Socrates’s relationship with the divine is threefold: (1) he owes his ‘elenctic mission’ – i.e., his questioning, examining, and refuting other people in order to make them aware of their ignorance –to a god, Apollo, from whom he derives a human wisdom (anthropine sophia) which is juxtaposed to the absolute wisdom of the gods (theia sophia); (2) he believes that human beings are the products of an intelligent design conceived by craftperson-gods. These gods take care of humans and, inversely, all good deeds of humans are a service to the gods; (3) he has a privileged relationship with a divine entity within him, thanks to which he is able to ‘make others better’, that is, to perform his ‘elenctic mission’. Scholarship has so far largely neglected the links between 1, 2 and 3, focusing instead on particular aspects of Socrates’s religiosity. In my talk, I examine the connections between Socrates’s privileged relationship with the gods, providence, and ‘the divine within him’ as reported by Plato, Xenophon, and Aeschines. The evidence suggests that Socrates was endowed with a divine gift that was closely related to his personal happiness as well as with his ability to make others better (i.e., from the Socratic perspective, happier).

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2021-01-01

Abstract

Socrates’s relationship with the divine is threefold: (1) he owes his ‘elenctic mission’ – i.e., his questioning, examining, and refuting other people in order to make them aware of their ignorance –to a god, Apollo, from whom he derives a human wisdom (anthropine sophia) which is juxtaposed to the absolute wisdom of the gods (theia sophia); (2) he believes that human beings are the products of an intelligent design conceived by craftperson-gods. These gods take care of humans and, inversely, all good deeds of humans are a service to the gods; (3) he has a privileged relationship with a divine entity within him, thanks to which he is able to ‘make others better’, that is, to perform his ‘elenctic mission’. Scholarship has so far largely neglected the links between 1, 2 and 3, focusing instead on particular aspects of Socrates’s religiosity. In my talk, I examine the connections between Socrates’s privileged relationship with the gods, providence, and ‘the divine within him’ as reported by Plato, Xenophon, and Aeschines. The evidence suggests that Socrates was endowed with a divine gift that was closely related to his personal happiness as well as with his ability to make others better (i.e., from the Socratic perspective, happier).
Socrates, Delphic oracle, happiness, gods, religiosity, daimonion, providence
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1068809
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