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Luisa Lesage Gárriga obtains PhD with Plutarch analysis

A consistent, comprehensive analysis of De facie as a whole
13 June 2019
Luisa Lesage Gárriga

On 20 June, Luisa Lesage Gárriga will defend her dissertation, De facie quae in orbe lunae apparet: Textual edition with commentary, to earn her doctoral degree in Greek Philology at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies. The main objective of Luisa’s PhD research and dissertation was to offer a consistent, comprehensive analysis of De facie as a whole.

First integral approach

De facie quae in orbe lunae apparet is one of the treatises included in Plutarch’s Moralia. Plutarch is a first/second-century Greek philosopher whose essays provide insights into Roman and Greek life. While the De facie treatise has attracted the attention of a wide range of scholars throughout history, both the text and its content have not yet been satisfactorily established and interpreted as a whole.

Luisa Lesage Gárriga comments: ‘ I worked on the same author (Plutarch) for my Master’s thesis, and when I discussed my interest in doing a PhD with my professors, they proposed that I prepare a new critical edition – accompanied by different studies (literary, philosophical, text critical) – of one of Plutarch’s treatises: De facie. This treatise has a long and rich history of textual transmission throughout the ages. From our oldest testimonies – two manuscripts from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries – to the latest editions of the twentieth century, many scholars have studied, translated, corrected and commented on this text. In addition to these various editions and translations, scholars have also focused on the conceptual analysis of Plutarch’s treatise. Up to the present, however, no single scholar has attempted an integral approach to its various and complementary perspectives. In general, scholars tend to focus on a specific aspect, be it the scientific thought, or the religious and philosophical aspects of the text, as if they were unrelated.’

New critical edition of De facie

Therefore, Luisa’s main objective was to offer a consistent, comprehensive analysis of De facie as a whole. She explains to us that this objective can be divided into three sub-objectives that includes: 1) a study of the Greek text; 2) a study of the treatise as a literary creation that necessarily reflects and conveys a coherent worldview; and 3) a study of the philosophical content that casts light on the meaning of the treatise and Plutarch’s goals.

In order to achieve these sub-objectives, Luisa provides a new critical edition of the text, furnished with both a critical apparatus and a text critical commentary, in order to assess all the textual difficulties and problems posed by De facie. She also includes two other studies, literary and philosophical, which in turn intend to give an overview of previous approaches and to address the inconsistencies and partialities, with the aim of providing a solid and overarching understanding of the treatise.

Interesting findings

Luisa Lesage Gárriga: ‘The purpose of the new study of the treatise was to approach it in a more comprehensive and holistic way. This has enabled the disclosure of several key notions that structure De facie as a literary unit.’ Luisa also made some interesting findings during her research: ‘I discovered that, on the one hand, the Greek text of De facie has, in some cases, been overly modified to a great extent. In my view, the manuscripts offer reliable readings that should be maintained. On the other hand, both the structure and content of De facie have been dominated by the artificial binary of science versus myth, which has negatively influenced the analysis and the understanding of the treatise.’

Double PhD

Luisa explains why she chose our Faculty to do her PhD research: ‘I was interested in doing a double PhD and the University of Groningen is part of the European Plutarch Network, with ten other universities, including Málaga, where I started my PhD. I had already met Prof. Roig Lanzillotta at the Annual Conference of the Plutarch Network and I was interested in his approach to Plutarch as an author living and writing at the crossroads of religious-philosophical trends in the first and second centuries CE. He kindly agreed to be my supervisor and we started the whole double PhD procedure between both universities.’

Promotion ceremony

On 20 June, Luisa will defend her dissertation, De facie quae in orbe lunae apparet: Textual edition with commentary , during a doctoral promotion ceremony and in the presence of her supervisors, Prof. Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta , Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen, and Prof. Aurelio Pérez Jiménez, Full Professor of Greek Philology at the University of Málaga.

  • When:           Thursday, 20 June 2019
  • Starts:             4.15 p.m.
  • Where:           Academy Building
Last modified:12 June 2023 8.20 p.m.
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