Sunday, January 24, 2010


Unpublished outline for biblical book of Genesis, January 11, 1985, instructor Barbara Pope, Interdisciplinary Studies in Letters and Science (ISLS) program, Chabot College, Hayward, CA, by Lurene Helzer. 

Lurene's email in 2014:

This was not a religious course. We worked on the first book of the bible to get insight on Western thought.

Photo by Lurene Helzer, Palm Springs, CA, 2005.

Genesis Outline
Lurene Helzer
ISLS B. Pope 2108

I. The Creation

A) The first seven days
B) God creates Adam and Eve

II. Adam and Eve are driven from the garden

A) Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit and learn good from evil

III. Cain and Abel are born

A) God favors Abel’s sacrifice
B) Cain kills Abel
C) Cain is cursed by God and driven out to Nod
D) Lamech kills Cain
E) Seth is born from Eve

IV. God sees wickedness in the world

A) God finds virtue in Noah
B) Noah builds an ark, as God requests
C) Noah takes two of each animal and his family and lives on the ark while it rains for 40 days and nights

V. Noah starts new generations on the earth

A) God makes a covenant with Noah; the rainbow. He promises to never again destroy the earth by flood

VI. Noah’s son, Ham, covers Noah’s nakedness.

A) Ham’s son, Canaan, is cursed.

VII. The Tower of Babel

A) The people try to build the tower to reach heaven
B) God gives them all different languages, so that they can not build the tower

VIII God promises Abram a nation

A) Abram takes Lot with him, and Sarai, his wife
B) They go to Canaan
C) Abram goes to Egypt, because of a famine in the land

VIII. Abram lies to the Egyptians to save his life

A) Abram tells the Egyptians that his wife is his sister
B) The Egyptians give Abram gifts, since Sarai is fair
C) God plagues the Egyptians
D) Abram leaves Egypt when the Pharaoh finds out what the problem is

IX. Abram and Lot Separate

A) The land is not rich enough to support them both; the herdsman fight
B) Lot goes east

X. Lot goes to Sodom

A) The people in Sodom are wicked
B) Meanwhile, God promises land to Abram and his offspring. Abram moves to Mamre in Hebron.

XI. Lot is taken captive by the people of Sodom and Gomorrah

A) Abram learns of Lot’s captivity and rescues him and his goods
B) The kings offer Abram food and wine. Abram refuses. Does not want them to say “I made Abram rich.”

XII. God promises Abram a son

A) God tells Abram he will have as many children as there are stars in the sky he can count
B) Makes a covenant with God – The promised land which is spoken of in Exodus [Genesis 15:13]

XIII. Abram has a child by Hagar

A) Sarai becomes jealous – Hagar flees
B) An angel tells Hagar to return and call the child Ishmael. The child is prophesized to be violent.

XIV. God makes a covenant with Abraham about the promised land.

A) All of his children to be circumcised, or any children bought with his money.

XV. Sarah overhears that she will bear a child, and laughs.

A) Sarah denies laughing

XVI. Abraham bargains with God for the Sake of Sodom

XVII. Lot is given mercy so he may escape from Sodom

A) God tells Lot and his family not to look behind them when they run
B) Lot’s wife looks over her shoulder and turns into a pillar of salt

XVIII. Lot’s daughters bear children from him while he is sleeping

XIX. Abraham again tells people that Sarah is his sister and brings punishment to them. Then god forgives them

XX. Sarah bears a son to Abraham

A) Hagar flees with her son and leaves him to die
B) God saves them both with water

XXI. God tempts Abraham

A) God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son
B) Abraham attempts to do so – as god commands
C) He is stopped, and then blessed for being faithful to God

XXII. Abraham purchases Machpelah to bury Sarah
XXIII. Abraham makes a covenant with his servant to find a wife for Isaac

A) Abraham promises the Servant Freedom from the promise if he can’t find a woman to follow him
B) The servant finds Rebekah, and she marries Isaac

