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Chapter 13 - George Pachymeres’ Commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics

A New Witness to Philosophical Instruction and Moral Didacticism in Late Byzantium*

from Part II - Prominent Ethical Views of the Time

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2021

Sophia Xenophontos
Affiliation:
University of Glasgow
Anna Marmodoro
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
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Summary

The Greek commentary tradition devoted to explicating Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics was extensive; it began in antiquity with Aspasius’ commentaries on selected books of the EN and reached a stage of immense sophistication in the twelfth century with the works of Eustratius of Nicaea and Michael of Ephesus, which served primarily educational purposes. The use of Aristotle’s ethics in the classroom continued in the late Byzantine period as well, but until recently scholastic use of the EN was known mostly through George Pachymeres’ compendium of Book 11 of his Philosophia. I am currently editing the last surviving exegetical commentary on the EN in the strict sense of the term, also penned by George Pachymeres, which represents a new witness to the resurgence of Aristotelian studies in late Byzantium. It also improves our knowledge of Pachymeres’ role as a teacher in the context of higher education, and of the use of ethics as a practical discipline. The discussion also takes into account the religious underpinnings of Pachymeres’ moralism, pointing to the way pagan ethics in late Byzantium are rendered relevant to their Christian readership.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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