School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications
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Epicurus and the Placita
The Placita focus primarily on the views of philosophers on the natural world organised by topics and questions, not on the thought of the philosophers themselves. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with looking at the doxai of a particular philosopher in the collection and investigating what these can tell us about his thought. The paper focuses on the doxai of Epicurus, who represents a unique case, because not only does his name-label frequently appear among the doxai, but there is also evidence that he himself made use of an early version of the Placita in his own writings. The first part of the paper thus treats Epicurus in the Placita, examining a large number of features of the occurrence of his doxai in the collection. As seventh in the total number of doxai, he is amply represented, though quite often in conjunction with other members of the atomist tradition. His doxai are positioned in accordance with the structural and generally diaeretic method of the Placita, but it is striking how often he brings up the rear in a chapter because he represents a distinctive point of view. The second part of the paper turns to the subject of Epicurus on the Placita. In cosmology it appears that he made use of early doxographical material, particularly for presenting multiple explanations. In the treatment of metereological subjects this usage is less easy to demonstrate but still remains likely. The paper thus demonstrates that the prospective edition of the Placita will also be useful for the study of individual philosophers
Aëtiana IV: Papers of the Melbourne Colloquium on Ancient Doxography
The articles collected here are based for the most part on papers read at the Colloquium “The Placita of Aëtius: Foundations for the Study of Ancient Philosophy,” held in Melbourne in December 2015. The Placita, a first century CE collection of systematically organised tenets in natural philosophy ranging from first principles to human physiology is incompletely extant in several later sources. Its laborious reconstruction and the identity of its author are discussed from various angles. The text of the treatise is further elucidated by a novel statistical exploration of what is extant and what is missing. Its relation to various currents in the history of Greek philosophy and its reliability are also examined in some detail.
Aëtiana V: An Edition of the Reconstructed Text of the Placita with a Commentary and a Collection of Related Texts
The present edition and commentary on the Placita has been a very long time in the making. In the case of Jaap Mansfeld, its origins go as far back as the research he did on ps.Hippocrates De hebdomadibus in the late 1960’s.1 David Runia first came into contact with doxographical texts when analysing Philo of Alexandria’s puzzling work De aeternitate mundi in the late 1970’s.2 We made the decision to work together on the Aëtian Placita in 1989 and the project entitled ‘Aëtiana: the Method and Intellectual Context of a Doxographer’ was born. The present volume consisting of four parts is the project’s culmination. Four preparatory volumes (in five parts) have preceded it.3 We will not again describe the project’s origins and development. The interested reader is referred to the Introduction to Volume 4, where a full account is given.
The Armenian Corpus of Philo and Recent Philonic Scholarship (in Armenian with summary)
(Matenadaran Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, 2020)
This paper, presented at the Matanedaran in Yerevan in October 2019, undertakes to give a survey of recent developments and trends in Philonic research as they relate to the Armenian corpus of treatises. First recent research on the writings themselves is examined, beginning with the philosophical treatises (Aucher vol. 1), followed by the exegetical writings, first those of which we still have the Greek text (Zarbhanalean), then those of which the Greek text is lost (Aucher vol. 2). Some brief comments are then devoted to recent commentaries on Philo’s works, particularly in the Philo of Alexandria commentary series (PACS). The paper then turns to recent trajectories in understanding Philo, focusing on the work of Maren Niehoff (an intellectual biography of Philo) and Greg Sterling (the context of Philo’s activities). Lastly attention is given to work on Philo’s reception in antiquity, with discussion of Metzler’s recent edition of Procopius’s Genesis commentary and of research on Philo in the Byzantine period, including medieval Armenia. The conclusion is that Philonic scholarship is flourishing, but that there remains much still to do, not least in the area of the reception of his writings and thought.