The following is based on my introduction to a catalogue of Adam Smith's library forthcoming from the Oxford Universety Press, with some additions and rearrangement for Japanese audience. An abridged version was read before the meeting of the first section (humanities and social sciences) of the Japan Academy on 15th June 1999.
Plato narrated the myth about the genesis of the universe in the dialogue Timaeus. It was interpreted in various ways by the people after him. Here we will examine the interpretations by Aristotle, Plotinus and Augustine, as the representatives of it. In this respect, first of all, we have to consider the Plato's myth itself and some problems which it involves. 1. The myth of Timaeus and the problems it involves. 2. The interpretation by Aristotle. 3. The interpretation by Plotinus. 4. The interpretation by Augustine. Finally, we would like to find out the meaning of these three interpretations in the history of the European metaphysics.