The Apology of Socrates ( Greek Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους Apología Sōkrátous ) is a work of the ancient philosopher Plato . It is a literary version of the defense speech (apology) that Plato's teacher Socrates gave before the Athenian people's court when he was in 399 BC. Chr. For asebeia (impiety) and seduction of the youth was accused. His comments on the sentence and the outcome of the proceedings are attached. The apologythus consists of three sequential speeches which the accused gave on the same day in different phases of the court proceedings according to this account. His reasoning did not prevent the guilty verdict. Socrates was sentenced to death and executed.
The question of the extent to which Plato's apology, despite its literary, fictional character, also represents an at least partially reliable source, the historical core of which provides useful information about the process, is highly controversial in modern research . The extent to which it gives an accurate impression of the motives and convictions of the historical Socrates is also disputed. The discussion of this topic is part of the general debate about the reliability with which the life and philosophy of historical Socrates can be reconstructed from the traditional reports.
Regardless of the still open questions about historicity, the Apology is considered to be the most important work from the early days of classical Greek philosophy. It describes and justifies the attitude of a law-abiding citizen who has got into a tragic conflict with the judiciary through no fault of his own and who is unwaveringly adhering to his principles. Posterity was deeply impressed by the consistency and fearlessness of Plato's Socrates figure. Socrates' appearance in court became the classic pattern for the practical implementation of philosophical insight in a crisis situation. The apology is also highly valued as a literary creation , it is part of world literature.
History and circumstances of the process
The trial took place in the spring of 399 BC. Instead of. In the Apology, Plato's Socrates mentions the names of his three accusers Anytus, Meletus and Lykon. Anytos was one of the leaders of the democratic movement, the 404/403 BC. Forcibly eliminated the oligarchic rule of the thirty and restored traditional Athenian democracy. Therefore, he was one of the most influential politicians after the Democratic victory. The apology , according to he acted as a representative of the craftsmen and politicians who took part in Socrates' activity offense. He was a radical opponent of the sophists , who appeared as teachers and to whom Socrates was counted by his critics, although he sharply distinguished himself from them. The identity and background of Meletos and Lykon are unclear. After the apology , Meletus appeared on behalf of the poets whose opposition Socrates had drawn, while Lykon represented the political speakers whom the accused philosopher was hated. Meletos, who was a fairly unknown young man at the time, had written the complaint.
In the apology , Socrates is the sole speaker, apart from a brief questioning of the accuser Meletus, who gives Socrates a short answer. This is how the Apology differs from the other works of Plato, which - apart from the at most partially authentic letters - are all written in dialogue form.
The trial is open to the public and a large number of friends and opponents of the accused have gathered. As is customary in such proceedings, the court is a panel of 500 or 501 jurors (heliasts) who are determined by lottery and who, as judges, have to make a decision with a simple majority. The entire trial that leads to the death sentence takes place on a single day, as the composition of the panel and the case to be negotiated are drawn anew every day. According to Plato's account, Socrates reprimanded the fast-track trial after the conviction. He claims that it is not customary elsewhere to decide between life and death in one day. The shortage of time did not allow him to adequately present his arguments and this circumstance contributed decisively to the conviction.
Content of the apology
The apology is made up of three separate, but in Plato's presentation, directly linked speeches by Socrates on the day of the trial. In the first speech he discusses the question of his guilt that was still open at this point. In the second speech, given after the conviction, he deals with the sentence that is now pending. The third speech is his closing remarks after the death penalty was imposed.
The first speech
Defense against old rumors and prejudices
Socrates begins his first speech with ironic praise for his accusers, who appeared with great persuasiveness. However, they would not have brought up any truth at all. They had warned against his rhetorical persuasion and deception, but in reality he did not use any oratory art, but would only present the whole truth in simple words in his usual way.
More serious than the current indictment are the anonymous accusations that have long been rumored by many defamers. The resulting prejudices had led to a general prejudice against which he now had to fight. His mockery by the comedy writer Aristophanes also contributed to his bad reputation . It is claimed that he researches “the subterranean and heavenly” (that is, he pursues natural philosophy ) and “makes the weaker thing stronger” (that is, manipulates opinions with skillful deception and thus justifies injustice). He also teaches others in this art of deception and gets paid for it. None of this is true, and this can be attested by the many citizens who listened to his discussions. He left the seduction arts to the fee-paying sophists, with whose activities he had nothing to do.
However, the rumor has a real starting point. This is a certain wisdom that is ascribed to him. His friend Chairephon had the audacity to ask the Delphi Oracle if anyone was wiser than Socrates. The Pythia , the prophetic priestess, replied that this was not the case. This saying was communicated to him, Socrates. As a result, he got into confusion, since he was clear about his ignorance: " Because I was aware that I didn't know anything ." In order to check the assertion of the Pythia, he had men who were considered wise or knowledgeable - politicians and poets , but also craftsmen - asked because he wanted to find out what their knowledge was all about. It turned out that, despite his very modest level of knowledge, he surpassed the supposedly wise men, because he was able to uncover their errors. It has shown how little human wisdom is worth, and this is probably the meaning of the oracle. With his research he made himself hateful because he brought the incompetence of his interlocutors to light. So he has drawn many animosities. Since then he has regarded it as his calling in the service of God, ignorant people who considered themselves competent to show their ignorance. The allegation that it corrupts the youth is related to this approach. Some youths would have started following his example to expose the incompetence of ignorant people. This would have aroused their anger, which was then directed against him, Socrates.
Defense against the indictment
After discussing the old charges, Socrates turns to the current charge. He takes the prosecutor Meletus, who portrayed him as the spoiler of youth, into questioning. Meletos barely or not at all answers his questions. From the way he reacts, however, it becomes clear that he has no well thought-out ideas about what is useful or harmful to the youth. He thinks that the moral education of young people is the responsibility of society as a whole and that this task is carried out correctly by it, only Socrates disturbs it. Then the main charge comes up: the claim that Socrates did not cling to the cult of the gods traditionally revered in Athens. He is accused of wanting to replace conventional religion with a new cult of " daemonic ". This is aimed at the daimonion , an inner voice of Socrates, from whom he actually takes advice. Here, however, as Socrates can show, Meletus becomes entangled in a contradiction. On the one hand, he accuses the accused of being consistently godless, i.e. not worshiping any superhuman beings and taking the sun and moon for stones instead of deities, on the other hand he portrays him as a follower of a daimonic, i.e. superhuman and thus divine power.
