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Plato: Timaeus (Focus Philosophical Library) Paperback – January 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Kalkavage's translation is a brilliant accomplishment. He makes Plato's most intricate and important dialogues accessible to new readers. -- December 12, 2000 Dr. Alejandro A. Vallega Department of Philosophy. California State University, Stanislaus.

From the Back Cover

This is an English translation of Plato's dialogue concerning speculation on the nature of the physical world and human beings. An extensive introduction provides careful insights to the reading of the work, the nature of Platonic dialogue and the cultural background of the Timaeus. Appendices on music, astronomy and geometry further provide guidance to the central thoughts of the dialogue. The glossary provides cross references and discussion for key words in the dialogue, functioning as springboards into the various concepts and ideas that are central to this and other Platonic dialogues and are useful starting points for any classroom discussion or personal thought.

Focus Philosophical Library translations are close to and are non-interpretative of the original text, with the notes and a glossary intending to provide the reader with some sense of the terms and the concepts as they were understood by Plato’s immediate audience.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Focus (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585100072
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585100071
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
The Timaeus is doubtless one of the most difficult of Plato's dialogues for modern student to unravel, in part because of the vital role played by mathematics in Timaeus' narrative. Kalkavage's appendices provide clear introductions to these aspects of the argument, which supersede Cornford on some points. The translation is very literal, and if that's your thing, quite impeccable. Kalkavage in his Introduction expresses intellectual debts to Jacob Klein, Richard Kennington, and Stanley Rosen; this is a most interesting pedigree, especially as one assumes that the absence of the obvious "fourth" must be intentional.
I should remark, in reference to the review below, that the Timaeus presupposes some familiarity with Plato's philosophy; those just embarking on this study would be best advised to begin with the Alcibiades or the Meno.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful book. Kalkavage has produced an inexpensive translation of the TIMAEUS that is ideal for undergraduate use, yet has something to teach students of Plato at every level of accomplishment. Kalkavage's translation is clear, precise, and easy to read, and includes a host of features that aid in the study of the dialogue: a long introductory essay, an outline of the TIMAEUS, footnotes, an extensive glossary of important terms, and appendices on music, astonomy, and geometry. The introductory essay is especially valuable, as it renders visible the dramatic and political context of Timaeus's cosmology in a way that makes possible a fresh understanding of the TIMAEUS's deepest implications.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By William R.Tilles on November 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Plato's Timaeus by Peter Kalkavage includes the Kalkavage translation of the Dialogue and two supporting sections, the introduction and the glossary, that are integral to the richness of the book. The Dialogue portion is beautifully translated and very readable. The introduction provides a fascinating treatise for the person wanting to understand the Timaeus as well as how Platonic dialogues generally might be approached. The glossary is not simply a list of terms and definitions, but offers an explanation of the concepts embedded in the language of the Dialogue. Peter Kalkavage's Timaeus is not just for scholars. It offers insight for all those interested in Greek philosophy, Platonic dialogues and in particular, Plato's view of the creation of the cosmos and man's place within it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By stephen liem on February 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This edition has one of the best literal translation, which is critical in understanding numerous technical descriptions of the cosmos.
The interpretive essay is extremely helpful.
There are many ways of interpreting Timaeus: First, as a description of the cosmos itself (unfortunately Plato was not part of the natural science revolutions in the past 2000 years, so this way of interpreting Timaeus is not quite the right way). Second, as a historial document to be compared to other natural sciences of his time. Or, third, as how it fits into Plato's overall works. Kalkavage takes the last approach. I must say that his attempt to link this to the Republic gives me valuable insight in understanding Republic itself. For example he compares Timaeus as the "comos in speech" just as Kallipolis is the "city in speech". Also, there is a compelling argument on linking: soul-city-cosmos.
I find it helpful also to read Cornford's Plato's Cosmology. This book has a detail description of what Plato's cosmos looks like. An indespensible companion to Kalkavage's book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By IAB on June 7, 2011
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Kalkavage's translation closely follows the Greek text; Donald Zeyl's translation is arguably more readable, but being easier to read, it follows the Greek less closely. The two translations and their notes are complementary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David on November 23, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In addition to a serviceable translation of Plato's Timaeus, this edition also contains a series of appendices concerning the musical, astronomical, and geometrical background to the dialogue. Much of the cosmology in the dialogue deals with perplexing numerical ratios and descriptions of geometrical solids constructed from various plane figures. The appendices provide short yet detailed explanations of the mathematical and other problems involved. If it is not already clear that the 9:8, 5:4, and other ratios explain Pythagorean problems in tuning string instruments, or if you just can't quite visualize or construct the various solids built of the different kinds of triangles, then buy this book for the appendices. It's worth it.
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