Harold Tarrant here explores ancient attempts to interpret Plato's writings, by philosophers who spoke a Greek close to Plato's own, and provides a fresh, almost primitive, reading of Plato himself. His book also serves as a synthesis of recent work on ancient interpreters of Plato.
Tarrant's primary emphasis is on the Middle Platonists, but he also discusses the Old and New Academies, the Athenian and Alexandrian Neoplatonists, and selected nonphilosophical writers. In Part I, he addresses some of the principal issues of interpretation -- Are the dialogues drama or philosophy? Is Plato offering doctrine? What parts of the corpus are most important? -- and considers them alongside the views of ancient readers. In Part II, he offers a historical over-view of significant ancient developments in interpretation over the centuries. In Part III, he considers ancient attitudes toward particular groups of dialogues, and the Gorgias and the Theaetetus individually.
"This immensely learned book . . . offers a mine of encyclopaedic information and useful analysis. . . It is a resource that everyone interested in Plato should have on their shelves."-A. A. Long, University of California, Berkeley, Journal of the History of Philosophy, vol. 41, No. 1, January 2003 "Tarrant has written an impressive study of Plato's earliest interpreters. . . The level of scholarship is masterful. The prose is readable and engaging throughout. The bibliography, notes, and indexes are helpful as well."-Anne-Marie Bowery, Baylor University. Religious Studies Review, Vol. 27, No. 4, October 2001 "This extraordinarily thorough and learned book shows that Plato's earliest interpreters also debated most of the issues discussed in contemporary scholarship."-Choice, March 2001