Iamblichus and Plutarch on Inspiration

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Elsa Giovanna Simonetti

Abstract

This article argues that the works of Plutarch of Chaeronea (c. 45–120 AD) exerted a significant influence on Iamblichus of Chalcis (c. 245–325 AD), with specific reference to his theory of prophetic inspiration. This analysis is expressly concerned with the works that Plutarch and Iamblichus devoted to divination: the Delphic dialogues and De mysteriis, respectively. Its objective is to show that Iamblichus was influenced by Plutarch’s works, and to understand whether he tried to emend the doctrines and arguments of his predecessor in his attempt to adapt Platonic doctrines to his own original views on theology and ritual. Exploring the connections between Plutarch and Iamblichus will also provide the opportunity to delve into the conceptual ruptures and continuities characterising the history of Platonism during the first centuries AD.

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