Prometheus Trust
TTS Catalogue
Texts and Translations
Other books
ISNS Collections
Complete Catalogue
Ordering
Education
Essentials Course
London Monday  Evenings
Bristol Wednesday evenings
Academy Appeal
Conference
Virtual Events
Events
Lectures
ISNS Scholars Articles
Videos
Warburg Neoplatonic Reading
Meadow 1
Meadow 2
Meadow 3
Thomas Taylor
The Trust
Glossary
Links
Files to download
Seeds and fruits
Contact us
Study weeks in Italy
Latest books
Reading group
Weekend on Myth
PTCOLIM

 

Virtual Events

Exploring a living tradition with the Prometheus Trust

During the covid-19 hiatus the Prometheus Trust is running a number of remote sessions (via Zoom): these are designed as supplements to those who are reading Platonic dialogues privately. We also have a readers’ forum using the Slack forum facility. If you are interested do write to education@prometheustrust.co.uk in order to register and get access. This is open to anyone, and there are no fees payable.

The Trust sees the Platonic tradition as a spiritual one: not only a guide for the outer life, but especially to be treasured for its assistance in the cultivation of the inner self - the soul - for, says Plato in the Timeaus, “we are not terrestrial plants, but blossoms of heaven.” We understand the tradition to be profound and cohesive, and one that repays the long-term effort required to truly embed oneself in it. Our approach is not exclusive - we value other traditions for their insights - nor is it dogmatic or an attempt to proselytise: however we are serious in our attempts to fathom the depths of the tradition, to identify its foundations, and where its teachings seem to run counter to accepted thinking to investigate them thoroughly rather than rejecting them prematurely. Thus our point of focus is on the teachings of the tradition and our own inner response to them.

By joining our studies you are making no commitment beyond that of co-operating with us in our exploration of those truths which have inspired a company of men and women most luminous in their understanding, and unsparingly generous in their teaching. We do encourage those booking in to the dialogue sessions to have read the whole dialogue by the date of the first session - even if you don’t feel you have understood it!

At present we are using the ancient Platonic schools’ first cycle of ten dialogues which, as far as we can tell, was the accepted path through the writings of Plato for students coming to the tradition.

The ten dialogue cycle is: First Alcibiades - Gorgias - Phaedo - Cratylus - Theaetetus - Sophist - Statesman - Phaedrus - Symposium - Philebus.

As of October 2020 we have already looked at the First Alcibiades (2 sessions), the Gorgias (2), the Phaedo (3), the Cratylus (2) and run a single session introducing the principles of Platonic dialectic: if you have missed these, there is no problem in joining us for the sessions coming up - they are all fairly self-contained, although the multiple sessions on each particular dialogue are linked and we do ask that if you book for any dialogue you should aim to attend the two or three that cover it.

Our one-off sessions on particular subjects are run on Wednesdays at 6pm (GMT)

Our dialogue sessions are run on Wednesdays at 6pm and repeated on Saturdays at 4pm (GMT)


Nov 11th - A session on Knowledge and Opinion

Nov 18th - The Theaetetus, first session Nov 21st - First session (repeat). 

Nov 25th - The Theaetetus, second session Nov 28th - Second session (repeat)

Dec 16th - A session on Being and Ideas

Jan 13th - The Sophist, first session Jan 16th - First session (repeat)

Jan 20th - The Sophist, second session Jan 23rd - Second session (repeat)

Jan 27th - The Sophist, third session Jan 30th - Third session (repeat)

Feb 17th - A session of Arete (or virtue). Feb 20th Arete (repeat session).

Feb 24th - The Statesman, first session. Feb 27th - First session (repeat) Text:

Mar 3rd - The Statesman, second session Mar 6th - Second session (repeat)

Mar 24th - A session on the Gods in the Platonic tradition

Apr 7th - The Phaedrus, first session Apr 10th - First session (repeat)

Apr 14th - The Phaedrus, second session Apr 17th - Second session (repeat)

Apr 21st - The Phaedrus, third session Apr 24th - Third session (repeat)

May 12th - A session on daemons & the principles of mediation in Platonism. May15th (repeat) - see below

May 26th - The Symposium, first session May 29th - First session (repeat) - see below

June 2nd - The Symposium, second session June 5th - Second session (repeat)

June 30th - The Philebus, first session July 3rd - First session (repeat) - see below

July 7th - The Philebus, second session July 10th - Second session (repeat)

July 14 - The Philebus, third session July 17th - Third session (repeat)

Each session is around 1 hour 45 minutes, and as we reach each dialogue a channel is made available in our Slack forum for the further exchange of views, questions, and insights.

We try to keep the number of participants down to 10 or less in order to give everyone involved space to explore questions which arise.

 

 

 

Daemons as intermediaries between Gods and mortals.

