Rursus 10:1-117 (2017)

Authors
Leone Gazziero
Université Charles-de-Gaulle - Lille 3
Abstract
Celebrated as the equal to the great philosophers of old, namely Plato and Aristotle, whom – as Cassiodorus put it – he taught to speak Latin better than they spoke Greek, Boethius aspired to fully emancipate Roman culture from its Greek models through translations and exegesis so faithful they would leave nothing more to be desired from the original. The essay focuses on Boethius philhellenism, without complexes insofar as it had little to do either with the mixed feelings of his Roman predecessors or with the plundering agenda of his Christian contemporaries. Special attention is paid to the close relationship Boethius established between word for word translations and multi-layered commentaries which he thought of and – albeit partially – carried out as part of the same scholarly endeavour. Devoid of literary pretentions as well as free from aspirations to autonomy, Boethius literal rendering and scrupulous interpretation were meant to be completely self-sufficient. Together they stand out as both the most innovative and the most conservative features of his ambitious cultural project. Célébré comme l’égal des grands philosophes du passé, auxquels il aurait appris à parler Latin mieux qu’ils ne parlaient Grec, Boèce a caressé le rêve d’une émancipation radicale de la culture romaine vis-à-vis des modèles grecs qu’il se proposait de traduire et interpréter assez fidèlement pour que la comparaison avec les sources ne soit plus nécessaire. De son effort de livrer un Aristote et un Platon latins à la hauteur des originaux grecs, nous étudions l’étroite solidarité qui relie la traduction mot-à-mot des textes grecs et la restitution scrupuleuse de leur sens. Cette double tâche, que Boèce a conçue et menée d’un seul tenant, nous est dès lors apparue comme le reflet d’un philhellénisme sans complexes, tout aussi éloigné des sentiments ambivalents que nourrissaient vis-à-vis des hellènes ses devanciers romains que des efforts visant à domestiquer l’héritage classique auxquels se livraient certains de ses contemporains de même confession que lui. Affranchis de tout rêve d’autonomie, les traductions et les commentaires de Boèce se conçoivent comme parfaitement autosuffisants. Ensemble ils constituent ce qu’il y a à la fois de franchement novateur et de profondément conservateur dans son projet de faire parler Latin les sources grecques.
Keywords Aristotle  Boethius  Cicero  Philosophy  Logic  Categories  Translation  Greek  Latin
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