How the West Won

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Socrates and Jesus: The Argument That Shaped Western Civilization  by Michael E. HattersleySocrates and Jesus: The Argument
That Shaped Western Civilization

by Michael E. Hattersley
Algora Publishing. 200 pages, $33.95

 

THIS EXTENDED ESSAY explores the competing visions of Socrates and Jesus, demonstrating how their debate, continued by their philosophical ancestors over two millennia, helped shape Western culture into the uniquely argumentative, individualistic force it would become by the time of the Enlightenment.

At first glance, Socrates and and the historical Jesus appear to share much in common: “both believed they were acting under divine compulsion, lived extremely simple lives, taught for free, and accepted martyrdom as the final confirmation of their message.” However, Hattersley argues that Socrates and Jesus (and by extension the Greeks and the Jews) disagreed about such fundamental issues

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