Then Socrates explains his convictions about the meaning of his life and about death. First he deals with the possible accusation that he had carelessly embarked on an activity that would now endanger his life. On the other hand, he objects that the dangerousness of a project should not be a decision criterion. Rather, it just depends on whether you act right or wrong. He also adhered to this principle when he was doing military service for his hometown. Everyone has to fulfill his task at his post. To fear death is definitely unwise, even if one does not know what will happen afterwards. If he were acquitted only on condition that he gave up his philosophical activity, he would disregard this requirement and continue to discuss it publicly. God commands him to do this. In doing so he was doing the city the greatest benefit, for he was promoting virtue, which forms the basis of all other goods.
Socrates insists that he is not defending himself for his own sake. The desired acquittal is not important to him because of his survival, because to suffer death is not an evil. On the other hand, it is a great evil to seek an unlawful death sentence against another. Therefore, it is not about his own person, but about the judges, who would sin by convicting what he wanted to prevent. When he dies it will be difficult to find a replacement for him. His purpose is to shake up, criticize and admonish the Athenians one by one, just as a brake excites a noble but lazy horse.
Socrates then goes into the question of why he gives advice to private individuals, but does not appear before the people's assembly as a speaker and advisor to the crowd and intervene in politics. The daimonion, his inner voice, warned him against such political activity. Anyone who is not prepared to do something wrong under any circumstances has to oppose the relevant forces in a democracy as well as in an oligarchy and can only fail. The accusation that he had spoiled the youth is easy to refute: If there was someone among those present who believed that he or one of his relatives had been exposed to such harmful influence, he should report now. In conclusion, Socrates states that he does not ask for mercy and does not want to arouse pity - as is customary in such processes - by, for example, an appearance by his relatives. Judges should not be lenient, but rather make fair judgments.
The second speech
After the guilty verdict, which was passed by a relatively narrow majority, Socrates takes the floor again to comment on the sentence. Under Athenian law, once a defendant is found guilty, the sentence is determined. The plaintiff's complaint is already contained in the indictment. The defendant can counter this motion with a counter motion. Then the court has to decide in a second vote in favor of one of the two criminal applications; it may not, of its own accord, determine a different penalty. The prosecutor Meletos has applied for the death penalty. Now Socrates makes use of his right to a counter-motion by ironically proposing feeding at state expense in the Prytaneion - a high honor. To this end, he argues that what he actually deserves should be awarded to him, and that that must be something good, because he is a benefactor of the general public. He was determined not to deliberately wrong anyone, including himself; thus he could not propose a penalty if he did not deserve one. Going into exile is pointless for him, because elsewhere he would continue his previous way of life and therefore suffer the same fate as in Athens. He could not live any differently in exile and remain calm. He will never give up examining himself and others; a life without self-inquiry is not worth living.
However, Socrates does consider a fine, because he does not consider the loss of money to be harm; from his point of view this is not a real punishment. However, he announced that he was poor and therefore could only raise about one mine . His friends had persuaded him to apply for thirty mines and they were ready to vouch for it. He agrees with that.
The third speech
Since Socrates did not make an alternative proposal acceptable to the court and rejected the exile, which would be a realistic alternative to the death sentence, the majority of the judges followed the prosecution's request and passed the death sentence. In this situation, Plato suddenly lets the last part of the Apology begin.
After the verdict was pronounced, Socrates addressed the congregation for the third and final time. Again he reminds us that it is wrong to want to escape death at any cost. Those who absolutely want to avoid danger can find ways and means to do so in court as well as in war. But such behavior is unworthy. One can easily escape death if one does not shy away from anything; it is far more difficult to escape wickedness. Death overtook him, but his accusers of their wickedness, because they had been convicted of wickedness. So they got their judgment as he got his. His inner voice did not come forward during the trial, and this is a sign that God approves of his behavior and that everything that happened is good.
Finally, Socrates discusses the survival after death and the fate of the souls of the deceased. He does not know what will happen to him after his death, whether he will be in a state of numbness like in dreamless sleep or an otherworldly continuation of his philosophical activity and encounters with many important personalities who died before him. He rates both as an improvement over the present: The second option is the greatest happiness for him, the first he prefers to the misery of earthly life. However, he doesn't really take the first alternative seriously; he indicates that he only considers the second to be realistic. In any case, he believes that the dead are happier in the realm of the dead than they were during their earthly life, because there it is fair. However, one can only hope and not know, because the truth about it is hidden from everyone except God. But one thing is certain to be true, namely “that there is no evil for a good person, neither in life nor in death”. So Socrates is not angry with the accusers or the judges who condemned him.
Form and purpose of the apology
What is striking in the appearance of Plato's Socrates is the discrepancy between his pronounced disdain for his oratory skills and the actual form of his speech. Right at the beginning of his remarks, he distances himself from rhetorical tricks, points out his lack of experience with legal rhetoric, as he is now going to court for the first time, and announces a simple statement that only serves to establish the truth “as in the market at the exchange tables " on. In reality, however, the apology is carefully and artfully structured according to the rules of judgment rhetoric.
However, Plato's Socrates only formally followed the customs of court rhetoric. In terms of content, he does not try to win the judges' sympathy and favor, but rather annoys them with provocative statements. He has to repeatedly ask the audience to stay calm and not let his words drag them into a tumult. Whether he deliberately provokes the judges or just accepts this effect is a matter of dispute in research. In any case, some of his statements give the impression that he is not really interested in an acquittal or a mild sentence or sees it as a subordinate and also unattainable goal. It fits that at the beginning of his second speech he announced that he expected a guilty verdict from the start. His ironic suggestion that instead of a punishment he should be given the high honor of being fed in the Prytaneion seems very challenging under the circumstances. This motion must outrag the judges because of its obvious lack of seriousness, because the court would not be empowered to make such a decision. By stating that neither threatened execution nor a fine is a real evil for him, Socrates indicates that he does not take any punishment seriously; this can be interpreted as a disregard for the justice system and the court. His claim that he can hardly be replaced as a warning and critic and therefore indispensable for the Athenians can be interpreted as a sign of arrogance. Particularly provocative is his assertion that a decent, legally minded person like him who is committed to the truth cannot be politically active within the framework of the democratic system, because if he tries to do so and adheres to his principles, he will inevitably be killed soon. The current political background must be taken into account here: at the time of the trial, the victory of the Democrats in the civil war against the oligarchs was only a few years ago. Socrates is suspicious of the democrats, because two leading oligarchs, the politicians Kritias and Charmides , who died in the civil war , as well as the very controversial Alkibiades belonged to his circle for a while. A sharp, fundamental criticism of the politically unpopular defendant of the Athenian democracy must anger the democratically-minded judges. In addition, insofar as they participate in political life, they are implicitly assumed to be dishonorable. All of this appears counterproductive from an effective defense point of view.
