Abstract: In this paper 1 provide a reading of the conflict between allegorical and philosophie interpretations of Plato that resulted in the shift of authority from the former to the latter, signalling the decline of rhetoric. The specifie text 1 focus on is Jacob Brucker's eighteenthcentury revision of the history of philosophy. I show that Brucker conceives of Plato as rational and philosophie in direct response to Renaissance and early modem Neoplatonists like Marsilio Ficino, who read Plato's writings as allegory and who revered Plato as a divine sage of Egyptian wisdom. Identifying Brucker's argument for a philosophie Plato as a response to Neoplatonism, 1 argue that Brucker fashions his Plato from eighteenth-eentury attitudes isolating Egypt from Athens, so as to ally ancient Athens more closely to modem Europe. 1 conclude by considering the implications of my reading of Brucker for current histories of rhetoric, drawing parallels between Brucker's discussion of Plato and that of Brian Vickers.
- Copyright 1995, The International Society for the History of Rhetoric