Parmenides 1.31-32 and the Status of Opinion: A Case for the Negative Reading on Orthodox and Unorthodox Arrangements
DeLong, Jeremy C.
University of Kansas
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While the meaning of lines 31-32 of Fragment 1 (DK 1.31-32) in Parmenides' epic-style poem seem to have significant implications for the overall argument of the poem, attempts to understand them have resulted in generations of interpretative deadlock. After considering the problem, I argue that the best way to make sense of these lines in relation to the overall poem is to hold that Parmenides consistently holds mortal opinions in low-regard, and that the third section of the poem (Opinion) should be far more limited in scope than has been traditionally thought. Not only is this negative reading preferable on the traditional arrangement of the poem, but the case for it is significantly strengthened on certain suggested rearrangements of the poem--rearrangements which are strongly supported independently of any interpretative commitments. In what follows, readers will first find: a) an introduction to the overall poem, b) a survey and analysis of the variant Greek texts and modern translations of lines 31-32, and c) an explication of the primary interpretative dilemma modern commentators face in interpreting these lines. This provides both an in-depth summary and review of the literature on this particular topic, filling an important lacuna in the literature. With these considerations in hand, the essay will turn to its secondary aim--considering how the interpretative dilemma might best be resolved. The relevant challenges for both positive and negative readings are considered under the traditional ordering (Diels-Kranz) of the poem. Having established the negative reading of lines 1.31-32 to be preferable on the traditional arrangement, several recently proposed rearrangements are considered, in terms of what impacts the arguments for their respective changes to the poem, if acceptable, might have for our understanding of these problematic lines and the negative reading. Again, it is concluded that the particular arguments for rearrangement that are considered can only aid the negative reading.
- Classics Dissertations and Theses 
- Theses 
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