Plato and the Pentateuch

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Plato and the Pentateuch

Post by neilgodfrey »

Russell Gmirkin wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 6:31 pmMotive clauses attached to individual laws attempted to persuade the citizens to obey the laws, either by explaining the reason for the law or by making an appeal to obedience in the form of either positive incentives for compliance or threats for disobedience.<1> Although legal introductions, exhortations and motive clauses are also found attached to other Pentateuchal laws, they predominate in Deuteronomy.<2> Both parenetic hortatory addresses and motive clauses are entirely absent from Ancient Near Eastern law collections<3> and have often been claimed as unique biblical innovations.<4> This claim to biblical originality appears inaccurate, however, since the same combination of legislation and persuasive rhetoric appeared prominently in Plato’s Laws of ca. 350 BCE.
Thank you! Parenetic hortatory -- it was on the tip of my tongue. ;)
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Plato and the Pentateuch

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Russell -- while you are here, I have some questions:

In Plato's Timaeus you write
We may reject from the outset the notion put forward by Philo (and Rösel 1994) that part of the creation account in Genesis 1, either in its Hebrew original or in the LXX translation, took place within the world of Forms. Rösel (and Philo) believed that the LXX’s “invisible” primordial world of Gen 1:2 alluded to the ideal world of Forms, which could be comprehended, not through the senses, but only by the mind; that the creation of humans in God’s image in Gen 1:26 alluded to the soul; and that the creation of mortal humans in Gen 2:7 referred to placing the created soul of Gen 1:26 into a mortal body. This interpretation will be set aside in favor of an interpretation of the cosmogony of Genesis 1 as a description of the origins of the physical universe.
Do you have any further discussion on the grounds for dismissing the possibility that Gen 1:2 alluded to the ideal world of Forms? I can appreciate your alternative discussion but do you anywhere (I may have read it and overlooked it for now) focus on a critique of that interpretation?

My other question relates to the contradictions in the opening chapters of Genesis. You explain these as the result of different authors working on different sections of narrative and not consulting directly with what the other has written. What do you say to another suggestion that since Plato himself is not always consistent, that he appears quite prepared to forget one story he told for one purpose and compose another for another purpose and without regard for consistency with the earlier story, that a single author of Genesis could have followed the same approach: narrating the story of the creation week as a sublime tale in its own right, then the next tale to be told maybe the next day or whatever, but with no intent that they be read together as a single narrative?
Russell Gmirkin
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Re: Plato and the Pentateuch

Post by Russell Gmirkin »

neilgodfrey wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 8:26 pm Russell -- while you are here, I have some questions:

In Plato's Timaeus you write
We may reject from the outset the notion put forward by Philo (and Rösel 1994) that part of the creation account in Genesis 1, either in its Hebrew original or in the LXX translation, took place within the world of Forms. Rösel (and Philo) believed that the LXX’s “invisible” primordial world of Gen 1:2 alluded to the ideal world of Forms, which could be comprehended, not through the senses, but only by the mind; that the creation of humans in God’s image in Gen 1:26 alluded to the soul; and that the creation of mortal humans in Gen 2:7 referred to placing the created soul of Gen 1:26 into a mortal body. This interpretation will be set aside in favor of an interpretation of the cosmogony of Genesis 1 as a description of the origins of the physical universe.
Do you have any further discussion on the grounds for dismissing the possibility that Gen 1:2 alluded to the ideal world of Forms? I can appreciate your alternative discussion but do you anywhere (I may have read it and overlooked it for now) focus on a critique of that interpretation?
In Plato’s Timaeus, the Demiurge looked upon the eternal world of Being (where the forms resided) as an ideal model for his acts of creation in the physical sensible world of Becoming. There is no talk anywhere in the Platonic dialogues of actions taken in the world of Forms that I know of or have read about in secondary literature. I think there was some intellectual development between the time of Plato and Philo that allowed for the Philonic reinterpretation of Plato’s Timaeus along new lines. In specific, the idea that the soul was created in the world of Forms (Gen. 1:26ff) and planted in the physical body (Gen. 2:7) runs contrary to Plato’s description of the tri-partite soul as a combination or eternal and material elements, not an implanting of a pure eternal soul into a material body (as in Philo and in later Christianity).
Russell Gmirkin
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Re: Plato and the Pentateuch

Post by Russell Gmirkin »

neilgodfrey wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 8:26 pm Russell -- while you are here, I have some questions:

