Theory and History of Ontology ( Raul Corazzon | e-mail:

Parmenides of Elea: Critical Editions and translations

Contents of this Section

Heraclitus and Parmenides

This part of the section History of Ontology includes the following pages:

The Thought of Heraclitus

Heraclitus and the Question of the One and the Many (under construction)

The Thought of Parmenides

Critical Notes on His Fragments (Diels Kranz fr. 1-3)

Critical Editions and translations (Current page)

Annotated bibliography of studies on Parmenides in English:

A - B

C - E

F - G

H - K

L - Mos

Mou - Q

R - Sta

Ste - Z

Bibliographies on Parmenides in other languages:

Bibliographie des études en Français

Bibliografia degli studi in Italiano

Bibliographie der Studien auf Deutsch

Bibliografía de estudios en Español

Bibliografía de estudos em Português

Index of the Section: Ancient Philosophy from the Presocratics to the Hellenistic Period

PDF version Annotated bibliography of the studies in English: Complete PDF Version on the website


Ancient Editions

  1. Estienne, Henri (Henricus Stephanus). 1573. Poesis philosophica, sed saltem, Reliquiae poesis philosophicae, Empedoclis, Parmenidis, Xenophanis, Cleanthis, Timonis, Epicharmi. Adiunta sunt Orphei illius carmina qui a suis appellatus fui o theologos. Item, Heracliti et Democriti loci quidam, et eorum epistolae. Genève.

    The first printed edition; see pp. 41-46, with notes of J. J. Scaliger, p. 217.

    Contains citations from texts by Sextus, Clement of Alexandria, Plutarch, Proclus and Theophrastus, with the following fragments: I, 1-30 (two times I, 29-30), II, 1-8, II, 1-4, VII, 2-6, VIII. 1-2a, VIII. 3-4, VIII, 43-45, X, 1-4, XIII, 1,. XIV, 1, XV, 1 and XVI, 1-4 (sixty-seventh fragments).

    (Cordero, L'histoire du texte de Parménide, p. 6).

  2. Fülleborn, Georg Gustav. 1795. Parmenidou tou Eleatou leipsana. Fragmente des Parmenides. Gesammelt, übersetzt und erläutert von Georg Gustav Fülleborn. Zûllichau: F. Frommann.

    Greek text and German translation (102 pages).

    Contains 147 verses; v. I 31-32; III, 1; V, 1-2; XI,1-4; XVII, 1; XIX, 1-3 are lacking (13 verses)

    (Cordero, L'histoire du texte de Parménide, p. 13).

  3. Peyron, Amedeo. 1810. Empedoclis et Parmenidis fragmenta ex codice Taurinensis Bibliothecae restituta et illustrata ab Amedeo Peyron. Simul agitur de genuino graeco textu Commentarii Simplicii in Aristotelem de coelo et mundo. Leipzig: August Gottlieb Weigel.

    The text of Parmenides is at pp. 55-61.

    This edition contains for the first time the verses found in the codex Taurinens of Simplicius' Commentary on De caelo: I , 31-32; III, 1; V, 1-2; XI, 1-4; XVII, 1; XIX 1-3).

    (Cordero, L'histoire du texte de Parménide, p. 13).

  4. Brandis, Christian August. 1813. Commentationum Eleaticarum. Altona: J. F. Hammerich.

    Pars prima: Xenophanis, Parmenidis, et Melisii doctrina et propria philosophorum reliquis veterumque auctorum testimoniis exposita.

    Sectio secunda: De Parmenide pp. 85-182

    This edition contains all the fragments with the exception of the followings: III; V, 1-2; XVII (five verses).

    (Cordero, L'histoire du texte de Parménide, vol. II p. 14).

  5. Karsten, Simon. 1835. Parmenidis Eleatae Carminis reliquiae. De vita ejus et studiis disseruit, fragmenta explicuit, philosophiam illustravit Simon Karsten. Amsterdam: J. Müller.

    Series: Philosophorum graecorum veterum praesertim qui ante Platonem floruerunt operum reliquiae,Volumen primum, pars altera.

    This is the first edition that contain all the 19 fragments of Parmenides' Poem.

  6. Mullach, Friedrich Wilhelm August. 1845. Aristotelis De Melisso, Xenophane et Gorgia disputationes, cum Eleaticorum Philosophorum fragmentis et Ocelli lucani, qui fertur, De universi natura libello. Berlin: W. Besser.

    Greek text and Latin translation, pp. 111-121.

  7. Diels, Hans. 1879. Doxographi Graeci. Berlin: G. Reimer.

    This work identifies the transmitters of the philosophical opinions in Antiquity.

    Italian translation by Luigi Torraca, I Dossografi greci, Catania, A. Milani, 1961.

  8. ———. 1882. Simplicii in Aristotelis Physicorum Libros quattuor priores Commentaria.

    First volume of the critical edition of Simplicius Commentary to Aristotle's Physics, the most important source for the text of Parmenides' Poem.

    The second volume, Simplicii in Aristotelis Physicorum Libros quattuor posteriores Commentaria, was published by H. Diels in 1895 (Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca, voll. IX and X).

  9. ———. 1897. Parmenides Lehrgedicht mit einem Anhang über griechische Thûren und Schlöser. Berlin: Georg Reimer.

    Greek text, German translation with introduction and commentary.

    Second edition with a new Preface by Walter Burkert and a revised bibliography by Daniela De Cecco, Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag 2003.

    The Greek text of the Poem was reprinted in the Fragmente der Vorsokatriker.

    Inhalt: Vorwort im Namen der Herausgeber VII; Vorwort zur 2. Auflage, von Walter Burkert IX; Reprint 1; Einleitung durch Hermann Diels 3; Lehrgedicht 28; Kommentare 46; Über griechische Thüren und Schlösser 117; Nachtrag 152; Sachregister 154; Vergleichung der Ausgaben 164; Revidierte Bibliographie 165; Anhang 177-178.

  10. ———. 1901. Poetarum Philosophorum Fragmenta. Berlin: Weidmann.

    First edition of the Poet-Philosophers; will serve as a basis for Diels (1903).

  11. Diels, Hans, and Walther, Kranz. 1903. Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker. Berlin: Weidmann.

    Second edition 1906; third 1912; fourth 1922; fifth by Walther Kranz 1934; sixth 1952 (many reprints).

    Parmenides is the author number 28, pp. 217-246 of the sixth edition.

English translations

  1. Cornford, Francis Macdonald. 1939. Plato and Parmenides. Parmenides' Way of truth and Plato's Parmenides Translated, with an Introduction and a Running Commentary. London: K. Paul, Trench, Trubner & co. Ltd.

    Reprinted by Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980.

    Contents: Preface V; List of abbreviations XI; Introduction. Chapter I. The earliest Pythagorean cosmogony 1; Chapter II. Parmenides' Way of Truth 28; Chapter III. Zeno and Pythagorean Atomism 53; The Parmenides 63; Index 247.

    "This book was undertaken with the hope that a close study of the whole chain of argument [of Plato's Parmenides] would bring to light some method of interpretation that would give the dialogue a serious significance, worthy of its author and consistent with its position in the history of Greek thought. I could find not the faintest sign of any theological revelation. On the other hand there were innumerable features whose presence could not be accounted for in a mere parody or light-hearted polemic. The conclusion reached was that the second part of the dialogue is an extremely subtle and masterly analysis, dealing with problems of the sort we call logical, which we know to have been much in Plato's mind in his later period. The assumptions required to yield this conclusion will be set out in the commentary introducing the dialectical exercise.

    As a general rule, Plato's predecessors and contemporaries (including Aristotle) throw a surer light upon his meaning than his remote successors, whose systems betray the influence of many centuries of religious and philosophical development. Accordingly, in a somewhat long introduction I have tried to fill in the historical background. The conversation in the dialogue arises out of a reading of Zeno's controversial treatise, directed against critics who had derided what seemed to them the absurd consequences of Parmenides' reasoning. It is necessary to form some picture of the position held by these critics themselves and of the nature of Zeno's counter-attack. Behind this controversy, again, lay Parmenides' own system; and this, in its turn, had involved the rejection of the Pythagorean doctrine he had learnt in his youth.

    I have therefore begun with an attempt to reconstruct the earliest Pythagorean cosmogony. The second chapter gives an account of Parmenides' Way of Truth and of its relation to the rest of his poem. The third deals with Zeno and his opponents. All these topics are relevant to the understanding of the dialectical exercise, which not only includes a searching criticism of Eleatic dogma, but indicates the lines on which Plato would remodel the Pythagorean system." (Preface, IX-X)

  2. Freeman, Kathleen. 1946. The Pre-Socratic Philosophers. A Companion to Diels 'Fragmente der Vorsokratiker'. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

    A complete English translation of the 'B' passages (the 'Fragments') from Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (Fifth edition).

    Reprinted in 1983 by Cambridge University Press.

