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Plato's Dialogues: The Best Translations.

Timothy Davis
The list author says: "For some, a brief introduction to Plato, whether it be reading excerpts from the Republic in a philosophy course, or even reading a few dialogues in the entirety at a Great Books program, is not enough. For some, Plato sparks the love of wisdom like few other, and we are compelled to turn to his writings to see a) what he teaches, and b) whether it be the truth.

In this quest, which Socrates calls an erotic desire for knowledge, many obstacles confront the modern reader. First, a quarter of Plato's dialogues are alleged by many 'scholars' to be forgeries. Second, many translations are poor. Recently, however, there has been a change. A few new scholars are possessed of the radical notion that Plato was a wise man; that what he taught might be closer to the truth of things that what we 'know' today. As such a wise man, he wrote with intention: every word in the Dialogues is written there on purpose, and such detail ought to be reflected in the translation. Since such careful, meticulous work is sometimes difficult to find, I have decided to collect as many good translations as I have been able to find over the past five years and share them with you. These translators are quite accurate and enable a non-Greek reading student of Plato to potentially absorb his thought. May this list prove useful in your own search."
The Roots of Political Philosophy: Ten Forgotten Socratic Dialogues (Agora Editions)
The Roots of Political Philosophy: Ten Forgotten Socratic Dialogues (Agora Editions)
"Plato wrote thirty six dialogues that have come down to us. Ten of them are presented here, in excellent translations and marvelous interpretive essays."
Socrates and Alcibiades: Four Texts: Plato's Alcibiades I & II, Symposium (212c-223a), Aeschines' Alcibiades (Focus Philosophical Library)
Socrates and Alcibiades: Four Texts: Plato's Alcibiades I & II, Symposium (212c-223a), Aeschines' Alcibiades (Focus Philosophical Library)
"The Alcibiades I and II are here. Alcibiades I is present in the Pink Book (above), but the Alcibiades II is here, and I cannot find a good translation elsewhere."
By Plato - Empire and the Ends of Politics: Plato's Menexenus and Pericles' Funeral Oration: 1st (first) Edition
By Plato - Empire and the Ends of Politics: Plato's Menexenus and Pericles' Funeral Oration: 1st (first) Edition
"The Menexenus, like all the short dialogues, is so strange that many careless scholars regard it as spurious. The medievals, however, regarded these short dialogues (see also the Pink Book) as -the- proper entrance to Plato's thought; an intriguing notion, to say the least."
Charmides
Charmides
"Finally, a dialogue about moderation/temperance. Aporetic, to be sure (isn't Plato's treatment of virtually every serious topic this way?), but no matter. West & West's translations are always excellent."
Plato: Charmides, Alcibiades 1 & 2, Hipparchus, The Lovers, Theages, Minos, Epinomis. (Loeb Classical Library No. 201)
Plato: Charmides, Alcibiades 1 & 2, Hipparchus, The Lovers, Theages, Minos, Epinomis. (Loeb Classical Library No. 201)
"Almost certainly an inferior translation here, but the Epinomis is a rather obscure dialogue so we must wait for some intrepid scholar to translate it anew. Till then, this volume (though expensive) has it also in Greek."
Euthydemus (Focus Philosophical Library)
Euthydemus (Focus Philosophical Library)
"Analysis of eristic argument, including a humorous demonstration that falsehood is impossible. Nichols' translation is reputedly excellent."
Socrates and the Sophists: Plato's Protagoras, Euthydemus, Hippias and Cratylus (Focus Philosophical Library)
Socrates and the Sophists: Plato's Protagoras, Euthydemus, Hippias and Cratylus (Focus Philosophical Library)
"Sachs has translated several hard-to-find dialogues, and translated them well. Who knew Plato wrote something so strange as the Cratylus?"
Gorgias (Agora Editions)
Gorgias (Agora Editions)
"Nichols translated this as a companion with the Phaedrus. the Gorgias concerns rhetoric, and sophistry. Both these editions are excellent."
"Protagoras" and "Meno" (Agora Editions)
"Protagoras" and "Meno" (Agora Editions)
"The Protagoras and Meno are rendered here by Bartlett with grace and accuracy."
The Republic Of Plato: Second Edition
The Republic Of Plato: Second Edition
"Bloom's translation of the quintessential Platonic dialogue has aged very well. It is still probably the best available."
Plato's Symposium: A Translation by Seth Benardete with Commentaries by Allan Bloom and Seth Benardete
Plato's Symposium: A Translation by Seth Benardete with Commentaries by Allan Bloom and Seth Benardete
"Probably the most beautiful and inspiring dialogue of them all; my personal favorite. Benardete, of course, will likely be unsurpassed for decades."
Phaedrus (Agora Editions)
Phaedrus (Agora Editions)
"Companion to Nichols' Gorgias. Great translations here. The Phaedrus is one of the most beautiful dialogues."
Four Texts on Socrates: Plato's "Euthyphro," "Apology of Socrates," "Crito," and Aristophanes' "Clouds"
Four Texts on Socrates: Plato's "Euthyphro," "Apology of Socrates," "Crito," and Aristophanes' "Clouds"
"Four key texts concerning Socrates are translated here by West & West with clarity and rigor. For anyone interested in the man, Aristophanes' play is also a must-read."
Plato : Phaedo (Focus Philosophical Library)
Plato : Phaedo (Focus Philosophical Library)
"This dialogue is absolutely devastating, both in what it reveals about the soul and the philosophic life and what it conceals. Ms. Brann (another Annapolis tutor) has probably not been surpassed."
Four Island Utopias: Being Plato's Atlantis, Euhemeros of Messene's Panchaia, Iamboulos' Island of the Sun, and Sir Francis Bacon's New Atlantis (Focus Philosophical Library)
Four Island Utopias: Being Plato's Atlantis, Euhemeros of Messene's Panchaia, Iamboulos' Island of the Sun, and Sir Francis Bacon's New Atlantis (Focus Philosophical Library)
"A bit irritating that the only title we want is the Critias, but no matter. I don't know if the translation is good (perhaps some guinea pig will test it out for me), but it's Focus, so I'm hopeful."
The Being of the Beautiful: Plato's Theaetetus, Sophist, and Statesman
The Being of the Beautiful: Plato's Theaetetus, Sophist, and Statesman
"The trilogy with Socrates, Theaetetus, and the Eleatic Stranger is very difficult to read, but Benardete's translation is probably the best."
Plato : Parmenides (Focus Philosophical Library)
Plato : Parmenides (Focus Philosophical Library)
"The Focus translations are generally excellent. The Parmenides is an infuriatingly difficult, abstract dialogue, but I hear the efforts expended to understand it are greatly rewarded."
Plato's Dialogue on Friendship: An Interpretation of the "Lysis', with a New Translation (Agora Editions)
Plato's Dialogue on Friendship: An Interpretation of the "Lysis', with a New Translation (Agora Editions)
"Serious writings on friendship are an important part of antiquity. Mr. Bolotin, a St. John's tutor, translated this dialogue with an outstanding commentary. I can't recommend it highly enough."
Plato: Timaeus (Focus Philosophical Library)
Plato: Timaeus (Focus Philosophical Library)
"The famous myth of creation is recounted here. Kalkavage, an Annapolis tutor at St. John's, did admirable work."
The Laws of Plato
The Laws of Plato
"The longest dialogue, also explicitly concerning politics, so its comparisons with the Republic are inevitable."
The Tragedy and Comedy of Life: Plato's Philebus
The Tragedy and Comedy of Life: Plato's Philebus
"Benardete's title (The Tragedy and Comedy of Life) sums up the Philebus well. His translations are of the highest caliber."