Menander ("Menandros") has been called the last of the great Greek comedians from antiquity, a sign of the declining and changing tastes among the people of Athens. He carried on the legacy of Aristophanean comedy ("Old Comedy"), even though Aristophanes focused primarily on satirizing heroes and political leaders, while so-called "New Comedy" satirized the ordinary … Continue reading Menander and Dyskolos
Of the thirteen surviving epistles of Plato (coming from the Greek for "to send along" or "to send news" -a letter) the seventh letter is perhaps the most important, and longest of his letters, buried in the middle of thirteen letters. Also the central teaching of Plato's political philosophy is also buried in the middle … Continue reading Notes on Plato’s Seventh Letter
Christianity, as exemplified in the Gospels, poses a new way for human beings. By creatively reformulating, and thus revitalizing, the mores of the ancient Hebrews, and claiming to fulfill their prophecies, Christianity sows the seeds for a new morality. Jesus completes the public revealing of the new morality in the so-called "sermon on the mount" … Continue reading Thoughts on the “Newness” of the New Testament
The Gospel According to John is distinct from the other three so-called "synoptic gospels" (so-named for their historical synopses of Jesus's life): Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In contrast, John presents an existential text filled with dichotomies: manichean lightness and darkness, friends and enemies, sons and fathers and so on. The Gospel can be read as a pre-Aquinas attempt to harmonize faith … Continue reading On The Logos in the Gospel of John
Matthew According to the gospel of Matthew, Matthew was a "publican" or "tax collector" called by Jesus to follow him (5:9) though Mark and Luke identify this man as Levi. His gospel is anonymous, with the subscription of "according to Matthew" at least a couple hundred years after the death of Jesus. His gospel is, in some ways, a compilation … Continue reading Comparing the Death of Jesus in the Four Gospels
The Gospel (or "good news") according to Maththaîon is concerned with the fulfillment of ancient scriptures, hence why the text continually references the prophecies of Jeremiah. The gospel of Matthew takes great liberties to trace Jesus's genealogy to the ancient bloodline of Israel, as the objective is to persuade the general public of Jesus's divinity, through … Continue reading Matthew Chapters 5-7: The Sermon on the Mount
Xenophon's Memorabilia, or "recollections" is a treatise written to the greatest number of people. It is the longest and most beautiful of Xenophon's Socratic works. It is manifestly distinct from the Oeconomicus, which is Xenophon's natural response to Aristophanes's caricature of Socrates in The Clouds. Memorabilia is Xenophon's public apologia for Socrates. The text is written directly from Xenophon's first-person perspective, … Continue reading On Xenophon’s Account of Socrates in the Memorabilia
Simonides is the legendary Greek poet hailing from the island of Ceos, off the coast of Attica. He lived during the turn of the 6th and 5th centuries BC. As a youth, he left his home on the island and made way for Athens. He may have met Pindar, the great creator of odes among … Continue reading Who Is Simonides?
The earliest odes were songs of praise, accompanied by music, and the greatest of the ancient poets of odes is Pindar (Pindaros). The word 'ode' comes from the Greek word oide, meaning "song" or even "singing." The form of the ode originates with the Greeks and the earliest form of an ode today is called the 'Pindaric … Continue reading Who Is Pindar? What Is An Ode?
I recently read through John Dryden's impressive 1697 translation of Virgil's Georgics, one of the great pastoral poems of the Latin tradition. Dryden translated the poem into a heroic couplet form, though the original was written in the didactic hexameter form. The Georgics comes down to us from the Greek (georgika) meaning something akin to the … Continue reading Comparing Virgil’s Georgics with Hesiod’s Works and Days