Reason and Revelation Post

[In progress: draft]

The relation of Leo Strauss to Christianity is obviously a primary question for the students of Strauss that arrive for class from a Christian rather than a Jewish tradition.While Strauss addresses the questions of reason and revelation, he does not directly address the teachings of Jesus, but addresses reason and revelation from the Hebrew rather than the Gentile or non Hebrew Biblical tradition (MI, p. 114 “I speak only of the Jewish version” of the older and newer views regarding reason and revelation). This may be no more surprising for him than it was for Maimonides, following the Spanish persecutions. How then do Christian students of Strauss take up the question of Athens and Jerusalem? The following is an essay or attempt.

Strauss has presented the two sources of Western civilization and the alternatives in the crisis of modernity as the philosophic life from Athens and the life of belief, from Jerusalem. Famously, he presents these two as incompatible- one might pursue one or the other, but not both. One must always be subordinate and handmaid to the other. The ways of faith and reason are incompatible. The alternative- of their conjunction- Strauss attributes to Nietzsche

…The single goal of mankind is conceived by him as in a sense super-human. He speaks of the super-man of the future. The superman is meant to unite in himself Jerusalem and Athens on the highest level.

Athens and Jerusalem, p. 149

While it is not clear immediately what text Strauss draws this from, or what of Athens and what of Jerusalem the Nietzschean conjunction might have in mind, his contrast of reason and revelation is quite clear. A Caesar with the soul of Christ would be a conjoining of Jerusalem and Rome.

In response to this we begin from indicating that the word “revelation” is not used in the scriptures sense in which Strauss uses it. This is as an object of belief received by hearing rather than something uncovered to sight. The word revelation is then not used in this sense contrary to reason. This very contrast is medieval, not ancient, while the Bible is not medieval but ancient. The answers regarding the compatibility of the ways of faith and reason depend upon definitions and understanding of what these are, what faith is and what reason is, and as it turns out, there are various meanings for each- not all of which conflict. Strauss argues that the two, Athens and Jerusalem, agree as to the importance of justice, but disagree regarding what completes “morality-” Athens, the life of the quest for wisdom, Jerusalem a way of faith which assumes but does not seek regarding the first principle.

In the 1950 Athens and Jerusalem lecture of Strauss, at 6: 50 of the second lecture, there occurs this statement, repeated in the Mutual Influence essay (p. 111) which shows in its root the arguments which later emerged into such bloom:

The philosopher sees no necessity in assenting to something which is not evident to him… If he is told that his disobedience to revelation might be fatal, he raises the question “What does fatal mean?” If the philosopher is told that his disobedience to revelation might be fatal to him, he raises the question what does fatal mean? Eternal damnation to Hell fire? The philosophers are absolutely certain that a wise God would not punish with eternal damnation or anything else human beings that were seeking the truth with clarity. (MI, 113).

Strauss draws this simple early statement of the issue between Athens and Jerusalem without reference to any text. The reason may be that the texts do not quite say that. It is never said, exactly, “believe in revelation.” The word is used to describe something– the adherence to law, in the Hebrew Bible, but we would say that law and “revelation” in this sense are not coextensive. Law seems to depend upon the presumption of knowledge. Every code depends upon the presumption of knowledge, every city, and it is this, not “revelation” in any other sense that conflicts with the life of reason. Paul contrasts Grace and law. That Christianity has become a belief and a law is obviously true, but is this what Christianity is in the scripture? A belief enforced by law, with the prosecution of heresy as though it were a political crime, with censors employed, etc.? Another way to say this is that while law goes with hearing, the word “revelation” is always used in scripture as something revealed to sight rather than hearing, as in the uncovering of the apo-kalypse. It is the followers of these texts that say such things, and we will try to show that this is an addition which occurs between an original and its image, two or three times removed, and that the conflict Strauss presents between Jerusalem and Athens is due not to what these two are in themselves, but to the imitation. The very persecution of the Jews committed by Christians which makes it impossible, apparently, for the Jews to consider the truth of the Messiah, did not occur prior to 330 AD. The Christ is not a code or nomos at all. There may not be a single example of a single act of violence by a Christian in persecution of either heretic or Jew prior to this time- of the conjunction of Christianity and political power. The political powers simply continued to persecute as they have always done regardless of having taken up- and being vastly improved by- the Christian and Jerusalem based beliefs and images.

But to begin with the statement itself, what if those “seeking truth with clarity” torture their fellow humans? Is the “philosopher” still quite as certain, that no wise God, etc? He may say that no one seeking the truth with clarity would ever do such a thing or that the combination- of evil and the pursuit of “truth-” is by nature impossible. Yet in his published text on Athens and Jerusalem (p. 149), the example of the attempt to combine Jerusalem and Athens on the “highest level” is the Nietzschean “super-man.” Would a wise God, then, “punish” one who causes an anti-Christian culture of murder, torture and general lowness-crushing among his underlings? We are no longer so “certain.”

But we think the two tpo fit together quite nicely, As philosophy brings to Christianity the healthy skepticism that allows the renunciation of the orders of persecution, so Christianity might bring to philosophy the ability to renounce evil despite perrenial uncertainty which Socrates truly discerns to be the human condition. So too, if Socrates and Jesus are both what they say they are, there is not a diametric opposition. The quest might be higher than belief, but lower than faith; The faith might be higher than sophistry, but lower than the activity of the divine in man by nature.

The philosopher, Strauss explains, is certain that the quest for the most important things is the best way of life because he knows he does not know the most important things.- These most important things would seem to include the truth about the relation of the ways shown by Athens and Jerusalem. This absolute certainty is possible despite our ignorance of a great part of the whole- the most important things. But first, does it follow? Worms are presumably ignorant of the most important things, and it is not clear that the philosophic life is the best life for them. The beginning of Nietzsche too has something to do with the pursuit of truth not being best for man, for him because it destroys what is high or great, for us because it undermines the belief on which even a descent life depends. But can it be shown that certainty regarding a part does not require certainty regarding the whole? Our certainties seem all to depend upon hypotheses of which we are not “certain.” One wonders if Strauss is not stating the positions in this opposition in a way that he knows is exaggerated in common opinion.


But to return: What if Christ is true, and Plato right about the Allegory of the Cave? Notice first that it is theology, not attachment to the Christ, that is in conflict with the way of reason, as we understand the love of wisdom (philo-sophia). If the Christ is true, the issue may be different than it is if the Christ is not true. Though John, in the title of the “Revelation” or Apo-calypse, is called “John the divine,” (theologou: or John the word of God), there is no New Testament way called “theology.” Paul, when writing of such things, switches to the passive: …”Now that you have come to know God, or rather, to be known by God!” (Gal. 4:9; 1 Cor 8:2-3). It may well be that Strauss was forbidden to consider such a possibility, or he may have thought it unintelligible, as he returned more toward the things of Judaism toward the end of his brilliant career. Again, these had seen such a face from the Christian world that reasoning through this appearance may not have been a leading priority. But is there any reason “apriori,” as is said, that these could not both be so? That the Christ is true, but mankind, being in a cave, see only the images and beliefs, and not the nature of the thing itself outside the cave?

   Athens and Jerusalem, Greek philosophy and the Bible, are the two sources that we find when we attempt to return to the roots of Western civilization. (MI, p.111 top). The common ground between these two is what is shown- we will not say “revealed- when we consider the rejection, in a single breath, of both the Socratic best regime and the Biblical Kingdom of God in the famous fifteenth chapter of Machiavelli’s The Prince. Rousseau seems to have read this work as a satire of princes, Contrary to Rousseau, this rejection of both Athens and Jerusalem marks the beginning of modernity. Machiavelli here contrasts his attempt to “go behind to the effectual truth of the thing,” in contrast with “the imagination therof.” By this he means  certain “republics and principates which have never been seen or known to be in truth,” but which “many have imagined” (The Prince, de Alvarez translation). [See note 1] Machiavelli chooses to let go what “ought to be done” for what is actually done, implying, we read, not satire, but that what ought to be done, justice or righteousness, is merely imaginary. Machiavelli indeed upholds a certain rejected part of the life of Western civilization- He attempts to recover Roman political action and ferocity (albeit without even the Roman gods). This became apparent not to Rousseau, but only after the course of modernity had unfolded, and especially in the twentieth century. But from its two roots, the life of Western civilization is primarily one of seeing how one in fact lives, or what is in truth done under the sun, in light of how it is best to live, or what ought to be done. No single man has done more for the recovery of this way of life than Leo Strauss.

   The common ground between the Bible and Socratic philosophy is presented by Strauss as follows: Athens and Jerusalem agree regarding the importance of “morality,” or, ethics and justice, as well as the insufficiency of of morality, but entirely disagree regarding what it is that completes morality, or what the basis of morality is. This assertion, which will be addressed, seems to me to be in part correct, getting hold of a genuine difference between what the Bible and Socratic philosophy present as the best life. But the assertion also seems to under-emphasize a certain very important similarity between these two regarding what completes morality, as indicated above. I do not refer to the similarities between the Bible and the theological or cosmological teachings in the dialogues, which similarity Strauss also addresses J. A., pp. 165-6). rather, the similarity to be taken up here pertains to what the Bible and Socratic philosophy show about what man is. But first let us consider what Strauss writes about the supposedly fundamental conflict between these two. Strauss writes:

It seems to me that the core, the nerve of Western intellectual history, Western spiritual history, one could almost say, is the conflict between the Biblical and philosophic notions of the good life. It seems to me that this unresolved conflict is the secret of the vitality of Western civilization. The recognition of two conflicting roots of Western civilization is, at first, a very disconcerting observation. Yet this realization has also something reassuring and comforting about it. The very life of Western civilization is the life between two codes, a fundamental tension There is therefore no reason inherent in the Western civilization itself, in its fundamental constitution, why it should give up life. [Note 2] But this comforting thought is justified only if we live that life, if we live that conflict. No one can be both a philosopher and a theologian, nor for that matter, some possibility which transcends the conflict between philosophy and theology, or pretends to be a synthesis of both. But every one of us can be and ought to be either one or the other, the philosopher open to the challenge of theology or the theologian open open to the challenge of philosophy.

                                                                   (P. R. 44-45; M.I., p.111)

The two lives are presented as mutually exclusive, though friendly alternatives. The alternatives are friendly because these are based on a common ground: “the common ground between the Bible and Greek philosophy is the problem of divine law” (P. R., p. 35), to which philosophy and the Bible present “two diametrically opposed solutions” (P. R., p. 35; M. I., p. 111). The two lives coexist in a friendly way on the basis of their fundamental agreement, and share a “perfect agreement in opposition to the elements of modernity which led to its crisis (P. R., p. 34.

