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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

4/O                              POLITICAL SCIENCE.
11 To a God, as we can with all justice say, Zeus among us
and Apollo among the Lacedaemonians," is the
answer.    The scene is laid in the temple and
cave of Zeus, and the laws of the new colony are to be sanc-
tioned by the Delphic oracle.    Thus everything is  to com-
mence with divine help and direction.    Religious institutions,
however, are not treated of until the eighth book, where, at
the beginning, we learn that every day must have its appro-
priate sacrifice on behalf of the city, of the people, and their
goods.    The laws, being brief, need go no farther than to
prescribe the festivals  dedicated to the principal gods; the
details may be entrusted to the interpreters of religious rites,
the priests, priestesses, and prophets.    All this is to be done
with the help of oracles from Delphi.    After speaking of a
law against sacrilege in the ninth book, Plato goes on, in the
very important tenth book, to consider offences committed
more especially against the gods themselves.    No man ever
committed such offences who did not either deny that the
gods exist,  or deny their providence or conceive that by
means of propitiations their anger against wrong can be ap-
peased.    Corresponding with these three kinds of unbelief
are three sorts of impiety, which may be divided, each of
them, into two, in  proportion to their  heinousness.    First,
there is   the impiety of denying that  divine beings exist
This  crime  may belong  to men  of an honest nature, who
choose the society of the good ; or to crafty hypocritical men
without principle, among whom are found diviners and im-
postors, tyrants, public orators, generals, initiators into pri-
vate mysteries, and sophists.    Plato would have no punish-
ment meted out to the first of these classes, except admonition
and imprisonment.    " The others commit a sin that deserves
not one, nor two, but many deaths.1'    (908 E.)    Next follow
those who deny a providence, part of whom—those who have
become such by want of understanding without bad feelings
or character—ought to be put into the house of reformation
for not less than five years, away from all communication
with other men except the members of the nocturnal council,