In 1979, Project Theophrastus was founded by Professor William Fortenbaugh.
Its stated purpose was to collect, edit, translate and comment on the fragments of the philosopher Theophrastus, who was Aristotle's pupil and second head of the Peripatetic School. At the outset, the Project was generously supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, private foundations and Rutgers University. It continues to receive support from the university and private foundations.
In 1991, Brill in Leiden published the collected fragments of Theophrastus together with a full translation. A second printing with corrections followed the following year. The collection is in two volumes running approximately 1200 pages. In addition to Fortenbaugh, the primary editors of the volumes were Pamela Huby (Liverpool), Robert Sharples (London) and Dimitri Gutas (Yale). Significant contributions were also made by Andrew Barker (Warwick), John Keaney (Princeton), David Mirhady (Simon Fraser), David Sedley (Cambridge) and Michael Sollenberger (Mount St. Marys MD). To date, eight commentaries on particular areas within the collection have been published: those on biology and on botany by Sharples were published in 1995 and 1998 respectively, those on psychology and on logic by Huby appeared in 1999 and 2007, and those on rhetoric, on ethics and on discoveries, beginnings and proverbs were completed by Fortenbaugh in 2005, 2011 and 2014. In addition, the commentary on music by Massimo Raffa was published in 2018. These commentaries, like the text-translation volumes, are available from Brill.
The work of Project Theophrastus has been expanded to include the colleagues, pupils and successors of Theophrastus. In particular members of the Project intend to redo Fritz Wehrli's Die Schule des Aristoteles/The School of Aristotle. Missing texts are being included, the apparatus of variant readings and parallel texts is being enlarged, and an English translation added. For details go to Rutgers University Studies in Classical Humanities.
The Project sponsors biennial meetings which take place at different locations in Europe and America.
Here is a list of past conferences:
- 1979 Rutgers University, on the School of Aristotle, organized by William Fortenbaugh
- 1981 Rutgers University, on Arius Didymus, organized by William Fortenbaugh
- 1983 Liverpool University, on Theophrastus, organized by Pamela Huby and Anthony Long
- 1985 Unversity College London, on Theophrastus, organized by Robert Sharples
- 1987 Univeristy of the Saarland, on Cicero's knowledge of the Peripatos, organized by Peter Steinmetz
- 1989 Eresus, Lesbos, on Theophrastus, organized by Dimitri Gutas
- 1991 Rutgers University, on Peripatetic Rhetoric, organized by David Mirhady
- 1993 Leiden University, on Theophrastus, organized by Joannes Max van Ophuijsen and Marlein van Raalte
- 1995 University of Colorado at Boulder, on Demetrius of Phalerum and Dicaearchus of Messana, organized by Eckart Schütrumpf
- 1997 University of Budapest, on Eudemus of Rhodes, organized by István Bodnár
- 1999 University of Trier, on Theophrastus, organized by Georg Wöhrle
- 2001 University of Texas at Austin, on Lyco of Athens, Aristo of Ceos and Hieronymus of Rhodes, organized by Stephen White
- 2003 University of Leeds, on Heraclides Ponticus, organized by Elizabeth Pender
- 2005 Grenoble, France, on Strato of Lampsacus, organized by Marie-Laurence Desclos
- 2007 Rome, Italy, on Chamaeleon of Heraclea and Praxiphanes of Mytilene, organized by Elisabetta Matelli
- 2009 Greencastle, Indiana, on Aristoxenus of Tarentum, organized by Carl Huffman
- 2011 Trier, Germany, on Phainias of Eresus, organized by Oliver Hellmann
- 2014 Rutgers University, on Arius Didymus, organized by William Fortenbaugh
- 2016 Rome, Italy, on Eudemus of Rhodes, organized by Tiziano Dorandi
- 2018 Waterloo, Canada, on Clarchus of Phaselis, organized by David Mirhady