- Series: Hackett Classics
- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Hackett Pub Co (March 15, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0872202410
- ISBN-13: 978-0872202412
- Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Epicurus Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia (Hackett Classics)
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Brad Inwood is Professor of Philosophy and Classics, University of Toronto.
Lloyd P. Gerson is Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto.</DIV>
Top customer reviews
I have 0 care for this book. But it's required reading for a class so I had to buy it I guess. So as for product review, looks good. What you'd expect a small paperback book to look at. A little pricy for what it is but I prefer this over the college bookstore's price any day.
Inwood & Gerson's presentation of Epicurus's texts themselves in this volume is also rather odd. The Letters and the Principal Doctrines are here, but otherwise Diogenes's "Life" is in scattered pieces with important and interesting sections omitted. There's a quick chapter of evidence from Cicero, only two pages from Lucretius (with strange advice to read the whole poem in the Loeb edition), some Plutarch polemic, a mixed collection of short fragments and testimonia, and nothing whatever from or about the fascinating evidence of the Wall by Diogenes of Oenoanda. Thus, it is difficult to see how the "general reader or undergraduate" could cope with this material given when no help is available in the way of summary of topics, commentary, footnotes or chronological framework.
Hutchinson's intro finishes with only the briefest general note on some of the texts to be used and lists a mere eight items for further reading. There is likely to be complete bafflement at the method of citation used, and the context, date and language of the original, especially with regard to the short and varied testimonia at the end. In addition crucial names appear in these texts (Leucippus, Aristippus, Cyrenaics, Carneades, Colotes, e.g.) and terms like "kastastematic pleasure" for which there is no explanation and apparently no preparation for this volume. As for the translation, on the whole it's satisfactory.
All in all, "The Epicurus Reader", as with the other volumes in the Hackett "Reader" series, is cheap and attractively produced, and can act as a useful basic collection if used in conjunction with tutorial or other supplementary material. John Gaskin's Everyman edition called "The Epicurean Philosophers" has a more substantial and useful introduction and gives a wider range of texts, including the whole of Lucretius.
Of course, by the time you read this, I cannot be sure that no one will have reissued Bailey's translation, or that someone else might not have come out with a new and even better translation, but as of the writing of this, the O'Connor translation printed by Prometheus is the best version in print. But if you can find it, go with Bailey.
As for Epicurus himself, his writings are of great importance, and his ideas are surprisingly modern considering when he lived. You should definitely read his works, but get a different edition than this.
Regarding the translation, I don't know Greek but I'm guessing that the translator sticks closely to the original texts because they make for tough and boring reading. I thought the introduction was the more rewarding part of the book.
In short, the editors and translators may very well have done a great job presenting the breadth of Epicurus's thought. Epicurus was much more than a philosopher on the how to live. Unfortunately, most of his ideas, i.e. his ideas of natural science, are unlikely to appeal to or engage many people not already interested in ancient ideas on science.
Most recent customer reviews
Most of the criticism of the Inwood/Gerson translation of Epicurus' extant writings...Aristotle: Selections another Hackett effort by Irwin and Fine. Second, the meager remains of hellenistic philosophy get their due in Read more