But no one can be principally guided by both. The Biblical and philosophic lives can co-exist in one civilization or one nation, but cannot be together in one soul. It is not even possible, reasonably, to give up the life based on the tension between souls guided by each, because the supposed refutations of either are based on an indemonstrable hypothesis regarding one of the two.

All the alleged refutations of revelation presuppose unbelief in revelation, and all alleged refutations of philosophy presuppose already faith in revelation. There seems to be no ground common to both and therefore superior to both.

                                                                              (M. I., p. 177)

   Strange, then, that they both have justice or righteousness (it is the same word in the New Testament, dike) in common. The inferior common ground is the agreement between the Bible and philosophy regarding justice and the divine law. Strauss states, “By justice, both understand primarily obedience to the law. The law that requires man’s full obedience is in both cases not merely civil, penal, and constitutional law, but moral and religious law as well” (P. R., p. 34). The two agree also regarding the limitation of obedience to law, and this limitation is related to the problem of divine law. The problem is stated as follows:

The original notion of a divine law or divine code implies that there is a large variety of them. The very variety, and more specifically the contradiction between the various divine codes makes the idea of a divine law in the simple and primary sense of the term radically problematic.

                                                                         (M. I., p. 111)

   It is to this problem that the Bible and Greek philosophy present two diametrically opposed solutions between which there appears to be no common ground. The Biblical solution, which stands or falls by the belief in God’s providence…

As has been suggested regarding what completes “morality, Strauss writes:

…Or is there a notion, a word, that points to the highest in the Bible on the one hand and the greatest works of the Greeks claim to convey? There is such a word: wisdom. Not only the Greek philosophers but the Greek poets as well were considered to be wise men, and the Torah is said in the Torah to be “your wisdom in the eyes of the nations.” We must try to understand the difference between Biblical wisdom and Greek wisdom…According to the Bible the beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord; according to the Greek philosophers the beginning of wisdom is said to be wonder…

Jerusalem And Athens p. 149.

Note 1: pp. 93-95. Strauss contrasts the Socratic best regime with the medieval understanding of the Kingdom of God in Chapter IV of Natural Right and History, pp. 144-145.

Note 2: See “Jerusalem and Athens, ” p. 149, top. It is agreed that on the level of “culture,” the conflict cannot and ought not be overcome.


   Strauss indeed assumes that the Christ is false. But IF the Christ is true, philosophy is obviously not impossible. Nor, given that a thinker like Strauss could miss that truth or that possibility, is it clear that philosophy will not be necessary. Nor is philosophy impossible due to the multiplicity of laws. Strauss assumes that the Bible is simply a law or divine code, and that piety is the way of life it teaches- piety in the Greek sense, not only for the many who do not philosophize, but also for those who do. None of these assumptions are warranted, but as Strauss says, each assume the other to be impossible alternatives, philosophy and the Bible. “If the Christ is true” can be a self known premise with which Christians enter reasoning, and if the Christ is true, Christian philosophy is possible. The place of the Christian gospel would be little different from the place of truth, and the highersat truths, in Socratic philosophy. And if Plato is right about the allegory of the cave, it would not be surprising that there are shadows, artifacts, and men chained to viewing images in the Medieval as well as the ancients cave. The city killed the philosopher as mankind did the Messiah because what both have in common is ascent from the cave, the earth, the body, etc.

   Long ago we tried to explain why it seemed obvious to us that the Bible and philosophy did not present mutually exclusive alternatives as the last, and not the first word on the issue. The two ways appear that way inside the cave, but are “resolved,” at least potentially, when one considers the nature of man. Consider, for example, that the Sermon on the Mount opens the ministry of Jesus by rejecting 5 teachings derived for the Jews from Mosaic law. Or that the teaching of Jesus on providence is a bit different from the common assumption about providence. And it is not that these things are not difficult, or that the questions go away. We do quite like the final word of Socrates to the Athenians on the immortality of the soul- that we do not know- though is as true in Jerusalem as in Athens. But whether the soul is immortal or not, we hold that the life of justice or phronesis– the Greek intellectual virtue that contains but transcends justice- is the best life either way. Whether one is happy for a short lifetime or an eternal eternity is perhaps not our business. Like wisdom, it may be the possession of the God.” Ours is to do the right thing in each particular, or to aim at this. (Aristotle, Ethics I, ) Those who are good or obedient only for the promised reward may be in obvious difficulty especially if that reward turn out to be true. We learned this very point by considering the speech of Socrates in Book II of the Republic distinguishing the three kinds of goods, and proposed it to a street preacher at the Diag in Ann Arbor, MI. Can people really be saved if they turn to God from their own self-interest, to save their own skin? His answer was that people begin to take the Christ seriously from concern for their own immortal soul. And we are not yet satisfied with this answer.

   The Christ, Socrates, Jefferson, and romantic love are four things that seems to us to fit quite well together in the same cosmos. A Socratic Christianity might be said to replace the sects, a Protestant or Catholic Christianity, etc, replacing the adherence to a belief with the quest, philosophy replacing these in a philosophic Christianity. We do not have divine wisdom, even as Socrates teaches, but everyone supposes that they do, especially the quarreling sects, and Socrates may be the only human to succeed at the knowledge of ignorance. Irv would say: Socrates is boasting! Only Socrates is THE philosopher, able truly to know his own ignorance, despite the marvel that innate knowledge apparently is sufficient for us to know what the questions are. This ignorance is not the same as belief in the Christ, but might replace not the account of being, but the opinions regarding this. We do not know divine physics for example regarding the transubstantiation, but if the Christ is true, we may do that in remembrance. The tradition of “revelation” assumes for itself divine and natural things, from which Socrates returned to the human things. Hence, for us, Socrates and philosophy replace not the account of the first things, the divine and natural things, but the human understanding of this. We say the Christians ought apply the teaching regarding humility here, in our assumption of divine knowledge. It is wonderful to have the word of God, if only we could read it! This solves the problem of the sects in Christianity.

   Jefferson, in the second sentence of the Declaration, sets out the natural rights, recognized because we are a large nation, but also because of human ignorance, and hence the impossibility, for almost all practical purposes, that government be able publicly to know and tend the good of the soul for each. Our psychology and psychiatry are disastrous examples, and soon these may realize that the Constitution forbids their assumed authority of the soul, even as it forbids the medieval Church from burning or otherwise treating “witches” and “heretics.”

   Finally, Shakespeare in Drama sets out a program of poetry that manages to avoid presenting the divine as known- though prior to this Socratic poet, it seems to have been assumed that the function of poetry was to do just that. So, the Christ, Socrates, Jefferson and Shakespeare fill out four sections of the true divided line, properly understood. And these are only examples and guides, but they show the enterprises and the place of each activity- poetry, law, philosophy and “metaphysics.” Or do we have a theologian who understands the mystery of the “trinity” and the Bride? Or an old testament Jew who understands why wisdom is said to be:

…a tree of life to those that lay hold of her,

And those who hold her fast are called happy.

(Proverbs, 3:

If wisdom is the tree of life, the pursuit of wisdom cannot be forbidden by the Bible, nor is it “diametrically opposed” to the Socratic pursuit of wisdom, but rather, to the antichrist. Nor was Moses piously following Abraham, and Abraham following Noah, Noah, Enoch and Enoch, Adam, on the assumption that the old is the good. These are rather the non-philosophic assumptions of the majority, who do not have the time or good fortune to attempt the ascent, but must be provided.

And during the time of trouble, as Michael tells Daniel (Daniel 12:3), “those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament.; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”

IV: From notes 36-37 to Chapter III on King Lear and The Tempest.

In Deuteronomy, where the Law is given with the preface “Hear Oh Israel(6:4)” even here, the revealed things of the law are contrasted with the secret things of the Lord, the higher things that are not revealed (29:29). But indeed, here the things heard are called the things revealed, though the law is not called “revelation.” Just as in the setting of Deuteronomy, the written law does not exist, so during the writing of scripture in the New Testament, the New Testament itself does not exist, and so is not included in Paul’s reference to the inspiration of every word of scripture. The word of God was in the beginning, though there can be two different senses- as when the Prophets say, “God said, ….”.

In one of the most important treatments of reason and revelation, Paul writes, “has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” Acts 17:18 is another important place, where Paul, in the Areopagus at Athens, questioned by Stoic and Epicurean “teachers, comments on the altar to the unknown God.” This Paul says he proclaims. But he does not use the word revelation or call the gospel “revelation” as opposed to \reason.” Jack MacArthur notes that the word “revelation” occurs 18 times in the New Testament, and always indicates that something has become evident to the eye (Revelation, 1973, p. 4). The closest- and perhaps an exception to what is being said, is 1 Peter 1:7; 13, where “the revelation of Jesus Christ” is future, and the same uncovering that is given to John (1 Peter 1:13), though here it is especially said

…whom not having seen, you love, in whom yet not seeing, believing, but you exalt with joy unspeakable and glorified obtaining the end of your faith, the salvation of souls, for which the prophets searched, to whom it was “revealed” that they ministered not to themselves, but “to you.”

The place held for Socrates by the myth of recollection in the Meno (81 b-e) is in the Christian epistemology future rather than past, as in the account of recollection- hence in this life, in the body, we do not come to know or eat from the tree of life. In this life, it is said, we are rather known by the Most High or first principle than knowing this.”Blessed are those who have not seen yet believed,” as Jesus tells Thomas the doubter. These are told then to set their hope fully on the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” the second coming. The revelation remains primarily the object of sight, though there is access to this through pisteos– believing, faith, “obtaining the end of your faith, the salvation of (your) souls (psuchon).” In the Bible, revelation means literally an uncovering, as of mysteries that have been hidden (Romans 16:25-26), and so may be precisely a seeing for oneself. Elsewhere in the New Testament, the revelation is the second coming, in the title and first sentence of the last book, Revelation (Title and 1:1). The closest direct contrast of reason and revelation as a divinely given set of principles or beliefs, after Deuteronomy, may be 1 Corinthians 1:22: “For the Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly for the Greeks.” Paul in Galatians 1:12) uses the word revelation in contrast to a teaching “according to man, but even here revelation is a direct perception of the Apostle The gospel is a teaching or doctrine- something like the Apostle’s Creed, and there is concern very early with presenting this correctly. John identifies and opposes certain heresies.

