Quotation by Edith Hamilton

Even of old the Christian world, so bitterly antagonistic to any ideas not specifically contained in their creeds and dogmas, made an exception in Socrates' case. They recognized his likeness to Christ. He was the example that a soul could be Christlike not through grace, but by nature. Erasmus said, "Holy Socrates, pray for us." To know him is a help to knowing Christ, and it is not hard to know him. We can see him quite clearly. Plato who drew his portrait, could not, of course, keep himself out of it, any more than Christ's recorders could, but at least magic did not dog Plato's footsteps as it did everyone's footsteps when the Gospels were written. In the fourth century B.C. Greeks had no leaning to marvels. Also in the centuries that followed no one founded a church on Socrates and built up around him a theology and hung creeds and ceremonials upon him. To see what he was we do not have to brush anything away except a bit of Plato. We can use him as a stepping stone to Christ, a first aid in realizing what Christ was.
Edith Hamilton (1867–1963), U.S. classical scholar. "The Rediscovery of Christ," Witness to the Truth: Christ and His Interpreters, Norton (1957).
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