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Reading: The Dating of Plato’s Ion, John D. Moore (1974)

. . . In general those scholars who accept the Ion as genuine agree in placing it among the first of Plato’s writings. But together with its youthful imperfections the Ion shares with more mature works a surprising number of Platonic themes or thought-patterns. . . . Some of these coincidences result no doubt from the fact that Ion is devoted to a recurrent Platonic subject, i.e. poetry, or the interpretation and use of poetry. Even so, Plato’s method of discussion and his choice of topics and devices seem both wide-ranging and sophisticated for a dialogue placed first in the corpus and generally considered[1] a rather poor beginner’s effort at that.

. . . The principal subjective reasons, I suspect, for placing the Ion as early as possible are these: (1) it is thought to be poorly constructed, and hence unworthy of Plato’s mature achievements; (2) its extravagant caricature and farcical argument are not characteristic of Plato’s mature work; (3) it is a small work, and small works tend to precede larger ones; (4) it is a nasty attack on poetry which can best be ignored by attributing it to Plato’s youth. The last assumption is the crucial one, although it involves a view of the dialogue’s purpose which I, with many scholars, do not share; in any case, where on this basis would we place Republic 2 and 10? The remaining assumptions are either doubtful, false, or beg the question . . . .

— John D. Moore, The Dating of Plato’s Ion
Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 15 (June 1974)

Shared Article from radgeek.com

John D. Moore (1974), “The Dating of Plato’s Ion”

THE SMALL DIALOGUE called Ion has provoked more than its share of bewilderment, embarrassment and outrage. ... Ast and Ritter pronounced it spurious, …

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  1. [1][By those critics who place it very early in Plato’s writing; not necessarily by Moore. –R.G.]

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