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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes the Platonic corpus. The Platonic corpus is unusual among the works of Greek authors in that it is considered complete. Most, but not all, the works in the Corpus are dialogues. The Apology purports to be Socrates’ defence at his trial. The Menexenus is a funeral speech. The ninth tetralogy ends with 13 letters under Plato’s name. The Definitions is a list of definitions of philosophical terms. The remaining works, including the ones listed as “Spurious,” are usually called “dialogues” because they contain philosophical conversations between more or less sharply characterized individuals. The Corpus is found in the manuscripts of Plato, produced in the ninth century ad and later. In the 1,300 years between the lifetime of Plato and the production of our manuscripts, a canon of Plato’s works was formed, someone tried to distinguish genuine from spurious works, and the works were arranged in a fixed tetralogical order. The chapter covers the order of the dialogues, questions about the order of the dialogues, performance and publication, the dialogues and Plato’s philosophy, early editions and arrangements of the Corpus, and the manuscripts.

Keywords: Platonic corpus, Plato, dialogues, philosophy, manuscripts

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