Christian Platonism

Rediscovering Ancient Wisdom

Video – Plato (Encyclopedia Channel)

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With some hesitation I place here a feed to a short Encyclopedia Channel documentary on the life of Plato.  Watch the video, but then please consult the corrections listed below.

Let me correct a few major errors.   Contrary to what it says:

  • Plato’s Republic was not intended as a literal description of an ideal society.  A careful reading makes it’s main purpose plain:  as an allegory for the ‘politics’ of the human soul and its proper government. 
  • Similarly, Plato’s rendition of the story of Atlantis was meant as allegory:  the war between the Atlanteans and the Atheneans symbolizes strife between the passionate and intellective elements of the human soul.
  • It is by no means certain that Plato traveled to Sicily with the express aim of forming an ideal government there (see first point).  Much of the information about these trips trips comes from his Letters — the authenticity of which is debated.
  • The last quote in the video strangely misrepresents Plato’s religious ideas.  More representative is his idea that the goal in life is for a man to become as much like God as possible — by acquiring virtue and wisdom, and by development of the soul. 


Written by John Uebersax

February 14, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Posted in Platonism, Video

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