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Ancient and Medieval Concepts of Friendship…

Ancient and Medieval Concepts of Friendship

by Suzanne Stern-Gillet, Gary M. Gurtler (Editor)

Other authors: Bernard Collette-Dučić (Contributor), Sandra Dučić-Collette (Contributor), Dimitri El Murr (Contributor), Fergus Kerr (Contributor), Harry Lesser (Contributor)5 more, John Panteleimon Manoussakis (Contributor), Tamer Nawar (Contributor), John R. Sommerfeldt (Contributor), Andrea Veltman (Contributor), Robin Weiss (Contributor)

Series: SUNY Series in Ancient Greek Philosophy

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Ancient concepts of friendship are my philosophical bread and butter, so this fairly new (pub. Dec 2014) collection of scholarly articles on the subject was of special interest to me, edited as it is by Suzanne Stern-Gillett (who penned one of the first monographs on the subject, “Aristotle’s Philosophy of Friendship” in the mid-1990s).

As the title suggests, chapters are arranged chronologically, beginning with Plato and ending at the start of the Enlightenment with Kant. The classic thinkers you’d expect show up: Aristotle, the Stoics (Zeno in particular), Epicureans (via Lucretius and Diogenes Laertius), Cicero (and Seneca by way of contrast), Augustine, Thomas Aquinas. But, refreshingly, some lesser known philosophers of the Patristic and Medieval periods are also treated: Gregory Nazianzen, Basil the Great, and Aelred of Rievaulx. This ordering, along with ample use of primary text blocks, and continuous comparative analysis between the thinkers provides a very good overview of the changes in the conception of friendship over the course of 1500 years. There is also much continuity between the authors’ various interpretations, so this compendium is representative, as it were, of contemporary scholarship in the Ancient and Medieval traditions.

Major themes include the differences between Ancient conceptions of love (eros) and friendship (philia) , the role of neediness (or lack) at play in desire, limitations of friendship, self-sufficiency, and Christian transformations of the concept to include friendship with God. ( )
  reganrule | Feb 22, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Suzanne Stern-Gilletprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gurtler, Gary M.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Collette-Dučić, BernardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dučić-Collette, SandraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
El Murr, DimitriContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kerr, FergusContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lesser, HarryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Manoussakis, John PanteleimonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nawar, TamerContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sommerfeldt, John R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Veltman, AndreaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weiss, RobinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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