Aristotle's Categories in the Early Roman Empire (Oxford, 2015)

This volume studies the origin and evolution of philosophical interest in Aristotle's Categories. After centuries of neglect, the Categories became the focus of philosophical discussion in the first century BCE, and was subsequently adopted as the basic introductory textbook for philosophy in the Aristotelian and Platonic traditions.


Griffin maps out this early exegetical tradition combining philological skills, historical caution and philosophical sensitivity, and succeeds in showing that there was a subtle and sophisticated philosophical controversy among the early exegetes of the Categories… Griffin must be congratulated for exploring the early exegetical tradition of the Categories in such detail and for confirming that exegetical debates in later ancient philosophy are not scholastic developments but philosophically and historically significant. His book will remain a standard work of reference in the field of the exegetical tradition of the Categories. (George Karamanolis in NDPR 2016.03.08)

All in all, this fine work provides an excellent overview of the first generations of exegesis and commentary on the Categories, a period previously—despite the fine work of such figures as Paul Moraux and, more recently, Jonathan Barnes, Riccardo Chiaradonna, and Marwan Rashed—sunk in obscurity. Not all of the obscurity can be lifted, admittedly, by reason of the nature of the evidence, but for his fine effort to do so Michael Griffin has put all of ancient philosophy in his debt. (John Dillon in BMCR 2016.02.12)

[A] major and very welcome contribution to the understanding of post-Hellenistic philosophy. […] This book is a considerable feat of judicious analysis and reconstruction… the questions that Griffin leaves us with are the sort that scholars can get their teeth into. This is a major work which will become an important reference-point in future research on the post-Hellenistic period. (George Boys-Stones in Phronesis 60 [2015] 493-500)

This book offers a clear and compelling presentation of the surviving evidence. It fills a significant lacuna and marks a considerable step forward in scholarship. […] It is a must-read for scholars with an interest in post-Hellenistic philosophy. (Andrea Falcon in Sehepunkt 15 [2015] 7/8)

Olympiodorus on Plato Alcibiades I (Bloomsbury, 2014 & 2016)

This is the first translation of this text into a modern language. Olympiodorus (AD c. 500–570), possibly the last non-Christian teacher of philosophy in Alexandria, delivered these lectures as an introduction to Plato with a biography. They can also serve as an accessible introduction to late Neoplatonism.


Griffin's two volumes are a considerable scholarly achievement. They open up a window into a world in which philosophy had a very different role and self-conception. [...] Griffin's introduction on the virtues and psychic transformation is particularly valuable... It should invite both specialists and general readers to reflect on what we are really doing when we teach philosophy by providing a contrast with our own more modest self-conception.  (Dirk Baltzly in NDPR 2017.02.07)

G. has taken on the thankless task of the translator with commendable enthusiasm, thoroughness and accuracy. [...] G.’s account of [the] theory of a ‘scale of the virtues’… is one of the most philosophically sensitive and lucid treatments of the subject known to this reviewer. (Sebastian Gertz in International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 2017, 71-115, on Lectures 10-28)

Olympiodorus’ Alcibiades commentary... has remained untranslated since the appearance of the critical edition nearly sixty years ago. The work... is thus a step toward filling a definite gap in the scholarship. (Topher Kurfess in BMCR 2015.10.30)

Griffin… is responsible for an elegant translation of the first nine of Olympiodorus’ lectures on the Alcibiades… Apart from dealing expertly with the social and intellectual context of Olympiodorus’ work… Griffin’s introduction also deals extensively with the ancient reception history of the Alcibiades itself. (George Boys-Stones in Phronesis 60 [2015] 493-500, on Lectures 1-9)

selected articles & chapters

Early drafts or preprints of my papers are posted on

Curriculum Vitae





Selected Articles and Chapters

  • "Selfhood and Ethics in Plato and Indian Buddhism." Ethics without Self, Dharma without Atman: Western and Buddhist Philosophical Traditions in Dialogue. Ed. Gordon Davis. Springer: at press.

  • “The Ancient Commentators”. Oxford Handbook of Science and Medicine in the Classical World. Ed. Paul Keyser and John Scarborough. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Forthcoming.

  • “Ammonius and His School.” Brill Handbook of the Ancient Reception of Aristotle. Ed. Andrea Falcon. Leiden: Brill, 2016: 394–414.

