Xenophanes of Colophon was a philosophical poet who lived in various cities of the ancient Greek world during the late sixth and early fifth centuries BC. In this book, James Lesher presents the Greek texts of all the surviving fragments of Xenophanes’ teachings, with an original English translation on facing pages, along with detailed notes and commentaries and a series of essays on the philosophical questions generated by Xenophanes’ remarks. Also included are English translations of all the ancient testimonia relating to Xenophanes’ life and teachings, and a discussion of how many of the testimonia pose the impediments to achieving a consistent interpretation of his philosophy.
The Xenophanes who emerges in this account fully warrants classification as a philosophical thinker: moral critic and reflective student of nature, critic of popular religious belief and practice, and perhaps the first to challenge claims to knowledge about divine matters and the basic forces at work in nature. As with earlier works in the Pheonix series, this volume aims to make an important portion of Presocratic writing accessible to all those interested in ancient philosophy and the first phase of European natural science. This new paperback edition contains an updated bibliography.