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  • Plato. Ion or: On the Iliad. Edited with Introduction and Commentary
  • Hardy Hansen
Albert Rijksbaron . Plato. Ion or: On the Iliad. Edited with Introduction and Commentary. Amsterdam Studies in Classical Philology, 14. Leiden: Brill, 2007. Pp. xii, 285. $139.00. ISBN 978-90-04-16321-8.

Albert Rijksbaron has produced an indispensible scholarly edition of Plato's Ion, with a new text based on a collation in situ of the primary manuscripts and a commentary whose "strong linguistic orientation" (x) and careful philology shed new light on nearly every line of the dialogue.

In his extensive introduction, Rijksbaron argues (1-8) that Ion is closest in date to Republic and Phaedrus on the basis of numerous correspondences in technical and procedural terms between Ion and dialogues generally accepted as middle or late; he views Ion as an "integral . . . part" (13) of Plato's critique of poetry. He argues cogently that the title as given in the mss. is correct and thus prints Ἴων ἢ περὶ Ἰλιάδος at both the beginning and the end. To the three primary mss. (T, W, F), he adds S (codex Venetus Marcianus graecus 189), whose value as a primary witness has not been generally recognized by recent editors. An excursus (37-48) deals with the problems posed by the quotations from Homer and presents judicious arguments for choosing when to print a reading different from the Homer mss. (e.g., 537a8: αὐτὸς δέ . . . κλινθῆναι [38 and n.92]) and when to favor Homer (e.g., 538d1: ὄρουσεν [45]). Rijksbaron makes valuable critical observations passim on editions ranging from the Aldine (52-57) to that of Henri Estienne (254-55) to Burnet's OCT, while scrupulously crediting earlier work throughout.

As for the commentary, a brief review can only touch on a few of the many places where Rijksbaron advances our understanding of the text. One of the best notes is on the very first phrase of Ion, τὸν Ἴωνα χαίρειν (530a1). Rijksbaron notes the rarity of the article with proper names in Plato outside of "turn-taking scenes" in narrated dialogues and his unique use here of the accusative + infinitive as a command. Socrates' tone is very (ironically) formal and honorific. [End Page 355]

At 530d9, when Socrates says that he will make time later to listen to Ion, the mss. present a choice between ἀκροᾶσθαι and ἀκροάσασθαι. In an appendix (261-69, one of three dealing in detail with textual questions), Rijksbaron surveys the uses of both infinitives of this verb in prose writers and notes that the aorist infinitive of ἀκροάομαι is not otherwise attested in Plato. As for σχολή + infinitive, elsewhere the aorist only appears when the whole expression is negated (e.g., "I don't have time to . . ."). He therefore prints ἀκροᾶσθαι, which "presents the listening as an unbounded action"; Socrates "is not interested in anything in particular" which Ion may have to say (269). See the good discussion of the force of the imperfect and aorist indicatives in the contrafactual conditions at 540d5-6 and 540d7-e2, and the note on the pragmatic difference between the present and aorist infinitives of ἐξηγέομαι at 531b7-9.

In several places Rijksbaron rescues the text by defending an ms. reading. At 532b4 he prints, with most mss., αὐτὸς ὁμολογεῖ, "he [Ion] himself agrees," instead of the ὁμολογῇ ("you yourself agree") of Burnet and many other editors, which has no ms. authority; elsewhere in Plato the middle of ὁμολογέω has reciprocal meaning. At 533c8 he prints ἄρχομαι . . . ἀποφαινόμενος with TWSF, rejecting ἔρχομαι, which Cobet and subsequent editors had adopted.

Rijksbaron's grasp of Plato's idiom is evident in his extensive note on 535b1, where he prints Ἔχε δή· τόδε μοι εἰπέ with the first imperative separate and, in its context, somewhat rude. Also good are his remarks on word order, e.g., on the phrase σὺ . . . ἢ τῶν μάντεων τις τῶν ἀγαθῶν (531b6): "the order places the emphasis on τῶν μάντεων, or rather, in pragmatic terms, it turns τῶν μάντεων into the contrastive Focus of the question, on a par with σύ" See 538b5-6, where Rijksbaron chooses the reading περὶ ἑτέρων καὶ ἐπιστήμη πραγμάτων ἐστίν "because it is the only one which puts ἑτέρων in the Topic, and ἐπιστήμη in the Focus position."

This is not an edition for beginners, but anyone who has taught Ion or who has tackled Ion while learning Greek will find Rijksbaron's work invaluable. He wears his considerable learning lightly and is always...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9234
Print ISSN
0009-8418
Pages
pp. 355-356
Launched on MUSE
2009-06-03
Open Access
No
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