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Re: SV: [ANE-2] The Hellenistic period -- was the first historians?

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  • Graham Hagens
    ...   Thanks for bringing Socrates to the table Ariel, because studies of his life exemplified some of the pitfalls associated with ancient (and modern)
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 3, 2009
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      --- On Sun, 6/28/09, Ariel L. Szczupak <ane.als@...> wrote:

      >Plato who? You must mean Socrates whose every word was carefully and
      >faithfully recorded, because, as he says in his Republic, "And thus,
      >Glaucon, the tale has been saved and has not perished, and will save
      >us if we are obedient to the word spoken; and we shall pass safely
      >over the river of Forgetfulness and our soul will not be defiled."
       
      Thanks for bringing Socrates to the table Ariel, because studies of his life exemplified some of the pitfalls associated with ancient (and modern) historiography. 
      Here we have a guy who various contemporaries seriously tried to understand, yet whose efforts resulted in a disparate kaleidoscope of perspectives.  At some risk of  oversimplification: in Aristophanes' Clouds Socrates was a bumbling absent minded professor, to Xenophon more of a humble seeker after truth, Plato projected him as a cosmic giant, while Aristotle saw him as a rational humanist.  More importantly none of the above had any idea what was going on when the man would suddenly freeze in mid-stride to consult with his daimon.  Nor do we. 
      Yet Socrates was one of the better attested personages of the ancient world.  For the Cyrus's, Ashurbanipals and Davids we only have scraps of fabric from which to construct both the emperor and his clothes.
       
      Graham Hagens .  


       




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • George F Somsel
      The question is whether we really know anything regarding the historical Socrates.  We know him as projected by Plato as an agent to propound Plato s own
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 3, 2009
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        The question is whether we really know anything regarding the historical Socrates.  We know him as projected by Plato as an agent to propound Plato's own thoughts.  We know him as Aristotle projects him (possibly most nearly correctly) or we know him as his detractors would portray him.  Consider the case of George W Bush.  He has been demonized by the leftist extremists and by his own party alike.  He has been portrayed as bumbling in his speech, but has anyone paid attention to Barak Obama who supposedly gives such marvelous speeches?  When he gets off topic and his teleprompter can't help him, he can't construct a coherent sentence.  It thus depends on who is depicting a person and what their relationship with the one they are portraying happens to be.  I doubt that it was any different with Socrates or, for that matter, with Jesus.
         george
        gfsomsel


        … search for truth, hear truth,
        learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
        defend the truth till death.


        - Jan Hus
        _________




        ________________________________
        From: Graham Hagens <rgrahamh@...>
        To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Friday, July 3, 2009 5:13:34 AM
        Subject: Re: SV: [ANE-2] The Hellenistic period -- was the first historians?





        --- On Sun, 6/28/09, Ariel L. Szczupak <ane.als@gmail. com> wrote:

        >Plato who? You must mean Socrates whose every word was carefully and
        >faithfully recorded, because, as he says in his Republic, "And thus,
        >Glaucon, the tale has been saved and has not perished, and will save
        >us if we are obedient to the word spoken; and we shall pass safely
        >over the river of Forgetfulness and our soul will not be defiled."
         
        Thanks for bringing Socrates to the table Ariel, because studies of his life exemplified some of the pitfalls associated with ancient (and modern) historiography. 
        Here we have a guy who various contemporaries seriously tried to understand, yet whose efforts resulted in a disparate kaleidoscope of perspectives.  At some risk of  oversimplification: in Aristophanes' Clouds Socrates was a bumbling absent minded professor, to Xenophon more of a humble seeker after truth, Plato projected him as a cosmic giant, while Aristotle saw him as a rational humanist.  More importantly none of the above had any idea what was going on when the man would suddenly freeze in mid-stride to consult with his daimon.  Nor do we. 
        Yet Socrates was one of the better attested personages of the ancient world.  For the Cyrus's, Ashurbanipals and Davids we only have scraps of fabric from which to construct both the emperor and his clothes.
         
        Graham Hagens .  
        .






