Was Socrates a Christian
THE OTHER CHRIST. The figure of Socrates as a symbolic figure of the West *
1 THE OTHER CHRIST The figure of Socrates as a symbolic figure of the West * Uwe Kühneweg (Marburg) Socrates and Christ - you find them together where you hardly expect them, for example with Theodor Storm: The thanks that Jewe Manners once gave to his builder for his grandchildren promised, as you have seen, failed to materialize; for so it is, Lord: they gave Socrates a poison to drink, and they struck our Lord Christ on the cross. This has not been so easy in recent times; but - a violent man or an evil bull-necked priest to a saint or a capable fellow just because he was overgrown us by head length, to make a ghost and night specter - that still goes on every day. «1 The title of my lecture may seem a bit provocative, irritating also because I myself am a trained theologian and pastor by profession. But provocation has a long tradition in European intellectual history, and the comparison between Socrates and Jesus of Nazareth, whom Christians venerate as the Christ, the Savior sent by God, is almost a topos in the history of philosophy, literature and also of theology. In this respect, I am taking up a familiar topic in the hope of gaining some new aspects from it. In the first part of my lecture, I would like to deal with the figure of Socrates himself, the traditional-historical problems about his person and his work, his philosophical and philosophical significance. A second part of my remarks relates to the history of the Socrates-Christ comparison that has become topical. A final part once again raises the problem of the comparability of Socrates and Christ and asks about possible consequences for our thinking and Western identity. I. Socrates in the twilight of tradition Even a fleeting reflection is enough to convince us that there are very few people who can match Jesus and Socrates in importance and notoriety among the people of the European past. Philosophers are not among the most memorable figures of history; among them Socrates should be certain to have a top position in general education and semi-education. This does not apply to his teaching, which is only known in outline to those interested in philosophy (but at least it is partially reflected in the I know that I know nothing), but rather to Socrates as a person with the tragic fate of being under questionable circumstances in a public one Trial of those sentenced to death. The individual further aspects, which are still alive in the general consciousness of Socrates, are quite varied, but in this way reflect a certain mysteriousness and intangibility of Socrates, which his interlocutors (opponents and friends) and students already held and passed on to posterity: Socrates the ironic who hides his wisdom under the mask of the unwise; Socrates, the relentless questioner who is not satisfied with quick answers * Lecture for philosophia, Marburg, Philippshaus, Storm: Der Schimmelreiter, Theodor Storm: Complete works in four volumes, ed. by Peter Goldammer, 4th edition, Berlin and Weimar: Aufbau, 1978, p. 371.
2 The other Christ 2 gives; Socrates, who listened to his daimonion (the little god in his chest, his inner voice, his conscience); Socrates, who turns down the possibility of escaping from death row and thus ultimately dies voluntarily. Finally, there is the anecdotal news about his wife Xanthippe, who has become proverbial as a quarrelsome wife. It is not much, but it is certainly more than we generally know about the person of any other philosopher. On closer inspection, our supposedly certain knowledge of the person of Socrates turns out to be strangely broken, and here the modern observer, who also knows something about theology, first parallels to the question of the historical Jesus. Like Jesus, Socrates probably wrote nothing, at least nothing of lasting importance. Socrates and Jesus worked exclusively through the spoken word, which was first written down by their disciples and devotees. This gives rise to certain problems of reconstruction, which, although not impossible, are faced with the difficult task of distinguishing between original and ingredient, between memory and composition. In the case of Jesus, the Gospels are the main source, so in the case of Socrates the writings of his pupil Plato and his admirer Xenophon. Plato was himself a philosopher, who was certainly inspired by the master in his thinking, but continued to advance the teaching of Socrates in his own direction and intention. But Socrates appears as the leading interlocutor in almost all of his dialogues: while Plato's earlier dialogues convey something (or perhaps a great deal) of the atmosphere of Socrates' conduct of the conversation and of his personality, Socrates becomes easy in the middle and later dialogues a mouthpiece for Plato's philosophy, d. H. he becomes a literary figure. Where is the transition between these two groups of dialogues to be made? According to the majority opinion of ancient and historical research, the oldest dialogues of Plato, which revolve around the question of arete, virtue and generally end in aporia, the admission of ignorance (without a positive explanation), reflect the conception and method of Socrates most likely. Another main source is the writer Xenophon with his memories of Socrates, an apology and a banquet. Socrates also appears in the Oikonomikos. Much of what is reported there about Socrates can be easily reconciled with the picture that Plato paints, although Socrates Xenophons is positively instructive. Some of his conversations are Elenchian and some protreptic; they relate to pedagogical and political questions and to general wisdom and character. Many have an appellative character (...). 