Jim's Books and Selected Articles
Springs of Western Civilization: A Comparative Study of Hebrew and Classical Cultures (2017)
Springs of Western Civilization is a comparative exploration of the Hebraic and classical traditions that form our heritage. In examining these traditions before they united, James Arieti locates the catalyst for their bonding in two related circumstances: adoption by the biblical world of an eclectic mélange of Platonism, Aristotelianism, and Stoicism that, in the centuries on each side of the Common Era, produced consensus models both of God and of a warmhearted individual; and belief that the writings of Plato were literally true—a belief that arose from failing to understand his playful, metaphorical techniques of composition. Among the many effects of the mingling of biblical and philosophical values was a re-focusing of literature from the heroes of epic to the compassionate characters we recognize as Menschen.
Plato's Protagoras: Translation, Commentary, and Appendices (2010)
Protagoras is one of Plato's most delightfully comic and playful dialogues, and is also one of his most important. This new edition of Plato's Protagoras provides a rigorously clear and accurate translation that communicates Plato's puns, metaphors, figures of speech, and other verbal techniques naturally; allowing scholars to feel the full scope of Plato's rhetoric. Translators James Arieti and Roger Barrus confront and discuss the critical linguistic choices made in rendering difficult or obscure terms into an easily readable and understandable rendition. They also include an historical overview of the intellectual milieu of fifth-century B.C.E. Athens, careful biographies of the dialogues major characters, notes that discuss the major issues, citations of the literary and philosophical parallels, and call attention to rhetorical tactics. In addition, Arieti and Barrus provide appendices on the challenges of translating Plato's Greek into English, the diverse modern interpretations of the ode by Simonides that Socrates and Protagoras lampoon, the relationship of the dialogue to Aristotle's Sophistical Refutations, and a glossary elucidating many of the key words in the dialogue.
Plato: Gorgias (2007)
This is an English translation of Plato’s dialogue of Socrates seeking the true definition of rhetoric, with an attempt to show the flaws of the sophistic orators. Includes speeches from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian Wars that reflect Plato’s themes.
Focus Philosophical Library translations are close to and are non-interpretative of the original text, with the notes and a glossary intending to provide the reader with some sense of the terms and the concepts as they were understood by Plato’s immediate audience.
Philosophy in the Ancient World: An Introduction (2005)
Philosophy in the Ancient World: An Introduction_an intellectual history of the ancient world from the eighth century B.C.E. to the fifth century C.E., from Homer to Boethius_describes and evaluates ancient thought in its cultural setting, showing how it affected and was affected by that setting. The greatest philosophers (Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine) and cultural figures (Homer, Euripides, Thucydides, Archimedes) and a number of lesser ones (Hesiod, Posidonius, Basil) receive careful description and evaluation. Philosophy in the Ancient World is ideally suited as a supplement for undergraduate courses in Ancient Philosophy and the History of Philosophy in the West.
The Scientific & the Divine: Conflict and Reconciliation from Ancient Greece to the Present (2003)
There have been many―too many―attempts over the centuries to bring science and religion into harmony. James A. Arieti and Patrick A. Wilson survey and assess these various efforts, from Plato to Aquinas to present-day philosophers and theologians. The Scientific & The Divine examines the perennial issues that keep science and religion at arm's length, clarify those issues, and fit them into an historical framework.
Sophocles' Philoctetes (2000)
This translation of Sophocles’ Philoctetes, based on the Greek text edited by R.C. Jebb (Cambridge, 1932), was produced for a special presentation of the play in February and March of 2000 as part of a semester-long program on the Trojan War at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. In addition to the translation there are a brief introduction and, also by the translator, a “Prologue” to set the scene of when the action takes place during the War.
Discourses on the First Book of Herodotus (1995)
As scholars have observed and analyzed Herodotus's sophistication, the father of history has been recognized as a complex and profound moral historian. How would Herodotus's contemporaries have responded to his recounting of the past? And what enduring lessons does Herodotus have for us? James A. Arieti attempts to discover, as far as possible, Herodotus's purpose in writing, and reveals how in the History of the Persian Wars Herodotus shapes his narrative in order to advise the troubled Greek world of his day. Arieti's reading is an interpretive study, exploring the philosophical, literary, and historical richness of the history―in short, examining why it is a classic. Discourses on the First Book of Herodotus is an important work for historians, classicists, and philosophers.
Interpreting Plato: The Dialogues As Drama
Despite Plato's various warnings not to do so, his dialogues have been studied as systematic philosophy since antiquity. In this innovative and controversial reassessment, James Arieti argues that they should be read primarily as works of drama rather than philosophical discourse. Analyses of 18 of the 28 dialogues allow the reader to see them as integrated dramas, with all the ambiguities and uncertainties that literary works contain. As in plays generally, the arguments of particular characters cannot be seen as the opinions of the author, whose views emerge only from examining each work as a whole. This literary reading shows how much of the debate about Plato's meaning has been misplaced. Instead of demonstrating that an argument is fallacious or valid, we need to ask why Plato has the particular character make the argument. Interpreting Plato achieves what no other work on Plato has attempted: to see the philosophical arguments as serving a dramatic purpose.
Longinus: On the Sublime (Translation and Commentary with John M. Crossett)
A translation which refers the reader to related usages, additional readings of interest, and parallel examples of the various rhetorical constructions in the works of such authors as Shakespeare, Bacon, Sterne, and T.S. Eliot.
[My favorite of Jim's books – a work I return to over and again. - CA]
Longinus: On the Sublime (Translation Only)
There are a number of translations of Longinus: this is the only translation that may claim to be an instrument of explication. Earlier English translations are readable, literate, and sometimes felicitous, but they are too often nothing more than paraphrase, looser and freer than what passed for translation in the 18th century. This version provides the English reader with a diction as consistent as possible, a close approximation of Longinus' syntax, and—by means of these—an appreciation of Longinus' tone of learned elegance and academic playfulness.
Love can be found: A guide to the most desired and most elusive emotion (With Silvano Arieti, MD)
The book is charming, learned, and wise and is well written and graphically pleasing. The authors' main thesis is that love is inhibited by fear. The authors also try their hand at good, proven advice for the “considerable minority” of people who have trouble finding love or maintaining a loving relationship. It is a warmly inspirational book that no doubt will elicit a warm response from many people. However, to a large extent the inspiration of this book is based on a calculated philosophical and scientific choice to stake the definition of love entirely on its positive elements.
The Dating of Longinus
Up through the eighteenth century, scholars universally assumed that the author of the treatise entitled On the Sublime lived in the third century C.E. and was to be identified with the most famous philologian of that century, Cassius Longinus. During the nineteenth century, scholars began to revise that concurrence of opinion and to locate the author in the first century C.E. The monograph The Dating of Longinus begins with a full review of the problem and the various kinds of arguments that would be useful to ascertaining the date precisely. The major part of the monograph–an entirely new argument—is its analysis of the various chronological phases manifested by the topos of cultural decline. Other matters taken up include the fad for colossal statues, the banishment of philosophers from Rome, anti-semitism in Rome, the conflict between Asianism and Atticism, references to rhetoricans Caecilius of Calacte and Theodorus, and the eruption of Vesuvius.