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The Classical

Review

APRIL 1887.

THE LATE MASTER OF TRINITY AS A PLATONIC SCHOLAR.

ONE reflection can hardly have failed to VIII of the Journal of Philology, preceded suggest itself to any one who has tried to by an apology for its reappearance which estimate Thompson's classical work; that is few readers will consider necessary. This is to say, that, in bulk at least, the tangible a reply to an article of Dr. Whewell's in printed result of it is strangely small-small which the Platonic authorship of the Sophist as compared not merely with the ample and Politicus was impugned. At the present achievements of German industry, but with day perhaps no serious student of Plato, in the performance of such English scholars as this country at least, will be found to assail Munro or Conington. As the fruit of a the authenticity of these dialogues : but long life and of abundant leisure we have when Thompson's apology was written, this editions of two among Plato's dialogues, a was far from being the case. The attack, few essays contributed to classical periodicals, which some German scholars, notably Socher, and the notes to Archer Butler's lectures : had begun, was enforced by all the reputathe whole indeed might be bound together tion and controversial vigour of Dr. Whewell, in a single volume of moderate size. But and the appearance of so able an advocate no greater mistake could be made than to for the defence was proportionally opporestimate by the extent of these writings tune. The prevalence of the view adopted either their intrinsic importance or the by Whewell would, at least in the opinion activity of the mind which produced them. of the present writer, have exercised an For if Thompson has written little, every effect upon the study of Plato and of Greek line of that little tells. Nowhere will the philosophy little short of paralysing ; while reader meet with a hasty or a purposeless nothing could be more stimulating to such sentence: not a word but bas passed the study than Thompson's mode of defence. test of perhaps the most fastidious judg. The essay upon the Sophist is not only a ment that the present generation of scholars cogent vindication of the genuineness of the All who were

ever associated dialogue, but the first really serious effort with him in examining the work of (in English at least) to assign to it its due others learnt to appreciate the searching position among the Platonic writings and to and subtle discernment with which the survey its relations to other dialogues. The Master sorted the chaff from the wheat: Sophist is handled, not as one of a collection but however severe might be the standard of miscellaneous essays, each of which treats which he applied to the performance of other its subject or subjects from a point of view men, it falls far short of that by which he which varies with the author's humour, but tested his own. Accordingly we have in his as forming part of a body of philosophical published writings the very best work which teaching which possesses a definite aim and could be given us by a singularly clear and significance. In this spirit we

see the acute intellect, fortified by wide and varied Platonic method of logical division examined study. And however much we may regret and elucidated, appraised both in its intrinsic that years of feeble health have left the sum importance and in relation to the Platonic of it so small, yet we could hardly wish it system, and surveyed in its bearings upon increased by any relaxation of the author's earlier and contemporary Greek thought. critical austerity.

The several subjects treated in the dialogue The paper on the Sophist was originally are co-ordinated with a clearness which must published in the Cambridge Philosophical have been a revelation to those who had Transactions, and is reprinted in volume studied the work only with such light as

NO. II. VOL. I.

has seen.

D

on

Stallbaum sheds upon it. And not the least tween Plato and Protagoras, and the coninstructive part of the dissertation is that trast between the two methods needs no in which the writer insists upon the neces- further illustration : nor, one would think, sity that the student of Plato shall be can there be much doubt which method is keenly on the watch for those perpetually the more philosophical. In a similar vein recurring allusions to contemporary or pre- is the treatment of the problem concerning vious thinkers, which, in proportion as they the 'One and the Many' a little later on. The are perceived or missed, go far to determine whole essay in fact, like that on the Sophist, the apprehension or misapprehension of a is throughout stimuiuting and suggestive. whole dialogue. For however fully this A review of works so well known to may now be recognised, Thompson was pro- Platonic students as the editions of the bably the first to set it in a clear light. Phaedrus and the Gorgias were as superAll is done with the ease and sureness of fluous as unsuitable to the compass of the touch which betoken the true master of his present article. As might be expected in subject : even in details where we may his most carefully matured writings, we find not accept his conclusions, we feel no less here all the highest qualities of Thompson's powerfully the suggestiveness of his method. work. In lucidity of exposition, in aptThe essay in fact remains a model of the ness of illustration, in the ease and grace of spirit and manner in which Plato should be the translations, these two commentaries studied.

will well hold their own with any which The 'Introductory Remarks' the could be brought into comparison with Philebus, originally prepared for a course thom. Indeed we should have far to seek of lectures in 1855, were first printed in for a combination of accurate scholarship, 1882 (Journal of Philology, vol. xi.). This, logical acumen, and literary excellence, considered in relation to the dialogue with similar to that which is presented to us in which it is concerned, is really but a frag- these volumes. Some perhaps might be disment. But, although it cannot be regarded posed to complain of an occasional tendency as equal in importance to the defence of the to discursiveness, natural to a more leisurely Sophist, the work is of the same high order style of scholarship than that characteristic of excellence. There is the same literary of the present day : but if the editor is not finish, the same lucidity in following up the always eager to say his say in the fewest intricate meanderings of this difficult work, possible words, he never loses sight of the and above all the same firm grasp of Plato's point nor intrudes irrelevant matter. Nor position in the history of philosophy is there any display of knowledge for its Plato's attitude towards his forerunners own sake. Thompson carried his learning and contemporaries has probably never been lightly : the knowledge he had acquired lay better described than at the beginning of easily upon his mind and did not crave conthis essay :-* It is characteristic of Plato's