  3. Tarán, Leonardo. 1965. Parmenides. A Text with Translation, Commentary and Critical Essays. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Contents: Foreword VII-IX; List of bibliographical abbreviations X-XIV; Part I: Parmenides' life 1; Fragments I-XIX: Text, translation, and commentary 7; Part I: Critical essays 173; Chapter One: Parmenides concept of Being 175; Chapter Two: Aletheia and Doxa 202; Chapter Three: The world of appearance described in the Doxa 231; Chapter Four: Parmenides in the ancient philosophical tradition 269; Appendix I 296; Appendix II 299; Index of Fragments of Parmenides 303; Index of passages 305; Index of proper names 309-314.

    "Parmenides' doctrine represents a turning-point in Greek philosophy, one that can truly be said to determine the course of Greek thought until the time of Aristotle. Not only Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and the Atomists but also Plato and Aristotle tried to answer the dilemma put forward by Parmenides, namely, that since any difference from Being is absolute non-Being, and as such unthinkable, no account of the world of difference and change can be valid. But this doctrine not only invalidates any explanation of the sensible world, it asserts that this world insofar as it is different from Being is non-existent. Because it seems of fundamental importance for the understanding of Greek philosophy to determine exactly what Parmenides thought, I decided to study all available evidence about his work. My decision was based on the conviction that only such a study can be of value today, for Parmenides' philosophy is one in which all is in all and any interpretation of part of it risks, by not taking into consideration other aspects of his thought, being contradicted by the results of another partial study.

    I have devoted the first part of the book to a line by line commentary on the fragments. I have edited the text only to facilitate reference and to complete in part the critical apparatus given by Diels-Kranz. I have made use of the best available editions of the ancient authors who quote Parmenides' text. A fresh study of the manuscripts of Simplicius' commentaries to Aristotle's Physics and De Caelo may still add to our knowledge, but I am convinced that even such a study would not drastically change the status of the text of Parmenides. The variant readings given in the critical apparatus and sometimes in the commentary are selective and are especially meant to illustrate the places where a variant reading may be of importance for the interpretation of the text.

    The translation has no pretension to literary value and has been added as a complement to the commentary, to reduce as much as possible the number of ambiguities in the construction of the Greek. Each fragment is followed by its commentary, but in a few places discussion of the text is postponed till the second part of the book to preserve the unity of the first three chapters. These chapters deal with more general aspects of Parmenides' thought: his notion of Being, the relation of Aletheia to Doxa, and the content of the second part of the poem. The fourth chapter attempts to determine what the ancients took Parmenides' philosophy to be and what value this testimony has for the historical reconstruction of Parmenides' thought.

    Since such a study as the present is by its very nature largely polemical, I wish to emphasize here my indebtedness to the scholars who have devoted themselves to the study of Parmenides and not least to those with whose interpretations I happen to disagree. In particular I would like to mention the pioneering work of H. Diels, E. Zeller, W. A. Heidel, and H. Frankel. The book, with some changes of form and content, is a doctoral dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Princeton University in September 1962. But I have taken into consideration studies on Parmenides that reached me up to December 1963." (from the Preface)

  4. Kirk, Geoffrey Stephen, Raven, George Earle, and Schofield, Malcolm. 1983. The Presocratic Philosophers. A Critical History with a Selection of Texts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Second revised edition by M. Schofield; first edition 1957 by K. G. Kirk and J. E. Raven.

    See Chapter VIII - Parmenides of Elea - pp. 239-262.

    "This book is designed primarily for those who have more than a casual interest in the history of early Greek thought; but by translating all Greek passages, and confining some of the more detailed discussion to small-type notes at the end of paragraphs, we have also aimed to make the book useful for those students of the history of philosophy or science who have no previous acquaintance with this important and fascinating field.

    Two points should be emphasized. First, we have limited our scope to the chief Presocratic `physicists' and their forerunners, whose main preoccupation was with the nature (physis) and coherence of things as a whole. More specialized scientific interests were simultaneously developing throughout the sixth and fifth centuries B.C., especially in mathematics, astronomy, geography, medicine and biology; but for lack of space, and to some extent of evidence, we have not pursued these topics beyond the interests of the chief physicists. We have also extruded the Sophists, whose positive philosophical contribution, often exaggerated, lay mainly in the fields of epistemology and semantics. Secondly, we have not set out to produce a necessarily orthodox exposition (if, indeed, such a thing is conceivable in a field where opinion is changing so rapidly), but have preferred in many places to put forward our own interpretations. At the same time we have usually mentioned other interpretations of disputed points, and have always tried to present the reader with the main materials for the formation of his own judgement.


    Where the evidence is fuller and clearer - particularly where considerable fragments survive, as for example in the case of Parmenides the commentary can naturally be shorter; where the evidence is sparser and more confusing, as for example in the case of Anaximander or the Pythagoreans, our own explanations must be longer and more involved. Chapter 1 in particular, which deals with a part of the subject which is often neglected, is perhaps more detailed in parts than its ultimate importance demands, and nonspecialists are advised to leave it until last.

    Only the most important texts have been quoted, and those in an inevitably personal selection. For a nearly complete collection of fragments and testimonies the reader should turn to H. Diels, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (5th and later editions, Berlin, 1934-54, edited by W. Kranz)." (from the Preface to the First edition)

    "It is now more than twenty-five years since The Presocratic Philosophers first appeared; it has been through many printings since, with minor corrections until 1963 and subsequently without change. (...)

    There are major and important changes in this new edition. M. Schofield has completely rewritten the chapters on the Eleatics and Pythagoreans, principally because of work by analytic philosophers on the former and by Walter Burkert (in particular) on the latter -- work which has called for some reassessment of the Cornford-Raven view on the interrelations between the two schools. Alcmaeon has been incorporated in these chapters." (From the Preface to the 1983 revised edition).

  5. Gallop, David. 1984. Parmenides of Elea. Fragments. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

    Contents: Acknowledgments VII; Preface IX; Abbreviations XI; Introduction 3; Glossary 41; Text and translation of the Fragments 45; Fragment contexts 95; Testimonia on Parmenides' life and teaching 104; Sources and authorities 124; Bibliographical note 133; Select bibliography 135; Index 141-144.

    "This volume contains a text and a new translation of the extant fragments of Parmenides' philosophical poem. It also offers the first complete translation into English of the contexts in which the fragments have come down to us, and of the ancient testimonia concerning Parmenides' life and thought. All of these secondary materials are collected in the comprehensive work of Diels-Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (6th edition, Berlin 1951), hereafter referred to as D-K, and all have been included here.

    The purpose of the translation is to provide an English version that will be of service to modern readers who wish to explore the poem in detail. All the fragments have been translated in full, and appear in the order that has become canonical since the fifth edition of Diels-Kranz. References to the fragments are given in the conventional style derived from this order. thus, 8.50 refers to line 50 of fragment 8.

    As far as differences of word-order allow, the translation of the poem has been arranged in lines corresponding to those of the Greek text. This style has been adopted purely for ease of reference, and not with the aim of producing a poetic version. No attempt has been made to capture the literary qualities of Parmenides' verse or the archaism of his language.

    Richard Robinson, in the introduction to his translation of Aristotle's Politics Ill-IV (Oxford 1962, p. XXX), has characterized a translation as 'a shameful form of book.' For by offering a translation of each sentence in his original, the translator 'implies that he knows that this is what the original sentence means. But sometimes he does not know what it means, and is only guessing as well as he can.' In publishing a fresh version of Parmenides' poem the present translator makes no claim to know what every sentence in the original means. To signal the worst uncertainties, alternative renderings have been appended for passages whose meaning is disputed, or where major questions of interpretation hinge upon the text or translation adopted. In these places the reader will find it instructive to compare alternatives. He will then quickly discover how completely he puts himself at the translator's mercy, if he relies entirely upon any single version. He may also find it useful, especially if he is wholly dependent upon translation, to consult the short glossary of terms that present special problems of translation or interpretation.

    The introduction advocates one plausible, modern interpretation of Parmenides. It also tries to bring out the more important points still in dispute, and some major philosophical questions raised by the poem. It has seemed better to write an extended essay, cross-referenced to the translation, than to provide a separate series of exegetic and critical notes. This arrangement, regrettably, has made it necessary to skate all too lightly over much significant detail. But it also avoids dispersing editorial comment too widely for convenient use; and by allowing a more continuous exposition of the poem than is possible in separate notes, it may better help the explorer to find his bearings in the Eleatic jungle.

    The notes to the introduction occasionally qualify or enlarge upon points made in the text. Their main purpose, however, is to provide guidance to the secondary literature, supportive either of views adopted in the text without argument or of defensible alternatives. Almost every line of Parmenides is controversial, and it is not possible, in the space available, to discuss every problem, let alone to argue for definitive solutions. Although the present exposition is thus unavoidably 'partisan,' it attempts to air disagreements sufficiently to provide some awareness of what is at issue. Given this limited aim, the use of secondary sources is necessarily selective. Fuller treatment of the literature would have incurred the risk of producing a work impenetrable to all but specialists. And of such works Parmenides has perhaps received his due share already.

    Discussion has therefore been confined mainly to a small number of leading studies in English. All sources used, together with others readily accessible, have been listed in the Bibliography." (from the Preface)

  6. Coxon, Allan Hartley. 1986. The Fragments of Parmenides. A Critical Text with Introduction, Translation, the Ancient Testimonia and a Commentary. Assen: Van Gorcum.

