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Paper Topic:

The trial and death of Socrates and The Book of Matthew

"Socrates and Matthew

Every ancient culture seemed to have its own heretics . The Greeks and Romans were no exception . In Athens , Greece , the philosopher Socrates was perhaps the most well-known heretic , and in Rome it was Jesus of Nazareth . Both Socrates and Jesus faced political charges However , Socrates was more of a political man than Jesus was

First , there was evidence suggesting that Socrates may have committed political crimes in Athens . Athens was an ancient Democracy and freedom of speech was highly prized in the courts and among the common people

. However , Socrates was executed despite the existence of this freedom . This implies that he tried to overthrow the democracy and begin a dictatorship . According to I . F . Stone , anti-democrats established short dictatorships in 411 B .C . and 404 B .C . Because Socrates was also a well-known anti-democrat , Athenians were afraid of another dictatorship . For this reason , Socrates was not put on trial until 399 B .C . after he had been teaching for more than 25 years , even though he was already an old man (Stone

On the other hand , Jesus was not accused of trying to overthrow the government . Instead , Judas Iscariot , one of his 12 disciples , brought Jesus to the chief priests to be crucified , in exchange for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26 .14-15 King James Version . As a result , he was crucified , even though no specific political charges were brought against him

No one ever revoked Socrates 's charges . But Judas did try to revoke his bribe to crucify Jesus . In Matthew 27 :4 , Judas said "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood " But in the same verse , the people did not want to hear what he had to say their response was "What is that to us ? See thou to that (Matthew 27 .4

However , both Socrates and Jesus faced religious charges . For Socrates the charge was "corrupting the youth " although no specific definition or explanation of the charge Socrates and Matthew Page 02

was ever given . According to Stone , however , it may have referred to the possibility that Socrates was undermining young Athenians ' faith in their democracy (Stone . Jesus 's charge was blasphemy , because he claimed to be the king of the Jews (Matthew 27 .11 . However , the governor did not recognize any evil in him (Matthew 27 .23 . In the end Jesus was crucified , because the people demanded it and took responsibility for his crucifixion (Matthew 27 .25

Another difference between Socrates and Jesus was the justification of each verdict . In the book of Matthew , there were no references to people feeling justified long after the crucifixion of Jesus . However more than 50 years after the trial of Socrates , the Greek orator Aeschines said "Men of Athens , you executed Socrates , the sophist because he was clearly responsible for the education of Critias , one of the thirty anti-democratic leaders (qtd . in Stone . This quote proves that if Socrates had not been executed , yet another dictatorship could have been established in...

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