Thorwald C. Franke
Pablo Rodríguez Cantos is self-described as “a mathematician, a Catholic priest and an amateur poet from Granada.” We first encountered him earlier this year (2021), when he published a review (in Spanish) of Paulino Zamarro‘s book, a review that can be read in English here.
Rodriguez has been studying the matter of Atlantis for some time and has published a number of related blogs on his website(b). He has now advanced further into the swampy field of Atlantology by establishing a bilingual English/Spanish forum(a) which he “expects to be a meeting point for professional, independent and amateur researchers on Atlantis topics according to a scientific methodology. Everybody can read the forum, but you must register for writing messages. Registration is completely free and really simple. Please read and accept the rules of the forum before you participate.”
Due to a daunting backlog of work I was unable to participate in it as I had hoped. I now note in his Newsletter 178(c) that Thorwald C. Franke has withdrawn from the forum as he realised “that the forum admin was not pursuing an existence hypothesis on Plato’s Atlantis at all, but an invention hypothesis.”
Joining the Dots was the title of my book published 0ver two years ago. Its intention was to show that there was cumulative evidence that demonstrated the reality of Atlantis and had existed in the Central Mediterranean. While individual points have limited value, when put together, it clearly shows that ‘the balance of probabilities’ favours the existence of Atlantis.
Sometime after publication, Professor Heinz-Günther Nesselrath of Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen published a review of ‘Dots’ in the highly respected Bryn Mawr Classical Review(a) (BMCR) and subsequently published an extended critique of my book, which is rather unusual!
I eventually completed a response to Nesselrath’s initial article and have published it here today (2/3/21).
>Later in 2021 Thorwald C. Franke published his Newsletter No. 175(c) in which he revealed that in the course of correspondence with BMCR they claimed that they do not review self-published books, which mine was. One can legitimately wonder why Joining the Dots was chosen for such exceptional treatment! Franke’s entire newsletter should be read.<
Peter Heylyn (1599-1662) was a cleric with an interest in history and geography. He was a prolific writer, including Cosmographie [1260/1273], in which he endeavoured to record every detail of the known world of 1652. Thorwald C. Franke notes [1255.285] that Heylyn believed that a submerged Atlantis existed in the Atlantic.
Julia Annas (1946- ) is the British-born Regents Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona, where she now lectures and is currently researching Platonic ethics. A few years ago she published her sceptical views regarding Plato’s Atlantis(a). Thorwald C. Franke has written “a detailed analysis of her thoughts and show exactly where and why she is wrong concerning Atlantis although her general ideas about Plato are not wrong.”(b)
Franke’s forensic study of Annas’ is another valuable contribution to Atlantis literature, highlighting that regarding Atlantis sceptics “It is simply not enough that all (?) agree on the one single fact that it is an invention while proposing many contradictory reasons and interpretations for this. If it is a recognizable fiction you would expect e.g. a consolidated interpretation of the recognizable meaning of this fictional story. But there are as many invention hypotheses as there are localisation hypotheses.”
André-François Boureau-Deslandes (1689-1757) was born in Pondicherry, a former French territory in India. He was a philosopher, a scientist and a sometimes controversial writer. Thorwald C. Franke notes [1255.325] that contrary to some reports, Boureau-Deslandes favoured the Atlantic as the home of Atlantis in his 1737 work, Histoire critique de la philosophie .
Robert Catesby Taliaferro (1907-1989) was an American mathematician, philosopher and classical philologist. In his latter capacity he wrote a foreword to a 1944 reprint of Thomas Taylor‘s translation of Timaeus and Critias . From it Frank Joseph has quoted [802.140] the following; “it appears to me to be as least as well attested as any other narration in any ancient historian. Indeed, he [Plato] who proclaims that ‘truth is the source of every good both to gods and men,’ and the whole of whose works consist in detecting error and exploring certainty, can never be supposed to have wilfully deceived mankind by publishing an extravagant romance as matter of fact, with all the precision of historical detail.”
