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Book Recommendation

PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2005 4:20 pm
by Anonymous
For those interested in the history of Philosophy, beginning with our friends the ancients, I'd like to recommend a book on Philosophy called "Sophies World" by Jostein Gaarder.
As the blurb on the back says Jostein Gaarder accomplishes the amazing feat of jamming 3000 years of Philosophy into 400 pages. To me though the real achievement is the simplicity and clarity with which he introduces and explains the main ideas. Its very readable and you get a real sense of wonder at the development of human thought. I couldn't put it down! Hope some of you enjoy it too.
Clavdia Scribonia

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 8:03 pm
by Cleopatra Aelia
Salve Claudia,

I read this book some time last year and found it rather hard to get into it. Maybe it's because I'm not into philosophy and was hoping to get a short overview about philosophy put into the frame of a novel. Nonetheless I had problems to follow what the ideas of the philosophers were. The sentences itself were simple but to get their meaning was hard for me, so I was glad that I read it in German and not in the Norwegian original.

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 8:27 pm
by Quintus Pomponius Atticus
A highly readable and very amusing (really !) introduction to ancient philosophy is Luciano De Crescenzo's "History of Greek Philosophy", translated into English, French, German, Dutch...

Recently, I also read a real page-turner about medieval philosophy : Richard Rubinstein's "Aristotle's Children. How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Middle Ages". Highly recommended !


PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2005 1:53 pm
by Gnaeus Dionysius Draco
Salve Claudia,

Welcome to SVR!

I did not enjoy Gaarder's book at all, actually. The idea behind it is good, but I found the plot too slow-pacing and the introduction to the various philosophies written rather dryly. In fact, it's one of the few books I've ever read that really made me fall asleep. And I'm not a philosophy hater at all, so that cannot be the reason.

Indeed like Atticus I would also recommend De Crescenzo, but there are other good books out there too, the names of which have slipped from my mind now...


PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 5:20 pm
by Quintus Pomponius Atticus
A very interesting author about ancient philosophy is Pierre Hadot. See my earlier posting on his work @

Another good philosophy book I recently read is J. De Romilly's 'The Great Sophists in Periclean Athens' (original title : 'Les Grands Sophistes dans l'Athènes de Périclès').

Currently on my desk is Cicero's 'De Officiis', for my thesis :)