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Xenophon's Oeconomicus as a reaction to Plato's Republic?

  • Gabriel Danzig
Thursday 27 February 2020
University Library
Witte Singel 27
2311 BG Leiden

Xenophon is the author of the earliest surviving responses to the dialogues of Plato. His Apology, Symposium, and Memorabilia contain clear, almost explicit, references to a variety of dialogues. Oeconomicus contains echoes of Meno and Euthydemos, but it is best understood as a response to Plato's Republic. The connection can be seen especially from a comparison of the first chapter of Oeconomicus to the first book of Plato's Republic. Xenophon's Socrates adopts a dialectical strategy similar to that employed by Plato's Socrates. But he rejects Plato's teaching on the natures of men and women, on the status of the household, and on the qualities that are needed for reliable management of the affairs of others.

Gabriel Danzig is a Professor in the Department of Classical Studies at Bar Ilan University, specializing in ancient Greek philosophical literature. He has published a book entitled Apologizing for Socrates, which explores the apologetic dimension of Plato's and Xenophon's Socratic writings. He has also published numerous articles on Plato, Xenophon and Aristotle. He is currently the organizer of a research project at the Israeli Institute of Advanced Studies entitled, "Triangulating towards Socrates: the Socratic circle and its aftermath."

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