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the famous Plato dialogue


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    e d i t o r s



    3 7






    S . R . SL INGSProfessor of Greek Language and Literature,

    Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam


  • The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, United Kingdom

    The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 2RU, UK40 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011-4211, USA477 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne, VIC 3207, AustraliaRuiz de Alarcn 13, 28014 Madrid, SpainDock House, The Waterfront, Cape Town 8001, South Africa

    First published in printed format

    ISBN 0-521-62368-5 hardbackISBN 0-511-00410-9 eBook

    Cambridge University Press 2004




    ou dei`v ga`r h mwn e autwi zhi

    kai` ou dei`v e autwi a poqnhiskei.

    e an te ga`r zwmen

    twi kuriwi zwmene an te a poqnhiskwmen

    twi kuriwi a poqnhiskomene an te ou n zwmen e an te a poqnhiskwmen,

    tou kuriou e smen.


    Preface page ixAbbreviations xiii

    INTRODUCTION 1I Prolegomena to the dialogue 1

    i.1 Introduction 1i.2 Summary and analysis of composition 5i.3 Is the Clitophon unnished? 10i.4 The Clitophon as a Short Dialogue 18i.5 The characters of the dialogue 35

    II Meaning and authenticity 58ii.1 Philosophical protreptic in the fourth

    century bce 59ii.2 Protreptic in the Clitophon 93ii.3 Protreptic in Plato 127ii.4 Elenchos in the Clitophon 164ii.5 Justice in the Clitophon 180ii.6 The meaning of the Clitophon 209ii.7 Date and authenticity 215



    APPENDICESI The ending of Aristotle's Protrepticus 336II Note on the text 340



    INDEXES 3521 Literary and philosophical index 3522 Grammatical index 3533 Index of Greek words 3534 Index of passages cited 355




    An earlier version of this book was a privately publisheddoctoral dissertation of the Free University at Amsterdam(Academische Pers, 1981). At the time, I intended to pro-duce a less provisional edition of it as soon as possible. Myaim was to give the Clitophon a more secure position withinthe development of ancient philosophical protreptic.

    However, other duties prevented me from realising thisproject. It was not until 1995 that I had the opportunity ofstudying protreptic once again (cf. my paper `Protreptic inancient theories of philosophical literature'). By then, itwas clear to me that the most I could hope for was anopportunity for publishing a revised edition of the 1981thesis.

    For this reason, I owe a lasting debt of gratitude to myfriend and colleague, Professor Jaap Mansfeld of the Uni-versity of Utrecht, who very kindly suggested to the editorsof the series `Cambridge Classical Texts and Commen-taries' that they should take a revised version of the bookinto consideration; likewise to the editors of CCTC foraccepting it. I feel particularly privileged that this is therst commentary on a Platonic text to appear in this dis-tinguished series.

    The board of the Faculty of Letters of the Free Univer-sity at Amsterdam nanced the computerising of the book.It has been a particular stroke of luck that my pupil, MsJosselijn Boessenkool, consented to undertake this labori-ous task. If it had not been for her unequalled competenceand precision, the publication of this edition would havetaken up much more time and required much morelabour. I am very grateful that the board of the FondationHardt pour l'etude de l'antiquite classique allowed me afour-week sojourn in the summer of 1997, which permittedme to lay a solid foundation to the book as it presently is.


  • For the same reason, I thank Professor David Sedley, whovery graciously enabled me to work at the CambridgeUniversity Library for a couple of days in October 1997.

    I have greatly proted from a number of conversationswith Professor Sedley. Professor James Diggle sent me anumber of highly salutary notes, which have stimulatedme to think some of the problems through once again.

    My former colleague Dr Pauline Allen corrected theEnglish of the rst version of this book; Professor Sedleyhas suggested numerous improvements for this one. I am,of course, responsible for such blemishes as remain. Dur-ing the nal stages, Pauline Hire, Susan P. Moore, Caro-line Murray and my colleague Dr J. G. M. van Dijk havebeen extremely helpful in drawing my attention to variousmistakes and inconsistencies.

    But above all, I am grateful to two scholars of the FreeUniversity. The late G. J. de Vries taught me most of whatlittle I understand about Plato and Platonic Greek. Profes-sor D. M. Schenkeveld (emeritus) supervised my thesis,and if the exposition of my views throughout this book iseven passably understandable, most of the credit should goto his acute observations, and his constant insistence on hispromovendi making clear what they want to do, why theywant to do it, and how they do it. If this book had notalready been dedicated to the memory of someone else, itshould certainly be dedicated to him. I'm very proud to behis successor in the chair of Greek in the University whichwe have both been honoured to serve for most of ourlives.

