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A provocative close reading that reveals a radical, proto-phenomenological Socrates
An English Translation of the "Hamartigenia"
Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (348-ca. 406) is one of the great Christian Latin writers of late antiquity. Born in northeastern Spain during an era of momentous change for both the Empire and the Christian religion, he was well educated, well connected, and a successful member of the late Roman elite, a man fully engaged with the politics and culture of his times. Prudentius wrote poetry that was deeply influenced by classical writers and in the process he revived the ethical, historical, and political functions of poetry. This aspect of his work was especially valued in the Middle Ages by Christian writers who found themselves similarly drawn to the Classical tradition.
Prudentius's Hamartigenia, consisting of a 63-line preface followed by 966 lines of dactylic hexameter verse, considers the origin of sin in the universe and its consequences, culminating with a vision of judgment day: the damned are condemned to torture, worms, and flames, while the saved return to a heaven filled with delights, one of which is the pleasure of watching the torments of the damned. As Martha A. Malamud shows in the interpretive essay that accompanies her lapidary translation, the first new English translation in more than forty years, Hamartigenia is critical for understanding late antique ideas about sin, justice, gender, violence, and the afterlife. Its radical exploration of and experimentation with language have inspired generations of thinkers and poets since-most notably John Milton, whose Paradise Lost owes much of its conception of language and its strikingly visual imagery to Prudentius's poem.
Plato's Two Paradigms
In Plato's Republic, Socrates contends that philosophers make the best rulers because only they behold with their mind's eye the eternal and purely intelligible Forms of the Just, the Noble, and the Good. When, in addition, these men and women are endowed with a vast array of moral, intellectual, and personal virtues and are appropriately educated, surely no one could doubt the wisdom of entrusting to them the governance of cities. Although it is widely-and reasonably-assumed that all the Republic's philosophers are the same, Roslyn Weiss argues in this boldly original book that the Republic actually contains two distinct and irreconcilable portrayals of the philosopher.
According to Weiss, Plato's two paradigms of the philosopher are the "philosopher by nature" and the "philosopher by design." Philosophers by design, as the allegory of the Cave vividly shows, must be forcibly dragged from the material world of pleasure to the sublime realm of the intellect, and from there back down again to the "Cave" to rule the beautiful city envisioned by Socrates and his interlocutors. Yet philosophers by nature, described earlier in the Republic, are distinguished by their natural yearning to encounter the transcendent realm of pure Forms, as well as by a willingness to serve others-at least under appropriate circumstances. In contrast to both sets of philosophers stands Socrates, who represents a third paradigm, one, however, that is no more than hinted at in the Republic. As a man who not only loves "what is" but is also utterly devoted to the justice of others-even at great personal cost-Socrates surpasses both the philosophers by design and the philosophers by nature. By shedding light on an aspect of the Republic that has escaped notice, Weiss's new interpretation will challenge Plato scholars to revisit their assumptions about Plato's moral and political philosophy.
A New Thomistic Perspective, 2nd Edition
This book is a revised and expanded edition of three lectures delivered by the author at Wake Forest University in 1979. Long out of print, in its new edition it should be a valuable resource for scholars and teachers of thephilosophy of religion. The first two lectures, after a critique of the incompleteness of St. Thomas Aquinas's famous Five Ways of arguing for the existence of God, explore lesser-known resources of Aquinas's philosophical ascent of the mind to God: the unrestricted dynamism of the human spirit as it reaches toward the fullness of being, and the strictly metaphysical ascent to God from finite to infinite, in the line of Aquinas's later, more Neoplatonicallyinspired, metaphysics of participation.The third, and most heavily revised, lecture is a critique of Whitehead's process philosophy, distinguishing Aquinas more sharply and critically from Whitehead than in the first edition.
Aristophanes, Logos, and Eros
Aristophanes' comedies have stood the test of time as some of the greatest comic literature ever produced. While there have been numerous commentaries on Aristophanes and his world, until now there has been no systematic philosophical treatment of his comedies. In Philosophy and Comedy, Bernard Freydberg illuminates the philosophical insights in Aristophanes' texts by presenting close readings of Clouds, Wasps, Assemblywomen, and Lysistrata, addressing their comic genius at the same time. Freydberg challenges notions that philosophy is best served by a tragic disposition and arrives at a new assessment of the philosophical importance of comedy.
