Summer 2021 enrolments open

Portrait of Luca Pacioli, ?Jacopo de' Barbari? (1500 AD)
Portrait of Luca Pacioli, attributed to Jacopo de’ Barbari (ca. 1500)

Enrolments are now open for Summer evening classes, starting February 2021. We plan to be back in the classrooms in Lonsdale Street, although online attendance is also available. See the complete list on the Courses page.

The courses running this Summer include the foundation course Reading Plato, recommended for those new to Plato and philosophy. Plato’s Republic is also back by popular demand. UPDATE: FOR ‘PLATO’S REPUBLIC,’ THERE IS NOW AN ADDITIONAL ONLINE-ONLY CLASS, THURSDAY NIGHTS. And then, finally, there is the course that we are most excited about, namely Platonic Esoteric Geometry. This compass & ruler hands-on class was scheduled to run just before COVID hit. It had to be cancelled because it could not run online, which also means that this time around it is the only course without an online attendance option.

Twilight Sessions starting soon

Moses conversing with Hermes in front of Isis (Pinturicchio, 1495, Borgia Apartments Vatican)
Moses conversing with Hermes in front of Isis (Pinturicchio, 1495, Borgia Apartments, Vatican)

We are looking forward to seeing everyone at the Twilight Sessions. Platonism and Christianity (from Mon, 9 Nov) is now booked out, but there are still a couple of places in our introductory course, Reading Plato (from Tues, 10 Nov). If you are enrolled in either course, but have not received a welcome email (with the zoom link), then please contact us.

Classes for 2021 will begin in February. By then we hope to be back in the classrooms in Lonsdale Street Melbourne, while still offering online attendance for our out-of-town friends. Three courses will be offered: Reading Plato, Plato’s Republic and Platonic Esoteric Geometry (new).

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Twilight Sessions Nov-Dec

St Basil, St John Chrysostom and St Gregory the Theologian
St Basil, St John Chrysostom and St Gregory the Theologian

Melbourne’s silly season looks not to be so silly this year with COVID restrictions continuing to keep us indoors and online just as the evenings start to fill with light and warmth. Our final sessions for the year begin right after Melbourne Cup week with the ever-popular introductory course, Reading Plato (Tuesdays from 10 Nov), and then one other pre-Christmas special where we reflect on the Platonic origins of Christianity (Mondays from 9 Nov).

Christianity’s beginnings as a Jewish sect are hard to miss, but the subsequent Hellenistic influences are often neglected or ignored. Folks are often surprised to find just how Hellenistic Christianity actually is! The influence of Platonism from the earliest times through to the Renaissance is a rich and fascinating tale. Platonism and Christianity will be more a lecture series than a reading group. It is open to all, including those who have not yet completed Reading Plato. And while some knowledge of Plato and of Christianity will be an advantage, those lacking in this background should still enjoy these classes.

A modern adaption of Crito & Phaedo

Death of Socrates, Aylen & Miller, 1966, adapted from Plato’s Crito & Phaedo

The Spring Reading Plato groups are now moving on to one of Plato’s most influential dialogues, Phaedo, set in prison on Socrates’ last day. This modern British screen adaptation of Crito and Phaedo might aid engagement with the philosophical discussion.

Erotic Mysticism

Whirling Dervishes in the 19th Century. From El Mundo Ilustrado, Published Barcelona, 1880
Whirling Dervishes in the 19th Century. From El Mundo Ilustrado, Published Barcelona, 1880

Last night in Platonic Love we discussed how Plato identified the motive of love for a beloved with the motive for wisdom, remembering after all that his practice was called ‘philosophy’, which literally means ‘love of wisdom’, love of Sophia.

Plato’s Symposium is one source of a tradition of mysticism where a powerful desire for Sophia drives the soul upwards towards the beloved first principle. When finally arriving at desireless union, the ego-self simply fades away.

Continue reading “Erotic Mysticism”

Spring classes starting soon

Vase depiction of banqueting from around the time of Plato’s Symposium

Places are still available for our second online Spring Reading Plato class, Monday evenings (Melb time) from 7 September.

Wednesday night Reading Plato class is full, as is Platonic Love on Tuesdays. If you ordered the reading for any of these classes and have not received it by post then please let us know.

Spring Classes Update

Phaedrus, Chariot Allegory (Source unknown)
Phaedrus, chariot allegory (source unknown)

Reading Plato Spring class starts online three weeks from Wednesday. Please enrol soon if you wish to also order the book, as postage is proving slow these days.
[UPDATE: another class now Mondays nights (enrol )]

For continuing students, the ‘Platonic Love’ course outline is now available. Our copies of Symposium and Phaedrus arrived this week. We are pleased to report that all remnants of Victorian bashfulness have disappear in the new Penguin translations, and that the accompanying notes are concise and informative. These dialogues will be posted out shortly. If you still wish to enrol, then please do so soon because the course is nearly booked out.

By all reports, the transition to online has been a success. Some folks even say they prefer Zoom! The bonus is that we are already taking booking from outside Melbourne (Sydney, Brisbane & Adelaide). We might even continue some online courses post-Covid. So, please spread the word among your local and interstate friends. The more enrolments, the move we can offer.

Plato’s Republic

Divided Line

This week in Plato’s Republic we come to the famous part where Socrates must break into allegory to provide a glimpse of the ultimate goal of the philosopher’s education. The enduring fascination with ‘the divided line’ and Plato’s cave is introduced by this excellent podcast in The Secret History of Western Esotericism. Also check out this episode discussing the incredible recent findings on the mathematical structure underlying the text.