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Type: Book chapter
Title: Philosophers, exegetes, scholars: the ancient philosophical commentary from Plato to Simplicius
Author: Baltussen, J.
Citation: Classical Commentaries: Explorations in a Scholarly Genre, 2016 / Kraus, C., Stray, C. (ed./s), Ch.10, pp.173-194
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publisher Place: Oxford
Issue Date: 2016
ISBN: 0199688982
Statement of
Han Baltussen
Abstract: This chapter traces the evolution of the philosophical commentary and aims to show how the increasingly scholarly nature of the commentary culture exerted a distinctive influence on philosophical methods and discourses. While Plato was perhaps a proto-exegete, systematic commenting only took off in the first century bce once an authoritative ‘corpus’ of works had been established. Commenting on specific texts became an important way to philosophize. The ancient philosophical commentary thus emerged as a ‘natural by-product’ of the ongoing dialogue between teachers and students. Good evidence for written commentary is found in the first century BCE and CE, foreshadowing the rise of the full running commentary of a quite scholarly nature by Aristotelians like Aspasius and Alexander of Aphrodisias (2nd c. CE); after Plotinus (205–270 CE) the Platonists added their own interpretive works on Aristotle, leading to the comprehensive exegeses of Proclus (fifth c.) and Simplicius (sixth c. CE).
Keywords: Authority; close reading; education; principle of charity; impartiality; criteria for authenticity; clarity and coherence; lecture notes; scholarly tradition; guide for good life
Rights: © Oxford University Press 2016
RMID: 0030040309
Appears in Collections:Classics publications

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