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Bryn Mawr Classical Review
Francesco Fronterotta gives us a very good edition of the fragments of Heraclitus, with a thorough individualized commentary on each text, and a new Italian translation. The main body of the book just a bit shy of four hundred pages consists of the bilingual edition of the scarce fragments Italian and Greekand an extensive commentary on text and translation, systematically oriented to situating Heraclitus in his historical and philosophical context. The volume opens with a long and substantial Introduction comprising five sections: Fragment, testimonium or quotation: The image of Heraclitus.
Fronterotta deals competently with the necessary generalities and insightfully discusses some of the main themes and problems posed by the texts themselves, as well as several perspectives in the philosophical tradition, ancient and modern.
Besides the introduction, preliminaries include a note on the text, where the editorial method is briefly presented and justified, assuming as basic the editions of Diels-Kranz and Marcovich tables of concordance are provided in the appendix, together with a list of sourcesand a thematically organized bibliography not exhaustive, but paying special attention to works from to As a rule, the commentary does an excellent job at presenting the context of each fragment, without neglecting general and even minute textual matters.
It is certainly well written and for committed readers its contents are clear enough and relatively easy to follow through labyrinths of words rich in textual and philosophical problems.
Fronterotta translates this beginning thus: Section 2 closes with a concentration on the theme of becoming and flux, including an insightful treatment of the river fragment B The solar fragments are also included, as well as three fragments from Hippolytus, regarding which Fronterotta concludes with a judicious dismissal of eschatological readings.
Section 4 offers a systematization of epistemological ideas, which take off from the theme of the epistemic nature and value of the senses.
The grouping ends with texts dealing with ignorance as the defining mark of human perspective in sharp contrast to divine knowledge of the totally unified oppositions, the hidden true nature of things.
Eraclito: frammenti – Héraclite d’Éphèse – Google Books
Section 5 deals with the nature and the functions of the soul, which is viewed within a physical framework. B and B on the wet soul of the drunkard, and its opposite, the dry, sraclito and luminous soul are interpreted as providing a physiological instantiation of cosmic patterns.
Other relevant fragments B20, B48, B27, and B63 are refreshingly read as a critical revision of human eschatological expectations.
Section 6, the longest, presents fragments dealing with ethics, politics and religion, in a broad draclito. The positive ethical paradigm is, in principle, open to all and grounded in self-knowledge.
This paradigm should be followed also by the many, whose frammenri is frontally rejected and depicted sarcastically as animal behavior. A handful of fragments that criticize religious practices and beliefs give a sketch of these as notoriously irrational, while B52, B and B18, the texts selected for the conclusion, are interpreted as a final exhortation to a better kind of life. The book is exceptionally well presented, the paperback binding is strong and the volume is comfortable to handle.
The summary is too brief, lacking the subdivisions that structure the introduction, as well as the series of fragments within each section of the edition itself.
I deem this splendid book a valuable tool and an important contribution to Heraclitean scholarship, from which interested readers and specialists will benefit for years to come. Bryn Mawr Classical Review BUR Classici greci e latini, Read comments on this review or add a comment on the BMCR blog.