Platos Penal Code: Tradition, Controversy, and Reform in Greek Penology

Paperback | April 1, 1995

byTrevor J. Saunders

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The ancient Greeks were vigorous critics of their own culture. Their literature is full of debate about punishment: who should inflict it on whom, for what offence, and in what form. Yet few questioned the traditional orthodoxy that it ought to be primarily retributive. The great exceptionwas Plato. Building on certain insights of Socrates and Protagoras, he advocated a strictly reformative penology, cast in medical terms and designed to `cure' the offender's mental state.This book traces the development of Greek ideas and controversies about punishement from Homer to Plato. It then demonstrates in detail how in his Laws Plato attempts to give concrete expression to his radical new penology by in effect rewriting the Athenian penal code.The ancient problem of the purpose of punishment is still of relevance to contempary society. This expostion of Plato's instructive and important attempt to solve it is therefore written with the needs of non-specialists very much in mind. The complex material is lucidly set out, and key Greekterms are transliterated and explained.

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From Our Editors

This book first traces the development of Greek ideas and controversies about punishment from Homer to Plato. It then demonstrates in detail how in his Laws Plato attempts to give concrete expression to his radical new penology by in effect rewriting the Athenian penal code. The ancient problem of the purpose of punishment is still of ...

From the Publisher

The ancient Greeks were vigorous critics of their own culture. Their literature is full of debate about punishment: who should inflict it on whom, for what offence, and in what form. Yet few questioned the traditional orthodoxy that it ought to be primarily retributive. The great exceptionwas Plato. Building on certain insights of ...

From the Jacket

This book first traces the development of Greek ideas and controversies about punishment from Homer to Plato. It then demonstrates in detail how in his Laws Plato attempts to give concrete expression to his radical new penology by in effect rewriting the Athenian penal code. The ancient problem of the purpose of punishment is still of ...

Trevor J. Saunders is at University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.02 inPublished:April 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198149603

ISBN - 13:9780198149606

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From Our Editors

This book first traces the development of Greek ideas and controversies about punishment from Homer to Plato. It then demonstrates in detail how in his Laws Plato attempts to give concrete expression to his radical new penology by in effect rewriting the Athenian penal code. The ancient problem of the purpose of punishment is still of relevance to contemporary society. This exposition of Plato's instructive and important attempt to solve it is therefore written with the needs of non-specialists very much in mind. The complex material is lucidly set out, and key Greek terms are transliterated and explained.

Editorial Reviews

'Throughout Saunders exercises admirable patience in sorting out the often confusing or obscure passages in the Laws; many sections amount to detailed philological and historical commentary on extended passages from Plato's unfinished (and probably unrevised) work. I recommend this book warmlyto students of Plato's political thought and of Greek law; despite its massive detail and painstaking analysis, Saunders manages to infect the reader with his fascination for the subject.'John Bussanich, University of New Mexico, Classical World