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Horst Steinke


guments relating to Homer and his works that have much in

common with the final 1744 edition (the so-called

Third New Sci-




. Thus, from a standpoint of substance, most of the salient

later arguments are already present, and so, again, the radical

change in the form of presentation and rhetoric is nothing less

than startling


. While our focus is on the final 1744 edition, the

change, or rather transformation, in the treatment of the Homer-

ic material, actually took place already with the 1730 edition, re-

ferred to sometimes as the

Second New Science.

But Book III in the

final version, like the rest of this edition, is essentially identical to

the 1730 version



How then can justice be done to the unique character of

Book III? Perhaps by recognition that it was the culmination of

two decades of reflection by the time he wrote the 1730 ver-



; this takes us back to the publication of

De antiquissima




. Vico’s preoccupation with Homer bore its first fruits a

decade later in

Diritto universale

and the subsequent

Notae in duos


, and his assessment(s) became integral parts of

Scienza nuova



. Taking the 1725 work as representative, we encounter

a Vico who has mastered the subject matter (being largely of his

own creation), and is in command of the erudition. This now set

the stage for him to shift his attention to the next level of reflec-

tion that is no longer focused on the subject itself and the wealth

of material, but is instead reflexive, that is, able to step back, so

to speak, and reflect on the premises and presuppositions them-

selves underlying the results of his long-term studies. This reflex-

ivity, therefore, necessitated an explicit study and articulation of

methodology, a methodology that was always implicit in, and

woven into, the fabric of his researches and writings heretofore,

but never enunciated

sui generis

. Since results in any discipline or

science are governed by methodology, Vico’s placement of his

methodological reflections on their own at the center of his

greatest work becomes intelligible


. In order to give full due to

this special valuation, the inclination to relegate methodology in