James M. Rhodes

Written by James M. Rhodes

James M. Rhodes (1940-2015) was Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Marquette University in Wisconsin. He was author of The Hitler Movement: A Modern Millenarian Revolution ((980) and Eros, Wisdom, and Silence: Plato’s Erotic Dialogues (2003), both winners of the Alpha Sigma Nu Award. His posthumously book is Knowledge, Sophistry, and Scientific Politics.

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Democracy, Language, And Rhetoric1
“Democracy, Language, and Rhetoric” is a legitimate and important topic. However, upon confronting it, one initially encounters at least three formidable complexes of questions. Here’s an inventory of the issues that I see:
First, what do we want to learn about rhetoric and language in democracies? Are we inquiring what democratic rhetoric is? Are we curious about the…

The word “metaxy” (μεταξύ) is a Greek preposition, meaning “between.” Normally, Greek philosophers use “metaxy” much as we use “between” in numerous everyday settings, without great significance. However, there is a line in Plato’s Symposium in which Diotima defines Eros as “a great daimon,” adding that “the whole of the daimonic is between [metaxy] god and mortal” (202d13-e1). In that…


[We need to] recognize that Voegelin is analyzing [Greek] thinkers who appropriated the common Greek meanings of [various] terms for special uses, to designate specific movements of the spirit. Then stop worrying about the words and concentrate on the designated movements. It is important to grasp the movements of the spirit that occurred in the cases analyzed, not the words…

Stanley Rosen


Stanley Rosen himself is a grateful student of Leo Strauss who never­theless announces: "I am in considerable disagreement with Strauss's gen­eral program." 115 His dissent from Strauss assimilates irony to postmod­ernism, pressing esotericism in rhetorical directions that Strauss does not wish to take. 
Rosen agrees with his teacher about much. Like Strauss, he proclaims "recognition of irony as…

Leo Strauss joins the debate about Platonic silence on the side of Gott-hold Lessing.60 Perhaps he also sides with Friedrich Nietzsche secretly. He opposes Friedrich Schleiermacher and G. W. F. Hegel. He treats Socratic and Platonic irony specifically in The City and Man and the esotericism of great philosophers generally in Persecution and the Art of Writing. At first, his…

Plato directly and indirectly cautions his students that he does not commu­nicate with them straightforwardly. To repeat the warnings quoted previ­ously, Plato fiercely denies in his Seventh Letter that Dionysius II and other dubious individuals could have known that about which he is serious (περί ων εγώ σπουδάζω). They could not have understood it, "For there is no writing of…
School of Athens Education Plato Socrates

Classical and Contemporary Eros
In the Theages, Demodocus, a rural landowner and a committed demo­crat, approaches Socrates with his son Theages in tow. Demodocus is fear­ful because his son wants to become wise (121c-d), and he knows what Theages means by that term. Theages craves knowledge of how to rule human beings (123a). In fact, Theages openly confesses to wishing to…
School of Athens Education Plato Socrates

What, if anything, does Socrates know about Eros?
The Platonic Socrates is renowned for proclaiming his ignorance. His repu­tation owes primarily to several statements that he makes in Plato's Apology of Socrates. For example, he denies that he is a clever speaker (17a-b). He argues that his enemies have said "nothing true" (ούδέυ άληθές 18b6) in their snide accounts of him,…