Illuminating the ancient philosophers, Takis Poulakos points out the shift in Plato and Isocrates’ use of the term to describe people coming together in the instance of the formation of cities. While Poulakos only affords a brief paragraph highlighting this shift in words, the act of “coming together” deserves a closer look. Originally, Plato used Άθροίξεσθαι, or hathroizesthai, meaning people coming together out of necessity in numbers. Bloch offers a similar definition of Plato’s hathroizesthai in Protagoras, saying, “the origin of the law was to be founding hathroizesthai, a “self gathering”; accordingly the state must offer its services to all people.” However, Isocrates later chose to use Συνερχεσθαι, or sunerchesthai, which instead means coming together willingly and deliberately. Having come together out of a decision, rather than a necessity for survival, a city’s binding force was logos of the polis. Reflecting Poulakos, Ekatarina sees Isocrates’ description of why cities were formed as ‘expand[ing] the reach of logos beyond the realm of practical skills.’
Eventually, Christianity would come to use the term sunerchesthai. In the book of Corinthians, conjugations of the word are used four separate times. Chauvet has translated slightly differing meanings in Corinthians, sunerchesthai now meaning “assemble” and sunagethai meaning “come together”. Chauvet goes on to say “the “coming together” of the Christians is the distinguishing characteristic of Christian worship.” In the text of the letters, Paul explains to the Corinthians how they are to come together in worship. Like Isocrates, he chooses the sunerchesthai rather than hathroizesthai. The latter could have given the connotation that out of necessity and numbers Christians will come together. But by choosing sunerchesthai, there is a call to action instilled in the word with a political element. Wannenwetsch proposes that by “coming together”, worship “sets up the agenda for ethical enquiry” as it is logos that defines them. Just as cities came together out of choice so does a church; the individual being a citizen of the Christian polis.
In our modern day, there is a duality of why people come together. With the more positive Isocratic outlook, people unite based on logos, making a decision to do so with the goal of betterment and improvement for whatever polis to which they belong, just as the aforementioned Christians did. Isocrates would argue that this is in fact the only way in which people come together. However, less favorably, people do still aggregate in numbers out of necessity. The new cities of our world, squatter cities, have done so in this way. With poverty inherent to the city model they breed crime and disease and all government absent. Well the ancient Greeks may have had the luxury of a simpler time and smaller communities, today, over one billion people live in squatter communities and the number is still rising. If this is the future for our cities, the polis has little hope if hathroizesthai persists. For if there is no choice to come together than there can be no logos, and thus, no polis.
6 Neuwirth, Robert (2005). Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World. New York, NY: Routledge.
 Poulakos, Takis (1997). Speaking for the Polis. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press. P 16
 Bloch, Ernst (1996). Natural Law and Human Dignity. First MIT Press. P 8
 Haskins, Ekaterina (2004) Logos and Power in Isocrates and Aristotle.
Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press. P 88
 Chauvet, Louis Marie (1995). Symbol and Sacrament: A Sacramental Reinterpretation of Christian Existence. The Liturgical Press. P 185
 Wannenwetsch, Bernd (2004). Political Worship: Ethics for Christian Citizens by Bernd Wanenwetsch. Oxford University Pres. P 70, 71