- Paperback: 120 pages
- Publisher: Bristol Classical Press (January 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1853991325
- ISBN-13: 978-1853991325
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,133,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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About the Author
Chris Emlyn-Jones is Emeritus Professor of Classical Studies at The Open University.
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The Bryn Mawr commentaries on Greek and Latin texts are designed for students who have learned basic grammar and vocabulary. Accordingly, the series preface states that "the editors have been told to resist their critical impulses and to say only what will help the student read the text." Those who prefer detailed historical and critical notes would be much better served by a Cambridge Green and Yellow or something similar.
This edition contains what appears to be a photocopy of the Oxford text (Burnet, 1900) of the Euthyphro along with a 30-page commentary. As the series preface indicates, the notes are bare-bones. Most of them help with syntax, including many points which are problematic only for students beginning to read Attic prose. Some of them help with less common vocabulary, though the Middle Liddell will probably still be necessary.
As someone who has spent much more time reading Koine than Attic, I found this commentary just what I needed to get through the Euthyphro quickly with a minimum of trouble. The notes answered almost every syntactic question I had, in addition to some I didn't have. It was refreshing to find a commentary that focuses entirely on helping students "construe" the text, as Hare says, rather than one which devotes paragraphs and paragraphs to historical and literary problems while neglecting grammatical and syntactical issues likely to confuse the intermediate student.
The only negative is the price: $8.93 is a bit much for such a small book. However, it's not much in absolute terms, and the Bryn Mawr commentaries help fund the immensely useful (and free) Bryn Mawr Classical Review.
Overall, I highly recommend Hare's Euthyphro, and I look forward to using other Bryn Mawr commentaries for both Greek and Latin.
Socrates asks Euthyphro "What is piety?" A series of different answers are provided, none of which prove satisfactory to Socrates after he examines them through dialectical engagement. At the end of the dialogue Socrates insists he still does not understand what piety is and suggests Euthyphro to continue to search for its true meaning before making any decisions regarding is father. The implications for Socrates own trial, of course, are rather obvious, but the reader is well aware how that particular trial is going to play out.
The dialogue also presents two competing notions of religion. For Euthyphro religion means giving the gods gifts so that you can receive benefits, which conforms to the view of Greek gods found in classical mythology with regards to their powers and behavior. In contrast, Socrates does not accept these myths as being real stories and while he never articulates much beyond the idea of a divine voice which warms him not to do certain things, there is reason to believe Socrates is, by his own definition at least, a devout and religious person. However, as H.L. Mencken once remarked, blasphemy is your irreverence towards my deity, and ultimately this is what sends Socrates to his state ordered suicide.
More interesting, from my perspective, is the discussion regarding piety in relation to justice, where Socrates rejects the distinction between service to the gods and service to men. Certainly his insistence that duty to the gods and to other human beings are one in the same is a more modern view. It is through this part of the dialogue that we get our best look at Socrates's view of religion, where the goal is to bring your life into harmony with the will of the divine. Socrates saw a divine purpose in the creation of the world and believed it was to advance the moral and spiritual development of human beings. Consequently, in the final analysis, Socrates sees morality as resting not constantly changing human opinion, but rather with the unchangeable will of God.