Apparently the "anti-rhetoric" that Plato put into his Socrates' mouth was an attack on the sophistic rhetoric with its own weapons. At the same time, Plato wanted to denounce the Athenian litigation, in which the rhetorical skill of those involved in the proceedings played an important or even decisive role. His intention was both to glorify Socrates and to expose the lack of principles of political and legal speakers in Athens. To this end, he showed his readers the contrast between the manipulative art of politicians and court speech writers and the philosophical search for truth and love of virtue. In the Apology he drew the picture of an exemplary philosopher who masters, sees through and despises rhetoric and finally falls victim to the demagoguery of unscrupulous speakers and the incompetent judges manipulated by them. So the apology is at the same time a settlement with the prevailing social conditions and an invitation to philosophical life ( Protreptikos ) based on the model of Socrates. Plato also directed harsh criticism against an irrational aspect of Athenian criminal law practice that was unacceptable to him as a philosopher: the fact that in criminal trials the verdict often depended less on the facts of the case than on the ability of the accused to effectively arouse pity and beg for mercy.
One of the main concerns of Plato was to deal with the criticism of Socrates that had arisen after the execution. The apology was a statement in the struggle between Socratics and anti-Socratics for the image of the executed in public opinion. It was particularly about the accusation of arrogance, which apparently the self-confident appearance of the historical Socrates had triggered in court. With his version, Plato turned against the assessment that the accused had himself to blame for his own demise through foolish, self-destructive actions during the trial and that his concept of life had ultimately failed.
Dating and source value
The question of the historical reliability of the apology has been discussed intensively for a long time. The assessment of the source value is related to the dating of the work. Opinions differ widely on this. According to one of the research directions, it is Plato's first work, or at least one of the first. Some ancient scholars associate the hypothesis of a realistic representation with early dating. Accordingly, Plato, who was present at the trial, recorded Socrates' explanations fresh from memory in order to reproduce them as faithfully as possible, and published the speech soon after the death of his teacher. This scenario gives rise to an argument that is often put forward in favor of the authenticity of the statements ascribed to Socrates: the contemporary audience knew the real speech so well that Plato's version could not have deviated significantly from it without losing its credibility. This is how Gregory Vlastos , Holger Thesleff and Luc Brisson argue . The objection to this consideration, however, is that it underestimates the creative leeway that the ancient public allowed writers. Proponents of late dating rely on an indication that the Apology and the Dialogue Menon originated roughly at the same time , which would result in the speech being written around the mid-380s. A relatively long time lag to the events of 399 would fit the hypothesis of a very free literary arrangement, while a dating soon after the trial would suggest closer proximity to historical reality. However, such conclusions are not mandatory. Neither stylistic features nor external criteria provide reliable clues for the temporal classification. A connection with events from 392 to 387 is possible, but not provable.
In recent research, the judgments about the reliability of the apology have been largely skeptical. The literary character of the work and Plato's intention to justify his revered teacher and create a Socrates myth are emphasized. Skeptics point to the artistic shaping of the work, which speaks for careful elaboration over a longer period of time. Olof Gigon radically expresses the skeptical point of view: "Socratic literature is not a historical biography, but poetry [...] On the other hand, there is the historical person of Socrates, who we will never really know [...]".
Accordingly, it can be expected that the traditional speech text differs greatly from what the historical Socrates presented in court. Nevertheless, the apology as a source for the process is not generally discredited; Much of the detailed information against which there are no specific suspicions should be correct. The summary reproduction of the indictment, which is consistent with information in other sources, is correct. The opinion that Plato essentially adhered to the content of the historical speech still has supporters. Although the real - probably partly political - motives of the accusers can only be inferred hypothetically, the allegations of the philosopher's enemies mentioned in the apology are in all probability historical.
Socrates' third speech is unhistorical, because such a closing remarks by a person sentenced to death was not provided for in the criminal trial and would not have been accepted by the judges who voted for the death sentence.
The question of whether the historical Socrates actually represented the philosophical convictions that Plato put into his mouth in the Apology is very controversial . Researchers who regard Socrates of the Apology as a purely fictional figure consider it impossible to make an informed judgment. Others are more optimistic about the usability of Plato's statements. As an indication of an at least authentic in the broad Socrates image, the fact is stated that Plato Socrates in the apology by a very pessimistic theory of knowledge emanates. He believes that a secure knowledge of the most important subject areas such as good and justice is fundamentally inaccessible to humans. Since Plato himself did not agree with this view, he had no reason to present it as his teacher's view if this did not correspond to the historical facts. The “inconsistent tendency” of the information makes it credible. Accordingly, the hypothesis that Socrates was actually inclined to epistemological pessimism is plausible. In addition, this way of thinking is also attested in the circle of Socrates' disciples. From this it is concluded that Socrates' portrait of the apology is likely to be relatively close to historical reality in other details as well. Andreas Patzer even thinks that the apology is "that work in which Plato presented Socrates' philosophizing in its purest form"; the speech is fictional, but the philosophical content is authentic: "If anywhere, here we can find out how Socrates thought in reality".
The apology has decisively shaped the image of Socrates for posterity up to the present day. It is considered a classic representation of the success of philosophical life practice in a crisis situation. The work owes its strong aftermath both to its philosophical content and its literary form.
Even the writer Xenophon , who was a supporter of Socrates but was not present at the trial, used Plato's apology when writing The Defense of Socrates . The famous orator Isocrates , who in the 4th century BC BC founded and directed a rhetoric school in Athens, wrote the court speech Antidosis . In it he defended himself against a fictitious charge similar to that directed against Socrates and gave an account of his activities. In doing so, he oriented himself on the model of Plato's Apology , with which he indirectly acknowledged its rhetorical quality. Aristotle quoted Plato's work in his rhetoric ; He performed a demonstration of the Platonic Socrates in the interrogation of Meletus as a prime example of a reductio ad absurdum .
Not only for the Platonists, but also for other philosophical directions that developed in the age of Hellenism , Socrates was a model through his steadfastness in court. His behavior in the face of the death penalty, as set out in the Apology, demonstrated the unity of philosophical theory and practice. The defendant's demeanor lent credibility and persuasiveness to the ideal of a philosophical way of life determined by self-restraint and reasonable deliberation.
In the tetralogical order of the works of Plato, which apparently in the 1st century BC Was introduced, the apology forms the first tetralogy (group of four) together with the dialogues Euthyphron , Crito and Phaedo . Since all four works deal with the situation at the time of Socrates' indictment, trial and execution, their compilation in a tetralogy was evidently substantiated in terms of content. The historian of philosophy Diogenes Laertios counted the apology among the “ethical” writings of Plato. He mentioned that it was often placed at the beginning of the reading plan for philosophy students, so from a didactic point of view it was considered a suitable introduction to Platonic philosophy.
