Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christian Platonism Studies


Okay, I've hit you up for money and, more recently, for books for Our Lady Seat of Wisdom. I am going to do the latter again.

This is all on account of a project I've been mentally nursing for a few years now. OLSWA is on the cusp of becoming an accredited, degree-granting institution (please pray for this - it's way harder to accomplish this in Ontario than you can possibly know!!). When it does I'm going to hit up the dean and the Senate to let me offer a course called "Christian Platonism" - a fourth year course dedicated to following the two millenia long tradition of Christian Platonism. Such a process would include such formidable as Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzen, Hilary, Victorinus, Ambrose, Augustine, Boethius, Pseudo-Dionysius, Eriugena, Bonaventure, (Thomas Aquinas - haha). We'd have to look at false Christian Platonisms, like that of the Gnostics, of Origen (see above), even of Athanasius, and the Arians, etc.

Gosh, it would be so much fun! The operating question of the class would be, not, is it possible to be Christian and Platonic, but is it possible not to be?

So in light of this dream of mine, I would present you with yet another list of books that would so greatly aid in the development of this program, and OLSWA in general:

 Again, our address is:

c/o Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy
18 Karol Wojtyla Sq.,
Box 249,
Barry's Bay, ON,
K0J 1B0

And our website is here.

These are some of the books that I think would be a great help:

Jaroslav Pelikan, What Has Athens to Do with Jerusalem?: Timaeus and Genesis in Counterpoint

Philo, On The Creation Of The Cosmos According To Moses

William Riordan, Divine Light: Theology of Denys the Areopagite

Jaroslav Pelikan, Christianity and Classical Culture: The Metamorphosis of Natural Theology in the Christian Encounter with Hellenism

Charles Norris Cochrane, Christinity and Classical Culture 

Werner Jaeger, Early Christianity and Greek Paidea

Alcinous, The Handbook of Platonism

R. Wallis, Neoplatonism

Richard Kraut, The Cambridge Companion to Plato

Lambertus Marie De Rijk, etc., The Winged Chariot: Collected Essays on Plato and Platonism in Honour of L.M. De Rijk

John M. Dillon, The Golden Chain: Studies in the Development of Platonism and Christianity

Phillips, Order From Disorder. Proclus' Doctrine of Evil and its Roots in Ancient Platonism

Salvatore Romano and Clemente Lilla, Clement of Alexandria: A Study in Christian Platonism and Gnosticism

Corrigan, K., ed., Platonisms: Ancient, Modern, and Postmodern

Douglas Hedley and Sarah Hutton, Platonism at the Origins of Modernity: Studies on Platonism and Early Modern Philosophy

John J. O'Meara and Thomas P. Halton, Studies in Augustine and Eriugena

Bernard McGinn and Willemien Otten, Eriugena: East and West : Papers of the Eighth International Colloquium of the Society for the Promotion of Eriugenian Studies

Dominic J. O'Meara, Plotinus: An Introduction to the Enneads

Kevin Corrigan, Reading Plotinus: A Practical Introduction to Neoplatonism

David J. Yount, Plotinus, The Platonist

M. J. Edwards, Culture and Philosphy in the Age of Plotinus

Rist, Plotinus: Road to Reality

Stephen Gersh, Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism: The Latin Tradition

John M. Dillon, The Great Tradition: Further Studies in the Development of Platonism and Early Christianity 

Christine Raffini, Marsilio Ficino, Pietro Bembo, Baldassare Castiglione: Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Political Approaches in Renaissance Platonism

E. Jane Doering and Eric O. Springsted, The Christian Platonism Of Simone Weil

Stephen Gersh and Charles Kannengiesser, Platonism in Late Antiquity 

David T. Runia, Philo in Early Christian Literature 

Niketas Siniossoglou, Plato and Theodoret: The Christian Appropriation of Platonic Philosophy and the Hellenic Intellectual Resistance 

Robert P Casey, Clement of Alexandria and the beginings of Christian Platonism

D. P. Walker, Ancient Theology: Studies in Christian Platonism from the 15th to the 17th Century
Charles Taliaferro, etc.,Cambridge Platonist Spirituality

Andrew Louth, The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys

Margaret R. Miles, Plotinus on Body and Beauty: Society, Philosophy, and Religion in Third-Century Rome

John D. Turner and Ruth Dorothy Majercik, Gnosticism and Later Platonism: Themes, Figures, and Texts

Deirdre Carabine, John Scottus Eriugena

David Sedley, The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Philosophy

Kenneth Wapnick, Love Does Not Condemn: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil According to Platonism, Christianity, Gnosticism, and 'A Course in Miracles'

J. M. E. Moravcsik, Plato and Platonism: Plato's Conception of Appearence and Reality in Ontology, Epistemology, and Ethnics, and its Modern Echoes

Brian Dobell, Augustine's Intellectual Conversion: The Journey from Platonism to Christianity

Phillip Cary, Augustine's Invention of the Inner Self: The Legacy of a Christian Platonist


  1. Colin, I love the idea of a Christian Platonism class. So much so that if I were a) in the area, and b) not surrounded by babies and toddlers who needed me, I would take this class for SURE. (As you can see, these criteria make it highly unlikely that I will get to take this class, unless you're still offering it when I move to my dream retirement home in Barry's Bay or the surrounds). I think this would balance out the *cough* extreme emphasis on St. Thomas at the Academy, but also prepare students better for graduate work, etc., where like it or not, St. Thomas is NOT considered the be-all-and-end-all.

    Thus, I would like to help out with this cause. Is there a way of making something like a gift registry so I'll know which books, if any, have already been purchased from your list?

  2. PS I also love Plato so much. So yes, I think a Christian Platonism class is filling a huge void at the school that I didn't even realize existed.

  3. I have been instructed to offer no comment on the above statements ;) ahem, cough.

    Good idea about the registry thing. I am not sure what I could do, other than perhaps put a 'wish list' on Amazon, maybe? Let me look into it...

    I love Plato so much tooooooo!

  4. Perhaps you could also post your "wish lists" on the OLSWA website, or in the newsletter, where they might get more exposure than your blog. That way benefactors and supporters can find another way to support the Academy.

    You never know what tomes may be lurking on someone's bookcase...not mine, sadly, since really I haven't the foggiest idea what you are talking about a fair bit of the time. :) Which means that maybe I'd better get reading more.

  5. Oh Sue, you and me both. We are here to comment on the dad part rather than the theology bit.