Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Penology and Eschatology in Plato's Timaeus and Laws1

  • T. J. Saunders (a1)
Extract

The eschatological myth in the tenth book of the Laws (903 b–905 d) contains a paragraph which purports to explain why, in the next world, efficient treatmentof souls according to their deserts is ‘marvellously easy’

Copyright
References
Hide All

page 232 note 2 The passage has been discussed by: StÖcklein Paul, ‘Über die philosophische Bedeutung von Platons Mythen’, Philologin Suppl. xxx (1937), 31–2;Schuhl P.-M.. ‘Line machine á peser les âmes’, La Fabulation Platonicienne (Paris, 1947), 105–8; id. Un cauchemar de Platon?', Revue Philo. sophique de la France et de l'ÉTranger, cxliii (1953), 420–2 (also in id., Études Platoniciennes [Paris, 1960], 85–9); P. Kucharski, ‘Observations sur le myth des Lois 903b905d’, Bull. Ass. Butte G., Lettres d'Humanite xiii (1954), 3150 (reprinted in id., Aspects de la Speculation Platonicienne [Paris, 1971], 7396); Rahe Heribert, Giittliche Epimeleia (diss. Tubingen 1968), 124 ff. The very brief remarks of Gerhard Müller, Studien zu den Platonischen Nomoi (2nd edition, Munchen, 1968), 96, seem to me on the right lines; so too those of Crombie A. C., An Examination of Plato's Doctrines i (London, 1962), 384, who cautiously adds, ‘It seems to me that it is anybody's guess just what this passage means.’

page 233 note 1 Gorgias 523 a ff.; Phaedo 107 a ff. (cf. 80 d ff.); Phaedrus 246 a ff.; Republic 614 a ff.

page 234 note 1 e.g.inline-graphic 903 d 7 et saepe;inline-graphic 904 b 7;inline-graphic 904 c 9;inline-graphicinline-graphic 904 d 1–2; and esp. 905 a 5–7inline-graphicinline-graphic.

page 234 note 2 Cf. Müller 72–3.

page 234 note 3 Cf. Theaetetus 177 a,inline-graphic.

page 234 note 4 The notion of ‘supervision’ is pervasive: 900 C 8, d 2; 901 b 1, 3, C 3, 4, 6; 902 a 37, c 2, 10, d 3, e 9; 903 b 5, e 3; 904 a 4 905 d 2. (I take this list from É. des Places; Deux témoins du texte des Lois de Platon’, W.S. lxx [1957], 256–7.) Personal inter vention, however, is carefully limited: 903 d 5–6inline-graphicinline-graphic….

page 234 note 5 inline-graphic (903 b 6),inline-graphic (903 b 8),inline-graphic (903 b 9–c 1),inline-graphic (904 b 2),inline-graphic (904 b 6), andinline-graphic (905 a 3) suggest that the system, whatever it is, was arranged once and for all.

page 234 note 6 inline-graphic (904 c 7),inline-graphic (904 c 9),inline-graphic (904. d I),inline-graphic (904d 8),inline-graphic (904 e 2),inline-graphic (905 a 8). Ifinline-graphic (904 b 7),inline-graphic (904 d 8), andinline-graphic (905 b I) imply an external agency, we need not suppose that it is personal rather than automatic and mechanical. For the most part, the movements seem simply to ‘happen’.

page 235 note 1 e.g. 854 d-e, 862 c, 933 e-934 b, 941 e 942 a.

page 235 note 2 e.g. 863 a-864 b, 908 a ff., 910 c-d, 934 a-b, 938 b-c.

page 235 note 3 866 d ff., and the homicide law passim.

page 235 note 4 863 d, cf. 910 c-d.

page 235 note 5 e.g. 909 a, 940 e.

page 235 note 6 e.g. 854 e, 879 e, 945 e-942 a.

page 235 note 7 862 d (surely the most remarkable penology to be found in the ancient world).

page 235 note 8 e.g. 862 e.

page 235 note 9 845 b, 909 a.

page 235 note 10 10 876 e-877 a is a telling example.

page 236 note 1 I hope to examine the confusions systematically in due course, as part of a comprehensive account of Plato's penology in the context of the history of Greek ideas about the nature and purpose of punishment.

page 236 note 2 See the apparent dissatisfaction with myth at Gorgias 527 a.

page 236 note 3 Note that even Aeacus and Rhadamanthus can be in doubt (Gorgias 524 a).

page 237 note 1 StOcklein's ‘sc.inline-graphic’ is unnecessary and misleading (op. cit. 36).

page 239 note 1 Cf. note no. 98 in my Notes on the Laws of Plato (B.I.C.S. Suppl. 28, 1972).

page 239 note 2 e 5; 904 b 5, 6, 903 b 4–5, c 1–2, c 4, d 2; cf. 905 b 7.

page 239 note 3 Kucharski P., Étude sur la doctrine pythagoricienne de la tétrade (Paris, 1952), Appendice II, 71–4, contains a useful discussion of the passage.

page 240 note 1 See the list of discussions at the beginning of the article.

page 240 note 2 So too in essence Kerschensteiner Jula, Platon and der Orient (Stuttgart, 1945), – I.

page 241 note 1 See now Theophilus Beikos, ‘Heraclitus’ fr. 52',inline-graphic i (1971), 154–75, esp. 167–8 on our passage.

page 241 note 2 The precise nature of the game is obscure: see Austin R. G., ‘Greek Board Games’, Antiquity xiv (1940), 257–71. (I owe this reference to Prof. E. R. Dodds.)

page 241 note 3 Whether one thinks something more is meant will depend on the interpretation of fr. 52.

page 241 note 4 See Kirk G. S., ‘Heraclitus and Death in Battle’, A.J.Ph. lxx (1949), 384–93.

page 242 note 1 Cf. Muller, op. cit. 96.

page 243 note 1 This line of criticism of Heraclitus (or Heracliteans) is obviously all of a piece with that which we find in the Cratylus and Theaetetus.

page 243 note 2 Mugler Charles, La Physique de Platon (Paris, 1960), 54 R. 4.

page 244 note 1 Note how theinline-graphic is temporarily ‘faded out’ by words which profess to introduce an explanation ofinline-graphic (903 e 3), and then ‘faded in’ again, once the point has been made, on the same note (inline-graphic, 904 a 3).

page 244 note 2 One oddity I notice is the full use made of reincarnation in the esoteric Timaeus, by contrast with the way it is apparently played down in the relatively popular Laws 10. Perhaps by now Plato thought the doctrine too easily ridiculed (cf. 885 c and Gorgias 527 a).

page 244 note 3 A new look at Heraclitus’, American Philosophical Quarterly i. 3 (1964), n. 28.

page 244 note 4 Cf. F. Solmsen, Plato's Theology, 156.

1 This article is a version of a paper read to the Southern Association for Ancient Philosophy in September 1972. I am grateful to members of the audience for a number of helpful comments and suggestions, and to Charles Kahn earlier for a stimulating informal discussion of the paragraph dissected in this article.The lineation shown in the quotation is that of the Buck edition, which for the Timaeus and Laws I use throughoutcirc;.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Classical Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0009-8388
  • EISSN: 1471-6844
  • URL: /core/journals/classical-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 6 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 85 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.