Article published in:Bochumer Philosophisches Jahrbuch für Antike und Mittelalter: Band 22
Herausgegeben von Manuel Baumbach und Olaf Pluta
[Bochumer Philosophisches Jahrbuch für Antike und Mittelalter 22] 2019
► pp. 1–50
Entdeckung und frühe Interpretationen eines armenisch überlieferten Heraklit-Fragments
It is a great loss to philosophy that Heraclitus’s writing was lost in antiquity, for the surviving fragments rarely contain more than one sentence. Often, they are succinct but concise statements that contain little text. So, when one succeeds in augmenting important fragments with a few words or illuminating their context, there is progress in Heraclitus research. Sometimes, however, this requires recourse to lineages outside the Greek-Latin tradition.An example of this is provided by fragment 123, which has played an important role since its discovery in the Orationes of Themistius: in the 20th century, Martin Heidegger used it several times for his idiosyncratic interpretation of Heraclitus and the philosophy of the Pre-Socratics. However, he did not consider that an Armenian variant of this fragment had become available at the beginning of the 19th century. This Armenian variant derives from a treatise of Philo of Alexandria which has only been transmitted in Armenian and offers more text than the Greek version. As Diels-Kranz did not include this Armenian source in their edition of The Fragments of the Pre-Socratics, this Armenian variant fell into oblivion and was not known to Heidegger either.Now this article, after introductory remarks on the transmission of Heraclitus’s sayings in Themistius and Philo’s Heraclitea, focuses on the history of the Armenian version of fragment 123 and its primary interpretations. It concludes with a reconstruction of the remarks which Ferdinand Lassalle dedicated to this fragment in both its Greek and Armenian versions in 1858.
Published online: 27 August 2020