The Handbook of Platonism or Didaskalikos, attributed to Alcinous (long identified with the Middle Platonist Albinus, but on inadequate grounds), is a central text of later Platonism. In Byzantine times, in the Italian Renaissance, and even up to 1800, it was regarded as an ideal introduction to Plato's thought. In fact it is far from being this, but it is an excellent source for our understanding of Platonism in the second century AD. Neglected after a more accurate view of Plato's thought established itself in the nineteenth century, the Handbook is only now coming to be properly appreciated for what it is.It presents a survey of Platonist doctrine, divided into the topics of Logic, Physics, and Ethics, and pervaded with Aristotelian and Stoic
doctrines, all of which are claimed for Plato.John Dillon presents an English translation of this work, accompanied by an introduction and a philosophical commentary in which he disentangles the various strands of influence, elucidates the complex scholastic tradition that lies behind, and thus reveals the sources and subsequent influence of the ideas expounded.
Readership: Philosophers and classicists interested in Plato and his followers, and their influence on the history of philosophy.
Translated with an introduction and commentary by John Dillon, Regius Professor of Greek, Trinity College, Dublin
"D. has exactly the right qualifications to put the Handbook into philosophical perspective. The Platonic roots are carefully documented and analysed, the Aristotelian graftings precisely noted and philosophically illuminating references to Neoplatonic developments are aptly cited and discussed ... important references to Stoic and Aristotelian influence are not limited to terminology. Doctrinal and methodological influences are also richly documented and discussed in the commentary. This detailed treatment is not reserved for the metaphysical sections, which D. for good reasons finds more interesting and rewarding, but is extended to the chapters on logic." - The Classical Review
"The introduction is a judicious presentation of the philosophical and historical issues raised by this treatise ... Throughout, the translation is both readable and true to its Greek source ... an excellent tool for the use of students of later Greek philosophy." - Review of Metaphysics
"The work is essential for any who wishes to follow the many byways of the Platonic tradition. Its straightforward summary propositions offers a unique doctrinal view of Platonism, an approach that was normative for the tradition for centuries. Highly recommended." - The Reader's Review, The Bookseller's Network, Number 16, August 1996
"an invaluble discussion" - Terence Kleven, Central College, Pella, Iowa, Mind, Vol 108, no 431, July 1999