Irrespective of the strong impact of the apology on the ancient public, criticism was occasionally voiced. In the 1st century BC Active historian and rhetoric teacher Dionysius of Halicarnassus criticized the lack of practicality: the work had nothing to do with the reality of appearing in court, but served a different purpose, it was neither a dialogue nor a speech. Seneca the Elder reports the judgment of the speaker Cassius Severus , who said that the speech was neither worthy of a lawyer nor of a defendant.
The unknown author of a rhetorical manual wrongly attributed to Dionysius of Halicarnassus saw in the Apology a refined form of "figured speech" (lógos eschēmatisménos) . These are texts in which the author or speaker says something different than what he means - it can also be the opposite of what is meant - but at the same time enables his audience to decode the actual meaning. Pseudo-Dionysius of Halicarnassus was of the opinion that the apology was completely fictional and should have served Plato's purposes: to settle accounts with the Athenians, to glorify Socrates and to promote his philosophy. The work has features of different genres, because it is at the same time a defensive speech, an indictment (against the Athenians), an eulogy (on Socrates) and advertising pamphlet. The self-praise placed in Socrates' mouth should be made bearable for the reader through the need for defense.
In the 2nd century, the Christian apologist Justin Martyr compared the action of the Athenians against Socrates with the persecution of Christians , based on the description in Plato's apology . Socrates was then exposed to the same accusations as Christians in Justin's day, because he was accused of being impious, of not believing in the conventional gods and of introducing new deities.
Middle Ages and Early Modern Times
In the Middle Ages, the apology was not accessible to the Latin-speaking scholarly world of the West. However, in the 12th century, the Jewish philosopher and poet Yehuda ha-Levi, who worked in Spain, seems to have known a translation or at least a summary. The oldest surviving medieval copy of the Greek text of the Apology was made in the 9th century in the Byzantine Empire . A translation into Armenian was made by the 11th century at the latest .
After its rediscovery in the age of Renaissance humanism , the Apology was one of Plato's most valued writings. The first Latin translation was made by the Italian humanist and statesman Leonardo Bruni in the first decade of the 15th century. Since he later found it unsatisfactory, he created a revised version, which he completed and circulated in 1424/1427 - probably as early as 1424. Socrates' criticism of Athenian democracy corresponded to Bruni's dislike of a purely democratic constitution and his support for a mixed form of government with aristocratic elements. Bruni's Latin apology was printed in Bologna around 1475. Another translation of the Greek original into Latin comes from the famous humanist Marsilio Ficino († 1499), who only revised Bruni's text in parts. It was published in Florence in 1484. The first edition of the Greek text was published in Venice by Aldo Manuzio in September 1513 as part of the complete edition of Plato's works published by Markos Musuros .
In 1749 Denis Diderot translated the apology into French when he was imprisoned in the Vincennes State Prison. Voltaire compared Diderot, who like Socrates was once accused of atheism , with the ancient philosopher and called him "Socrates". In 1790 Matthias Claudius published his German translation of the Apology .
The debate about meaning and truth
The influential Plato translator Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834) believed that the apology was the faithful reproduction of the speech that Socrates had actually delivered in court. His view was shared by a number of classical scholars of the 19th century, including Eduard Zeller (1814–1908) and George Grote (1794–1871). In the 20th century, John Burnet and Alfred Edward Taylor followed this view; they assumed that the published speech coincided with the historical one on the essential facts. The opposing position, according to which it is a fictional text that does not even approximate the real defense speech of the philosopher, was represented by Martin Schanz in 1893 in his annotated edition of the Apology . Erwin Wolff continued this approach in his dissertation in 1929. Since then, the fictional character of Plato's work has been considered a certain fact. This in no way excludes the historicity of many elements, but the historicity hypothesis (“historicism”) is only represented in a moderate form today, taking into account the literary design and its tendency. The question is asked about the relationship between Plato's fiction and its historical basis. Moderate historicist positions are opposed to anti-historicist ones.
In his 1841 dissertation, Søren Kierkegaard left aside the question of how authentic the wording of Plato's apology is and stated that the main thing was that the work offered a reliable picture of the real Socrates.
In the course of time, research has deviated from a one-sided focus on the question of the source value of the apology with regard to historical court proceedings. The exemplary Socrates figure, which was shaped by Plato's art, appears to be even more important, which was and is far more powerful than the historical Socrates could have been without the stylization by his most important pupil. Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff already took this perspective in his highly regarded Plato monograph. He said that Plato wrote the apology “in the most free way to what Socrates really said”, but the result was something far greater than what the real speech could achieve: “a writing that not only through its ethos, but also always impress with their art. Here Plato showed "his talent for tragedy". Kurt Hildebrandt thought similarly in this regard , who wrote that everything “temporally accidental” had been eliminated and “the historical process elevated to the eternal mythical”. Hildebrandt saw the meaning of the apology in showing Socrates “completely human, but at the same time superhuman through his heroic office”. Romano Guardini stated that Plato certainly does not reproduce the wording of the historical defense, but "the essence of the process"; his presentation gripped the reader “with direct violence” and he had completely succeeded in “making clear the powers that were struggling with one another and the decisions that were at stake”. The apology has "the truth of the great work of art". Rafael Ferber also expressed himself in this sense . He wrote that the apology expresses "a typological and exemplary or higher truth". This is done in the sense of Aristotle's understanding of reality, according to which the exemplary must surpass reality. Franz von Kutschera left the question of historicity open; From his point of view, the main thing is that Plato "drew an extraordinarily impressive portrait of Socrates", with "all pathetic notes" missing.
Literary and philosophical evaluations
From a literary-historical point of view, the Apology is usually classified as a masterpiece of world literature. Friedrich Schleiermacher already stated in 1805 that it was "a script that has been loved and admired at all times because of its indwelling spirit and the image of calm, moral greatness and beauty." The extraordinary appreciation of the work in educational circles is reflected in its role in schools: it has been part of the reading material in grammar school ancient Greek lessons since the 19th century. Theodor Gomperz (1832–1912) described the defense speech as "one of the most masculine books in world literature"; it is a “layman's guide of strong and free spirits” and, like hardly any other book, “suitable for planting the man's virtue of composure”. Rafael Ferber pointed out in 2011 that it has been translated “into all cultural languages” and that “the sun never sets over reading the Apology ”.
