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The Greek Commentaries on Plato's Phaedo. Volume I. Olympiodorus. Volume II. Damascius.
North-Holland Publsihing Company, Amsterdam (...), 1976/77. 204;408p. Original black, gilt stamped cloth with dust wrps. Dust wrps vol.2 a bit worn. Requires extra shipping costs: weight including packing from 2 - 5 Kg. (Rare thus). 'Each volume has a comprehensive introduction, parallel text and translation with footnotes, an appendix of marginalia, and useful indexes to references (...) and to a selection of Greek words and names. The introduction to Volume I has a valuable and full survey of ancient 'Phaedo' commentaries. W. brings out with particular clarity the more objective treatment of the later Neoplatonists, compared especially with Iamblichus, whom Olympiodorus and Damascius criticise amongst other things for this assertion that each argument in the 'Phaedo' is meant to be a conclusive proof of the soul's immortality. For them only the last argument (95c-107b10) is such. In fact, by admitting that Socrates is arguining 'ad hominem', Olymiodorus (9,3) recognises of the flaws of the cyclical argument - that the seperate existence of soul before (and after) death is illicitly assumed (...). The section on Olympiodorus' life and work is also helpful and volume II has a similar essay on Damascius. The translation is accurate and generally very clear. (...) W.'s appartus is more concise and discriminating than that of Norvin whose text he improves at a number of points. His more detailed reference to Plato manuscripts, where deviations occur in the lemmata, is of interest since they have undergone correction by a well-informed second hand. (...) The footnotes are substantial, giving help on the general structure of the argument as well as on detailed points of philological or philosophical exegesis. (...) Throughout there are constant cross-references between the three commentaries. But their greatest treasure is the wealth of references to the works of Proclus and other late Neoplatonic commentators. (...) Whilst Olympiodorus and Damascius sometimes indulge in fanciful Neoplatonic interpretation they also contribute some shrewd philosophical argument and a store of doxographical material, including Strato's objections, which should be of interest to all students of Plato. Moreover, recent work is beginning to reveal Damascius as a formidable thinker in his own right. Professor Westerink's scholarly edition will provide a sound base and a rich source of information for further research.' (ANDREW SMITH in The Journal of Hellenic Studies, 1979, pp.185-86).