conscience au disciple que la philosophie vise la connaissance de soi-même)
        Gorgias (acquisition des vertus politiques)
        Phédon (vertus cathartiques)
        Cratyle, Théétète, Sophiste, Politique, Phèdre et Banquet (vertus théorétiques)
        Philèbe (enseignement sur le Bien)
        Cette première série de dialogues constitue le "premier cycle" de la formation philosophique. S'y ajoute un "deuxième cycle": la lecture du Timée et du Parménide. Ces deux dialogues, dans l'esprit des néoplatoniciens, récapitulent l'intégralité de la philosophie de Platon. Le Timée couvre tout le champ de la physique, et le Parménide expose l'ensemble de la théologie platonicienne et est consacré aux intelligibles (les Formes).

        Je vous demanderais de m'excuser de la longueur du message. J'espère avoir répondu en partie à votre question.

        Cordiales salutations.


        Yvan Bubloz

        ____________________________________________________
        Yvan Bubloz
        Université de Lausanne
        DIHSR - BFSH 2
        CH-1015 Lausanne
        Tél. +41/(0)21/692.27.23 Fax +41/(0)21/692.27.25


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • bzingle23
        Thanks for your help, although I am sorry to admit that I can t read it. Could you possibly give me a reference to a book or two (that would be published in
        Message 3 of 10 , May 1 12:14 PM
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          Thanks for your help, although I am sorry to admit that I can't read
          it. Could you possibly give me a reference to a book or two (that
          would be published in english), and I can make a trip to the library
          at my school.

          thanks,

          Brett
        • vaeringjar
          ... commode de m exprimer dans ma langue maternelle. ... préciser que la lecture d Aristote était conçue comme une propédeutique nécessaire à l étude de
          Message 4 of 10 , May 1 6:43 PM
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            --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Yvan Bubloz" <Yvan.Bubloz@d...>
            wrote:
            > Bonjour,
            >
            > Je suis désolé de vous répondre en français, mais il m'est plus
            commode de m'exprimer dans ma langue maternelle.
            >
            > Avant d'aborder la question que vous nous posez, j'aimerais
            préciser que la lecture d'Aristote était conçue comme une
            propédeutique nécessaire à l'étude de la philosophie de Platon. La
            lecture d'Aristote s'effectuait aussi dans un ordre précis: on
            commençait par les écrits logiques, on poursuivait par l'éthique, la
            politique, la physique, et on concluait avec la théologie. Je n'en
            dirai pas plus, mais je vous renvoie à l'article suivant d'Ilsetraut
            Hadot: "Aristote dans l'enseignement philosophique néoplatonicien",
            Revue de théologie et de philosophie 124 (1992): 407-425. Peut-être
            que cet ouvrage vous sera plus accessible: Ilsetraut Hadot, Le
            problème du néoplatonisme alexandrin: Hiéroclès et Simplicius, Paris,
            Etudes augustiniennes, 1978.
            >
            > Quant à l'ordre de lecture des dialogues de Platon, il semblerait
            qu'il ait été institué par Jamblique. On doit à André-Jean Festugière
            un très bon article sur la question. Le voici: A.-J.
            Festugière, "L'ordre de lecture des dialogues de Platon aux Ve/VIe
            siècles", in: Etudes de philosophie grecque, Paris, Vrin, 1971, p.
            535-550. Il faut remarquer que la lecture ordonnée de Platon n'avait
            pas seulement une visée intellectuelle mais aussi une visée
            spirituelle: en parcourant l'oeuvre de Platon, on acquérait une série
            de vertus qui se hiérarchisaient en plusieurs niveaux: vertus
            politiques, cathartiques, théorétiques, paradigmatiques (depuis
            Porphyre) et théurgiques (depuis Jamblique). La lecture de chaque
            dialogue de Platon actualisait dans l'âme de l'apprenti philosophe
            une classe de vertus particulière. L'ordre de lecture est le suivant:
            > Alcibiade (but: faire prendre conscience au disciple que la
            philosophie vise la connaissance de soi-même)
            > Gorgias (acquisition des vertus politiques)
            > Phédon (vertus cathartiques)
            > Cratyle, Théétète, Sophiste, Politique, Phèdre et Banquet (vertus
            théorétiques)
            > Philèbe (enseignement sur le Bien)
            > Cette première série de dialogues constitue le "premier cycle" de
            la formation philosophique. S'y ajoute un "deuxième cycle": la
            lecture du Timée et du Parménide. Ces deux dialogues, dans l'esprit
            des néoplatoniciens, récapitulent l'intégralité de la philosophie de
            Platon. Le Timée couvre tout le champ de la physique, et le Parménide
            expose l'ensemble de la théologie platonicienne et est consacré aux
            intelligibles (les Formes).
            >
            > Je vous demanderais de m'excuser de la longueur du message.
            J'espère avoir répondu en partie à votre question.
            >
            > Cordiales salutations.
            >
            >
            > Yvan Bubloz
            >
            > ____________________________________________________
            > Yvan Bubloz
            > Université de Lausanne
            > DIHSR - BFSH 2
            > CH-1015 Lausanne
            > Tél. +41/(0)21/692.27.23 Fax +41/(0)21/692.27.25
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • vaeringjar
            Sorry but I hit the wrong button and lost all my reply - here is what I meant to post: Here is a quick and dirty translation of the posting on the order of
            Message 5 of 10 , May 1 6:53 PM
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              Sorry but I hit the wrong button and lost all my reply - here is what
              I meant to post:

