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  • Oleg Nogovitsin        
  • Dmitriy Biryukov   

"ΕΙΝΑΙ: The Problems of Philosophy and Theology" Volume 3, No. 1/2 (5/6) 2014

  • S. D. Kleiner, M. M. Pozdnev. Zielinski’s «chronological inconsistency»:
    The Epinomis - С.Д. Клейнер, М.М. Позднев. Послесловие к статье Ф.Ф. Зелинского - PDF текст в PDF, 289 KB.

    Thaddeus Zielinski’s «law of chronological inconsistency», as is generally known among classical scholars and far beyond, concerns the impossibility of simultaneous actions in Homeric epic. Zielinski defines four modes of dealing with such actions. 1. One action remains hanging while the other continues. This case is the most apparent; its discovery seems to have inspired the scholar to point out the further three, which are by far less universal. 2. One action unfolds but the course of the other is only traced; it will meet the first at some point. Ex. gr. Paris meets Hector at the gate but his arming which took place at the same time with the parting of Hector and Andromache was not described. 3. The parallel action is not shown
    at all which leaves the «painful gap». Menelaus is wounded by Pandar’s arrow, Agamemnon cares about his treatment, and suddenly we are told that the Trojans are attacking with all their mass. 4. To encompass two simultaneous actions a period
    of time is arbitrarily set. Achilles is maltreating Hectors body for twelve days because the poet could not come back and tell how the plan of ransoming the body comes to Priamus. The rebirth of interest in Zielinski’s law in the last two decades manifested by a number of discussions and a selective English translation of his German
    essay on the subject has not yet resulted in a thorough monographic study partly because the reference works still exist mostly in Russian (apart of the above republished paper, his first contribution to Homeric philology, one should study «The old and new ways in Homeric question», a witty review, probably the best of all Zielinski’s
    works on Homer besides the great «Homeric psychology» which was translated into English by Natalia Kotsyba in 2002) partly due to the marginalizing the principle of inconsistency as commonplace in modern folkloristics and narratology. The examples given by Zielinski should however be re-examined. The main point of interest lies in demonstrating that Zielinski’s interpretations are largely influenced by his age. He wants, for instance, to be told how the Trojans came to the idea that they should attack the Achaeans after Pandar’s shot. This is the point of view of a tolerant European of the «Vorkriegszeit». But by narrating about negotiations in Troy Homer would destroy the effect of surprise; the impression of Trojans as treacherous enemies
    would be lost. Zielinski thinks that Achill should meet Priamus and give him back his son’s body just after the funeral of Patroclus, and then go to sleep having his conscience calmed. But for Homer this would destroy the retardation effect provided by those long days of letting the body unburied and abused and of quarrelling in the Olympus. In other cases Homer, as well as the narrators of Russian Byliny or other folk epic songs, concentrates on the act which is of the greatest interest (as is the parting of Hector and Andromache) leaving the parallel acts without care. Homer shows no incapacity in describing simultaneous actions as simultaneous (which in fact he does, for example, as he tells about the coming back of the Phaeacian ship at the very same time as Odysseus wakes up in Ithaca). What his narrative style really exhibits is economy of the audience’s attention.

"ΕΙΝΑΙ: The Problems of Philosophy and Theology" Volume 2, No. 1/2 (3/4) 2013

  • Топоров В. Н. Еще раз о др. греч. ΣΟΦΙΑ: происхождение слова и его внутренний смысл - PDF текст в PDF, 541 kb.
  • S. D. Kleiner, M. M. Pozdnev.«On Greek ΣΟΦΙΑ»: an afterword - Клейнер С.Д., Позднев М.М. «О древнегреческой ΣΟΦΙΑ»: Послесловие - PDF текст в PDF, 330 kb.

    V. N. Toporov’s article is a monument to «semiotic lingvoculturology» that was rather in vogue in Russian (and other) liberal scholarship of the 70s (and later). The author’s statements have already been refuted in brief by A. K. Gavrilov; the criticism, in turn, has also been criticized. This, along with the towering complexity of the σοφία issue, has prompted us to reanimate the topic. The idea that σοφία could stem from PIE *s(w)ebh- allows the author to speculate freely on a vast array of cultural matters, covering ground from early Greek literature to Russian religious philosophy in one wide sweep. However, the construction is faulty in all aspects. Thus, soph- is not compatible with known PIE material, and probably is a Pre-Greek, or at least, a non-Greek borrowing; there’s much textological evidence against σοφία being God-inspired; and, finally, the semantic development probably happened along the lines of «a skill» — «cleverness» — «intelligence».      

"ΕΙΝΑΙ: The Problems of Philosophy and Theology" Volume 1, No. 1/2 (1/2) 2012

  • A. I. Dovatur. Plato on Aristotle - In Russian: Доватур А.И. Платон об Аристотеле -PDF text in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), 248 kb.

    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.

  • M. M. Pozdnev. Plato on Aristotle. An afterword - In Russian: Позднев М.М. Платон об Аристотеле. Послесловие к публикации -PDF text in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), 177 kb.

    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.

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