Platonic Ideas

Early Christian texts were influenced by many cultural forms. One prominent influence was Neoplatonism, a philosophical tradition traditionally accredited to Plotinus (204–270 CE) and loosely based on the philosophical tradition begun by Plato (427–347 BCE). Since many scholars write about the connection between Platonism, Neoplatonism, and early Christianity, it is useful to establish some basic guidelines for the concepts associated with these philosophical traditions.

1. We recommend capitalizing terms referring to the philosophical movement, since they derive from or are associated with the proper name Plato (so also CMS §8.78).

Platonic

Neoplatonic

Middle Platonic

Platonism

Note that Neoplatonic is not hyphenated, so Neo– should be capitalized and –platonic lowercased (see SBLHS §4.3.2.2).

2. By analogy, we also recommend capitalizing contemporaneous philosophical traditions whether or not they derive from a proper name.

Cynic

Cynicism

Epicurean

Hippocratic

Pythagorean

Sophist

Stoic

Stoicism

When such terms are used as generic adjectives (e.g., “he has a stoic attitude”), use lowercase.

3. Following CMS §8.93, we recommend capitalizing transcendent Platonic or Neoplatonic ideas:

Beauty

the First

the Forms

the Good

Love

the One

Truth

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