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The Platonic Defense of Homeric Allegoresis in Porphyry’s On the Cave of the Nymphs

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dc.contributor.advisor Edmonds, Radcliffe G., III, 1970- Kwon, Jake Samuel 2019-09-02T22:41:30Z 2019-09-02T22:41:30Z 2019
dc.description.abstract With the emergence of new ethical critiques driven by dialectic and rational discourse in Greece, the beloved Homeric poems began to fall under heavy criticism, most notably by Plato, who has Socrates launch a more comprehensive attack on Homer than previous thinkers, banishing Homer from his ideal state in Republic X for conjuring falsehoods and misleading the masses. This paper will examine the ways in which the earlier Neoplatonist, Porphyry of Tyre, makes an implicit defense of Homeric myth in his allegorical reading of Homer, On the Cave of the Nymphs, against the criticisms that Plato raises in his Republic, while still attempting to construct his arguments within a Platonic metaphysical system. Porphyry refutes this criticism that certain myths – including those of Homer – should be dismissed due to their mimetic nature, by demonstrating that the obscurities in Homer’s cave are symbolic, rather than imitative; he also contends that many of Plato’s insights have already been articulated by Homer and other ancient traditions. While Porphyry’s On the Cave of the Nymphs has been noted mainly for its usage of ancient symbol and for its place in the history of Homeric allegoresis, this paper addresses the relevance of this treatise to the centuries-long conversation that has struggled to assess the moral and intellectual standing of Homer in light of the criticisms made by Plato.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Classics
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh Porphyry, approximately 234-approximately 305. Peri tou en Odysseia tōn nymphōn antrou. English
dc.subject.lcsh Philosophy, Ancient, in literature
dc.title The Platonic Defense of Homeric Allegoresis in Porphyry’s On the Cave of the Nymphs
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Open Access

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