2 Xenophon has now been a professional writer on various subjects who is anything but an uninvolved witness. Xenophon's Socrates expresses so many of Xenophon's convictions, even if he knew the historical Socrates personally. But he probably draws from a very early Socrates literature. His image of Socrates is the result of an interpretation by a person he knows, in which he undoubtedly highlighted the features that convinced him, taking into account already existing literature. 3 Further old sources about Socrates are the satire of Aristophanes in the clouds, which Socrates partly with traits of a natural philosopher, partly draws a sophist, and Aristotle, whose testimony can no longer be traced back to personal acquaintance. Aristotle emphasizes as a specific philosophical achievement of Socrates the turning away from the old natural philosophy and the turn to ethical questions, whereby he always emphasizes the 2 Wolfgang H. Pleger, Socrates. The beginning of the philosophical dialogue, Reinbek 1998, 90f. 3 Pleger a.a.o. 92.
3 The other Christ was looking for 3 general terms. Aristotle distinguishes Socrates' philosophizing very clearly from that of the followers of the doctrine of ideas, whose author is Plato. Socrates, who directed his reflections on what was right and praiseworthy in the sense of the moral exercise of will, and was the first who tried to determine fixed general provisions about it, - for among the natural philosophers Democritus only touched on these questions, and where he gave conceptual determinations , there it was a question of something like the warm and the cold; The Pythagoreans, however, had already dealt with a few objects belonging there and linked their views on the numbers, e.g. what the right moment or the just or marriage is; - So it was only Socrates who sought the concept of the thing by means of strict discussion. For what he was striving for was a final process, but the principle of the final process is the concept. At that time, dialectical skills had not yet progressed so far that one would have been able to discuss the pros and cons, and whether it was one and the same science that had to deal with both parts of an antithesis, even without a fixed definition of terms. There are primarily two things that can rightly be credited to Socrates as his merit: the inductive procedure and the conceptual definition of the general: both things concern the foundation of all science. But Socrates did not yet understand the general as a separate existence, and neither did the conceptual determinations. It was only the authors of the theory of ideas who made the general independent from the sensual and then called this type of subsisting beings ideas. 4 The special position of Socrates, emphasized by Aristotle, has been taken up in modern research on the history of philosophy since the end of the 19th century to the effect that the oldest period of Greek philosophy since Hermann Diels is just as unclear as being called the pre-Socratic, in contrast to the Socratic and then also the post-Socratic Philosophy. Even if the blanket talk of the post-Socratics is not as prevalent as that of the pre-Socratics, which has become a generally accepted term in the history of philosophy, most philosophical histories know a number of Socratic directions in addition to Plato and Aristotle and their schools relate to Socrates in one way or another. 5 What the Hellenistic (post-Aristotelian) school philosophy has in common is the strong reference to ethics, insofar it can be said that at least the greater part of the later ancient philosophy let Socrates dictate the main direction of thought. In this respect, Kant's judgment of Socrates is completely correct: the most important epoch of Greek philosophy finally begins with Socrates. For it was he who gave the philosophical spirit and all speculative minds a completely new practical direction. Also, he was almost the only one among all people whose behavior comes closest to the idea of a wise man. 6 Socrates is historically one, perhaps the founder of philosophical ethics in the eminent sense. At the same time, however, he possessed a very special charisma as a person and left his students with an outstanding personal impression, which prompted them to set him literary monuments very soon, which made the person and skill of the Athenian philosopher interesting and lively for posterity as well. It is 4 Aristotle, Metaphysics 1078b, All immediate disciples of Socrates are called Socratics. The best known is Plato, whose philosophical work we have, and Xenophon of Athens. There are only a few fragments of the others, more unknown, and sometimes only the titles of their works. They are Euclides of Megara, Antistehenes of Athens, Aristippus of Cyrene, Aeschines of Athens and Phaedo. Pleger a.a.o I. Kant, Introduction to the Logic Lecture, Weischedel Edition III, 453.