The work is also widely recognized for its philosophical content. Karl Popper , who was a sharp critic of Plato but an admirer of Socrates, described the Apology as the most beautiful of all the philosophical writings known to him. Rafael Ferber calls it “the founding document of Western philosophy”, because here philosophy was for the first time separated from the dogmatic natural teachings of the pre-Socratic and sophisticates and viewed as a search for wisdom, thus as a reflexive activity and not as a teaching. Andreas Patzer regards the apology as a "key text and main document not only of Socratic but also of Platonic thought" and states: "Whoever takes the matter of philosophy into account cannot and must not ignore this masterpiece [...]."
Individual research questions
The question of the extent to which individual utterances of Plato's Socrates are meant ironically is controversially discussed in modern research in general, and particularly with regard to the apology . The spectrum of interpretations ranges from the assumption that in the three speeches of the apology there is nowhere irony to any significant extent to the hypothesis that irony in the sense of ambiguity forms a central element of representation that is necessary for Plato's purposes. Søren Kierkegaard already dealt with this problem in his dissertation in 1841; his view was that "the apology in its entirety is irony". Socrates thought the trial was ridiculous and reacted with consistently ironic statements. The proponents of an ironic sense of some statements have divided opinions as to the meaning of the alleged irony. Sometimes the irony is interpreted as a mere gimmick, sometimes as ambiguity required by the situation and the author's concerns. Opponents of an ironic understanding emphasize the truthfulness and simplicity of the Platonic Socrates.
The relationship of the Platonic Socrates to his daimonion and to the oracle has also received a lot of attention in research. In need of explanation is the contrast between the appeal to a divine revelation, for whose claim to truth there is no justification, and the autonomy of the thinking subject, who strives for rationally founded insight on its own. There is also a contrast between the Socratic knowledge of one's own ignorance (“ I know that I know nothing ”) and the idea of knowledge that comes from a divine source and is therefore secured. The explanations of Socrates in the Apology give the impression that he received divine instructions, the author of which he apparently believed Apollo to be, and that this source of knowledge gave him a religious certainty that contrasted with his philosophical ignorance. Blindly following the instructions of a superhuman authority would contradict the philosopher's claim to only make decisions and act on the basis of insightful reasons. To explain this, it is emphasized in the research literature that neither the oracle nor the daimonion gave positive instructions. The oracle only answered a question about the wisdom among men and the daimonion only issued warnings against individual steps. Socrates' conviction that he was carrying out a divine instruction with his philosophical activity could therefore not be justified with a direct command from the deity. Rather, it was the result of a conclusion drawn by the philosopher from the oracle and various presumed signs of divine will. The inference was entirely in line with what he himself believed to be correct. So his actions were the result of his own deliberations. In recent research it is therefore emphasized that the Platonic Socrates was guided by his own judgment. In cases of doubt, he subjected the indications to which he ascribed divine origin to philosophical investigation and interpreted them in the light of his discursively gained insights. An internal conflict never arose, since the divine will always agreed with the results of philosophical reflection or at least not contradicted them.
Albrecht Dihle placed the apology at the beginning of ancient biographical literature. He said that in its literary form it was not a biography, but that the biographical element was embodied in it; For the first time, the interest in the résumé of an unmistakable personality found literary expression here. This view has met with some approval and some rejection. Your set Thomas Schirren the opposite interpretation contrary: Not the Biographical - so a certain life and the nature of the individual Socrates - whether in the Apology to prove the essential, but the ethical program and the representation of a philosophical way of life, their feasibility with the example Socrates should. Thus the apology is "the successful functionalization of an individual life through a fictional text".
Editions and translations
Critical editions, some with translation
- William SM Nicoll (Ed.): Apologia Sokratous. In: Elizabeth A. Duke et al. a. (Ed.): Platonis opera. Volume 1, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1995, ISBN 0-19-814569-1 , pp. 27-63 (authoritative critical edition).
- Gunther Eigler (Ed.): Plato: Works in eight volumes. Volume 2, 5th edition. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2005, ISBN 3-534-19095-5 , pp. 1-69 (reprint of the critical edition by Maurice Croiset , 9th edition. Paris 1966, with the German translation by Friedrich Schleiermacher, 2nd, improved edition. Berlin 1818).
- Franz Josef Weber (Ed.): ΠΛΑΤΩΝΟΣ ΑΠΟΛΟΓΙΑ ΣΩΚΡΑΤΟΥΣ . 7th, revised edition. Schöningh, Paderborn u. a. 2002, ISBN 3-506-99155-8 (edition with brief critical apparatus and commentary).
Edition for students
- Robert Biedermann (Ed.): Plato: Apology of Socrates . Buchners Verlag, Bamberg 1994, ISBN 3-7661-5835-X (uncritical edition without translation especially for school purposes).
Translations, some with uncritical editions
- Otto Apelt (translator): Plato's Apology of Socrates and Crito. In: Otto Apelt (Ed.): Plato: All dialogues. Volume 1, Meiner, Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-7873-1156-4 (translation with introduction and explanations; reprint of the 2nd, revised edition, Leipzig 1922).
- Winfried Czapiewski (translator): Plato on the death of Socrates. Four writings of Plato on the person and death of Socrates: Euthyphron, Apology, Crito, Phaedo. Laufen, Oberhausen 2018, ISBN 978-3-87468-378-4 .
- Rafael Ferber (translator): Plato: Apology of Socrates . Beck, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-62221-2 (with afterword).
- Manfred Fuhrmann (ed.): Plato: Apology of Socrates . Reclam, Stuttgart 1989, ISBN 3-15-008315-X (uncritical edition with translation and afterword).
- Ernst Heitsch (translator): Plato: Apologie des Sokrates (= Plato: Works , edited by Ernst Heitsch and Carl Werner Müller , Volume I 2). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2002, ISBN 3-525-30401-3 .
- Rudolf Rufener (translator): Plato: Die Werke des Aufstiegs (= anniversary edition of all works. Volume 2). Artemis, Zurich and Munich 1974, ISBN 3-7608-3640-2 , pp. 211–248 (with an introduction by Olof Gigon ).
- Friedrich Schleiermacher (translator): Socrates' defense. In: Erich Loewenthal (Ed.): Platon: All works in three volumes , Volume 1, unchanged reprint of the 8th, revised edition. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2004, ISBN 3-534-17918-8 , pp. 5-36.
- Lucius Annaeus Senecio (ed.): Plato: Apology of Socrates . Ad Fontes, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-945924-23-5 .
- Michael Erler : Platon (= outline of the history of philosophy . The philosophy of antiquity , edited by Hellmut Flashar , volume 2/2). Schwabe, Basel 2007, ISBN 978-3-7965-2237-6 , pp. 99-104, 582-584.