              Here is a quick and dirty translation of the posting on the order of
              Plato's dialogues. I hope I have not mangled it too badly! I would
              also add a reference to L.G. Westerink, <The Anonymous Prolegomena to
              Platonic Philosophy> (Amsterdam, 1962), pp.XXXVI ff, for the
              Neoplatonic cycles and ordering of the dialogues discussed below, and
              of course much more, including of course the text and English
              translation of the Prolegomena.

              ======================================================================

              Good day,

              I am sorry to respond to you in French, but it is more convenient for
              me to express myself in my mother tongue.

              Before answering the question which you have put to us, I would like
              to clarify that the reading of Aristotle was conceived as a necessary
              propaideutic to the study of Plato's philosophy. The reading of
              Aristotle was also carried out in a precise order: one began with the
              writings on Logic, one followed with Ethics, the political writings,
              Physics, and one concluded with theology. I won't say any more about
              this, except to refer you to the following article by Ilsetraut Hadot:
              "Aristote dans l'enseignement philosophique néoplatonicien", Revue de
              théologie et de philosophie 124 (1992): 407-425. Perhaps this work
              will also be accessible to you: Ilsetraut Hadot, Le problème du
              néoplatonisme alexandrin: Hiéroclès et Simplicius, Paris, Etudes
              augustiniennes, 1978.

              As far as the order of the reading of Plato's dialogues is concerned,
              it appears that it was established by Iamblichus. We owe [thanks] to
              André-Jean Festugière for a very fine article on this question, which
              is: A.-J. Festugière, "L'ordre de lecture des dialogues de Platon aux
              Ve/VIe siècles", in: Etudes de philosophie grecque, Paris, Vrin,
              1971, p. 535-550. It should be remarked that the ordered reading of
              Plato not only had an intellectual goal, but also a spiritual one:
              while reading through Plato's work, one would acquire a series of
              virtues, which would be ordered hierarchically on several levels:
              political virtue, cathartic, theoretical, paradigmatic (since
              Porphyry), theurgic (since Iamblichus). The reading of each of
              Plato's dialogues actualized in the soul of the apprentice
              philosopher a class of particular virtue. The reading order is as
              follows:

              Alcibiades (goal: to make the pupil aware that philosophy should be
              the knowledge of one's self)
              Gorgias (acquisition of political virtues)
              Phaedo (cathartic virtues)
              Cratylus, Theatetus, Sophist, Statesman, Phaedrus, Symposium
              (theoretical virtues)
              Philebus (teaching concerning the Good)

              This first series of dialogues constitutes the "first cycle" of
              philosophical training. Then a "second cycle" is added: the reading
              of the Timaeus and the Parmenides. These two dialogues, in the spirit
              of the Neoplatonists, summarize the whole of Plato's philosophy.
              The Timaeus expresses the entirety of Platonic theology and is
              dedicated to the Intelligibles (the Forms).

              I would ask you to excuse the length of this message. I hope I have
              responded in part to your question.

