Skip to main content Accessibility help
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
May 2024
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

Many philosophers in the ancient world shared a unitary vision of philosophy – meaning 'love of wisdom' – not just as a theoretical discipline, but as a way of life. Specifically, for the late Neoplatonic thinkers, philosophy began with self-knowledge, which led to a person's inner conversion or transformation into a lover, a human being erotically striving toward the totality of the real. This metamorphosis amounted to a complete existential conversion. It was initiated by learned guides who cultivated higher and higher levels of virtue in their students, leading, in the end, to their vision of the Good, or the One. In this book, James M. Ambury closely analyses two central texts in this tradition: the commentaries by Proclus (412–485 AD) and Olympiodorus (495–560 AD) on the Platonic Alcibiades I. Ambury's powerful study illuminates the way philosophy was conceived during a crucial period of its history, in the lecture halls of late antiquity.


‘An inspiring and rich analysis of Plato's pedagogical mission, where education is less about providing useful knowledge and more about a conversion of the soul, Ambury's book keenly shows how Platonism begins with love and what Ambury calls ‘a vision of the real' that intends to ignite, in prospective students, a passion for the philosophical way of life.'

Danielle Layne - Professor of Philosophy, Gonzaga University

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Save to Kindle
  • Save to Dropbox
  • Save to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.