4 The other Christ 4 not to say too much, if one asserts that already with Plato and Xenophon a sometimes almost enthusiastic adoration of Socrates began, which especially in later antiquity, but then also in the Renaissance and in the Enlightenment and z. T. has also become effective to the present. The Hellenistic ethics of all directions searched for the good life and in most schools almost for the ideal of the sage, which their teacher Socrates represented in his person, and that means especially in his death and his behavior in the face of death in an excellent way. In addition, there is something else: Since Aristotle, in the ancient and partly also the medieval metaphysics and logic of Socrates to an individual variable: All people are mortal. Socrates is a human. So: Socrates is mortal. In this introduction to medieval logic, Socrates is considered to be a definite, nameable person. In the logical figures one uses his name as an individual variable, just as Martin Luther speaks of Hans and Grete in his little grape book. In addition, Socrates also serves as a placeholder for this individual person in metaphysical considerations. An example from Aristotle: man on the other hand, horse, whatever in this sense designates an individual, but as a general designation, that is not a purely conceptual being, but a connection between this particular concept and this particular matter as general. On the other hand, an individual from the singularly determined ultimate matter is, for example, Socrates, and it is the same with other things. 7 Similarly with Plotinus: in this way alone will Socrates be as long as the soul of Socrates is in the body; it will perish as soon as it is preferentially in the highest and best. 8 This way of using the Socrates name is of course an expression of the fact that he was a very well-known historical (non-mythological) person in philosophical circles, but in addition, Socrates appears in this manner of speech as an example for a person in general. (MW has never again brought another person to such prominence in the philosophical language.) But - as I said - Socrates was not only an example for any (arbitrary) person, but embodied for posterity the ideal of the wise, the practicing philosopher, in which the philosophical attitude to life and concrete life coincide in a striking way. 9 Of course, this relates above all to the traits of lack of need (how many are the things that I do not need!) And serenity in the face of death: Above all, this image of Socrates initially had an effect on posterity, less that of the questioning ironic and the Maieutic hermeneut as that of the man who, in the face of obvious injustice and threatened death, does not seize the obvious possibilities of evasion and escape, but rather himself - his inner voice 7 Aristotle, Metaphysik VII, 1035b, transferred by Adolf Lasson, Jena: Eugen Diederichs, 1907, p. 113f. 8 Plotin-Enn. IV, 3, 5 (Plotin: Die Enneades. Translated by Hermann Friedrich Müller. Volumes 1 and 2, Berlin: Weidmann, 1878/80. Vol. 2, p. 13). 9 Cf. on this Klaus Döring: Exemplum Socratis. Studies on the aftermath of Socrates in the Cynical-Stoic philosophy of the early imperial era and in early Christianity, Wiesbaden 1979 (Hermes-Einzelschriften 42).
