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Timaeus (Forgotten Books) Paperback – February 16, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 102 pages
  • Publisher: Forgotten Books (February 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606200186
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606200186
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,485,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Donald Zeyl's fresh and faithful translation and his lucid, comprehensive commentary will bring the sublime Timaeus to life for contemporary students of cosmology, metaphysics, history of science, and philosophy." --Sarah Broadie, Princeton University --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By R. Lenihan on June 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Reading Zeyl's translation of Timaeus is like taking a college-level seminar on this classic text. His introduction is longer than the text and gives background and insight to the translation. That coupled with the many footnotes throughout the text, explain Zeyl's translation of the Greek, offer alternative translations for certain key words or concepts, and make Zeyl's case for why he made some of the translation choices he did.
The text itself is one of the classics of western thought, offering among other things Plato's theory on creation, how and why the world and its parts was formed. While less well read than Plato's other works such as the Republic, the ideas in this book influenced writers for centuries to come including St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Be forewarned, however, this is not light reading. Plato's ideas are quite intricate and are frequently explained using geometric models. You may want to brush up on your high school geometry before tackling this treatise.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By socraticirony on January 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazon seems to have linked together all the comments on the Timaeus (no matter the translator). It is very possible that you are reading this under a different translation, not the Jowett translation as the commenter suggests. In any case, I recommend the Donald Zeyl translation. It DOES have Stephanus numbering -- very appropriate for class discussions and scholarly work. In my opinion, it is the best English translation available -- and I've spent years working through the text in Greek. Another translation that is nice to have around for alternative readings of key passages (all translation involves interpretation) is Peter Kalkavage's.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By IAB on June 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Zeyl's translation is easy to read; for a translation that follows the Greek a little more closely (and therefore is arguably less readable) see Peter Kalkavage's translation. The two translations and their notes are complementary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Viktor Blasjo on March 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
"This world of ours is beautiful and its craftsman good" (29a). I shall summarise some highlights.

Why there are four elements. "Nothing could ever become visible apart from fire, nor tangible without something solid, nor solid without earth. That is why ... the god came to make [the universe] out of fire and earth. But it isn't possible to combine two things well all by themselves ... Now the best bond is one that really and truly makes a unity of itself together with the things bonded by it, and this is in the nature if things is best accomplished by proportion" (31b-31c), namely a mean proportional. "So if the body of the universe were to have come to be as a two-dimensional plane, a single middle term would have sufficed" (32a-b), i.e., the mean proportional of p^2 and q^2 is pq, while a three dimensional universe requires two mean proportionals, pq^2 and p^2q, between p^3 and q^3. "Hence the god set water and air between fire and earth" (32b).

Polyhedral theory of the elements. "Let us now assign to fire, earth, water, and air the [regular polyhedra]. To earth let us give the cube, because of the four kinds of bodies earth is the most immobile and the most pliable ... And of the solid figures that are left, we shall next assign the least mobile of them to water, to fire the most mobile, and to air the one in between" (55d-56a). The dodecahedron "still remained, and this one the god used for the whole universe" (55c).

Applications of the polyhedral theory ("a moderate and sensible diversion," 59d).
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