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Smiling Through the Cultural CatastropheToward the Revival of Higher Education$
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Jeffrey Hart

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300087048

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300087048.001.0001

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Socrates and Jesus: Internalizing the Heroic

Socrates and Jesus: Internalizing the Heroic

(p.73) Chapter Four Socrates and Jesus: Internalizing the Heroic
Smiling Through the Cultural Catastrophe

Jeffrey Hart

Yale University Press

This chapter in turn looks at the figures of Socrates and Jesus and how they are both central to the culture and philosophy of Athens and Jerusalem. Both were influential during their respective times. Socrates, for example, embodies in pure form the heroism of knowing. Jesus, on the other hand, radically internalized the heroic tradition of the patriarchs, Moses, and the Prophets. He would bring the people to a knowledge that would refine their tradition into one of intense concentration on the inward condition of holiness, anchoring the older Law in the purified soul. The Homeric paideia (character-shaping curriculum) was the education of Athens, whereas Exodus was the heroic paideia of the Israelites. Both, as it is seen in the chapter, were driving towards universality—Socrates through reason, Jesus through the aspiration to holiness. This chapter thus looks at both figures and how they were able to internalize the concept of the heroic.

Keywords:   Socrates, Jesus, heroism of knowing, heroic tradition, patriarchs, Moses, inward condition of holiness, Homeric paideia, heroic paideia, paideia

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