5 The other Christ 5 obeying - with complete serenity accepts the fate that is to come. This image of Socrates is essentially determined by three Platonic writings: Socrates' defense speech (apology) before the Athenian People's Court, the Crito, which deals with the discussion of the possibility of escape from prison, and the Phaedo, the serenity in relation to death in the light of the hope for the immortality of the soul (a Platonic teaching) and finally reports on the death of Socrates. The Stoic philosophers in particular held Socrates in high regard for his mastery of unreasonable passions and his sensible actions to the end. Socrates became perfect by paying attention to nothing other than reason in everything that occurred to him. But you, even if you are not yet a Socrates, should still live as one who wishes to be a Socrates. 10 For Epictetus, for example, contempt for death is the ultimate expression of a rational life. His handbook closes with a few key sentences, slogans for all days of life. The last and most important is a quote from the Apology of Socrates: Anytus and Meletus [the accusers of Socrates in the trial] can kill me, but they cannot harm me. 11 This is not a literal quotation, but a further development that Epictetus has already taken from tradition: In view of the conciseness of the phrase, which is easily impressed on the memory, it is probably [he] to a before To think a common word, especially known in the stoic milieu, perhaps coined by the Cynics (...). 12 II. Socrates and Christ Example of a philosophically shaped way of life, the epitome of a wise man according to philosophical understanding - this is how the image of Socrates encountered early Christianity. This picture naturally stimulated discussion, which we would perhaps expect in a more negative, delimiting sense. Of course, there is also this demarcation. More interesting and more consequential is the positive reception of the Socrates image. It is noteworthy that Socrates, as the epitome of pagan, pre-Christian mankind, is by no means compared with Christians, but with the founder of his own religion, with Christ himself. Since the image of Socrates was shaped in particular by his trial and his fate in death the comparison with Jesus is perhaps particularly close. But Socrates is also placed in relation to the Christian martyrs, who, for their convictions, did not shy away from death. This is how the o. A. Socrates quote Christian in contexts of martyrdom, for example with Clemens Alexandrinus. 13 Beyond that, however, Socrates comes into view as the wisdom teacher, and that in a thoroughly positive sense.The assessment of Socrates by the Greek church fathers is consistently more friendly than that of the Latin ones. I would like to emphasize one example here, that of Justin, the philosopher and martyr, d. 165 in Rome. With him we read about the following (2. Apol. 10): 4. Even those who lived before Christ, if they tried according to their human possibilities, were to reason things Plato, Apol. 30C / D. 12 Th. Baumeister: Anytos and Meletos can kill me, but they cannot harm me. Plato, Apologie des Sokrates 30c / d with Plutarch, Epiktet, Justin Martyr and Clemens Alexandrinus, in: Platonismus und Christianentum. FS H. Dörrie, Münster 1983 (JAC.E 10), Clem. Al., Electricity. IV, 11, 80, see Baumeister a.a.o. 61f.
6 To contemplate and test the other Christ 6 dragged before the courts as godless and overly research-oriented people. 5. But Socrates, who was the most resolute of all of them in this regard, was charged with the same offenses as we are; for he was accused of introducing new gods, but of rejecting the gods which the city worships. 6. But he threw out of the state the wicked demons and those who did what the poets claim, and above all Homer and the rest of the poets; he taught people to ask. He led [them] to know the God unknown to them through reasonable investigation, saying: It is not easy to find the Father and Creator of the universe, and it is not without danger if he who finds him finds it all proclaimed. 7. Our Christ accomplished this through his own strength. 8. But no one trusted Socrates enough to die for his teaching. But Christ, who was also recognized by Socrates on the basis of the part [of the Logos spermatikos?], Because he was and is the Logos who is in everyone and through the prophets predicted the future for him when he himself endured something similar [as Socrates] and taught these things, not only believed by philosophers and scholars, but also artisans and quite uneducated people, with contempt for fame, fear and death, for he is the power of the ineffable Father and not the means of human reason - available to human reason ? a figment of human thought?]