Aristotle’s Theology. A Commentary on Book XII of the Metaphysics [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 27 (3):608-609 (1974)
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This is a careful, line-by-line and often word-by-word commentary on Book XII of the Metaphysics. The commentary is preceded by a seven part introduction which deals with the theology of Book XII, noûs, self-knowledge, desire, the place of the book in Aristotle’s writings, its date and structure, and the problem of Chapter 8 and Aristotle’s monotheism. Elders claims Chapter 8 was not written by Aristotle but by a disciple or disciples. He also claims that Book XII contains at least five other distinct treatises which come from different periods in Aristotle’s life. Throughout his book Elders summarizes the opinions of all the important modern and ancient commentators who have written on the questions he examines, and makes copious references to other Greek thinkers and other works of Aristotle. For example the section on self-knowledge moves through several dialogues of Plato and through Aristotle’s ethical writings. Philological observations abound, and Elders is sensitive to philosophical aspects in them. Some of his remarks about terms like ousia and dokei contain helpful philosophical insights. The presentation is lean, clear and direct. Elders has marked off another definite part of Aristotle’s Metaphysics and has supplied us with all the information, sources and scholarly commentary that are available for it.—R. S.



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