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This volume, the thirty-fifth year of published proceedings, contains five papers and commentaries presented to the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy during academic year 2018-19. Paper topics include: evidence for Simplicius as author of the Commentary on the De Anima; Aristotle and Humean theory of motivation, ‘besires’ and desires; moderation in NE 3,10-12 as novel in Aristotle, differing greatly from his contemporaries, especially Plato’s Charmides; Platonic memory and oblivion, mythic sources and cultural influence; Aristotle’s final causality in recovering nature from inanimate mechanism. The commentators take up the themes of these papers, in some instances developing and building on the main argument, while in others offering direct challenges to the principal author’s thesis.
Proceedings of the Tenth Symposium Platonicum Pragense
Plato's 'Timaeus' brings together a number of studies from both leading Plato specialists and up-and-coming researchers from across Europe. The contributions cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from the literary form of the work to the ontology of sense perception and the status of medicine in Timaeus' account. Although informed by a commitment to methodological diversity, the collection as a whole forms an organic unity, opening fresh perspectives on widely read passages, while shedding new light on less frequently discussed topics. The volume thus provides a valuable resource for students and researchers at all levels, whether their interest bears on the Timaeus as a whole or on a particular passage.
Providence, Dualism, and Will in Later Greek and Early Christian Philosophy
Author: Dylan M. Burns
Is God involved? Why do bad things happen to good people? What is up to us? These questions were explored in Mediterranean antiquity with reference to ‘providence’ ( pronoia). In Did God Care? Dylan Burns offers the first comprehensive survey of providence in ancient philosophy that brings together the most important Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Syriac sources, from Plato to Plotinus and the Gnostics.

Burns demonstrates how the philosophical problems encompassed by providence transformed in the first centuries CE, yielding influential notions about divine care, evil, creation, omniscience, fate, and free will that remain with us today. These transformations were not independent developments of ‘Pagan philosophy’ and ‘Christian theology,’ but include fruits of mutually influential engagement between Hellenic and Christian philosophers.
An Edition of the Reconstructed Text of the Placita with a Commentary and a Collection of Related Texts
Editors: Jaap Mansfeld and David Runia
A new reconstruction and text of the Placita of Aëtius (ca. 50 CE), accompanied by a full commentary and an extensive collection of related texts. This compendium, arguably the most important doxographical text to survive from antiquity, is known through the intensive use made of it by authors in later antiquity and beyond. Covering the entire field of natural philosophy, it has long been mined as a source of information about ancient philosophers and their views. It now receives a thorough analysis as a remarkable work in its own right. This volume is the culmination of a five-volume set of studies on Aëtius (1996–2020): Aëtiana I (ISBN: 9789004105805, 1996), II (Parts 1&2; set ISBN 9789004172067; 2008), III (ISBN 9789004180413; 2009), IV (ISBN: 9789004361454, 2018), and V (Parts 1-4). It uses an innovative methodology to replace the seminal edition of Hermann Diels (1879).
Terror and Intrigue
In Gnostic Countercultures, fourteen scholars investigate countercultural aspects associated with the gnostic which is broadly conceived with reference to the claim to have special knowledge of the divine, which either transcends or transgresses conventional religious knowledge. The papers explore the concept of the gnostic in Western culture from the ancient world to the modern New Age. Contributors trace the emergence, persistence, and disappearance of gnostic religious currents that are perceived to be countercultural, inverted, transgressive and/or subversive in their relationship to conventional religions and their claims to knowledge. The essays represent a selection of the papers delivered at the international congress Gnostic Countercultures: Terror and Intrigue convened at Rice University, March 26-28, 2015. The essays were originally published in Gnosis 1.1-2 (2016) and are available for the first time under separate cover.
On the Life of Abraham displays Philo’s philosophical, exegetical, and literary genius at its best. Philo begins by introducing the biblical figures Enos, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as unwritten laws. Then, interweaving literal, ethical, and allegorical interpretations, Philo presents the life and achievements of Abraham, founder of the Jewish nation, in the form of a Greco-Roman bios, or biography. Ellen Birnbaum and John Dillon explain why and how this work is important within the context of Philo’s own oeuvre, early Jewish and Christian exegesis, and ancient philosophy. They also offer a new English translation and detailed analyses, in which they elucidate the meaning of Philo’s thought, including his perplexing notion that Israel’s ancestors were laws in themselves.
Emotions ( pathè) such as anger, fear, shame, and envy, but also pity, wonder, love and friendship have long been underestimated in Plato’s philosophy. The aim of Emotions in Plato is to provide a consistent account of the role of emotions in Plato’s psychology, epistemology, ethics and political theory. The volume focuses on three main issues: taxonomy of emotions, their epistemic status, and their relevance for the ethical and political theory and practice. This volume, which is the first edited volume entirely dedicated to emotions in Plato’s philosophy, shows how Plato, in many aspects, was positively interested in these affective states in order to support the rule of reason.
The essays in this volume explore the many aspects of the “political” in the plays of Greek comic dramatist Aristophanes (5th century BCE), posing a variety of questions and approaching them through diverse methodological lenses. They demonstrate that “politics” as reflected in Aristophanes’ plays remains a fertile, and even urgent, area of inquiry, as political developments in our own time distinctly color the ways in which we articulate questions about classical Athens. As this volume shows, the earlier scholarship on politics in (or “and”) Aristophanes, which tended to focus on determining Aristophanes’ “actual” political views, has by now given way to approaches far more sensitive to how comic literary texts work and more attentive to the complexities of Athenian political structures and social dynamics. All the studies in this volume grapple to varying degrees with such methodological tensions, and show, that the richer and more diverse our political readings of Aristophanes can become, the less stable and consistent, as befits a comic work, they appear to be.
Author: Niko Huttunen
In Early Christians Adapting to the Roman Empire: Mutual Recognition Niko Huttunen challenges the interpretation of early Christian texts as anti-imperial documents. He presents examples of the positive relationship between early Christians and the Roman society. With the concept of “recognition” Huttunen describes a situation in which the parties can come to terms with each other without full agreement. Huttunen provides examples of non-Christian philosophers recognizing early Christians. He claims that recognition was a response to Christians who presented themselves as philosophers. Huttunen reads Romans 13 as a part of the ancient tradition of the law of the stronger. His pioneering study on early Christian soldiers uncovers the practical dimension of recognizing the empire.
Aristotle's De Animalibus was an important source of zoological knowledge for the ancient Greeks and for medieval Arabs and Europeans. In the thirteenth century, the work was twice translated into Latin. One translation was produced directly from the Greek by William of Moerbeke. An earlier translation, made available as a critical edition in the present volume for the first time, was produced through an intermediary Arabic translation (Kitāb al-Ḥayawān) by Michael Scot (1175 - c. 1232). Scot's translation was one of the main sources of knowledge on animals in Europe and widely used until well into the fifteenth century. As a faithful translation of a translation produced by a Syriac-speaking Christian, the text contributes to our knowledge of Middle Arabic. The De Animalibus is composed of three sections: History of Animals (ten books), Parts of Animals (four books) and Generation of Animals (five books). Parts of Animals and Generation of Animals were published by BRILL as Volumes 5.2 and 5.3 of the book series ASL in 1998 (ASL 5.2) and 1992 (ASL 5.3). The present Volume 5.1.a contains the first section of Scot's translation of History of Animals: the general introduction and books 1-3, with Notes. Editions of the two concluding parts of History of Animals, ASL 5.1.b, books 4-6 and ASL 5.1.c, books 7-10, are in preparation. Complete Latin-Arabic and Arabic-Latin indices of History of Animals will be published in due course.