Københavns Universitet
Uafhængig af ledelsen


Late Ancient Platonism in Eighteenth-Century German Thought


Disputatforsvar — Disputatsforsvar ved lektor, dr.phil. Leo Catana


Date & Time:

Det Teologiske Fakultet, Aud. 9A-0-01, Karen Blixens Plads 16, 2300 København S.

Hosted by:
Det Teologiske Fakultet


This thesis focuses on the reception, interpretation and evaluation of late ancient Platonism in eighteenth-Century German thought. It is argued that there was a close link between eighteenth-Century German theological orientation, on the one hand, and the understanding and evaluation of late ancient Platonism in eighteenth-Century German history of philosophy, on the other hand. The common view has been that the history of philosophy produced in this period in Germany was independent and free of theological premises — that is, an example of the separation of philosophy and theology, often said to be typical of the Enlightenment. This thesis presents a different view: The theological orientation amongst eighteenth-century German historians of philosophy was decisive to their interpretation of their material, in this case late ancient Platonism. It is demonstrated that some of their intepretations and characterisations of past philosophy have been carried on uncritically by later historians of philosophy, even though the evidence does not always support the inherited interpretations and characterisations. One instance of this is the divide between Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism, which was founded in the eighteenth century by German historians of philosophy, and which is still used today.