The final video in our series on ancient religious scepticism features the acclaimed historian, author and broadcaster Dr Bettany Hughes in conversation with Professor Tim Whitmarsh. Bettany’s recent book takes as its subject the Greek philosopher Socrates, who in 399BC was put on trial for impiety (asebeia in Greek) and subsequently executed. As Bettany explains here, Socrates was deeply suspicious of the written word, which is why our historical evidence about the man and his (dis)beliefs come from other contemporary and later writers. In particular, Tim and Bettany discuss the work of Aristophanes, Plato and Xenophon, exploring how these writers’ rather different portraits of the great philosopher may have been shaped by their own literary and political agendas. Bettany also moves beyond the theme of religious scepticism to share some of her thoughts about why the figure of Socrates has such an enduring appeal, and our mini-series ends with a simple but powerful reminder of the basic Socratic values: to love one another, to share our ideas, and to care about those around us.

For Bettany’s current and future projects see

Click on the image below or follow this link to watch our interview!