Galen's De indolentia: Essays on a Newly Discovered Letter (Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum / Studies and texts in antiquity and Christianity, Volume 88)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
In 2005 a French doctoral student discovered the long-lost treatise, De indolentia (Περὶ
ἀλυπησίας/ἀλυπίας) or On the Avoidance of Distress in a monastic library in Thessalonica. De
indolentia is a letter from Galen to an unspecified addressee in which he describes how he
responded to the fire that destroyed much of his library and medicines in 192 CE. The
manuscript, catalogued in the Vlatadon monastery as codex 14, is of unspeakable value to
scholars of antiquity. Vivian Nutton characterizes the discovery as “one of the most spectacular
finds ever of ancient literature.” Scholarly consensus has established 192–193 CE as the most
probable date of composition that,according to Galen, belonged to a group of writings he
classified as moral philosophy. De indolentia provides important evidence for second-century
literary culture covering a range of topics in this area of study, including Galen's aptitude for
distinguishing genuine from false texts, his nuanced lexical debates with other physicians, and
his prolific scholarly activity. The treatise also offers information about ancient library culture.
Too often neglected in comparative studies of Early Christian literature, Galen's writings,
particularly on moral philosophy, treat many of the same topics. Of particular interest to
scholars of early Christian texts, De indolentia specifically addresses second-century use of
parchment codices to preserve valuable texts, preserves some standard epistolary elements in
the absence of others, has both private and publication aims in mind, and denotes a
'hermeneutics of self-interpretation' as crucial for understanding the text. This volume
includes a brand new English translation of the text, a collation of all discrepancies among the
leading critical editions of the Greek text, and essays by eminent Classicists and scholars in the
field of early Christianity on different aspects of this fascinating new text.
Clare K. Rothschild: Born 1964; 1986 BA University of California, Berkeley; 1992 M.T.S. Harvard
University; 2003 PhD University of Chicago; currently Associate Professor of Theology at Lewis
University, Romeoville, IL.
Trevor W. Thompson: Born 1975; 1998 BA Oklahoma Christian University; 2002 MA, M.Div.
Harding University Graduate School of Theology; 2007 MA University of Chicago; 2009 PhD
(candidate) University of Chicago; currently Instructor of New Testament at Abilene Christian