Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Wonderful review on BMCR!!

I am so happy with this both flattering and critical review. The author has read my book so carefully and the critique is so insightful! I pasted the first paragraph below. The review is to be found online:

Chiara Robbiano, Becoming Being: On Parmenides' Transformative Philosophy. International Pre-Platonic Studies; v. 5. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag, 2006. Pp. 240. ISBN 9783896653833. EUR 54.00.

Reviewed by Shaul Tor, St. John's College, Cambridge University (
Word count: 3554 words
Hailed by A.A. Long as "a full scale paradigm shift"[[1]] in Parmenidean scholarship, R(obbiano)'s provocative monograph displays an exceptionally original methodology, resulting in some radically innovative if, I believe, fundamentally problematic theses. Rather than
simply extrapolating from the poem a set of epistemological and ontological propositions, R. approaches the text from a variety of literary, rhetorical and dialectical perspectives, and finds in it a systematic heuristic guide designed to enable and help the audience to develop the unfamiliar categories and mental attitudes they would require in order to achieve an understanding of Parmenides' truth. This understanding, moreover, consists, not merely in the discursive acceptance of certain doctrines, but in a spiritual or mental transformation, culminating in the genuine rejection, and consequent elimination, of the distinction between the human knowing subject and Being as the object of knowledge. "The unique Being is what one can grasp, understand and be (at least with one's mind) if one learns a certain way of looking at reality" (p.208). Although, as I shall argue below, central aspects of R.'s elaboration of this thesis involve various difficulties, her insightful, lucid, scholarly and suggestive
discussions will reward close study not only for Parmenidean experts and specialists in other areas of ancient philosophy, but also for classicists of all disciplinary persuasions, non-classicists interested in Parmenides or ancient philosophy and students of comparative
literature or the ancient literature of other cultures (the volume includes a text and translation of the poem). [...]
[1]. A.A. Long, Phronesis Vol.53, no.3 (2008), p.296f.