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Plutarch and Saint Basil as Readers of Greek Literature

From: Syllecta Classica
Volume 22 (2011)
pp. 95-111 | 10.1353/syl.2011.0009



Basil's Address to Young Men on How to Read Greek Literature is often read as an imitation of Plutarch's How to Study Poetry. Exploring the authors' connections more generally, I suggest that Basil has relied on Plutarch's approach in both the Moralia and the Lives to make the central argument of his essay, which is a justification for the reading of pagan literature in a Christian context. Basil follows Plutarch in his moralizing interpretations of historical anecdotes and in turning to Plato's Republic for philosophical support, but he also adapts Plutarch's approach to fit the social, religious, and political climate of his times.

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