              ========================================================


              Dennis Clark
              San Francisco
            • Yvan Bubloz
              Thank you for the English translation of my message! I wrote it in French, because I wanted to give a quick answer to the question we were asked. Next time
              Message 6 of 10 , May 2 4:59 AM
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                Thank you for the English translation of my message! I wrote it in French, because I wanted to give a quick answer to the question we were asked. Next time I'll try to express myself directly in English.

                Yvan Bubloz
                Lausanne (Switzerland)
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: vaeringjar
                To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Friday, May 02, 2003 3:53 AM
                Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Order of Platonic Dialogues


                Sorry but I hit the wrong button and lost all my reply - here is what
                I meant to post:

                Here is a quick and dirty translation of the posting on the order of
                Plato's dialogues. I hope I have not mangled it too badly! I would
                also add a reference to L.G. Westerink, <The Anonymous Prolegomena to
                Platonic Philosophy> (Amsterdam, 1962), pp.XXXVI ff, for the
                Neoplatonic cycles and ordering of the dialogues discussed below, and
                of course much more, including of course the text and English
                translation of the Prolegomena.

                ======================================================================

                Good day,

                I am sorry to respond to you in French, but it is more convenient for
                me to express myself in my mother tongue.

                Before answering the question which you have put to us, I would like
                to clarify that the reading of Aristotle was conceived as a necessary
                propaideutic to the study of Plato's philosophy. The reading of
                Aristotle was also carried out in a precise order: one began with the
                writings on Logic, one followed with Ethics, the political writings,
                Physics, and one concluded with theology. I won't say any more about
                this, except to refer you to the following article by Ilsetraut Hadot:
                "Aristote dans l'enseignement philosophique néoplatonicien", Revue de
                théologie et de philosophie 124 (1992): 407-425. Perhaps this work
                will also be accessible to you: Ilsetraut Hadot, Le problème du
                néoplatonisme alexandrin: Hiéroclès et Simplicius, Paris, Etudes
                augustiniennes, 1978.

                As far as the order of the reading of Plato's dialogues is concerned,
                it appears that it was established by Iamblichus. We owe [thanks] to
                André-Jean Festugière for a very fine article on this question, which
                is: A.-J. Festugière, "L'ordre de lecture des dialogues de Platon aux
                Ve/VIe siècles", in: Etudes de philosophie grecque, Paris, Vrin,
                1971, p. 535-550. It should be remarked that the ordered reading of
                Plato not only had an intellectual goal, but also a spiritual one:
                while reading through Plato's work, one would acquire a series of
                virtues, which would be ordered hierarchically on several levels:
                political virtue, cathartic, theoretical, paradigmatic (since
                Porphyry), theurgic (since Iamblichus). The reading of each of
                Plato's dialogues actualized in the soul of the apprentice
                philosopher a class of particular virtue. The reading order is as
                follows:

                Alcibiades (goal: to make the pupil aware that philosophy should be
                the knowledge of one's self)
                Gorgias (acquisition of political virtues)
                Phaedo (cathartic virtues)
                Cratylus, Theatetus, Sophist, Statesman, Phaedrus, Symposium
                (theoretical virtues)
                Philebus (teaching concerning the Good)

                This first series of dialogues constitutes the "first cycle" of
                philosophical training. Then a "second cycle" is added: the reading
                of the Timaeus and the Parmenides. These two dialogues, in the spirit
                of the Neoplatonists, summarize the whole of Plato's philosophy.
                The Timaeus expresses the entirety of Platonic theology and is
                dedicated to the Intelligibles (the Forms).

                I would ask you to excuse the length of this message. I hope I have
                responded in part to your question.