The question is whether this belief or faith, with its emphasis on belief or faith, is necessarily in conflict with the life of reason or philosophy, in a sense in which, for example, belief in the Allegory of the cave is not. Is Christianity or Biblical faith in general consistent with the knowledge of ignorance? Or does faith require that certain things be taken as known when these are not known? For it may be that the gospel, as an object of faith, works in some natural way, like a magnet, to attract and awaken the image of God in the soul by the pattern of the deed of the Savior, as Jung writes, and we believe, drawing out the golden element toward the throne of the soul (Jung, Aion, p. 185).

The two, reason and revelation, would be contrasted in this way, mutually exclusive and diametrically opposed, if Socratic philosophy were a teaching according to man. But these things are notoriously problematic in the Socratic thinker, and Paul has not read Plato. The Platonic Socrates may be, as he is presented in the Apology, equally unimpressed with the wisdom of the world and the knowledge attained by human beings. Reason and revelation or faith would also be contrasted in this way if the Bible or teaching of Jesus could be simply identified with the city or with opinion. Yet there is a conflict in Jerusalem between convention or the city (nation) and the prophets and the Messiah, and the conflict often led similarly to the deaths of those similarly said to have been sent. It is surprising that the Straussians and Hebrew students of Plato do not see or emphasize the obvious similarity of the crucifixion of the Christ by Israel or mankind and the trial and death of Socrates. The same pattern was one of the first thing to us to appear. The same pattern occurs with Romeo and Juliet too regarding the family. Each politea or political body, family, city and mankind or the nation, commits what is oddly like a ritual sacrifice, due to something like a conflict of love and law by nature. The conflict of the city and philosophy in Greece parallels that between the prophets and Israel. Hence Jesus calls them out for killing the prophets, etc. and by this love, philosophy and salvation are accommodated among mankind, or civilization, within the nation, city and family.

Regarding similarity of the teachings of the fool and St.Paul in King Lear and St. Paul’s contrast of faith and philosophy, Laurence Berns writes: For Paul, the foolish of faith possess a wisdom far deeper than anything accessible to natural reason.” (Gratitude, Nature and Piety in King Lear, p. ). He asks, “Is this what Shakespeare suggests by echoing this language about wisdom and folly in his articulation of the problem of morality and justice in King Lear?” Berns apparently answers the question negatively because of 1) the primacy of sight to compassionate love (p. 45); and 2) The absence of the patience based on the expectation of the coming of the Lord (pp. 45, 48); and 3) the disproportion between the sins and the unredeemed suffering of Gloucester and Lear (pp. 46, 48 top). On sight, consider Matthew 6:22-3:

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light.; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be filled with darkness. If, then, the light in you is dearkness, how great is the darkness!”

If compassionate love is the soundness of the heart, this is ultimately dependent upon sight. The teaching of Jesus here is similar to the teaching of Aristotle that once one has the intellectual virtue of phronesis or practical wisdom, the rest of the ethical virtues are there as well. (Ethics, VI, 1144b 11-18). This is the soundness of the body that is dependent upon the eye of the soul. Augustine too distinguishes Plato from the worldly wise as addressed by Paul (City of God, VIII, 10), and writes that philosophy as the attempt to attain virtue by knowledge and the imitation of God fulfills the great commandment (VIII.8). He writes that philosophy as the imitation of God fulfills the great commandment (VIII,8) There is a higher sense of “knowledge, by which the teaching of faith does not contradict the teaching that “by knowledge are the righteous delivered” (Proverbs 11:9). Paul, on one hand, claims, We have the mind of Christ.” (I Cor. 2:6-16). However, he also writes, that now we see “as in a glass dimly, but then face to face” (I Cor. 13: 12), and “we all with face unveiled, seeing as in a mirror, (katoptridzomenoi) the glory (doxan) of the Lord, are being changed into the same image” (2 Cor. 3:18) (Plato, Republic, 500 c-d; 500e-501b1, 510e; 516a; 540b 1).

It seems to be a very difficult, and not an easy question at all, how Socrates and Plato would themselves have reacted to Jesus or the teaching of Christ crucified. A Socratic conversation with Jesus did not take place, but one doubts that Jesus would have considered Socrates impious, or that Socrates would have considered the “way to be diametrically opposed to philosophy of the Socratic or Pythagorean sort. And this too is how Justin Martyr- the first Christian to read Plato of whom we know, fit Christianity and Socratic philosophy together in the same cosmos:

We have been taught that Christ is the first born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably (meta logos), are Christians, even thought they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them; among barbarians, Abraham…Elias…

Justin, Apology,

Strauss was aware of this striking passage, and may indicate that it is an alternative to his presentation of the contrast (Class on Plato’s Gorgias). That Socrates is saved is the possibility. If so, or if as was said, the Christ is true, Athens and Jerusalem will be compatible on the highest level, their difference widening perhaps as we are submerged again into the visible.

The shocking teaching in this regard is that nous– intellect or the eye of the soul is a thing begotten, as distinct from a thing made, and this, we say is the eye of the soul and the image of God in man. So, as John writes, ” In him was life, and the life was the light of men..The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world (John 1: 4,9). We equate this with baptism, and the birth of the soul or man out of the cave or world. Hence the veil that was on the law and the images is lifted (2 Cor 3:13). This is the rebirth of the soul (John 3; Romans 6). It is in one sense common to all men from Noah, or universal. Hence allusions to it appear in the Elysian mysteries as well, or even in the story of Arion in Herodotus, as referenced in the Republic, as they have a hard swim through the conjunction of the male and female guardian classes of the city. From this conjunction is born the begotten nous (Plato, Republic 494; 501b, etc). Still, as Peter indicates, by faith in the gospel, one can be aligned with the image, if if one is not literally reborn in this life- contrary to the teaching of the reborn Christians.

Is it possible that Socrates and Jesus each are what they say they are? That being a philosopher it is proper that Socrates not know the “what of God,” or of the beings in whose work our service would be piety, if we could figure out what work this is Euthyphro, 12-15). Socrates is famous for teaching that the just man harms no one, but Jesus that we should love one another, and even our enemies. Or again, that salvation be brought to a few by one in a human way, and to many more by Jesus, each being in truth just what they say they are?

The two, Athens and Jerusalem, seem then to be mutually verifying on many of the most important points, or in the most important way, and there seems to be no reason to exclude the possibility that the Christ is true, and Plato right about the allegory of the cave. Christianity and philosophy indeed may correct important dangers on the periphery, where most of us will struggle and serve. The confusion over doctrine that occurs due to the cave disappears when one realizes that we are not obligated to know or hold the right opinions about divine physics- simple old ladies obligated regarding such things as “transubstantiation-” ours are the human things, our penance and forgiveness of others, without which we will not be forgiven, believing whatever. Faith, of course is different from belief, if it is related to belief. Christians are too gullible, perhaps, and philosophers, as the Stoic or Epicurean, too faithless. “Natural reason,” in one sense is the child begotten in the soul of the one ascending, who then sees the plants, animals and men along with “the divine images in water” before turning to behold the marvels of the true cosmos, in the new Socratic kind of the contemplation of the heavens. We would surely never think of the things revealed in the Bible, nor be able to contemplate them- such as the incarnation- without the inspiration of the Apostles and prophets. But as we say, it is a wonderful thing to have the word of God, if only we could understand it!

*Revised from King Lear with The Tempest, 2004, p. 74 and note 36-7 to Chapter III, (p. 254)


Jung, Carl. Aion. p. 185.

Berns, Laurence. Gratitude, Nature and Piety in King Lear.

MacArthur, Jack. Revelation. Eugene Oregon. Vernon I Iverson Co., 1973.

Strauss, Leo Jerusalem and Athens: in Leo Strauss: Studies in Platonic Political Philosophy, University of Chicago Press, 1983.

____________. The Mutual Influence of Theology and Philosophy, in The Independent Journal of Philosophy, (Vienna)1979.

____________. “On the Interpretation of Genesis.”

____________. Progress or Return? The Contemporary Crisis

Tempest Excerpt: Conclusion on King Lear

Last two pages of the book King Lear with The Tempest:

There is a similar relation, [to that between Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream] based on a common pattern, between the British tragedy of Lear and the Italian comedy. These are the two non-historical plays that deal especially with a succession of Royal Rule. The unwise management of the three parts of the British kingdom by Lear is contrasted with the wise management of the Italian succession by Prospero. The tragic relation of Lear to his daughter, and perhaps his error regarding her marriage, is contrasted with the success of Prospero in securing a happy life for Miranda. The storm scenes, on the land in the center of Lear and at sea in the opening of the Tempest, indicate a treatment of the same theme, of the dissolution of the conventional orders. [6] The Tempest seems to presuppose the center, and hence the whole of Lear. The conventional kingship of Lear, which in the tragedy comes crashing down,is contrasted with the natural royalty or philosophic statesmanship of wisdom. Ironically, this natural royalty proves in certain ways to be what the flattery of custom told Lear he was as king.

As noted above, there is some parallel between Edgar and Prospero. The Tempest raises the theme of a conflict between brothers to the center of focus. The conflict of two brothers in Lear effects the changes of the kingdom in the main plot only as Edmund rises toward the tyranny, until Edgar, in the decisive duel, prevents Edmund from turning the fall of Lear into a tyranny. As in the Tempest, the victory of the royal nature over tyranny depends on the return of the divested but virtuous character to active rule. Like Prospero, [7] Edgar returns from his divestment to wear the clothing of his true appearance in the end. Edgar develops through the play from a gullible but true son through a series of disguises He takes on the appearance first of a Bedlam beggar, then ascends to the peasant’s clothes in which he leads his father, to the guise of a sailor or seaman who convinces Gloucester that the madman was a fiend. In this guise he slays Oswald, From here he changes clothing again to the knight who appears armed and defeats Edmund. Having completed the recovery of his position as heir to the earldom, he publicly reveals himself as Edgar. From here he ascends again,as he is invited by Albany to share in the ruling of the “gored state” of Britain. He may come to fulfill the royal nature- a perfection of ethical virtue. [Thomas G.] West compares Edgar with King Henry V, in that these two “redeem the time- exercising kingly rule in imitation of the redemption [8]. His foresight and effectiveness indicate that he is, as Berns writes, the paradigm of virtue in the play.” [9]

The wise rule of Prospero is based on a discovery of the higher nature, especially a political knowledge of the human souls, by which for example, he separates each of the three groups on the island [10] and orchestrates the marriage of Ferdinand and Miranda. [11] It is by this higher nature- the same as that revealed in the Socratic turn, that the philosophic Duke knows how each thing would be best, and works with nature to bring this good about. By this knowledge, Prospero sends Ariel to deceive even the King of Naples intpo believing that he has lost his son as punishment for deposing the Duke of Milan It is on the basis of a similar sort of knowledge that Edgar deceives his already penitent father into believing that the gods have acted not in the punishment but in the preservation of his bodily life.

