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Rationality, eros, and daemonic influence in the Platonic Theages and the Academy of Polemo and Crates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-424
JournalAmerican Journal of Philology
Issue number3
DatePublished - 2013


The educational efficacy ascribed by the Theages to erotic intimacy and daemonic influence has troubled scholars, who generally consider it decadent, superstitious, and irrational. Similar concerns arise concerning the Academy of Polemo and Crates, which is the Theages ’ probable source. I argue that the dialogue signals how cooperative rational inquiry is compatible with erotics and daemonology through allusions to the Symposium and Theaetetus . Moreover, the most “outrageous” passage—the story of Aristides—is signposted as an ironic puzzle, not a straightforward representation of Socratic philosophizing. The way is thus cleared to revise our understanding of rationality in this dialogue and this period of the Academy.

    Structured keywords

  • Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition

    Research areas

  • Theages, Polemo, Crates, Eros, Socrates, Spuria Platonica, Demonology

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  • Theages article AJP finalized

    Rights statement: Copyright © 2013 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in The American Journal of Philology, Volume 134, Issue 3, Fall, 2013, pages 383-424.

    Accepted author manuscript, 505 KB, PDF document


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