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Book: The Republic and Other Works ... Benjamin Jowett. Greek & Roman Philosophy Books. Bookstore: spiritual growth, personal development, psyhology, mind, body, spirit, art, self-help.
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The Republic and Other Works

by Benjamin Jowett, Plato

Buy the book: Benjamin Jowett. The Republic and Other Works

Release Date: 01 June, 1960

Edition: Paperback

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Buy the book: Benjamin Jowett. The Republic and Other Works


The Bible

Here is an essential compilation of works from the philosopher Emerson hailed as the "Euclid of holiness". Along with the full 'Death of Socrates' tetralogy (including the "Euthyphro", whose argument on the nature of piety gets to the heart of why Christianity is not, as Nietzsche suggests, 'Platonism for the masses') this Doubleday edition also includes the esoteric late-phase "Parmenides" and of course the "Symposium" and "Republic", all in Jowett's long-standard translations. Reading the "Republic" in full, one can savor the loftiness of Plato's vision of human nobility, a merging of aesthetic and ethical criteria which still accounts, more than anything else, for our conception of the transcendent quality of ancient Athens (again, contra Nietzsche and "The Birth of Tragedy"). While the communitarian (and perhaps totalitarian) aspects of Plato's political vision may or may not be ironic, the deepest wellspring of Plato's utopia can best be found in the formula "beautiful minds in beautiful bodies" which he has bequeathed to us as a supreme ideal in love and education. Throughout, it is Plato's obsessive consideration of ethical ideals-- and the rationalist metaphysics in which he grounds ethical imperatives-- that galvanizes the reader to ponder the reconstruction of self and society in the light of higher truths. And his (deliberately undwelt-upon, if we can accept Letter VII) hints of the mystical, which have haunted the Western imagination ever since, make Platonism perhaps the most essential, most truly global, spiritual tradition in history. It is one which encompasses the sensual as well as the intellectual, the worldly and the other-worldly, and it accepts and encourages the freeplay of skepticism; as one can see in reading these works, Plato is usually his own best critic.

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A Somewhat Flawed Edition

I feel that the Jowett translation is superior to others (especially for students) because of its easy-reading quality. As anyone who has read the Platonic dialogues is sure to know, they are often somewhat dry, with key points strewn amongst seemingly endless dialogues. This makes the fact that the Jowett translation is written in layman's terms that much more appreciated. For this, the translation earns its three stars. Otherwise, it has a horrific layout, with no numbering for reference to lines (making it hard to use for writing papers and difficult for reference in a class that uses a different translation because the page numbers most likely will not coincide). Besides this, there is no reference at the top of each page to denote who the speakers are, which is often helpful because it is easy to forget who is speaking due to the work's length and number of characters. The Bloom edition has these notes but I would not recommend this either because it is a more difficult read and has a commentary essay included that is half the length of the Republic itself. So, unless you don't mind the extra bulk when it comes to carrying it around, don't take the mention of the Bloom edition as a recommendation.

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