Socrates and Jesus

The two greatest teachers we know in the West, Socrates and Jesus, were not without kindness, to be sure, but both had a sharp edge. Jesus asked people to do the impossible. He wanted them to give up all of their possessions and follow him, to change their lives utterly around. Socrates asked one badgering question after another about why his contemporaries behaved as they did.  In the end, society could not tolerate either of these men, and did away with them.

—Mark Edmundson, Teacher: The One Who Made the Difference

3 responses to “Socrates and Jesus

  1. Grumpy ol’ VDH has argued rather eloquently that Jesus was not divine, but that his message was so radical for the time, so wholly unexpected and paradigm-shifting, that its existence could only be described as “divinely conceived.”

    Socrates strikes me as Man’s great contrarian and dissenter. He was a radical and a reactionary, but there is nothing cloying or hypocritical about his arguments (or anytime they shifted). Only he could pull that off. Which, I guess, is what makes Socrates Socrates.

  2. What sort of student evaluations might they get? “Thinks he’s God,” et cetera.

    I admire Why Read? — I’ll have to look for this book.

  3. @Alex Yes, exactly.

    @Michael Leddy It’s one of the better high school memoirs I’ve ever read.


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