Iamblichi Chalcidensis ex Coele-Syria de vita Pythagorica liber. Iamblichos, Pythagoras Legende--Lehre---Lebensgestaltung (review)
- Journal of the History of Philosophy
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 5, Number 1, January 1967
- p. 86
- View Citation
- Additional Information
86 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY lamblichi Chalcidensis ex Coele-Syria de vita Pythagorica liber, lamblichos, Pythagoras. Legende--Lehre---Lebensgestaltung. Griechisch und Deutsch, herausgegeben, iibersetzt und eingeleitet von Michael yon Albrecht. (Ziirich & Stuttgart: Artemis, 1963. Pp. 280. = Die Bibliothek der Alten Welt, Reihe Antike und Christentum.) The present edition and translation again makes available one of the texts most valuable for the understanding of the world of late antiquity. The earlier editions, especially that of L. Deubner (1937), are out of print. The fact that this document has been translated into German for the first time is also very helpful, since Iamblichos is sometimes difficult to understand. A brief but nevertheless informative introduction rightly emphasizes that Iamblichos intended to present an introduction and initiation into the Pythagorean way of life rather than a biography of Pythagoras based upon historically trustworthy materials. Although the biography of Pythagoras is certainly a part of the book, it serves only as the ideal example of the Pythagorean way of life, as Iaznblichos sees it. However, more than merely a work of Iamblichos, it ought to be recognized as a "fundamental document of the image of man in later antiquity" (p. 11). The text is based upon L. Deubner's edition, but occasionally it takes up older conjectures or returns to the tradition (for a more detailed discussion cf. W. Burkert, Gnomon 37, 1965, 24ff.). The index and the explanatory notes are also helpful, although the latter prove to be too brief and do not adequately call the reader's attention to the problems of sources, tradition, and composition. One can only agree with von Albrecht that we still need a modem commentary (p. I1). H. D. BETZ Claremont, CaliIornia Agrippa and the Crisis o] Renaissance Thought. By Charles G. Nauert, Jr. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965. Pp. vi W 374. $8.00.) One of the most influential and widely read thinkers of the early sixteenth century was the German Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettisheim (1486-1535). His many works were reprinted often, as well as being translated into several vernacular languages. The De incertitudine et vanitate omnium scientiarum et atrium of 1526, for example, went through at least 16 printings before 1700 and appeared in Italian (1547), English (1569), French (1582), and Dutch (1651) translations, which were themselves often reprinted. Although interest in Agrippa has waned somewhat since the seventeenth century, there is still a significant amount of scholarly debate regarding his importance and the meaning of his writings. Professor Nauert's monograph is the fruit of many years' study of Agrippa's life, thought, and milieu. In it he clearly places Agrippa in his historical context, accurately sketching his background and influence. After a brief introduction (pp. 1-7), the study is essentially divided into two parts: The first (pp. 8-115) traces Agrippa's life and intellectual development, the second (pp. 116-334) discusses in some detail a number of the key themes developed in his writings. There is also a substantial bibliography (pp. 335-,355) and a quite complete and accurate index (pp. 357-374). Although the mass of material which Nanert brings to our attention indicates the opposite , one sometimes gets the impression that the author tends to underestimate the importance of his subject. For example, he says, "Agrippa von Nettisheim is now a forgotten figure in the intellectual history of the West" (p. 322), but this does not seem to be the case. Although much work remains to be done, at least five books have been devoted to Agrippa in the past half century and, indeed, at least seven articles have appeared in the past ten years on one or another aspect of his life and thought. The very fact that Nanert can argue with so much vigor against the views of contemporary scholars like Lynn Thomdike and Paola Zambelli indicates that it is anything but a dead issue. As it is, Nauert's book clearly and accurately describes Agrippa's place in the intellectual ambiance of the sixteenth century . It gives the first detailed analysis of Agrippa's life and thought in English in recent ...