A world-famous conversation

The Republic
by Plato

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m so glad that I finally have read The Republic. The dialogues in this book touch on so many different things: the nature of the just life, the best form of government, education, the influence of entertainment (in this case poetry, including drama) on citizens, metaphysics, the afterlife, and more.

It was fascinating to read Plato’s descriptions (through the character of Socrates) of the interplay between reason, emotions, and desires in the human soul. In some ways, he is dealing with the same issues that Christians do, answering the question of how one can live a good life when beset by strong desires to do the opposite. On the other hand, his solutions (and the way that he expresses the problem) are very different, as you would expect (although there are some fascinating similarities). There’s a pessimistic view underlying The Republic that there are just a few people equipped by nature and nurture to be philosophers, a view that cries out for the need for God’s redeeming action in Christ.

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