    New edition; Las Vegas, Parmenides Publishing, 2009.

    Contents: Preface V-VI; Introduction 1; Text and translation of the Fragments 41; The ancient Testimonia 95; Commentary 156; Appendix 257; Index 267-277.

    "The text of the fragments of Parmenides was placed on a firm foundation by Diels (Simplicii in Aristotelis Physicorum Libros quattuor priores Cornmentaria, 1882; Parmenides Lehrgedicht, 1897; Poetarum Philosophorum Fragmenta, 1901). Since the latest editions of Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker depart in several places from Diels' own text, it seemed desirable to re-examine the tradition, and the following pages were originally planned as a simple text with fuller critical apparatus than has appeared since Poetarum Philosophorum Fragmenta and with epic parallels. A revised collection of testimonia was then added, incorporating the Platonic, Aristotelian and Neoplatonic discussions, mostly written with knowledge of the complete text and essential for understanding the fragments, but in the main omitted by Diels. Finally it seemed inescapable to complete the work with an introduction and commentary.


    The inclusion among the testimonia of philosophical as well as of purely doxographical material necessitated the substitution of a broadly chronological order for the analytical order adopted by Diels. I have made use of the standard printed editions, but have modified the text in numerous places, particularly in Proclus' commentary on the Parmenides, where the readings are based on my own collations. Textual notes are added only where clarity demands it. In citing the text of Aetius after Doxographi Graeci I have included short forms of the chapter-headings, which formulate the questions which the information extracted from the original works has been adapted to answer, and apart from which it cannot be evaluated." (from the Preface)

    See the Review of the first edition of the book by Malcolm Schofield in Phronesis 32, 1987, pp. 349-359.

  7. Sider, David, and Johnstone Jr., Henry. 1986. The Fragments of Parmenides. Bryn Mawr: Thomas Library, Bryn Mawr College.

    "This Bryn Mawr Commentary differs from most in that the text has been prepared especially for this edition (by D.S.) and the commentary has had to take account of the fact that there are major disagreements among scholars over the manuscript readings, the meanings, and even the syntax of many passages crucial for an understanding of Parmenides' meaning. Hence, the number of places where we offer several possibilities (tending to put our preferred interpretation first)." (From the Preface)

    "Metrical Note

    Parmenides wrote in dactylic hexameter, the meter of Homer and Hesiod, whom he followed also in matters of dialect and morphology. Each line of this verse scheme consists of six feet, each either a dactyl (a long syllable followed by two short syllables, _ ‿ ‿ ) or a spondee (two long syllables, _ _). The sixth foot is always treated as a spondee; the first five are more often dactyls than spondees, especially the fifth foot, where spondees are rare (cf. 1.7).

    A syllable is long if it contains a diphthong or long vowel, η and ω are always long; α, ι, and υ are either long or short (check LSJ [Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon]); ε and ο are always short. A syllable containing a short vowel is long if the vowel is followed by two consonants (including the double consonants ζ, ξ, and ψ). Thus, in 1.1, although Ἵπποι contains a short iota, the first syllable is long. Exception: a plosive (ηβφ κγχ τδθ) followed by a liquid (λρ) or nasal (μν) need not produce a long syllable; examples are at 8.3, 8.46, 16.1.

    Note the two following provisos with the above rules. (1) If a word ends in a naturally long syllable or diphthong and is followed by a word beginning with a vowel, the final vowel or diphthong may be shortened (e.g., 1.26 ἐπεὶ οὔτι). This process is called correption and may also occur within a word. (2) Two vowels in succession not forming one of the usual diphthongs may be read as one long syllable (e.g., 1.17 πυλέων). This process is called synizesis."

  8. Henn, Martin. 2003. Parmenides of Elea. A Verse Translation with Interpretative Essays and Commentary to the Text. Westport: Praeger Publishers.

    Contents: 1. Parmenides and his Predecessors 1; 2. Translation of the Diels B-Fragments 23; 3. The Question of Being: a dialectic of alternative paths 31; 4. Fragment B3: the metaphysical unity of Thinking and Being 51; 5. Parmenides' closed-loop concept of time and the illusion of linear time-consciousness 67; 6. Necessity, possibility, and contingency 85; 7. The teachings of the Goddess 101; 8. The Diels and Kranz Greek text in the order translated 109; 9. Commentary on the Greek 115; Select bibliography 143; Index locorum: the Diels B-Fragments of Parmenides 145-147.

    "Parmenides recounts a dream voyage through the stars in a chariot drawn by swift chargers and beautiful attending maidens. Traveling through profound darkness the train arrives at the gates of the ways of Night and Day. Avenging Justice holds the keys; yet the maidens persuade her to open the gates to insure safe passage to the palace of the Goddess, who teaches Parmenides the Truth of Being.

    The Goddess instructs Parmenides on two ways of thinking inquiry: The one, that Being is, and must always be; the other, that Being is not, and cannot ever be. She then counsels him not to follow the second path, the Way of Opinion, as it represents the errant path of mortal minds, which do not recognize the eternal Essence of all that is. But by following the Way of Truth, Thinking and Being are found to be the same; while the unlimited source of all there is is ungenerable, indestructible, systematic, and whole, subsisting in one eternally present "now" which transcends the passage of time. The circumference of the cosmos holds the clue to Being's unified simplicity. The Goddess then tells Parmenides to learn the opinions of mortals, so that he may never be outmatched in argument. Finally, the Goddess speaks of Destiny who rules sexual intercourse and painful birth. She warns that everything contained in the mortal cosmology is bound by Necessity to inevitable decay; but Being shall never cease to be.

    The following translation recognizes Hermann Diels' original numbering of the B-fragments from Parmenides Lehrgedicht (1897), which are listed on the left in parentheses. But Diels' original ordering of the B- Fragments has been modified to register a coherent flow of ideas and images." (p. 23)

  9. Geldard, Richard G. 2007. Parmenides and the Way of Truth. Rhinebeck: Monkfish Book Publishing Company.

    Table of Contents: Introduction VII-XI; Chapter 1. Parmenides of Elea 1; Chapter 2. The Fragments 20; Chapter 3. Wrestling with Parmenides 52; Chapter 4. The Way of Truth 92; Chapter 5. From Being to Consciousness 109: Glossary 127; Suggested reading 128; Endnotes 129-131.

    "Parmenides wrote a long poem entitled "On Nature." We have several fragments of the poem, preserved by later historians, philosophers and commentators.

    Two-thirds, possibly more, is lost. We know a little more about the whole, fortunately, from Plato's dialogue "Parmenides," which describes a visit by the aging philosopher to Athens, where he meets with interested intellectuals, including a young Socrates. A small industry of interpretation has evolved out of the complexity of Plato's dialogue, leading to varied conclusions about the missing sections. But, more of that below.

    The "Nature" of the title is the Greek physis [foo-sis], a term that expresses a visionary concern for "the nature of things," not just the tangible facts of physical nature. It appears, in fact, that most Presocratic truth-seekers expressed their views in a similar way, entitling their work "On Nature" as a sign that they were not writing a poem entitled "On the Gods." Physis was the general topic, and each thinker made a contribution, some in more abstract language than others. That Parmenides chose the verse form was also an accepted means of expression, following Hesiod and, to some extent, Homer. Verse was the language of revelation. The rhythm and sound of the hexameters' elevated thought above ordinary discourse. In more recent times, we have the example of Shakespeare, who employed prose in his plays only for fools and madmen. Iambic pentameter was reserved for rational (albeit sometimes brutal) discourse.

    It is also useful to remember that the Greeks spoke their verse aloud. Silent reading was unknown until the Roman era. The eye followed the unbroken line of letters, the words rolled off the tongue, were caught by the ear, and only then could meaning be grasped by the understanding. Since Greek is an inflected language, word order depends on sound, how the words flow together, how vowels and consonants combine to produce a smooth, harmonic measure. As a result, the hard consonants do not bump into one another. A vowel invariably intercedes to smooth the way. Word order then, is based on auditory effect, not grammar, and meaning arises as much from this effect as from the vocabulary, making translation into English a challenge, especially from poetry to poetry. Poetic licence is required, even encouraged.

    As flawed as the following transliterated verse is, it is a serious attempt to capture both the sound and sense of Parmenidean revelation, which is what his poem was meant to be. The result, hopefully, is revealed truth, arrived at in communion with divine communion, at least insofar as Parmenides experienced it. The poem emerges from the force of Persuasion, the goddess who keeps company with Justice, whose task it is to guard the gates giving access to the realm of higher knowledge. The youth, or kouros, gains admittance to this realm through his desire for truth and comes from the strength of eros in his soul. It is access that anyone who is worthy and who deeply desires such communion can attain. On the basis of what is traditionally called the 'proem,' his journey into the cosmos to the goddess, we are asked to accept that Parmenides was granted admittance to a special realm and once in the presence of divinity, received the Way of 'Truth." (pp. 20-21)

  10. Coxon, Allan Hartley. 2009. The Fragments of Parmenides. A Critical Text with Introduction and Translation, the Ancient Testimonia and a Commentary. Las Vegas: Parmenides Publishing.

