80 - Delphic Utterances: Plutarch

Plutarch, a major figure of early Imperial literature, was also a Platonist philosopher. He gives us insight into Platonism before Plotinus, and also the letter E.

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Further Reading: 

For primary texts see the Loeb editions of Plutarch’s Moralia from Harvard University Press.

• F.E. Brenk, J.P. Hershbell and P.A. Stadter (eds), Plutarch, Illinois Classical Studies 13 (1988).

• J.P. Hershbell, “Plutarch and Stoicism” and “Plutarch and Epicureanism,” Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt 2.36.5 (1992), 3336-52 and 3353-83.

• C.P. Jones, Plutarch and Rome (Oxford 1971).

• R. Lamberton, Plutarch (New Haven: 2001).

• J. Opsomer, “Plutarch’s De animae procreatione in Timaeo: Manipulation or Search for Consistency?” in P. Adamson, H. Baltussen and M.W.F. Stone (eds), Philosophy, Science and Exegesis in Greek, Arabic and Latin Commentaries (London: 2004), vol.1, 137-62.

• J. Opsomer, “M. Annius Ammonius, a Philosophical Profile,” in M. Bonazzi and J. Opsomer (eds), The Origins of the Platonic System (Leuven: 2009), 123-86.

• L. Van Hoof, Plutarch’s Practical Ethics (Oxford: 2010).

List of online translations of Plutarch's works.

Peter Adamson's picture


Thanks to Jan Opsomer for help with the research on this episode and to Greg MacIsaac for the photo from Delphi!
CarolA's picture

As usual your program has

As usual your program has opened up a whole new field of reading and research! What a pity more of Plutarch's works did not survive, although I suppose we can say the same for many of the philosophers studied so far.
Thank you so much for this wonderful series - I am enjoying every episode.

Peter Adamson's picture

Plutarch's works

Thanks very much! Glad you are enjoying the series and that you liked Plutarch. I guess I think of him as the Platonist from this period whose words did survive but you're right that much has been lost; in that respect he is, sadly, far from unusual!