. Justin believes that the philosophers rose above other people because of their resilience to passions and demons. Socrates came the furthest here, who identified the demons as the power that counteracts the knowledge of God and truth (6). In this respect, Socrates is a witness to the truth. Christ, however, is the truth itself. Socrates is not on the same level with him. Although he proclaimed the truth, he could not change the conditions of understanding of people, so that again only philosophers and scholars believed him (8) who were already preparing for the knowledge of the truth and undergoing a certain training (and also education of morality) had. But Christ was also believed by very uneducated people, because he disempowered demons and brought about liberation from passions, as is evident from the contempt of death of his followers. Christ and Socrates are related to each other like truth and communication of truth, like archetype and image. Elsewhere it says: 3. But when Socrates endeavored to make these things evident with true reason and through critical examination and to pull humanity away from the demons, the demons themselves, through people who loved wickedness, brought about that one put him to death as wicked and indecent, claiming that he was introducing new gods. And in the same way, they do the same against us. 4. For these machinations were explained by the Logos not only to the Greeks through Socrates, but also among the barbarians by the Logos himself, when he had taken shape and became man and was called Jesus Christ. We believed him and we declare that the demons who did this are not only not righteous [gods], but bad and ungodly
7 The other Christ 7 Demons who cannot even show deeds that resemble those of people who strive for virtue. "14 It becomes even clearer here than in the previous text that Socrates' knowledge consisted in his disclosure of the machinations of demons. 5, 4 seems to support the thesis of a direct inspiration, because it was the Logos who revealed the demons through Socrates. This Logos in Socrates must of course be distinguished from the Logos who became man in Christ. Socrates is not a direct counterpart to Christ, but in the sense of the Logos spermatikos doctrine a Christian before Christ With Justin, Clemens Alexandrinus and others, the positive reception and assessment of the figure of Socrates almost becomes an allegorical condensation of the integration of ancient philosophy into Christian theology. This achievement of the church fathers is not to be condemned with Harnack as foreign infiltration by the Greek spirit, but rather hardly hoc enough to be assessed as one of the most essential integration achievements in the history of the church and theology. Christian theology developed not only as a demarcation from ancient philosophy, but also productively and for almost two thousand years it has contributed to the development of an overall Western identity (which lives from the synthesis of Jerusalem, Rome and Athens). With ancient philosophy, the Christian West also inherited the figure of Socrates, so to speak. The use of the Socrates name in scholastic metaphysics and logic follows directly on from ancient practice. This is the case with Thomas Aquinas: Hence the word "humanity" is not used by the individuals of man. And that is why the word "essence" is sometimes predicated of a thing, namely, we say that Socrates is a being, and sometimes one fails (the word "essence" for a thing), just as we say that the essence of Socrates is not Socrates is. 15 Incidentally, with Thomas - as almost consistently in medieval literature - the name Socrates is shortened to Sortes, which is reminiscent of sortis (Los) and related words. The exact background of this shortening has not yet been explained. Perhaps it is simply an abrasion caused by the regular use of the name of Socrates in school contexts. Only in this sense did Socrates live on in the Middle Ages, interest in the historical figure and the special skill of Socrates only reawakened in the modern age. This results in a number of very different images of Socrates, which can be understood just as much as attempts to get closer to this difficult-to-grasp person as well as self-characterizations of the respective interpreters. 16 The leitmotif is in many (not in all) cases the comparison between Socrates and Christ, which has become a topos in European literature. I must limit myself to a few examples that could easily be multiplied. The Enlightenment in particular took a liking to the figure of Socrates. There were righteous people long before Christians were, and thank God there are! even there where there are no Christians. So it would be quite possible that people are good Christians because true Christianity demands what they would have become without it. Socrates would certainly have become a very good Christian apol. 5, 2-4; 29 Goodspeed. 15 Thomas Aquinas: De ente et essentia - The being and the essence. Latin - German. Translated, commented and edited by Franz Leo Beeretz, 2nd, improved edition, Stuttgart: Philipp Reclam jun., 1987 (Universal Library, vol. 9957), S Pleger a.a.o Lichtenberg-Sudelbücher vol. 1, p
