Audacity of the Spirit by A.F. Losev (1893-1988) dares us to think holistically, dialectically. Translated from the Russian original Дерзание духа (Politizdat Moskva, 1988) by Peter R. Weisensel and Vitali I. Betaneli, the book falls into three parts: the dialectical method; Losev’s application of dialectics to history and culture; and his personal reflections on studying philosophy. Losev’s insatiable intellectual curiosity probes a remarkable variety of areas. Positions he considers, though, are not always easily reconcilable, as with Marxism-Leninism and Orthodox Christianity. In Losev’s conception of culture, however, culture and the intrinsic unity of any given cultural order is the common element that underlies everything living, even the order’s incompatibles. The given culture cannot be reduced to any single position nor to all of them taken together. Audacity of the Spirit is an introduction to dialectics for beginners, but it is also a major philosopher’s summing-up of his reflections to a non-specialized audience.
Edited by Christopher Moore
Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Socrates, edited by Christopher Moore, provides almost unbroken coverage, across three-dozen studies, of 2450 years of philosophical and literary engagement with Socrates – the singular Athenian intellectual, paradigm of moral discipline, and inspiration for millennia of philosophical, rhetorical, and dramatic composition. Following an Introduction reflecting on the essentially “receptive” nature of Socrates’ influence (by contrast to Plato’s), chapters address the uptake of Socrates by authors in the Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, Late Antique (including Latin Christian, Syriac, and Arabic), Medieval (including Byzantine), Renaissance, Early Modern, Late Modern, and Twentieth-Century periods. Together they reveal the continuity of Socrates’ idiosyncratic, polyvalent, and deep imprint on the history of Western thought, and witness the value of further research in the reception of Socrates.
Edited by Mauro Bonazzi, Angela Ulacco and Filippo Forcignanò
The volume Thinking, Knowing, Acting: Epistemology and Ethics in Plato and Ancient Platonism aims to offer a fresh perspective on the correlation between epistemology and ethics, a topic of central importance in the Platonic tradition which has not yet received the attention it deserves. The first part deals with the social, juridical premises of Plato’s philosophy, with particular regard to the relation between science and practical reason. The second part investigates the reception and development of these problems in Aristotle and the Platonic tradition. Other papers, on Solon and Galen, show that the conflict between knowledge and political action was also a central topic for the other Greek thinkers and contribute by contrast to a better evaluation of the originality of Platonism.
Western Scholarly Networks and Debates
Edited by Dragos Calma
Reading Proclus and the Book of Causes, published in three volumes, is a fresh, comprehensive understanding of Proclus’ legacy in the Hellenic, Byzantine, Islamic, Latin and Hebrew traditions. The history of the Book of Causes, an Islamic adaptation of mainly Proclus’ Elements of Theology and Plotinus' Enneads, is reconsidered on the basis of newly discovered manuscripts. This first volume enriches our understanding of the diverse reception of Proclus’ Elements of Theology and of the Book of Causes in the Western tradition where universities and religious schools offered unparalleled conditions of diffusion. The volume sheds light on overlooked authors, texts, literary genres and libraries from all major European universities from the 12th to the 16th centuries.
A Study of Their Secular Education and Educational Ideals
In Greek Writers and Philosophers in Philo and Josephus Erkki Koskenniemi investigates how two Jewish writers, Philo and Josephus, quoted, mentioned and referred to Greek writers and philosophers. He asks what this tells us about their Greek education, their contacts with Classical culture in general, and about the societies in which Philo and Josephus lived. Although Philo in Alexandria and Josephus in Jerusalem both had the possibility to acquire a thorough knowledge of Greek language and culture, they show very different attitudes. Philo, who was probably admitted to the gymnasium, often and enthusiastically refers to Greek poets and philosophers. Josephus on the other hand rarely quotes from their works, giving evidence of a more traditionalistic tendencies among Jewish nobility in Jerusalem.