    Revised and expanded edition edited with new translations by Richard McKirahan and a new Preface by Malcolm Schofield.

    Contents: Preface to the revised and expanded edition by Malcolm Schofield VII; Editor's Note by Richard McKirahan XI; Preface XIII-XIV; Introduction 1; Text and translation of the Fragments 45; The ancient Testimonia with English translation 99; Commentary 269; Appendix 389; Concordance 400; Indexes & Glossary 403-461.

    "The book's other major contribution to scholarship is its collection of testimonia. Coxon's is a much fuller selection than was provided by Diels and Kranz in Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker. It is ordered not thematically (as in Diels-Kranz), but in chronological sequence of the writers who transmit the information: whether in their own extant texts (as with Plato or Aristotle), or -- where those texts do not survive -- as recorded in later authors (e.g. for Eudemus, in Simplicius; for Posidonius, in Strabo: though here Coxon usefully refers in the first instance to a standard modern collection of fragments and testimonia of the cited author wherever possible). To enhance the accessibility of the new edition, an English translation facing the original Greek or (occasionally) Latin has been prepared by Richard McKirahan.

    Coxon himself indicated -- in handwritten notes on two copies of the book -- where he thought revisions or corrections were needed to the first edition. In this second edition any such instance amounting to more than correction of a typographical error is pointed out in a corresponding footnote (above Richard McKirahan's initials). One extra testimonium is added: Xenocrates, T16a. Really substantial revisions are in fact few and far between. The most significant comes in the commentary on lines 34-41 of Fragment 8, where Coxon had revised his understanding of Parmenides' grammatical construction at lines 35-36, and had rethought the overall purpose of the passage. Here as elsewhere the text of the first edition is preserved in a footnote.

    Richard McKirahan's translation of the testimonia is not the only extra help offered to the reader. There are also English translations of all Greek words and phrases throughout the Introduction, Commentary and Appendix, and line numbers have been inserted in the testimonia themselves to enhance ease of reference. Highly abbreviated forms of names of ancient authors and works have been spelled out more fully. New supplementary material includes the Greek-English Index and an English-Greek glossary to the translations of the testimonia. Finally, as a way of enabling the looking up of page references based on the pagination of the first edition, the original page numbers are provided here in square brackets inside the margins." (pp. VIII-IX)

  11. Palmer, John. 2009. Parmenides and Presocratic Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Appendix: The Fragments of Parmenides' Poem. Introduction 350; Text and translation of the Fragments 362; Textual notes 376-387.

    "The notes that follow discuss those places in the fragments where any real uncertainty remains about what Parmenides wrote. Since their aim is merely to explain why the readings printed above have been adopted (in places where this has not already been made clear in the appendix's introduction), I have tried to keep these notes as brief as possible. For the most part, readings reflecting the emergence of scholarly consensus have been printed without comment. Since, for reasons already indicated, it has not been possible to furnish an apparatus criticus, manuscript variants are recorded here when necessary and as reported in recent editions. Instances where the manuscripts preserve viable alternatives, or even readings genuinely useful for determining what Parmenides himself wrote, are less numerous than one might suppose." (p. 376)

  12. Graham, Daniel W., ed. 2010. The Texts of Early Greek Philosophy: The Complete Fragments and Selected Testimonies of the Major Presocratics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Translated and edited in two volumes by D. W. Graham.

    Vol. I, Chapter 6 Parmenides pp. 203-244.

  13. Mckirahan, Richard. 2011. Philosophy before Socrates. An Introduction with Texts and Commentary. Indianapolis: Hackett.

    Second revised edition (first edition 1994).

    See Chapter 11, Parmenides of Elea, pp. 145-173.

    Concluding remarks: "Parmenides' Truth left a lasting mark on philosophy. The present account has been generous in its assessment of this section of his poem. It would be easy to fault him for making our task more difficult than it need be. His language is frequently obscure, as is his argumentation. It is frequently an uphill battle to discern how his train of thought proceeds. There are gaps in the reasoning and extensive use both of terms that may (or may not) be intended as near-synonyms (but how near?) and of figurative, even metaphorical language that needs to be interpreted. Objections can be raised against the arrangement of the arguments, since it is not always clear where one topic leaves off and another begins. In general, it requires a great deal of sympathy to find a way for the arguments go through. My reason for interpreting Parmenides charitably is that only in this way can we appreciate the interest, the potential, and the challenge of his ideas and arguments. Only if we make the effort to unravel his tortuous reasoning and fill in the gaps in ways congenial to his point of view can we hope to understand his enormous influence on philosophy,(57) And enormous it was. With Parmenides Greek philosophy began to become more systematic. Argument played an increasingly important role in the exposition of theories. The subsequent history of Presocratic philosophy is often seen in terms of responses to Parmenides: Zeno and Melissus developed his ideas, while Anaxagoras, Empedocles, and the Atomists (to name only the most important figures) accepted that there is no generation from or perishing into nothing and composed their cosmologies on this basis, even while disagreeing on other points of Eleatic doctrine." (p. 173)

    (57) One of Melissus's virtues is that he presents his numerical monism in a clearer and more systematic way. See Ch. 15. [Melussus of Samo, pp. 293-302]

  14. Laks, André, and Most, Glenn W. 2016. Early Greek Philosophy, Volume V: Western Greek Thinkers, Part 2. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    19. Parmenides, pp. 3-151.

    "Parmenides is the author of a single poem in dactylic hexameters. Its text was preserved in its entirety at least until the time of Simplicius (sixth century AD), who seems to have recognized that he was making more probable its survival, at least in part, by citing large extracts from it. One hundred sixty-one lines have reached us, the vast majority of these thanks to him. We possess almost the entirety of the introduction (or “proem”), a very large part (90 percent, according to Diels) of the first of the two grand sections announced at the end of this introduction, and a small fraction (barely 10 percent, again according to Diels) of the second part. It is probable that the whole poem did not exceed the length of one of the shorter books of Homer’s epics, between three hundred and four hundred lines." (pp. 3-4)


    "Although we possess only few verses originally belonging to the second part of the poem, two programmatic passages (D8, D9) and the doxographic reports give us a fairly precise idea of its contents. This part was in any case Parmenides’ attempt to improve on his predecessors’ attempts to explain the world. His starting point is constituted by two principles, which he calls “forms” (morphai), Fire (or Light) and Night, which mortals are said to have posited (this implies a certain arbitrariness). Each principle is in a relation of identity to itself, in the image of being, but it is also opposed to the other one: the fire of day is mild and light, the night is dense and heavy. Their mixture, out of which the world has progressively issued, is the work of a divinity with a demiurgic function. The domain covered by the explanations given was broad, reaching from the nature of the stars and their trajectories to the reproduction of living beings. It is understandable that antiquity could have considered Parmenides as a full-fledged “natural philosopher,” despite the Platonic-Aristotelian tendency to consider only the first part of his poem and to treat his cosmophysiology as being at best secondary. It is true that Parmenides’ immediate disciples, Zeno and Melissus, renounced all explanation bearing on the world, which they considered simply inconsequential from the point of view of the doctrine of being." (p.6)

French translations

  1. Riaux, Francis. 1840. Éssai sur Parménide d'Élée suivi du texte et de la traduction des fragments. Paris: Librairie De Joubert.

    Text and translation pp. 206-230.

  2. Beaufret, Jean. 1955. Le poème de Parménide. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

    Reprint 1966: Table. Avertissement de l'éditeur V; Avant-propod VII-VIII; Introduction è al lecture du Poème de Parménide 1; Fragments 75-93.

    Avant-propos (1955) "L'origine du présent travail est une traduction du Poème de Parménide laissée par Jean-Jacques Riniéri, lorsqu'en août 1950 il quitta Paris pour le voyage en Hollande dont il ne devait pas nous revenir.

    La traduction de Riniéri, relevée par Olivier Revault d'Allones, me fut remise en 1951 par Roger Stéphane, qui me demanda d'écrire quelques pages d'introduction.

    Le projet d'introduction convenu au départ se transforma, au cours des années qui suivirent, en une méditation presque incessante et souvent découragée des difficultés de plus en plus redoutables du texte parménidien. Cette méditation m'amena à reprendre d'un bout à l'autre la traduction de Riniéri. Il semblait d'abord qu'il y avait lieu surtout de la compléter. N'étaient pas traduits en effet les Fragments IX, X, XI et XVIII. Mais la traduction des vers 30 et 35 du Fragment I et des vers 60 et 61 du Fragment VIII manquait également. Or l'interprétation de ces vers a été historiquement décisive poux l'ensemble, car c'est en eux que se concentre toute la difficulté du texte dont ils déterminent l'ajointenient. C'est ainsi qu'un travail qui voulait n'être d'abord que la mise au net d'une traduction a finalement abouti à une autre traduction, caractérisée par une situation différente de la doxa par rapport à l'aletheia et du noein par rapport à l'einai..

    Cette traduction nouvelle est une aventure qui n'aurait sana doute jamais été tentée sans l'entreprise initiale de Riniéri. Elle a été menée à son état actuel avec le concours de Michel Gourinat, Francis Olivier, André Wormser.

