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Session 3: Plato's Soul

The Theology Reading Group

invites you to their next meeting

on 16th January at 5 pm (Room H 501).


Plato’s Phaedo

Socrates has drunk the cup of poison ‘with good humour and without the least distaste’, and conducts his last conversation with his friends and students who, to his utter indignation, cannot stop crying. And, perhaps, neither can we when Socrates makes no answer any more, and ‘after a short interval he stirred, and when the man uncovered him his eyes were fixed; when he saw this, Crito closed his mouth and his eyes. And that, Echecrates, was the end of our companion, a man who, among those of his time we knew, was – so we should say – the best, the wisest too, and the most just.’

But is this really the end? Or is it rather the beginning of the real life of the eternal soul? Does Socrates actually believe that he is about to ‘go off and depart for some happy state of the blessed’? Or is it only the self-consolation of a dying man? What happens to the soul after death, and where does it come from at the time of birth? Does Socrates, after all, fail terribly with his educational project when his students, upon his death, cannot stop crying? And what is the reader supposed to feel?

Aeneas in the Underworld

Please come and join us on a discussion of this unusually moving and perhaps the most poetic dialogue of Plato, and a short passage from Virgil’s Aeneid, in which Aeneas meets his dead father Anchises in the underworld, who educates his son about the journey of the soul after death.

A number of translations exist, but it may be more convenient if we all used the same one, so we suggest this: http://webcat.warwick. 20and%20t:(phaedo)& searchscope=15&SORT=D/Xa:( plato)%20and%20t:(phaedo)& searchscope=15&SORT=D&SUBKEY= a%3A(plato)%20and%20t%3A( phaedo)/1%2C23%2C23%2CB/ frameset&FF=Xa:(plato)%20and% 20t:(phaedo)&searchscope=15& SORT=D&3%2C3%2C. If you have trouble finding a copy, please email the chair of this session, Máté Vince (