By Michael Griffin, Richard Sorabji
Olympiodorus (AD c. 500–570), probably the final non-Christian instructor of philosophy in Alexandria, added those lectures as an creation to Plato with a biography. For us, they could function an obtainable advent to overdue Neoplatonism. Olympiodorus locates the 1st Alcibiades at first of the curriculum on Plato, since it is set self-knowledge. His scholars are newbies, capable of method the hierarchy of philosophical virtues, just like the aristocratic playboy Alcibiades. Alcibiades must recognize himself, not less than as a person with specific activities, ahead of he can achieve the virtues of mere civic interplay. As Olympiodorus addresses more often than not Christian scholars, he tells them that the several phrases they use are frequently symbols of truths shared among their faiths.
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Extra info for Olympiodorus: Life of Plato and On Plato First Alcibiades 1-9
Self-perpetuation, and the development of its being, as well as representing an epistemological advance in self-understanding. Taxis The initial location of the Alcibiades is defended on Plato’s own authority (Phaedrus 229E–230A): it is ‘laughable’ for someone to rush to know anything else while remaining ignorant of himself, so self-knowledge has to come ﬁrst (10,19–20); one should pursue the philosophy of Socrates ‘Socratically’, and Socrates came to philosophy from the Delphic Oracle (11,1–3).
Olympiodorus’ interpretation: climbing the ladder As we have seen above, Olympiodorus follows the Iamblichean tradition in representing the Alcibiades as the ‘fore-gate’ to the temple of which the Parmenides is the aduton, the ‘holy of holies’. But for the Neoplatonic tradition, as I argued above, the speciﬁc function of this ‘fore-gate’ is to mediate from the natural (phusikos) level of excellence to the ‘rungs’ of philosophical excellence. Similarly, for Plotinus (Enn. 3; see above), we must turn from a natural (phusikos) and perceptual (aisthêtikos) way of life to a rational (logikos) way of life.
By inviting us to imitate the characters, the dialogue directly aﬀects even the irrational, ‘habituated’ part of the soul. The emphasis falls on us as individual readers to follow the example of the Life of Plato and ‘ascend’ in the curriculum, beginning by locating ourselves correctly within the ‘cosmic’ hierarchy represented by the dialogue. 3. Olympiodorus on the individual (to atomon) I would also like to draw attention to Olympiodorus’ special eﬀort to locate the ‘individual’ (to atomon) in this hierarchy.