Did Jesus try to copy Socrates?



The life of Jesus is largely the same as that of Socrates. I'm looking at the possibility that Jesus was affected by Socrates' life to such an extent that he tried to copy him. Are there any information that would exclude such a possibility?

There is no question of whether Socrates was a real person, but whether his literary work was his own or Plato's work. Xenophon, a student of Socrates, had also spoken of Socrates' life and work. Diogenis Laertios, who lived several years later, speaks enough about Socrates. An ancient tragic poet also mentions Socrates in his work. Plato, described Diogenes Kinikos ("διογένης ο κυνικός") as the "blatant Socrates". There are many evidence for the existance of Socrates.

These are the similarities that raised my curiosity to ask the question:

1) He lived his life teaching about the greatness of the soul and never was paid for it.

2) He never wrote a single word.

3) He had students who followed him and then wrote about his life and work.

4) Because his teaching was in conflict with the interests at the time, he accused him of blasphemy.

5) The court-people condemned him at the end of the sentences.

6) At the hearing, while he could say things that would be acquainted with him, he did not.

7) He had the opportunity to be saved, but he did not.

8) Before he died, he confessed that they did not know what they were doing and forgave them.

9) He was not afraid of his death.

10) He lived a humble and simple life.

11) After his death his disciples continued his work.

12) Too soon after his death, they realized the mistake they made to kill him.

...probably, if Socrates was escaping (he had the chance), now the Christianity was not going to be known.

I just need your valuable input/wisdom to answer the following question: Are there any information that would exclude such a possibility (that Jesus was affected by Socrates' life to such an extent that he tried to copy him).

I've just found an answer here about Imaginary Socrates: Was Socrates a fictional character invented by Plato?

Giannos Antoniou

Posted 2017-04-21T08:20:49.833

Reputation: 194

Question was closed 2017-04-22T09:26:43.207

2Jesus being a Jew, he was certainly under indirect Hellenistic influence through books and stories (whether in a written or oral tradition) from during and after the Babylonian exile. Several books in the Tanakh show these Hellenistic influences. So @Not_Here's comment about Roman influence in Israel seems only part of the story to me, although I agree with the points in his first comment. Another interesting question would be whether the writers of the New Testament wanted Jesus to look like Socrates. – None – 2017-04-21T08:56:05.177

1As for your approach to the question: shouldn't you be asking whether there is sufficient evidence to claim a direct link between the two, rather than whether there is sufficient evidence to reject that claim? – None – 2017-04-21T08:56:51.280

At the theological level (and not: historical) you can see the English theologian, natural philosopher and chemist: Joseph Priestley with Socrates and Jesus Compared (1803).

– Mauro ALLEGRANZA – 2017-04-21T09:19:29.740

1@Not_Here definitely, I would expect any influence to be indirect, although this is not my field of expertise. – None – 2017-04-21T09:47:13.013

Although some may have considered Greek philosophy to have some supplemental value, all the early Christian writers without exception considered it to be inferior to Jesus' teaching in every respect. In fact many Christians considered Greek philosophy to be utter foolishness. It hardly seems worth mentioning that, compared to Jesus, there is nothing about Socrates that would motivate imitation. – None – 2017-04-21T16:17:36.107

"And a wholly confused and inharmonious opinion has prevailed among them, which only in this one respect appears praiseworthy to those who can form a right judgment, that they have been anxious to convict one another of error and falsehood." Justin Martyr, to the Greeks – None – 2017-04-21T17:04:40.207

3How is this a question about philosophy? – Conifold – 2017-04-21T21:13:10.313

@Conifold it asks about the influence on a philosopher on something. The something is considered a philosopher by some as well (thinking of the Jefferson bible, for example). But I agree that it is borderline. – None – 2017-04-22T05:06:54.703

@Keelan what next, did Sherlock Holmes employ deductive reasoning from empirical verification the same way as Columbo? – Mr. Kennedy – 2017-04-22T06:54:00.983