When Lear sees Edgar in the hovel, he takes the disguised appearance of natural virtue, two or three times removed, to be the thing itself. [Lawrence] Berns writes of Edgar:

The same consummate irony that led him, correctly but for the wrong reasons, to be called the “thing itself,” that is, the natural man, by Lear, may be at work also in his being called “philosopher.”

Berns, Gratuitude, Nature and Piety, p. 51

The royal character who is not a philosopher is also an image of the philosopher (Hamlet II,ii, 260-271). This principle allows for the natural prince in the plot of Lear to reflect the action of Prospero, and the highest argument regarding the most fundamental principles, taken up by the playwright himself. He represents the claim of natural merit, although unlike Edmund, Edgar never uses the word “nature.” These two appeals to nature are two fundamental understandings of self interest or the good, one in basic accord with, but the other rejecting, justice. The other rejects natural right not in the sense of the claim to rule by nature- which it has, based on power- but in the sense of the upright character and what is right among human according to nature. The connection of the character of Edgar to the Shakespearean recovery of natural right is veiled in his being the true claimant to all that Edmund attempts to usurp, both in the appeal from custom to natural virtue and in the appeal to Grace, which Goneril made for him. By being in truth what he is by custom, Edgar demonstrates the natural being which is the cause of the reflection in the custom or law. Edgar is not only a knight, but is also the godson of Lear. [13] His being the godson of Lear seems to suggest that the symbolic meaning of the ceremonial orders of the old monarchy is continued in, and possibly fulfilled by, the natural virtue of Edgar.

Like the character of Prospero in the Tempest, the character of Edgar may be autobiographical. Like Prospero, the work of Edgar is to prevent his evil brother, here the embodiment of the principle acquisition or power, from seizing rule. The response of Edgar to this potentially horrifying circumstance would be like the practical aspect of the thought of Shakespeare toward his own circumstance, or like the position of philosophy regarding the soul and the ruling opinion of the West. Contrary to the assertion of Howard White in his Copp’d Hills Toward Heaven,, the project of Shakespeare seems to aim more to oppose the principle introduced into the soul of the West by Machiavelli, than it aims to affirm a classical teaching in contrast with Christian custom or Christianity. [14] One might say that the problem of Prospero is more Antonio than Alonso, and the problem of Edgar more Edmund than Gloucester or Lear.

Unlike Prospero, Edgar does not act to effect the arrangement of royal rule, but acts only to prevent the tyranny of his brother. In this limited governance, the statesmanship of the royal nature is distinguished from the philosophic statesmanship of Prospero, which does address the fundamental orders. The work of philosophy or wisdom inn the political world, as distinct from the magic island,is not literal royal rule, but, as in the care of the American founding fathers, the prevention of tyranny.


6. Paul Cantor. Prospero’s Republic p. 241.

7. John Alvis, John Postscript.” In Shakespreare’s understanding of honor, p. 10 (443).

8. West, Thomas G. Institute colloquium on King Lear, 1986.

9 Lawrence Berns, “Gratitude, Nature and Piety in King Lear,” p. 50.

10. Allan Bloom; “Interpretive Essay” on Plato’s Republic. p. 361

11. Jaffa writes: “According to Plato, the arrangement of marriages is the central mystery of philosophic rule. The arrangement of the marriage between Ferdinand and Miranda is the culmination of the exercise by Prospero of that wisdom he has gained by making the liberal arts “all my study” (“An Interpretation of the Shakespearean Universe,” p. 281).

12. De Alvarez, The Clearing, Class 2; Berns, p. 51, note 68.

13. Alulis, “Wisdom and Fortune: The Education of the Prince in King Lear.”p. 389 note 21.

14. White, Copp’d Hills, p. 65. There is admittedly a sense in which Shakespeare as a writer is classical rather than Christian. Because of the separation of Church and state, American public life and public education cannot turn to Jerusalem in the attempt to address the erosion of the ethical foundation of self government. The secular solution consistent with American liberty might be to set American public life and education on the foundation of Athenian ethical and political philosophy. This can include Shakespeare, who, like Plato and Aristotle,can be common to all. See Bloom, Introduction to Shakespeare’s Politics, pp. 1-12.

Reading the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Revelation 6

Thinking about the four horsemen, which we failed to understand in writing on the Revelation (pp. 123-129), some advance in clarity is possible. I had determined that Hal Lindsey was on the wrong track, but did not know what to do with this section, except that it leads up to the martyrs seen under the sixth seal. But the church history sought by Erdman and others in the 7 letters rather would be more likely to fit literally here, literally after the things concerning martyrdom that do pertain to the 7 churches. The four horsemen are like the 4 horses in the dream of Zechariah (1:6-10), sent out to patrol. There is also a similarity to the four beasts that arose from the sea in the night vision of Daniel 7, seen to refer to empires over Jerusalem Each is introduced by one of the four “living beings,” the Zoa seen around the throne. The fourth is most terrible, and is specified to effect one fourth of the earth, while an extent is not specified for the first three horsemen. This extent, leading to martyrs, is about the same as the extent of twentieth century totalitarianism. The first, on a white horse goes out to conquer, and did so. This is similar to the Roman empire to 365 AD, though then I lose track of the argument. The sword could be Islam or the general wars that superseded the peace of Rome. The second and third, the red and black horses, whose riders have a sword and then a balance, are not clear. Then the fourth is pale, and his rider’s name was “Death and Hades.”

What if these were something like:





Another might be the nations scattering Jerusalem, Rome, Islam, the knights and then the Turks or the British. But we look especially to huge things like the succeeding empires over Jerusalem addressed in Daniel ( the Babylonia, Mede-Persian, Greek and Roman).effecting the church (es), in keeping with the theme, and resulting in the martyrs seen under the throne. The sixth and seventh seals then concern the completion of their number.

Christmasology: The First American Christmas, 1622?

The Puritans and Quakers did not celebrate Christmas, objecting to its secularization and that December 25 was not the birth date of the Messiah anyway. The New Company which arrived on the ship Fortune were “adventurers,” and not religious pilgrims. There is no Santa Claus here yet.

On the day called Christmas day, the Governor called them out to work as was used, but most of this new company excused themselves, and said it went against their conscience to work on that day. So the Governor told them that if they made it a matter of conscience, he would spare them until they were better informed; so he led away the rest and left them But when they came home at noon from their work, he found them in the street at play, openly, some pitching the bar, and some at stool-ball and such like sport. So he went to them and took away their implements and told them that it was against his conscience that they should play while others worked. If they made the keeping of it a matter of devotion, let them keep their houses, but there should be no gaming or reveling in the streets. Since which time nothing hath been attempted that way, at least openly.

William Bradford Of Plymouth Plantation

From The American Tradition in Literature, p. 28

That Christmas is to spread the Christmas spirit through the less religious elements of the community, even and especially to children who won’t yet see the things in the gospels, is interesting in light of its non-Puritan origin or first instance on the American continent. Stool ball is a game like the English game cricket, an ancestor of baseball, and so, by divine coincidence, the first American Christmas may have included baseball.

The Christ and “Religion”

In discussions with atheists, one impenetrable issue has been the distinction between the way of the Christ and what is common to all mankind in all ages, except in parts of our own age, called “religion.” The insistence is that Christianity is simply one among many false “religions,” which our enlightened age now knows to be false, with no more to say about the soul than unicorns about taxonomy, mere imaginary fables, etc. The assurance these hold demonstrates that this has in a way become our custom or dogma, replacing all others, and allowing us the new banner of toleration, the only virtue, on whose altar we have sacrificed all other virtues.

This question is far more complex than at first appears. Abraham rejected the religion of Babylon, the idols and false gods, when he came forth from Ur to receive the Promise. He hears God directly, and then is taught by Melchizedek about God Most High, the maker of heaven and earth, as distinct from the gods of “polytheism,” which are made of have come to be. Idolatrous religion is different from Mosaic religion, which is intended to replace it as animal sacrifice replaces human sacrifice.

A crucial teaching is contained in a statement of Paul in his Letter to the Galatians.

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were in bondage to beings that by nature (phusei) are no gods; but now that you have come to know (gnontes, knowing) God, or rather to be known (gnosthenres) by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits (stoichia,) whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I have labored over you in vain.

Galatians 4:

To worship the gods is a kind of enslavement to the weak elements, and this is related to the keeping of the calendar. That they are not quite said to know God, but rather be known by God, as through baptism, is of course interesting to us, but here the interesting point regards worship. The Christ receives this worship, as though it were formerly improperly given, and the table of the Last supper replaces ritual. The Christian images were then in conflict with every sort of common practice, but gradually, as the world became Christian, these same things continue- cities, laws, territories and conflicting ways, attempts to influence fortune, hierarchies of priests and honoring of the dead, imaginations of Providence. Then Saint Helen began the recovery of the relics, and the Christians could come out of the catacombs, having suffered the ten persecutions by Rome from Nero to Diocletan. Newton,* for example, blames the early Papacy, following Constantine, with introducing the worshiping of dead men’s souls and images, “mazuzahim,” he calls this. While this may in one side be a proper criticism, whom is it better men honor than saints, and are they really taught to worship them? Christian images and doctrines are conflated with the ancient and what Bloom calls “one’s own,” where originally the Way is a leaving behind of all these worldly things. Let the dead bury the dead. Only then is it possible that “Christians, or Christendom persecute of make martyrs, which of course never occurred in a single instance prior to the conversion of Rome. Again, one might ask, is it not better that the orders be Christian? The separation of Church and state was not yet imagined, but is the answer to this problem bequeathed or donated us by Constantine. The Papal states are especially the place where one sees the conjunction of the regimes of cities and nations with the Christian church. This has now been reduced to Vatican City, and Italy has become a unified nation, after Garibaldi.

The appearances of the word “religion” (threskeias) in scripture are rare and revealing, occurring only 5 times in 3 places, and never in the sense used when Christians speak of what they are doing or praise their own “revealed religion,” for example. It would be interesting to note the first time in history that Christianity was even called a religion. Paul and James use the word, while none of the Apostles or Jesus do so, ever. In Acts (26:5), Paul explains “…according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee” The King James version also uses the word at Gal 1:13-14.

