In 1949, the historian of philosophy Raymond Klibansky made a dramatic announcement to the British Academy: a new Latin philosophical text dating from antiquity, a Summarium librorum Platonis, had been discovered in a manuscript of the Vatican (although he did not disclose its shelfmark). During the remaining fifty-six years of his life, until his death in 2005, his promised edition never appeared (Proceedings 1949).
In this paper, I offer preliminary considerations on its authorship and its place in the history of Platonism based on my own study of the single manuscript of this short text (BAV Reg. lat. 1572). I situate the philosophical, generic, doctrinal, and stylistic features of this work as characteristic of western Middle Platonism of the second century, by analyzing particularly the selection and arrangement of the fourteen dialogues it summarizes (see De Lacy 1974; Dillon 1977). I demonstrate how this work must have been transmitted with the corpus Apuleianum from antiquity and provide arguments for its original placement in the corpus, based on a textual and codicological analysis of the manuscript that transmits it after the two books of the De Platone and the De mundo. Arguing from the layout of the earliest extant manuscript of the philosophica (Brussells, BR 10054-56), I show how this new text was transmitted in the archetype as the third book of the De Platone, heretofore assumed lost. Using traditional philological methods and computational stylometry (see, for example, Stamatatos 2009), I examine the lexical and stylistic continuities between this text and Apuleius's philosophica, as well as the intertextual relationship between this new work and the rest of Apuleius' output. I conclude by offering some first thoughts on how this new text might alter our understanding of Apuleius and Latin intellectual culture of the second century.
The research this paper will present is based upon my forthcoming editio princeps of this text, which is under contract at a major university press. I have circulated the text privately among a small number of colleagues in the U. S. and Europe, but at the APA I hope to introduce this new work to a broad group of my American colleagues.
Ancient Books: Material and Discursive Interactions