Monthly Archives: March 2006

Elisha Ben Abuya and Socrates: Parallel Stories in Rabbinic and Platonic Literatures

I think I might have found the most remarkable thing: a parallel between the stories of Socrates, the Greek, and Elisha Ben Abuya, the Jew.
That there is an intellectual similarity between Plato and Rabbinic Judaism is nothing new: academics have been reflecting on the similarities between Rabbinic pronouncements and Platonic statements for over two millennia–Philo of Alexandria had noted as much in before the common era (as it’s called for some reason) even began.
One of the greatest treasure troves for finding these similarities has been the stories of the lives of the Sages themselves, and specifically those that seem to have to do with the mystical tradition. The most well-known of these is the story of the Pardes.

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