Classical Philosophers in Seventeenth Century English Thought

Wednesday 28 May 2014, 9.30AM

A day symposium

Keynote speakers:

  • Professor Jessica Wolfe (North Carolina)
  • Professor Sarah Hutton (Aberystwyth)

This one day symposium will look at the reception of classical philosophers in seventeenth century English thought and culture, in philosophy, religion, natural philosophy, poetry and literature, the university, or other areas of early modern intellectual life. The focus will be on England, but not on English, and we encourage papers on the Latin reception of classical philosophy.

We will take the term ‘classical philosophy’ broadly speaking, and with a generic latitude, so that Homer or Hesiod might be considered, as they certainly were in the early modern period, as contributors to the philosophical outlook of the ancients, and so that while Aristotle, Plato, Epicurus, Seneca or Cicero are central and protean in their seventeenth century reception, so too Virgil, Ovid and Lucretius were seen as containing an important philosophical core. Of interest also might be the collations and compendia of classical thought that served as a digest of ancient ideas, whether those of the ancients themselves, such as Diogenes Laertius, or of the early modern writers, such as Thomas Stanley’s History of Philosophy. How did early modern writers accommodate, transpose or circumvent the pagan elements in ancient philosophy? How concerned were early modern thinkers with the systematic and with completeness in their use of classical philosophers? How was the pagan religion transposed to a Christian era?

Abstracts by 15th December (c. 250 words)

This symposium is part of a diffuse and ongoing Thomas Browne Seminar that has digressed quite far. 


Location: CREMS, University of York