Getting at the Truth Concerning Ancient Trials


Examine trial in light of literary techniques and practices of time

Trial of Socrates:
---What's not said (much about relationship to Critias) as well as what's said
---Plato wrote at time many of his readers would have had first-hand knowledge of trial, which should keep him from straying too far from the facts
---Defiant tone of Socrates' defense comes through in both Plato's and Xenophon's accounts, and therefore is probably accurate

Trial of Jesus:
---The need to present Roman rule in a favorable light  (Barabbas incident, "Pilate wondered", "Pilate perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests delivered him up," hand washing incident, etc.)
---"Darkness at noon"  (Compare to four Roman historians making similar reference to the day of Caesar's assassination in 44 BC, yet no eclipse on either date)