ABSTRACT

Thebeliefinhumanimmortality,construedina theologicalorphilosophicalsense,hadatthistimehardly penetratedtocirclesofordinarylayfolk.Socrateshimself, whenitcametosuchinquiriesintotheunknowable,never claimedtoprovideananswerthatdifferedfromthatwhich wouldbegivenbythemajorityofhisfellowcitizensoutof theaccumulatedwisdomoftheirancestors.Whereinthe pagesofPlatoheisallowedtogiveundisguisedexpressionto hisnaturalandhomelyvigour-intheApology-heshows littleanticipationofanimmortallifeofthesoul.Death,he thinks,eitherbringscompleteunconsciousnesstomen,like adreamlesssleep,orelseitmeansthetransitionofthesoul toanotherlifeintherealmoftheSouls-arealmwhich,to judgebyhisallusions,hasmuchmoreresemblancetothe HomericHadesthantoanyofthevisionarycountries imaginedbytheologiansortheologicallymindedpoets.1 Bothpossibilitiesheacceptswithcompleteequanimity, trustingintherighteousnessofthecontrollinggods,2andhe looksnofurther.Howshouldheknowwithcertaintywhere everyonewasignorant?3