Friday, March 02, 2007

The Derveni Papyrus


This afternoon's colloquium looks to be interesting: our guest is Gabor Betegh, and his talk is titled 'The Derveni Papyrus and Early Stoicism'. Betegh is the author of The Derveni Papyrus: Cosmology, Theology and Interpretation, and you can read a review of the book by Richard Janko here. It opens:

The Derveni papyrus, containing a treatise by a follower of Anaxagoras probably written in the 420s B.C.E., is the most important new piece of evidence about Greek philosophy and religion to come to light since the Renaissance. It is also the hardest to understand, and all work on it is inevitably work in progress. This is the first book-length study of this text since 1997, when its crucial opening columns, plus an updated translation of the whole, were published.1 Betegh (henceforth 'B.') has made a major contribution to understanding both the thought of the Derveni author (henceforth 'D.') and the Orphic poem which D. interprets; his reconstruction of the Orphic theogony and of D.'s physical system should command wide assent. B. rightly concludes that D. 'is trying to make Orpheus' teaching up to date by providing it with an allegorical interpretation involving the conceptual and explanatory frameworks of late Presocratic speculation' (372).

You can also find a brief account of the papyrus here.

So, if you are in the Philadelphia area, this may be a good opportunity to learn about this incredible find.

1 comment:

Coke said...

Wish I'd been there. I think basically every student of Greek culture has been waiting on the edge of their seats for this publication. How did it go? My thesis is getting closer to closure and I wonder if Edmonds will accept it! I have sought perfection in my writing and I HAVE been writing a ton for other reasons recently and I can't wait to be done with this. It has taken absurdly long!