But more than that, in regard to God's foreknowledge of the future and his forewarning thereof to whomsoever he will, these are the same terms, I assert, that all men use, and this is their belief. The only difference between them and me is that whereas they call the sources of their forewarning ‘birds,’ ‘utterances,’ ‘chance meetings,’ ‘prophets,’ I call mine a ‘divine’ thing;1 and I think that in using such a term I am speaking with more truth and deeper religious feeling than do those who ascribe the gods' power to birds. Now that I do not lie against God I have the following proof: I have revealed to many of my friends the counsels which God has given me, and in no instance has the event shown that I was mistaken.”
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Apology of Socrates
1 Or “divine sign.” Here, as earlier, the mere adjective is used; but in Plato's Theages (Plat. Theag. 128 D ff.) and Apology (Plat. Apol. 31 D) this admonitory something is described as a voice sent by heavenly dispensation, and is called variously “the sign” (Plat. Apol. 41 D), “the usual sign” (Plat. Apol. 40 C), “the divine sign” (Plat. Rep. 496 C), “the usual divine sign” (Plat. Euthyd. 272 E, Plat. Phaedr. 242 B, Plat. Theag. 129 B), “the sign from God” (Plat. Apol. 40 B), “something God-sent and divine” (Plat. Apol. 31 D). Plato reports Socrates' description of this as a voice not directing his actions but serving only as a deterrent when he or his friends were contemplating doing something inadvisable.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.