Wednesday, May 09, 2012


We are reading the Theages in our Thursday seminar.  One of the first issues that we put on the agenda was the question of authenticity.  A lot of readers think it just doesn't 'feel' like Plato, even if there is no particular obvious other bit of evidence that will show conclusively that he didn't write it.  I have to introduce the next section at tomorrow's meeting (124c-127a).  One of the interesting bits there is the use of a line of Euripides, which goes something like: 'tyrants get wise though association (sunousia) with the wise' (125b: σοφοὶ τύραννοι τῶν σοφῶν συνουσίᾳ).  Apparently a scholiast on Aristophanes Thesmophoriazusai (ad 21) says it comes from a play called Ajax at Locrus.

Anyway, I'm more interested by the fact that the line also appears at Republic 568a-b.  Coincidence?  You decide!  Let's see what the learned types make of this tomorrow but for now I'm wondering whether more than one of these short sometimes suspect dialogues have a similar connection to the more central works, particularly the Republic (e.g. Clitophon)Perhaps these are 'satellite' works that can stand alone but are knowingly put together with a view to a more well-know, demanding, and central work.  They are intended to be read alongside that larger work.  As far as authenticity goes, this can go either way: perhaps they are dialogues inspired by that large work, composed after Plato as 'spin-offs' from his original; or perhaps these are Plato's work too, like DVD extras.

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