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II 365 D, E. οὐκοῦν, εἰ μὲν μὴ εἰσίν, μηδὲν αὐτοῖς τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων μέλει, τί καὶ ἡμῖν μελητέον τοῦ λανθάνειν;

The reading of the best MSS, καὶ ἡμῖν μελητέον τοῦ λανθάνειν, is defended by Shorey (A. J. Ph. XVI p. 231), but (as I think) unsuccessfully, and even the most conservative editors abandon it.

We have to choose between (1) <τί> καὶ ἡμῖν μελητέον τοῦ λανθάνειν; (found in several inferior MSS besides v), (2) οὐδ᾽ ἡμῖν μελητέον κτλ. (q Flor. U), (3) καὶ ἡμῖν <οὐ> μελητέον κτλ. (Paris D in margin), (4) καὶ ἡμῖν ἀμελητέον (a conjecture of Baiter's). It is possible that each of these readings is due to conjecture, and we can scarcely hope to restore the hand of Plato with certainty in this passage.

I formerly (with Bekker and others) printed οὐδ᾽ ἡμῖν. The meaning is satisfactory, but the correction does not seem probable in itself. The same may be said of (3) and (4). I have now followed Stallbaum in supposing that τί was accidentally omitted after the -ει of μέλει. Such a slip is easy enough, and would be most likely to be corrected by the introduction of a negative, as in (2) and (3). Moreover, as Stallbaum says, τί καὶ ἡμῖν “huius sermonis alacritati plane est accommodatum,” and καί is, I think, sufficiently justified by the obvious contrast between the gods and ourselves. Tucker objects that ‘“If the gods do not care, why should we also care?” is as bad in Greek as in English’: but καί is hardly so much as ‘also’: it merely points the contrast. Cf. III 414 E note There is no difficulty in οὐκοῦν followed by a question, so long as the question is merely rhetorical. Hermann proposes οὔκουνκαὶ ἡμῖν μελητέον, but the negative would require to be reinforced before ἡμῖν. I can see no probability in Tucker's conjecture, viz. οὐκοῦν—<οὐδὲν> καὶ ἡμῖν μελητέον.

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