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Peter Adamson offers an accessible, humorous tour through a period of eight hundred years when some of the most influential of all schools of thought were formed: from the third century BC to the sixth century AD. He introduces us to Cynics and Skeptics, Epicureans and Stoics, emperors and slaves, and traces the development of Christian and Jewish philosophy and of ancient science. Chapters are devoted to such major figures as Epicurus, Lucretius, Cicero, Seneca, Plotinus, and Augustine. But in keeping with the motto of the series, the story is told 'without any gaps,' providing an in-depth look at less familiar topics that remains suitable for the general reader. For instance, there are chapters on the fascinating but relatively obscure Cyrenaic philosophical school, on pagan philosophical figures like Porphyry and Iamblichus, and extensive coverage of the Greek and Latin Christian Fathers who are at best peripheral in most surveys of ancient philosophy. A major theme of the book is in fact the competition between pagan and Christian philosophy in this period, and the Jewish tradition also appears in the shape of Philo of Alexandria. Ancient science is also considered, with chapters on ancient medicine and the interaction between philosophy and astronomy. Considerable attention is paid also to the wider historical context, for instance by looking at the ascetic movement in Christianity and how it drew on ideas from Hellenic philosophy. From the counter-cultural witticisms of Diogenes the Cynic to the subtle skepticism of Sextus Empiricus, from the irreverent atheism of the Epicureans to the ambitious metaphysical speculation of Neoplatonism, from the ethical teachings of Marcus Aurelius to the political philosophy of Augustine, the book gathers together all aspects of later ancient thought in an accessible and entertaining way.
This book provides a collection of sources, many of them fragmentary and previously scattered and hard to access, for the development of Peripatetic philosophy in the later Hellenistic period and the early Roman Empire. It also supplies the background against which the first commentator on Aristotle from whom extensive material survives, Alexander of Aphrodisias (fl. c. AD 200), developed his interpretations which continue to be influential even today. Many of the passages are here translated into English for the first time, including the whole of the summary of Peripatetic ethics attributed to 'Arius Didymus'.
The Oxford Classical Texts, or Scriptorum Classicorum Bibliotheca Oxoniensis, are renowned for their reliability and presentation. The series consists of a text without commentary but with a brief apparatus criticus at the foot of each page. There are now over 100 volumes, representing the greater part of classical Greek and Latin literature.
In the history of Western thought, men have persistently asked three questions concerning the habitable earth and their relationships to it. Is the earth, which is obviously a fit environment for man and other organic life, a purposefully made creation? Have its climates, its relief, the configuration of its continents influenced the moral and social nature of individuals, and have they had an influence in molding the character and nature of human culture? In his long tenure of the earth, in what manner has man changed it from its hypothetical pristine condition? From the time of the Greeks to our own, answers to these questions have been and are being given so frequently and so continually that we may restate them in the form of general ideas: the idea of a designed earth; the idea of environmental influence; and the idea of man as a geographic agent. These ideas have come from the general thought and experience of men, but the first owes much to mythology, theology, and philosophy; the second, to pharmaceutical lore, medicine, and weather observation; the third, to the plans, activities, and skills of everyday life such as cultivation, carpentry, and weaving. The first two ideas were expressed frequently in antiquity, the third less so, although it was implicit in many discussions which recognized the obvious fact that men through their arts, sciences, and techniques had changed the physical environment about them. This magnum opus of Clarence Glacken explores all of these questions from Ancient Times to the End of the Eighteenth Century.
Aristotle, great Greek philosopher, researcher, reasoner, and writer, born at Stagirus in 384 BCE, was the son of Nicomachus, a physician, and Phaestis. He studied under Plato at Athens and taught there (367-347); subsequently he spent three years at the court of a former pupil, Hermeias, in Asia Minor and at this time married Pythias, one of Hermeias's relations. After some time at Mitylene, in 343-2 he was appointed by King Philip of Macedon to be tutor of his teen-aged son Alexander. After Philip's death in 336, Aristotle became head of his own school (of 'Peripatetics'), the Lyceum at Athens. Because of anti-Macedonian feeling there after Alexander's death in 323, he withdrew to Chalcis in Euboea, where he died in 322.