Drew A. Hyland, one of Continental philosophy's keenest interpreters of Plato, takes up the question of beauty in three Platonic dialogues, the Hippias Major, Symposium, and Phaedrus. What Plato meant by beauty is not easily characterized, and Hyland's close readings show that Plato ultimately gives up on the possibility of a definition. Plato's failure, however, tells us something important about beauty -- that it cannot be reduced to logos. Exploring questions surrounding love, memory, and ideal form, Hyland draws out the connections between beauty, the possibility of philosophy, and philosophical living. This new reading of Plato provides a serious investigation into the meaning of beauty and places it at the very heart of philosophy.
A Study of Critical Reason and Democracy
In this first comprehensive treatment of Plato’s political thought in a long time, John Wallach offers a "critical historicist" interpretation of Plato. Wallach shows how Plato’s theory, while a radical critique of the conventional ethical and political practice of his own era, can be seen as having the potential for contributing to democratic discourse about ethics and politics today. The author argues that Plato articulates and "solves" his Socratic Problem in his various dialogues in different but potentially complementary ways. The book effectively extracts Plato from the straightjacket of Platonism and from the interpretive perspectives of the past fifty years—principally those of Karl Popper, Leo Strauss, Hannah Arendt, M. I. Finley, Jacques Derrida, and Gregory Vlastos. The author’s distinctive approach for understanding Plato—and, he argues, for the history of political theory in general—can inform contemporary theorizing about democracy, opening pathways for criticizing democracy on behalf of virtue, justice, and democracy itself.
The Dialogue between Platonism and Stoicism in Antiquity
This book examines the important but largely neglected issue of the interrelation between Platonism and Stoicism in Ancient Philosophy. Several renowned specialists in the fields of Stoic and Platonic analyse the intricate mutual influences between Stoic and Platonic philosophers in the Hellenistic period, the Imperial Age, and after. Although it has been repeatedly claimed that the phenomenon addressed in this book could best be labelled eclecticism, it emerges from the various articles collected here that the situation is much more complicated. Far from being eclectics, most Stoics and Platonists consciously appropriated their material in order to integrate it into their own philosophical system. The dialogue between Platonists and Stoics testifies to active debate and controversy on central topics such as psychology, epistemology, physics, and ethics. This book will deepen our understanding of the dialogue between different philosophical schools in Antiquity. The results presented here teach one clear lesson: Platonism and Stoicism were by no means monolithic blocks, but were continuously moulded by mutual influence and interaction.
Of all Plato’s dialogues, the Parmenides is notoriously the most difficult to interpret. Scholars of all periods have disagreed about its aims and subject matter. The interpretations have ranged from reading the dialogue as an introduction to the whole of Platonic metaphysics to seeing it as a collection of sophisticated tricks, or even as an elaborate joke. This work presents an illuminating new translation of the dialogue together with an extensive introduction and running commentary, giving a unified explanation of the Parmenides and integrating it firmly within the context of Plato's metaphysics and methodology.
Scolnicov shows that in the Parmenides Plato addresses the most serious challenge to his own philosophy: the monism of Parmenides and the Eleatics. In addition to providing a serious rebuttal to Parmenides, Plato here re-formulates his own theory of forms and participation, arguments that are central to the whole of Platonic thought, and provides these concepts with a rigorous logical and philosophical foundation. In Scolnicov's analysis, the Parmenides emerges as an extension of ideas from Plato's middle dialogues and as an opening to the later dialogues.
Scolnicov’s analysis is crisp and lucid, offering a persuasive approach to a complicated dialogue. This translation follows the Greek closely, and the commentary affords the Greekless reader a clear understanding of how Scolnicov’s interpretation emerges from the text. This volume will provide a valuable introduction and framework for understanding a dialogue that continues to generate lively discussion today.