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Greek Tragedy and Political Philosophy: Rationalism and Religion in Sophocles' Theban Plays 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0521515863
ISBN-10: 0521515866
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Editorial Reviews


"Ahrensdorf, a political philosopher, gathers Socrates, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, around a table in his virtual department of political theory in order to retrieve Sophoclean drama for the world of reason. I would invite rather different figures to the discussion (including Protagoras, Thucydides and Hegel as well as some theatre directors) and emphasise the exceptional complexity of Sophocles' portrayal, through enacted dialogue, of the dialectic between deliberation and intuition in human responses to an often baffling universe. Yet it is ultimately gratifying to find a political philosopher addressing this great dramatist with such energy and conviction...
Notre Dame Philosophical Review

"Ahrensdorf has written an exceptional study of Sophoclean drama that will challenge the way we think about this poet, in particular, and the purposes of tragic poetry, in general."
Review of Politics

"... written with intellectual clarity and that the author's views of Greek tragedy and philosophical literature are clearly worth becoming antiquated with."

Book Description

In this book, Peter Ahrensdorf examines Sophocles' powerful analysis of a central question of political philosophy and a perennial question of political life: Should citizens and leaders govern political society by the light of unaided human reason or religious faith?

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (April 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521515866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521515863
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,553,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter J. Ahrensdorf is the James Sprunt Professor of Political Science and Affiliated Professor of Classics at Davidson College. He has taught at the University of Chicago, Kenyon College, and the Universidad del Cema in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Educated at Yale (BA) and the University of Chicago (PhD), he has received a Fulbright scholarship, three National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, six Earhart Foundation fellowship research grants, a Boswell faculty fellowship, and the Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Award from Davidson College.

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Peter Ahrensdorf does it again with this study. Like his study on the death of Socrates, he carefully reads Oedipus the Tyrant, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone and other thinkers to reconsider Sophocles. He is concerned whether our views of Sophocles as a thinker may be overshadowed by Nietzsche's interpretation of his Greek tragedies.

It is clear that Professor Ahrensdorf is familiar with the texts and the literary criticism. What makes this work exceptional is that he weighs the words and deeds (the action) judiciously in coming to his conclusions that Sophocles is closer to Socrates as a seeker of wisdom.

I look forward to other studies by Professor Ahrensdorf. He enlivens texts, a rare feat, especially when he is concerned with the transhistorical questions.
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Greek Tragedy and Political Philosophy: Rationalism and Religion in Sophocles' Theban Plays
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