a1 Brigham Young University
According to the traditional view of Empedocles' cosmic cycle, there are two creations of plants and animals, one under the dominion of increasing Strife and one under the dominion of increasing Love. At the point at which Strife holds complete sway the four elements are completely separated and all life is destroyed; at the point at which Love is completely dominant there is also a destruction of the biological world, this time because the elements are blended into a perfectly homogeneous mixture. This interpretation of the cosmic cycle, which has prevailed almost since it was developed by Friedrich Panzerbieter (1844) and seconded by authority of Eduard Zeller (1856) was challenged by Paul Tannery (1887) and then by H. von Arnim (1902). Long after these essentially programmatic critiques, three independent studies published in 1965 by Jean Bollack, Uvo Hölscher and Friedrich Solmsen mounted a vigorous challenge to the received view. However, in a detailed monograph devoted to Empedocles' cosmic cycle, Denis O'Brien (1969) brought to bear an impressive array of scholarly evidence and critical acumen in support of the traditional view (or rather a modified version of it). Several challenges to the traditional view have appeared since O'Brien's book, of which the most significant is that of A. A. Long, who, while criticizing attempts of some opponents of the traditional view, produced some novel and interesting arguments against it. Although the traditional view continues to enjoy the support of authorities such as Jonathan Barnes and M. R. Wright, there is a decided shift in favour of revisionary views. Nevertheless recent advocates of a revisionary interpretation do not provide detailed refutations of the traditional view; Long's arguments remain the strongest objections to the traditional view, and they have never been refuted. Will they stand up to scrutiny?