Previous posts in this series:
- Plato’s and the Bible’s Ideal Laws: Similarities 1:631-637 (2015-06-22)
- Plato’s and Bible’s Laws: Similarities, completing Book 1 of Laws (2015-06-23)
I’m passing over this section of Laws quickly, pointing to no more than a couple of details that meet biblical values.
Safeguarding the Truth with Myths
Many works in the Bible teach that obedience to the law of God brings a blessed and happy life while the ways of sinners were plagued with misfortunes. Of course there are a few works that reassure us that not everyone was so naive (e.g. Job). Nonetheless, it’s a “good moral” that is taught to children and many churchgoers. It’s also the root of so much guilt that has inflicted many who have been taught that God heals the faithful.
Plato knew the reality of life but deemed it wise to teach a lie to keep people good. (Guilt and finger-pointing be damned.) Many know the “noble lie” principle from his Republic but he repeated it in Laws:
[W]ere I a legislator, I should endeavor to compel the poets and all the citizens to speak in this sense; and I should impose all but the heaviest of penalties on anyone in the land who should declare that [662c] any wicked men lead pleasant lives, or that things profitable and lucrative are different from things just; and there are many other things contrary to what is now said . . . by the rest of mankind,—which I should persuade my citizens to proclaim.
Plato knew even the gods knew it was not really a rule that the happiest life is the just one . . . read more