College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Liberal Arts Matters

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Recommended Readings

Philoponus Philoponus and the Rejection of Aristotelian Science, 2nd edition

by Richard Sorabji, Institute of Classical Studies 2010

Reviewed by Tiberiu Popa

Richard Sorabji is the editor of a vast and growing number of translations of ancient commentaries on Aristotle and the editor of several excellent collections of studies on the Aristotelian tradition. Philoponus, a 6th century Christian thinker who was originally trained as a Neoplatonist, is best remembered today for his attack on Aristotle's 'physics'; his influence on later philosophers and scientists and his role in the reevaluation of Aristotelian science and natural philosophy are indeed remarkable. The second edition of Philoponus and the Rejection of Aristotelian Science includes a new two-part introduction which offers a survey of the rapidly expanding scholarship on Philoponus and of recent archeological discoveries (such as the lecture rooms of the 6th century Alexandrian school), as well as new insights into the interaction between Greek paganism and Christianity in connection with Philoponus and his milieu. The twelve chapters included in this collection are written by very prominent scholars and tackle topics such as Philoponus' corollaries on space and time, the differences between his theological views (e.g. on the three hypostases) and the prevailing dogmas of the time, the relation between his theory about impetus and later treatments of impetus and related concepts in a number of Arab thinkers and in Galileo. This collection is one of the most reliable and wide-ranging introductions to Philoponus' views and influence, and those interested in late ancient philosophy and its interactions with Christian thought will find this to be a most valuable resource.

- Tiberiu Popa is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Butler University.