Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Timaeus” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,223 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
This text is extracted from Cornford's longer Plato's Cosmology.
Timaeus (c. 360 BCE) is one of Plato's dialogs, mostly in the form of a long monologue given by the title character. It puts forward speculation on the nature of the physical world & human beings. It's followed by the dialog Critias. Speakers are Socrates, Timaeus of Locri, Hermocrates & Critias. Some
Paperback, 143 pages
Published 1980 by Library of Liberal Arts/Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis) (first published -360)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Timaeus, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Timaeus

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,469)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Erik Graff
Oct 04, 2015 Erik Graff rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Plato fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: philosophy
The sources for the myth of Atlantis are two: Plato's dialogs Timaeus and Critias, primarily the latter. That's it. The rest is much more modern invention.

Cornford's Plato books are usually detailed and excellent, albeit perhaps too detailed and technical for some readers. In this edition he did the translation as well as an introduction and preface, apparently abstracted from his longer Plato's Cosmology. Since the Timaeus is primarily a geometricized cosmology, something pretty alien to modern
G.R. Reader
Sep 13, 2015 G.R. Reader rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sleep-inducing New Age crap. But maybe Plato was just kidding.
مصطفی یاوری آیین
خوشا درسی که رفرنسش تو باشی.
Joseph Sverker
I can certainly understand why the early Christians thought this book interesting and why someone like Justin Martyr could think of (albeit with reservations) Plato as a proto-Christian of sorts. It is not a little interesting to read the creation myth in Timaeus with Genesis in mind and then to add that Plato uses "Father" for the creator at times. There are certainly differences and the view of matter is one of those that are commonly commented on. Matter is after all less than good for Plato, ...more
Maan Kawas
Dec 23, 2014 Maan Kawas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very beautiful dialogue by the great Ancient Greek philosopher Plato, which basically deals with the nature of the universe! The dialogue starts with an outline of the key ideas of the “Republic” and the ideal society, then gives an introduction to the lost Atlantis, and finally provides a detailed description of the origin and nature of the universe and the creation of the human being (according to the perfect forms). Furthermore, this interesting dialogue deals with many key points and ideas, ...more
John Martindale
In the introduction to the Timaeus Benjamin Jowett wrote: “The influence with the Timaeus has exercised upon posterity is due partly to a misunderstanding. In the supposed depths of this dialogue the Neo-Platonists found hidden meanings and connections with the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, and out of them they elicited doctrines quite at variance with the spirit of Plato. Believing that he was inspired by the Holy Ghost, or had received his wisdom from Moses, they seemed to find in his writi ...more
Robert Palmer
Apr 27, 2014 Robert Palmer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of Plato's Republic
Most people who read this ancient text do so because it is the source of the Atlantis mythology (together with Plato's Critias). While I believe that Plato may very well have partially based his Atlantis on an actual city that was destroyed (e.g., the island of Thera), it seems fairly obvious that Plato's purpose in writing about Atlantis in these two works was to illustrate his ideal state as described in The Republic.

The Republic, Timaeus, and Critias are all written as conversations involving
Aug 29, 2015 Riccardo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greci, filosofici
Il dialogo vuole mostrare come è necessario, per essere giusti e felici, curare sia il corpo che la mente (o l'anima come la chiama Platone) in maniera da raggiungere una situazione di armonia. E a questo proposito fa considerazioni interessanti.
Tuttavia, prima di arrivare a ciò, che è la parte conclusiva, tenta di dare una spiegazione mitica della nascita del mondo, dell'uomo e di tutte le cose esistenti. Non solo, cerca anche di spiegare il funzionamento del corpo umano. E qui...diciamo che si
Jul 17, 2012 Ariston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zeyl's translation is the most lucid of the Timaeus I have read. The work is a must–read for anyone interested in early & medieval Christian thought, and has merit in its own right— despite having been generally degenerated since the Enlightenment. Zeyl's introduction is as long as the text itself, and covers a lot of exegetical ground; Zeyl's view of the text can be said to be of the "unitary" school.
Jul 21, 2012 Austen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was fortunate enough to take Zeyl's last seminar as a professor on the Timaeus. I have a personal affinity for Aristotle, but this is quite an experience for a philosophy book and there are many things I got out of reading it. I'd recommend reading Cornford's commentary along with Zeyl's translation and long introduction/commentary.

