Plato lent his name to Platonic love but a new book reveals that the ancient Greek philosopher never advocated love without sex.
University of Manchester science historian Dr Jay Kennedy, who hit the headlines last year after revealing he had cracked the code in the great thinker’s writings, has now published a decoder’s manual that lays bare the secret content of Plato’s ancient works.
“Plato – the Einstein of Greece’s Golden Age – was long thought to favour love without sex, or ‘Platonic love’, but this new research reveals Plato was far from being a prude,” says Dr Kennedy, who is based in the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, part of the University’s Faculty of Life Sciences. “The decoded symbols in fact show that Plato was not an advocate of Platonic love at all; rather he urged a middle path. For him, morality meant moderation – he wanted people to avoid both promiscuity and abstinence.
“Before Plato, sex was about rutting and producing heirs. Plato marks a shift in the history of Western sexuality and some say he invented romance, but, for him, erotic passion was a spiritual force that helps us find our true selves within the deepest, human bond. Eros, or love, was a creative force that inspired art, literature, and the sciences.”
Dr Kennedy cracked the code within Plato’s texts last year when an unexpected insight led him to realise that Greek music was key to interpreting the writings of the Athenian philosopher and mathematician. Kennedy’s new book, The Musical Structure of Plato’s Dialogues, reports on the hidden doctrines revealed so far, including those in The Symposium, a philosophical text concerned with love.
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