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A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science

Ed. by Wildberg, Christian / Morison, Benjamin

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Volume 46, Issue 2


The Origin of the Division between Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism

Leo Catana
Published Online: 2013-04-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/apeiron-2012-0029


The division of Ancient Platonism into Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism is a fairly new one. The conceptual foundation of this division was cemented in Jacob Brucker’s pioneering Historia critica philosophiae (1742-67). In the 1770s and 1780s, the term ‘Neoplatonism’ was coined on the basis of Brucker’s analysis. Three historiographical concepts were decisive to Brucker: ‘system of philosophy’, ‘eclecticism’ and ‘syncretism’. By means of these concepts, he characterized Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism as opposing philosophical movements, the former being a genuine form of Platonism, the latter a false form. However, the division is untenable and we ought to abandon it.

Keywords: Middle Platonism; Neoplatonism; eclecticism; Jakob Brucker

About the article

Published Online: 2013-04-18

Published in Print: 2013-04-01

Citation Information: Apeiron, Volume 46, Issue 2, Pages 166–200, ISSN (Online) 2156-7093, ISSN (Print) 0003-6390, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/apeiron-2012-0029.

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