    Plusieurs entretiens avee Martin Heidegger ont été d'une aide inestimable en ce qui concerne l'essentiel.

    Jean-Jacques Riniéri avait suivi le texte que proposait Diels (Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, t. I, 1912). Les Fragments sont présentés ici selon l'ordre adopté par Walther Kranz dans la récente réédition du même ouvrage (1952). Le texte grec est celui de Kranz, sauf quelques modifications (vers 7, 12, 19, 36, du Fragment VIII ; cf. notes aux passages indiqués).

    Qu'il me soit permis de penser que l'interprétation proposée dans les pages qui suivent demeure fidèle à l'initiative, à la passion qui portaient Jean-Jacques Riniéri à la découverte de Parménide."

  3. Cordero, Néstor-Luis. 1984. Les deux chemins de Parménide. Paris: Vrin.

    Édition critique, traduction, études et bibliographie.

    Deuxième édition corrigée et augmentée 1997.

    Table des matières: Introduction IX-XIV; Introduction à la deuxième edition 1; Partie I: Le poème de Parménide 17; Partie II: Études critiques. Chapitre I: Analyse de la présentation des deux chemins de la recherche dans le fr. 2 45; Chapitre II: Le contenu des deux thèses du fr. 2 73; Chapitre III: Les deux chemins dans les fragments 6,7 et 8,34-78 110; Chapitre IV: L'Alétheia, la Doxa, et la portée de l'enseignement parménidien 176; AppendiceI: La significatin du verbe einai dans la littérature pré-prménidienne. La racine indoeuropéenne. Le Lexikon d'Ebeling. La thèse de Ch. H. Kahn. Les trois nuances d'einai exemplifiées par trois utilisations différentes 215; Appendice II: La tradition manuscrite du vers 6,3. Liste de manuscripts qui contiennent le vers 6,3. Les variations du texte 234; Partie III: Bibliographie parménidienne 237-272; Table thématique 273; Supplément de la bibliographie 276; Oridre chronologique du Supplément de la bibliographie 288: Ouvrages cités 289; Auteurs cités 294; Passages cités 298-300.

    "Notre propos n'est pas d'embrasser la totalité de la pensée de Parménide. Les fragments de son Poème qui ont été conservés offrent un champ propice à l'orientation de la recherche dans des directions très diverses: c'est d'ailleurs ce qui fait la richesse de Parménide. La preuve la plus convaincante de la pérennité d'un système philosophique est le fait qu'il est inépuisable. Là où l'exégète a cru trouver le noyau de l'enseignement d'un penseur déterminé, une analyse effectuée dans une autre direction découvre de nouveaux éléments sur lesquels se fonderont de nouvelles théories. Dans ce sens, le cas de Parménide est particulièrement représentatif. Pour l'antiquité classique, sa place a été assurée par sa défense véhémente de l'unité de l'Être (4), grâce à laquelle le philosophe d'Élée est devenu "vénérable et redoutable" (5). Plusieurs siècles plus tard, en revanche, la philosophie idéaliste a cru trouver dans l'identification de l'être et de la pensée le noyau central de la philosophie parménidienne, et, avec lui, un antécédent illustre de son propre système. Enfin, dans les dernières années, ainsi que l'a observé Ch. H. Kahn, on préfère faire de Parménide soit "un philosophe du langage au sens de Frege ou Wittgenstein", soit "un métaphysicien de l'Être, à la manière de Hegel ou de Heidegger" (6).

    Nous ne prétendons pas avoir trouvé la solution, c'est-à dire le point de vue à partir duquel la philosophie de Parménide révélera la clé de sa fertilité. L'état fragmentaire dans lequel nous est parvenu son Poème nous place en état d'infériorité par rapport aux penseurs classiques pour émettre un jugement sur la totalité de son oeuvre. C'est pour cela que nous avons préféré limiter notre étude à un seul problème. Toutefois, nous avons choisi un problème qui, à notre avis, occupe une place de choix dans les fragments du Poème que nous possédons actuellement: le problème des chemins de la connaissance, des voies de la recherche. Ces odoi dizhsios; sont de véritables thèses que la Déesse révèle au poète (et que le poète, à savoir Parménide, révèle au lecteur-auditeur), le long desquelles la pensée peut s'acheminer pour obtenir soit une explication cohérente de la réalité, soit une "trompeuse série de paroles" (fr. 8,52). C'est dans cette alternative, présentée sous forme de thèses contradictoires, que réside l'enseignement parménidien; et c'est précisément cet aspect dichotomique de la présentation des problèmes de la part de Parménide que nous tenterons de mettre en relief dans notre travail.

    Pour atteindre cet objectif, nous proposons d'analyser certains éléments généralement admis dans la pensée de Parménide, mais qui, dans la plupart des cas, ne sont pas poursuivis jusqu'à leurs conséquences extrêmes. Dans ce sens, nous pouvons affirmer que nous allons tenter de donner une version 'extrémiste' de Parménide, même au risque de tomber sous le coup de la critique de R. Kent Sprague, pour laquelle les érudits qui étudient la philosophie éléatique sont généralement plus éléates que les philosophes en question (7). La quasi totalité des chercheurs qui se sont intéressés à la philosophie de Parménide s'accordent sur le fait que sa pensée est structurée autour du principe de la non - contradiction (8). Nous n'affirmons pas ni ne nions pour autant que Parménide ait "inventé" ce principe, ni qu'il ait eu conscience de son utilisation, mais il ne faut pas oublier que le principe du tiers exclu apparaît également chez Parménide (9) -- principe qui renforce celui de la non-contradiction et rend contradictoires toutes les oppositions que nous rencontrons tout au long de son Poème. Sur la base de cette constatation, dont nous fournirons des exemples tout au long de notre travail, nous trouvons chez Parménide un dualisme méthodologique rigoureux qui sépare, "comme d'un coup de hache", l'espace conceptuel, ainsi que l'a remarqué P.M. Schuhl à juste titre (10), en deux régions opposées. Cette dichotome, véritable transposition sur le plan philosophique de la bifurcation mystique que nous trouvons dans les récits orphiques et pythagoriciens (11), constitue, à notre avis, la structure primordiale du raisonnement parménidien. C'est à cette dichotomie qu' obéit la présentation de son enseignement sous la forme de deux thèses contradictoires: les deux chemins de la recherche.

    Notre analyse cherchera à établir le contenu de ces thèses contradictoires ainsi que leur portée, c'est-à-dire le domaine auquel elles s'appliquent et les conséquences qui dérivent de leur acceptation rigoureuse (12). Nous partirons pour cela du fr. 2, où apparaît la première énonciation des "deux seuls chemins de la recherche", et, une fois établie la valeur des deux thèses, nous étudierons leur réapparition (reliée à des problèmes différents) dans les fr. 6, 7 et 8. Ensuite, nous tenterons de découvrir quelques correspondances possibles entre ces chemins de la recherche et le récit mythique du voyage entrepris par le poète-philosophe, tel qu'il figure dans le fr. 1. Enfin, nous analyserons la nouveauté que présente le système de Parménide par rapport à la pensée de ses prédécesseurs." (pp. X-XIII).

    (4) Cf. Idem, Soph. 244e, Parm. 128a; Aristote, Met. A,3,984a.

    (5) Platon, Théet. 183e.

    (6) CH. H. Kahn, More on Parmenides, p. 333.

    (7) Cf. R. Kent Sprague, Compte rendue de Tarán, Parmenides (1965), [Classical Philology, 61, 1966] p. 262.

    (8) Cf. K. Reinhardt (1916), p. 56, et J. Mansfeld (1964), p. 57, n. 3.

    (9) Cf. notamment 8, 16 et 8, 36-7.

    (10) P.M. Scuhl, Essai sur la formation de la pensée grecque, Paris, 1949, p. 284.

    (11) Cf. Idem, p. 285.

    (12) Parmi ces conséquences, la principale est le rejet, en tant que "chemin de recherche", du prétendu "troisième chemin" du fr. 6.

  4. O'Brien, Denis. 1987. Études sur Parménide. Le Poème de Parménide. Paris: Vrin.

    Tome I: Texte, traduction, essai critique par Denis O'Brien en collaboration avec Jean Frère pour la traduction française. Avant-propos de Pierre Aubenque.

    Index: Avant-propos de Pierre Aubenque; Le Poème de Parménide. Text et traduction. Sources des fragments, Texte grec. Traduction en français et en anglais. Notes sur la traduction, Index des mots grecs.

    Essai critique: Introduction à la lecture de Parménide: les deux Voies de l'être et du non-être, pp. 137-302; Indices 305-310.

    English summary. The Poem of Parmenides. Parmenides on existence and non-existence: an introduction to a reading of the fragments pp. 311-319.

  5. Conche, Marcel. 1996. Parménide. Le poème: Fragments. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

    Table des matières: Introduction 5; Abréviations bibliographiques. Bibliographie 9; Présentation. Les deux gestes de Parménide 23; I. L'allégories 41; II. La vérité 75: III. Le mythe 187; Conclusion 269; Index des sources 273; Index des mots grecs 277; Index des padsages d'auteurs anciens 283-288.

