Prof. Carlos Guzman
March 10, 2013
Concept of Holiness
Euthyphro is one of Socrates' earliest dialogues as written by Plato. In this particular dialogue Socrates is having a debate with Euthyphro, a religious expert in Athens. The subject of talk is about Piety or the concept of holiness. The concept emerges as such - Socrates meets Euthyphro outside the Athenian courthouse and flatters Euthyphro because the latter was in the courts to prosecute his own father who is accused of unintentionally killing a violent and murderous hired hand of the family. He flatted Euthyphro by saying the Euthyphro must know all that their eyes to know about religion if he was given such a task and if he is indeed such an expert, Socrates wishes to learn from him. This begins the talk with regards to piety or holiness in the dialogue as immediately, Euthyphro falls into the Socratic trap. Three Definitions
Piety was described as what one god thought was good or just. Yet Socrates said that there are examples of another god not believing the same was good or just so eventually he convinced Euthyphro that piety must ultimately be what all gods believe as good or just and that what is not good or just in the eyes of all gods must then be impiety. 1) Piety or Holiness is the persecution of the criminals and sinners and religious offenders. The opposite therefore of not persecuting or punishing them, in spite of their crime is unholy. This is Euthyphro's first definition. Socrates however believed that this is flawed because while Euthyphro gave good examples, he merely talks about acts that are holy and does not itself define holiness. This led Euthyphro to give a definition by which holiness can be adjudged. 2) Piety or Holiness is approved by the Gods - this definition by Euthyphro is something that is acceptable and 'standard' in Socrates' time; after all, only the Gods can declare and approve what is holy in the...
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