This book sheds new light on Plato's cosmology in relation to Greek religion by examining the contested distinction between the traditional and cosmic gods. A close reading of the later dialogues shows that the two families of gods are routinely deployed to organise and structure Plato's accounts of the origins of the universe and of humanity and its social institutions, and to illuminate the moral and political ideals of philosophical utopias. Vilius Bartninkas argues that the presence of the two kinds (...) of gods creates a dynamic, yet productive, tension in Plato's thinking which is unmistakable and which is not resolved until the works of his students. Thus the book closes by exploring how the cosmological and religious ideas of Plato's later dialogues resurfaced in the Early Academy and how the debates initiated there ultimately led to the collapse of this theological distinction. (shrink)
At the start of Plato’s Minos an anonymous comrade argues that the variability of law according to time and place undermines the claim that it conveys moral truth. But by the end he has accepted Minos as the greatest of lawgivers because of his education by Zeus. How does he manage to slide so quickly from the moral laxity of conventionalism to the moral absolutism of divine revelation? Guided by this question, the author considers how the two divergent parts of (...) the Minos form one whole, and so what Plato suggests is the common basis to conventionalism and piety. Plato’s Minos thus ends up having an unexpectedly close relationship to his Euthyphro. (shrink)
In this paper, we highlight a number of difficulties concerning the relationship between the Critias and theT imaeus, notably a contradiction between Timaeus 27a-b and Critias 108a-c. On this basis we argue that the Critias must be considered spurious.