Plato’s “Symposium” is considered to be one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time. The Greek classic is the subject of a lecture by Trent Eades, an assistant professor of English at Pellissippi State Community College.
“Plato’s ‘Symposium’: The Original Drinking Party” is 3:30-4:30 p.m., Dec. 9, in the Goins Building Auditorium at the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The event, sponsored by Gnosis, Pellissippi State’s student service-learning club, is free and open to the public.
“‘The Symposium’ is a combination of low comedy and high seriousness,” Eades said. “Although the word ‘symposium’ now means ‘conference,’ the Greek word literally meant ‘drinking party.’
“In Plato’s ‘Symposium,’ the partiers decide to entertain themselves by making speeches in praise of love. It’s all very fun, and very civilized, until a drunken Alcibiades crashes the party and makes a rather pointed speech in praise of the philosopher Socrates.”
The drinking party takes place 416 B.C., hosted by the Athenian tragic poet Agathon. The participants—among them Socrates, playwrights and politicians—philosophize about heavenly love, “common” (sexual) love, love as a mythic being and love of wisdom.
“In ‘The Symposium,’ Plato gives us this unbelievably exalted view of love,” Eades said. “We’re supposed to transcend our mortal love for another person and move on to the love of wisdom, which, literally, is the meaning of the word ‘philosophy.’”
The Gnosis student organization hosts educational events and does charitable work for the community. The group has been recognized by the college as the Outstanding Student Organization for the past two years.
Pellissippi State’s 2011-2012 Faculty Lecture Series also is supporting the event. The informative, entertaining, often provocative lecture series presentations are meant to showcase the talents and knowledge of the college’s faculty.
To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or firstname.lastname@example.org.