Nearly all the works Aristotle prepared for publication are lost; the priceless ones extant are lecture-materials, notes, and memoranda (some are spurious). They can be categorized as follows: I "Practical": Nicomachean Ethics; Great Ethics (Magna Moralia); Eudemian Ethics; Politics; Economics (on the good of the family); On Virtues and Vices. II "Logical": Categories; Analytics (Prior and Posterior); Interpretation; Refutations used by Sophists; Topica. III "Physical": Twenty-six works (some suspect) including astronomy, generation and destruction, the senses, memory, sleep, dreams, life, facts about animals, etc. IV "Metaphysics": on being as being. V "Art": Rhetoric and Poetics. VI Other works including the Constitution of Athens; more works also of doubtful authorship. VII Fragments of various works such as dialogues on philosophy and literature; and of treatises on rhetoric, politics and metaphysics.
The Loeb Classical Library edition of Aristotle is intwenty-three volumes.
The notion of practical wisdom is one of Aristotle's greatest inventions. It has inspired philosophers as diverse as Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Elizabeth Anscombe, Michael Thompson, and John McDowell. Now a leading scholar of ancient philosophy offers a challenge to received accounts of practical wisdom by situating it in the larger context of Aristotle's views on knowledge and reality. That happiness is the end pursued by practical wisdom is commonly agreed. What is disputed is whether happiness is to be found in the practical life of political action, in which we exhibit courage, temperance, and other virtues of character, or in the contemplative life, where theoretical wisdom is the essential virtue. C. D. C. Reeve argues that the dichotomy is bogus, that these lives are in fact parts of a single life, which is the best human one. In support of this view, he develops innovative accounts of many of the central notions in Aristotle's metaphysics, epistemology, and psychology, including matter and form, scientific knowledge, dialectic, educatedness, perception, understanding, political science, practical truth, deliberation, and deliberate choice. These accounts are based directly on freshly translated passages from many of Aristotle's writings. Action, Contemplation, and Happiness is an accessible essay not just on practical wisdom but on Aristotle's philosophy as a whole.
The Parmenides is often described as one of the most complex and problematic of the Platonic dialogues. In it a group of characters, including Parmenides, an eccentric teacher and poet from Elea, Zeno, the student and lover of Plato, and the young Socrates and Aristotle, engage in a series of conversations on some of the most abstract philosophical concepts: the nature of Forms, and the meaning of the One. Forms are the principles or sources of explanation of all the parts of the Whole in the world: earth, fire, man and even mortal qualities such as justice and prudence. The One, is the source of our knowledge of the Whole itself - the underlying principles of experience. Despite its structural complexity, the Parmenides gives us the clearest insight into the working of the mind of Socrates. It is the only surviving example of a conversation between Socrates and another philosopher. By studying this dialogue, the reader can gain some insight to the source of Socratic philosophy, and about the development of early Greek philosophy in general.
The question of the political relevance of philosophy, and of the role which the philosopher should play in the government of his state, was often discussed in antiquity. Plato's ideal of the philosopher-king is well-known, but his failure to realize his political ideal in Syracuse was perhaps the best argument against the philosopher's political engagement. Nevertheless, Plato's ideal remained attractive for later Greek thinkers. This is illustrated, for instance, by one of Plutarch's short political works, in which he tries to demonstrate that the philosopher should especially associate with powerful rulers, because he can in this way exert the greatest positive influence on his society and at the same time maximize his personal pleasure.