Recently I have been fascinated by and exploring the concept of the microcosmos mirroring the macrocosmos and little did I know that the Timaeus would dig so deeply into this topic. The Timaeus was part of the same series of dialogues between Socrates, Critias, Timaeus and Hermocrates that includes The Republic and Critias. Unlike most other works I have read by Plato, this stays away from Socrates challenging others in discourse and instead allows Timaeus a platform for a monologue on the f
Feb 02, 2014 Boris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Timaeus is a book which tells us about how Plato thought the world came to be. Ofcourse it is not very credible any more, but it contains some very interesting ideas. For example, the book explores the difference between the intelligible world and the sensory world. Also, it tries to answer the question if this universe is the only, and if so, why. It combines mathematics and metaphysics, and next to that it defines 'God' in an interesting way (as being the universe, if I'm not mistaken). Howeve ...more
Timaeus is perhaps the least representative of the Platonic dialogues and belongs at the periphery of the corpus. Properly speaking, it isn't even a dialogue. Socrates makes a brief appearence at the beginning and then shuts up for the rest, yielding the stage to a Pythagorean astrologer Timaeus' monologue. Consequently, the normal drama and vivid characters are missing. Lacking a structure of logical argument, or dialectic, Timeaus isn't even properly "philosophy" in the normal sense of the wor ...more
Sercan Dağlı
Bu yüzyıldan bakıldığında akıl dışı görülebilecek bir çok önerme ve yargılarla dolu. Ancak kadim düşüncenin temellerini evrene bakış açısını öğrenmek için önemli bir kitap. Gökyüzü insanın yarıdılışı tanrılar insanın tanrılara nasıl ulaşabileceği gibi temel sorunsalların eskiler tarafından nasıl anlamlandırıldığını görmek ve bunun için yanı hikmetin peşinde yapılan felsefenin gerçekten tatmin edici yönlerine şahit olabilmek için timaeus okunmalı. Orta çağları etkisi bakımından platonun en önemli ...more
Dec 19, 2011 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though the Timaeus was one of Plato's most influential dialogues -- influential on the course of Western intellectual history, particularly in Christian theology -- we did not read it in grad school for a few reasons. 1) It is largely about the creation of the world and lays out a scientific view that is clearly false according to contemporary science. 2) It is a late Platonic dialogue, and we largely skipped late Plato and focused instead on studying early and middle.

This was all well and good
Jul 19, 2014 Jeremy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
It's kind of a mess. Plato's conception of how the earth was created is just an atavistic whirlwind of different origins and primary forces, none of which are explained or tied together into a coherent framework He starts out with a foundational idea and then when he can't develop it any further, he just throws out another one and insists that it's somehow related to the previous one. That being said, this is a hugely important dialogue because in his examination of first origins Plato briefly c ...more
Vasilis Kanatas
Nov 24, 2013 Vasilis Kanatas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Σε αυτό το μοναδικό από πλευράς περιεχομένου βιβλίο, συμπυκνώνονται οι απόψεις του Πλάτωνα σχετικά με την προέλευση της Φύσης. Το αρχαίο κείμενο είναι αντικριστά στην Νεα - Ελληνική μετάφραση κάτι που ανεβάζει την ποιότητα του βιβλίου.
Στον τόμο περιέχονται τα εξής επίμετρα, διευκολύνοντας όσους θέλουν να εμβαθύνουν στην μελέτη του Πλάτωνα:
1. Περί ψυχάς κόσμω και φύσιος. Του Τίμαιου Λοκρού, κείμενο σε δωρική διάλεκτο.
2. Περί ψυχής Κόσμου και φύσιεως. Του Τίμαιου Λοκρού, κείμενο σε αττική διάλεκτ
Aug 15, 2013 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This particular dialogue (if it can really be called a dialog considering only one man is speaking uninterrupted for more than 90% of the material) certainly has historical value in understanding the theories of the four humors, the early Greek theories on the mechanics of the human body, and their legends concerning Atlantis, but it was hard for me to find much real value beyond that. Most of the other writings of Plato contain reasoning and philosophical speculation that are at times profound ...more
Apr 01, 2016 Gina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a little hard to read at parts. It was very interesting to see the viewpoint back then, of the nature of the universe. I think i would have gotten more from Timaeus' dialog if i had first read Plato's older works. I will have to revisit this in the future.
Adam Smith
Oct 01, 2012 Adam Smith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I read this book because I heard that it was the original source of the Atlantean myth; if that is true then the origin of the myth consists entirely of a brief 'it happened to a friend of a friend of mine' mention on page 12. Atlantis is only mentioned in passing, while the majority of the book is focused on explaining all of creation according Platonic physics.

