Joan Mitchell, Hemlock

Reading Group: the Death of Sokrates

Instructor: Bruce King
This is an online course (Eastern Time)

“I had not the … inclination to address you as you would have liked me to address you, weeping and wailing and lamenting.” Instead, standing before his accusers, Sokrates left “nothing undone,” “nothing unsaid.” But what did he say, and how did he say it?

In this eight-week course, which continues the work begun in our Reading Group Plato’s Apology, we will read from portions of Sokrates’s defense as well as his reaction to his sentence of death. We’ll pay close attention to central components and qualities of Plato’s diction: word choice and semantic range, word order and hyperbaton, use of discourse particles, “comic” and colloquial speech, as well as use of more “literary” registers. Throughout, we’ll ask how Plato’s unique diction facilitates the making of dialogic form and of philosophical thought. We’ll also supplement our reading with brief comparanda from Aristophanes’ comic plays, so as to better understand the making of Platonic prose and the invention of philosophical dialogue. Reading the Apology will also offer us a chance to review, as necessary, the morphology and syntax of Attic prose. As such, the course is intended for students who have recently completed a grammar course and for those who once studied ancient Greek and are now looking for an opportunity to return to it. The course is capped at eight students.

Course Schedule

Friday, 5:00-6:30pm ET
February 16 — April 05, 2024
8 weeks


Registration Open