Tyranny as a potential danger of political life was recognized from the beginning of the Western tradition, in the Bible as well as the classical political philosophy of Plato, Xenophon, and Aristotle. What is the nature of a tyrannical regime and a tyrannical soul? What sorts of strategic responses are available to those confronted with a tyrant’s power? This course seeks to address such questions by studying the Book of Esther, Plato’s Republic, and Xenophon’s Hiero, all of which examine the nature of despotism.
- Excerpts from The Book of Esther
- Excerpts from Plato, Republic IX
- Excerpts from Xenophon, Hiero
Meet the Instructor
Ronna Burger is Catherine & Henry J. Gaisman Chair in Philosophy and Sizeler Professor of Jewish Studies at Tulane University, where she has been teaching since 1980, after receiving her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research Graduate Faculty. Her work has been supported by the Mellon, Humboldt, Earhart, and Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundations as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities. Burger is the author of Aristotle’s Dialogue with Socrates: On the Nicomachean Ethics (2008), along with books on Plato’s Phaedo (1984, 1999) and Phaedrus (1980), and a monograph on the question of the holy in Plato’s Euthyphro (2015). Her published articles include “Maimonides on Knowledge of Good and Evil” and “Woman and Nature: the Female Drama of the Book of Genesis.” In recent years Burger has been teaching a series of courses on “Bible and Philosophy,” and has lectured at numerous college campuses on Adam and Eve, Rebekah, Joseph, Moses, and Esther.
Kate Havard Rozansky