Investigations and Comments
- Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Socrates on Trial . Clarendon Press, Oxford 1989, ISBN 0-19-824466-5 .
- Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Routledge philosophy guidebook to Plato and the trial of Socrates . Routledge, New York and London 2004, ISBN 0-415-15682-3 , pp. 69-192.
- Ernst Heitsch: Plato: Apology of Socrates. Translation and commentary (= Plato: Works , edited by Ernst Heitsch and Carl Werner Müller, Volume I 2). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2002, ISBN 3-525-30401-3 .
- David Leibowitz: The Ironic Defense of Socrates. Plato's Apology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2010, ISBN 978-0-521-19479-2 .
- Thomas Meyer: Plato's Apology . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1962.
- C. David C. Reeve: Socrates in the Apology. An Essay on Plato's Apology of Socrates. Hackett, Indianapolis 1989, ISBN 0-87220-088-4 .
- Emile de Strycker, Simon R. Slings: Plato's Apology of Socrates. A Literary and Philosophical Study with a Running Commentary . Brill, Leiden 1994, ISBN 90-04-10103-9 .
- Original text and English translation
- Original text and revised translation by Schleiermacher
- Edited translation by Schleiermacher
- Translation of Schleiermacher as an audio book
- Plato, Apology 23e – 24a and 36a – b.
- Plato, Apology 23e – 24a. Cf. Ernst Heitsch: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates. Göttingen 2002, p. 101; Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Routledge philosophy guidebook to Plato and the trial of Socrates , New York / London 2004, p. 78.
- Plato, Apology 23e – 24a.
- Plato, Euthyphron 2b.
- See on the accusers Debra Nails: The People of Plato , Indianapolis 2002, pp. 37f., 188f., 202; Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, p. 100; Ernst Heitsch: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates , Göttingen 2002, pp. 100-102; Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Socrates on Trial , Oxford 1989, pp. 27-30; Emile de Strycker, Simon R. Slings: Plato's Apology of Socrates. Leiden 1994, p. 91f.
- See Siegfried Erasmus: Number of judges and proportion of votes in the Socrates process. In: Gymnasium 71, 1964, pp. 40-42; Emile de Strycker, Simon R. Slings: Plato's Apology of Socrates , Leiden 1994, p. 201.
- Plato, Apology 37a – b.
- Plato, Apology 17a – 35d (first speech), 35e – 38b (second speech), 38c – 42a (third speech).
- Plato, Apology 17a – 18a.
- Plato, Apology 18a – 20c.
- Plato, Apology 22c – d.
- Plato, Apology 20c – 23c. For the controversial historicity and the presumed dating of the oracle speech , see Ernst Heitsch: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates , Göttingen 2002, pp. 73–77, 198–202.
- Plato, Apology 23c – 24b.
- For the background to this concept, see James A. Colaiaco: Socrates against Athens. Philosophy on Trial , New York 2001, pp. 116-118; Emile de Strycker, Simon R. Slings: Plato's Apology of Socrates. Leiden 1994, pp. 107-113.
- Plato, Apology 24b – 28a. See Lynette Reid Smith, The Interrogation of Meletus: Apology 24c4-28a1. In: The Classical Quarterly 45, 1995, pp. 372-388; Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Socrates on Trial , Oxford 1989, pp. 112-128; Emile de Strycker, Simon R. Slings: Plato's Apology of Socrates , Leiden 1994, pp. 101-126.
- Plato, Apology 28b – 30c. See Myles F. Burnyeat: Apology 30b 2-4: Socrates, money, and the grammar of γίγνεσθαι. In: The Journal of Hellenic Studies 123, 2003, pp. 1-25.
- Plato, Apology 30d – e.
- Plato, apology 30e-31a.
- Plato, Apology 31c – 35d. Cf. Ernst Heitsch: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates. Göttingen 2002, p. 42.
- Plato, Apology 35e – 38a.
- Plato, Apology 38a – b.
- Plato, Apology 38c – 40c. Compare with Mark A. Joyal: 'The Divine Sign Did Not Oppose Me': A Problem in Plato's Apology? In: Mark Joyal (Ed.): Studies in Plato and the Platonic Tradition. Aldershot 1997, pp. 43-58.
- See also Emile de Strycker, Simon R. Slings: Plato's Apology of Socrates , Leiden 1994, pp. 216–232.
- Plato, Apology 40c-42a. See Ernst Heitsch: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates , Göttingen 2002, pp. 164–172; Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Plato's Socrates , New York 1994, pp. 202-205; Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Socrates on Trial. Oxford 1989, pp. 257-267; Markus Enders: On the question of death in Plato's apology. In: Freiburg Journal for Philosophy and Theology 42, 1995, pp. 237–266; Emily A. Austin: Prudence and the Fear of Death in Plato's Apology. In: Ancient Philosophy 30, 2010, pp. 39–55.
- Reginald E. Allen : Socrates and Legal Obligation , Minneapolis 1980, pp. 5f .; Ernst Heitsch: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates , Göttingen 2002, pp. 37-40. See Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Socrates on Trial , Oxford 1989, pp. 48-59; Emile de Strycker, Simon R. Slings: Plato's Apology of Socrates , Leiden 1994, pp. 31-40; Marina McCoy: Plato on the Rhetoric of Philosophers and Sophists , Cambridge 2008, pp. 23-39; Thomas Meyer: Plato's Apology. Stuttgart 1962, pp. 45-65.
- intentional provocation and a. Thomas G. West: Plato's Apology of Socrates , Ithaca 1979, p. 149; Romano Guardini: The Death of Socrates. 7th edition. Mainz 2001, pp. 100-102; Marina McCoy: Plato on the Rhetoric of Philosophers and Sophists , Cambridge 2008, pp. 40-43; Andreas Patzer: Studia Socratica , Tübingen 2012, pp. 123–125. Against this interpretation, u. a. C. David C. Reeve: Socrates in the Apology , Indianapolis 1989, pp. 6f., 185 and Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Socrates on Trial , Oxford 1989, pp. 43-47, 210-234. See Myles F. Burnyeat: The Impiety of Socrates. In: Rachana Kamtekar (ed.): Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito , Lanham 2005, pp. 150–162, here: 155f .; Emile de Strycker, Simon R. Slings: Plato's Apology of Socrates , Leiden 1994, pp. 191-200; Necip Fikri Alican: Rethinking Plato , Amsterdam 2012, pp. 310–327 (with research report).
- Ernst Heitsch: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates , Göttingen 2002, p. 147f.
