David Mirhady on Platonic Legislations (2017)

David Mirhady reviews my book Platonic Legislations (2017) in Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought (2019).Polis Journal

Mirhady begins: “This short book turns to the writings of Plato to meditate on issues of legal change (‘the flux of law’) in the post-Soviet era. It does not assume previous knowledge of Plato’s thought. It may then be best considered as a provocation to further study … [Platonic Legislations] focuses in particular on the disjunctions between Republic and Laws, which are filled with legislative admonitions, and Politicus, which acknowledges law’s imperfections and its inability to achieve the most perfect justice. Legal reform becomes the key theme of the book.”

And he concludes: “This book highlights many passages in the Platonic [corpus] that touch on the need for legal revision … It controls a wide range of bibliography, but touches only rarely … on the burgeoning body of scholarship on Greek law … It is interesting to read of Roman and later European appropriation of Platonic legal thinking”, and so on.

It seems to me that when Mirhady says that “the book does pious homage to Socrates and his fidelity to Athens and its laws as he accepted his conviction and punishment” (my italics), the tone is vaguely critical. But I sincerely hope to have done ‘pious homage to Socrates’ in this little book.

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