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Living more than four centuries apart in very different cultures, Jesus and Socrates wrote nothing themselves, but they inspired their followers to set down words that continue to shape Western consciousness. In this deeply personal and provocative meditation, Paul Gooch reflects on enduring themes that arise from the lives of these two pivotal figures: death and witness, silence as the limit of language, prayer, obedience, and love. Focusing on the Jesus of the Gospels and the Socrates of Plato's dialogues, Gooch does not debate the historical realities of either figure but seeks to understand their fundamental commitments to philosophy and to God, drawing parallels and contrasts that invite deeper reflection upon our own lives and experiences.
Throughout this book, Gooch tells and retells the stories of Socrates and Jesus as he examines perennial human issues: Why would anyone willingly die? To what do these two martyrlike deaths bear witness? What are the limits of words in explanation and defense? Why was Jesus silent during his trial? Why did Socrates' most powerful apologia fail? What words, if any, work in prayer? Do words work against the fear of death? Out of this philosophical and religious questioning, Reflections on Jesus and Socrates throws new light on these two compelling figures and on the continuing meanings of their stories for us today.
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