Olympiodorus (AD c. 500-570), possibly the last non-Christian teacher of philosophy in Alexandria, delivered 28 lectures as an introduction to Plato. This volume translates lectures 10-28, following from the first nine lectures and a biography of the philosopher published in translation in a companion volume, Olympiodorus: Life of Plato and On Plato First Alcibiades 1-9 (Bloomsbury, 2014).
For us, these lectures can serve as an accessible introduction to late Neoplatonism. Olympiodorus locates the First Alcibiades at the start of the curriculum on Plato, because it is about self-knowledge. His pupils are beginners, able to approach the hierarchy of philosophical virtues, like the aristocratic playboy Alcibiades. Alcibiades needs to know himself, at least as an individual with particular actions, before he can reach the virtues of mere civic interaction. As Olympiodorus addresses mainly Christian students, he tells them that the different words they use are often symbols of truths shared between their faiths.
Olympiodorus (c. 500-570 CE) was one of the latest non-Christian teachers of pagan philosophy in Alexandria.
Michael Griffin is Assistant Professor of Classics and Philosophy at the University of British Columbia, Canada.