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Theodore Metochites’ Commentary on Aristotle's De anima: Critical Edition with an English Translation

Börje Bydén, Göteborg University, Fellow 2007/08

A very considerable part of the extant philosophical literature from Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages consists of commentaries on the works of Aristotle. In the last decades, the study of the Late Antique commentaries (c. AD 120–620) has come to occupy a central place in the field of ancient philosophy. By contrast, the Byzantine commentaries (c. 900–1453) are still relatively little known. This is partly due to the fact that most of them have never been edited. The Late Antique commentaries are studied on the basis of the editions in the series Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca, published between 1882 and 1907 by the Royal Prussian Academy at Berlin. In 2007, a new series was launched in Berlin to complement and extend the CAG with editions mainly of Byzantine commentaries.

One of the most interesting of these is Theodore Metochites' commentary on the De anima (c. 1320). During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks (which regrettably had to be reduced from two terms to one, on account of the duties connected with a new position) I have continued my preparations for a critical edition of this work, which is preserved in twelve manuscripts. The edition will be accompanied by an introduction and an English translation and published in the new Berlin series. I benefitted especially from the Dumbarton Oaks Library's excellent coverage not only of Byzantine intellectual history but also of its Late Antique background.

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