                ========================================================


                Dennis Clark
                San Francisco


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                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • fred.fauquier
                You will find the principal texts in: H.Dörrie, Der Platonismus in der Antike. Band 2. Der hellenistische Rahmen des kaiserzeitlichen Platonismus,
                Message 7 of 10 , May 2 5:32 AM
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                  You will find the principal texts in: H.Dörrie, Der Platonismus in der
                  Antike. Band 2. Der hellenistische Rahmen des kaiserzeitlichen Platonismus,
                  Stuttgart-Bad Canstatt: Fromman-Holzboog, 1990, p.96-109 and p.356-369

                  On the medioplatonic reading order of the Platonic Dialogues in relation
                  with neoplatonic order:
                  cf. Albinus, Prologos, chap.4-6
                  There are two important german translations and commentaries of this text:
                  - O.Nüsser, Albins Prolog und die Dialogtheorie des Platonismus, Stuttgart:
                  Teubner, 1991
                  - B.Reis, Der Platoniker Albinos und sein sogenannter Prologos, Wiesbaden:
                  Ludwig Reichert, 1999
                  cf. also
                  - B.Reis, "The Circle Simile in the Platonic Curriculum of Albinus", in
                  J.Cleary (ed.), The Perennoal Tradition of Neoplatonism, Leuven University
                  Press, 1997
                  - M.Dunn, « Iamblichus, Thrasyllus, and the Reading Order of the Platonic
                  Dialogues », in The Significance of Neoplatonism, ed. R.B.Harris, Virginia :
                  Old Dominion University, 1976
                  - J.Mansfeld, Prolegomena. Questions to be settled before the study of an
                  author or a text, Leiden: Brill, 1994, p.28-37
                  - B.Dalsgaard Larsen, Jamblique de Chalcis, Exégète et philosophe, Aarhus,
                  1972, p.322-340

                  Regards

                  Frederic Fauquier
                • M. Martijn
                  Dear mr Clark, Please allow me to point out a tiny oversight in your very welcome translation: the Timaeus is the summit of physics, of course, and the
                  Message 8 of 10 , May 2 6:51 AM
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                    Dear mr Clark, Please allow me to point out a tiny oversight in your very welcome translation: the Timaeus is the summit of physics, of course, and the Parmenides in theology. __Le Tim�e couvre tout le champ de la physique, et le Parm�nide expose l'ensemble de la th�ologie platonicienne et est consacr� aux intelligibles (les Formes).
                    __
                    The Timaeus [covers the entire field of physics, and the Parmenides] expresses the entirety of Platonic theology and is
                    dedicated to the Intelligibles (the Forms).
                    __ Best wishes,
                    Marije Martijn



                    ---------------------------------
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                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • vaeringjar
                    Dear Mr Martijn, Thank you for finding that - I skipped half the sentence. Must never slight the Timaeus! Dennis Clark San Francisco ... your very welcome
                    Message 9 of 10 , May 2 9:12 AM
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                      Dear Mr Martijn,

                      Thank you for finding that - I skipped half the sentence. Must never
                      slight the Timaeus!

                      Dennis Clark
                      San Francisco

                      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "M. Martijn" <m_martijn@y...>
                      wrote:
                      > Dear mr Clark, Please allow me to point out a tiny oversight in
                      your very welcome translation: the Timaeus is the summit of physics,
                      of course, and the Parmenides in theology. __Le Timée couvre tout le
                      champ de la physique, et le Parménide expose l'ensemble de la
                      théologie platonicienne et est consacré aux intelligibles (les
                      Formes).
                      > __
                      > The Timaeus [covers the entire field of physics, and the
                      Parmenides] expresses the entirety of Platonic theology and is
                      > dedicated to the Intelligibles (the Forms).
                      > __ Best wishes,
                      > Marije Martijn
                      >
                      >
                    • bzingle23
                      I appreciate all of the help and references concerning Plato s dialogues. One thing that stuck in my mind when I began to look at this topic (I am very new to
                      Message 10 of 10 , May 3 5:11 PM
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                        I appreciate all of the help and references concerning Plato's
                        dialogues. One thing that stuck in my mind when I began to look at
                        this topic (I am very new to philosophy) was that I did not see The
                        Meno mentioned in any of the thoughts concerning Plato's dialogues.
                        The only thing I can guess is that this dialogue was seen as a rather
                        elementary introduction to the Forms, and because of this, not
                        considered very useful to the Neoplatonists beyond the beginning of
                        their studies. I was curious if this assumption is accurate at all,
                        and also if any of the Neoplatonists found Plato's idea of learning
                        as recollection important? Or possibly, did they not consider this
                        dialogue to be a literal philosophy but rather some type of analogy
                        for beginners?

                        Thanks for all of your help.

                        Brett
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