Brother AACOOLDRE : Was St James influenced by Plato's Phaedrus??


Well-Known Member
Jul 26, 2001
Was ST James influenced by Plato’s Phaedrus in his symbolic representation of St Paul as the Black Horse?

By Andre Austin

The Letter of St. James refers to a person as a Lying Horse whose bits and bridles can’t tame his evil talk against the Law of Moses (see Chapter 3 of the letter of James). If we read the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Damascus Document they share similar language and we now also understand the symbolic meaning of Paul having “Scales” drop from his eyes also in (Acts 9:18) in its reverse. Robert Eisenman, in his book James the brother of Jesus equates the letter of James symbolism of a evil man’s tongue (Lying Horse) was referring to Paul.

I will quote a brief passage from Plato in then insert similar passages in Revelations, 2 Peter, Jude and James use of material from Plato’s Phaedrus to set up a Typology, basing one character upon another to lampoon, satire, parody and spoof Paul. First we should be aware all four writers above equate Paul with a Donkey, Horse and a Mule. First Paul admits he’s related to the Herodian Arabs from which the bible states the Arab peoples will be a “Wild-*** (Donkey) see Genesis 16:11-12).

THE Chariot Allegory of Plato, which appears in the Phaedrus, is a very important part of the Western — and World — spiritual and philosophical tradition. It presents a rich metaphor for the soul and its journey. Everyone with a soul should read it!

The soul is portrayed as a compound of three components: a charioteer (Reason), and two winged steeds: one white (spiritedness, the irascible element, boldness) and one black (the appetitive element, concupiscence, desire). The goal is to ascend to divine heights — but the black horse poses problems.

Plato states:

As I said at the beginning of this tale, I divided each soul intothree-two horses and a charioteer; and one of the horses was good and theother bad: the division may remain, but I have not yet explained in whatthe goodness or badness of either consists, and to that I will proceed.The right-hand horse is upright and cleanly made; he has a lofty neck andan aquiline nose; his colour is white (Rev 19:11-19), and his eyes dark; he is a loverof honour and modesty and temperance, and the follower of true glory; heneeds no touch of the whip, but is guided by word and admonition only.The other is a crooked lumbering animal, put together anyhow; he has ashort thick neck; he is flat-faced and of a dark colour (Rev 6:5), with grey eyesand blood-red complexion; the mate of insolence and pride, shag-eared anddeaf, hardly yielding to whip and spur (Acts 16:22) . Now when the charioteer beholdsthe vision of love, and has his whole soul warmed through sense, and isfull of the prickings (Acts 9:5)and ticklings of desire, the obedient steed, thenas always under the government of shame, refrains from leaping on the beloved;but the other, heedless of the pricks ( Acts 9:5) and of the blows of the whip, plungesand runs away, giving all manner of trouble to his companion and the charioteer,whom he forces to approach the beloved and to remember the joys of love.They at first indignantly oppose him and will not be urged on to do terribleand unlawful deeds; but at last, when he persists in plaguing them, theyyield and agree to do as he bids them.

And now they are at the spot and behold the flashing beauty ofthe beloved; which when the charioteer sees, his memory is carried to thetrue beauty, whom he beholds in company with Modesty like an image placedupon a holy pedestal. He sees her, but he is afraid and falls backwardsin adoration, and by his fall is compelled to pull back the reins withsuch violence as to bring both the steeds on their haunches, the one willingand unresisting, the unruly one very unwilling ( Letter of Jude 1:8-10 for the unreasonable/stubborn Mule); and when they have goneback a little, the one is overcome with shame and wonder, and his wholesoul is bathed in perspiration; the other, when the pain is over whichthe bridle (Rev 14:20 & James 1: 26) and the fall had given him, having with difficulty taken breath,is full of wrath and reproaches, which he heaps upon the charioteer andhis fellow-steed, for want of courage and manhood, declaring that theyhave been false to their agreement and guilty of desertion. Again theyrefuse, and again he urges them on, and will scarce yield to their prayerthat he would wait until another time. When the appointed hour comes, they make as if they had forgotten, and he reminds them, fighting and neighingand dragging them on, until at length he, on the same thoughts intent,forces them to draw near again. And when they are near he stoops his headand puts up his tail, and takes the bit (James 3:3-6)in his teeth. and pulls shamelessly.Then the charioteer is. worse off than ever; he falls back like a racerat the barrier, and with a still more violent wrench drags the bit outof the teeth of the wild steed and covers his abusive tongue (James 3: 1-17) and-jaws withblood, (Revelations 14:20) and forces his legs and haunches to the ground and punishes himsorely. And when this has happened several times and the villain has ceasedfrom his wanton way, he is tamed (James 3: 7-8) and humbled, and follows the will of the charioteer, and when he sees the beautiful one he is ready to die of fear.And from that time forward the soul of the lover follows the beloved inmodesty and holy fear.

A couple of lines down more Socrates talks about Buying a horse and going to War and an Orator instead of putting an *** (donkey) in the place of a horse puts good for evil. Falsely persuades them about the shadow of an *** (donkey) which he confounds with a horse; a gradual departure of truth into the opposite of Truth . St James and others accused Paul of doing this when he advocated them breaking Law of Moses.

In Revelations the White Horse (Justice) was symbolic of Domitian and he kills the Black Horse which was symbolic of Paul (see Rev 19:11-20).

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