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Philosophers and their Neoplatonic Lives: Problems and Paradigms

Miles, G ORCID: 0000-0003-3149-3963 2020 , 'Philosophers and their Neoplatonic Lives: Problems and Paradigms', in K De Temmerman (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Biography , Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp. 349-362.

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This chapter addresses biographies of philosophers, which, alongside those of political figures and poets, constitute one of the dominant forms of the genre in Antiquity. By the nature of their subjects, philosophical biographies almost invariably contain some doxographic element, explaining the opinions and arguments of the thinker in question. They are also frequently integrated into broader contexts, either into biographical series or into other philosophical contexts. Beyond these common traits, biographies of philosophers exhibit as much variety as other forms of ancient biography: in their structural choices; in their approach to characterizing, and to varying degrees idealizing their subjects; in their narrating voices; and indeed in their ostensible purposes. Something of the variety of these responses to the challenges of representing the philosophic life in biographical form will emerge in the chapter’s discussion, which focuses on the class of philosophical biography best represented among the surviving texts: Neoplatonic biography.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Miles, G
Keywords: ancient Greek biography, Neoplatonism, Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus, Proclus, Marinus
Publisher: Oxford University Press
DOI / ID Number: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198703013.001.0001
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Copyright 2020 Oxford University Press

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