Plato, Isocrates and Epistolary Literature
Reconsidering the Seventh Letter in its contexts
Keywords:Plato, Isocrates, Letter, Style, Autobiography
Working against the recent arguments against Plato’s authorship of the Seventh Letter in the Anglophone scholarship, this paper demonstrates the historical possibility that Plato wrote his letters for philosophical purposes, most likely in competition with Isocrates, who skilfully used the literary genre of letters for his rhetorical and philosophical purposes. Because Isocrates and Plato experimented with various writing styles in response to each other, letters and autobiographies may well have been their common devices. The paper concludes that we should respect the tradition that had included and respected the Seventh Letter as Plato’s own writing.
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