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Type: Book chapter
Title: Aristotelian commentary tradition
Author: Baltussen, J.
Citation: The Routledge Handbook of Neoplatonism, 2014 / Slaveva-Griffin, S., Remes, P. (ed./s), Ch.7, pp.106-114
Publisher: Routledge
Publisher Place: United States
Issue Date: 2014
Series/Report no.: Routledge Handbooks in Philosophy
ISBN: 1844656268
Statement of
Han Baltussen
Abstract: It is fundamental to our understanding of commentary as a genre that they respond to another text, often called the ‘base text’. Ancient commentaries have sometimes been characterized as “secondary texts”, but the label is likely to cause some misconceptions about how we should understand the nature of commentary (Sluiter 2000). It is preferable to read “secondary” as “using another text as its starting point” rather than as “unimportant”, “subservient” or “unoriginal”. 1 In what follows I hope to show that the commentary in late antiquity defies such facile descriptions. Philosophical commentary required certain conditions for it to develop and thrive. And instead of being a philological activity, like most modern commentaries tend to be (producing a set of disparate notes to a text), philosophers would comment within a specific ideological setting and almost always to serve a higher purpose (understanding and truth); in other words, they were created in response to the school founder’s writings (a “canon”) and were didactic in purpose. Given the peculiar nature of the works it will be helpful to spend some time clarifying the background of philosophical exegesis, especially among the Peripatetics. After that I turn to the main part of the analysis, in which I clarify the methodology and evolution of the commentaries on Aristotle.
Rights: © 2014 Pauliina Remes and Svetla Slaveva-Griffin, selection and editorial matter; individual chapters, the contributors
RMID: 0030027115
DOI: 10.4324/9781315744186.ch7
Published version:
Appears in Collections:Classics publications

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