1. The philosophical commentary was a mode of expression in Late Antiquity, with Plato and Aristotle as authorities subject to intense study.
2. The Categories played a central role in the post-Hellenistic return to Aristotle, with commentators like Boethus engaging in an in-depth examination of the text.
3. The return to Aristotle did not involve the acceptance of any definite set of doctrines, and there was no orthodoxy in the Aristotelian tradition at this early stage.
The article provides a concise account of the philosophical commentary tradition that emerged during the Hellenistic period and continued into Late Antiquity. It focuses on the study of Aristotle's works, particularly the Categories, which played a central role in the post-Hellenistic return to Aristotle. The article highlights that commentators used the commentary format not only to expound Aristotle's works but also as a vehicle for original philosophical theorizing.
One potential bias in the article is its focus on Aristotle and his works, which may give readers the impression that he was the only philosopher studied during this time. While it acknowledges that commentaries were written on other authoritative works, such as those of Hippocrates, it does not provide much detail about them. This narrow focus may be due to the fact that Aristotle was considered one of the most important philosophers of his time and his works were subject to intense study.
Another potential bias is its emphasis on the Categories and its role in the post-Hellenistic return to Aristotle. While it acknowledges that other works by Aristotle were also studied during this time, it does not provide much detail about them. This may be due to the fact that the Categories was a short but difficult treatise that played a central role in debates between Peripatetic philosophers and their rivals, particularly Stoics.
The article makes unsupported claims when it suggests that there was no orthodoxy in the Aristotelian tradition at this early stage. While it is true that there was no definite set of doctrines that a Peripatetic philosopher in the 1st century BCE was expected to accept, there were certainly dominant interpretations of Aristotle's works and debates between different schools of thought. The article could have provided more evidence for its claim or acknowledged counterarguments.
The article provides insights into potential risks associated with studying commentaries, such as losing access to earlier commentaries due to each generation interpreting Aristotle in light of their own theoretical preoccupations. However, it does not explore counterarguments to this risk, such as the potential benefits of each generation building on the insights of their predecessors.
Overall, the article provides a useful overview of the philosophical commentary tradition and its focus on Aristotle's works. However, it could have provided more detail about commentaries on other authoritative works and acknowledged potential biases in its narrow focus on Aristotle and the Categories. It also could have provided more evidence for some of its claims and explored counterarguments to potential risks associated with studying commentaries.