XXIV. Abraham dies

A) He gives everything to Isaac
B) Abraham is buried next to his wife

XXV. Rebekah has twins

A) Esau becomes a hunter
B) Jacob dwelled in tents and was a “plain man”
C) Esau sells his birthright to Jacob in exchange for food (Jacob is near death)

XXVI. Jacob steals Esau’s blessing of Isaac

A) Jacob tricks Isaac into blessing him with the help of his mother
B) Esau is told he must serve his brother all his life
C) Esau plans to slay his brother
D) Jacob leaves until his brothers wrath subsides

XXVII. Jacob wins Rachel

A) Jacob has to also marry Leah
B) Leah bears children but Rachel can’t
C) Rachel finally bears Joseph

XXVIII. Jacob leaves Laban and is pursued by him

A) Rachel steals her father’s belongings
B) Laban and Jacob make a covenant with each other, and separate

XXIX. Jacob is blessed
XXX. Jacob meets with Esau

A) Jacob gives Esau gifts
B) They Separate

XXXI. Dinah is sought by Shechem and defiled

A) The males of the city are circumcised so they can marry Dinah
B) Rachel’s brothers kill them for defiling Rachel

XXXII. Rachel dies
XXXIII. Joseph’s brothers are consumed with jealousy

A) They sell Joseph to Ishmeelites
B) Jacob thinks Joseph is dead

XXXIV. Joseph is falsely imprisoned

A) Joseph interprets dreams
B) Joseph is sent to Interpret the Pharaoh’s two dreams

XXXV. Joseph is given power over Egypt

A) Gives food during famine
B) His brothers come to buy food
C) Joseph accuses them of being spies

XXXVI. Joseph detains his brothers
XXXVII. Joseph sends for Jacob
XXXVIII. Jacob departs for Egypt
XXXIX. Jacob’s illness
XL. Return to Canaan prophesized
XLI. The burial of Jacob


Okay Lurene, this is a good, detailed outline. Now, to go onward in analysis, look for large ?? -- whole sections that have same topic, or characters, or action. Then, use some kind of visual aide to tie together ideas, themes, actions (e.g. covenants); - colors are useful for this – underlining, over-lining, boxing in parts, connecting lines. All this leads to understanding how parts work into whole organizing purpose (O.P.).

C. Pope

Use ch./verse references. Makes it much easier to find things. – end-

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Sumatran Tiger family in Auckland, New Zealand Zoo:

See photo credit in margin.

Unpublished outline for Charles Darwin’s book On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, 1984-1985, instructor Barbara Pope, Interdisciplinary Studies in Letters and Science (ISLS) program, Chabot College, Hayward, CA, by Lurene Helzer. This book by Mr. Darwin, originally published on November 24, 1859, is today almost as important as it was when it first appeared. 

Lurene's email in 2014:
It remains widely misunderstood because of Darwin’s popular phrase “survival of the fittest.”

The phrase means that species, for example, that can swim will survive in the ocean and species that can not swim will not be as suited for oceanic life. The poor swimmers will die out naturally. It does not mean that some vengeful club of hateful, bloodthirsty sharks murder smaller sharks for amusement.

Chapter IV Natural Selection N.S. = Natural Selection

On The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

Pg. 80

Can the principal of selection apply in nature? Natural Selection: The preservation of favorable variations and the rejection of injurious variations.

Pg. 82

Natural Selection caused by climatic changes: Extinction, chain reaction, immigration of inhabitants to other places.

Unless there are natural or other barriers.

Pg. 82

Unless profitable variations do occur, N.S. can do nothing.

No country is so stable, species-wise, that it is so well adjusted as to no need of further variation.

Pg. 83

The superiority of nature in its methods of gradual adoption and variation: Compare and contrast of man vs. nature, Survival of the Fittest.

Pg. 84

The perpetuity of N.S. – Civilizations inability to observe it in its intricate capacity (daily, hourly).

Pg. 84

Variations of color and flesh & N.S.

The role of N.S. in keeping a species’ characteristics true and constant.

Pg. 85

Unknown correlations of growth: Variation and N.S. or variation leads to Natural Selection eventually.

Pg. 86

Natural Selection guarantees that the modifications will not be injurious to the species. Insect example.

