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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Assuming that linkage, then, voui^eiv bears the broad meaning "to accept (or "
treat," "practice") as normal."10' On this reading, the expression 8eoi>g voul^eiv
should be understood to mean "to accept the gods in the normal way," indicating
Rather, it was understood that proper religious practice required a minimal set of
religiously correct attitudes, especially an intellectual commitment to the
existence of those to whom ritual is directed."2 So, then, the first formal charge
What renders philosophical activity pious is its performance with the intent to
serve the gods by furthering people's well-being, and what renders philosophical
practice an obligatory practice without reference to the gods is that it — once
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