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Édition critique complète des témoignages sur la vie et l'oeuvre d'Héraclite d'Éphèse et des vestiges de son livre et de sa pensée.
Texte réunis, établis et traduit par Serge N. Mouraviev.

Heraclitus of Ephesus

Heraclitus of Ephesus (ca. 520 to ca. 460 BC) is the first philosopher of the Western world to have written a treatise substantial parts of which can still be read today. It was the only one he wrote, and was known as The Muses or On Nature. The parts we can read today have unfortunately survived only in the form of quotations, paraphrases and doxographical accounts of varying accuracy that are to be found scattered throughout practically the whole of Ancient, Medieval and even Renaissance literature. From the same sources can be gleaned the scanty information we have about his life and book.

Several editions of the extant fragments of Heraclitus have already been published, together with selections from the most important doxographical accounts on his teaching. The earliest editions were by Henri Estienne (1573) and Friedrich Schleiermacher (1808). The most recent and so far the best is the editio maior by Miroslav Marcovich (1963, 1978, 2001). But until now the Heraclitean corpus has never been published in its entirety. Previous editors disregarded many texts. Other texts remain inaccessible for the average reader because of the rarity of the books in which they can be found. The lack of a complete corpus is one of the reasons why the scholars' opinions on Heraclitus' ideas continue to be so widely and so wildly divergent.

A further failing of most editions and of much current research, is that the sources of our knowledge of Heraclitus are published, scrutinised and often discussed out of context. This happens in two ways. First, no account is taken of the opinions of the author quoting Heraclitus, despite the fact that the ancient author had access to the original book and that his personal opinions were relevant to the way he understood and used the quotation that he made from it. Secondly, modern writers, in seeking to identify Heraclitus' own lost original context, seldom start from any philological and philosophical grounds more firmly based than their own subjective tastes and insights. The result is that "there is an army of commentators [on Heraclitus], no two of whom are in full agreement" (W.K.C. Guthrie).

A third much neglected aspect of Heraclitus' heritage is the highly poetical form of his philosophical language, a language which was misunderstood already in Ancient times and which has won for Heraclitus the nickname of the Dark philosopher. This 'darkness' is a powerful contributing factor to the extraordinary lack of unanimity among modern students of Heraclitus.

But probably the main reason for modern failure to understand Heraclitus is the methodological naïveté with which most scholars approach a study of the Heraclitean texts, confusing philology with philosophy, text criticism with hermeneutics, and so on.

Mouraviev's Heraclitea are intended to help present day and future scholars to cope with all these problems and difficulties, by making available all the necessary material.

When completed this will be the first full chronological and systematic critical edition, with translation and commentary, of the extant sources on Heraclitus' life and his book, on his ideas and Nachleben. The sources will be given independently of their relative importance, of their degree of relevance and even of the their authenticity. At the same time, thanks to its overall structure and to the commentary provided, this will be a fully-fledged attempt to solve some of the most urgent philological and methodological issues of modern Heraclitean studies.

Heraclitea · The Edition

Edited, compiled and translated by Serge Mouraviev

The edition consists of five parts and ca. 20 volumes. Ten volumes have been published from 1999 to 2008, the remaining volumes will follow at the rate of one or two volumes per year.

For details see also Plan général de l'édition and the Heraclitea website

The sources will be given independently of their relative importance, of their degree of relevance and even of the their authenticity. At the same time, thanks to its overall structure and to the commentary provided, this will be a fully-fledged attempt to solve some of the most urgent philological and methodological issues of modern Heraclitean studies.

For details see also Plan général de l'édition and the Heraclitea website

· Part I (Prolegomena) and Part V (Indices) will appear last.

· Part II (Traditio), of which 4 volumes (II.A.1-II.A.4) have already appeared, contains, in chronological order, all that has been written on Heraclitus between 500 B.C. and 1561 AD. Section A, almost entirely published, displays with full relevant context, translation and critical apparatus, all the texts where Heraclitus is named or certainly referred to (ca. 1300 texts by some 250 authors).