This study provides a thorough analysis of Plutarch's Maxime cum principibus philosopho esse disserendum. Geert Roskam's general introduction discusses each step in Plutarch's argumentation in detail. A systematic lemmatic commentary then provides a systematic complement to the previous analysis of the work, dealing with many problems of textual criticism, explaining all kinds of realia, and discussing a great number of passages through parallels from Plutarch's own oeuvre and from other authors.
This volume explores the political implications of the first five books of Livy's celebrated history of Rome, challenging the common perception of the author as an apolitical moralist. Ann Vasaly argues that Livy intended to convey through the narration of particular events crucial lessons about the interaction of power and personality, including the personality of the Roman people as a whole. These lessons demonstrate the means by which the Roman republic flourished in the distant past and by which it might be revived in Livy's own corrupt time. Written at the precise moment when Augustus' imperial autocracy was replacing the republican system that had existed in Rome for almost 500 years, the stories of the first pentad offer invaluable insight into how republics and monarchies work. Vasaly's innovative study furthers the integration in recent scholarship of the literary brilliance of Livy's text and the seriousness of its purpose.
After resolving to become a Catholic Christian, Augustine spent a decade trying to clarify his understanding of 'contemplation,' the interior presence of God to the soul. That long struggle yielded his classic account in the Confessions. This study explores Augustine's developing understanding of contemplation, beginning with his earliest accounts written before his baptism and ending with the Confessions. Chapter One examines the pagan monotheism of the Roman Platonists and the role of contemplation in their theology. Augustine's pre-baptismal writings are then considered in Chapter Two, tracking his fundamental break from pagan Platonism. Chapter Three then turns to Augustine's developing understanding of contemplation in these pre-baptismal texts. Chapter Four concentrates on Augustine's thought during the decade after his baptism in 387, a period that encompasses his monastic life in Thagaste, and his years first as a presbyter and then as a bishop in Hippo Regius. This chapter follows the arc of Augustine's thought through these years of transition and leads into the Confessions, giving a vantage point to survey its theology of contemplation. Chapter Five concentrates on the Confessions and sets its most famous account of contemplation, the vision at Ostia from Book IX, into a larger polemical context. Augustine's defence of his transcendental reading of scripture in Confessions XII is analysed and then used to illuminate the Ostian ascent narrative. The book concludes with observations on the importance of Augustine's theology of contemplation to the emergence of Christian monotheism in late antiquity.
The philosopher Philo was born about 20 BCE to a prominent Jewish family in Alexandria, the chief home of the Jewish Diaspora as well as the chief center of Hellenistic culture; he was trained in Greek as well as Jewish learning. In attempting to reconcile biblical teachings with Greek philosophy he developed ideas that had wide influence on Christian and Jewish religious thought.
The Loeb Classical Library edition of the works of Philo is in ten volumes and two supplements, distributed as follows. Volume I: Creation; Interpretation of Genesis II and III. II: On the Cherubim; The Sacrifices of Abel and Cain; The Worse Attacks the Better; The Posterity and Exile of Cain; On the Giants. III: The Unchangeableness of God; On Husbandry; Noah's Work as a Planter; On Drunkenness; On Sobriety. IV: The Confusion of Tongues; The Migration of Abraham; The Heir of Divine Things; On the Preliminary Studies. V: On Flight and Finding; Change of Names; On Dreams. VI: Abraham; Joseph; Moses. VII: The Decalogue; On Special Laws Books IIII. VIII: On Special Laws Book IV; On the Virtues; Rewards and Punishments. IX: Every Good Man Is Free; The Contemplative Life; The Eternity of the World; Against Flaccus; Apology for the Jews; On Providence. X: On the Embassy to Gaius; indexes. Supplement I: Questions on Genesis. II: Questions on Exodus; index to supplements.
