Home » About Us

About Us

Who are we?

Douglas Hedley, Principal Investigator, 2012-

Sarah Hutton, Co-Investigator, 2012-

David Leech, Co-Investigator, 2012-

Mark Burden, Research Associate, 2016-

Christian Hengstermann, Research Associate, 2016-

Michael Hawkins, Technical Director, 2016-

 

The Cambridge Platonist Research Group:

The Cambridge Platonist Research group was set up in 2012 with the aim of reviving interest in the Cambridge Platonists and to initiate research into their thought and legacy.  The initial step to furtherance of these aims was made possible thanks to generous funding of by the AHRC, which financed the project ‘Revisioning Cambridge Platonism’. This took the form of a series of workshops in 2013, which brought together scholars from across disciplines and across the world. The first outcome of these meetings was the establishment of an interdisciplinary network of scholars with research interests in the Cambridge Platonists. In 2016 we acquired AHRC funding for a three-year project with the title ‘The Cambridge Platonists at the Origins of Enlightenment’. The principal output of this project will be an online sourcebook of primary texts from Cambridge Platonists, their defenders, and their detractors. The first sections of this Sourcebook will be published online by the end of 2017.

 

Aims of the Research Group:

  • To maintain the network of people with research interests in the Cambridge Platonists
  • To provide a forum for discussion of and disseminating information about the Cambridge Platonists
  • Promote further research on all aspects of the thought and legacy of the Cambridge Platonists through the organisation of colloquia and editions of texts.

 

 


4 Comments

  1. alan woodhull says:

    I am delighted to have stumbled upon this group. I was poking around looking for “influences of neo-platonism on Islamic and Judaic thought” and came across the Cambridge Platonists – the originals. What a find! This will amuse me for weeks. (I am astounded to see that they pursued their studies while the civil war and restoration raged outside of the cloisters. Now, THAT is focus.)
    If you happen to see this message in a corked bottle, I have an interest in the connection between Indian schools of thought and Plotinus et al. I mean in the biographical sense – known scholars who might have gone back/forth. (I’m not interested in trying to compare the various schools of thought. Leave that to the professionals.)
    Presumably, since 500 years of trade and whatnot following Alexander’s expedition up to the Indus, there was a not-inconsiderable amount of awareness on both sides. Plotinus himself is known to have attached himself to the emperor gordian III (?)’s expedition into Persia – with the object (perhaps?) of going all the way to India. do you know anything of this – or can you direct me to anyone who has studied this?

    • Douglas Hedley says:

      Dear Alan, the teacher of Plotinus –
      Ammonius Saccas was from a Christian family and converted to paganism. The name ‘Saccas’ may be of Persian or even Indian origin. Christian writers (Jerome and Eusebius) even denied that Ammonius did, in fact, convert. Alexandria was clearly a syncretistic environment. I think we can see traces of Philo of Alexandria (a Jewish thinker) in the work of Plotinus. The great scholar Brehier thought that the Indian influence was important. You might have a look at A.H. Armstrong in this context. Best wishes,
      Douglas Hedley

  2. Douglas Hedley says:

    Dear Alan, the teacher of Plotinus –
    Ammonius Saccas was from a Christian family and converted to paganism. The name ‘Saccas’ may be of Persian or even Indian origin. Christian writers (Jerome and Eusebius) even denied that Ammonius did, in fact, convert. Alexandria was clearly a syncretistic environment. I think we can see traces of Philo of Alexandria (a Jewish thinker) in the work of Plotinus. The great scholar Brehier thought that the Indian influence was important. You might have a look at A.H. Armstrong in this context. Best wishes,
    Douglas Hedley

  3. alan woodhull says:

    Dear Douglas,
    Thank you for your quick reply – I am shocked, actually, that anyone answered, and must apologise for my slow response since I have only just now seen it. Your advice of looking at A.H. Armstrong is good – I was able to download his “Plotinus” from the Internet Archive – and will keep me occupied for some time. I also discovered that the Loeb Classics are now online and one can subscribe to get access to the entirety of the Greek/Latin canon for a fraction of the price of a newspaper subscription. How is this possible?

    The real story of intellectual commerce between India and Europe, I suspect, had to wait for classically educated British civil servants in the 17-1800’s! An unlikely group of heroes, but such nonetheless. Perhaps much earlier there were some intrepid souls like Hsuan Tsang who journeyed to India in the 6th century but I don’t know of any. (On his return journey, the sailors almost threw him overboard, thinking he brought them bad luck.) The big trade routes – like the Silk Road – were active much later. And the journey by caravan or coaster vessels must have been too daunting for any middle aged man – any established scholar – to try. Alexandria must have collected everything interesting that rolled in from the Indian trade route; it definitely sounds like the “syncretistic” environment I am thinking of – a real crossroads.

    I live in retirement in Thailand – spent most of my adult life in Japan – I took a degree in japanese literature, taught for one year in Ann Arbor and decided it wasn’t for me, and went into the business world. Here I am, 40 years later, in a quiet place that seems like it was (intentionally) lost in time – and, most reasonably, I find myself drawn to Plotinus (meanderingly through Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose!) It was only by my study of Indian religions that I could turn back to look at Christianity and say, “so that’s what they’re trying to say!” And, now I am delighted to discover the Platonic tradition explaining things even more clearly – stretching back 2500 years through Augustine, Eckhard, Bacon, Ockham and many others – not forgetting the more interesting half of Christianity, the Greek Orthodoxers – up to your group! I now see the European universities as strongholds of the “adult” version of Christianity. Perhaps Plotinus had places like Cambridge in mind in advocating a city of philosophers?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: