|Plato on Aristotle. An afterword|
|Title in the language of publication:||Plato on Aristotle. An afterword|
Doctor of Philology, Professor at the Department of Classical Philology of the Faculty of Philology of the Saint Petersburg State University.
Address: 7/9 Universitetskaya emb., St. Petersburg 199034, Russia.
|Document type:||Research Article (afterword)|
The paper of Prof. A. I. Dovatur “Plato on Aristotle” (1966) examines Plato’s praise of his pupil preserved in Vita Marciana and Vita Aristotelis Latina, both reflecting ancient biographical tradition according to which Plato called Aristotle’s house “the reader’s house”, and when Aristotle was not present among his listeners he used to say that the “the mind is absent”. Presuming these words to be authentic, Dovatur recognizes the ironic touch in them. He argues that for the follower of Socrates written texts would have little value in contrast to oral dispute; thus Plato could hardly have approved of Aristotle’s passion for reading.
The review of Dovatur’s argument points out various testimonies of Plato’s own fondness of literature and his interest in it shared by the Socrates of his dialogues. The reader’s attention is drawn secondly to the intentions of a biographer, probably a Neo-Platonist, to represent Aristotle as an adherent of Platonic philosophy. Even his great learning is admired in context of this faithfulness to his teacher. The authentic meaning of Plato’s word might well be ironic, but the irony pace Dovatur is called forth not by Aristotle’s wide reading per se, but by his famous scrupulousness, an effect of great erudition that often makes a good student very uncomfortable for a good lecturer.
Dovatur, Plato, Aristotle, erudition, reading, writing, Vita Marciana, Vita Aristotelis Latina.
Averintsev S. S. (1966) “Priemy organizatsii materiala v biografiyakh Plutarkha” [Methods of arranging the material in Plutarch’s biographies]. Voprosy antichnoi literatury i klassicheskoi filologii [Issues of Ancient Literature and Classical Philology] (ed. by M. L. Gasparov, M. E. Grabar-Passek, F. A. Petrovsky). Moscow: Nauka: 234–246. (in Russian).
Dovatur A. I. (1965) “Politika” I “Politii” Aristotelya [Aristotle “Politics” and “Politeias”]. Moscow; Leningrad: Nauka. (in Russian).
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Gasparov M. L. (1966) “Antichnyi trimetr i russkii yamb” [The Ancient trimeter and the Russian iambus]. Voprosy antichnoi literatury i klassicheskoi filologii [Issues of Ancient Literature and Classical Philology] (ed. by M. L. Gasparov, M. E. Grabar-Passek, F. A. Petrovsky). Moscow: Nauka: 393–410. (in Russian).
Rose V. (ed.) (1886) Aristotelis qui ferebantur librorum fragmenta. Lipsiae: In aedibus B. G. Teubneri.
© Michael Pozdnev, 2018