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Only a scatter of such texts has appeared in later editions of Diels-Kranz or in smaller collections on early Greek philosophy. For the three "Milesians" that have so far been covered in the "Traditio Praesocratica" project, yet more texts from oriental sources can now be found in the volumes of that series. But the claim in EGP vol. Users of EGP need to gain at the start a clear understanding of, and familiarize themselves with, the set's structure and conventions. In the case of Diels-Kranz, or of other source-books for early Greek philosophy—or, for that matter, of other sets in the Loeb Classical Library—users often have the expectation reasonably enough that they can "dip" into a particular section of the book they wish to consult without necessarily having read the book's introduction or preface.

This will not work for EGP. Even so simple a matter as identifying the correct footnote that corresponds to a footnote-marker may cause confusion.

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This happens when there is more than a single text lemma on a single page, or when a single lemma carries over across two or more pages. One is used to expect that footnotes in a book appear in a sequence either by page or by chapter. But in the main chapters of EGP, numbering of footnotes is by lemma. So, upon seeing in the upper half of the page a marker for footnote 1 or 2 for some text X, one's eye might well search for the corresponding number and footnote-text at the bottom of the page.

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But what appears there may be the quite different footnote s for another text Y. Readers of EGP must also familiarize themselves with the code letters explained in vol.

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Shown in bold font before the number assigned to each lemma in a chapter, the code letters are: P, for "person," i. The distinction between D texts and R texts is not one that is observed in Diels-Kranz, except marginally, in those chapters for which a "C" section for "imitation," or "dubious," or "not genuine" is appended. Some measures of the extent to which EGP supplements or exceeds what has been available in Diels-Kranz have already been given.

More such measures may be gathered by canvassing the concordance tables in vol. By way of illustration: for Heraclitus, an additional 61 texts; for Parmenides, 33; for Empedocles, 50; for the Atomists, But, as the editors of EGP admit and explicitly advise vol. The editors forthrightly acknowledge this concern, but it is of great interest to note how they assess in the end their studied endeavor to implement the distinction: "[W]e ourselves were surprised to see how often it turned out to be easy to distinguish unambiguously between information on the one hand and interpretation and criticism, on the other: and the advantages of this kind of presentation seemed to us greatly to outweigh the disadvantages.

In many cases, however, the cross-referencing is not sufficient.

This is especially serious in the case of the Empedocles texts. Yes, in the case of the R texts, there are frequent back-references to D texts. But the reverse is provided only sparingly.

The main sources for D10 are, of course, mentioned at the head of that lemma, but in the absence of cross-references, the reader would have to do a lot of searching of the R section to identify the lemmata that provide the contexts at issue. As indicated earlier above, each chapter in EGP starts with an outline that surveys the chapter's content and then provides the headings that articulate the thematic grouping of the lemmata.

These outlines are of superlative value: they are clearly formulated, and they consistently show interpretative insight. But it is also in this connection that users of EGP need to approach individual chapters with some prior preparation or practice, specifically for the correct reading of the scope of section headings. For, in contrast to what is available at the start of a chapter, at which stage the outline is displayed in outline-formatting with staggered indents, there is no visual display of the logical subordination of themes in the main body of the chapter, where the outline components have become headings for chapter sections.

With the helpful outline formatting no longer in view, the only indication of the thematic scope of headings is provided by lemma numbers, which must be carefully noted, appearing in parentheses next to the headings. To facilitate cross-referencing, EGP employs a system of forty-five abbreviations. Explained in vol. In this connection, there was an opportunity, which unfortunately was missed, to establish a standard for abbreviations in early Greek philosophy.

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This would have been achieved had EGP adopted and simply extended the very intelligent system of three-letter abbreviations that was devised by Daniel W. Laks and Most frequently note and acknowledge that translations and interpretations different from the ones they offer are possible.

In some cases, especially ones with respect to which issues redound across several authors, it would be right to offer critical comments.


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Here I must note certain defects that mar this otherwise splendid set. It is perhaps inevitable in a work that is so humongous in magnitude and scope—the nine volumes add up to 4, pages 13 —that readers will find misprints and other flaws that need correction; and unfortunately there are scores of them.

Several are easily corrigible, even by readers who are not advanced in their understanding of Ancient Greek: e. A number of others are potentially mischievous. Thus, for example, in vol. A flaw that has, unfortunately, become almost endemic in published texts that include Greek is in the hyphenation of Greek words.

Word-processing software is not yet equipped to hyphenate Greek in accordance with Greek syllabication, and software that does have some such capability conform to the syllabication rules for Modern Greek. Laks and Most are aware of the defects cited in the two preceding paragraphs. And just as it happened with the early editions of Diels-Kranz , there will be lists of errata in future editions or printings of the Loeb set and of the corresponding French edition by Fayard.

Laks and Most desist from putting forward such a claim.

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The scope of early Greek philosophy (Chapter 1) - The Cambridge Companion to Early Greek Philosophy

The history of the philosophical theology of the Greeks is the history of their rational approach to the nature of reality itself in its successive phases. In the present book I have traced this development through the heroic age of Greek cosmological thought down to the time of the Sophists. In a second volume, against the pre-Socratic background, I should like to treat the period from Socrates and Plato down to the time when, under the influence of this tradition of Greek philosophical theology, the Jewish-Christian.

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