Vol.4, No.2 | [Article] What Place Does the “Hymns to the Gods” Occupy in Plato’s Republic ?




In Plato's Republic, Socrates criticizes the poets who depicted the gods wrongly, as according to his concept of gods, hymns to them seem irrational, for gods are perfect in the best conditions. So it is noticeable that the description of the Ideas is very similar to that of gods, and that it is philosopher-rulers who can know the Ideas. Besides, the soul of a philosopherking is akin to the divine and to eternal being; therefore it can be said that gods and a philosopher’s soul and Ideas are kindred species. If a poet becomes a philosopher, he can have divine knowledge about the gods. Therefore hymns to the gods can be possible as they occupy the same place as philosophy does, on the condition that, by rejecting mimetic art but following philosophical dialectic, the poet becomes a philosopher and arrives at the knowledge of the reality about human beings and gods as much as a philosopher-king does.

Keywords : Hymn, God, Idea, Philosophy, Poet