Neoplatonic interpretations of Plato's 'Parmenides'

Course Information
TitleΝεοπλατωνικές ερμηνείες του πλατωνικού "Παρμενίδη" / Neoplatonic interpretations of Plato's 'Parmenides'
CodeΦΙΜ 143
SchoolPhilosophy and Education
Cycle / Level2nd / Postgraduate
Teaching PeriodWinter/Spring
CoordinatorPantelis Golitsis
Course ID600018281

Programme of Study: PPS Philosophy

Registered students: 0
OrientationAttendance TypeSemesterYearECTS
History of PhilosophyMandatory Elective CoursesWinter/Spring-10
Systematic PhilosophyElective CoursesWinter/Spring-10

Class Information
Academic Year2019 – 2020
Class PeriodSpring
Faculty Instructors
Weekly Hours3
Total Hours39
Class ID
Course Type 2011-2015
Knowledge Deepening / Consolidation
Mode of Delivery
  • Face to face
Digital Course Content
Language of Instruction
  • Greek (Instruction, Examination)
  • English (Examination)
  • French (Examination)
  • German (Examination)
  • Italian (Examination)
Learning Outcomes
Τhrough the postgraduate seminar students are expected: - to become deeply acquainted with the theological thought (i.e. their philosophy on the First principles) of the Hellenes of Late Antiquity; - to compose a scientific essay on a topic from the field of ​​ancient philosophy.
General Competences
  • Work autonomously
  • Work in teams
  • Be critical and self-critical
  • Advance free, creative and causative thinking
Course Content (Syllabus)
The "Parmenides" is read nowadays chiefly as an aporetic and perhaps subversive dialogue, in which Plato realizes and exposes the problems that arise from his theory of Forms. The interpretation of the "Parmenides" was completely different in antiquity. Initially interpreted as a “refutative” or “logical” dialogue, that is, either as a logical exercise in which Zeno the Eleatic is refuted in his own field or as a genuine example of platonic dialectic, the "Parmenides" was seen by the Neoplatonists, starting with Plotinus, as containing in its second part (135d 6 sqq.) a theological system, which describes the different degrees of reality as they proceed from the First Principle of everything. In this respect, the interpretation of Plotinus ("Enneads", V 1, 8) was crucial; according to the Neoplatonic philosopher, the first three “hypotheses” of the second part of the dialogue (one, one-many, one and many) correspond to the three primary hypostases, that is, the One, the Intelligence and the Soul. This reading marks the shift from Medioplatonism to Neoplatonism (according to the established terminology in history of philosophy), insofar as the "Parmenides" replaces the "Timaeus" as a canonical dialogue, i.e. as the dialogue from which the interpretation of any other Platonic dialogue must begin. The postgraduate seminar, which aims at exploring this culminating moment of Hellenic philosophy (which coincides with its end), will mainly be based on select passages from the works "On Plato's theology" and "Commentary on Plato's Parmenides" by Proclus and "On the First Principles" and "Commentary on Plato's Parmenides" by Damascius. The participants in the seminar will be asked to present and discuss the arguments by which the Neoplatonic exegetes distinguish the different hypotheses in the second part of the dialogue, as well as their different interpretations of the correspondence of the hypotheses to the levels of reality.
Neoplatonism, Theology, First Principles
Educational Material Types
  • Notes
Use of Information and Communication Technologies
Use of ICT
  • Use of ICT in Course Teaching
  • Use of ICT in Communication with Students
Course Organization
Reading Assigment522.1
Written assigments1596.4
Student Assessment
Student Assessment methods
  • Written Assignment (Summative)
  • Performance / Staging (Formative)
Additional bibliography for study
John D. Turner and Kevin Corrigan (eds.), Plato's Parmenides and its Heritage, 2 vols., Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2010. Frédéric Fauquier, Le Parménide au miroir des platonismes: logique, ontologie, théologie, Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2018.
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