Wednesday May 12th at 6pm BST

with a repeat on Saturday May 15th at 4pm BST

 

As is the case with most theological matters in Plato and his tradition, the understanding of the nature and place of daemons in the scheme of the universe is profoundly misunderstood in the modern age. In both Christianity and the modern imagination, daemons are almost always malignant - if, that is, their existence is even accepted. But in the Platonic tradition they are seen as essentially good and as playing an important role in the divine drama that is perpetually enacted throughout the manifested universe. To the modern ear talk of daemons as a reality seems outlandish, but this is because our view of science is coloured by a mechanistic worldview: the primary question has become “how?” rather than “why?” For Plato all creative action centres on intelligence contemplating purposes and paradigms; those who assist in the creative process must, therefore, share that ability in the appropriate degree: daemons, as the Symposium explains, are just such assistants for their work is -

“To transmit and to interpret to the Gods what comes from men; and to men, in like manner, what comes from the Gods; from men their petitions and their sacrifices; from the Gods in return, the revelation of their will. Thus these beings, standing in the middle rank between divine and human, fill up the vacant space, and link together all intelligent nature. Through their intervention proceeds every kind of divination, and the priestly art relating to sacrifices, and the mysteries and incantations, with the whole of divination and magic. For divinity is not mingled with man; but by means of that middle nature is carried on all converse and communication between the Gods and mortals, whether in sleep or waking.” (202e-203a)

This one-off Zoom session is a chance to explore the ancient Platonic perspective on the place of the principle of mediation in metaphysics and the nature and activities of daemons in the Cosmos, as outlined in some of the most important surviving writings of the tradition on the subject.

We have a short discussion paper as a prompt to our exploration, but the session will allow participants to follow many threads the tradition weaves around the subject, as they see fit: On daemons and the principle of mediation in the Platonic tradition

The session will begin with a short introductory talk - perhaps 10 to 15 minutes in length, and then, as usual, we will open the session up for a general discussion of the subject.

There are no charges for participation, but registration is required. To register for a place please email education@prometheustrust.co.uk

Two virtual seminars on

Plato’s Symposium

Wednesdays: May 26th and June 2nd at 6pm BST

With repeat sessions on Saturdays: May 29th and June 5th at 4pm BST

 

diotima1Our continuing exploration of the late Platonic syllabus of Platonic dialogues moves on to the Symposium. This is one of the great philosophical works of the world: in it a group of well-educated gentlemen settle down to discourse on Love - the first five speeches proceed with the expected wit and insight. But into this circle of Athens' intelligentsia Socrates introduces the initiating priestess Diotima. He recalls how she taught him the hidden mysteries of the “great daenon” Eros – a strange intermediary between mortals and the immortal Gods, an unconquerable power who calls each of us towards divine beauty, a conductor of souls to their happiest life. When the Socrates’ invocation of Diotima is complete, Plato has a final seventh speech to offer us - perhaps a glimpse of a mystery within a mystery.

In Plato’s profound and beautiful dialogue are many important insights into the nature of philosophy - its station between the human and the divine, and its cultivation of the living and eternal ideas which are embedded in the soul 

We will be using the Thomas Taylor translation but if you have a different translation you should be able to follow our progress. The Trust publishes the Symposium both in hardback form (in the Works of Plato, volume 4) and in paperback which is part of our ‘Student’s Edition Series’ - this paperback includes the dialogue and over 100 pages of supplementary material (click here Morpho-Telemachus-icon

Download the Taylor version here: Symposium download

Each session will begin with a short talk on some aspect of the dialogue - perhaps 10 to 15 minutes in length, and then, as usual, we will open the session up for a general discussion of the subject.

There are no charges for participation, but registration is required. To register for a place please email education@prometheustrust.co.uk

 

Three virtual seminars on

Plato’s Philebus

Wednesdays: June 30th, July 7th and 14th at 6pm BST

With repeat sessions on Saturdays: July 3rd, 10th and 17th at 4pm BST

the_branches_and_roots_of_an_olive_treeOur continuing exploration of the late Platonic schools’ syllabus of dialogues moves on to the last of the 10 dialogues of the first cycle - the Philebus.

What do we understand by the term “the Good?” The Platonic tradition saw the Good itself as the great source and goal of all things, and as such not only the transcendent first principle but also the immanent ground of all things. Implicit within the scope of the universal good, however, are specific goodnesses towards which particular things move, each in their own fashion. 

For the human being the fullest understanding of its particular goodness is essential since the life we lead is more or less self-determined, and based on the goal we imagine is the best. Is our goodness simply pleasure or is it the pursuit and gaining of knowledge and wisdom? Or perhaps it is some third thing? As something which both desires and knows the human being is complex, and it is likely that the answer to these questions requires careful thought: this is the subject of the Philebus.

It is, perhaps, strange - at least a first sight - that a dialogue which is addresses psychological and ethical questions should be the culmination of the 10 dialogue cycle of the Platonic schools of late antiquity, which gravitates towards metaphysics and theology. But when explored carefully we find that the Philebus unfolds some of the most sublime conceptions of divine ontology in its quest to discover the good of the human being. 

We will be using the Thomas Taylor translation but if you have a different translation you should be able to follow our progress. Here is a PDF of the dialogue: Philebus introduction text and notes

Each session will begin with a short talk on some aspect of the dialogue - perhaps 10 to 15 minutes in length, and then, as usual, we will open the session up for a general discussion of the subject.

There are no charges for participation, but registration is required. To register for a place please email education@prometheustrust.co.uk