Late Ancient Platonism in Eighteenth-Century German Thought

  • Leo Catana

About this book


This work synthesizes work previously published in leading journals in the field into a coherent narrative that has a distinctive focus on Germany while also being aware of a broader European dimension. It argues that the German Lutheran Christoph August Heumann (1681-1764) marginalized the biographical approach to past philosophy and paved the way for the German Lutheran Johann Jacob Brucker’s (1696-1770) influential method for the writing of past philosophy, centred on depersonalised and abstract systems of philosophy. The work offers an authoritative and engaging account of how late ancient Platonism, Plotinus in particular, was interpreted in eighteenth-century Germany according to these new precepts. Moreover, it reveals the Lutheran religious assumptions of this new approach to past philosophy, which underpinned the works of Heumann and Brucker, but also influential reviews that rejected the English Plato translator Thomas Taylor (1758-1835) and his understanding and evaluation of late ancient Platonism.


Eighteenth Century Philosophy and Theology Thomas Taylor’s Dissent Middle Platonism Dethronement of Porphyry’s Vita Plotini Late Ancient Platonism Age of Reason Heumann’s Dethronement of Porphyry’s Vita Plotini Biographical Model in History of Philosophy Division between Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism Views on Platonic Philosophy

Authors and affiliations

  • Leo Catana
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Philosophy, Faculty of HumanitiesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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