On Friday I downloaded a pre-release of the Perseus Classics Collection into my Logos 4 library. The new collection is the largest single batch of books I’ve downloaded since I began using Logos nearly two years ago. The collection is a library in itself of over 1,100 ancient Greek and Latin titles and includes many corresponding English translations and helpful commentaries. Authors include Aristotle, Cicero, Homer, Plato, Plutarch, Sophocles, Demosthenes, and many others.
The release of this massive collection is significant step for New Testament studies since many of the Greek titles are referenced in technical Greek reference works and lexicons like TDNT, BDAG, and EDNT. The folks at Logos have announced on their website that over time they plan to add lemma tags to all the Greek books and add hyperlinks to the lexical reference to correspond to the original books in the Perseus Classics Collection. So when you see a reference in TDNT to, say, Aristotle’s Metaphysics, the reference will be hyperlinked and a click will land you in Aristotle’s work to read the context for yourself.
Skilled Greek exegetes will benefit from the collection because of the tags and hyperlinks, but what about those who want to engage the classic Greek works on a less technical level? Most of the books are available as English translations. With these English translations the collection is quite accessible to all readers and offers many key books that can help sharpen your communication skills.
Last month I read Clear and Simple as the Truth: Writing Classic Prose by Francis-Noel Thomas and Mark Turner (Princeton, 2011). This book was an inspiring and helpful guide to understanding the persuasive power of writing in the classic style, a style that seeks to persuade by presenting truth as clearly as possible by a writer whose style builds symmetry with his reader. Write Thomas and Turner:
[The] sense of shared competence is characteristic of the relationship between writer and reader in classic style. There is always a tacit appeal to a standard of perception and judgment that is assumed to be general, rather than special. There is no need for the writer to make appeals to his sincerity, for example, or to some special insight or competence, to arcane or technical knowledge, or to a lifetime of experience obviously not available to anyone else. …
The classic symmetry between writer and reader is broken whenever the writer presents distinctions as if they are the product of her exceptional insight or temper, distinctions the reader could not have been trusted to see on his own in the right circumstances. (50–51)
If you have read the nonfiction works of C.S. Lewis you have been exposed to the classic style. Of all styles, the classic style is powerful one, but it’s also a subtle one that requires interested writers to do a lot of reading in the classics. Thomas and Turner motivated me to read more classic Greek literature and introduced me to many of the best-written ancient models of classic style. The classics that come highly recommended by Thomas and Turner are here available in readable English translations in the Logos collection. These include titles like:
- Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War
- Euclid, The Elements of Geometry
- Aristotle, Poetics
- Aristotle, Rhetoric
- Plato, Apology
- Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, books 1-3
- Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, books 4-6
- Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, books 7-9
- Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, books 10-12
A wide range of readers will equally benefit from this collection, from skilled technicians of ancient Greek and to readers who engage the classics only in English translations.
So what is the cost of this library of classics?
The Perseus Classics Collection is free for Logos 4 users who simply need to place a pre-order. When it’s ready to download, the entire collection (over 600 MB of text!) will be added to your Logos library.
Pre-order the Perseus Classics Collection and find a full list of titles here.
Many thanks to our friends at Logos!