David Hildebrand recently lamented the lack of availability online of good, new translations of ancient works, such as the dialogues of Plato, usually found in Jowett’s rendering. Benjamin Jowett was a great classicist with a sensitivity for philosophical texts as well as an astonishingly prolific translator, and he is one of the main reasons I wanted to study at Balliol. Nevertheless, his Victorian translations of Plato are clearly out of date (cf. also Lamb’s translation for the Loeb series, originally published in 1924 and available on the Perseus Project). We can do better for modern readers, and I believe we can do it freely, without simply converting already published translations into electronic form, something to which publishers would never consent.
Over the next couple of months, I will try to publish daily a Stephanus page’s worth of a rough translation of the Greek text of Plato’s Protagoras. I originally wrote this translation as part of my undergraduate thesis on the dialogue (at the University of Texas at Austin, under the supervision of Paul Woodruff), but I will improve it as I make it available. I would like to extend an open invitation to readers to collaborate and make corrections and improvements in the comments. Some points of difference will no doubt be stylistic, but others will be substantive, and I hope the result will be a translation that is faithful to the text, sensitive to its philosophical content, and readable. At the end, I will make the translation freely available under a suitable open license. Please join me!