tinual escape on paper. The reader of his philosophical genius that he is ever seeking commentaries is impressed sooner by his for truths amid heaps of seeming error- taste, judgment, and scholarship than by his ever trying to detach the gold from the learning ; yet none but a learned man could dross, and to recast it in the mould of his have written the commentaries: only we own comprehensive system. . . . He seems have, as it were, the distilled spirit of his to have made it matter of conscience to knowledge rather than the crude materials. acquaint himself with whatever had been As interpretations of the two dialogues written before, and whatever was published these editions are not likely to be soon during his own life, by anyone pretending superseded. Besides the skilful treatment to the name of sophist or philosopher. And of difficulties in detail, the general drift he was not only the most comprehensive, and arrangement of the two works is but all appearances to the contrary not- handled in a manner no less original than withstanding, one of the most candid of masterly. Both in the Gorgias and in the readers. There were in fact very few-I more difficult Phaedrus, one feels that the doubt if there was more than one-of his editor has a perfectly definite conception of more considerable opponents, with whom he the course and development of the discusdoes not to a certain extent agree; or more sion; we are never left to drift with the than one to some portion of whose specula- current, ώσπερ τα ανερμάτιστα πλοία : our tions he has not assigned its due place in pilot knows his bearings. And again the his own philosophical structure.' Compare dialogues are not treated as isolated disthese sayings with the spirit in which Grote quisitions, but as integral parts of the approaches (for example) the question be- Platonic system. Specially instructive and

1

interesting are the two appendices on the better discipline than following the treat* Erotic discourses of Socrates,' and “The ment of the philosopher's works by one philosophy of Isocrates.'

whose insight into his spirit has hardly been In fine, the permanent value of Thomp- surpassed. Thompson was in his element son's work as a Platonic scholar is to be as an exponent of Plato. No other author found not in its extent, which is but mo- could have given such full scope to the derate, nor altogether in the amount of fastidious and subtle taste, to the clear positive instruction, great as that unques- logical thought, to the erudition free from tionably is, which may be derived from it; any shadow of pedantry, which are characbut in the example he has left of an original teristic of the Master of Trinity's work; and powerful mind dealing with the most por have afforded occasion for so successful fruitful literature of all time. It has been a combination of all the most solid qualities said, and said most truly, that Plato is his of learning and scholarship with a charm of own best interpreter : but he will interpret style which gives these writings, apart from only to him who has 'eyes in his soul.' their didactic value, a claim to rank as And for clearing and strengthening this English literature. mental vision, there could not be a much

R. D. ARCHER-HIND.

THE AEOLIC ELEMENT IN THE ILIAD AND ODYSSEY.

Die Homerische Odyssee in der ursprünglichen while carefully distinguishing between Aeolic

Sprachform wiederhergestellt von AUGUST and inerely archaic forms, admit a conFICK. Göttingen, 1883.

siderable residuum of the former, comprising Die Homerische Ilias nach ihrer Entstehung the pronouns άμμες, άμμι, άμμε, ύμμες, ύμμι,

betrachtet und in der ursprünglichen Sprach- šppe, the adverbs õuvdis and axlvdis, Ça for form wiederhergestellt von AUGUST FICK.

δια in ζάθεος, ζατρεφής, ζάκοτος, &c., the suffix Göttingen, 1885-6.

-εννο for -εινο (εσ-ινο), e.g. αργεννός, έρεβεννός,

the vocalisation of the digamma in avlayou Philologus, xliii. 1. Dr. K. Sittl, Die Äolismen der Homerischen Sprache.' 'Herr Meister" (Die Griechischen Dialecte,

(åFiaxou), avépvoav (ůFFépvoav), củade (¢o Fade).

p. 19) Dr. Karl Sittl und die Homerischen Äolis- holds with Hinrichs that 'the origin of men,' von Dr. Gustav HINRICHS. Berlin, these Aeolisms must be sought in the oldest 1884.

epic poems wbich appeared on Aeolian soil, Bezzenberger's Beiträge zur Kunde der Indo- probably in Lesbos.' He does not doubt germ. Sprachen. Vol. xi.

Die Sprachform

that among the predecessors of Sappho and der altionischen und altattischen Lyrik.'

Alcaeus were Aeolian poets wbo, before A. Fick.

Homer, had celebrated the heroes of the

Trojan war. The peculiar structure of the Homeric

Hinrichs has recently restated and dedialect has been explained in two ways, fended the conclusions embodied in his viz. (1) as the result of a fusion of earlier

work (De Homericae elocutionis vestigiis Aeolic ingredients with the Ionic dialect, Aeolicis) against an attack by K. Sittl (Ge(2) as a combination of earlier and later schichte der griechischen Literatur, ch. ii. forms alike belonging to the Ionic dialect at

pp. 34-44, and Philologus xliii. 1, p. 1-31), different stages of its growth. The former who has attempted to disprove the whole, view was long accepted without question,

or nearly the whole, of the supposed Homeric and the Acolic element was magnified in Aeolisms. 1 In reference to the instances accordance with the prevailing idea, that the just quoted, he maintains that äldvds and Aeolic dialect was once common to nearlyğuudis, though not actually found in the all Greece—an inference derived from Strabo

extant fragments of Aeolic poetry, are and other writers, according to whom the strictly analogous to the Aeolic tvide, &c., whole country was at first 'Aeolian,' except nor is it at all probable that the grammarians the distinctively Dorian and Ionian districts.

found allodis and äuodis and Aeolised' On this supposition everything which ap- these forms. The Homeric étaggúrepos (for peared archaic in the Homeric language was termed an “Aeolism.' Recent writers of 1 Herr Dr. Karl Sittl und die Homerischen such authority as Meister and Hinrichs, Äolismen, G. Hinrichs. Berlin, 1884.

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