James writes:

“If any one among you thinks to be religious among you, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his heart, the religion of this one is vain. Religion clean and undefiled before God the father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

This may be the only use of the word in a scripture in a sense that is not derogatory, or only semi- derogatory. Neither the Christians nor the Christ see themselves as establishing a “religion,” and their relation to all these things is a continual question, rather than anything clear. The Protestants at first made a great issue of this point and this was correct. Through all human history, humans have always had an understanding of things divine or above the mundane, and have always been concerned with the dead, and often with the afterlife- as in Egypt, though such things are astonishingly absent from the Hebrew scriptures. There have always been superstitious understandings of the causes, and what one finds is that Christians are not excepted from these ancient and local things merely by taking the name of Christian. The meetings of the earliest Christians around the Eucharist or “Lord’s Supper” would replace the meetings as at the Temple in Jerusalem, but there is nothing like what was to occur when the Christian images and opinions descended upon and over the pagan practices in the Greek and Roman world of Olympian gods and ancient ways quite foreign to Jerusalem, and quite similar to the idolatrous practices which Mosaic law replaced in Canaan, once out of Egypt- where the things said and done regarding the afterlife- including penance and forgiveness- are done amid an idolatrous religion. One point that arises repeatedly is that the Christians persecuted no one prior to the Fourth Century, when Constantine made Rome Christian, and Rome, having once persecuted the Christians and Jews especially for not worshiping the emperor continued to persecute, though now it was heretics, as began with the Donatists, priest reinstated who had be defrocked for fearing to face martyrdom rather than turn over the scriptures in the last Roman persecution. Soon Aryan and Catholic would be the issue, and it was one thing after another, though persecutions did become rare from the sixth until the early twelfth century.

In Rome as in Britain, Christianity was simply superimposed upon “pagan” altars. Rome in the 4th century took on an odd combination of Jewish temple and Roman pontificate, replacing the Rome that once persecuted Christians with the Rome that made martyrs of heretics. Changing the images did not end either war nor persecutions. One must wonder at the blessing when the 10 persecutions over the refusal to worship the emperor as a god gave way to the imposition of a unified doctrine. Humans did become more humane over all, with the difference that Christianity would now take the blame for the sins of the city.

Geoffrey of Monmouth indicates how the new religion was simply superimposed upon the pagan orders and images.*

When King St. Lucius, the first Christian king excepting Abgar, turned Britain to Christianity, about 156 AD,

…Once the holy missionaries had put an end to paganism throughout almost the whole island, they dedicated to the One God and His Blessed Saints the temples which had been founded in honor of a multiplicity of gods, assigning to them various categories of men in orders. At that time there were 28 flamens in Britain and three archflamens to whose jurisdiction the other spiritual leaders and judges of public morals were subject. At the Pope’s bidding, the missionaries converted these men from their idolatry. Where there were flamens, he placed bishops, and where there were archflamens, they appointed archbishops The seats of the archflamens had been in three noble cities: London, York, and the city of Legions, the site of which last is still known by its by the river Usk in Glaumorgan, is still known by its ancient walls and buildings. The twenty-eight bishops were placed under the jurisdiction of these three cities, once the superstitions practiced there had been purged away.

History of the Kings of Britain, IV.20

Coilus, the father of Lucius and the son of a Marius, son of Avarargus, had been friendly with Rome and paid tribute voluntarily- this in a time in the second century of the more decent emperors, and between persecutions, though it is clear that Britain is on the fringes of the Roman empire, and able to have kings and become Christian. The Coilus line continues after Lucius and a few usurpations to Old King Cole and his son Cole, the father of St. Helen who married a young Constantius, father of Constantine, and moved to York, where Constantine was crowned (Eusebius).

Now the principalities and powers are to become Christian- an improvement, maybe, though anti-christian ire will result from the evils of the city and crimes committed under the banner of the Christ. The cave does not cease to be a cave when painted over with christian images- though these may better lead up and out. It is the soul of humans that is caved and will see only shadows and artificial copies of the real beings outside the cave.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses and others reject the customs of Easter and Christmas on the basis of this history of the mixing of Christian and “pagan” ways, and holidays may be what Paul means when he writes, “You observe days and month and years- I fear I have labored over you in vain.” The mixture of the customs of Samhein with all Saints day to become All Hallows Eve is a good example- turnips and disguises being much older among the Irish than the honoring of all the saints.The monk’s calendaration- our favorite pastime- is not a part of Christianity as such at all, but has of course emerged from the melding of common festivals and imaginings with a Christian world. Santa Claus is a good example of how these things emerge, as this is a fairly recent folk tale. It is mixed, though, with the gift giving of the three wise men, and there seems no reason we should cease these things. From the beginning the Christians had something like the meeting at Synagogues or at the Temple in Jerusalem surrounding the celebration of the Eucharist or communion.

Shakespeare addresses these local dieties, the Fairies, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The nights are no longer blessed with hymn of carol, and this leads to disorders. The poet aims to restore this intermediary realm to its legitimate expression. With the advent of Christianity and the Socratic discovery of “hyper-ouranian” being, what once were the gods and personifications of the more collective causes regarding the soul or psyche become intermediary beings, and the psychoid is revealed as subordinate to Being. “Love is not a god but a spirit” is how this appears in the Symposium, who ascends with our prayers and descends with answers, which is the work of love. The image of this is the sea between two lands, and the traveler who journeys and returns is liker one who ascends. The gods were in one sense psychic and not being, archetype and not eidos, subject and not object, collective unconscious and not God. The limitations of phenomenology set by Jung for scientific psychology prevent his science from crossing over to a clearer distinction between the “self” or true self and God, the imago Dei from its original.

Isaac Newton, Commentary on Daniel and the Apocalypse, pp…

Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain, IV.20; Bede, I.4.

Jesus and the Geresene Demoniac

Texts, Luke 8: 22-; Matthew 8: 23-34

Benjamin Rush is said to be the first to turn American psychiatry from the understanding of madness as caused by the possession by demons and the attempt at a scientific account in terms of natural causes. [note 1]. It had barely been a century and a half since the trial of witches in Salem. Our joke on this, as a reader of the New Testament, is that Jesus had, though a better cure rate than Rush, or anyone else in modern psychiatry. But that humans are not able to judge and cast out spirits with any reliability does not mean that Jesus did not or could not, and we can in this inquiry try to see what was intended by the old understanding of certain kinds of madness as demonic possession.

Jesus cured this malady in addition to the bodily infirmities as lameness, blindness, leprosy and such, and is reported to have healed demon possessed persons on various occasions. His trip across the sea of Galilee to Geresenes, near the Decapolics, is apparently undertaken toward this end, as it is his destination. On the way, during a storm, the apostles who will witness the event are caught in a storm, and Jesus is wakened to rebuke the winds and waves. On a later Journey Jesus walks out to the boat in a storm, and calls Peter to walk with him on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). “Who then is this, that he commands wind and water and they obey him” (Luke 8:25). The authority over even the elements is related to or concomitant with the authority over spirits about to be demonstrated.

Jesus healed demon possession on various occasions, and Mary Magdalene is said to have been left by 7 demons Lk 8:2. The Geresene demoniac, like the one at Capernaum, (Luke 4:33-37) recognizes Jesus, saying:

Ah, what have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the holy one of God.

This recognition of the Christ by the demons occurs on many occasions (Lk. 4: 41). At Geresenes, The man had been bound, but had broken all attempts to chain him, and had gone to live naked among the tombs. Jesus asks the demon, “What is your name.” He is told it is “Legion, for we are many.” We would call this a certain kind of multiple personality disorder, though it is not clear that these originate in the personality of the person afflicted.” Strangely, the demons plead with Jesus not to send them into the abyss, or out of the country (Mt.), and Jesus sends them into a herd of pigs nearby, who then run into the sea there and are drowned.

The authority over wind and sea has cross references, and is related to what in philosophy is called the problem of teleology, or of reconciling purpose with elemental nature. Shakespeare’s Prospero has such powers in a limited range within the theater, and Xenophon’s Socrates wonders if this is the goal of the natural philosophers, to use the knowledge of nature to govern wind and sea. It is by the name, through the spirit, and given to the Apostles along with the ability to heal.

When Jesus asks, “What is your name,” the question addresses the person displaced in the possession. The question aims to call the person back to himself. The answer he gets is that his name is “Legion, for we are many.”

It is sometimes not clear whether possession is a synonym for madnesses or compulsions, as though “he has a demon” were obvious, and the only way to say that one is mad.

Jesus cures the demoniac, but declines that he should come follow Jesus. This may correspond to the difference between restoring the ability to run, done by the doctor for a broken leg, and the training of an athlete to run well. In Sybil, Dr. Wilbur restores the subject to herself and her “normal” life, setting her back on the sidewalk, heading toward her college classes and her cultivation.

This ability to cast out demons is given by Jesus to the Apostles. It is by the name of Jesus that they flee or are cast out (Luke 10: 17-20). In connection with the rule of wind and waves, the “spirit world” is likened to the sea. “Name” in this sense is fairly called mysterious, but it is related to the previous sense. In relation to psychiatry, this shows what the art of the healing of the soul would be, and shows too that we lack faith, as we cannot do this whenever we want- it is by a Grace or by the Holy Spirit, which goes where it wills, not where we will. Human art then, the very meaning of “Psychiatry,” will be an art of doing what can be done given that we lack such knowledge and Spirit. The humans at Salem assumed for themselves the ability to recognize possession and treat the problem in the community through the courts, and were mistaken, regardless of whether Jesus did indeed heal the demoniac and many other instances.

In Mark (9:14-29), one brought had something similar epilepsy, with self destructive seizures from birth, where the demon would try to throw him into fire and such. Here the apostles ask Jesus why they could not drive out the demon. He answers that this kind can only be driven out by prayer.

The miracles generally in the New Testament are healings and resurrections. While skeptics may say these are “natural” events with unknown causes, that they are delusions or frauds is unlikely. While the efficient cause is the focus of skeptics, we note that nature is the guide in each case, with the natural health guiding what occurs by unknown means. The distinction between black and white magic- that the black magic does not fulfill but distorts the natures, turning princes into toads for example, this pertains. The miracles of Jesus are all symbols and the fulfillment of natures. Each is also an analogy- the healing of the lame or blind, and effects the soul and body alike toward a natural health.

On p. 140 of his text on psychiatry, Rush himself refers to this ability of Jesus to heal, and his giving the ability to the Apostles- as part of what ought be told those in madness who imagine they have powers of prophecy.

[In progress]

The madness of Nebuchadnezzer in the 4th chapter of Daniel, is similar in his reduction to the condition “near to beast,” eating grass and growing hair and claws, but is not said to be a multiple personality disorder, as is the Legion, nor is it called a possession by demons.

Note 1 Penn Medicine. The History of Pennsylvania Hospital.

Rush credits modern medical science with expelling such practices as de-tonguing those who blaspheme or say mad things. He is rather a great proponent of bloodletting and various bizarre but supposedly more scientific methods. To both are contrasted the healing of Jesus.