        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Ariel L. Szczupak
        ... Kaleidoscope of perspectives on contemporary events ... You mean something like MSNBC & Fox? :) And your message not only acknowledges historiographical
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 3, 2009
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          At 03:13 PM 7/3/2009, Graham Hagens wrote:


          >--- On Sun, 6/28/09, Ariel L. Szczupak
          ><<mailto:ane.als%40gmail.com>ane.als@...> wrote:
          >
          > >Plato who? You must mean Socrates whose every word was carefully and
          > >faithfully recorded, because, as he says in his Republic, "And thus,
          > >Glaucon, the tale has been saved and has not perished, and will save
          > >us if we are obedient to the word spoken; and we shall pass safely
          > >over the river of Forgetfulness and our soul will not be defiled."
          >
          >Thanks for bringing Socrates to the table Ariel, because studies of
          >his life exemplified some of the pitfalls associated with ancient
          >(and modern) historiography.
          >Here we have a guy who various contemporaries seriously tried to
          >understand, yet whose efforts resulted in a disparate kaleidoscope
          >of perspectives. [...]

          Kaleidoscope of perspectives on contemporary events ... You mean
          something like MSNBC & Fox? :)

          And your message not only acknowledges historiographical pitfalls in
          its contents, but exemplifies it in form - by ending the quote before
          the smiley comment in my original message you have helped the future
          school of histographers who will claim that I suggested that
          Socrates' every word was "carefully and faithfully recorded" ... :)


          Ariel.

          [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

          ---
          Ariel L. Szczupak
          AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
          POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91406
          Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
          ane.als@...
          ---
          http://yvetteszczupakthomas.blogspot.com/
          http://undiamantbrut.blogspot.com/
        • Jascha Kessler
          re Socrates:What an odd thing Hagens asserts: i.e., that Socrates peers had no idea of what is meant by his stopping in mid-stride to consult with his dæmon?
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 5, 2009
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            re Socrates:What an odd thing Hagens asserts: i.e., that Socrates peers had
            no idea of what is meant by his stopping in mid-stride to consult with his
            dæmon? It seems to be quite comprehensible what that consultation amounted
            to; furthermore that those who do not recognize their own are in a parlous
            condition of consciousness. Socrates attested simply and clearly enough
            that his Dæmon never advised him on what to do [say or think], but what *not
            to do [say or think]. Empirically, I might assert than I learned that
            personally about the time I was in mid-adolescence. My own [Dæmon] never
            spoke or uttered or sighed a syllable at crucial moments of choice, but
            warned me about what not to do [say or think] by a profound nausea that
            perfused my bowels, the only outward sign being a slight tremor in the right
            [active] hand. At many crucial junctures in life, it visited me the same
            way. Popularly, the folk manifestation is the cricket [in PINOCCHIO] on the
            shoulder, or the hearth, if you have one in a fine Tuscan farmhouse come
            Autumn, or Jiminy Cricket, in the Disney version of the book. Also in
            Xtianity there is the little angel [left shoulder, I think], also known as
            the voice of conscience. *
            **I dont recall Plato's bafflement. Wonder, yes. Just as Alcibiades in THE
            SYMPOSIUM wonders at his teacher's frigidity in the arms of this great
            wouldbe lover. It may be noted that the various guests and speakers there
            represent each an eidolon of Athenian cultural social structure and
            professions, each with his own [trade] wisdom, whereas their cynosure
            remains a student of the sibylline woman Diotima, not present at all, but
            far up in the mountains.
            The problem for Hagens is not Socrates, I suggest, but historiography. As he
            shows by contrasting what those Athenians thought about a singular person,
            and what official records of great persons tell us. As the chorus relatives
            sings in HMS PINAFORE, about their great person, their Lord HIgh Admiral:
            "For it's greatly to his credit/and he himself has said it...." Rather ask
            after Diotima... My own view, unprofessional to say the least, is to remain
            skeptical, even of the source, the first record of an act or speech.
            Projecting one's contemporary mental formation's perspectives is the
            besetting trap.
            I suppose most of the list many not recall something I myself recall from
            the 1930's, a cartoon, I think it was named OUR BOARDING HOUSE, a one
            picture society seen weekly, and the pithy put-down refrain uttered to every
            bit of blague,* "Vas you dere, Sharlie?"* perhaps by one who had been in
            the trenches of WW I, and was putting down later statements, opinions,
            policies based on, and historians of events a decade or so earlier.
            I trust levity may lighten discussions permissibly? Even in the room with
            the RED launching button?
            Jascha Kessler

