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Hippolytus' Elenchos as a Source for Greek Philosophy
Author: Jaap Mansfeld
The study of the Elenchos (c. 225 CE) involves the whole range of ancient interpretative traditions concerned with Greek Philosophy, from Aristotle to the Late Neoplatonists. The present inquiry places Hippolytus' important reports about the Greek philosophers in the context of these traditions and so is able to illuminate not only what he has to offer but also to increase our knowledge of the traditions he depends on. For him the Pythagoreanizing current in Pre-Neoplatonism is of paramount importance. Accordingly, he constructs a succession ( diadoche) starting with Pythagoras and including Empedocles, Heraclitus, Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics, and argues that the diadoche of the Gnostic heresiarchs is parasitical on its Pythagorean predecessor.
A new assessment of the sources used — the first serious attempt since that of Diels in 1879 — hinges on an analysis of Hippolytus' method of presentation, which is a blend of cento and exegesis geared to his anti-Gnostic purpose.
Questions to be Settled Before the Study of an Author, or a Text
Author: Jaap Mansfeld
Prolegomena deals with the introductory and hermeneutic sections of a wide range of commentaries and studies on philosophical, scientific, biblical and other ancient authors.
Special attention is given to unclearness as a stimulus for interpretation. New light is shed on the Life of an author (e.g. Plotinus') as a preliminary to the study of his works, and on the part played by the idea that life and doctrine should agree with each other.
The results obtained by the study of the practices as well as the avowed principles of ancient scholars and commentators among other things further the understanding of the interrelated philosophical, literary, medical and patristic exegetical traditions, of the book of Diogenes Laërtius, of Galen's autobibliographies and of Thrasyllus' Before the Reading of the Dialogues of Plato.
From Apollonius of Perga to the Late Neoplatonism. With an Appendix on Pappus and the History of Platonism
Author: Jaap Mansfeld
This is the first study to deal with the history of Greek mathematics - starting with Appollonius and including astronomy - as part of the history of literary culture. It attempts to find out how mathematical works were presented by original authors (e.g. Ptolemy), and introduced and explained by commentators (e.g. Pappus who is at the centre of this enquiry, Eutocius, and prolegomena by late Anonymi). The manner in which mathematical treatises were presented and studied is entirely comparable to that practised in e.g. philosophy, medicine, biblical and literary studies (see the author's Prolegomena, ( Brill, 1994)). Discussion of introductory issues is a standard feature, and in mathematics the development from the implicitly expressed to the explicitly expressed and from there to scholastic routine is the same as in these other fields.
A Collection of Papers and One Review
Author: Jaap Mansfeld
The collection of nineteen articles in Jaap Mansfeld’s Studies in Early Greek Philosophy span the period from Anaximander to Socrates. Solutions to problems of interpretation are offered through a scrutiny of the sources, and also of the traditions of presentation and reception found in antiquity. Excursions in the history of scholarship help to diagnose discussions of which the primum movens may have been forgotten. General questions are treated, for instance the phenomenon of detheologization in doxographical texts, while problems relating to individual philosophers are also discussed. For example, the history of Anaximander’s cosmos, the status of Parmenides’ human world, and the reliability of what we know about the soul of Anaximenes, and of what Philoponus tells us about the behaviour of Democritus’ atoms.
In: Mnemosyne
Author: Jaap Mansfeld

Abstract

The Plato κɛπαλαιον in Aëtius' chapter On Voice is the result of the interpretation, modernization, and systematization of brief passages dealing with hearing, voice and speech to be found in several dialogues. This construction of Plato's doctrine of 'voice' was mainly inspired by the systematic and innovative Stoic τóπος On Voice. The 'physical' definition is based on passages in Theaetetus and other works, the 'physiological' on a passage in Timaeus. The distinction and relation between voiceless internal λóγος (or thought) and spoken λóγος in Theaetetus and Sophist was interpreted as being equivalent to that between internal and uttered ϕωνη-cum-λóγος which played an important part in the Stoic view of the relation between thinking and speaking. Because as a rule Plato uses ϕωνη of the human voice, the rigorous distinction between this voice and that of animals and lifeless things postulated by Diogenes of Seleucia and other Stoics could be attributed to him, and his unsystematic usage justified by claiming that he used ϕωνη both in the proper and in a loose (or improper) sense. Approaches such as these are characteristic of Middle Platonism. In the present case the neutralization of Theophrastus' criticism of Plato in the De sensibus played a significant part. Plato's statement that thought is mirrored in what is spoken was updated by replacing it with a (fanciful) etymology of ϕωνη which must be dated to at least the Hellenistic period (it was known to e.g. Philo of Alexandria and used by the grammarian Philoxenus). Surprisingly full parallels for virtually the entire contents of the Aëtian κεϕαλαıον are found in the Commentaria in Dionysium Thracem. The etymology of ϕωνη, and others like it, were quoted and used by grammarians and lexicographers from the later first century BCE up to late Byzantine times. The attempt to understand the doxographer's lemma on Plato on voice thus becomes a case-study demonstrating both the openness and the tenacity of philosophical interpretation in antiquity. But note that the present inquiry is not concerned with the Aristotelian or (partly) Aristotelianizing tradition according to which language is conventional.One of the side-effects of the present inquiry was the unsurprising realization (again) that 'parallel passages', once quoted and interpreted out of context, may sort of drift from one book or paper to the next, while their interpretation hardens into received truth. In the present case the so-called parallels in Plato for the later distinction between the internal and the spoken voice proved to be not so parallel after all.

In: Mnemosyne
In: Mnemosyne
In: Mnemosyne
In: Mnemosyne
In: Phronesis