This NWO-funded project, which will be carried out in the context of the Utrecht research programme History of Philosophy, focuses on the interpretation of an important Platonic dialogue by later Hellenistic philosophers and by the Neoplatonic tradition of late antiquity.
The Platonic Alcibiades Maior discusses philosophical education and self-knowledge as a basis for the good life. It often figured as the first Platonic dialogue to be read in the set curriculum for students of philosophy in late antiquity. This research project explores the ways in which this authoritative text, through the very fact of being read and re-read, taught and re-taught, by many generations of students and teachers, could trigger philosophical innovation. At the same time, such innovative positions needed to be conceived as belonging to and strengthening the authoritative Platonic tradition if they were to have lasting influence. The project examines this process of anchoring as a response to the tension between tradition and innovation in the philosophical schools of the Hellenistic period and of later antiquity.