8 The other Christ 8 And the comparison with Christ comes up again and again, which is usually to the disadvantage of Socrates, but who nevertheless provides the foil against which Christ stands out all the more clearly: So we read in Rousseus Emile: Death of Socrates, who entered while quietly philosophizing with his friends, is the sweetest one could wish for. The death of Jesus, on the other hand, who, under torture, reviled, mocked and cursed by all his people, gave up his spirit, is the most terrible one that can be feared. Socrates, while he takes the cup of poison, blesses the prison guard, who offers it to him with tears. Jesus prays under the most terrible agony for his dehumanized executioners. Yes, if Socrates is worthy of the life and death of a wise man, then we know in Christ the life and death of a god. Are we now to pass the evangelical story for an arbitrary fiction? My friend, one cannot write poetry like that; and the features of the life of Socrates, which no one questions, are less verified than the deeds of Jesus Christ. Basically, this would just mean turning a blind eye to the difficulties instead of removing them entirely. 18 In Herder's letters on the advancement of humanity, of course, the work of Socrates is relativized in a larger context: What poetry and legislative wisdom had begun, philosophy finally developed; and we owe it in particular to the Socratic school that, in the form of such varied doctrinal structures, the knowledge of the nature of man, of his essential relationships and duties, became the study of the choicest minds. What Socrates did with the Greeks, other peoples did with other peoples: Confucius, for example. Socrates became the Chinese, Menu became the Indian; for in general the laws of human duty have not remained unknown to any people on earth. In every state constitution, however, it has, depending on the situation and time, promoted, partly delayed and corrupted the so-called needs of the state. 19 For Herder, Socrates is a prominent figure in history, as there are few: the oldest sages of the Greeks were lawgivers; and good to the people whose lawgivers are wise. Socrates appeared at a time of pressure: his audience were private companies or individuals; his method was calculated for the development of the principles of truth, good, and beautiful in these individual persons. And this, it seems to me, is the purpose of true philosophy: self-education. The teacher can and will only become a midwife of our thoughts, an assistant to our own working forces. Socrates had his own genius, which afterwards not often, but here and there, e.g. has reappeared in Montaigne, Addison, Franklin and others and had the purpose of working out the human mind and will. This does not depend on the voice of the audience; on the contrary, it is often hindered by such, so that Socrates was almost always at odds with the sophists, who voted and disapproved the audience. 20 What is interesting here is the awakening historical interest in Socrates and his philosophical method, including his daimonion. Lessing praises Socrates' exemplary conduct of life, which makes him a true moral teacher: beautiful sentences and morals are precisely what we hear least of all from a philosopher like Socrates; his way of life is the only morality he preaches. But know man and ourselves; to our 18 Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Emil or On Education. Freely translated from the French by Hermann Denhardt. New edition, 2 volumes, Leipzig: Philipp Reclam jun., Undated vol. 2, p. 219f. 19 Johann Gottfried Herder: Letters to promote humanity. Edited by Heinz Stolpe in collaboration with Hans-Joachim Kruse and Dietrich Simon, 2 volumes, Berlin / Weimar: Aufbau, vol. 1, p. 142f. 20 Herder, op. Vol. 1, p. 303.
9 The other Christ 9 sensations being attentive; to seek out and love in all the straightest and shortest paths of nature; to judge every thing according to its intention: that is what we learn in its dealings; this is what Euripides learned from Socrates and what made him first in his art. Happy the poet who has such a friend - and can consult him every day, every hour! 21 What is remarkable is Johann Georg Hamann's approach to Socrates in his Socratic Memories. The preface says: I wrote about Socrates in a Socratic way. The analogy was the soul of his conclusions, and he gave them the irony in their bodies. Uncertainty and confidence may be as peculiar to me as they will; so they must be viewed here as aesthetic imitations. In the works of Xenophons there is a superstitious, and in Plato an enthusiastic devotion; a vein of similar sensations therefore runs through all parts of this mimic work. It would have been easiest for me to approach Heyden in their frankness in this matter; But I have had to make do with borrowing the Schleyer from my religion, woven by a patriotic St. John and a Platonic Shaftesbury for their disbelief and misbelief. 22 Hamann sketches Socrates in an anti-Enlightenment spirit as the philosopher who openly confessed his ignorance and just became an ignorant prophet of Christian truth. In short, Socrates lured his fellow citizens from the labyrinths of their learned sophists to a hidden truth, to a secret wisdom, and from the idol altars of their devout and state-wise priests to the service of an unknown god. Plato told the Athenians in the face that Socrates had been given to them by the gods to convince them of their follies and to encourage them to follow him in virtue. Anyone who does not want to suffer Socrates under the prophets must be asked: Who is the father of the prophets? and whether our God not called and proved himself to be a God of Heyden? 23 Kant rather grants Socrates a special position in the history of philosophy than Plato, cf. above. For Hegel, too, Socrates advocates the principle of subjectivity far into the future. In the demon of Socrates (...) we can see the beginning, that the will, which previously only transposed itself beyond itself, moved within itself and recognized itself within it - the beginning of knowing itself and thus true freedom. 