The Socratic problem: Xenophon and the Historical Socratic Cover Image
  • Price 7.00 €

A Sókratés-kérdés: Xenophón és a történeti Sókratés
The Socratic problem: Xenophon and the Historical Socratic

Author(s): Emese Mogyoródi
Subject(s): Ancient World, Greek Literature
Published by: Akadémiai Kiadó
Keywords: Xenophon; Plato; the Socratic problem; the trial of Socrates; sokratikos logos; Socratics; mimos

Summary/Abstract: Research on the “Socratic problem” has lately posed a strong challenge for the belief that anything of considerable importance might be ascertained about the historical Socrates beyond some basic facts about him. Sceptics today argue that the Socratic problem is a pseudo-issue, fundamentally because they consider both Plato’s and Xenophon’s reports about him as examples of the so-called sokratikos logos, a genre not meant to represent Socrates with historical accuracy. Th is essay is an attempt to provide some novel methodological considerations that avert a radically sceptical conclusion about the Socratic problem. It fi rst argues that we need to focus on the trial of Socrates and compare Plato’s and Xenophon’s accounts of it, through exploring the dissimilarity of their authorial intentions and of their views of Socrates in general, and assess the compatibility of their accounts with our historical knowledge of contemporary Athens. As a fi rst part of such a comparison, this essay analyses Xenophon’s authorial intentions and argues that in view of some basic facts about Socrates, our knowledge of the era and the circumstances of the trial, Xenophon’s account is not plausible historically. On the basis of its shortcomings, it outlines some theoretical criteria that a historically reliable account must meet. It suggests that Plato’s Apology complies with these criteria, but assigns the task of exploring its historical plausibility to further study.

  • Issue Year: 62/2018
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 1-29
  • Page Count: 29
  • Language: Hungarian