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The Trial of Socrates:
Aristophanes’ Clouds, Part 3

Posted By Greg Johnson On February 27, 2013 @ 12:02 am In Counter-Currents Radio | 1 Comment

Aristophanes [1]


36:31 / 374 words

To download the mp3, right-click here [2] and choose “save target as.”

To subscribe to our podcasts, click here [3].

This is the third of three podcasts on Aristophanes’ Clouds. 

This lecture contains a good deal of “Socratic” discussion, but some of the voices of the students were not captured by the microphone, so they were edited out, which accounts for some “jumps” in the discussion that remains.

The Source of the Lecture

In September and October of 1998, I gave a course of eight, two-hour lectures on “The Trial of Socrates.” We covered the following topics and texts:

  • Myth, pre-philosphical concepts of order, and the presocratic philosophical background of Aristophanes’ Clouds
  • Aristophanes’ comedy Clouds, which gives a very unflattering portrayal of Socrates
  • Plato’s dialogue Theages, which can be read as a rebuttal to the Clouds
  • Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro, which is set just before the trial of Socrates and deals with one of the accusations against him, namely impiety
  • Plato’s Apology of Socrates, his speech to the jury at his trial
  • Plato’s dialogue Crito, which is set in his prison cell as Socrates awaits execution
  • Plato’s dialogue Phaedo, which describes the last conversations and death of Socrates

The whole class was taped, but the tapes of the first lecture, which was an introduction to the whole course, and the last lecture, on the Phaedo, have disappeared. Nevertheless, the six remaining lectures, which I will release in 12 separate parts, contain a lot of useful material.

The books for the class are:

If anyone is interested in producing a transcript of this lecture, we will gladly publish it. Ideally, we would like one person to do a draft transcription and then place it online to allow other listeners to offer corrections. Please contact Greg Johnson at mailto://editor@counter-currents.com [7] before starting work, so we can prevent wasteful duplication of efforts.

Greg Johnson


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[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/aristophanes-1.jpg

[2] here: http://cdn.counter-currents.com/radio/CCR-Johnson_Trial-of-Socrates-Aristophanes-CLOUDS-3-of-3new.mp3

[3] here: http://www.counter-currents.comitpc://feeds.feedburner.com/Counter-Currents

[4] A Presocratics Reader: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1603843051/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1603843051&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20

[5] Four Texts on Socrates: Plato’s “Euthyphro,” “Apology of Socrates,” “Crito,” and Aristophanes’ “Clouds”: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0801485746/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0801485746&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20

[6] The Roots of Political Philosophy: Ten Forgotten Socratic Dialogues: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0801494656/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0801494656&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20

[7] mailto://editor@counter-currents.com: mailto://editor@counter-currents.com

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