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    WWW: When Athens Met Jerusalem by John Mark Reynolds

    March 5, 2014 by Brandy Vencel
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    When Athens Met Jerusalem
    by John Mark Reynolds

    I am enjoying this book more and more. It could very easily be the text for a Philosophy 101 class, and yet it isn’t at all boring, as was the text I remember being required to read for such a class. Filled with living ideas, I find myself thinking about the book long after I’ve put it down. The book and I, we enjoyed a luxurious hour together yesterday at Starbucks.

    I just completed the chapter on Socrates, and I’m looking forward to Plato. I know that Dr. Reynolds is a Platonic scholar, so I can’t help but wonder if it’ll be the best chapter of the book.

    I read a lot of these quotes aloud to Si; they were too good not to share.

    The examined life produces excellence. This excellence is often in conflict with the values of a democratic society. {p. 64}

    There is another tradition deeply rooted in Western culture that says freedom cannot exist in an egalitarian society. {p. 64}

    The voice of the majority of citizens was as the voice of a god. All major decisions in peacetime were made by the direct vote of the citizens assembled together. Most of the political jobs in the city were chosen by lot. This was the ultimate expression of democratic belief. Any Athenian was thought worthy of any task. People were equal in the most radical sense of the term. {p. 65}

    The Founders, along with most traditional Christians, believed that all people were created equal, in terms of being human beings. Such ontological equality did not mean functional equality. People were not equal in their abilities and so must have different functions. Freedom to pursue one’s own happiness would inevitably lead to a natural aristocracy. The cream would rise to the top. Freedom would lead to a hierarchy in which everyone finds their place. {p. 65}

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