Translations and Textual Transmission

1 - Everything is Full of Gods: Thales

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In this episode, Peter Adamson of King's College London introduces the podcast as a whole, and the thought of the early Greek philosophers called the Presocratics. He also discusses the first Presocratic philosopher, Thales of Miletus.  

77 - Caesarian Section: Philosophy in the Roman Empire

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Peter introduces philosophy in late antiquity, when Aristotelianism and Platonism made a comeback, and pagan philosophy developed alongside Judaism and Christianity.

82 - Lost and Found: Aristotelianism after Aristotle

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Peter looks at the history of Aristotelianism up the time of the Roman Empire and the beginning of commentaries on Aristotle's works.

99 - Richard Sorabji on the Commentators

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Sir Richard Sorabji, founder of the Ancient Commentators Project, joins Peter to discuss the history of ancient commentary on Aristotle.

118 - Fate, Hope and Clarity: Boethius

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Boethius ushers in the medieval age with expert works on Aristotle, subtle treatises on theology, and the Consolation of Philosophy, written while he awaited execution.

122 - Founded in Translation: From Greek to Syriac and Arabic

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Greek philosophy and science make their way into the Islamic world via Syriac and Arabic translations and interpretations.

135 - Undercover Brothers: Philosophy in the Būyid Age

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Miskawayh, al-‘Āmirī, al-Tawḥīdī, the Brethren of Purity and Ismā'īlī missionaries bring together philosophy with Persian culture, literature and Islam.

150 - Charles Burnett and Dag N. Hasse on Arabic-Latin Translations

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A special 150th double interview episode on the transmission of philosophy from Arabic into Latin.

184 - Robert Wisnovsky on Commentary Culture

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Robert Wisnovsky joins Peter to discuss the enormous body of unstudied philosophical commentaries in the later Eastern Islamic world.

185 - Follow the Leader: Philosophy under the Safavids

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Philosophy in Safavid Iran, and a look back at earlier philosophy among Shiites.

188 - Sajjad Rizvi on Mullā Ṣadrā

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Sajjad Rizvi talks to Peter about Mullā Ṣadrā's views on eternity, God's knowledge and the afterlife.

197. Charles in Charge: The Carolingian Renaissance

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Alcuin leads a resurgence of interest in philosophy and the liberal arts at the court of Charlemagne.

201. Stephen Gersh on Medieval Platonism

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Stephen Gersh (who was Peter's doctoral advisor!) joins him to discuss the sources and influence of Platonism in the Middle Ages.

202. Philosophers Anonymous: the Roots of Scholasticism

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Little-known authors prepare the way for scholasticism with glosses on logic, metaphysical debate, and a poem about a cat.

222. Rediscovery Channel: Translations into Latin

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Greek and Arabic sources are rendered into Latin in a translation movement that will revolutionize medieval philosophy.

18. A Tangled Web: the Age of the Sutra

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Rival philosophical schools proliferate and subdivide in our second major historical period, the “age of the sūtra.”

43. We Beg to Differ: the Buddhists and Jains

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An introduction to philosophical developments in Buddhism and Jainism up to the time of Dignāga in the sixth century AD.

281. Monica Green on Medieval Medicine

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An interview with Monica Green reveals parallels between medicine and philosophy in the middle ages.

59. Looking East: Indian Influence on Greek Thought

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Did Indian ideas play a role in shaping ancient Greek philosophy?

60. The Buddha and I: Indian Influence on Islamic and European Thought

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The impact of ancient Indian thought upon the Muslim scholar al-Bīrūnī and upon European thinkers like Hume, Hegel, and Schopenhauer.

301. The Empire Strikes Back: Introduction to Byzantine Philosophy

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We begin to look at the third tradition of medieval philosophy, in which the heritage of classical antiquity is preserved and debated by the Byzantines.

302. On the Eastern Front: Philosophy in Syriac and Armenian

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Eastern Christian philosophy outside of Constantinople, focusing on translation and exegesis in the languages of Syriac and Armenian.

