Ancient and Medieval Concepts of Friendship

Edited by Suzanne Stern-Gillet, Gary M. Gurtler, and SJ

Subjects: Ancient Greek Philosophy, Philosophy, Social Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Ancient Greek Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438453644, 344 pages, July 2015
Hardcover : 9781438453651, 344 pages, December 2014

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Table of contents

Part 1. Plato and Aristotle
1. Philia in Plato
Dimitri El Murr
2. Aristotle on Friendship: Insight from the Four Causes
Gary M. Gurtler, SJ
3. Souls Great and Small: Aristotle on Self-Knowledge, Friendship, and Civic Engagement
Suzanne Stern-Gillet
Part 2. Hellenistic Philosophers
4. Making Friends: The Stoic Conception of Love and Its Platonic Background
Bernard Collette-Dučić
5. Erōs and Philia in Epicurean Philosophy
Harry Lesser
6. Cicero’s Stoic Friend as Resolution to the Paradoxes of Platonic Love: The Amicitia alongside the Symposium
Robin Weiss
Part 3. Patristic and Medieval Philosophers

7. Friendship in Late Antiquity: The Case of Gregory Nazianzen and Basil the Great
John Panteleimon Manoussakis
8. Adiutrix Virtutum?: Augustine on Friendship and Virtue
Tamer Nawar
9. Aelred of Rievaulx on Friendship
John R. Sommerfeldt

10. Thomas Aquinas: Charity as Friendship
Fergus Kerr, OP
Part 4. Enlightenment Thinkers
11. Aristotle and Kant on Self-Disclosure in Friendship
Andrea Veltman
12. The Platonic Roots of Hölderlin’s Concept of Friendship in Hyperion
Sandra Dučić-Collette
Name Index
Subject Index

Charts the stages of the history of friendship as a philosophical concept in the Western world.


Focusing on Plato and Aristotle, the Stoics and Epicureans, and early Christian and Medieval sources, Ancient and Medieval Concepts of Friendship brings together assessments of different philosophical accounts of friendship. This volume sketches the evolution of the concept from ancient ideals of friendship applying strictly to relationships between men of high social position to Christian concepts that treat friendship as applicable to all but are concerned chiefly with the soul's relation to God—and that ascribe a secondary status to human relationships. The book concludes with two essays examining how this complex heritage was received during the Enlightenment, looking in particular to Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Hölderlin.

Suzanne Stern-Gillet is Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the University of Bolton and Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Manchester. She is the author of Aristotle's Philosophy of Friendship, also published by SUNY Press. Gary M. Gurtler, S. J. is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Boston College. He is the author of Plotinus: The Experience of Unity.


". ..[a] fine volume. " — International Journal of the Platonic Tradition

"…a useful collection of essays … The contributors, along with the editors who have shepherded them, have done a good job engaging in conversation with the tradition of thinkers on friendship, and with one another. " — Polis

"…the arrangement and choice of subject matter will greatly serve scholars interested in the development of theories of friendship as well as the history of this discussion in the classical and post-classical world. " — Scripta Classica Israelica