The starting-point of Plutarch's dialogue de communibus notitiis is a claim made by the Stoics that Providence sent Chrysippus to remove the confusion surrounding the ideas of ννοια and πρληψισ before the subtleties of Carneades were brought into play. Unfortunately our surviving information on the subject is so much less full than could be desired that it has again returned to an obscurity from which there are only two really detailed modern attempts to remove it. The one, by L. Stein (...) , is most unsatisfactory; the other, by A. Bonhöffer , though of the greatest value in many ways, is vitiated by the fact that it constructs a system from the use of the words by Epictetus and then attempts to attach this system to the old Stoa in the face of the evidence of the doxographers, which is emended or violently interpreted to suit Epictetus. Even if Epictetus were in general a good authority for the technicalities of Chrysippus—and in the opinion of H. von Arnim he is not— this would not be a sound method of procedure. The only safe way is to take first the statements which can be attached to the Old Stoa, and having obtained our results from these, to see whether Epictetus does in fact agree. (shrink)
The first study of Plutarch's prose-rhythm was made by Dr. A. W. de Groot, whose results were published in certain preliminary articles and in his Handbook of Greek Prose Rhythm, a work which is one of the landmarks in the history of its subject. In it he insisted that to discover which forms of clausula were favoured or avoided by any author it was not sufficient to make a count and discover which were frequent, which infrequent; for a form may (...) be frequent not because an author feels it suitable for the end of a sentence, but because he likes it at any point in his sentence, or even because we should find it frequent if we picked out words by chance from the dictionary. To discover which rhythms are specially sought or avoided at the end of a sentence we must compare the ends with the sentence as a whole. This Dr. de Groot did for a number of texts, included in which were selections from Plutarch's Lives. (shrink)
In Hermes, lxxiv , p. 1 Professor M. Pohlenz publishes an article entitled ‘Plutarchs Schriften gegen die Stoiker’ which throws much light on these important sources for Stoicism. I had myself made a study of these works, and for the most part find myself in complete agreement, but in my opinion something can be added to his inquiry into Plutarch's sources; and I venture to think that the subject repays attention not so much for itself as because it illustrates an (...) important principle, namely, that investigation of sources must be accompanied by literary appreciation: one must look not only for the flaws that will admit the dissecting knife but also for the intended structure of one's subject. (shrink)
So run two lines on the title-page of Marcianus 250 . Whether the Moralia still benefit the character or no, they may still serve to sharpen the wits; for in spite of the work of Meziriac, Reiske, and Wyttenbach, Madvig, Bernardakis, and Wilamowitz, to mention only some of those who have brought learning and sagacity to the task of emendation, there are still hundreds of passages which cry halt to the reader and challenge him to divine what Plutarch wrote.