8. Solomon, Socrates, and Other Sages: Early Ethiopian Philosophy

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Translations of religious and philosophical texts into Ge’ez, a national epic called the Kebra Nagast, and other developments in the story of philosophy in Ethiopia.

306. Collectors’ Items: Photius and Byzantine Compilations

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Photius, “the inventor of the book review,” and other Byzantine scholars who preserved ancient learning.

10. Think for Yourself: Walda Heywat

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Walda Heywat’s reaction to the thought of his teacher Zera Yacob, and the dispute over the authenticity of these two Ethiopian philosophers.

12. From Here to Timbuktu: Subsaharan Islamic Philosophy

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The spread of Islamic scholarship in subsaharan Africa, focusing on intellectuals of the Songhay empire around the Niger River in the 15th-17th centuries.

14. Souleymane Bachir Diagne on Islam in Africa

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Peter speaks to Souleymane Bachir Diagne about Islamic scholars in West Africa.

16. Samuel Imbo on Okot p'Bitek and Oral Traditions

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A conversation with Sam Imbo on approaching oral traditions as philosophy and the Ugandan thinker and poet Okot p'Bitek.

314. Katerina Ierodiakonou on Byzantine Commentaries

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Katerina Ierodiakonou discusses Byzantine commentators on Aristotle, including Michael of Ephesus.

317. Made by Hand: Byzantine Manuscripts

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Without handwritten copies produced by Byzantine scribes, we would know almost nothing about ancient philosophy. How and why were they made?

318. Oliver Primavesi on Greek Manuscripts

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Oliver Primavesi tells us how Greek manuscripts are used to establish the text of authors like Aristotle.

Prof Primavesi runs the Munich School of Ancient Philosophy together with Christof Rapp and Peter Adamson.

319. Georgia on My Mind: Petritsi and the Proclus Revival

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The Neoplatonist Proclus gets mixed reviews from Christians, as Nicholas of Methone refutes him but the Georgian philosopher Ioane Petritsi helps to revive his thought.

320. People of the South: Byzantium and Islam

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Intellectual exchange between Christians and Muslims, and the later flowering of Syriac literature including the philosopher Bar Hebraeus.

321. Judith Herrin on Byzantium and Islam

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Historian Judith Herrin joins us to talk about competition and mutual influence between Islam and Byzantium.

322. Do the Math: Science in the Palaiologan Renaissance

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Mathematics and the sciences in Byzantium, focusing on scholars of the Palaiologan period like Blemmydes and Metochites.

324. United We Fall: Latin Philosophy in Byzantium

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Thomas Aquinas finds avid readers among Byzantines at the twilight of empire, and is used by both sides of the Hesychast controversy.

326. Istanbul (Not Constantinople): the Later Orthodox Tradition

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When the Byzantine empire ended in 1453, philosophy in Greek did not end with it. In this episode we bring the story up to the 20th century.

327. Michele Trizio on Byzantine and Latin Medieval Philosophy

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The series on Byzantium concludes as guest Michele Trizio discusses the mutual influence of Byzantium and Latin Christendom.

328. Old News: Introduction to the Italian Renaissance

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A first look at the themes and figures of philosophy in the Italian Renaissance.

329. Greeks Bearing Gifts: Byzantine Scholars in Italy

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Bessarion and George Trapenzuntius, rival scholars from the Greek east who helped inspire the Italian Renaissance.

330. Republic of Letters: Italian Humanism

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Coluccio Salutati and Leonardo Bruni combine eloquence with philosophy, taking as their model the refined language and republican ideals found in Cicero.

331. Literary Criticism: Lorenzo Valla

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Lorenzo Valla launches a furious attack on scholastic philosophy, favoring the resources of classical Latin.

332. Jill Kraye on Humanism

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Jill Kraye returns to the podcast to discuss the nature of humanism, its relation to scholasticism, and its legacy.

334. Chance Encounters: Reviving Hellenistic Philosophy

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The rediscovery of Epicurus, Lucretius, and Sextus Empiricus spreads challenging ideas about chance, atomism, and skepticism.

