Heraclitus as Sage in Plutarch
and Clement of Alexandria

Andrew C. Dinan

Ave Maria University

            Although the importance of Plutarch and Clement of Alexandria for the constitution of the text of Heraclitus is well known, the influence of Heraclitus on their works has received much less attention, despite the numerous and often noteworthy occasions on which they adduce citations from the Ephesian philosopher.  Setting aside the questions of the source and utility of their knowledge of the Heraclitean fragments, I investigate the purposes that animate such citations and the manner in which these citations are made.  My concern is not to establish the ipsissima verba Heracliti, a goal that has given rise to numerous studies over the last two centuries, but to examine the citations within their respective contexts.  As a way to evince the distinctive appropriations of Heraclitus by Plutarch and Clement, I undertake a comparison of certain citations common to both authors.  With particular attention to the citations of Heraclitus DK 27 (M 74) at the end of Plutarch, fragment 178 (Sandbach), and Clement, Protrepticus 22.1, Stromateis 4.144.3, I argue that the Ephesian offered both authors an attractive and authoritative testimony about arcane subjects, especially matters post mortem.  Plutarch appropriates Heraclitus as a witness to the immortality of the soul.  Clement invokes him for this purpose as well, but there is the additional suggestion that Heraclitus, like a prophet, unmasks the vanities of Greek religion and points to the reality of the Last Judgment. 

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