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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential reference work, but more: a READABLE reference!, April 21, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon (Paperback)
Not only is this an essential reference work for any library or professional philosophy student, it is also immensely readable. What makes it so rich is the strictly historical approach the author takes: each word is defined according to its meaning in the pre-Socratics and then we learn the career of that word through Plato, Aristotle, and the later Hellenists. An adventure in reading
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very useful resource with one small flaw, February 23, 2007
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This review is from: Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon (Paperback)
This book is of tremendous use to anyone interested in Greek Philosophy. It is a dictionary that also gives (in a rather abbreviated form, naturally) the history of the usage of a given philosophical term. Now, this terse 'history' of the term is confined to the realm of ancient (or non-monotheistic) thought. Thus 'hyle', for example, is defined and discussed not only in Aristotelian terms but also in comparison with its usage in Plato, Stoicism and Plotinus too. As indicated, this is done in an extremely abbreviated manner. Now, all Greek terms are transliterated into our Alphabet - which is good; but it would also have been even more helpful if the term appeared written in the Greek alphabet too. Why? This would help students begin to recognize the Greek term whenever it appears in texts. Many specialized studies in Greek philosophy, for example, assume that anyone reading the text is already fully competent in Greek and thus they do not bother to translate or transliterate Greek terms. But I can assure you that this competence is not always the case! Thus, a book like this which was intended to be helpful to students could have been even more helpful by at least once printing the term in Greek next to its transliteration into our alphabet. The perfect spot to have done this would have been the useful 30 page English-Greek Index that ends the book. Also note that since this book is aimed at the 'intermediate student' it was presumed that the reader has "some familiarity with the material it has been judged safe to substitute, in a fairly thorough way, a terminology transliterated directly from the Greek for their English equivalents in a modest effort at lightening the historical baggage." This means that they usually use, for example, 'stoicheion' for 'element' and 'physis' for 'nature'. And this is a good thing. But they still should have shown each term at least once in the original Greek...

That said, this book is a wonderful accessory to the study of Greek philosophical terms made necessary by the fact that the philosophical tradition has, over the many centuries, turned words that were used in ordinary Greek language into technical terms. So this book is also a work of recovery. Of course, this turn towards technical language is not simply a post-classical innovation. In fact, our author insists that "the implication the Socratic-centered Platonic dialogue is still that two reasonably educated citizens can sit down and discuss these matters. Whether this is the truth of the matter or mere literary rhetoric we cannot tell. But no such premiss is visible in Aristotle who insists on a standardized technical usage." So we see, according to our author, that relatively early ordinary Greek terms began taking on resonances that the ordinary Greek would not have known. Where the usual History of Philosophy tells its story through successive schools of thought, this book, though of course not intended as an ordinary history, tells the story of Greek Philosophy through the movement of the meaning (and use) of concepts. The entries, though terse, are cross-referenced and this too I found to be quite useful. Also, and this too was quite useful, citations of the Greek texts are usually given. Thus if one isn't certain of the explanation one can go to the cited text and see its full usage. This book has been an excellent resource for me. Naturally, you will need to supplement this book, which only contains Greek Philosophical Terms, with a copy of Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon. How would I improve this book? First and most importantly, each Greek philosophical term must, at least once, appear in the Greek script. Secondly, some of the entries really do need to be expanded. The historical lexicon itself is only 200 pages. However, these are quibbles, four and a half stars for a very useful book for beginning to intermediate students. Generally, when one is beyond that level of competence, the only opinion one trusts is ones own...

In order to give an idea of the range of this dictionary I close by listing the entries for 'a':

adiaphoron

aer

agathon

agenetos

agnostos

agrapha dogmata

agraphos nomos

aidios

aion

aisthesis

aisthesis koine

aistheton

aither

aition

aletheia

algos

allegoria

alloiosis

analogia

anamnesis

ananke

anaplerosis

apatheia

apeiron

aphairesis

aphthartos

apodeixis

aporia

aponia

aporrhoai

arche

arete

arithmos

arithmos eidetikos

arithmos mathematikos

asymmetron

ataraxia

athanatos

atomon

autarkeia

automaton

Now, note that some of these terms had no information, they simply direct a student to another entry. Thus the 'agraphos nomos' entry only has the accepted translation, 'unwritten law', and then the redirect, 'See nomos'. Of these 41 entries 11 are merely 'redirects' to other entries. The length of the entries varies from 5 lines for apodeixis (pointing out, demonstration, truth) to 7 pages for aisthesis (perception, sensation). While there are several entries almost as terse as the entry for apodeixis, the entry for aisthesis is by far the longest of the above. There is no other entry, in 'a', that even reaches a full 2 pages. The entries for 'a' go from page 3 to page 29. The final entry to our lexicon (zoon: living being animal) concludes on page 201. Note that 'b' only has two entries (boulesis: wish and bouleusis: deliberation) and both are redirects. I have only provided these brief indications because Amazon (ultimately, the publisher) provides no 'Search Inside this Book' feature for this book...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating/Essential Tool for the Study of Greek Philosophy, February 22, 2004
By 
cvairag (Allan Hancock College) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon (Paperback)
The most comprehensive, accessible dictionary of Greek Philosophical terms. Attractive, well-organized format. The meaning of each word is defined starting from the original historical period of its use, and then its later conceptual development is traced through each successive period of Greek philosophical thought. Thus, the concepts of classical thought are examined both synchronically and dichronically, throughly, and yet, with studied concision.
The utility of the book is enhanced by having such a comprehensive collection of concepts under one cover (235 pages), and an excellent English to Greek index, enabling the reader to cross-reference from concepts in English and find the appropriate word in classical Greek.
Far easier to use for the Greekless reader than Liddell and Scott (which has its own unquestioned domain of utility), and far more detailed in its explanations, the definitions also list related words and concepts, explained in the book.
A mesmorizing read for those with an interest in classical Greek thought and an excellent value.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly essential reference tool, Concise and Informative, April 9, 2012
This review is from: Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon (Paperback)
What can be said of this book? If youre an adept of Greek Platonism of any variety, not owning this books is tantamount to a 'sin'. Extremely pity and well written, even better researched with endless citations and nuances of contextual variances for terminology, this book is a brilliant gem. Get it, period.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Greek Philosophical Terms, September 11, 2012
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This review is from: Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon (Paperback)
Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon
Very detailed, good format and size. Good cost. A lot of references which is very helpful for the reader who is preparing a work on Greek philosophy.
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Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon
Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon by Francis E. Peters (Paperback - June 1, 1967)
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