The Religion of Socrates
Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996 - 353 sivua
This study argues that to understand Socrates we must uncover and analyze his religious views, since his philosophical and religious views are part of one seamless whole. Mark McPherran provides a close analysis of the relevant Socratic texts, an analysis that yields a comprehensive and original account of Socrates' commitments to religion (e.g., the nature of the gods, the immortality of the soul).
McPherran finds that Socrates was not only a rational philosopher of the first rank, but a figure with a profoundly religious nature as well, believing in the existence of gods vastly superior to ourselves in power and wisdom and sharing other traditional religious commitments with his contemporaries. However, Socrates was just as much a sensitive critic and rational reformer of both the religious tradition he inherited and the new cultic incursions he encountered. McPherran contends that Socrates saw his religious commitments as integral to his philosophical mission of moral examination and, in turn, used the rationally derived convictions underlying that mission to reshape the religious conventions of his time. As a result, Socrates made important contributions to the rational reformation of Greek religion, contributions that incited and informed the theology of his brilliant pupil, Plato.
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accomplish his interests, and given his status as the divine strongman, this was
thought to be a plan that in the end he could force his divine underlings to submit
to.46 Chief among Zeus's interests, it was thought, was his desire to secure from
The other side of this coin, however, is that part of the popular conception of the
gods (esp. of Zeus) emphasized the idea that — just as with any set of superiors
who have an interest in maintaining the flow of goods from below — they would ...
between oathbreaking and impiety /atheism: Jurors at the time took an oath to
judge according to the nomoi of Athens, and Socrates' audience will be fully
aware that these nomoi sanction and support the civic religion and that it is Zeus (
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