  • "Olympiodorus of Alexandria." Brill Handbook of the Ancient Reception of Plato. Eds. Harold Tarrant, Danielle Layne, and Dirk Batlzly. Leiden: Brill, 2017: 555-68.

  • "Proclus on the Ethics of Self-Constitution." Causation and Creation in Late Antiquity. Ed. Anna Marmodoro and Brian D. Prince. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015: 202–219.

  • “Universals, Education, and Philosophical Methodology in Later Neoplatonism". Universals in Ancient Philosophy. Ed. Riccardo Chiaradonna and Gabriele Galluzzo. Pisa: Edizioni della Scuola Normale, 2014: 353–380.

  • “Hypostasizing Socrates". The Neoplatonic Socrates. Ed. D. Layne and H. Tarrant. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014: 97-108.

  • "Pliable Platonism? Olympiodorus and the Profession of Philosophy in Sixth-Century Alexandria". Plato in the Third Sophistic. Ed. Ryan C. Fowler. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014: 73–97.

  • “Which “Athenodorus” Commented on Aristotle’s Categories?”. Classical Quarterly 63.1 (2013), 199-208.

  • “Proclus on Light as the Vehicle of the Soul”. Dionysius 30 (2012), 161-86.

  • “What has Aristotelian Dialectic to offer a Neoplatonist? A Possible Sample of Iamblichus at Simplicius On the Categories 12,10-13,12″. International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 6.2 (2013): 173-185.

  • “What Does Aristotle Categorize?”. The Peripatetic School Through Alexander of Aphrodisias = Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 55.1. Ed. Michael Edwards and Peter Adamson. London: Institute of Classical Studies, 2012. 69-108.

  • “A Middle Minoan Egg-Cup at the University of British Columbia”. Mouseion 47 (2004), 233-238.

  • “Apollo’s Hawk at Aristophanes, Birds 516″. Classical Quarterly 54.2 (2004), 610-613.

Book Reviews

  • Review of C. Natali and D.S. Hutchinson, Aristotle: His Life and School. In Notre Dame Philosophical Review 2014.01.29 (2014).

  • Review of J. Cooper, Pursuits of Wisdom. In Classical Review 64.1 (2014): 52-54.

  • Review of R. Sharples, Peripatetic Philosophy. In Journal of Hellenic Studies 133 (2013). 2 pp. MS.

  • Review of B. Freydberg, Philosophy and Comedy: Aristophanes, Logos, and Eros. In Text and Presentation = Comparative Drama Conference Series 6 (2010): 183 – 185.

  • Review of M. Tuominen, The Ancient Commentators on Plato and Aristotle. In Journal of Hellenic Studies 130 (2010): 283 – 284.

Conference Organization

  • Co-Organizer, 3rd Canadian Colloquium for Ancient Philosophy. McMaster University, 2016.

  • Co-Organizer, 2nd Canadian Colloquium for Ancient Philosophy. University of British Columbia, May 2014.

  • Ancient and Medieval Area Coordinator, Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Congress. September, 2013–2014.

  • Co-Organizer, 1st Canadian Colloquium for Ancient Philosophy. University of Alberta, May 2012.

Select Presentations

  • "Imagination and the 21st Century University", Keynote Address, UBC Student Leadership Conference, January 2017

  • "Meaning, Method, and Dialectic in Aristotle's Categories," Conference on Aristotle's Earlier Logical Works, New College, University of Oxford, November 2016

  • "Themistius on Rhetoric, Philosophy, and Excellence," University of Oxford Philosophy and Late Antiquity Seminar, May 2015

  • "How Andronicus of Rhodes Made us Read Aristotle's Categories First," Princeton Classical Philosophy Colloquium, December 2014

  • "Aristotle and Alexander on Mental States," American Philosophical Association (Pacific), San Francisco, March 2013

  • "Simplicius of Cilicia’s use of philosophical history," 31st Annual Meeting of the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy. New York City. October 12, 2013.

  • "The Earliest Commentators," Ancient Commentators on Aristotle Colloquium, London, December 2012

  • "Neoplatonic Psychology and Pedagogy," Karl und Gertrud Abel Conference, University of Trier, December 2012

A full CV is available by request.