Pg. 86

The vastness of N.S.:

Does not work singularly, but always to the eventual benefit of the community, or to the species. But not for an individual organism.

Pg. 87

Sexual Selection:

Caused or put into effect by the struggle of Males for the Females. Ensures or helps preserve strong, healthy offspring. Applies mostly to carnivorous or polygamous animals.

Pg. 88

Sexual Selection in Birds:

The coloring and characteristics of birds is selected by the mating habits of successive generations: The most “beautiful” bird (male) is always chosen by the female: Characteristics are passed through Generations.

Pg. 89

Conclusion on Sexual Selection in Birds: Slight variations in birds are due to sexual selection. These various characteristics have survived because they are advantageous to the males when the females select or mate. Or, the females find these attractive. But there are some contradictions to this theory.

Pg. 90

Example of N.S. in Wolves: Swiftest wolves will survive when Deer population decreases.

Pg. 91

Examples of N.S. due to innate individual tendencies in certain species. Specifically, eating habits. Different climates also cause variation in eating habits. Explanation on why these habits may differ in species.

Pg. 91

Example of N.S. in cross breeding and the benefits. Those oftenest crossed will be selected.

Pg. 94

Division of Labor to Separate the sexes – may be temporary for N.S.

Pg. 94

Example of how bees and their flowers might adapt to each other through N.S. or – gradual deviations in structure.

Pg. 95

Argument for previous examples: Use previously disputed geological theory to back up this theory. Uses analogy. Tries to dispel “instant modification” idea.

Pg. 96

Theory: Hermaphrodites, at some time, concur for reproduction of their kind. Introduction to brief digression.

Pg. 96

Why Hermaphrodites must, at least occasionally, interbreed: Cross breeding gives strength and vigor to species while close interbreeding weakens.

Pg. 97

Example: Bees who carry pollen from one Hermaphrodite to another.

Pg. 98

Further example of how bees assist in Hermaphrodite reproduction process: Proves by using example of contradictions in self-reproductive process.

Pg. 99

Asserts that interbreeding between “varieties” is advantageous, but when between “species” is the reverse.

Pg. 99

Differences between Flowering tree reproduction in different countries. Digression.

Pg. 100

Introduces idea of Hermaphrodite animals occasionally crossing: Says there is no proof to the contrary. All animals, at some time, cross.

Pg. 101

States that, if Hermaphrodites do intercross, they have very small functional differences.

Pg. 101

Concludes digression on Hermaphrodite reproduction: An occasional intercross is the law of nature. Self-fertilization can not be truly perpetual.

Pg. 101

Circumstances favorable to N.S.: Although inheritable and diversified variability is favorable, mere individual differences suffice.

Theorizes that not only is N.S. favorable to the preservation of the species, it is necessary in a competitive environment to avoid extinction of the species.

Pg. 102

N.S. and Intercrossing and Size of Environment: Man’s breeding will be unsuccessful if intercrossing takes place. But when this breeding is less deliberate, it can be successful. In a large area, different districts will present different conditions of life. Intercrossing will most affect animals who unite for a birth. Slow breeding animals.

Pg. 103

The effects of intercrosses, even in slow breeding animals, will not completely retard N.S.

Pg. 103

The role of Intercrossing in keeping a species uniform: Intercrossing can only sustain the species if the conditions of life remain the same, through inheritance, and through N.S. weeding out the variations. Otherwise, the principals of N.S. must sustain them.

Pg. 104

Isolation’s Role in N.S.: In these areas, life will be uniform, intercrosses will be prevented, will allow new species to evolve if a change in environment occurs.

If the area is small, the number of individuals will be small and retard new species through N.S.

Pg. 105

Although a small enclosed area, like an island, is instrumental in the evolution of new species, it is impossible to conclude whether or not these conditions are superior to a large area, such as a continent, because of the differing time scales.

