Apuleius and the Metamorphoses of Platonism


Nutrix 10 Moreschini

Claudio Moreschini, Apuleius and the Metamorphoses of Platonism
Brepols (Nutrix, 10) Turnhout 2016 ISBN: 9782503554709 € 105,00

This book presents a thorough re-examination of Apuleius’ Platonic philosophy, encompassing both his philosophical and literary works. Its primary concern lies in demonstrating how there is no significant gap between the Platonic philosophy of the Opuscola (De Deo Socratis, De Platone et eius dogmate, De mundo), and the literary tastes of his rhetorical and most important output, such as the Apologia, the Florida, and foremost the Metamorphoses. Apuleius’ Platonism has been very poorly investigated. It had attracted the attention of only a few – although prominent – scholars (Festugiére, Dodds, Theiler), before being taken briefly into consideration in the monographs by John Dillon (The Middleplatonists, London 1977) and Stephen Gersh (Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism, The Latin Tradition, Notre Dame 1986). Because of his multifaceted interests and brillinat style, which is reflected in his conferences, judicial orations and in the novel. Apuleius was mainly treated as a sophist. In the wake of a recent revival of interest in Greek Middle Platonism and in its predecessors (such as Philo of Alexandria or Plutarch), the rethor of Madauros is worthy a new examination. This book aims at considering Apuleius as Philosophus Platonicus who, at the same time, is a Latin Sophis, showing how the two aspects are closely intertwined. Examing only one aspect wuold be easy, but would not do justice to Apuleius’ personality. In particular, it is necessary to insert him into a philosophical line, which runs from the first to the third century AD, thus outlining the specifics of Latin Platonism. On the other hand, it is necessary to take into account the concerns of the Second Sophistic in philosophy, though in a somewhat trivialized and less systematic way. The title of the book (Apuleius and the Metamorphoses of Platonism) indeed underlines how Apuleius’ chamaleonic Platonis ‘transforms’ itself, both in his philosophical and his literary works. While challenging the current scholarly trend that overrates the philsophical presenze in the Metamorphoses, this book suggest new outlooks as well as providing a new perspective on many hypotheses previously considered as a given. In order to do this, it investigates the literary, religious and philosophical Graeco-Roman / Africa milieu in wich A. lived from a literary, religious and philosophical point of view, while considering his influence on authors from Late Antiquity.

Claudio Moreschini (1938) Professor Emeritus of Latin Literature and Early Christian Literature at th University of Pisa, currently teaches at the Instititutum Augustinianum in Rome. He published many critical editions (Apulesiu De philosophia libri, Boethius Consolatio Philosophiae and Opuscuola theologica, Hermias Alexandrinus’ Scholia on Plato’s Phraedus, Gregory Nazianzen’s Orations). He has studied the Latin Tradition of Platonism, Christian Hermetism and the theology of the Cappadocian Fathers, being also interested in Renaissance Philosophy (Ficino, Lazzarelli, Patrizi).

 In copertina: Apuleius evokes the demons as intermediaries between humanity and divinity (cfr. Augustine, De civitate Dei, VIII, 18) Ms. Den Haag, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, MMW 10 A 11, f. 385r Augustine, La Cité de Dieu (vol. I), french translation by Raoul de Presles Illuminator: Maître François (Paris, c. 1475) © National Library of the Netherlands, The Hague