24 Goethe also compares Socrates and Christ, and they seem to be on a par with him: Socrates was considered to be an excellent, wise man who, in life and death, can be compared with Christ. His students, on the other hand, seemed to me to have a great resemblance to the apostles, who fell apart immediately after the master's death and apparently each recognized only a limited sense of what was right. 25 In the 19th century, under the sign of the protest against Christianity, the Socrates-Christ topos was taken up more often, for example by Ludwig Feuerbach: When Socrates empties the poison cup with an immobile soul, Christ exclaims: “If possible, 21 Lessing : Hamburg Dramaturgy, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: Works, ed. by Herbert G. Göpfert in collaboration with Karl Eibl, Helmut Göbel, Karl S. Guthke, Gerd Hillen, Albert von Schirmding and Jörg Schönert, 8 volumes, Munich: Carl Hanser, 1970ff. Bd. 4, S Hamann: Sokratische Denkbarenbaren (Johann Georg Hamann: Sokratische Denkworthlichen. Aesthetica in nuce. Edited with a commentary by Sven-Aage Jorgensen, Stuttgart: Philipp Reclam jun., 1968 (Universal-Bibliothek, Bd. 926), p . 13). 23 Hamann: Socratic Memories, op. S Hegel: basic lines of the philosophy of law = Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: works. Based on the works of newly edited edition. Editor Eva Moldenhauer and Karl Markus Michel, Frankfurt a. M .: Suhrkamp, 1979 (theory work edition) Vol. 7, S Goethe: From my life. Poetry and Truth, HA Vol. 9, pp. 221f.
10 The other Christ 10 let this cup pass. «In this respect, Christ is the self-confession of human sensitivity. In contrast to the pagan, especially stoic, principle with its rigorous energy of will and independence, the Christian has absorbed the consciousness of his own irritability and sensitivity into the consciousness of God; in God he finds them, if only they have no sinful weakness, not deny, not damned. 26 The anarchist and solipsist Max Stirner also takes up the topos, but now places Socrates in relation to Christianity and Luther: This war is raised by Socrates and its peace is only reached on the day of the death of the old world. The trial of the heart begins with Socrates, and all the contents of the heart are sifted through. In their last and utmost exertions, the ancients threw all content out of their hearts and let it beat for nothing: this was the deed of the skeptics. The same purity of heart was now achieved in the skeptical time which the understanding had succeeded in establishing in the sophistic. 27 The true successor of Socrates is Luther here: But the Reformation finally, like Socrates, got serious about the heart itself, and since then the hearts have noticeably become - more unchristian. As Luther began to take the matter to heart, this step of the Reformation had to lead to the fact that the heart too was relieved of the heavy burden of Christianity. The heart, more unchristian from day to day, loses the content with which it is concerned, until in the end nothing remains for it but empty cordiality, the whole general human love, human love, the consciousness of freedom, the "self-consciousness".28 The results of the beginning critical research into the sources about Socrates are reflected in Sören Kierkegaard, who clearly distinguishes between the ironic and agnostic Socrates and the systematic thinker Plato. 29 For Kierkegaard, Socrates is the floating thinker, the epitome of pre-Christian existence. The demonic was enough for Socrates, he could make do with it; but this is a determination of the personality, but only the egoistic satisfaction of a particular personality. Socrates turns out to be ... the one who is about to jump to something, but at the moment fails to jump into this other, but jumps aside and back into himself. 30 In his ironic negativity, however, Socrates points in advance to Christianity. Kierkegaard's image of Socrates is in an unspoken proximity to that of Hamann. 31 In Nietzsche, Socrates is judged to be extremely negative - albeit not without empathy. With it, Socratism condemns the existing art as well as the existing ethics: wherever it directs its scrutinizing gaze, it sees the lack of insight and the power of madness, and from this lack it concludes that what is inwardly wrong and reprehensible. From this one point, Socrates believed that he had to correct existence: he, the individual, with an air of disregard and superiority, as the forerunner of a completely different kind of culture, art and morality, steps into a Christianity. Edition in two volumes. Published by Werner Schuffenhauer, Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, Vol. 1, S Max Stirner (Joh. Kaspar Schmidt): The only one and his property. New edition, with a biographical and explanatory introduction by Anselm Ruest, Berlin: Rothgiesser & Possekiel, 1924, p. 33f. 28 Stirner: The only one and his property, op. S Cf. Pleger a.a.o On the concept of irony with constant consideration for Socrates, trans. v. E. Hirsch, Düsseldorf / Cologne 1961 S Pleger a.a.o. 232.