Is this post permanently closed? I don't see the issue. – Giannos Antoniou – 2017-05-05T07:00:24.883

@Keelan, I'm asking the question the way i asked it, as part of my study for the truth. I consider this question to have an easier answer than asking the reverse question, so I placed it as part of my first step. The second step is to ask the reverse question. If the conclusion of the first question i positive, there is no point to go in step 2. I hope this makes sense. – Giannos Antoniou – 2017-05-05T07:14:05.387

I don't see the issue either. I have opened a question on [meta], our discussion site: https://philosophy.meta.stackexchange.com/q/3427/2953. With five people voting to close this, and nobody to reopen, it wouldn't be right for me to overrule the community's vote. // No, it is not permanently closed, in the sense that it can be reopened when some more people are convinced it's on topic here. But if we don't find these people, it will probably stay closed, unfortunately, yes.

– None – 2017-05-05T07:31:02.680

If you see the meta question I linked to, the reason that it's closed is that it's not about the philosophy of either person, but about biographical details. If you are happy to change that, we can reopen the question. – None – 2017-05-06T07:47:54.123

We are talking about the life of two of the most influencial people in the known human history. We know little information about them and every new information we can find out about them, may change the way we comprehence their philosophy. We should not distinguish their biographical details with their philosophy. We are talking about Socrates and anything related to him should be under "philosophy". Similarly, when we are talking about Jesus, we are talking about religion....but this is just my opinion. Thanks – Giannos Antoniou – 2017-05-08T04:43:14.473

"1) He lived his life teaching about the greatness of the soul and never was paid for it." I don't remember Jesus teaching this. What are you referring to? – curiousdannii – 2019-09-12T12:05:00.357



Did Jesus try to copy Socrates?

According to which of the numerous authors and editors of the life of Jesus of Nazareth?

The life of Jesus is largely the same as that of Socrates.

Some people say that both are fictional characters (for example, see the Carrier reference below).

I'm looking at the possibility that Jesus was affected by Socrates' life to such an extent that he tried to copy him. Are there any information that would exclude such a possibility?

I would recommend you consider, however, the logical status of fictional discourse and the lack of historical support for either Jesus of Nazareth as well as "the Socratic problem." In particular, I recommend the work of Dr. Richard Carrier regarding the lack of evidence supporting epistemic claims conjecturing any positive ontological status of Jesus from Nazareth.

"Like Socrates and Epictetus, he wrote nothing himself."
From Religious Views of Thomas Jefferson in the Preface to:
The Thomas Jefferson Bible

Mr. Kennedy

Posted 2017-04-21T08:20:49.833

Reputation: 2 350

Please provide proper references for your claim that they are both fictional characters. At least for Jesus, this is not a widely held claim (here for some references). You may also want to reformat to "Some people say that...".

– None – 2017-04-22T06:58:26.627

@Keelan see the cited lecture by Dr. Richard Carrier and the wikipedia article about the well known socratic problem. – Mr. Kennedy – 2017-04-22T07:02:02.480

OK, I edited it for you. If you have references that support the claim that according to everything we know both their lives are fictional (and this is not just a hypothesis held by a small minority), please edit them in. – None – 2017-04-22T07:07:41.530

@Keelan feel free to cite one single counter-example (hint: you can not). This is simply an epistemic limitation which you can not edit away. See also the case studies of cargo cults and "John Frum" for empirical evidence supporting the creation of fictional characters in the same time frame from the purported life of Jesus to the first known writings regarding him. – Mr. Kennedy – 2017-04-22T07:10:26.193

From the link I gave you in my first comment: "An overwhelming majority of New Testament scholars and Near East historians, applying the standard criteria of historical investigation, find that the historicity of Jesus is more probable than not". I'm locking this post to resolve disputes about its content, to avoid flooding the front page with rollbacks. – None – 2017-04-22T07:12:26.740