Pg. 105

Small Area –vs- Large Area to produce New Species; Large Area is Superior: Because,

1.) Large Area species endure and expand widely over the area
2.) Because of large number of individuals, there is a better chance of favorable variations
3.) Conditions of life are complex, which is advantageous to the growth of Species
4.) The strongest species have strength because they have had to compete with a wide variety of individuals to survive
5.) They will, therefore, give rise to new species and change the organic world

Pg. 106

The effect of diminished competition on the Species: On a small island, where there is little competition, there is less competition and less modification of the Species. Darwin referred to these island Species as “living fossils” since they have been subject to few variations over time.

Pg. 107

Conclusion: Reiteration of principals concerning large and small areas. But when small area joins a large area, extinction may take place. N.S. will resume over the area.

Pg. 108

Asserts that the slow rate at which N.S. operates is consistent with geological studies.

Pg. 109

Darwin talks about the perpetuity of N.S. as compared to Man’s methods of artificial selection.

Pg. 109

Extinction: Less favored species will become rare, then extinct. Darwin uses geology to back up his argument. The number of specific forms does not increase indefinitely. Yet, no region of the world is fully stocked.

Pg. 110

Species with the largest number of variations will have the best chance of surviving.

Pg. 110

Form closest to those undergoing favorable variations will suffer the most. The forms of any species will, likewise, press hardest against their closest kindred. The same applies to domestic selection.

Pg. 111

Varieties are species in the Process of formation: incipient species. Mere chance might cause variations in individual animals of the same species, but it is more than simple chance when the variation shows up habitually.

Pg. 111

Horse example of divergence of character using domestic Selection as an illustration.

Pg. 112….


Professor’s note:

Lurene –

Looks good – accurate. Can you look over the whole outline and see any major parts? And in relation to previous chapters? To later ones?

Sorry you missed the lecture on structural analysis of whole book and especially Ch. 1 – 4 today, Friday.


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Photo by Bryan McNally of Ireland in June of 2008.


Unpublished essay by Lurene Helzer on The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, January 30, 1984, Interdisciplinary Studies in Letters and Science (ISLS) program, Chabot College, Hayward, CA. I added on March 4, 1985 a second paper, which was a slightly revised version of this first paper.

The Canterbury Tales were written between 1380 and 1400 in England. I honestly do not think this was a very good paper while reviewing it again in October of 2009. I was just not interested, and it shows clearly today. Why?

I could not in January of 1984 appreciate Chaucer’s meaning to the England of 1400. Also, Chaucer’s writing, back in 1984, seemed to me hard to follow, unexciting. Nor could I appreciate the Middle English style of writing.

Lurene's email in 2014:
Today, I think Chaucer’s work gives one hundreds of insights into England as it existed for people centuries ago, so is worth the reading effort. You laugh because it keeps occurring to you that people are the same in multiple ways, century after century:

Lurene Helzer
The Canterbury Tales
By Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales center around a group of medieval pilgrims’ journey to Canterbury and the tales they tell about each other in order to repent their sins, the sins that are known as The Seven Deadly Sins.

The Oxford Cleric plays an important role in the tales with his message to the reader about patience. [Prof comment: Thesis?]

The character Griseld, who portrays a wife who marries above her social status only to be subject to a series of harsh tests by her husband, shows her consistency and patience. She is obedient to her husband through such tests as polygamy and the killing of her children.

In his closing words to the reader, the Oxford Cleric warns readers that such consistency is not easy to find.

“Husbands, be not so hardy as to assail the patience of your wives in hope to find Griseld’s, for you certainly will fail”
(page 372)

It is important to remember that the Cleric was not advocating that spouses (women in particular) subject themselves to abusive tests in order to be virtuous.

“This story does not mean it would be good/ for wives to ape Griseld’s humility/ it would be unendurable they should/But everybody in his own degree/Should be as perfect in his constancy/as was Griselda.”

As the Oxford Cleric is described in the prologue, he is an intellectual that would rather consume books than food.

“Whatever money from hi s friends he took/he spent on learning or another book/And his horse is a symbol of his frailty from malnourishment…his horse was thinner than a rake…”
(page 27)

Not a sentence came out of his mouth that was simple or shallow.

“Short, to the point, and lofty in his theme/a tone of moral virtue filled his speech.”