11 The other Christ 11 into the world, the corners of which we would count ourselves to be most fortunate to catch with awe. This is the tremendous dubiousness which grips us every time in the face of Socrates and which stimulates us again and again to recognize the meaning and purpose of this most questionable phenomenon of antiquity. Who is that who can dare as an individual to deny the Greek being, who as Homer, Pindar and Aeschylus, as Phidias, as Pericles, as Pythia and Dionysus, as the deepest abyss and the highest height of our astonished adoration is certain ? What demonic power is it that dares to throw this magic potion in the dust? What demigod it is to whom the choir of spirits of the noblest of mankind has to shout: »Alas! Sore! You destroyed it, the beautiful world, with a mighty fist; it falls, it falls apart! '32 Socrates is considered to be the pioneer of Greek philosophy in its hostile spirit. The philosophical antiquity, on the other hand, taught another main source of calamity: from Socrates onwards the thinkers never tired of preaching: "Your thoughtlessness and stupidity, your living according to the rule, your submission to the opinion of your neighbor is the reason why you so rarely brings happiness - we thinkers, as thinkers, are the happiest. ”33 The twentieth century brought an intensification of preoccupation with the historical questions about Socrates. Among the interpretations whose number is legion, at the end of my passage I would like to highlight that of Romano Guardini. The preliminary remark to his book The Death of Socrates begins with the words: The fate of Socrates is one of the essential themes of Western intellectual history. Which paths the philosophical self-reflection since the year 399 BC Chr. May go, at some point they lead to the enigmatic figure that touches the encounter so deeply. 34 III. Conclusions The person of Socrates is very attractive with his special skill, especially in his enigmatic nature. The same also applies to the basic attitude and the philosophical method of Socrates. They deserve our attention today and in the future, just as Kant intended: one must proceed Socratically in the formation of reason. 35 Aspects of the figure of Socrates - also in comparison with Jesus (keywords): The philosopher par excellence The founder of inner faith The ironic The ancestor of simple life and lack of needs Maieutics as a model for advisory discussion Socrates as an alternative to Western identity Ethics without belief in salvation Questions: The open attitude towards life as keeping open to the world and dialogue 32 Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy = Works in three volumes. Published by Karl Schlechta, Munich: Hanser, 1954, vol. 1, p. 76f. 33 Nietzsche: The happy science, op. Vol. 2, S Romano Guardini: The death of Sokrates, 4th edition, Düsseldorf / Munich o.j., S I. Kant, on pedagogy. On physical education, Weischedel VI, 737.
12 The other Christ 12 Socrates and the historical Jesus: the incomparable outweighs the comparable Socrates and Jesus thinking together - a task for the future Socrates and Jesus of Nazareth are comparable in many ways: in terms of the sources and the mysteriousness of personality, but also in theirs In access to the truth, they are quite close to one another: in an inner faith (daimonion, the kingdom of God in us), in the indirect way of speaking (ironic questions - parables), finally also in the ethical principles (rather suffer injustice than do injustice, cf. the Sermon on the Mount). Of course, the attitude towards death, which death takes upon itself for the known truth, is also comparable. This ends the comparability. In the end, Socrates and Jesus do not stand for the same truth, but they form two poles of the Western spirit, of which the Socratic spirit is necessary to hold us tight and to keep us awake: the openness of questions, the skeptical reticence towards any hasty dogmatism, the conviction that morality also has something to do with reason.
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