Saturday, 11 April 2015

Olga Alieva: The connections between protreptic argumentation and isagogical literature in late Antiquity (especially in neoplatonical commentaries)

The study of literature which we could conveniently define “ isagogical” shows that it shares remarkable affinities with the corpus of the protreptics (in particular of the protreptics to philosophy). With the expression “isagogical literature” we refer both to some texts of introductive character in an exegetic perspective (it is about introductions and comments to works by Aristotle, Plato or Porphyrius, or about introductions to the study of these authors) and to an introductive material of first level, such as the introductions to the study of the disciplines. The affinities between the isagogic and the protreptic literature a priori come as no surprise if one considers that both have a propaedeutic function. Among the similarities we have to highlight a series of topoi whose rhetorical intention is evident: existence, utility and telos of philosophy, definitions of philosophy, and so on. The paper aims above all to illustrate the meanings of these topoi and the contests which justify the common ground between the two literatures.

On the other hand, it must be pointed out that right inside the isagogic – exegetic literature of the Late Antiquity, and more precisely that one of philosophical character (Alexander of Aphrodisias, and among the neoplatonics, Olympiodorus, Elias and David), we find the rare explicit quotations of the Protrepticus by Aristotle: in the second part of the paper we will deal with these texts in a more focused perspective as they are witnesses of the Protrepticus by the Stagirite.

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