    The rst version of this book appeared under the title ACommentary on the Platonic Clitophon. As will be clear fromsection ii.7.3 of the Introduction, I no longer have anystrong doubts about the authenticity of this work, eventhough I still cannot shake o all my misgivings. But I nowfeel that the grounds for my doubts are rather weak, and Ihave no compunction in presenting this revised version as



  • Plato: Clitophon. I am particularly grateful to Professor Sed-ley, who was instrumental in bringing about this change ofmind. But no matter if this dialogue is authentic or not,the most important question is its literary and philo-sophical intention while rereading what I wrote seven-teen years ago, I have felt that my interpretation of it didnot require major changes.

    Indeed, when I compare the Urtext of this book withthe vast amount of work on Plato published during thenineties, I feel sustained by the fact that most of myconclusions are shared by many excellent Platonists today,even though only a tiny minority of them have, I suppose,bothered to read what was after all a minor book on aminor and suspect dialogue.

    My dissertation contained a separate chapter on theMSS of the Clitophon. I have decided to suppress this ahighly condensed version is here presented as `Appendixii '. At the time, I did not have photographs of all MSS atmy disposal (see my paper `Supplementary notes'). Thetextual tradition of the Clitophon is hardly dierent fromthat of the Republic, for which we now have the brilliantmonograph of my pupil, Dr G. J. Boter (The Textual Tra-dition of Plato's Republic). It is very gratifying that my thesisshould have started a spate of fundamental studies on theMS transmission of Platonic dialogues nearly all of thesestudies are based on the rst version of the present book,which obviously found its way into most of the major aca-demic libraries throughout the world. But a rehash of mywork as published in 1981 would be pointless in 1999. Ihave, however, made a fresh collation of ADF fromphotographs, unfortunately, not from these MSS them-selves. This re-examination has prompted me to changethe apparatus in quite a few places.

    A short time ago, the Clitophon was being described as a`jewel' admittedly in my hearing, and by someone whohad read the rst version of my commentary. I am just as



  • aware as anyone that it is not an unawed jewel. Yet Ihope that this book will contribute to its being consideredworthy of being inserted in the crown if not, that it willbe taken as a serious and in some aspects unique represen-tative of fourth-century philosophical literature.

    Amsterdam S. R. S.




    Ast F. Ast, Platonis quae exstant opera . . . recen-suit, in linguam Latinam convertit . . . F.A. ix(Lipsiae 1827), 35465

    Bekker I. Bekker, Platonis dialogi Graece et Latine ii3 (Berolini 1817), 46574 (with Ficinus'translation)

    Bertini G. M. Bertini, `Saggio sul Clitofonte',RFIC 1 (1873) 45780

    Burnet J. Burnet, Platonis opera iv, Oxonii 1902Bury R. G. Bury, Plato, with an English Transla-

    tion (LondonCambridge (Mass.) 1929),31127

    Ficinus see BekkerGildersleeve B. Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek

    (New York 190011)Gonzalez F. J. Gonzalez, `Clitophon', in: J. M.

    CooperD. S. Hutchinson, Plato, CompleteWorks (Indianapolis 1997), 96670

    GP 2 J. D. Denniston, The Greek Particles(Oxford 19542)

    Hermann C. F. Hermann, Platonis dialogi iii (Lipsiae1851), 45964; vi (Lipsiae 1853), 3301(scholia)

    HGPh W. K. C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Phi-losophy (Cambridge 196278)

    KG R. KuhnerB. Gerth, Ausfuhrliche Gram-matik der griechischen Sprache. Zweiter Teil:Satzlehre (HannoverLeipzig 18981904)

    LSJ H. G. LiddellR. ScottH. Stuart Jones,A GreekEnglish Lexicon (Oxford 19409)

    la Magna G. la Magna, Platone, Clitofonte, con intro-duzione e commento (Naples 1935)

    Modugno G. Modugno, Platone, le Opere tradotte e di-


  • chiarate ad uso di ogni persona colta xix(Aquila 1930), 12949

    MT W. W. Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods andTenses of the Greek Verb (London 19123)

    Mu ller H. Mu ller, Platon's sammtliche Werke.U bersetzt von H. M., mit Einleitungen begleitetvon