What kind of literature is the Talmud? To answer this question, Daniel Boyarin looks to an unlikely source: the dialogues of Plato. In these ancient texts he finds similarities, both in their combination of various genres and topics and in their dialogic structure. But Boyarin goes beyond these structural similarities, arguing also for a cultural relationship. In "Socrates and the Fat Rabbis", Boyarin suggests that both the Platonic and the Talmudic dialogues are not dialogic at all. Using Mikhail Bakhtin's notion of represented dialogue and real dialogism, Boyarin demonstrates, through multiple close readings, that the give-and-take in these texts is actually much closer to a monologue in spirit. At the same time, he shows that there is a dialogism in both texts on a deeper structural level between a voice of philosophical or religious dead seriousness and a voice from within that mocks that very high solemnity. Boyarin ultimately singles out Menippean satire as the most important genre through which to understand both the Talmud and Plato, emphasizing their seriocomic peculiarity. An innovative advancement in rabbinic studies, as well as a bold and controversial new way of reading Plato, "Socrates and the Fat Rabbis" makes a major contribution to scholarship on thought and culture of the ancient Mediterranean.
Method and Metaphysics presents twenty-six essays in ancient philosophy by Jonathan Barnes, one of the most admired and influential scholars of his generation. The essays span four decades of his career, and are drawn from a wide variety of sources: many of them will be relatively unknown even to specialists in ancient philosophy. Several essays are now translated from the original French and made available in English for the first time; others have been substantially revised for republication. The volume opens with eight essays about the interpretation of ancient philosophical texts, and about the relationship between philosophy and its history. The next five essays examine the methods of ancient philosophers. The third section comprises thirteen essays about metaphysical topics, from the Presocratics to the late Platonists. This collection will be a rich feast for students and scholars of ancient philosophy.
Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy is a volume of original articles on all aspects of ancient philosophy. The articles may be of substantial length, and include critical notices of major books. OSAP is now published twice yearly, in both hardback and paperback. "'Have you seen the latest OSAP?' is what scholars of ancient philosophy say to each other when they meet in corridors or on coffee breaks. Whether you work on Plato or Aristotle, on Presocratics or sophists, on Stoics, Epicureans, or Sceptics, on Roman philosophers or Greek Neoplatonists, you are liable to find OSAP articles now dominant in the bibliography of much serious published work in your particular subject: not safe to miss." - Malcolm Schofield, Cambridge University "OSAP was founded to provide a place for long pieces on major issues in ancient philosophy. In the years since, it has fulfilled this role with great success, over and over again publishing groundbreaking papers on what seemed to be familiar topics and others surveying new ground to break. It represents brilliantly the vigour - and the increasingly broad scope - of scholarship in ancient philosophy, and shows us all how the subject should flourish." - M.M. McCabe, King's College London
Christian Pfeiffer explores an important, but neglected topic in Aristotle's theoretical philosophy: the theory of bodies. A body is a three-dimensionally extended and continuous magnitude bounded by surfaces. This notion is distinct from the notion of a perceptible or physical substance. Substances have bodies, that is to say, they are extended, their parts are continuous with each other and they have boundaries, which demarcate them from their surroundings. Pfeiffer argues that body, thus understood, has a pivotal role in Aristotle's natural philosophy. A theory of body is a presupposed in, e.g., Aristotle's account of the infinite, place, or action and passion, because their being bodies explains why things have a location or how they can act upon each other. The notion of body can be ranked among the central concepts for natural science which are discussed in Physics III-IV. The book is the first comprehensive and rigorous account of the features substances have in virtue of being bodies. It provides an analysis of the concept of three-dimensional magnitude and related notions like boundary, extension, contact, continuity, often comparing it to modern conceptions of it. Both the structural features and the ontological status of body is discussed. This makes it significant for scholars working on contemporary metaphysics and mereology because the concept of a material object is intimately tied to its spatial or topological properties.
About G.M.A Grube's translations of Plato: "Unmistakably superior: more lucid, more accurate, more readable. Above all, they're lucidly adorned, unpretentious, and in translating Plato that counts a good deal. The prose is, as English prose, persuasive, cogent, and as eloquent as it can be without departing from the text. --William Arrowsmith
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