That John the Apostle Wrote the Revelation: A Selection and Note 1 From “The Vision and Letter of John to the Church”

Readers currently assume that John the Apostle could not be the author of the last book of the Bible, the Revelation. Here are the reasons that it seems quite clear that John the Apostle is the author:

The text of the Revelation seems to identify which servant John is its author by saying it is the John “who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.” This could be read as referring to all that he saw on Patmos. Yet it may mean that this John is an eyewitness of the teachings and passion of Jesus. There seems to be no reason that this could not refer to the things told in the Gospel of John, and to all that he saw while he went about with Jesus through his life, death, and resurrection. As the one Apostle present at the Crucifixion, he is the fullest witness. The same statement, “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus,” occurs at 1:9, referring to the reason John was sent to Patmos to begin with—that is, prior to the vision. And again the phrase occurs referring to the reason that the martyrs are beheaded (20:4), as was his brother James. The Apostles are the eye witnesses of the Gospel. John is the last of the Apostles, the only one alive in the last decade of the first century, and the only John sent to Patmos. So the end of the Gospel of John (“this is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things…”) seems to lead into the beginning of the Revelation (“…John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw”).

One reason that the Gospel of John and the Revelation seem to have been written by the same author is that while the other three gospels have an apocalyptic section, recalling the teaching of Jesus on the coming of the Kingdom, the Gospel of John does not, so that the two fit together quite nicely. For unlike Matthew in Chapter 24, Mark in Chapter 13, and Luke in Chapter 21, the Gospel of John does not contain a late section of the words of Jesus regarding the end times. It is just as if the author left these things to be discussed elsewhere, or was content with that discussion. His apocalypse will be that of the risen Christ.

The Apocalypse section in the Gospel of John is very brief, occurs early, and describes the resurrection of the dead (5:28-29), as in the twentieth chapter of the Revelation. It begins:

“The one who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life…Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the son of God, and those who hear will live…Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.”

Together with the passage in Luke, “the kingdom is not coming with signs to be observed,” the kingdom is present. And so these passages are the basis of the reading that these things are entirely spiritual, and not coming at all, in the sense in which we read it “with signs to be observed.” “…But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28). The things of the Revelation, like the incarnation, describe how being is, always, and what is always true: The Kingdom of heaven is accessible now, and in the most fundamental sense, is present, though we do not come into it. The hour is now when the dead will hear his voice and rise. This is the sense in which the coming of the Kingdom begins with the incarnation, like a mustard seed. It may be, because being is this way, that human history and the world in time unfold in this way; and this would be the most fundamental source of prophecy: It is because things are the way they are that their unfolding in time can be foreseen. The resurrection is both present and future, though in John it is emphatically also future: “And I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40; 44; 12:48). The future kingdom is assumed but not addressed in the Gospel of John. Though the statement is an attempt to write what Jesus said and not what John said, still, it is very interesting to wonder whether the Apocalypse could have been seen and written yet when John wrote his gospel. The above passage reminds of those in Chapter 20 of the Revelation, those over whom the second death has no power (20:6). The Revelation, then, seems to fit together with the Gospel of John as the missing Apocalypse obviously authored by the Apostle.

Note 1

Contemporary readers think it to be conclusive that the Revelation could not have been written by John the Apostle (David Aune, 1997, pp. xlviii-lx). And so this question has seemed to us a good place to begin. The tradition seems otherwise to always have assumed that John the Apostle is the author, beginning, in preserved writings, in about 155-160 A.D., with Justin (Dialogue with Trypho, 81; p. 40 below). It is not clear whether Justin cites the book or an oral report of the teaching of John, or how widely circulated the book was. It may have been a secret work in the first half of the second century, or the preserve of the churches in Asia. Dionysius the Great, Bishop of Alexandria, writing in the fourth century, seems to be the first of preserved writers to doubt that the apostle John wrote the Revelation. Dionysius suggests that the apocalypse was seen by a different John (Roberts, A., and Donaldson, J. The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Vol. VII, pp. 82-84). One reason for his doubt is that in the gospel and first letter, John the Apostle does not refer to himself by name. And so it is thought, since the John of the Revelation does call himself John, that this is likely to be another John. Yet surely John might identify himself in one writing and not do so in another, and this is less an argument than a hunch. Dionysius also comments that in the Revelation, none of John’s characteristic “phrasing or diction” appears to be present. The writings “share hardly a syllable in common,” and unlike the gospel and letters, the Revelation employs “barbarous idioms” and a dialect and language that are “not of the exact Greek type.” We will consider in place below certain symbols, such as the door, the way of speaking about being, and about the divinity of Jesus, that seem nearer to John than anyone else known in history. A characteristic phrase is “to prepare a place,” in the Gospel of John 14:2-3 and Revelation 12:6; Aune, 1997, p. 691). Modern linguistics notes that the rate of the use of words unique to the text is similar to the Gospel of John, and the use of the preposition ek is similarly higher in the Gospel of John and the Revelation than in any other Greek Biblical text (Aune, ccvii; cixxix). The identification of Jesus with the Word, though, is the most obvious similarity (Revelation 19:13; John 1:1), and it may even be safe to say that no one else in the history of humanity is able to speak and write in this way. The “Lamb of God” is another characteristic name from John the Baptist, as reported in the Gospel of John (1:29). Aquinas notices the light in the gospel (John 1:9), letter (1 John 1:5) and Revelation (22:5, Summa Contra Gentiles, III. 53). There is, though, quite a difference between the Gospel of John and the prophetic vision of the Revelation. One wonders how much of the difference might be due to the dictated and descriptive character of the Revelation, or to John having been told what to write. He is simply shown what he saw, and told to write this. We need not presuppose that it is impossible for these things to have occurred just as they are written. So in the dictated letters to the churches, there are different concerns, for example regarding heresy and idolatry, than in the three letters of John.  If one compares, for example, the writing preserved of Polycarp and Papias, or even Justin or Irenaeus, it is difficult to believe that anyone capable of the height of thought in receiving the Revelation was alive in the first or Second Century other than the author of the Gospel of John. Jung believes John to be the author of the gospel, the Revelation and the letters as well, writing that “psychological findings speak in favor of such an assumption” “Answer to Job,” in The Portable Jung, p. 625, 636 note 177.

Wilbur Smith (Holy Bible, 1881, p. 28) gives a fine summary of the reasons it is obvious that John wrote the Revelation:

…The evidence in favor of St. John’s authorship consists of the assertions of the author and historical tradition… The author’s description of himself in the first and [last] chapters is certainly equivalent to an assertion that he is himself the apostle. He names himself simply John…He is also described as a servant of Christ, one that had borne testimony as an eyewitness of the word of God and of the testimony of Christ–terms which were surely designed to identify him with the writer of the verses John 19:35; 1:14, and 1 John 1:2. He is in Patmos for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. It may be easy to suppose that other Christians of the same name were banished thither, but the Apostle is the only John who is directly named in early history as an exile at Patmos. He is also a fellow sufferer with those whom he addresses, and the authorized channel of the most direct and important communication that was ever made to the seven churches of Asia, of which churches John the Apostle was at that time the spiritual governor and teacher. Lastly, the writer was a fellow servant of angels and a brother of prophets, titles which are far more suitable to one of the chief Apostles, and far more likely to have been assigned to him than to any other man of less distinction. All these remarks are found united together in the Apostle John, and in him alone of all historical persons.

The theory that John was not the author may require that the text is lying or misrepresenting itself. While this is possible, and not unheard of, there is no reason to think that is what is occurring here. Similarly, in the face of the admonition not to alter the text (22:19), it seems unlikely that followers of John did much editing, let alone writing on it, though it would not be surprising if John himself did some work on it.

The decisive consideration, though, is in the text and not the notes: John does not include an apocalyptic section in his Gospel, as the other 3 do. The reason is that it occupies a separate work. The Apostle John is the very eye witness, from beginning to end, referred to in the text of the Revelation.

On Shakespeare’s King Henry V: What is a Christian king?

On King Henry V

   I have found a Qualifying Exam question written on Shakespeare’s King Henry V, on the question of the Christian king. It was written for Dr. Alvis, which is why it does not refer directly to his Essay “A Little Touch of the Night in Harry,” from the book Shakespeare as Political thinker. The exam format requires one to give an answer, where otherwise one might be silent, and also frees one from numbered references and the sort of precision that would require a longer essay. I remember sitting in worried silence, puzzled for a long time at the way Dr. Alvis had rephrased the question I had submitted, according to the exam procedure, and finally beginning only because I was running out of time.

Question: Is Henry a Christian King or is he a Machiavellian ruler? What is a Christian King, according to Shakespeare?

   At the funeral of Henry the Fifth, Bedford, Winchester and Gloucester present three views of Henry in praising him, or in their eulogies. Winchester calls him “A king blessed of the king of kings,” who was as fearsome to the French as the Judgement day. Bedford, who thinks the bad revolting stars consented to the death of Henry, is in the middle of invoking his spirit to protect England as the spirit of Caesar ruled over Rome after his death, when news arrives that 7 French towns have revolted, and the Anglo -French empire of Henry V begins to collapse.

   Bedford called Henry the best of the English kings and said that he would make a more glorious star than Julius Caesar or bright- (then he was interrupted. These two views agree with the chorus of the play, which calls Henry V “The mirror of all Christian kings” and a “conquering Caesar.” The third view presented is that of Gloucester, who says:

England n’er had a king until his time

Virtue he had, deserving to command…

What can I say? His deeds excel all speech

According to Gloucester, Henry is a true king, England’s first. His claim to rule is not, like Richard, based on hereditary legitimacy, nor like Bolingbroke, on strength alone, but on virtue. The thesis of this answer will be that Henry (aside from whether or not he is a truly Christian king) uses the appearance of both a Christian king and the ferocity of a Machiavellian “Prince” in doing what is expedient for England.

   According to the criterion of the play, that 1) Henry is the mirror of princes and is concerned with the honorable, and 2) that passions are subject to him, Henry is a Christian king. That Henry is not a Machiavellian ruler is shown by various examples, such as 1) his defense of his father in war, where a self-interested son might have simply stood by), 2) His tears at his father’s death, and 3) His sincere -piety shown in soliloquy before Agincourt, where he prays to the “God of Battles and relates his re-interring of the body of Richard with 500 poor to pray for him, 2 chantries built and genuinely repenting for the Lancastrian usurpation and murder of Richard. Machiavelli, or his prince, would presumably consider these things foolish.

   When a French ambassador comes from the Dauphin, and asks whether he may speak his message openly or not, Henry responds:

We are no tyrant, but a Christian king

Onto whose grace our passions are as subjected

As the wretches fettered in our prisons.

