Collected Papers (1962-1999)

Collected Papers (1962-1999)

Collected Papers (1962-1999)

Collected Papers (1962-1999)


The papers collected in this volume deal mainly with ancient Greek or Roman philosophy. They range chronologically from the 5th century BC to the 6th century AD, and in them the evidence is fully presented and discussed. They are concerned mainly with the Presocratics, Plato, Aristotle, the Early Academy, the Platonic and Aristotelian traditions, especially as represented by Neoplatonism. In addition, there are a few more general articles. The first deals with the saying Amicus Plato sed magis amica veritas" and studies the different forms of this proverb from the time of Plato and Aristotle to Cervantes in the 17th century. Another one discusses the rather complex transmission of Platos alleged epitaph. A third one deals in detail with an incomplete but interesting allegorical interpretation of Heliodorus Aethiopica."


For Harold Cherniss on his eightieth birthday,
March 11, 1984

“—My father, as I told you, was a philosopher in
grain, —speculative, —systematical; —and my aunt
Dinah's affair was a matter of as much consequence
to him, as the retrogradation of the planets to
Copernicus: —The backslidings of Venus in her
orbit fortified the Copernican system, called so
after his name; and the backslidings of my aunt
Dinah in her orbit, did the same service in
establishing my father's system, which, I trust, will
forever hereafter be called the Shandean System, after

In any other family dishonor, my father,
I believe, had as nice a sense of shame as any
man whatever; —and neither he, nor, I dare say,
Copernicus, would have divulged the affair in either
case, or have taken the least notice of it to the
world, but for the obligations they owed, as they
thought, to truth. —Amicus Plato, my father would
say, construing the words to my uncle Toby, as he
went along, Amicus Plato; that is, Dinah was my
aunt; —sed magis arnica Veritas—but Truth is my

L. Sterne, Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, vol. I, ch. 21.

This well-known and ironic passage may be a convenient starting point for the present paper. If the “establishment” of the “Shandean system” of philosophy is to be dated to 1759, the year when the first two volumes of Tristram Shandy were composed and published, the words which according to Sterne epitomize it—”Amicus Plato sed magis amica Veritas”—had had by that time a long history. One must note

To enable the reader with little or no Greek to follow the main argument all
the key passages cited in Greek are given also in translation, either in the text
itself or in the footnotes.

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