New book: Catana, Late Ancient Platonism in Eighteenth-Century German Thought

Leo Catana, Late Ancient Platonism in Eighteenth-Century German Thought (International Archives of the History of Ideas 227; Leiden: Springer, 2019).

This book promises to be a stimulating study in the reception-history of ancient Platonism in modern Germany. These kinds of studies can be awfully penetrating with regards to the origins and contours of categories we take for granted, like “Neoplatonism” or “philosophy.” I’m looking forward to reading it. Here is the blurb from the book’s website, here:

This work synthesizes work previously published in leading journals in the field into a coherent narrative that has a distinctive focus on Germany while also being aware of a broader European dimension. It argues that the German Lutheran Christoph August Heumann (1681-1764) marginalized the biographical approach to past philosophy and paved the way for the German Lutheran Johann Jacob Brucker’s (1696-1770) influential method for the writing of past philosophy, centred on depersonalised and abstract systems of philosophy. The work offers an authoritative and engaging account of how late ancient Platonism, Plotinus in particular, was interpreted in eighteenth-century Germany according to these new precepts. Moreover, it reveals the Lutheran religious assumptions of this new approach to past philosophy, which underpinned the works of Heumann and Brucker, but also influential reviews that rejected the English Plato translator Thomas Taylor (1758-1835) and his understanding and evaluation of late ancient Platonism.