    "Pourquoi un poème? Sens doute parce que le poème, plus que la prose, est bâti pour s'inscrire dans les mémoires et pour durer: le support de l'affirmation l'être éternel doit, autant que possible, échapper à la puissance dissolvante du temps. De ce Poème ne subsistent que des fragments, dont l'un, conservé par Sextus Empiricus, a toutefois trente vers, un autre, que l'on doit à Simplicius, plus de soixante.

    Avec eux, les deux premières parties de l'ouvrage ont été préservées, semble-t-il, pour l'essentiel: d'abord le prooemium, le prélude, à teneur allégorique; ensuite la partie pros Alethéia, ou la révélation, par la seule voie du discours (logo), de la vérité de l'être. De la troisième partie de l'ouvrage, où était exposée la genèse mythique (au sens du Timée) du monde sensible, ne restent que des bribes. Notre travail, qui tient compte des éditions essentielles de Karsten (1835) et de Diels (1897), mais aussi de nombre d'autres travaux, vise à donner une interprétation philosophique de l'ensemble. Dans le Sophiste, en 217c, Socrate déclare, disions-nous, avoir entendu Parménide "procéder par interrogations". C'est pourquoi, en 237a, Parménide est dit s'exprimer "aussi bien en prose qu'en vers: le mot prose renvoie aux discussions orales auxquelles il a été fait allusion dans ce même dialogue. Il n'a pas valeur de témoignage quant à une oeuvre écrite de Parménide autre que son Poème (même si l'auteur byzantin de la Suda, s.v. "Parmenides", a cru le contraire)." (pp. 7-8)

  6. Cassin, Barbara. 1998. Parménide. Sur la nature ou sur l'étant. La langue de l'être? Paris: Éditions du Seuil.

    Table: Présentation 9; Parménide, Sur la nature ou sur l'étant. Texte et traduction 69; Glossaire 119 Dossier 252; Bibliographie 295; Index des mots grecs 305; Index des passages cités de Parménide 313-317; Remerciements 318.

    "Pour nous modernes, c'est la grande philologie allemande du xixe siècle qui est le maître d' oeuvre de cette restauration créatrice de Parménide, en particulier grâce à Hermann Diels. Car Diels opère à toutes les étapes requises pour bâtir. En amont : il édite les textes des principaux citateurs, essentiellement Simplicius qui, au vie siècle apr. J.-C., soit dix siècles après Parménide, a transmis dans son commentaire à la Physique d'Aristote et au Ciel dix des dix-neuf fragments du Poème, dont le plus long de tous (une séquence de 52 vers composant le fragment VIII) ; assez pour reconstruire un tout différencié, avec une première partie, sous le signe de la "vérité", qui décrit la route de l'être et sa distinction d'avec celle du non-être [fr.II à VIII, 51], et une seconde partie, sous le signe de l' "opinion", qui expose les erreurs des mortels, sous forme d'une physique, d'une cosmogonie ou d'une cosmologie [VIII, 51-XIX]. Mais Diels a d'abord plus largement, dans les Doxographes grecs, élaboré une perception d'ensemble de la doxographie, c'est-à-dire des voies de la transmission des textes et des doctrines à travers toute l'Antiquité, ayant pour but de situer les sources, d'évaluer leur fiabilité et les types de déformation auxquels s'attendre. Puis il travaille au tissage même du texte : il recense et découpe les fragments en les distinguant des témoignages, les établit en comparant d'abord les sources, puis les manuscrits et les leçons, décide de leur ordre, les traduit aussi, en décidant des archaïsmes recevables. Il en produit pour finir une interprétation plus ou moins standard ou stabilisée, qui aboutit à la Bible toujours inégalée, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, élaborée en 1903 et dont la sixième édition, améliorée par Walther Kranz en 1951-1952, n'a cessé d'être rééditée, traduite et adaptée en toutes les langues (1).

    Mais toutes ces étapes constitutives, qui s'entourent d'un maximum de précautions réellement scientifiques, sont liées dans des enchaînements de procédures codouteuses et co-fictives d'une légitimité, au moins aussi, auto-proclamée. D'autant qu'elles sont, à la base même, bâties sur les pratiques doxographiques de la citation, qui travaillent le sens en ayant l'air de livrer la lettre ou le fait. C'est tout cet ensemble de pratiques et de procédures qui se trouve stratégiquement oublié et approprié dans les interprétations philosophiques ultérieures du Poème de Parménide, qui viennent ajouter leurs cartes à ce château.

    Pour aborder un objet si redoutable et si construit, il me semble pourtant que la méthode est simple. Il faut aller aux points névralgiques, là où se partagent les interprétations. Et tenter d'en comprendre l'ancrage dans le texte: comprendre comment la phrase grecque de Parménide, et peut-être la langue grecque elle-même, est prise dans ce partage. Mon projet n'est pas, ou le moins possible, d'ajouter une auto-proclamation de plus: je voudrais plutôt faire percevoir sur quelques paradigmes à enjeux lourds le degré d'ouverture maximal dans la fabrication du texte et du sens. Le plus facile, le plus utile peut-être aussi, même si de très nettes évolutions se font sentir qui disqualifient ces taxinomies à la serpe, est d'instruire l'antagonisme entre interprétations dites analytiques (anglo-saxonnes, avec Owen et Barnes par exemple) et herméneutiques (plutôt allemandes, ou germano-françaises, avec Heidegger et Beaufret (2). On verra que les points de partage des interprétations reconduisent effectivement à l'idée qu'on se fait de la langue : d'abord une langue naturelle, le grec, qui se mesure à une rationalité, donc à un formalisme, d avaà la fois universels et perfectibles; ou d'abord une langue pensante, le grec, qui se mesure à l'historialité de la pensée." (pp. 12-14)

    (1) De H. Diels: Doxographi Graeci (1879), Simplicii in Aristotelis Physicorum Libros quatuor priores Commentaria (1882), Parmenides Lehrgedicht (1897), Poetarum Philosophorum Fragmenta (1901). Le Diels-Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (Dublin-Zürich, Weidmann), a été traduit et "édité" très tardivement en français, et de manière souvent fort peu satisfaisante, par J.-P. Dumont, avec la collaboration de D. Delattre et J.-L. Poirier, Paris, Gallimard, 1988. Sur la construction dielsienne, voir mon Si Parménide, Paris-Lille, 1980, p. 105-121.

    (2) Voir en particulier, sur l'exemple du fr. III, l'entrée ANALYTIQUE/ HERMÉNEUTIQUE dans le Glossaire.

  7. Bollack, Jean. 2006. Parménide: de l'étant au monde. Lagrasse: Verdier.

    Table des matières: Avant-propos 7; Introduction 11; Notice 65; De l'étant au monde 69; Bibliographie 331-339; Réperoire des Fragments discutés 340; Index thématique 341-344.

    "Ce livre-ci repose sur une lecture de ce que son auteur, Parménide, a considéré en premier lieu comme un livre, un ouvrage composé pour être déchiffré, suivant un plan d'ensemble très élaboré. Nous n'avons pas le livre, pas le tout. Une totalité mi-présente (à déchiffrer), mi-absente (à construire) se précise progressivement au cours du travail d'élucidation des phrases. La composition de l'ensemble a sa logique. La matière de cet ensemble est finalement assez étendue pour faire voir dans le détail ce qu'était le projet, et donc suffisante pour découvrir la signification de l'oeuvre, pour son auteur, en son temps, dans la situation historique où elle a été conçue. Elle a visiblement été travaillée pour servir à une pratique savante de la lecture, se mettant elle- même livresquement en scène comme les oeuvres savent le faire partout d'elles-mêmes. Sinon, nous ne disposerions pas de ce réseau dense d'interrelations verbales, qui permet de relier un noyau à une fin, et d'arriver au bout du compte à faire parler une cohérence, malgré les lacunes.

    On part de ce que nous avons, mais il faut y inclure, en dépit de sa fragmentation, l'idée que l'on se fait de ce que fut le livre quand il a été écrit; il importe de le dépouiller de tout prophétisme. Les textes que l'on lit, les fameux "fragments", cités par Plutarque (Ier-IIe siècles), Sextus (II siècle) ou Simplicius (Ve-VIe siècles), y aident. Les résumés anciens de la doctrine (la doxographie) les complètent tant bien que mal. On regrette d'autant plus ce qu'on n'a pas qu'on en soupçonne le contenu, sinon la façon. Nous avons les magnifiques résumés, les doxai (opinions), qui forment le corpus de ce que les spécialistes antiques et modernes appellent doxographie. Ces "opinions" répondent à une interrogation, appelée par les problèmes que l'on s'est posés sur la nature et sur l'homme, deux siècles plus tard.

