Back at that Schleiermacher Question- there’s a niche study on this

Look how Straussianism is captured here

This ethering of Neoplatonism was in the works already at the time of Leibniz, the first figure of the kraut Enlightenment. By the time Schleiermacher crafted his interpretation of Plato, Neoplatonism was already mostly considered obsolete.

I think I might just go text by text. Since the Phraedrus was so singularly crucial for Schleiermacher let’s look at the only surviving Neoplatonic commentary on that, the one by Hermias.

Sounds a bit like Kabbalah. Or is it more that Kabbalah sounds a bit like IT? It’s the latter.

The Phaedrus was one of the twelve in their education-program. It’s estimated there are about thirty-five surviving dialogues in total, thus about 1/3rd of them were seen as essential.

Think of this image again

The dialogues are the different angels at varying distances from the Sun.

The main–often only–one read today is the Republic, and look at this

So close to 1500 years this was the dominant way to read Plato.

The Gorgias takes the place of the Republic? That’s the one Heidegger says contains the primitive account of rhetoric.

The Phaedrus and Symposium were considered “theological” dialogues – that’s counter-intuitive. These are the two that are about love, eros.

“That makes sense, because I’m an atheist!” Tell me about it.

Anyway let’s look at Strauss’s courses in contrast to the above

Kind of puts this in perspective

Schleiermacher was from a Lutheran time- the impulse to do away with Neoplatonic interpretation was the same one behind “sola scriptura”. I.e. no more mediation between people and sacred texts, no more priests.

Sticking with the Phaedrus, this makes sense

‘Beauty at every level’ is thus tantamount to divinity at various levels.

It’s a dialogue about loving God. Different souls love different levels of beauty.


Is philosophy a form of goddess-worship? Maybe it is.


While the secondary literature on Plato’s Phaedrus in English is truly vast, very little of it makes any reference to Hermias’ commentary. Nor did Hermias fare well in languages other than English.

Loving God? People of today only lust in the human realm. They don’t even understand love for creatures let alone love for God. I think it’s a conspiracy of the decadent moderns that’s led to the Neoplatonists not often being included in scholarship.

Let’s go back to a subtlety of Heidegger’s Sophist course

It was originally going to be on the Philebus too. Besides the Parmenides and Theaetetus, the other dialogue referenced dozens of times is the Phaedrus. I.e. before philosophy fell off the face of the earth, the one sustained course on the founder of thinking seemed to have a similar “curriculum” to the Neoplatonists. He swaps out the Gorgias and Statesman for Aristotle.

I’m contemplating these things in the context of Guenon’s idea of counter-initiation, or how to get initiation into the love of wisdom right.

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