Monday, May 30, 2016

Pinheiro and Montiglio (eds.), Philosophy and the Ancient Novel

Marília P.​ Futre Pinheiro, Silvia Montiglio (ed.), Philosophy and the Ancient Novel. Ancient Narrative Supplementum 20. Groningen: Barkhuis: Groningen University Library, 2015. Pp. xiii, 179. ISBN 9789491431890. €80.00.

Reviewed by Antonio Donato, Queens College, CUNY (

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This book contains ten articles selected from among various papers presented at the fourth International Conference on the Ancient Novel held in Lisbon in 2008. It belongs to the series Ancient Narrative Supplementa published by Barkhuis, which constitutes an on-going effort to further the scholarship on ancient novels. Philosophy and the Ancient Novel is the second book in this series devoted to the study of the role of philosophy in ancient fiction; the other, Philosophical Presences in the Ancient Novel, appeared in 2007. The two books can be regarded as somewhat complementary. The overarching goal of Philosophical Presences is to identify specific philosophical theories that appear, often in somewhat disguised forms, in some ancient novels. The main focus of Philosophy and the Ancient Novel is to determine why and how ancient novelists made use of particular philosophical theories in their works.

Connections with ancient Judaism are indirect, but present. Most obviously, one chapter is on Philostratus' Life of Apollonius of Tyana, which is often compared to the New Testament Gospels.