- On the fine see Ernst Heitsch: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates. Göttingen 2002, p. 153.
- Reginald E. Allen: Socrates and Legal Obligation , Minneapolis 1980, pp. 6-10, 17-21; Franz von Kutschera: Plato's Philosophy , Volume 1, Paderborn 2002, p. 72f .; Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Socrates on Trial , Oxford 1989, pp. 18-24. Brickhouse and Smith, pp. 71–87, oppose an overestimation of the political background, as does Terence H. Irwin: Was Socrates against Democracy? In: Rachana Kamtekar (Ed.): Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito. Lanham 2005, pp. 127-149.
- Reginald E. Allen: Socrates and Legal Obligation , Minneapolis 1980, pp. 10-16, 25; Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Socrates on Trial , Oxford 1989, pp. 202-206; Emile de Strycker, Simon R. Slings: Plato's Apology of Socrates , Leiden 1994, pp. 8-16; Marina McCoy: Plato on the Rhetoric of Philosophers and Sophists , Cambridge 2008, pp. 23-55; James Barrett: Plato's Apology: Philosophy, Rhetoric, and the World of Myth. In: Classical World , 95, 2001/2002, pp. 3–30, here: 3f .; Thomas Meyer: Plato's Apology. Stuttgart 1962, pp. 65-70, 115-128.
- Gabriel Danzig: Apologizing for Socrates. Lanham 2010, pp. 19-68.
- An overview of the arguments is provided by William KC Guthrie : A History of Greek Philosophy , Volume 4, Cambridge 1975, pp. 72–80.
- This view is, for example, Andreas Patzer: Studia Socratica , Tübingen 2012, p. 119f.
- Plato, Apology 34a and 38b.
- This opinion is, for example, William KC Guthrie: A History of Greek Philosophy. Volume 4, Cambridge 1975, pp. 71f.
- Gregory Vlastos: Introduction: The Paradox of Socrates. In: Gregory Vlastos (Ed.): The Philosophy of Socrates , New York 1971, pp. 1–21, here: 3f .; Holger Thesleff: Platonic Patterns , Las Vegas 2009, pp. 170, 259; Luc Brisson: Plato: Apologie de Socrate. In: Richard Goulet (ed.): Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques , Volume 5, Part 1, Paris 2012, pp. 669f., Here: 669.
- Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Socrates on Trial. Oxford 1989, pp. 5, 7.
- Ernst Heitsch: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates , Göttingen 2002, pp. 177-180. See Gerard R. Ledger: Recounting Plato , Oxford 1989, pp. 221-224; Rafael Ferber: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates , Munich 2011, pp. 86, 91. However, Franz von Kutschera: Plato's philosophy is skeptical about the alleged connection between Apology and Menon . Volume 1, Paderborn 2002, p. 83f .; it is believed to have originated before 390. Hartmut Erbse advocate late dating : At the time of Plato's "Apology of Socrates". In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 118, 1975, pp. 22-47 and Olof Gigon: Sokrates. His image in poetry and history. 3. Edition. Tübingen 1994, p. 22f.
- Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, p. 99f .; Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Socrates on Trial , Oxford 1989, pp. 1f. The hypothesis of the connection is represented by Emile de Strycker and Simon R. Slings: Plato's Apology of Socrates. Leiden 1994, pp. 18-21.
- Mark A. Joyal: 'The Divine Sign Did Not Oppose Me': A Problem in Plato's Apology? In: Mark Joyal (Ed.): Studies in Plato and the Platonic Tradition , Aldershot 1997, pp. 43–58, here: 51f .; Richard B. Rutherford: The Art of Plato , London 1995, pp. 29f .; Manfred Fuhrmann (Ed.): Plato: Apologie des Sokrates , Stuttgart 1989, p. 113f .; William J. Prior: The Historicity of Plato's Apology. In: Polis 18, 2001, pp. 41-57; Marina McCoy: Plato on the Rhetoric of Philosophers and Sophists. Cambridge 2008, p. 24f. Cf. in the older research literature Heinrich Gomperz : Socrates' attitude to his judges. In: Wiener Studien 54, 1936, pp. 32–43.
- Rafael Ferber: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates , Munich 2011, p. 85f .; Emile de Strycker, Simon R. Slings: Plato's Apology of Socrates. Leiden 1994, p. 6f.
- Olof Gigon: Socrates. His image in poetry and history. 3. Edition. Tübingen 1994, p. 14f.
- See James A. Colaiaco: Socrates against Athens. Philosophy on Trial , New York 2001, pp. 19-21; Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, pp. 100-102; Ernst Heitsch: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates , Göttingen 2002, pp. 193–195; Rafael Ferber: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates , Munich 2011, pp. 84–89; Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Socrates on Trial , Oxford 1989, pp. 2-10; Emile de Strycker, Simon R. Slings: Plato's Apology of Socrates , Leiden 1994, pp. 6, 83-85; Charles H. Kahn: Plato and the Socratic Dialogue , Cambridge 1996, pp. 88f. On Kahn's considerations, see Michael Trapp: Introduction. In: Michael Trapp (ed.): Socrates from Antiquity to the Enlightenment , Aldershot 2007, pp. XX – XXII.
- Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, p. 101; Shinro Kato: The Apology: The Beginning of Plato's Own Philosophy. In: The Classical Quarterly 41, 1991, pp. 356-364, here: 359f .; Emile de Strycker, Simon R. Slings: Plato's Apology of Socrates. Leiden 1994, pp. 91-100.
- Ernst Heitsch: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates , Göttingen 2002, pp. 154–156; Andreas Patzer: Studia Socratica , Tübingen 2012, p. 122f. See the differentiated statement by Emile de Strycker and Simon R. Slings: Plato's Apology of Socrates , Leiden 1994, pp. 201-204 and Thomas C. Brickhouse, Nicholas D. Smith: Socrates on Trial. Oxford 1989, pp. 234f.
- Proponents of the apology being largely true to reality are u. a. Klaus Döring : The Socrates of the Platonic Apology and the question of the historical Socrates. In: Würzburger Jahrbücher für die Altertumswwissenschaft 13, 1987, pp. 75-94, here: 79-81, 86-94 and Reginald E. Allen: Socrates and Legal Obligation , Minneapolis 1980, pp. 33-36. Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, p. 101, leans more cautiously towards the hypothesis of credibility . Rafael Ferber, for example, are very skeptical: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates. Munich 2011, p. 83f. and Donald Morrison: On the Alleged Historical Reliability of Plato's Apology. In: Rachana Kamtekar (Ed.): Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito. Lanham 2005, pp. 97-126.
- Andreas Patzer: Studia Socratica. Tübingen 2012, pp. 121, 128.
