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Cities of the Gods : Communist Utopias in Greek Thought - Doyne Dawson

Cities of the Gods

Communist Utopias in Greek Thought

Hardcover Published: 9th July 1992
ISBN: 9780195069839
Number Of Pages: 320

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Modern studies of classical utopian thought are usually restricted to the Republic and Laws of Plato, producing the impression that Greek speculation about ideal states was invariably authoritarian and hierarchical. This book, however, sets Plato in the context of the whole ancient tradition of philosophical utopia. It distinguishes two types of Greek utopia, relating both to the social and the political background of Greece between the fifth and third centuries B.C. There was a lower utopianism, meant for literal implementation, which arose from the Greek colonizing movement, and a higher theoretical form which arose from the practical utopias. Dawson focuses on the higher utopianism, whose main theme was total communism in property and family. He attempts to reconstruct the lost utopian works of the Stoics, arguing that their ideal state was universal and egalitarian, in deliberate contrast to the hierarchical and militaristic utopia of Plato; and that both theories were intended to bring about long-range social reform, though neither was meant for direct implementation. Dawson offers an explanation for the disappearance of the utopian tradition in the later Hellenistic age. A final chapter traces the survival of communistic ideas in early Christianity.

"I tried this book out on a group of students. Not only were they very appreciative of the clarity and cogency of Dawson's writing, and the stimulating ideas the book contains, they also went on to write excellent essays. What more needs to be said? This is a first class book taking a fresh look at an important and interesting subject."--Greece and Rome "Learned, exhaustive, and cogently argued....Brilliantly carried out."--Choice "[Dawson's] arguments will be of interest. The breadth of the book is impressive; it should be useful to a wide scholarly audience."--Religious Studies Review "The scholar of Greek political thought will regard [Cities of the Gods] an indispensable tool of research."--Ex Libris: The Classical Bulletin "Dawson's dense and exhaustively argued study is full of challenging assertions and provocative conclusions."--merican Historical Review "I tried this book out on a group of students. Not only were they very appreciative of the clarity and cogency of Dawson's writing, and the stimulating ideas the book contains, they also went on to write excellent essays. What more needs to be said? This is a first class book taking a fresh look at an important and interesting subject."--Greece and Rome "Learned, exhaustive, and cogently argued....Brilliantly carried out."--Choice "[Dawson's] arguments will be of interest. The breadth of the book is impressive; it should be useful to a wide scholarly audience."--Religious Studies Review "The scholar of Greek political thought will regard [Cities of the Gods] an indispensable tool of research."--Ex Libris: The Classical Bulletin "Dawson's dense and exhaustively argued study is full of challenging assertions and provocative conclusions."--merican Historical Review

Introductionp. 3
The Birth of Utopiap. 13
The Time of Cronusp. 13
The Pythagorean Lifep. 14
The Sexual Communism of the Barbariansp. 18
The Low Utopias and Spartap. 21
The Ecclesiazusae of Aristophanesp. 37
Household and City: The Social and Political Background of Greek Utopiamismp. 40
The Platonic Utopia: A City Without the Householdp. 53
The Paradox of Socratesp. 53
The Paradox of Platop. 62
The Method of Platop. 71
High Utopia and Low Utopiap. 77
The Academy in Politicsp. 92
Aristotlep. 93
The Social and Political of Platonic-Aristotelian Utopianismp. 99
The Cynic Way: A Life Without the Householdp. 111
The Problem of Cynic Political Thought: A Contradiction in Terms?p. 111
The Search for the Historical Diogenesp. 113
A Definition of Early Cynicism: An Activist Ascetic Elitep. 120
The Social Teachings of the Cynicsp. 130
The Republic of Diogenesp. 146
The Stoic Utopia: A World Without Householdsp. 160
Cynic and Stoicp. 160
The Sourcesp. 166
The Outlines of the Stoic Ideal Worldp. 175
The Stoics and Societyp. 187
The Stoics and Politicsp. 195
Commentsp. 206
The End of Utopiap. 223
The Decline of the Stoic Utopian Traditionp. 223
The Survival of the Old Stoic and Cynic Traditionsp. 243
The Ghosts of Utopiap. 258
Primitive Christianityp. 258
Gnostic Christianityp. 264
Patristic Christianityp. 276
Bibliographyp. 291
Indexp. 301
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195069839
ISBN-10: 0195069838
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 9th July 1992
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.57 x 16.2  x 2.57
Weight (kg): 0.66