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Sophia Xenophontos
Ethical Education in Plutarch. Moralising Agents and Contexts
 
Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter 2016, X + 266 S. (= Beiträge zur Altertumskunde Bd. 349), EUR 99.95

In addition to being the author of the Parallel Lives of noble Greeks and Romans, Plutarch of Chaeronea (AD c.46-c.120) is widely known for his rich ethical theory, which has ensured him a reputation as one of the most profound moralists in antiquity and beyond. Previous studies have considered Plutarch's moralism in the light of specific works or group of works, so that an exploration of his overall concept of ethical education remains a desideratum.

Bringing together a wide range of texts from both the Parallel Lives and the Moralia, this study puts the moralising agents that Plutarch considers important for ethical development at the heart of its interpretation. These agents operate in different educational settings, and perform distinct moralising roles, dictated by the special features of the type of moral education they are expected to enact. Ethical education in Plutarch becomes a distinctive manifestation of paideia vis-à-vis the intellectual trends of the Imperial period, especially in contexts of cultural identity and power. By reappraising Plutarch's ethical authority and the significance of his didactic spirit, this book will appeal not only to scholars and students of Plutarch, but to anyone interested in the history of moral education and the development of Greek ethics.

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