*However, shortly after I posted the above, I was contacted by Thorwald C. Franke, who kindly pointed out that Frank Joseph’s quotation was from Thomas Taylor’s own introduction not Taliaferro’s later addition in 1944. This is just another example of sloppy research by Joseph.*
Theodor Gomperz (1832-1912) was an Austrian classicist, born in Brno, now part of the Czech Republic. His best known work is arguably Greek Thinkers.
Thorwald C. Franke has drawn attention(a) to volume three, where Gomperz has discussed the subject of Atlantis, although with some degree of ambiguity. Nevertheless, while identifying some of Plato’s embellishments, Gomperz conceded that there was probably a degree of historical reality underpinning the narrative.
Stephen P. Kershaw is Classics scholar with a particular interest in myth ology. He was editor of The Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology and has published a short series in his own right; A Brief Guide to the Greek Myths, A Brief Guide to Classical Civilization and A Brief History of the Roman Empire . In September 2017, A Brief History of Atlantis was published, which is a valuable introduction to the wide variety of opinions regarding Atlantis that have been expressed since the time of Plato.
His first chapter gives a number of instances where highly regarded ancient geographers have been quite inaccurate, citing the Roman belief that the west of Britain faced south. He concludes with ”the point here is that whether we are dealing with descriptions of the mythical Scherie, the real Britannia of Plato’s Atlantis, ancient geographical knowledge can be vague and contradictory.”
Kershaw is an Atlantis sceptic who concludes that, ”Too many difficulties get in the way of accepting Plato’s story at face value: the chronology of putting a developed civilisation in the Mesolithic period; the geological impossibility of there being a sunken continent beneath the Atlantic; the total absence of any finds from the ancient world carrying the name Atlantis; and the fact that there is no mention anywhere of Atlantis in any ancient text prior to Plato’s – not even in Herodotus or Solon. Put bluntly, there is no source of the Atlantis story other than Plato. Atlantis is just a tale from Egypt ‘the most brilliant and enduring of all hoaxes’(Trevor Bryce)”
With regard to the above, I must point out that the date for Atlantis noted by Plato is regarded by many atlantologists as a corruption and have offered a number of possible explanations for what is obviously incorrect. With regard to an Atlantic location, I along with others favour a Mediterranean setting. The name Atlantis was part of the Hellenising of the narrative recounting the war with an alliance whose members were likely to have been known by a variety different names. Plato also explains how Greece lost much of its history as a result of catastrophic floods (Timaeus 23b), which may explain why the Atlantis story was new to Solon.
Thorwald C. Franke has written a valuable and hard-hitting critique of Kershaw’s Atlantis book(a).
In January 2017, the University of Oxford began a short course on Plato’s Atlantis with Kershaw as the lecturer.
*October 2018 saw the publication of Kershaw’s The Search for Atlantis  which deals with the manner in which Plato’s narrative has be received over the centuries. What I found unexpected was the lukewarm review that Kershaw’s book was given by fellow Atlantis sceptic, Jason Colavito(b).*
Edward Wells (1667-1727) was an English mathematician, geographer and controversial theologian. In a 1701 work, A Treatise of Antient and Present Geography [1259.146], he refers to the belief of some, linking America with Plato’s Atlantis, although he avoids revealing his own opinion on the matter. He refers to Cosmographie by Peter Heylyn (1599-1662),>where arguments that the ancients had knowledge of America are more fully expounded. Thorwald C. Franke discusses Wells in his 2016 book [1255.321], and concluded that Wells thought that Atlantis had been situated in the Atlantic!<
Michael Hissmann (1752-1784) was a German philosopher of some repute. He also translated a number of French works into German., including that of Delisle de Sales, in which he added his own view that Atlantis had been situated in the Atlantic contrary to the view of the original author. He died of tuberculosis while in his early thirties,*[in the same year that he became a full professor. For German readers, Thorwald C. Franke has a more extensive account[1255.385] of Hissmann’s work.]*