Greek Tragedy and Political Philosophy: Rationalism and Religion in Sophocles' Theban Plays

Greek Tragedy and Political Philosophy: Rationalism and Religion in Sophocles' Theban Plays

by Peter J. Ahrensdorf
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521515866

ISBN-13: 9780521515863

Pub. Date: 04/06/2009

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

In this book, Peter Ahrensdorf examines Sophocles' powerful analysis of a central question of political philosophy and a perennial question of political life: Should citizens and leaders govern political society by the light of unaided human reason or religious faith? Through a fresh examination of Sophocles' timeless masterpieces - Oedipus the Tyrant, Oedipus at…  See more details below

Overview

In this book, Peter Ahrensdorf examines Sophocles' powerful analysis of a central question of political philosophy and a perennial question of political life: Should citizens and leaders govern political society by the light of unaided human reason or religious faith? Through a fresh examination of Sophocles' timeless masterpieces - Oedipus the Tyrant, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone - Ahrensdorf offers a sustained challenge to the prevailing view, championed by Nietzsche in his attack on Socratic rationalism, that Sophocles is an opponent of rationalism. Ahrensdorf argues that Sophocles is a genuinely philosophical thinker and a rationalist, albeit one who advocates a cautious political rationalism. Such rationalism constitutes a middle way between an immoderate political rationalism that dismisses religion - exemplified in Oedipus the Tyrant - and a piety that rejects reason - exemplified by Oedipus at Colonus. Ahrensdorf concludes with an incisive analysis of Nietzsche, Socrates, and Aristotle on tragedy and philosophy. He argues, against Nietzsche, that the rationalism of Socrates and Aristotle incorporates a profound awareness of the tragic dimension of human existence and therefore resembles in fundamental ways the somber and humane rationalism of Sophocles.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521515863
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
04/06/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
204
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

1. Oedipus the tyrant and the limits of political rationalism; 2. Blind faith and enlightened statesmanship in Oedipus at Colonus; 3. The pious heroism of Antigone.

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