Hello everyone (first question on this site)

I'm doing some reading/research on Leibniz's theodicy, and a random article I read has convinced me that Plato's Timaeus would tell me a lot of interesting background. Never read it yet (in my BA course I only worked on Republic and Theaetetus).

Since I haven't formally been a student for many years, I wonder: is there a particular translation/edition of Plato (or just of the Timaeus) that people trust these days? Without being in any way a Greek scholar, I'm particularly interested in a translation that admits the difficulty of translating particular key terms from such a remote era.


  • 1
    Donald J. Zeyl translation of the 'Timaeus' from 2000 (see e.g. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2001.10.35 ) has been largely adopted as a new standard .
    – sand1
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 22:26
  • @sand1: that's exactly the kind of answer I was looking for - thank you. The Zeyl translation seems to be widely available. "largely adopted as a new standard": that also means that I can refer to page numbers and it'll be likely that whoever's reading will have access to the same edition.
    – SebTHU
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 11:18
  • I like this classic translation by Jowett, which you can read freely here: oll.libertyfund.org/titles/… — once in the page, wait a few seconds to let it load, and it will then jump right to the beginning of the dialogue.
    – nir
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 15:45

2 Answers 2


Probably the best complete translation of Plato is :

J. Cooper and D.S. Hutchinson (edd.), Plato: Complete Works. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1997. Pp. xxx + 1848.

This is better - slightly more scholarly and definitely more up to date - than :

E. Hamilton and H. Cairns (edd.), Plato : The Complete Dialogues, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, 1961.

On the Timaeus : Plato, Timaeus by H. D. P. Lee (1966) - Penguin - is pretty reliable. A good and more recent translation is : Plato’s Timaeus. Translated by Peter Kalkavage. (Focus Philosophical Library.). Newburyport, Mass.: Focus Publishing, 2001. I also endorse Zeyl.

As to page numbers, all editions of Plato use the Stephanus pagination - e.g. 26b. So whatever translation you use will easy cross-reference to any other.

You would do well to avoid the much earlier work of AE Taylor. He was a notable scholar but in this area inclined to eccentric views.

  • @SebTHU. You have an answer to your question. Extra details about complete translations of Plato.
    – Geoffrey Thomas
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 15:05

I myself study ancient Greek philosophy, — I'd refer to

Francis MacDonald CORNFORD: PLato's Cosmology. The Timaeus of Plato. Translated, with a running commentary, by F. M. CORNFORD from 1937, English

(it does not present the entire Greek Text, but a complete translation and phrase-to-phrase commentary).

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