Section B will reproduce all the texts where Heraclitus is not named but where modern scholars have detected allusions to or reminiscences of his words or opinions, or where attempts are made to imitate his style and language.

Finally, section C will offer a philological and philosophical commentary on the texts edited in sections A and B, taking especially account of the way in which these texts reflect the opinions of their respective authors, with the aim of establishing what they meant when quoting Heraclitus and how they understood him.

· Part III (Recensio) is given over to criticism and analysis, namely the extraction, examination and analysis of content (independently of context) of all the material from Part II which can properly be attributed to Heraclitus. This core material is subdivided into three categories:

(1) information on Heraclitus' life and book (Memoria);

(2) opinions attributed to him (Placita);

(3) quotations from his book (Fragmenta). To these will be added a fourth category:

(4) his probable sources, namely the pre-Heraclitean texts which he has been, or seems to have been, influenced by (Fontes).

Each category will occupy one or more volumes: III.1 Memoria (texts with commentary), already published; III.2 Placita (texts with commentary), already published;; III.3 Fragmenta: A (general commentary on Heraclitus' language and poetics), already published, B (texts with translation and short notes), already published, C (commentary on the individual fragments), III.4 Fontes (texts with commentary).

· Part IV (Refectio) will suggest a reconstruction of the lost book (i.e. of the original context of each fragment) from the fragments and opinions discussed in Parts III.2 and III.3 and will comprise the reconstructed text (with translation) and a commentary concerning the reconstruction itself and the resulting overall interpretation of Heraclitus' doctrine.

Plan général de l'edition


I. Prolegomena : L'OUTILLAGE

[Structure, Méthode, Historique, Concordance, Bibliographie]



[Corpus complet des sources anciennes sur Héraclite prises dans leur contexte.

Édition par auteurs et écoles, dans l'ordre chronologique]

(A) Textes. Témoignages et citations

Vol. II.A.1 - D'Épicharme à Philon d'Alexandrie. 1999. XXVI + 270 pp.

Vol. II.A.2 - De Sénèque à Diogène La. 2000. XXXIV + 367 pp.

Vol. II.A.3 - De Plotin à Étienne d'Alexandrie. 2002. XV + 196 pp.

Vol. II.A.4 - De Maxime le Confesseur à Pétrarque. 2003. XXII + 166 + XLII pp.

(B) Textes. Allusions et imitations -

(C) Commentaire

(D) Supplément: La Tradition orientale et renaissante (textes et commentaires)



[Textes relatifs à la vie, à la doctrine et au livre d'Héraclite.

Édition systématique avec commentaire, en quatre parties]

(III.1) Memoria Heraclitea.

Vol. III.1 - La vie, la mort et le livre d'Héraclite. (A) Textes et (B) Commentaire. 2003. XXXVIII + 232 pp.

(III.2) Placita Heraclitea.

Vol. III.2 - Thèses et doctrines attribuées à Héraclite par les Anciens. (A) Textes et (B) Commentaire. 2008. 254 pp.

(III.3) Fragmenta Heracliti. Les fragments du livre d'Héraclite.

Vol. III.3.A - Le langage de l'Obscur. Introduction à la poétique des fragments. 2002. XXVI + 438 pp.

Vol. III.3.B/i - Les textes pertinents. Textes, traductions et apparats I-III. 2006. XXVIII + 375 pp.

Vol. III.3.B/ii - Les textes pertinents. Langue et forme. XXVIII + 178 pp.

Vol. III.3.B/iii - Les textes pertinents. Notes critiques. XXXIV + 211 pp.

(III.3.C) - Les dossiers des fragments

(III.4) Fontes Heracliti. Sources utilisées par Héraclite

Textes, traductions et commentaires



[Reconstruction du livre d'Héraclite à partir des fragments et témoignages]

(A) Texte et traduction, (B) Commentaire



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