Plato's Timaeus and the Latin Tradition

Cambridge University Press, 2018


This book focuses on the development of Platonic philosophy at the hands of Roman writers between the first century BCE and the early fifth century CE. It discusses the interpretation of Plato's Timaeus by Cicero, Apuleius, Calcidius, and Augustine, and examines how these authors created new contexts and settings for the intellectual heritage they received and thereby contributed to the construction of the complex and multifaceted genre of Roman Platonism. It takes advantage of the authors' treatment of Plato's Timaeus as a continuous point of reference to illustrate the individuality and originality of each writer in his engagement with this Greek philosophical text; each chooses a specific vocabulary, methodology, and literary setting for his appropriation of Timaean doctrine. The authors' contributions to the dialogue's history of transmission are shown to have enriched and prolonged the enduring significance of Plato's cosmology.