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date: 30 November 2022

Alcinous(2)locked

Alcinous(2)locked

  • John Dillon

Extract

Alcinous (2), accredited in the MSS as author of the Didaskalikos, or ‘Handbook of Platonism’, a summary of *Plato (1)'s doctrines designed as a handbook for the general public. He was long identified with the 2nd-cent. ce Platonist *Albinus (1); but this identification has recently been impugned on palaeographical grounds, and it seems better to preserve the original name, admitting ignorance of the author's identity or dating (though a 2nd-cent. date still seems reasonable). Long since rejected as an accurate account of Plato's own views, by reason of its incorporation of many Aristotelian and even Stoic doctrines and terminology (see aristotle; stoicism), the work has now come to be valued for what it is, a summary of the doctrine of at least one school of the Platonism of the period. Alcinous attributes Aristotle's categories and syllogistic to Plato; he equates Plato's Demiurge with Aristotle's Unmoved Mover; he interprets Plato's transcendent Forms as thoughts of God. However, despite an interesting distinction between a primal god and a world-mind, Alcinous has no doctrine of a supra-intellectual One, such as is characteristic of *Neoplatonism.

Subjects

  • Greek Literature
  • Philosophy

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