            On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 5:13 AM, Graham Hagens <rgrahamh@...> wrote:

            >
            >
            > --- On Sun, 6/28/09, Ariel L. Szczupak <ane.als@...<ane.als%40gmail.com>>
            > wrote:
            >
            > >Plato who? You must mean Socrates whose every word was carefully and
            > >faithfully recorded, because, as he says in his Republic, "And thus,
            > >Glaucon, the tale has been saved and has not perished, and will save
            > >us if we are obedient to the word spoken; and we shall pass safely
            > >over the river of Forgetfulness and our soul will not be defiled."
            >
            > Thanks for bringing Socrates to the table Ariel, because studies of
            > his life exemplified some of the pitfalls associated with ancient (and
            > modern) historiography.
            > Here we have a guy who various contemporaries seriously tried to
            > understand, yet whose efforts resulted in a disparate kaleidoscope of
            > perspectives. At some risk of oversimplification: in Aristophanes' Clouds
            > Socrates was a bumbling absent minded professor, to Xenophon more of a
            > humble seeker after truth, Plato projected him as a cosmic giant, while
            > Aristotle saw him as a rational humanist. More importantly none of the
            > above had any idea what was going on when the man would suddenly freeze in
            > mid-stride to consult with his daimon. Nor do we.
            > Yet Socrates was one of the better attested personages of the ancient
            > world. For the Cyrus's, Ashurbanipals and Davids we only have scraps of
            > fabric from which to construct both the emperor and his clothes.
            >
            > Graham Hagens .
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >



            --
            Jascha Kessler
            Professor of English & Modern Literature, UCLA
            Telephone/Facsimile: 530.684.5120
            www.jfkessler.com
            www.xlibris.com


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Jascha Kessler
            Quoted: Somsel: It thus depends on who is depicting a person and what their relationship with the one they are portraying happens to be. The key words in this
            Message 5 of 6 , Jul 5, 2009
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              Quoted: Somsel: "It thus depends on who is depicting a person and what their
              relationship with the one they are portraying happens to be."The
              key words in this definition, for it is such, are "depicting," "relationship,"
              and "portraying." In short what might called "facsimile," or "simulation."
              In former decades, corporations accepting coupons from cereal boxes would
              print, Coupon or "reasonable facsimile." How often in the 1930's one
              botched the latter is requesting a Dick Tracy badge from General Mills!
              Unreasonables sent in. Postage wasted. The latest legal problem has been
              acceptance of scanned and pasted signatures for legal documents, which are
              now okay sometimes, possibly because a forged signature, blown up can reveal
              the very pixels on the edge of a line that are not "reasonable." In short,
              the WHO that depicts is a person in history about whom the same doubts can
              apply as to that person's reasonableness or motives, or relationship to the
              subject, and the accuracy of the portrayal. I would surmise — to reach a
              bit, or stretch — that the Catholic Communion got around this profound
              problem by insisting that the wine is indeed the very blood, and miracle of
              transubstantiation is in the cup of the drinker. History is replete with
              "miracles" in that case, or perhaps mostly all miraculous.
              This ancient problem of transmittal rears its head in the serious believer
              and communicant, as in the reason combing over the situation by George Wills
              in the 2008 WHAT THE GOSPELS MEANT. Apart from the problem of Judas, Wills
              focuses also on an unknown very young laddie, a supposed Galilean disciple
              who joined the group in his early teens, and remained accessible even unto
              Luke and John. [I reviewed this work this year, but am no longer sure of
              the Luke and John names in this connection of accurate transcripts of
              remembered oral presentations by Jesus.]
              But if the new Messiah needs teleprompter, Woe unto us all! [Though
              everything is recorded, not all recordings are safely hidden for the next
              Arrival.]

