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BOOK REVIEWS 427 Ch. H. Kahn renouvelle avec beaucoup de sfiret~, grace h la lucidit~ de la m~thode et aux savantes richesses de son application, la lecture d'un artiste de la prose philosophique qui, mutiM par le temps et n~anmoins assez pr6sent encore pour se laisser comparer notamment d'assez pros h un Spinoza (pp. x19, 25~, 254 etc.), reste peut- ~tre, de l'avis de l'auteur, le seul penseur pr~socratique ~ pr6senter un int~r~t actuel (p. ix). Servant cet int6r~t avec science et r6flexion, ce livre va prendre place parmi les meilleurs ~ditions modernes d'H+raclite. JEAN BERNHARDT C.N.R.S., Pare Alexander of Aphrodisias. The "De Anima" of Alexander of Aphrodisias. Translated and with commentary by Athanasios P. Fotinis. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1979. Pp. iv + 344. $12.oo. Until the publication of Athanasios Fotinis's translation, Alexander's De Anima was perhaps the most important classical Greek philosophical text not yet translated into English. From the days of Strato of Lampsacus until Alexander's appointment to the chair of Aristotelian philosophy at Athens in 198 A.D., Peripatetic philosophy was taught by relatively undistinguished men and occupied a secondary or even tertiary role in the intellectual life of the Greco-Roman world, overshadowed by the Stoic and Platonic traditions. Alexander vigorously attacked some of the central tenets of Stoicism and contributed critically to the development of a more Aristotelian Neoplatonism ; his De Anima in particular challenged Themistius and John Philoponus to develop their own interpretations of Aristotle's theory and made possible the adoption of the active intellect as a feature of the philosophy of Plotinus and his successors . Alexander's work continued to serve as a model not only for Simplicius, in the last days of the Athenian school, but again in Islam, in eleventh-century Byzantium and beyond, in the later medieval period, and in the Renaissance. For several centuries participants in debates concerning the soul and particularly the intellect were characterized as Alexandrists or Averroists, yet until now this most important text of Alexander has been available only in the original Greek (well edited by Bruns in CAG), in Hebrew (the Arabic having been lost), and in Latin. The translation is generally reliable and clear.' For that we can thank not only Dr. Fotinis but also his mentor, the Reverend William Dooley, an excellent Hellenist and Scholastic. Unfortunately the translation is not complete, since the chapters on nutrition , generation, bearing, smell, and taste have been omitted. Also, of the Mantissa, ' I have compared part of the translation in detail with the text, in the process of revising my translation of Michael of Ephesus's commentary on the DeMotu Animalium,in which Michael quotes extensive sections of Alexander's De Anima. For identification of the passages and comparisons of renderings see my Aristotleand Michaelof Ephesuson the Movementand Progressionof Animals (Hildesheim, 198O. 4~8 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY Fotinis gives us only the chapters "De Intellectu," approximately the chapters provided by P. Moraux in French. ~ Fotinis, like many other translators of Aristotelian texts, sometimes finds it necessary to add words in the translation; those who read Greek will occasionally disagree with the implied interpretation. A somewhat jarring insertion occurs at 94,26 (Fotinis , p. ~26): "The veins provide clinical evidence that in animals the heart directs the distribution of nourishment .... " There is nothing in the text corresponding to "clinical." In a some places Fotinis omits a few words, often on the authority of Bruns, but an odd omission is at 9~,5-9 (Fotinis, p. 122), where Bruns translates the lines into German in a footnote. Fotinis thinks that there is a textual problem and leaves them out. The vocabulary of the translation is fairly standard Scholastic vocabulary , comprehensible to anyone who reads English translations of, for example, Thomas Aquinas. "Hexis" gets no farther than the Latin "habitus" (as in Moraux, incidentally). The volume contains 185 pages of commentary. There are some valuable insights , particularly regarding the relationship between Alexander and Stoicism, although those could have benefitted from R. B. Todd's Alexander on Stoic Physics (Leiden, 1976), which probably appeared too late for Fotinis...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 427-429
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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