Monday, February 11, 2013

On why I'm reading Plato's Republic

The other day Bryce asked me: "Why do you want to read Plato's Republic?" Or he said something along those lines, probably when I was moaning about how long the chapters are and how much it hurt my brain to work through the philosophical arguments. It made me think: why do I want to read it? Why am I putting myself through such a (sometimes) tedious goal? (Remember: I joined this online classical book club last September.)

So, after I pondered it for awhile, here are three reasons for making myself do it:

1. I want to "culture" myself. Even though I like to think of myself as a "reader," I've never done very well reading the classics. Preferring instead the easy reads. No philosophy or poetry for me (in the past). Don't get me wrong: I have read some classics but I want to read more. I guess I want to expand my reading preferences.

2. I want to make myself think. I don't want to always take the "easy road" when it comes to reading. Some reading I do is simply fun (i.e. The Hobbit or Real Simple magazine) but I also want to challenge my mind. I want to do something hard. And so I'm reading philosophy (which makes me go "ugh" sometimes, but it's good for me). Challenging and stretching my brain.

3. I want to find God in sometimes godless literature. I love it when God shows up in whatever I am reading. Sometimes the most nonspiritual read can have great spiritual impact for me. It's like a treasure-search, a game . . . finding Jesus where the author least expects Him to be found.

And so that's why I'm reading Plato's Republic and Virgil's The Aeneid (which I have no idea how to even pronounce).
Call me crazy (go ahead . . . sometimes I call myself Crazy).
But I'm loving it!


  1. you are a learner at heart and you like a challenge

    1. Thank you, Liz! We're alike in that, I think.

  2. I remember reading at least parts of Plato's Republic for philosophy class at Bethel. It was interesting, and you might be surprised at how much of God you will find in it. (I sometimes study Greek just for fun, so I don't think you're crazy for wanting to read something challenging!)

    1. Yes...I read it at Bethel, too, and that definitely helped for the second time around. Did you happen to read my follow-up post? :) You're right! Lots of God in the Republic.