The Derveni Papyrus

Cosmology, Theology and Interpretation

Gábor Betegh, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007


Gábor Betegh presents the first systematic reconstruction and examination of the Derveni papyrus and analyzes its role in the intellectual milieu of its age. Found in 1962 near Thessaloniki among the remains of a funeral pyre, it is one of the earliest surviving Greek papyri and is a document of primary importance for understanding religious and philosophical developments of the time of Socrates. The book will appeal strongly to classicists, philosophers and historians of religion.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

  1. The find
  2. The first columns
  3. The reconstruction of the poem
  4. The interpretation of the poem
  5. The cosmic god
  6. Cosmology
  7. Anaxagoras
  8. Diogenes of Apollonia and Archelaus of Athens
  9. Physics and eschatology: Heraclitus and the gold plates
  10. Understanding Orpheus, understanding the world

Appendix: Diagoras and the Derveni author


Index verborum

Index of passages

Index of modern names

Index of subjects


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