Monday, January 25, 2016

Review of Athanassiadi, Mutations of Hellenism in Late Antiquity

Polymnia Athanassiadi, Mutations of Hellenism in Late Antiquity. Variorum collected studies series, CS 1052. Farnham; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2015. Pp. xviii, 374. ISBN 9781472443663. $170.00 (hb).

Reviewed by Guy G. Stroumsa, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Oxford (

Table of Contents

This hefty, welcome volume of opera minora includes twenty-one of the author’s essays in French and English (none of her Greek writings are included). A leading scholar of Platonic philosophy in late antiquity, Athanassiadi has sought to understand in depth, probably more than anyone else in the last generation, the interface of Hellenic philosophy with other trends in the intellectual and religious history of the Eastern Mediterranean. From the publication of her Oxford doctoral thesis on the Emperor Julian to a book on the growth of ‘pagan’ intolerance in late antiquity, through the masterly edition and translation of an important philosophical text and her co-editing of a highly influential collection of articles, her career at the University of Athens has always retained a major international element.1 Athanassiadi often invigorates discussions on both sides of the Atlantic and of the Channel; she constantly reminds colleagues who are now more and more inclined to reflect on the Christian dimensions of Late Antique religious thought about the continued, powerful presence of Hellenic, or non-Christian, thinkers, throughout late antiquity.

Ancient Judaism receives some attention as well.