It is so hard to reconcile Platonic physics against what I know of modern physics, the two just don't work together, making this book d
Classics Fan
Nov 13, 2013 Classics Fan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting. I haven't read any Plato in years, but i see his influence all the time. It was nice to go ad fontes and see the idea of the forms played out in his own words. A lot of the text is dedicated to ancient scientific theories which seem a little crazy, like the idea that dire is made of tiny triangles. However, Plato is arguing that all substances on earth are just mixtures of a discrete number of elements, and that these elements are fundamentally different because of their shapes ...more
Diane White
Mar 10, 2016 Diane White rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of, if not THE, most profoundly influential philosophical cosmologies I've had the pleasure of reading.
Alexander Eichner
Some of Plato's cosmology - interesting and good context for The Republic, but fuck Plato.
Feb 01, 2013 Alberto rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Probably the worst Platonic dialogue. Of course, all of the cosmology is demonstrably wrong. But what makes it particularly annoying is the huge amount of absurdities that Plato should have known to be false (all triangles are of two kinds, both of which have a right angle). The ratio of wrong or meaningless statements is probably no higher than in Parmenides or Phaedo, but the length of this dialogue means there's a lot more silliness to sift through. Finally, the fact that it is one long monol ...more
"Quite possibly the oddest reading in the entire [St. John's] program." -- Mrs. Trigg
Keegan Hatt
Out of hand.
Jul 12, 2012 Miguel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: resenha-sqf
Nesta presente obra, o filósofo e matemático grego tem como dialogantes Sócrates, Crítias, Hermócrates e Timeu, e é constituída por duas partes distintas: o diálogo entre Timeu e Sócrates; a segunda parte - que alarga-se até ao término do livro - é a abordagem e especulação de Timeu sobre a origem do universo, o microcosmo e a natureza enquanto mundo físico – sendo este o focus central do livro.

Opinião completa no blogue:
Mar 01, 2012 Phillip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plato, philosophy
This book provides an ancient Greek myth of world creation. It also describes the destruction of Atlantis. I have never understood why people have been as excited by this dialogue as they have historically. Part of it is because it was the only known surviving dialogue in Europe. Still, it doesn't say much that I find interesting but it was quoted and quoted throughout Medieval history.

Don't get me wrong. In the end it is still Plato. It just isn't one of my favorites.
Jason Meinig
Nov 29, 2014 Jason Meinig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like reading Plato, even though his understanding of the human body seems laughable now. Its interesting to read and begin to appreciate how they explained physiology, medicine & disease. The book sets out a general worldview of major natural and philosophical topics, and gives Plato's broad view of these topics.
Jul 11, 2013 Cameron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This dialogue contains a detailed description of Plato's cosmogony embroidered with all the big Greek problems: the question of being and becoming, God, the nature of the physical world and Being itself. There's not much to dislike here, even though the dialogue does meander a bit.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 82 83 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Thoughts of Plato: Plato's "Sameness" and "Differences" 1 6 Dec 10, 2012 03:58AM  
  • Proslogion
  • The Categories
  • Ptolemy's Almagest
  • Essays on the Theory of Numbers
  • Four Texts on Socrates: Euthyphro/Apology/Crito/Aristophanes' Clouds
  • Philosophical Fragments (Writings, Vol 7)
  • Elements of Chemistry
  • The Enneads
  • The Philosophical Writings of Descartes (Volume I)
  • Monadology
  • What Is Philosophy?
  • Plato I: Euthyphro. Apology. Crito. Phaedo. Phaedrus. (Loeb Classical Library, #36)
  • On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals
  • Philoctetes
  • On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life
  • A History of Philosophy 2: Medieval Philosophy
  • The New Organon
  • Euclid's Elements
(Greek: Πλάτων) (Arabic: أفلاطون)
Plato is a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science.

Plato is one of the most
More about Plato...

Share This Book

“De l’espèce d’âme qui a la plus haute autorité en nous, voici l’idée qu’il faut s’en faire : c’est que Dieu nous l’a donnée comme un génie, et c’est le principe que nous avons dit logé au sommet de notre corps, et qui nous élève de la terre vers notre parenté céleste, car nous sommes une plante du ciel, non de la terre, nous pouvons l’affirmer en toute vérité. Car Dieu a suspendu notre tête et notre racine à l’endroit où l’âme fut primitivement engendrée et a ainsi dressé tout notre corps vers le ciel. Or, quand un homme s’est livré tout entier à ses passions ou à ses ambitions et applique tous ses efforts à les satisfaire, toutes ses pensées deviennent nécessairement mortelles, et rien ne lui fait défaut pour devenir entièrement mortel, autant que cela est possible, puisque c’est à cela qu’il s’est exercé.
Mais lorsqu’un homme s’est donné tout entier à l’amour de la science et à la vraie sagesse et que, parmi ses facultés, il a surtout exercé celle de penser à des choses immortelles et divines, s’il parvient à atteindre la vérité, il est certain que, dans la mesure où il est donné à la nature humaine de participer à l’immortalité, il ne lui manque rien pour y parvenir ; et, comme il soigne toujours la partie divine et maintient en bon état le génie qui habite en lui, il doit être supérieurement heureux.”
“First, I must distinguish between that which always is and never becomes and which is apprehended by reason and reflection, and that which always becomes and never is and is conceived by opinion with the help of sense.” 1 likes
More quotes…