    Théophraste, le disciple d'Aristote, les a réunies dans un ouvrage perdu, intitulé Les Opinions des physiciens, largement utilisé dans l'Antiquité et assez merveilleusement reconstitué sur la base de ces utilisations stratifiées par Ia science moderne. L'ouvrage de Hermann Diels, qui les a éditées, est largement à l'origine de l'intérêt accru manifesté pour les "présocratiques" au début du XXe siècle, il y a maintenant plus d'une centaine d'années (les Doxographi Graeci sont de 1879). Le nom d'Aétius, qui signale le recueil le plus cohérent (100 ap. J.-C.), est celui d'un compilateur obscur (choisi par Diels), utilisateur d'une autre compilation, les Anciennes Opinions (Vetusta Placita, autour de 50 ap. J.-C.). La doxographie informe; parfois elle reproduit ses sources, mais elle condense, elle aménage et elle simplifie aussi. Il faut tenir compte du point de vue de l'interrogateur. N'empêche que l'auteur du recueil, dont nous n'avons, encore une fois, que des fragments, avait, à la suite de Platon et d'Aristote, le maître de ces aperçus, un sens du résumé et des systèmes, et qu'il nous aide à les approcher. Parménide y tenait une place évidente, même si elle est moins importante que celle d'Empédocle et des atomistes. "Le Monde" (à savoir la cosmologie) lui doit ici pour une bonne part sa reconstitution. Son système était différent des autres, plus éloigné et autrement orienté, pouvant servir de contrepoint. Dans le meilleur des cas, par exemple dans celui de la genèse, les résumés reproduisent une lecture précise, un degré second qui nous ramène à l'oeuvre. L'accès à la chose même, serait- il indirect, nous arrache à l'idée que, souvent inconsciemment, on prête à l'auteur.

    Le texte impose une lecture neuve. Il apprend ce qui s'est dit dans l'histoire, à l'époque de Parménide, avant qu'il ne figure dans une histoire de la philosophie. L'histoire existe pour nous, mais elle existait aussi pour l'auteur. Parménide s'est situé par rapport à elle. Il s'est séparé des philosophes ioniens, prouvant en même temps qu'il s'y rattachait en profondeur. L'invective (fr. 6 et 7) prend son sens. La coupure, ou la rupture, ne se comprend que si on la pose dans ces termes. Si la lecture critique tient un rôle essentiel, c'est d'abord que le poème s'est écrit d'une certaine façon, pour être lu de cette façon-là. L'écrit répond à une attente, et la suscite. Ce n'est pas seulement la communication d'un savoir, mais une initiation poétique, qui, pour libre et éclairée qu'elle soit, reproduit, dans leur style, les pratiques religieuses dont elle s'est détachée. Mais la poésie ne retraduit aucune pensée; c'est plutôt la pensée qui se dégage de la poésie." (pp. 12-15)

  8. Magali, Année. 2012. Fragments Poème. Paris: Vrin.

    Texte et traduction de Magali Année; précedé de Énoncer le verbe être (pp. 9-146).

    "Ce qui est proposé, dans ce bref ouvrage, est avant toute chose un commentaire linguistique du poème de Parménide. Aussi est-ce pourquoi c'est par lui qu'il commence. Comme on peut s'y attendre, c'est le fragment 8 DK qui y est le plus sollicité. Il ne fait pas, cependant, l'exclusivité.

    Le texte des fragments, que l'on trouve à la suite du commentaire, n'est pas une édition critique. Consciente de la complexité d'une tradition où les variantes peuvent être imputables non seulement à l'inadvertance de quelques copistes, mais aussi, "dans le cas de Parménide, à des manipulations tendancieuses", à l'origine de "téléscopages" (1) bien connus des historiens de la philosophie, je me suis fiée pour l'essentiel à la dernière édition Diels-Kranz, toujours de référence, préférant cependant, comme d'autres, revenir parfois aux manuscrits.

    Quant à la traduction, elle est nouvelle, comme peut l'être l'une des multiples traductions grammaticalement possibles, d'une langue poétique souvent linguistiquement ambigüe. Elle ne prétend donc à rien autre qu'à découler du commentaire, c'est-à-dire à laisser transparaître çà et là les rouages linguistiques du poème, révélé par celui-ci. C'est une traduction-substrat, en quelque sorte, qui courrait en deçà, sous, ou avec, les autres traductions possibles." (p. 7).

    (1) Denis O'Brien, Problèmes d'établissement du texte: la transmission du Poème dans l'Antiquité, dans: P. Aubenque (éd.), Études sur Parménide. Tome II. Problèmes d'interprétation, Paris, Vrin, 1987, p. 314-315 et 348.

  9. Parménide. 2018. Parménide, au-delà de l'existence. Paris: Almora.

    Nouvelle traduction et commentaires par Jean Bouchart d'Orval.

German translations

  1. Riezler, Kurt. 1934. Parmenides. Frankfurt a. M.: Vittorio Klostermann.

    Zweite Edition: Text, Einführung und Interpretation von Kurt Riezler; bearbeitet und mit einem Nachwort versehen von Hans-Georg Gadamer., Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann 2001.

  2. Hölscher, Uvo. 1969. Parmenides. Vom Wesen des Seienden. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

    Greek text with German translation of the fragments and some testimonia; reprinted with a new Nachwort 1986.

  3. Bormann, Karl. 1971. Parmenides. Untersuchungen zu den Fragmenten. Hamburg: Meiner.

    Inhalt: Vorwort VII-VIII; Kapitel I. Der Stand der Parmenides-Forschung. Ziel und Methode der Untescuchung 1; Kapitel II. Die Fragmente. Text 28; Übersetzung 29; Kapitel III: Interpretation 56; Schluss 183; Anmerkungen 185; Quellen und Literatur 253; Namenregister 260-263.

  4. Heitsch, Ernst. 1974. Parmenides. Die Anfange der Ontologie, Logik und Naturwissenschaft. München: Heimeran.

    With introduction and critical studies.

    Second revised edition: Parmenides - Fragmente: griechisch-deutsch - München, Artemis Verlag, 1991.

  5. Held, Klaus. 1980. Heraklit, Parmenides und der Anfang von Philosophie und Wissenschaft.Eine phänomenologische Besinnung. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

  6. Mansfeld, Jaap. 1981. Parmenides. Über das Sein. Griechisch-Deutsch. Stuttgart: Reclam.

    Edited and translated by J. Mansfeld, with an introductory essay by Hans von Steuben.

  7. Gemelli Marciano, Maria Laura, ed. 2009. Die Vorsokratiker. Band II: Parmenides Zenon Empedokles. Griechisch-lateinisch-deutsch. Auswahl der Fragmente und Zeugnisse. Düsseldorf: Artemis & Winkler Verlag.

    Übersetzung und Erläuterungen von M. L. Gemelli Marciano.

  8. Vetter, Helmut. 2016. Parmenides: Sein und Welt. Die Fragmente neu übersetzt und kommentiert. Freiburg-München: Karl Alber.

Italian translations

  1. Albertelli, Pilo. 1939. Gli Eleati. Bari: Laterza.

  2. Untersteiner, Mario. 1958. Parmenide. Testimonianze e frammenti. Firenze: Nuova Italia.

    Edizione, introduzione, traduzione e commento di Mario Untersteiner.

    Ristampa 1977; Nuova edizione nel volume: Eleati. Parmenide - Zenone - Melisso, a cura di Mario Untersteiner e Giovanni Reale, Milano: Bompiani, 2011 (pp. 19-412).

  3. Vitali, Renzo. 1977. Parmenide di Elea. Περί Φύσεως. Una ricostruzione del poema. Faenza: Fratelli Lega Editori.

  4. Trabattoni, Franco. 1985. Parmenide. I frammenti con testo greco a fronte. Milano: Marcos y Marcos.

  5. Reale, Giovanni, and Ruggiu, Luigi. 1991. Parmenide. Poema sulla natura. I frammenti e le testimonianze indirette. Milano: Rusconi.

    Indice generale: Un Parmenide nuovo. Presentazione di Giovanni Reale 7; L'altro Parmenide. Saggio introduttivo di Luigi Ruggiu 19; Nota editiorale 81; I Frammenti del poema di Parmenide "Sulla Natura", traduzione con testo greco a fronte e note di Giovanni Reale 83; Le testimonianze antiche sulla vita, sulla poesia e sulla dottrina di Parmenide, traduzione e note di Giovanni Reale 121; Commentario filosofico al poema di Parmenide "Sulla Natura", di Luigi Ruggiu 153; Bibliografia generale su parmenide di Giovanni Reale e Luigi Ruggiu con la collaborazione di Roberto Radice 381-423; Sommari 427-433.

    "Il Poema di Parmenide, insieme ai frammenti di Eraclito, costituisce un testo base di riferimento del pensiero occidentale. In particolare, il Poema di Parmenide apre quelle vie che il pensiero greco ha seguito in tutto il suo corso: la problematica dell'Essere e anche la problematica dell'Uno, sia pure con la preminenza della prima. I filosofi pluralisti immediatamente posteriori a Parmenide dipendono strutturalmente dall'Eleatismo. Platone e Aristotele, come ho già sopra ricordato, guadagnano i punti chiave del loro pensiero proprio nel tentativo di superare le aporie di Parmenide. Le due forme di metafisica in cui si esprime il pensiero greco, ontologia e benologia, hanno in Parmenide la loro fonte.

    Dunque, il Poema di Parmenide si impone, in tutti i sensi, come uno dei testi-base per eccellenza del pensiero occidentale.

