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The Collected Dialogues of Plato: Including the Letters (Bollingen Series LXXI) New Impression Edition
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Editorial Note (editors)
Introduction (Huntington Cairns)
Greater Hippias *
* denotes items whose authenticity is seriously doubted.
The most irritating thing about this collection is the moronic, but mercifully short, Edith Hamilton introductions to the dialogues.
Let us take some examples from her introduction to the dialogue "Euthyphro":
"When Socrates asks what then is piety, he [Euthyphro] gives the answer characteristic of the orthodox everywhere - in effect 'Piety is thinking as I do.'"
Is this really the case? Is that all that Moses, Isaiah, Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, and Martin Luther, to name only a few, had to say on the subject?
Here is another:
"Socrates makes a distinction fundamental in reasoning and often disregarded, that the good is good not because the gods approve it, but the gods approve it because it is good."
There is several hundred years of intense philosophical and theological debate (still continuing) settled in a pretty summary fashion.
Finally, there is this:
"The real interest of the dialogue, however, is the picture of Socrates just before his trial...keenly involved in a discussion completely removed from his own situation."
One of the charges against Socrates was of course impiety.Read more ›
By and large -- and with the exception, perhaps, of what is now the standard translation of Laws -- modern translations of Plato are more evenhanded, better researched, and more frank than old ones. And this edition, unfortunately, has some very old ones indeed, like those of Jowett. Moreover, it includes -- according to no particular logic -- a few works many consider spurious, while omitting others whose status is in debate, and it places the dialogues in an order that is not easy to justify.
The edition to buy, if you want a complete Plato without the benefit of the Greek text (if you want the Greek, buy the Loeb, and know that the facing-pages English translations aren't much worse than the ones offered here!), is the one edited by Cooper and published by Hackett. This one will suffice -- but that one is excellent. Few instructors will insist that you buy some edition in particular, and fewer still will insist that you buy this edition -- so don't, buy that one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
great edition. I bought this for my son, who used to borrow my copy. this has a good introduction.Published 6 months ago by Mick B
This compendium, once very useful, is now passe. It can still be had inexpensively, however, and that is a plus. Its only competitor ed. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Thomas De Voe Worthen
Book dealers are tings in themselves and that is a hard racket. this came as advertised with no gimmicks or excuses. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Michael Hicks
Socrates' relentless cross-examination of his fellow-Athenians makes me wonder sometimes why they didn't poison him sooner, but it certainly is fascinating in the meanwhile. Read morePublished on October 3, 2013 by monsieurw1
THIS WAS A TEXTBOOK THAT I READ IN COLLEGE. IT CONTAINS VERY GOOD TRANSLATIONS OF THE DIALOGUES FROM GREEK INTO ENGLISH. Read morePublished on January 31, 2013 by refq