The fragments and testimonia of the early Greek philosophers (often labeled the Presocratics) have always been not only a fundamental source for understanding archaic Greek culture and ancient philosophy but also a perennially fresh resource that has stimulated Western thought until the present day. This new systematic conception and presentation of the evidence differs in three ways from Hermann Diels’s groundbreaking work, as well as from later editions: it renders explicit the material’s thematic organization; it includes a selection from such related bodies of evidence as archaic poetry, classical drama, and the Hippocratic corpus; and it presents an overview of the reception of these thinkers until the end of antiquity.
Volume I contains introductory and reference materials essential for using all other parts of the edition. Volumes II–III include chapters on ancient doxography, background, and the Ionians from Pherecydes to Heraclitus. Volumes IV–V present western Greek thinkers from the Pythagoreans to Hippo. Volumes VI–VII comprise later philosophical systems and their aftermath in the fifth and early fourth centuries. Volumes VIII–IX present fifth-century reflections on language, rhetoric, ethics, and politics (the so-called sophists and Socrates) and conclude with an appendix on philosophy and philosophers in Greek drama.
In brief, André Laks and Glenn Most give us a brilliant and beautiful reference work that can, at the same time, be easily enough read straight through. And spending a few months doing so gives the reader almost all that she needs (perhaps along with Loeb #258, Greek Elegiac Poetry) to reconstruct for herself the origins of the discipline of philosophy. I should want any graduate student or colleague in ancient philosophy or intellectual history to acquire and make their way through it.
The publication of the Loeb Classical Library’s nine-volume set, Early Greek Philosophy, gives us a new edition of the original texts, with fresh translations. It is a monumental achievement—the result of many years of dedicated work on the part of the two editors/translators André Laks and Glenn W. Most… We owe a profound debt of gratitude to the editors/translators for their thorough and impeccable scholarship, and to the publishers for their usual high standards of production. If you can afford them, don’t hesitate: you will be all the richer for having these volumes on your shelves.
André Laks and Glenn W. Most have made available to the world of scholarship in early Greek philosophy a resource of immense value. Every study of a thinker or of an issue within the thematic ambit of Early Greek Philosophy must henceforth start by canvassing and taking into account the appropriate selections in the Loeb set.
The publication of a Loeb Classical Library edition of the evidence for early Greek philosophy is a major event in classical scholarship…The editors and their assistants are to be commended for their exemplary execution of such a vast and difficult task. They have succeeded in producing what is far and away the best available edition of the texts of the early Greek philosophers with accompanying English translation…More than that, their edition effectively supersedes Hermann Diels and Walter Kranz’s Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, which has long held sway as the standard edition of the Presocratics, but it only does so because Laks and Most have respectfully taken Diels-Kranz as their model…Laks and Most have set such a high standard with this work that it is hard to imagine that we will see a better general collection on early Greek philosophy in our lifetimes…Laks and Most’s philological acumen, judiciousness as editors, and excellence as translators is evident on every page.
- 384 pages
- 4-1/4 x 6-3/8 inches
- Harvard University Press
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