He was not a religious person.

“He had found no preferment in the church”
(Page 27)

The descriptive paragraphs in the prologue give clues as to his presence in tales told by the other pilgrims. The other pilgrims, of course, point out in their stories that the Cleric is not sin-free.

In the Miller’s tale, the Cleric is portrayed as a man who uses his intelligence and youth to further his habits of adultery and trickery.

The cleric takes advantage of a carpenter’s dim wits in order to sleep with his youthful wife, creating a horrific tale of a flood that is about to strike the town.

In the end, the cleric gets his just reward, as the carpenter is made the laughing stock of the community.

“But his hot iron was ready with a thump/He smote him in the middle of the rump”
(Page 121)

This passage describes the wrath of another town citizen when he finds out that he has been tricked and his hostility is directed toward the cleric. An important [point] about Chastity can be learned from this tale, I would imagine.

The cleric pops up again in a tale about marriage (several of them actually) in The Wife of Bath’s tale. The cleric plays the part of the fifth husband of the wife of bath. As he is described in the prologue, he is a regular bookworm in this tale. It is the cause of friction between the couple. (Professor Pope’s comment in margin: -- and how does this tale’s point of view compare to the wife’s…?)

All of the tales that the Cleric appears in seem to have a theme of marriage. Perhaps this is Symbolic of the deadly sin of envy and it’s a solution of love.

The Canterbury Tales
Translated by Nevill Coghill
[Prof: Incomplete bibliography. please complete it.]


This is a good topic and you have some good ideas and evidences. I want to see you about some ideas of organization. Especially you need a thesis statement. Keep writing about Chaucer – how he’s using the tale. With a clear thesis, this is easier to do. See me right away about revision


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Photos of front pages of Jerusalem Post, October 8, 2000; New York Times, August of 1968.

Unpublished essay by Lurene Helzer on The Inferno, by Dante. February 25, 1985, Interdisciplinary Studies in Letters and Science (ISLS) program, Chabot College, Hayward, CA. Another paper, a revision of this version, was written a week later. On these old papers, I rarely notice grades. I can usually make out critical remarks by the instructor in pencil, though.

Lurene's email in 2014:
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri was written between 1308 and 1321 in Italy. The Inferno is the first of three parts which comprise The Divine Comedy. It’s a long, fictional poem critical of the church’s merciless role in society, to put it simply. It took centuries before historians even understood Dante’s full impact on European history, most historians today agree.

When I look at these early papers of college, I can’t recognize myself. The punctuation and organization was comparatively poor. A few years later, however, I was able to get regularly published in local newspapers, so this must have been a period of academic growth for me:

Lurene Helzer
ISLS/B. Pope
The Inferno
February 25, 1985

Dante used political and religious characters (heavily) in The Inferno to provide a mirror image of the political climate of his day.

Dante, in Canto 4, provides the reader with an image of the church as being unfair to society. He writes about the virtuous Pagans who are guilty of not being baptized. In this passage, Virgil, Dante’s guide, explains the Virtuous Pagan’s situation to Dante.

I wish you to know before you travel on that these were sonless and still their merits fail, for they lacked baptisms grace, which is the door of the true faith you were born to. Their birth fell before the age of the Christian mysteries and so they did not worship God’s Trinity in fullest duty. I am one of these. For such defects are we lost, though spared the fire and suffering of Hell in one affliction only: that without hope we live on in desire.

(Page 50 and 51)

In these lines, the reader can assume that Dante thought the church’s teachings about baptism and the price one must pay for not being baptized, even though you would have if it might have been possible, were very unfair. The church, he seems to be saying, was being cruel to society in its impossible demands. The church was basically saying that, even if you were good all your life, you were born too late so you’re not going to heaven. Whether or not Dante believed this was a doctrine of the church, or of God, is not clear. But Dante clearly writes about the Virtuous Pagans with pity, and, judging from Virgil’s place in The Inferno, with great respect.

