08-0 Greece Read

08-0 Greece Read - Unit 8: Greek Primary Texts Unit 17:...

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Unit 17: Primary Texts on Greece 8.1. Plato, "Socrates at the Oracle of Delphi," from The Apology of Socrates 8.2 Oracle at Delphi and the Athenians (Herodotus 7.141-143) 8.3. Diogenes Laertius, The Lives of Eminent Philosophers , "The Life of Diogenes" [the first Cynic] 8.4 “Alexander the Great and the Gymnosophists,” from The Alexander Romance 8.5 Alexander and the High Priest of Jerusalem 8.1 Plato: The Apology of Socrates , (B. Jowett translation) “Socrates and the Oracle of Delphi” 1. I [Socrates] dare say that someone will ask the question, “Why is this, Socrates, and what is the origin of these accusations of you: for there must have been something strange which you have been doing? All this great fame and talk about you would never have arisen if you had been like other men: tell us, then, why this is, as we should be sorry to judge hastily of you.” Now I regard this as a fair challenge, and I will endeavor to explain to you the origin of this name of “wise,” and of this evil fame. Please to attend them. And although some of you may think that I am joking, I declare that I will tell you the entire truth. Men of Athens, this reputation of mine has come of a certain sort of wisdom which I possess. If you ask me what kind of wisdom, I reply, such wisdom as is attainable by man, for to that extent I am inclined to believe that I am wise; whereas the persons of whom I was speaking have a superhuman wisdom, which I may fail to describe, because I have it not myself; and he who says that I have, speaks falsely, and is taking away my character. And here, O men of Athens, I must beg you not to interrupt me, even if I seem to say something extravagant. For the word which I will speak is not mine. I will refer you to a witness who is worthy of credit, and will tell you about my wisdom—whether I have any, and of what sort—and that witness shall be [Apollo] the god of Unit 8: Greek Primary Texts
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Delphi. You must have known Chaerephon; he was early a friend of mine, and also a friend of yours, for he shared in the exile of the people, and returned with you. Well, Chaerephon, as you know, was very impetuous in all his doings, and he went to Delphi and boldly asked the oracle to tell him whether—as I was saying, I must beg you not to interrupt—he asked the oracle to tell him whether there was anyone wiser than I was, and the Pythian prophetess [of Delphi] answered that there was no man wiser. Chaerephon is dead himself, but his brother, who is in court, will confirm the truth of this story. 2. Why do I mention this? Because I am going to explain to you why I have such an evil name. When I heard the answer, I said to myself, What can the god mean? and what is the interpretation of this riddle? for I know that I have no wisdom, small or great. What can he mean when he says that I am the wisest of men? And yet he is a god and cannot lie; that would be against his nature. After a long consideration, I at last thought of a method of trying the
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This note was uploaded on 10/23/2011 for the course HIST 201 taught by Professor Sabey during the Fall '08 term at BYU.

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08-0 Greece Read - Unit 8: Greek Primary Texts Unit 17:...

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