Socrates from Antiquity to the Enlightenment: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Socrates from Antiquity to the Enlightenment

1st Edition

Edited by Michael Trapp


338 pages

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Hardback: 9780754641247
pub: 2007-06-28
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315242798
pub: 2017-03-02
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Socrates, son of Sophroniscus, of Alopece is arguably the most richly and diversely commemorated - and appropriated - of all ancient thinkers. Already in Antiquity, vigorous controversy over his significance and value ensured a wide range of conflicting representations. He then became available to the medieval, renaissance and modern worlds in a provocative variety of roles: as paradigmatic philosopher and representative (for good or ill) of ancient philosophical culture in general; as practitioner of a distinctive philosophical method, and a distinctive philosophical lifestyle; as the ostensible originator of startling doctrines about politics and sex; as martyr (the victim of the most extreme of all miscarriages of justice); as possessor of an extraordinary, and extraordinarily significant physical appearance; and as the archetype of the hen-pecked intellectual. To this day, he continues to be the most readily recognized of ancient philosophers, as much in popular as in academic culture. This volume, along with its companion, Socrates in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, aims to do full justice to the source material (philosophical, literary, artistic, political), and to the range of interpretative issues it raises. It opens with an Introduction surveying ancient accounts of Socrates, and discussing the origins and current state of the 'Socratic question'. This is followed by three sections, covering the Socrates of Antiquity, with perspectives forward to later developments (especially in drama and the visual arts); Socrates from Late Antiquity to medieval times; and Socrates in the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Among topics singled out for special attention are medieval Arabic and Jewish interest in Socrates, and his role in the European Enlightenment as an emblem of moral courage and as the clinching proof of the follies of democracy.


’… cet ouvrage passionnant, enrichi de bibliographies spécialisées après chaque chapitre, d’une bibliographie générale, d’un index et de dix-huit illustrations, contribuera vivement à éclairer un pan fondamental de l’histoire des idées, en soulignant les ambivalences et les paradoxes d’une réception protéiforme.’ Revue d'Histoire et de Philosophie Religieuses

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword, Judith Herrin, Michael Trapp; Introduction: questions of Socrates, Michael Trapp; The comic Socrates, Peter Brown; Irony in the soul: should Plato's Socrates be sincere? Mary Margaret McCabe; Xenophon's Socrateses, Deborah Levine Gera; Beyond Plato and Xenophon: some other ancient Socrateses, Michael Trapp; The Socratic corpus: Socrates and physiognomy, Daniel R. McLean; Socrates and his companions in art, Joseph Geiger; Two images of Sokrates in the art of the Greek east, Nikolaos Charalabopoulos; Socrates and the early Church, Mark Edwards; Socrates in Hellenistic and medieval Jewish literature, with special regard to Yehuda Hallevi's Kuzari, Gabriel Danzig; The Arabic Socrates: the place of al-Kindi's report in the tradition, Peter Adamson; Socrates in the Italian Renaissance, James Hankins; The refutation of democracy? Socrates in the Enlightenment, Ian Macgregor Morris; Voltaire's Socrates, Russell Goulbourne; Bringing the hemlock up: Jacques-Louis David's Socrates and the inventions of history, Valerie Mainz; Adamance Coray (Koraës): the new literary image of Socrates in the Greek Enlightenment and New Hellenism, Nicholas A.E. Kalospyros; General bibliography; Index.

About the Editor

Michael Trapp is Professor of Greek Literature and Thought in the Department of Classics, King's College London, UK.

About the Series

Publications of the Centre for Hellenic Studies, King's College London

Publications of the Centre for Hellenic Studies, King's College London

Initiated in 1993 as an extension of the activities of the Centre for Hellenic Studies at King's College London, this series covers all aspects of Greek culture and civilization. The volumes published to date present a broad range of topics from ancient to modern, including the papers of several international symposia held at KCL. Titles deal with the history and image of Alexandria, the image of Socrates across the centuries, the early years of El Greco, the making of Modern Greece, Greek-Turkish relations in modern times, and the history of Greek photography. Volumes recently published or in preparation cover the reign of the 12th-century Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos, the politics behind Lord Byron’s intervention in the Greek Revolution in the 1820s and Greek art music since the early 19th century.

For further information about the series please contact Michael Greenwood at


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General