In Canto 9, however, Dante meets the Heretics who, instead of gaining his pity, apparently gain his scorn because of their denial of God’s gift of immortality. Dante, in this Canto, shows his loathing for real sinners. Dante gives them a severe punishment: to spend eternity in flaming graves. By telling people that life after death is nonexistent, the Heretics suffer a much worse fate than the Pagans who are in their situations because of circumstances beyond their control.

An interesting contrast can be seen in Dante’s treatment of the political sinners as compared to the religious sinners. It seems that the political sinners give Dante information all through the journey that is meant to be taken back up to the normal world. Again, Dante is only explaining to the reader what the political climate was in his time. Because politicians are often everything but honest, Dante told the real story in The Inferno by portraying them as telling it themselves in the form of a sort of symbolic confession. Perhaps this was Dante’s way of telling the politicians of his day that their sins would not go unnoticed forever and, likewise, not unpunished.

An example of this can be found in Dante’s treatment of such political figures as Azzolino and others with him in the boiling river of blood. The river of blood probably represents the blood of others that the sinners have shed in the course of their own evil doing. This seems to be a “make your bed and sleep in it too” type of punishment that Dante uses often with political sinners.

Playing the part of a messenger in Canto 10, Dante meets Farinata Degli Uberti and Cavalcante Dei Calvalcanti, who all carry on a discussion with Dante from their graves.

And as you hope to find the world again, tell me: why is that populace so savage in the edicts they pronounce against my strain?

(Page 98)

Dante tells, or should I say reminds, the doomed man of his sins and lets the reader know what is going on, as well as letting that particular politician know that he had better repent. Dante is expressing his own views to a certain extent, so it was safer for him to accuse political foes and inform the public of those accusations in the context of fictional poetry than to risk death by being overt about it.

So through these various political and religious characters in The Inferno, Dante is relaying his own political theories and pointing out to the reader who the political figures are that are the base of political unrest. Of course, he merely uses them to attack the ideas that they share: power through bloodshed and corruption. And even in his day, he recognized the destructive role that the church was capable of playing in society.

Dante, The Inferno. Translated by John Ciardi. New York: New American Library, 1954

[Some of 1985 handwritten notes, in faint pencil, on the original paper from Professor Barbara Pope, to extent I can today read them:]

Lurene –

This paper is much better organized than the C.T. paper. There needs to be a revised paper written here, not an outline. The thesis is good and you need to describe more in your own words. For example, on page 1 The Cano 4 quotation stands for all your evidence. It is not led up to by an introduction to the topic and what it has to do with your thesis.

On page 2, paragraph 1 – you introduce a contrast – comparison – where is the evidence for it?

And – What is the nature of Dante as messenger? Certainly not to an imagined soul in hell.

-- end--

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Unpublished outline for Apology of Socrates, January 14, 1985, Interdisciplinary Studies in Letters and Science (ISLS) program, Chabot College, Hayward, CA, by Lurene Helzer. The ISLS program was a special selection of courses at the community college for students who showed interest in obtaining full degree at university, and had minimal qualifications or requirements for doing so. I think I had to be approved for entrance to the program. Photo by H.D. of Grand Teton in 2007.

Lurene's email in 2014:

Lurene Helzer
Outline for Apology of Socrates
January 14, 1985

I Socrates defends his speaking style.
A) Quotes enemies as saying “Don’t be deceived by his eloquence.”
B) Calls himself deficient, but truthful.

II Socrates speaks of old charges from old accusers.

A) Calls them the accusers who he can not defend himself against, since the rumors are ancient.

III Says he will try to abolish evil rumors.

A) Says he hopes to succeed “if it be well for you and me.”
B) Makes the defense “as god wills” and in obedience to the law.

IV Speaks of old charges.

A) Old charges said to be…

Searches below earth and in heavens
Makes the worse appear the better cause
Teaches the above to others

B) Mentions the Comedy of Aristophanes and says he is uninvolved in these studies.
C) Urges those who know him to speak of him truthfully to others.

V Socrates talks about teaching for money.

A) Refutes the charges.
B) Calves/Humans argument.
C) Says that he is not knowledgeable enough to teach.

VI Socrates speaks of his wisdom.

A) Says that, according to the gods, there is no man wiser.

