Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics

LCL 285: 194-195

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Eudemian Ethics

of the topics is different but there is perhaps no striking discrepancy of view.

E.E. VIII. notices the epistemological aspect of Virtue (treated in N.E. I., ix., but differently); and discusses the ethical bearing of Good Luck (more fully dealt with in a different connexion in c. iii. of N.E. VII.= E.E. VI.). There follows an essay on Kalokâgathia, Moral Nobility (a virtue merely alluded to without analysis in N.E., as a necessary quality of the Great-spirited man, 1124 a 4 and 1179 b 10); it is treated as the consummation of the particular virtues. In conclusion there is a glance at Theoria, the activity of Speculative Wisdom, as the highest life of man; at Book II. init. this was coupled with Moral Conduct as constituting happiness. There is nothing corresponding to the full treatment of Theoria as the consummation of human well-being that is given in N.E. X. vii., viii., or to the transition from ethics to politics (glancing at the importance of public education) which concludes that work.

IV. Text, MSS. and Editions

The Eudemian Ethics is not contained in the two best mss. of. Aristotle, the 10th c. Laurentianus (denoted by the sign Kb) and the 12th c. Parisiensis (Lb); we derive it chiefly from Vaticanus (Pb), a 13th c. copy of Kb, and the early 15th c. Marcianus (Mb), not so good a text as Pb but an indispensable adjunct to it—according to Jackson, who refers to the text of these two mss. as ‘the Greek tradition.’ Other later copies certainly contain more errors and are of little value as actual traditions of a sound text—some of their variants may be mere conjectural


Eudemian Ethics

corrections; their readings are only occasionally given in this edition.

The 13th c. Latin translation attributed to William of Moerbeke follows the Greek very closely, and is almost equivalent to another ms. ranking in value next to Vaticanus and Marcianus; it is occasionally adduced in this edition either in Latin or in its original Greek when this can be inferred with certainty.

There is an old Latin version of Book VIII. c. ii. with Magna Moralia Book II. c. viii., entitled De Bona Fortuna, printed in a Latin Aristotle of 1482, which indicates an independent Greek text of that passage.

The earliest printed edition of Aristotle is the Aldine, Venice 1498. The foundation of all modern work on the text is the monumental Berlin edition, with a Latin translation, scholia and indices, published by the Academia Regia Borussica in 1831 and the following years. The text, edited by Bekker, forms Volumes I. and II. which are paged consecutively, the Eudemian Ethics occupying pp. 1214–1249; the Berlin pages, the columns (indicated by a and b) and the numbering of the lines are shown in the margin of the present text.

Fritsche’s edition of the Eudemian Ethics (Ratisbon 1851) has an introduction on the authorship and contents, a text with explanatory notes, illustrative quotations and critical notes, a Latin translation and a Greek index.

The Teubner text of Susemihl (Leipzig 1884) has useful critical notes, collecting the corrections of other scholars published in the learned journals.

Henry Jackson contributed a valuable study of the text and contents of Book VII. cc. i., ii. to The Journal

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-eudemian_ethics.1935