...My other question relates to the contradictions in the opening chapters of Genesis. You explain these as the result of different authors working on different sections of narrative and not consulting directly with what the other has written. What do you say to another suggestion that since Plato himself is not always consistent, that he appears quite prepared to forget one story he told for one purpose and compose another for another purpose and without regard for consistency with the earlier story, that a single author of Genesis could have followed the same approach: narrating the story of the creation week as a sublime tale in its own right, then the next tale to be told maybe the next day or whatever, but with no intent that they be read together as a single narrative?
I tend to agree with higher criticism that contradictory doublets and the occasional triplet represent multiple authors at work whose contributions were not fully reconciled, and I view Gen. 1-3 as yet another example of that mechanism at work. As for Plato, he does have various contradictory stories, but as far as my memory goes these appear in different dialogs, not within the same dialog. (There are some minor exceptions that may reflect his evolution of thought while writing a lengthy piece, such as certain differences between Plato's Laws books I-XI and XII.)
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Re: Plato and the Pentateuch

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DCHindley wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 8:41 am IIRC, Socrates as described by Plato in The Symposium, positions himself to artfully plant a kiss on another man's lips, to the applause of the other participants in the symposium, who are presumed to have noticed that Socrates was staging a performance, and this was the climax of the show.
I think you are referring to Socrates in the Symposium of Xenophon not Socrates in the Symposium of Plato.

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DCHindley
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Re: Plato and the Pentateuch

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andrewcriddle wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 10:56 am
DCHindley wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 8:41 am IIRC, Socrates as described by Plato in The Symposium, positions himself to artfully plant a kiss on another man's lips, to the applause of the other participants in the symposium, who are presumed to have noticed that Socrates was staging a performance, and this was the climax of the show.
I think you are referring to Socrates in the Symposium of Xenophon not Socrates in the Symposium of Plato.

Andrew Criddle
Historically, you are more than likely to be correct than I am. :notworthy:

While I am aware that Xenophon had published what I always thought were parodies of Plato's Socratic dialogues, my memory had recalled it as something I had actually read in Plato's version.

I must have picked the story up in a commentary or a translation's footnotes and misattributed it.

Thanks for setting me straight.

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ABuddhist
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Re: Plato and the Pentateuch

Post by ABuddhist »

DCHindley wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 5:23 pm
andrewcriddle wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 10:56 am
DCHindley wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 8:41 am IIRC, Socrates as described by Plato in The Symposium, positions himself to artfully plant a kiss on another man's lips, to the applause of the other participants in the symposium, who are presumed to have noticed that Socrates was staging a performance, and this was the climax of the show.
I think you are referring to Socrates in the Symposium of Xenophon not Socrates in the Symposium of Plato.

Andrew Criddle
Historically, you are more than likely to be correct than I am. :notworthy:

While I am aware that Xenophon had published what I always thought were parodies of Plato's Socratic dialogues
I ws under the impression that they were not parodies - they just used Socrates in order to explore different topics in different ways.
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DCHindley
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Re: Plato and the Pentateuch

Post by DCHindley »

ABuddhist wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 5:32 am
DCHindley wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 5:23 pm
andrewcriddle wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 10:56 am
DCHindley wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 8:41 am IIRC, Socrates as described by Plato in The Symposium, positions himself to artfully plant a kiss on another man's lips, to the applause of the other participants in the symposium, who are presumed to have noticed that Socrates was staging a performance, and this was the climax of the show.
I think you are referring to Socrates in the Symposium of Xenophon not Socrates in the Symposium of Plato.

Andrew Criddle
Historically, you are more than likely to be correct than I am. :notworthy:

While I am aware that Xenophon had published what I always thought were parodies of Plato's Socratic dialogues
I ws under the impression that they were not parodies - they just used Socrates in order to explore different topics in different ways.
Looks like a good time to acquire and process some of Xenophon's Socratic dialogues. I believe that one was "On Clouds" which at the time I heard about it I figured it was going to be a parody. Funny, though, is that normally - unlike some - I don't see parodies everywhere.

DCH
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Re: Plato and the Pentateuch

Post by andrewcriddle »

DCHindley wrote: Thu Jan 19, 2023 1:47 pm
Looks like a good time to acquire and process some of Xenophon's Socratic dialogues. I believe that one was "On Clouds" which at the time I heard about it I figured it was going to be a parody. Funny, though, is that normally - unlike some - I don't see parodies everywhere.

DCH
The Clouds is a satire on Socrates by Aristophanes.

Andrew Criddle
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DCHindley
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Re: Plato and the Pentateuch

Post by DCHindley »

andrewcriddle wrote: Sat Jan 21, 2023 4:56 am
DCHindley wrote: Thu Jan 19, 2023 1:47 pm
Looks like a good time to acquire and process some of Xenophon's Socratic dialogues. I believe that one was "On Clouds" which at the time I heard about it I figured it was going to be a parody. Funny, though, is that normally - unlike some - I don't see parodies everywhere.

DCH
The Clouds is a satire on Socrates by Aristophanes.

Andrew Criddle
Looks as though more reading will be required.

I was aware of a fairly extensive collection of Platonic letters, which I have seen described in some tertiary sources (textbooks) but have also never read (in translation, of course).

It does seem to be a truism that "the more one finds out, the more one realizes what has not yet been found."

Thanks again.

DCH
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