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Headword: *sofisth/s
Adler number: sigma,814
Translated headword: sophist
Vetting Status: high
"You will make this man a skilful sophist."[1] This is what they used to call everyone who had been educated.[2]
But the ancients used to speak of wisdom [sophia], and call sophists those involved with music.[3]
And Philostratus the Lemnian [writes]: "you are wise men, but not sophists about everything."[4]
Aristophanes in Clouds [writes]: "that the majority of people feed sophists".[5] He is speaking here of the star-gazers,[6] but by a misuse of language [he calls so] everyone whose starting-point is their studies. And no surprise, given that he did not hesitate to call this way even the pipers. At any rate Plato the writer of comedies in his play Sophists also placed the Opuntian poet Bacchylides under the same title of the sophists.[7] Sophists are all those who have been educated. However, Aristophanes applied wrongly the name of the sophists to every skill.[8]
[sc. For the point that] a sophist [is] everyone able to make money from apparent wisdom:[9] look, besides, under dynamis.[10]
Greek Original:
*sofisth/s. komiei= tou=ton sofisth\n decio/n. ou(/tws e)/legon pa/ntas tou\s pepaideume/nous. oi( de\ palaioi\ sofi/an e)/legon, kai\ sofista\s tou\s peri\ mousikh/n. kai\ *filo/stratos o( *lh/mnios: sofoi\ me\n u(mei=s, a)ll' ou) pa/nta sofistai/. *)aristofa/nhs *nefe/lais: plei/stous o(tih\ bo/skousi sofista/s. tou\s metewrole/sxas nu=n le/gei, kataxrhstikw=s de\ kai\ pa/ntas tou\s a)po\ tw=n maqhma/twn o(rmwme/nous. kai\ qaumasto\n ou)de/n, o(/pou mhde\ tou\s au)lhta\s prosagoreu/ein w)/knhsen ou(/tw. *pla/twn gou=n o( kwmw|diopoio\s e)n dra/mati *sofistai=s kai\ to\n *)opou/ntion poihth\n *bakxuli/dhn ei)s tou)/noma kate/tace tw=n sofistw=n. sofistai\ de\ pa/ntes, o(/soi pepaideume/noi. kataxrhstikw=s de\ *)aristofa/nhs e)pi\ pa/shs te/xnhs e)/labe to\ tw=n sofistw=n o)/noma. o(/ti sofisth/s e)stin o( duna/menos a)po\ fainome/nhs sofi/as xrhmati/zesqai: kai\ zh/tei e)n tw=| du/namis.
[1] Aristophanes, Clouds 1111, followed by comment from the scholia there.
[2] cf. delta 232; also sigma 812, sigma 813.
[3] cf. generally Plato, Protagoras 316E.
[4] Adler could not find this quotation, but it is Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 1.26.9 (identified by Robert Penella: see Bibliography).
[5] Aristophanes, Clouds 331, followed by comment from the scholia there.
[6] cf. Aristophanes, Clouds 360, where they are metewrosofistai/.
[7] (Not to be confused with beta 59.) As Dover 144 says, "the title of Plato Comicus' play Sophists seems [...] to have referred to a wide range of accomplishments"; see Kassel-Austin, PCG 7.492-497.
[8] Aristophanes, Clouds 331-ff. Dover 144 considers that this passage "may be one of the earliest examples (...) of the sense 'teacher of undesirable or superfluous accomplishments'". See also Plato, Protagoras 316D-E.
[9] Plato, Protagoras 313A-B.
[10] delta 1573.
A.W. Adkins, "Arete, techne, democracy and sophists: Protagoras 316B-328D," Journal of Hellenic Studies 93 (1973) 3-12
Aristophanes, Clouds, edited with Introduction and Commentary by K.J. Dover (Oxford 1968)
M. Canto-Sperber (ed.), Philosophie grecque (Paris 1997)
E. Dupreel, Les sophistes; Protagoras, Gorgias, Prodicus, Hippias (Neuchatel 1948)
W.K.C. Guthrie, The History of Greek Philosophy, Vol. III: The fifth-Century Enlightment (Cambridge 1969)
R.J. Penella, "An Unidentified Quotation from Philostratus in the Suda," AJPh 98 (1977) 126.
M.C. Stokes, Plato's Socratic Conversations (London 1986)
M. Untersteiner, I Sofisti (Turin 1947; second edition translated: Les Sophistes, Paris 1993, 2 vols)
P. Woodruff, "Plato's Early Theory of Knowledge," in H. Benson (ed.), Essays on the Philosophy of Socrates (Oxford 1992)
Keywords: comedy; definition; history; philosophy; rhetoric
Translated by: Marisa Divenosa on 17 November 1999@18:43:47.
Vetted by:
Svetla Slaveva on 18 February 2000@17:07:07.
David Whitehead (modified translation; augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 16 June 2002@09:34:59.
Catharine Roth (restorative and other cosmetics) on 5 December 2006@11:08:41.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 6 December 2006@03:16:52.
Catharine Roth (added bibliographical item) on 22 April 2008@11:02:39.
Aikaterini Oikonomopoulou (Improved translation; small editorial changes (italisation of ancient titles)) on 25 May 2012@09:45:14.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 30 December 2013@07:59:26.
David Whitehead (tweaked a note) on 1 January 2015@09:10:15.


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