Why the Bible is subtler than Homer or Plato. I taught ancient political theory for 38 years. More than any single thing I learned, what remains is the insight (hardly mine alone) that Western civilization is the conjunction of Athens and Jerusalem. The way we think even today is a combination of the rationality of the Greeks with the transcendent vision of The Bible.
Now this isn’t quite right, for Plato certainly had a transcendent vision of what he called the forms (eidos). The forms exist in a world beyond time and space; they represent standards of perfection in almost everything and every virtue. Plato has been called a pagan saint, and it’s easy to see why. It was not difficult to Christianize Plato.
On the other hand, there are fundamental differences between the Platonic and Judaeo-Christian worlds. The most important difference is their table of the virtues. For Plato, and the ancient Greeks in general, wisdom, courage, self-discipline, and justice are the highest virtues. Lacking are the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity (caritas). Charity is the unselfish love of others, especially those in need. Plato wrote for fellow aristocrats. The Judeao-Christian tradition speaks for the widow, the orphan, and the stranger. Today the stranger is likely to be an immigrant, refugee, or displaced person.