THE life of a great man, particularly when he belongs to a remote age, can never be a mere record of undisputed fact. Even when such facts are plentiful, the biographer's real business is with their interpretation; he must penetrate behind mere events to the purpose and character they disclose, and can only do so by an effort of constructive imagination. And in the case of both the historical figures whose influence on the life of humanity has been profoundest, Jesus and Socrates, indisputable facts are exceptionally rare; perhaps there is only one statement about each which a man might not deny without forfeiting his claim to be counted among the sane. It is certain that Jesus 'suffered under Pontius Pilate,' and no less certain that Socrates was put to death at Athens on a charge of impiety in the 'year of Laches' (399 B.C.). Any account of either which goes beyond such a statement is inevitably a personal construction.