   The analogy of city and soul from Plato’s Republic shows the meaning of what is occurring in Henry’s England. A Christian king is the kind of a monarch opposed to the tyrant who subjects the passions This subjection of the passions comes about in England through the rise of Henry to the throne. After the usurpation of the throne by Bolingbroke, England suffered internal faction and civil war, and because ceremony fell with Richard, the appetites of England were unchained. Falstaff embodies the  tendencies of modernity, according to which the  public things are for the service of the private ends, the ends of the appetites The question facing Henry is how to bring Falstaff under again, or “How is kingship, as the sun, to break through the foul and ugly mists” of the appetites and the disrespect under which the crown has come.

The father of Henry compares his son to Richard II, due to his apparent “vile participation,” and advises rare public appearances to cultivate the wonder or awe necessary to the crown. But one problem in England is that the nobility no longer respect a king whom their own hands have helped to make so great. Henry treats the nobles as his father advised treating the people, with rare appearances.

By descending into the taverns, Henry takes the crown, which he will inherit, through a “low transformation,” attaching to it the opinion of England’s appetitiveness, while Henry becomes “of all the humors since Adam. Henry then appears to rise from the people as if born from them, slays Hotspur, and restores the rule of law by choosing the Chief Justice over Falstaff, at the end of II Henry IV. Henry’s calculated appearance, as shown in the conversation of Canterbury and Ely in Henry VI, has the appearance of a rebirth. In this he uses the appearance of Christianity to bring the rule of law to his regime. The free choice of the rule of law, rather than divine right, is to be the principle of the new regime.

After the first soliloquy of the prince in I Henry IV, the word redeem is used exclusively to refer to honor. In Richard II, Mowbray stated that without honor, men are but clay, and Falstaff is referred to as a clay man.” The honor catechism of Falstaff- which imitates Henry’s later speech on ceremony, shows that since the fall of chivalry and ceremony, honor has become meaningless. It was the dream of Hotspur, as he says, to restore honor to England, to pluck honor from the moon or dive into the deep and bring her up, so that he might wear all her dignities without a rival. It is Henry who is capable of separating honor from ceremony and restoring it to England.He slays Hotspur as the true prince slays the lion,” and in this replaces Hotspur as the mirror in which the noble youth of England dress themselves.” By the time Henry leads his men over to France, “silken dalliance” is put away, according to the patriotic chorus, and “Honor’s thought reigns solely in the breasts of every man.” As Mowbray’s use of the word honor shows, it is something of an allegory of immortality, in chivalry. Henry at Agincourt replaces religion with the glory of deeds, leading men into action.

If it is a sin to covet honor, Henry says, he is the most offending soul alive. In the deathbed advice of Henry’s father, he told Henry how he had planned to lead a crusade to the Holy Land in order to busy giddy minds with foreign wars.” and “waste the memory of former days. Instead of this plan to avoid civil faction, Henry chooses to lead the English, nobles and commoners, into France, renewing the Hundred Years War.

In the first act of Henry V, Canterbury and Ely speak of a bill by which the church stands to lose a great deal of its lands to the government of England. In exchange for relenting on the bill, the plan of Canterbury is for the Church to provide Henry with money and an apparent legitimate claim to the French throne. Canterbury agrees that Edward III has a claim through the wife of Philip, Isabel, if succession through the female were allowed. But Henry himself is not even the legitimate heir of Edward III, let alone of France. The Church provides him with the appearance of justice or legality for the war. The genuine “justice” of the war might be argued in terms of the need of England to restore honor and avoid civil war, ruling over the injustice of foreign conquest in the circumstance. But the king cannot do what appears to everyone to be good. In genuinely serving the common good, he does what is necessary. Where ceremony once hid the necessities of politics, Henry is capable of doing this himself. The Anglo-French empire would be a new founding, and would solve the Lancastrian problem of legitimacy.

In the second Act of Henry V, Henry miraculously discovers the conspiracy of Cambridge- heir to the legitimate title to the throne, according to Mortimer- Scroop and Grey to assassinate him Before executing them, Henry allows them to come into his presence, and gets them to advise strict punishment for a man who merely spoke abuse of the king while drunk. In doing this, it looks less harsh to the other nobles when Henry sentences these conspirators to death. Like his father, Henry the Fifth is capable of gardening and weeding. When he sentences the conspirators to death, he separates the public from the private, saying that as a man he will weep for them, and holds no revenge, but as king, he turns them over to the law to be sentenced to death for the safety of England. This separation distinguished Henry V from Richard II.

When Henry leads his men into battle, we see him giving them advice opposite to the advice which Machiavelli, in the Fourteenth Chapter of the Prince, gives to princes. Machiavelli tells princes to devote their intellect and the training of their bodies to war, and during peace, to never lift their thought from war. Henry tells his men that in peace, there is nothing so becomes a man as stillness and humility, but in war, to then stiffen the sinews, summon up the spirit, and disguise fair nature with the look of ferocity, imitating the tiger. Machiavelli tells men to look human, but devote themselves wholly to war, becoming like beasts, somewhat like Achilles in his choice of war over peace [See Strauss, Thoughts on Machiavelli, p. 78]. Henry tells men to disguise a genuinely fair nature by imitating a fierce animal, the tiger. Thus it is shown that Henry uses both the appearance of Christianity and the appearance of Machiavellian ferocity.

Similarly, before Harfleur, Henry threatens to let loose the inhuman violence of war onto the city, allowing his soldiers to rape their daughters and kill their fathers and babies unless they give up the town. The threat works, and bloodshed is avoided.

Before Agincourt, the Chorus tells us to entertain conjecture of a time when darkness fills the wide vessel of the universe. There it has us imagine Henry as a “largess universal” like the sun, thawing the cold fear of his soldiers with the touch of Harry in the night.” In the scene that follows, Henry walks among his soldiers disguised with the cloak of Thomas Erpingham. On either side of an argument on the justice of the war- which Henry turns into an argument about the privacy of the salvation of the soul-Henry presents his speech on ceremony. When asked if the king has been told how bad their situation looks, Henry responds, ” The king is but a man, as am I, and so when he sees reason to fear, he fears as do other men. Later, when speaking alone on ceremony, Henry states how ceremony is “poison flattery,” and cannot cure the knee of a beggar whom it commands to kneel. Ceremony is basically nothing. As a result of his ability to separate himself as a man from his kingship, he need not descend like Richard II with a crash to discover that he shares the human condition with other men. He never forgets himself as Richard did, in what ceremony tells a king he is. Yet in the battle of Agincourt, greatly outnumbered,, it does appear that God fights for him, as Richard thought God would merely because he is king, or because of the divine right of kings and ceremonial kingship. It may be that in some sense Henry is what ceremony told Richard he was, or what Richard thought himself to be but was not, aq true king.

It looks like the thoughts of Henry on kingship cannot be compared to modern thought on rule, even though as a Lancastrian he sees the crown as a burden and says to Katherine, “We are the makers of manners, Kate. Nice customs curtsy to great kings.” Henry refers twice explicitly to the rule of mind, when he says that it is good for men to bear their present pains upon example, because it lifts the spirit, and when mind is quickened the organs, once dead, break their grave and come back to life, mind clearly ruling the body. Second, going into battle, he says, “All is ready if our minds be so.” Nor can his statements about the privacy of salvation be interpreted to mean that he does not think a king ought be concerned with moral education. Salvation does not come from the laws, nor even from the example of a human king, and is distinct from the character formation of moral education. It looks as if it were very necessary to separate out political concerns and political rule from ceremonial Christianity, to avoid the problems Richard II got himself into. It seems that according to the Bible, salvation does not come from the religious law. Thus salvation ought be private, not a matter for the political kingdom at all, except to not inhibit, or to get out of the way.

The unfavorable view of Henry is usually based on 1. The injustice of the war in France, 2. The killing of the French prisoners, 3) his apparent disregard for law and his genuine disregard for ceremony, and 4) the breakdown of his Anglo-French empire and the bleeding of England afterward. While all these might be answered, only some can possibly be answered by this answerer.

With regard to the French prisoners, there is some ambiguity as to what exactly occurs. First, the order is given to kill them when the French regroup. Then Fluellen comments, “Kill the poys and the luggage.” It is clear that the French have not killed the English luggage boys. As in the previous scene with Pistol and his prisoner, the boy commented on how the luggage was vulnerable, guarded only by boys, and it is said that the French have plundered the King’s tent. But this ambiguity may only be to cover up the unjust killing of the French prisoners. The second time the command is given, Henry speaks in the future tense, “We’ll kill the prisoners, as though this had not been done yet. If it was done, it may have been done, as indicated by Mr. Lewis, to avoid the possibility of the English brothers ransoming the king. Or it may simply be an unjust thing necessary to do to make the English forget the numbers of the French. But as it later turns out, they have already forgotten this and and defeated them. The king may do it to unite the soldiers in injustice. If it were somehow a necessary thing, a higher justice would balance it. If not, the king would simply be a doer of injustice.

Henry does fail in that the empire breaks down after his death. He doesn’t do what Caesar did, perhaps because his ends are different from that of Caesar, but Henry does not found on the flattery of the people as Caesar did. Other reasons contributing to the breakdown of the empire is that Henry died fairly early after the birth of his son and Katherine does not prove to be a “good soldier breeder,” nor educator. While Henry shows the deficiency of ceremony and ceremonial virtue, genuine virtue capable of responding to the circumstances (as Henry does for example in spontaneously speaking so as to give or show the significance of deeds) cannot be inculcated and passed on from father to son But if Henry had lived long and had quite a few sons, perhaps the empire could have been held, and the garden of France, so broken down as described in Act V, rebuilt and even better off for coming under English rule Another point is that Shakespeare comes out of the England Henry left behind Shakespeare, by presenting the deeds of Henry, can inspire men to virtue. This seems to be part of his purpose for England, as for example the patriotism of the Chorus could inspire Englishmen for generations. In this way, the defect of Christian orders in the kingdom which allows Machiavelli to introduce tyranny and the arguments for injustice are addressed by the simple restoration of the life of honor.