              Jascha Kessler
              Jascha Kessler

              On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 1:28 PM, George F Somsel <gfsomsel@...> wrote:

              >
              >
              > The question is whether we really know anything regarding the historical
              > Socrates. We know him as projected by Plato as an agent to propound Plato's
              > own thoughts. We know him as Aristotle projects him (possibly most nearly
              > correctly) or we know him as his detractors would portray him. Consider the
              > case of George W Bush. He has been demonized by the leftist extremists and
              > by his own party alike. He has been portrayed as bumbling in his speech,
              > but has anyone paid attention to Barak Obama who supposedly gives such
              > marvelous speeches? When he gets off topic and his teleprompter can't help
              > him, he can't construct a coherent sentence. It thus depends on who is
              > depicting a person and what their relationship with the one they are
              > portraying happens to be. I doubt that it was any different with Socrates
              > or, for that matter, with Jesus.
              > george
              > gfsomsel
              >
              > … search for truth, hear truth,
              > learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
              > defend the truth till death.
              >
              > - Jan Hus
              > _________
              >
              > ________________________________
              > From: Graham Hagens <rgrahamh@... <rgrahamh%40yahoo.ca>>
              > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
              > Sent: Friday, July 3, 2009 5:13:34 AM
              > Subject: Re: SV: [ANE-2] The Hellenistic period -- was the first
              > historians?
              >
              >
              > --- On Sun, 6/28/09, Ariel L. Szczupak <ane.als@gmail. com> wrote:
              >
              > >Plato who? You must mean Socrates whose every word was carefully and
              > >faithfully recorded, because, as he says in his Republic, "And thus,
              > >Glaucon, the tale has been saved and has not perished, and will save
              > >us if we are obedient to the word spoken; and we shall pass safely
              > >over the river of Forgetfulness and our soul will not be defiled."
              >
              > Thanks for bringing Socrates to the table Ariel, because studies of
              > his life exemplified some of the pitfalls associated with ancient (and
              > modern) historiography.
              > Here we have a guy who various contemporaries seriously tried to
              > understand, yet whose efforts resulted in a disparate kaleidoscope of
              > perspectives. At some risk of oversimplification: in Aristophanes' Clouds
              > Socrates was a bumbling absent minded professor, to Xenophon more of a
              > humble seeker after truth, Plato projected him as a cosmic giant, while
              > Aristotle saw him as a rational humanist. More importantly none of the
              > above had any idea what was going on when the man would suddenly freeze in
              > mid-stride to consult with his daimon. Nor do we.
              > Yet Socrates was one of the better attested personages of the ancient
              > world. For the Cyrus's, Ashurbanipals and Davids we only have scraps of
              > fabric from which to construct both the emperor and his clothes.
              >
              > Graham Hagens .
              > .
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >



              --
              Jascha Kessler
              Professor of English & Modern Literature, UCLA
              Telephone/Facsimile: 530.684.5120
              www.jfkessler.com
              www.xlibris.com


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Niels Peter Lemche
              My guess is that we should not discuss George Bush, senior as well as son. Apart from that we have more about Socrates that George Somsell mentions: Xenophon
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 5, 2009
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                My guess is that we should not discuss George Bush, senior as well as son. Apart from that we have more about Socrates that George Somsell mentions: Xenophon and Aristophanes ("The Clouds").

                Niels Peter lemche

                -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af George F Somsel
                Sendt: den 3 juli 2009 22:29
                Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                Emne: Re: SV: [ANE-2] The Hellenistic period -- was the first historians?

                The question is whether we really know anything regarding the historical Socrates.  We know him as projected by Plato as an agent to propound Plato's own thoughts.  We know him as Aristotle projects him (possibly most nearly correctly) or we know him as his detractors would portray him.  Consider the case of George W Bush.  He has been demonized by the leftist extremists and by his own party alike.  He has been portrayed as bumbling in his speech, but has anyone paid attention to Barak Obama who supposedly gives such marvelous speeches?  When he gets off topic and his teleprompter can't help him, he can't construct a coherent sentence.  It thus depends on who is depicting a person and what their relationship with the one they are portraying happens to be.  I doubt that it was any different with Socrates or, for that matter, with Jesus.
                 george
                gfsomsel
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