SFU Royal Society of Canada Seminar Series: "Catastrophism as a Medieval Issue: The Problem of Plato's Atlantis Myth"

Thursday, April 4, 2013
11:30 - 12:30

Dr. Paul Dutton
Jack and Nancy Farley University Professor in History, Department of Humanities, Simon Fraser University


Plato believed that human society had been nearly wiped out at several points in the distant past, and that the few survivors who rebuilt their worlds had forgotten their deepest histories. The Timaeus, the work in which this doctrine is most fully explained, was one of the few dialogues that circulated in the Middle Ages, but what did catastrophism mean to medieval men and women? Why were they so uninterested in the story of the destruction of the island-continent of Atlantis and we moderns so fascinated by it?