The Last Days of Socrates recounts Socrates’ trial and death (399 BC) and is a significant moment in Classical literature and the life of Classical Athens. Plato develops the Socratic belief in responsibility for one’s self and shows Socrates living and dying under his philosophy. In Euthyphro, Socrates debates goodness outside the courthouse. Apology sees him in court, rebutting all charges of impiety. In Crito, he refuses an entreaty to escape from prison. Lastly, in Phaedo, Socrates faces his impending death with calmness and skillful discussion of immortality. Christopher Rowe’s introduction to his powerful new translation examines the themes of identity and confrontation in The Last Days of Socrates, and explores how its content is less historical fact than a promotion of Plato’s Socratic philosophy.
The works of Plato can be most profitably read on two simultaneous levels: as works of genius in their own right and as inspired writings used by the God of the Bible to prepare the ancient world for the coming of Christ and the New Testament. Plato is one of the greatest of all philosophers—the culmination of the best of pagan (pre-Christian) wisdom, a wisdom that challenges the mind as much as it fires the imagination and that leaves the soul yearning for more.
Read more about the influence of Platonic thought on the Christian faith in From Plato to Christ.