Plato’s Euthyphro on Divine and Human Wisdom
A chance encounter with a certain Euthyphro leads Socrates to have a conversation directly related to the charges that are about to be brought against him and on which he will soon be convicted and sentenced to die. Euthyphro claims, and persists in claiming, that he possesses a profound understanding of piety and the gods, which understanding Socrates has long tried to acquire for himself. The dialogue consists of Socrates’ effort to learn what Euthyphro knows, which includes the requirement that he test whether Euthyphro really knows what he claims. Although Socrates may also wish to deter Euthyphro from prosecuting his father for murder, which he thinks his professed knowledge requires him to do, Ambler argues that Socrates’ deeper goal is to see whether, how, and how far his merely human wisdom is entitled to assess and reject Euthyphro’s claim to divine wisdom.