    La traduzione del Poema che qui presento, è stata da me fatta e rifatta più volte nel corso di un ventennio, in parte già pubblicata in altri miei scritti, ma qui per la prima volta per intero. Alcuni punti sono anche stati da me ripensati e corretti, in seguito alle discussioni fatte con Ruggiu.

    Tenga presente il lettore che tradurre Parmenide è una delle operazioni più difficili. E la ragione sta nel fatto che linguaggio e concetto, immagine e pensiero, per i motivi che sopra ho già chiarito, in lui sono inscindibilmente connessi. Parmenide lo si può tradurre solo se lo si capisce, o, meglio, la traduzione del Poema Sulla natura dipende in toto dal modo in cui se ne intende il messaggio filosofico. Il puro filologo, anche se è un conoscitore eccelso della lingua greca, non lo rende mai bene. In altri termini: nella misura in cui si approfondisce la comprensione filosofica del Poema, si riesce a tradurre anche la parola parmenidea. La traduzione dei suoi termini non può essere se non anche eo ipso la traduzione dei suol concetti.

    Naturalmente, e proprio per tale motivo, avere accanto alla traduzione anche il testo greco è essenziale. E per questo lo abbiamo riprodotto a fronte della traduzione.

    La temperie spirituale originaria si intende a fondo solo calandosi nel linguaggio originario.

    Delle testimonianze indirette non è stato invece riportato il testo greco, perché questa necessità non si presentava."

  6. Cerri, Giovanni. 1999. Parmenide di Elea. Poema sulla natura. Milano: Rizzoli.

    Sommario: Premessa 1; Introduzione: la riscoperta del vero Parmenide 11; Pagine scelte di critica moderna 111; Bibliografia 127; Poema sulla Natura - Frammenti (testom greco e traduzione italiana) 145; Commento 163-292.

    "Pervenuto, dopo anni di studi e di ricerche, alla convinzione o alla presunzione (questo lo giudicherà il lettore) di aver compreso il senso generale del pensiero di Parmenide e, nel suo quadro, il significato preciso di quasi ogni frammento e verso, mi sono dedicato in maniera esclusiva all'illustrazione diretta di questa mia ricostruzione, documentandola punto per punto con gli argomenti necessari, di ordine sia interno che esterno, mostrandone cioè la congruenza con quanto sappiamo del poema e delle sue singole parti, della cultura e del linguaggio poetico dal cui seno il poema è nato.

    Mi sono viceversa volontariamente preclusa la strada più usuale soprattutto nel campo della filologia classica, da me stesso seguita in tante altre occasioni, consistente nel costruire il proprio discorso sull'esposizione e la disamina di quelli proposti dalla critica precedente. Nel caso specifico ciò mi avrebbe portato a scrivere centinaia e centinaia, se non migliaia di pagine, con il bel risultato di contraddire nei fatti lo scopo che mi ero prefisso: offrire finalmente una lettura di Parmenide piana e persuasiva, perché filologicamente fondata." (p. 7)

Spanish translations

  1. Gómez Lobo, Alfonso. 1985. Parménides. Buenos Aires: Editorial Charcas.

    Greek text with Spanish translation and running commentary.

    Second edition with the title: El Poema de Parménides, Santiago, Editorial Universitaria, 1999.

  2. Calvo, Agustín García. 2001. Lectura presocráticas I. Zamora: Editorial Lucina.

    3° edición con el Parménides renovado (primera edición 1981).

    Indice: Presentacion 9; Primera parte. Tentativa de redacción escrita 19; Segunda parte. Otros registros de lectura 133; Tercera parte. Edición crítica y versión rítmica de los Fragmentos de Parménides 183; Nota para le nueva edición 184; Apéndice 221-230.

    "En fin, la tercera parte es una edición crítica de todos los fragmentos del poema de Parménides, con aparato bastante numeroso, noticia en español sobre las fuentes de cada fragmento y ocasionalmente introducción de su cita por los trasmisores, y una versión rítmica en castellano. Con loable esfuerzo por parte de 'Lucina' y de los tipógrafos, se ha procurado una presentación nítida y digna, en que aparecen enfrentados en una página el texto del poema con el aparato crítico y en la otra la noticia sobre las fuentes seguida de la versión.

    Para el conocimiento de la tradición del texto y su estado en la práctica editorial hasta el momento, he tenido presentes sobre todo, junto a los Vorsokratische Denker de Diels-Kranz (3. ed. Berlín 1964), las ediciones de M. Untersteiner, Florencia 1958, L. Tarán, Princeton 1965, y E. Heitsch, Munich 1974: de otras, como las viejas de Brandis, Karsten y Stein, o las más recientes de Covotti y Hölscher, sólo he recogido noticias indirectas. Agradezco especialmente a Aníbal González la amistosa diligencia y docto escrúpulo con que ha compulsado para mí las ediciones más autorizadas de Simplicio, Sexto, Proclo y los otros citadores principales a quienes debemos los versos conservados del poema, permitiéndome enriquecer y corregir en varios puntos la anotación crítica y aun en un par de ocasiones el texto mismo.

    Este texto que ofrezco se aparta en una buena docena de sitios del recibido en el Diels-Kranz, el Kirk-Raven y las ediciones anteriores, y tengo cierta confianza en que la mayor parte de esos cambios sean para bien de la fidelidad; y así también las alteraciones en la ordenación de los fragmentos, que en tres o cuatro puntos se aparta de la seguida en las ediciones habituales. En todo caso, a la cabeza de cada fragmento, junto al número de esta edición, he colocado el correspondiente de la de Diels-Kranz.

    En cuanto a la versión rítmica, que es fruto de muchas redacciones sucesivas, me he permitido esperar que, leída con igual cuidado y detenimiento, pueda dispensarme por ahora de prolijos comentarios interpretativos." (pp. 15-16)

  3. Solana, Dueso José. 2006. De Logos a Physis. Estudio sobre el Poema de Parménides. Zaragoza: Miros Editores.

    With Greek text and Spanish translation.

Portuguese translations

  1. Santoro, Fernando. 2008. Parmênides: Da Natureza. Rio de Jameiro: Azougue.

    Eedição do texto grego, tradução, notas e comentários.

  2. ———. 2011. Filósofos Épicos I. Parmênides e Xenófanes fragmentos. Rio de Janeiro: Fundação Biblioteca Nacional.

    Edição do texto grego, revisão e comentários Fernando Santoro.

    Revisão Científica Néstor Cordero.

    Parmênides de Eléia: Introduçao aosFragmentos do Poema de Parmênides 55; Fragmentos 77; Fragmentos duvidosos 119; Tábua de concordância124; Fontes dos Fragments e suas ediçoes 127-137.

    O Poema de Parmênides traduzido por Gerardo Mello Mourão 143-146.

Index Parmenideus

  1. Messina, Gaetano. 1987. Index Parmenideus. Auctore qui Parmenidis fragment tradunt. Fontium conceptus. Index verborum. Genova: Bozzi Editore.

    Provides the Greek text of the Parmenidean fragments and testimonies (based on the Diels-Kranz edition), an account of the sources, and an exhaustive textual index.

Main Greek sources for the first eight Fragments

  1. Clemens, Alexandrinus. 1906. Stromateis. Leipzig: Henrichs.

    Die Griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte vol. 15, 1906 (I-VI) 4th edition U. Treu, Berlin 1985, and vol. 17, 1909 (VII-VIII) 2nd edition L. Früchtel and U. Treu, Berlin, 1970.

  2. Plotinus. 1951. Enneades. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer.

    I. Porphyrii vita Plotini. Enneades I-III (1951); II. Enneades IV-V. Plotiniana arabica ad codicum fidem anglice veritit Geoffrey Lewis (1951); III. Enneas VI. (1973)

  3. Proclus, Lycaeus. 2007. Procli in Platonis Parmenidem Commentaria. New York: Oxford University Press.

  4. ———. 1903. Procli Diadochi in Platonis Timaeum Commentaria. Leipzig: Teubner.

    Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana (3 vol.); reprint 1965

  5. Sextus, Empiricus. 1912. Sexti Empirici Opera. Leipzig: Teubner.

    1. Pyrroneion hypotyposeon libri tres (1912); 2. Adversus dogmaticos libri quinque (Adv. mathem. VII-XI) (1914); 3. Adversus mathematicos libri I-VI (1954) ed. J. Mau. Indices ad vol. I-III adiecit K. Janácek; 4. Indices, collegit K. Janácek Editio altera auctior (1962).

  6. Simplicius. 1894. Simplicii in Aristotelis De Caelo Commentaria. Berlin: G. Reimer.

    Commentaria in Aristotelem graeca (CAG) vol. 7; reprint Berlin, 1962

  7. ———. 1882. Simplicii in Aristotelis Physicorum Libros Quattuor Priores Commentaria. Berlin: G. Reimer.

    Commentaria in Aristotelem graeca (CAG) Vol. 9, reprint Berlin 1962

  8. ———. 1895. Simplicii in Aristotelis Physicorum Libros Quattuor Posteriores Commentaria. Berlin: G. Reimer.

    Commentaria in Aristotelem graeca (CAG) Vol. 10, reprint Berlin 1962