On the Being of The Being of the Beautiful

Michael Davis, "On the Being of The Being of the Beautiful," Ancient Philosophy, Vol. 7 (1987): 191-200.

Seth Benardete’s The Being of the Beautiful combines a precise translation and a comprehensive analysis of the three Platonic dialogues: Theaetetus, Sophist, and Statesman. The book brings to mind two questions, one specific and one general. As the subject matter of none of the three dialogues seems on the surface to be the beautiful (Benardete implies as much by prefacing his book with an interpretation of Plato’s Hippias Major, of which the explicit theme is the beautiful), why is The Being of the Beautiful an appropriate title? And why is a book that contains so little technical vocabulary as to be almost idiomatic in its parts, so difficult to grasp as a whole?