VII Socrates explains why he has an “evil name”.

A) Explains his search for a man wiser than himself.
B) Talks of a politician who is unwise, but thinks he is wise.
C) Talks of his advantage over the politician since he admits that he is not wise, and he knows it.

VIII Socrates goes to others to search for the meaning of the Oracle.

A) Finds the Oracle irrefutable.
B) Goes to challenge the poets, and finds them unwise because they do not understand their own poetry.
C) Finds himself superior to them because they think they are wise by virtue of their poetry.

IX Socrates challenges the artisans

A) Comes to the conclusion that he has neither their knowledge or ignorance.
B) Finds the meaning of the Oracle.

X Speaks of wisdom and his devotion to God.

A) Says that only god is wise; the wisdom of men is little or nothing.
B) Speaks of his search of wisdom in others.
C) Says he is in poverty because of his devotion to god.

XI Speaks of his numerous enemies.

A) Says his enemies are angry at him instead of themselves for their lack of wisdom.
B) Mentions his enemies by name.
C) Says that their hatred is proof of his telling the truth.

XII Socrates introduces the new charges.

A) Corrupter of youth.
B) Does not believe in the gods of the state.
C) Believes in other new divinities.
D) Proceeds to question Meletus about the first charge.

XIII Socrates questions Meletus.

A) Meletus says that Socrates is the only corrupter of youth.
B) Socrates accuses Meletus of contradicting himself.
C) Socrates says Meletus has no interest or knowledge in youth.
D) Socrates discusses the second charge, and the third.
E) Meletus calls Socrates an atheist.
F) Socrates calls him a liar and proceeds to unveil his contradictions.
G) Socrates asks Meletus if it is possible to believe in horsemanship, but not horses, and in same way, of gods.

H) On the strength of that defense, he proves Meletus a contradictory man.

XIII Socrates closes his argument against Meletus.

A) Says men should not be concerned with death.
B) Says men should be concerned not with death, but disgrace.

XIV Socrates talks about fear of death.

A) Calls the fear of death a pretense of wisdom; the appearance of knowing the unknown. Asks if it is not a conceited and disgraceful ignorance.
B) Says he will never avoid a possible good rather than a certain evil.
C) Vows to never alter his ways.

XV Socrates warns them about killing him.

A) Says that they will suffer more than themselves, and that it is not natural that a good man is injured by a bad man.
B) Warns them that they will not find another like him.
C) Calls his poverty proof that he does not teach for pay.

XVI Socrates talks of his duty toward the state.

A) Explains why he does not advise the state.
B) Says that the oracle always forbids him from doing certain things.
C) Says that no man who is really concerned with righteousness will save his own life in war.

XVII Socrates tries to prove that he is unyielding to death.

A) Tells of his experience as a senator.
B) Says that his only fear was doing an unrighteous or unholy thing.

XVIII Socrates explains why people like to converse with him.

A) Says that people like to hear the pretenders of wisdom cross-examined.
B) Says he is on a mission from God.
C) Says that if he had corrupted the youth, they would have taken revenge.
D) Speaks of his friends.
E) Says that his friends support him for the sake of truth and justice.

XIX Socrates closes his defense.

A) Explains why he does not bring his family into court.
B) Says such conduct is a disgrace.
C) Says that men fancy that something dreadful will happen to him if he dies.
D) Says that men make the mistake of linking life with immortality.

XX Socrates says his last words of defense.

A) Says a judge should not make a present of justice, but give fair judgment.

XXI Socrates acknowledges his condemnation.

A) Condemned by thirty votes.
B) Says that he has escaped Meletus.

XXII Socrates speaks of his penalty.

A) Says he is not afraid since he does not know whether death is good or evil.
B) Says that the greatest thing a man can do is converse about virtue.

XXIII Socrates speaks to the men who have sentenced him to death.

A) Socrates says men should avoid using every way of escaping death.
B) Socrates says the difficulty is not avoiding death, but avoiding unrighteousness.
C) Socrates calls his condemners condemned to suffer by the truth.

XXIV Socrates leaves a prophecy for his accusers.