Finding the Harmony of the Spheres
Donna M. Altimari Adler
In Plato's Timaeus and the Missing Fourth Guest, Donna M. Altimari Adler proposes a new Timaeus scale structure. She finds the harmonic cosmos in Plato's text, mathematically, regarding it as a number generator. Plato's primary number sequence, she argues, yields a matrix defining a sophisticated harmony of the spheres. She stresses the Decad as the pattern governing both human perception and the generation of all things, in the text, including the World Soul and musical scale symbolizing it. She precisely identifies Plato's "fabric" and its locus of severance and solves other thorny problems of interpretation, e.g., properly naming the sets of three and four bands, born of splitting the band of difference, and explaining their differing motions and speeds.
Diskurse zur sozialen Bedeutung von Tischgemeinschaft, Speiseverboten und Reinheitsvorschriften
In Essen im antiken Judentum und Urchristentum Christina Eschner examines the Early Christian disputes about the Jewish law against the background of Ancient Jewish discourses on commands of the law, in order to situate the Early Christian practice of the law within its broader context. Jewish sources include the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish writings in Greek and early rabbinic texts. This study focusses on rules concerning prohibited food, table fellowship and the permissible way of food intake. Pagan traditions are also considered. Thus, the work has an interdisciplinary orientation, discussing issues at the junction of New Testament studies, Classics, Ancient History and Jewish studies. It concludes that Early Christian food discourses do not aim for the complete abolition of the law. In Essen im antiken Judentum und Urchristentum untersucht Christina Eschner die Auseinandersetzungen zum jüdischen Gesetz innerhalb des Urchristentums vor dem Hintergrund der im antiken Judentum belegten Diskurse zu Gesetzesanordnungen, um die urchristliche Praxis des Gesetzes in ihrem größeren Rahmen zu erheben. Dabei finden Schriften aus Qumran, dem griechischsprachigen und dem rabbinischen Judentum Berücksichtigung. Der Fokus liegt auf Vorschriften zu verbotenen Speisen, zur Tischgemeinschaft und zur erlaubten Art und Weise der Nahrungsaufnahme. Auch pagane Traditionen werden einbezogen. Damit ist diese Studie besonders interdisziplinär ausgerichtet. Sie bewegt sich an der Schnittstelle zwischen Themenfeldern der neutestamentlichen Wissenschaft, der Altphilologie, der Alten Geschichte und der Judaistik. Dabei kommt sie zu dem Ergebnis, dass die urchristlichen Diskurse zum Essen nicht auf eine vollständige Abschaffung des Gesetzes zielen.
Skepticism, History and Politics in Cicero's Academica
The School of Doubt conducts a close philological and philosophical reading of Cicero’s Academica, a fragmentary work on sense-perception and Academic history written in the wake of Caesar’s victory in the civil wars (45 BCE). Focusing in turn on the author’s letters discussing the process of composition, the historiographical treatment of the Platonic tradition and the critical exploration of philosophical doubt, this volume presents Cicero as an original and sophisticated historian of philosophy and a radical figure in Western skeptical thought. Widely misconstrued as a technical treatise and a mere chronicle of the Greek debates on which it draws, the Academica here emerges as a key work in the evolution of Ciceronian philosophy and of ancient skepticism – and one that responds directly to the disintegration of Republican Rome.
Edited by Alan Kim
For six centuries, Plato has held German philosophy in his grip. Brill’s Companion to German Platonism examines how German thinkers have interpreted Plato and how in turn he has decisively influenced their thought. Under the editorship of Alan Kim, this companion gathers the work of scholars from four continents, writing on figures from Cusanus and Leibniz to Husserl and Heidegger. Taken together, their contributions reveal a characteristic pattern of “transcendental” interpretations of the mind’s relation to the Platonic Forms. In addition, the volume examines the importance that the dialogue form itself has assumed since the nineteenth century, with essays on Schleiermacher, the Tübingen School, and Gadamer. Brill’s Companion to German Platonism presents both Plato and his German interpreters in a fascinating new light.