- Paul A. Vander Waerdt: Socratic Justice and Self-Sufficiency: The Story of the Delphic Oracle in Xenophon's Apology of Socrates. In: Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 11, 1993, pp. 1-48; Ernst Heitsch: Plato: Apology of Socrates. Göttingen 2002, p. 190.
- Reginald E. Allen: Socrates and Legal Obligation. Minneapolis 1980, pp. 6,35; Richard Hunter : Plato and the Traditions of Ancient Literature , Cambridge 2012, pp. 116-118.
- Aristotle, Rhetorik 1419a8-12.
- Diogenes Laertios 3:58.
- Diogenes Laertios 3.62.
- Epictetus, doctrinal conversations 2,2,8-20.
- Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Demosthenes 23.8.
- Seneca the Elder, Controversiae 3, praefatio 8.
- Pseudo-Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Ars rhetorica 8,8. See Thomas Schirren: Philosophos Bios , Heidelberg 2005, p. 81f .; Richard Hunter: Plato and the Traditions of Ancient Literature , Cambridge 2012, pp. 114–117.
- Justin the Martyr, Apology I, 5.3 and II, 10.5.
- P.Berol. Inv. 21210 and P.Berol. Inv. 13291. Cf. P. 13291 + P. 21210 Fr. a, b: Plato, Apologie 25b – c, 28 b, 40b – 41c in the Berlin papyrus database, accessed on October 21, 2013.
- Gabriel Danzig: Socrates in Hellenistic and medieval Jewish literature, with special regard to Yehuda Hallevi's Kuzari. In: Michael Trapp (Ed.): Socrates from Antiquity to the Enlightenment. Aldershot 2007, pp. 143-159, here: 149-153.
- Oxford, Bodleian Library , Clarke 39 (= "Codex B" of the Plato textual tradition). For the text transmission, see the overview in Elizabeth A. Duke u. a. (Ed.): Platonis opera , Volume 1, Oxford 1995, p. 28.
- For the Armenian translation see Elizabeth A. Duke et al. a. (Ed.): Platonis opera. Volume 1, Oxford 1995, p. XII.
- For Bruni's translations see James Hankins: Plato in the Italian Renaissance. 3. Edition. Leiden 1994, pp. 51-53, 66f., 72-74, 379-387, 504f., 739.
- See James Hankins: Plato in the Italian Renaissance. 3. Edition. Leiden 1994, p. 466f.
- See also Raymond Trousson: Diderot helléniste. In: Diderot Studies 12, 1969, pp. 141–326, here: 163–184; Edition of Diderot's translation pp. 185–243.
- Russell Goulbourne: Voltaire's Socrates. In: Michael Trapp (Ed.): Socrates from Antiquity to the Enlightenment. Aldershot 2007, pp. 229-247, here: 229f.
- Matthias Claudius: The Apology of Socrates (PDF, 5.5 MB).
- Friedrich Schleiermacher: Des Socrates defense. Introduction. In: Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher: About the philosophy of Plato , ed. by Peter M. Steiner, Hamburg 1996, pp. 147–153, here: 147–151.
- Eduard Zeller: The philosophy of the Greeks in their historical development. Part 2, Division 1, 4th edition. Leipzig 1889, pp. 195–197 Note 1.
- George Grote: Plato and the other companions of Sokrates. 2nd Edition. Volume 1, London 1888 (reprinted New York 1973), pp. 410f.
- John Burnet (Ed.): Plato's Euthyphro, Apology of Socrates and Crito. Oxford 1924, pp. 63-68; Alfred Edward Taylor: Plato. The man and his work. 6th edition. New York 1957 (reprint), p. 156f.
- Martin Schanz: Collection of selected dialogues of Plato with German commentary , Volume 3: Apologia. Leipzig 1893, pp. 68-75.
- Erwin Wolff: Plato's Apology. Berlin 1929.
- Søren Kierkegaard: On the concept of irony with constant consideration of Socrates (= Collected Works. Department 31), Düsseldorf 1961, p. 83.
- Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff: Platon. His life and his works. 5th edition. Berlin 1959 (1st edition Berlin 1919), p. 137f.
- Kurt Hildebrandt: Plato. Logos and Myth. 2nd, revised edition. Berlin 1959 (1st edition Berlin 1933), pp. 53, 57.
- Romano Guardini: The death of Socrates. 7th edition. Mainz 2001 (1st edition Berlin 1943), pp. 60f., 89.
- Rafael Ferber: Plato: Apology of Socrates. Munich 2011, p. 90f.
- Franz von Kutschera: Plato's philosophy. Volume 1, Paderborn 2002, p. 74.
- Friedrich Schleiermacher: Des Socrates defense. Introduction. In: Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher: About the philosophy of Plato , ed. by Peter M. Steiner, Hamburg 1996, pp. 147–153, here: 147.
- Theodor Gomperz: Greek Thinkers , Volume 2, 4th edition. Berlin 1973 (reprint of the Berlin 1925 edition), p. 84.
- Rafael Ferber: Plato: Apology of Socrates. Munich 2011, p. 71.
- Karl Popper: In search of a better world. 3. Edition. Munich 1988, p. 41.
- Rafael Ferber: Plato: Apologie des Sokrates , Munich 2011, p. 72.
- Andreas Patzer: Studia Socratica. Tübingen 2012, pp. 121, 134.
- Søren Kierkegaard: On the concept of irony with constant consideration for Socrates (= Collected Works , Department 31), Düsseldorf 1961, p. 88.
- See on this research debate David Leibowitz: The Ironic Defense of Socrates. Plato's Apology. Cambridge 2010, pp. 8-37.
- Christina Schefer: Platon and Apollon , Sankt Augustin 1996, pp. 55–108.
- Emma Cohen de Lara: Socrates' Response to the Divine in Plato's Apology. In: Polis 24, 2007, pp. 193-202; Gerasimos Xenophon Santas : Socrates , London 1979, pp. 55f .; Gregory Vlastos: Socrates. Ironist and Moral Philosopher. Cambridge 1991, pp. 157, 162-178; Mark L. McPherran: The Religion of Socrates. University Park 1996, pp. 175-208.
- Albrecht Dihle: Studies on Greek Biography , 2nd, revised edition. Göttingen 1970, pp. 11, 13-20.
- Manfred Fuhrmann (ed.): Plato: Apologie des Sokrates , Stuttgart 1989, pp. 117f., Rejecting Thomas Schirren: Philosophos Bios. Heidelberg 2005, pp. 79-82.
- Thomas Schirren: Philosophos Bios. Heidelberg 2005, pp. 83-85.