339. I’d Like to Thank the Academy: Florentine Platonism

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The blossoming of Renaissance Platonism under the Medici, who supported the scholarship of Poliziano, Ficino, and Pico della Mirandola.

340. Footnotes to Plato: Marsilio Ficino

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Marsilio Ficino’s revival of Platonism, with a focus on his proofs for the soul’s immortality in his magnum opus, the Platonic Theology.

342. Denis Robichaud on Plato in the Renaissance

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An interview with Denis Robichaud on how, and why, Plato was read in the Italian Renaissance.

343. As Far as East from West: Jewish Philosophy in Renaissance Italy

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Jewish philosophers in Renaissance Italy, focusing on Leone Ebreo’s Dialogues of Love, the Averroism of Elijah del Medigo, and Italian Kabbalah.

355. Town and Gown: Italian Universities

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The blurry line dividing humanism and scholastic university culture in the Italian Renaissance.

356. I’d Like to Thank the Lyceum: Aristotle in Renaissance Italy

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Aristotle’s works are edited, printed, and translated, leading to new assessments of his thought among both humanists and scholastics.

357. David Lines on Aristotle's Ethics in the Renaissance

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An interview with David Lines on the Renaissance reception of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics.

360. Dag N. Hasse on Arabic Learning in the Renaissance

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An interview with Dag Nikolaus Hasse on the Renaissance reception of Averroes, Avicenna, and other authors who wrote in Arabic.

361. The Measure of All Things: Renaissance Mathematics and Art

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The humanist study of Pythagoras, Archimedes and other ancient mathematicians goes hand in hand with the use of mathematics in painting and architecture.

362. Just What the Doctor Ordered: Renaissance Medicine

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Connections between philosophy and advances in medicine, including the anatomy of Vesalius.

372. Strong, Silent Type: the Printing Press

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The impact of the printing press on the history of philosophy, and its role in helping to trigger the Reformation.

373. Lords of Language: Northern Humanism

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Rudolph Agricola, Juan Luis Vives and other humanist scholars spread the study of classical antiquity across Europe and mock the technicalities of scholastic philosophy.

376. Books That Last Forever: Erasmus

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The “learned piety” of Desiderius Erasmus, the greatest figure of northern humanism.

392. John Sellars on Lipsius and Early Modern Stoicism

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John Sellars returns to the podcast to discuss Lipsius' work on Seneca and the early modern Neo-Stoic movement.

410. Ann Blair on Jean Bodin's Natural Philosophy

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A chat with Ann Blair about the "Theater of Nature" by Jean Bodin, and other encyclopedic works of natural philosophy. (Pictured: Prof Blair holding the annotated copy of Bodin's Theatrum she describes in the episode.)

114. Teacher Taught Me: Julius Nyerere

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The first leader of independent Tanzania grounds his socialist ideas in traditional African values.

411. Pen Pals: Later French Humanism

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Joseph Scaliger, Isaac Casaubon, and Guillaume du Vair grapple with history and the events of their own day.

419. Write Till Your Ink Be Dry: Humanism in Britain

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Humanism comes to England and Scotland, leading scholars like Thomas Eylot and Andrew Melville to rethink philosophical education.

Image: Queen Elizabeth's translation of Boethius

425. Patrick Gray on Shakespeare

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We're joined by Patrick Gray to discuss Shakespeare's knowledge of philosophy, his ethics, and his influence on such thinkers as Hegel.

129. Afrophone Home: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

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How one of Kenya's greatest writers came to argue that African literature should be written in African languages.

433. Nature’s Mystery: Science in Renaissance England

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How scientists of the Elizabethan age anticipated the discoveries and methods of the Enlightenment (without necessarily publishing them).

437. Jennifer Rampling on Renaissance Alchemy

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An expert on Renaissance alchemy tells us how this art related to philosophy at the time... and how she has tried to reproduce its results!

439. Cancel Culture: The Inquisition

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How religious persecution and censorship shaped the context of philosophy in Catholic Europe in the sixteenth century.