[In keeping with the principle that the political world of the kingdom reflects the spiritual things not directly, but by analogy may show that Henry’s redeeming of the time refers also to his imitation of the sun regarding the time of England, in a temporal and temporary analogy with the redemption, dependent upon accident, yet an analogous reflection of spiritual virtue in ethical or political virtue. That is, the redemption may refer to the political aspect of practical wisdom, or royal rule. Henry’s redemption of the time in imitation of the sun, planned from his first soliloquy (I Henry IV, I, ii, 183-205) may be contrasted with Richard’s wasting of the time (Richard II, V, v, 49). Hal imitates the sun, and so is not really among the moon’s men. The sense in which his “reformation” is Christian, and hence the sense in which Henry is a Christian king, depends upon the meaning of Christianity and the meaning of kingship. But he is not a Christian king in the sense in which Richard is a Christian king, by custom. “But a good heart, Kate, is both the sun and the moon,/ Or rather the sun and not the moon…” (King Henry V, V, ii, 160). The conjunction of sun and moon in the wedding connects the last to the first appearances of Henry in the History plays. Shakespeare, by upholding honor in the face of modernity and the principle of the body or self-preservation, by showing England its kings and what it means to be royal, exercises the practical wisdom not of a king or statesman, who cares for the particular time, but the practical wisdom of a philosopher, the gardener of statesmen and kings.]

[Winston Churchill, in his Birth of Britain,” reports on the cruelty of the historical Henry, and we can see from this what Shakespeare has done with the invention of Falstaff, or the identification of him with Oldcastle, a heretic persecuted in the medieval fashion. By abstracting from these defects, Shakespeare writes a comedy in history- almost unique- for the English.]

Notes from Irving Wasserman: On Plato

[In progress]


   The nearest semblance we may have to what Plato did regarding Socrates may be to try to collect notes from the classes of our greatest teachers, so that despite the unstateable truth of the living word and the introduction to philosophy in the circumstance, what has occurred might in somehow be preserved.

   There are reasons not to do this sort of thing, yet these seem outweighed by the reasons to do it, and next. I feel indeed like Apollodorus at the opening of Plato’s Symposium, coming to a friend or two with a speech of the philosopher. Wasserman did not write, but then, neither did Socrates, though they both took education through conversation and the greatest books with the utmost seriousness.

   One would wish to communicate the excitement of philosophy in those days, as we had studied psychology and evolutionary biology in search of the beginning of the way, or what we would call the way to the way, an “apprenticeship.” We wound up seeking a “psychology of consciousness,” and at the same time, the depths and heights of Jungian psychology. It is here, when our mentor James Blight, Historian of Freud, went off to Harvard, that we found Irving Wasserman, as though in the corner of a philosophy department in a corn field in Western Michigan.

   Notes from classes are in a way one’s own, what he was able to glean of what occurred and what was said. We mix in our own thoughts, and summarize in our own words, while trying to record triggers for memory of whole accounts. Separate thoughts of my own triggered by the lectures, I would later set off to the right, underangle or pediment. The first class to transcribe would be that called “Plato,” as it was in 1980, and then again in 1982, taught in the Ancient division to be followed by Medieval and Modern, sections for which each in a remarkable department would produce the best of the studies in their satchel,  In 1981 and then again in 1983, he did a class called “Political Philosophy,” in which we read Plato’s Republic and Shakespeare’s Tempest, and these would be most worth transcribing from the notebooks which may otherwise be soon lost in the mists.

We’ll see how this goes:

Plato 1980

The opening is “Why Plato wrote dialogues”]

1) Bring Socrates to us

2) Promise of insight, sobering significance

3) Plato never speaks directly to his reader

[Quote from 7th Letter] 4) “Concerning these things there is no written work of mine, nor will there ever be, for they cannot be expressed in words…”

Therefore there is no Platonic doctrine?

Plato wrote dialogues because of this.

“Mystical?” God help us!

Dramatic discourse precludes that philosophical wisdom

[Concretism   Showing and telling (Donahue) [ I seem to be recalling a saying of a High school English teacher, Mr. Donahue, on the distinction between telling someone something and showing them.]

6) Philo (sophy) carries implications for actions

9) The philosophic endeavor begins with a dilemma + admission of profound ignorance. ? Who knows

Philosophy is dangerous

Is it good to be gadflied, unsettled?  [yes- self knowledge faith

^ (change)                wisdom- Prove it. Insanity?]

“Never dig a pit for a student that you cannot fill” [ a saying from Tho. Aquinas]

Definitions abstract dangerously from the context

Philosophy can end only with a personal conclusion

Dialogues are Plato’s resolution to the paradox that philosophy cannot be written

Plato’s solution of the paradox of the writing of philosophy

The reader

a) excitement of radicals who dig conflict

b) fallacious arguments are dramatically significant

c) The written word knows not to whom it should speak. -(Phaedrus).

inflexible, fixed.

[p. 2] Top: Dialogue relates learning to living

Living word can function in context of relationship (symbol: sideways 8)

DB asks: Why is a dialogue less limited than a treatise?

Empathy- understanding- To climb into Socrates’ barefeet

“I see a dialogue as painting a picture

Treatise: bare facts “What is it that happened to you” [-Wasserman]

The speaker who can empathize his audience.

*To enshrine forever the greatest and the rarest things, deeds

*Fossilized ideas which come alive.

*Plato wrote for Socrates’ immortality.

To combine the power of spoken and written word to overcome the limitations in each.

In the dialogue, Socrates in 1980 still knows when to speak

Choose according to interest

One must participate directly in philosophy to understand

Abstract statements can only be understood in context.

Q[uestion] of the unity of Plato’s thought

Don’t presume [arrow] ideas of (~ unity) stages of Plato’s thought

*Exoteric- ostensible meaning

Esoteric meaning also (~literal)

[p.3] R. Gustavson: “funny that (Euthyphro) thought men and gods have the same standards.”

Euthyphro- Q of the gods- what if you don’t Q[uestion] the gods?

Trial- ” [Question of the gods]

Socrates “The right way is…” with rational backing; considering

similar value, rat[ional] argument produces objective ethic

There are paradigms in…

An art/ paradigms paradigms paradigms paradigms paradigms.

There is much more than content and process.

Conscience- daimon never tells Socrates what to do

Only interferes when he is inclined to get get excessive.


Divine law/ Athenian law

P. 24: Plato’s theory of the Ideas [G edition of Euthyphro].

s-self [a picture is drawn: head with arrows out the eyes straight ahead and out the eyes, around front and over. Another arrow, a not equal sign, another arrow curving out around and down, = impiety. [Self knowledge and reflection does or does not equal impiety]

Soc. remaining on a formal rather than theoretical level

logic/ definition

Euthyphro fills the content

A drawing of a man out of a heart with dividing lines (quite a nice doodle- there are many on these pages, which means that time was occupied listening and musing) with the words to the left: I am that which is: Atman/Brahman

[p.] 25: “I shall tell you a great many other facts about our religion”

That which makes all pious actions pious (?)

“You can’t define anything that way-” -Wasserman

I write: Because one is then dealing with nature itself ?

“It is because they disagree about some action that some say it has been done rightly and others wrongly

Even if all x is wrong

What is piety>? Impiety? What is the predication

x is that which is

hierarchical abstraction of a verb  a process  -being  abstraction

That which one comes across in the search for self-knowledge.

It is like the wind, to try an to catch, not to catch, like Donovan’s wind.

[p. 5] Top: Where there is piety, there is moral rectitude But where there is moral rectitude there is not always piety.

an art of knowing what to give and what to ask for

Shattering of self-confidence to open the way to true wisdom.


Piety is what I am doing now (definition mistake)

  • Euthyphro sets himself up as the measure of all things

Definition in gods who disagree about good and evil (perfection)

contradiction   removed (arrow)    all gods love is pious

what is pious or holy is loved because it is pious (~ is ~)

4. Euthyphro silent

Socrates- Piety is that part of justice which attends to the care of the gods

The good would have to provide a norm for gods, rather than be what the gods do.

By making piety part of the just, he leads Euthyphro to

What do the gods do

The good-the light

Because it can’t turn on agreeing at all

[Do not define quality

What is the process. definition.

[head with self-reflecting arrow] The good is that which is found by light.  There is light and dark which never [triangle: “…changes.”

objection %. degree light/dark, man is both…

…is indefinable…]

Piety is part of the just means that not all of the just is pious.

[p. 6]

Lecture of Friday                     Of essence- its not that we know better now, but that it                                                             is different now.

All the virtues are one

That which results from light

Last words on the Euthyphro

Piety is pleasing to all the gods

consists in service to the gods which is not a barter.

Service is an art which involves knowledge.

Every art involves knowledge.


Every pious act is just, but not every just act is pious: [Circles drawn, the just around the pious.]

What Socrates is doing here are pious

The dialogues are an exhibition of Socrates’ piety.

[Piety is an aspect of being, being is impredicable.]

Selection on “Christian” Rock, from “Rock Commentaries” IX

   In honor of Creed, we will include a list of ten Christian Rock songs, or songs that could be played toward the purpose by a christian rock band. These are songs that could make up a great Christian Rock concert, enriching a small and struggling genre. Why this should be is a good question, if one considers that there is fine Christian bluegrass music out of the middle of America. There is Christian classical, but not Christian Big Band or square dancing music. Some modes do not fit. The purpose of music itself is to glorify the Creator, as Henry Schaeffer says. There is some question here, though, of whether the rock beat is not itself corrupt and irredeemable. But if Christianity is also a soaring of the intellect, and enlists the greatest passions, one would think the rock mode might be especially suited, if one could find the right way, and this we think was done by Scot Stipe of Creed and in Jesus Christ Superstar to some extent. The acoustic or folk ballad type of explicitly Christian music is somehow easier to come by, and there are some among my simply best of all songs list below. But there will be no longer any excuse that there should not be very successful Christian Rock concerts. The first three penitent songs, and not explicitly Christian, though they demonstrate the recognition of wrong in a Biblical context. Locomotive breath, studied above with Aqualung, is included because the fellow caught as if on a tragic train ride ends by picking up Gideon’s Bible, though I am not sure I have understood the meaning aright. God stole the handle, or seems to the fellow to have taken away the means of stopping the tragic train.

15. In the Light Led Zeppelin

14. In My Time of Dyin’ Zeppelin

13. Take Me to the River, Talking Heads

12. Locomotive Breath Jethro Tull

11. House of the Rising Sun Eric Burden

10. Stealin Uriah Heep

9. Jesus Children Steevie Wonder

8. Aqualung side two (above)

7. All along the Watchtower (above)

6. Presence of the Lord Blind Faith (

5. Easy Livin Uriah Heep

This is a thing I’v never known before, its called easy livin’

This is place I’v never seen before, and I’v been forgiven

Easy Livin, and I’v been forgiven, since You’ve

Taken your place in my heart.

Somewhere along the lonely road, I had tried to find you

Day after day on that winding road I had walked behind you

  1. Love One Another Jesse Colin Young
  1. Love reign O’er Me The Who Quadrophenia
  1. Pride (In the Name of Love) U2