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Galens Kommentar zu Platons Timaios

Medical History
Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
  • Book Reviews
  • Biology


Book Reviews second stage of the international project to produce a new collection, text, translation and commentary of the fragments and testimonia relating to Theophrastus. Sharples' volume is the first of nine projected by various authors. Each of them will provide a commentary upon a different part of the collected texts edited by a consortium of scholars and published in two volumes in 1992 under the guidance ofWW Fortenbaugh. The present commentary covers texts 328-435 contained in the second volume which are concerned with human physiology, zoology, and botany and are roughly the Theophrastean equivalent of pp. 436-789 of Bekker's edition of Aristotle. The state of our knowledge of these three areas is not uniform. In botany (texts 384-435), Theophrastus's works have comprehensively survived. In zoology (texts 350-383), by contrast, only one treatise, Onfish, is preserved in manuscript (together with a few summaries of short treatises). Human physiology (texts 328-349), where we have some surviving books and some second-hand reports, occupies the intermediate position. Because of this disparity in the state of our evidence for these three topics, Sharples concludes that a general introduction would not afford a suitable opportunity for an extended discussion of methodology and wisely provides instead separate introductions to each section, each of which provides an overview of the relevant sources and an elucidation of the pertinent doctrines. He does, however, make some additional points, which are not only germane to the present volume, but also affect the study of Theophrastus generally. He very properly warns against the danger of false perspectives in assessing the relationship of Theophrastus to Aristotle; stresses the uncertainty, already existent in Antiquity, as to whether certain works were by Aristotle or by Theophrastus, and reminds us of the tendency of later ancient authors to work from compendia which, since they combine material from a number of different sources rather than fro

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