A) Says that they will have many more accusers than he has now.
B) Says that they can avoid the accusers by improving themselves.

XXV Socrates talks of the Oracle.

A) Calls his condemnation good.

XXVI Explains what might happen after death that is good.

A) A state of unconsciousness, like a single dreamless night.
B) An opportunity to converse with others who have died and to continue searching for wisdom.

XXVII Socrates says that death can not harm him.

A) No evil can happen to a good man either in life or after death.
B) Says he is not angry with his accusers.
C) Says they have done him no harm, but can only blame them for doing him no good.

XXVIII Socrates asks for his friends to look after his sons.

A) Tells his friends to correct his sons if they think they are something when they are nothing.
B) Describes this as justice.

XXIX Socrates departs the court.

A) Says god only knows if life is better than death. –30--


Unpublished essay on The Apology, Plato, January 14, 1985, Interdisciplinary Studies in Letters and Science (ISLS) program, Chabot College, Hayward, CA, by Lurene Helzer. One thing I remember clearly about the instructor, Ms. Barbara Pope, is she did a great job of challenging students like me by demanding superior academic performance.

There were no easy grades in this course, probably because she thought easy grades would deter us at the university level. The assignments, like the one here, obviously were not light, either.

There is nothing simple in the arguments put forward by Plato. In my nightmares, Plato is an attorney interrogating me as I cry.

In The Apology, Plato writes of his friend Socrates defending himself against a society that does not understand his search for true wisdom and his daily commitment to virtue.

Socrates attempts to defend himself mainly by exposing the weaknesses in others. In The Apology, he tells the jury about these weaknesses both by demonstrating them in Meletus and by telling the jury of his experiences in his travels.

Socrates exposes Meletus’s weaknesses in front of the courtroom by making an argument of analogy:

“Tell me: does this also apply to horses do you think? That all men improve them and one individual corrupts them? (pg. 28)

Later, he calls the bluff:

“You have made it sufficiently obvious, Meletus, that you have never had any concern for our youth; you show your indifference clearly; that you have given no thought to the subjects about which you bring me to trial.”

Socrates attempts to explain why he has made enemies in the past by explaining the weaknesses he had exposed in some politicians:

“Then, when I examined this man – there is no need for me to tell you his name, he was one of our public men – my experience was something like this: I thought that he appeared wise to many people and especially to himself, but he was not. I then tried to show him that he thought himself wise, but that he was not. As a result, he came to dislike me, and so did many of the bystanders.” (pg. 25)

The weakness that Socrates tried to expose in others was not a lack of wisdom, however:

“….those who were thought to be inferior were more knowledgeable.” (pg. 26)

So it appeared that, according to Socrates, the only requirement of wisdom was to simply know that you were not wise. This was the weakness that Socrates continually tried to point out in others. He reasoned that no wisdom that was attainable by man was truly wisdom.

“….human wisdom is worth little or nothing…” (pg. 26)

Similarly, Socrates did not consider certain accusers to be his enemies, but the weaknesses that they possessed.

“This will be my undoing, if I am undone, not Meletus or Anytus but the slanders and envy of many people. This has destroyed many other good men and will, I think, continue to do so. There is no danger that it will stop at me.” (pg. 31)

As weak as he thought humanity was, Socrates had faith in the rewards of consistent virtue.

“….and keep this one truth in mind, that a good man cannot be harmed either in life or in death.” (pg. 42)

Of course, to point out the weaknesses of others is not proof of innocence in Socrates. Knowing this, Socrates remained constant with his own words.

“….death is something I couldn’t care less about, but that my whole concern is not to do anything unjust or impious.” (pg. 35)

Socrates leaves one ironic question in the work, however. What is to be attained by the unattainable wisdom? --30--

Bibliography necessary. I think this is answered! It’s what the entire work of Plato is about – What is wisdom? And he uses the life of Socrates as an object demonstration of true wisdom. Bring the paper for our conference and will talk about it. Also, look over the form, paragraphing, etc. and see what you think needs to be changed. These good ideas and supported well! – B. Pope

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