Jesus & Personal Virtue

Mosaic Law

Jesus taught people the spirit of the Law of Moses rather than a rigid prescriptive interpretation. This teaching combined with his message of repentance and virtuous behavior irritated the Pharisees and Temple Priests so much that they wanted him silenced.

There is a similarity between the Jesus who irritated the Pharisees in ancient Israel and Socrates who irritated the Athenians. Both taught the development of inner purity and personal virtue as the purpose of this life rather than the accumulation of temporal earthly wealth.

Still Relevant

The message of Jesus is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago but only a few heed the call to repentance. The response of people today will probably be similar to those who heard these men back in the Roman era. Some listen and agree, many are disinterested and unmoved, and a few will voice strong disapproval.


Both Jesus and Socrates were executed for spreading their opinions. Roman soldiers in Jerusalem brutally scourged Jesus and then crucified him at the behest of the Jewish Sanhedrin, and the people of Athens used hemlock poison to execute Socrates.

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Socrates & Aesop

Socrates the Man Socrates's Opinion Socrates's Death Aesop's Fables

Jesus Parables

At times when Jesus was indignant about the commercialization of religious beliefs he presented his message forcefully and directly to the Jews he wanted to rebuke, but when he was teaching his followers he showed patience and compassion.

As a way of communicating his beliefs to unlearned listeners Jesus frequently used short-story parables. Teaching through parables is similar to the story method used by Aesop the Greek slave. Aesop used fables, short allegorical stories that use animals as the main characters, to teach his listeners. Although some fables were amusing and could easily be remembered because of the humor they all contained a deeper philosophical meaning.

Fables and parables hold a listener's interest but the deeper meaning sometimes requires clarification from the teacher to be fully understood. The Sower Parable attributed to Jesus is an example.

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