I mentioned in my previous blog that I am reading through the page proofs of my scholarly book Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics. And I suggested that I might give a few extracts to give some idea of what the book looks like. Much of the book is hard hitting scholarship that only inveterate philologists could love (or like). I can give a taste in later posts, if anyone’s interested. But I start off on a light note, in part to get people interested (even scholars have to be interested!). I open with the following anecdote. If you’ve read my popular book Forged, the final part will sound familiar. This is how I would (and do) do the same bit for a more scholarly audience. (I have not included the footnotes here)


Heraclides Ponticus was one of the great literati of the classical age. As a young man from aristocratic roots he left his native Pontus to study philosophy in Athens under Plato, Speusippus, and eventually, while he was still in the Academy, Aristotle. During one of Plato’s absences, Heraclides was temporarily put in charge of the school; after the death of Speucippus he was nearly appointed permanent head. His writings spanned a remarkable range, from ethics to dialectics to geometry to physics to astronomy to music to history to literary criticism. Diogenes Laertius lists over sixty books in all. Ten others are known from other sources. Few texts remain, almost entirely in fragments.

FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, log in as a Member. Click here for membership options. If you don’t belong yet, join!