Tongjia Zhang

Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities

20112012 Forum on Adaptations

Tongjia Zhang

Intellectual History; Classical Languages and Literature; Philosophy
Other Honors: College Alumni Society Prize in Classics

CAS, 2012

Plotinus and the Platonic Tradition

Living in the volatile third century A.D., Plotinus is a Neo-Platonic philosopher who had extraordinary influences on both pagan and early Christian thinkers. Despite the originality that shines through his interpretation of Plato's dialogues, Plotinus insists that he is only an exegete of Plato's thoughts. How, then, does Plotinus transform Plato's metaphysical and moral ideas to suit his own philosophical purpose and the intellectual atmosphere of late antiquity? Could Plotinus' conviction that man should strive for assimilation to divinity be the result of his reading of Plato's Theaetetus, where Socrates expounds the human resemblance to god? This research project investigates Plotinus' adaptation of Plato's philosophy by examining several Platonic themes present in Plotinus' Enneads, including beauty, the good, the human intellect, and god.