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Against those who readily come to the profession of sophists.

THEY who have taken up bare theorems (θεωρήματα) immediately wish to vomit them forth, as persons whose stomach is diseased do with food. First digest the thing, then do not vomit it up thus: if you do not digest it, the thing becomes truly an emetic, a crude food and unfit to eat. But after digestion show us some change in your ruling faculty, as athletes show in their shoulders by what they have been exercised and what they have eaten; as those who have taken up certain arts show by what they have learned. The carpenter does not come and say, Hear me talk about the carpenter's art; but having undertaken to build a house, he makes it, and proves that he knows the art. You also ought to do something of the kind; eat like a man, drink like a man, dress, marry, beget children, do the office of a citizen, endure abuse, bear with an unreasonable brother, bear with your father, bear with your son, neighbour, com- panion.1 Show us these things that we may see that you have in truth learned something from the philosophers. You say, No; but come and hear me read (philosophical) commentaries. Go away, and seek somebody to vomit them on. (He replies) And indeed I will expound to you the writings of Chrysippus as no other man can: I will explain his text most clearly: I will add also, if I can, the vehemence of Antipater and Archedemus.2

Is it then for this that young men shall leave their country and their parents, that they may come to this place, and hear you explain words? Ought they not to return with a capacity to endure, to be active in asso- ciation with others, free from passions, free from pertur- bation, with such a provision for the journey of life with which they shall be able to bear well the things that happen and derive honour from them?3 And how can you give them any of these things which you do not possess? Have you done from the beginning any thing else than employ yourself about the resolution of Syllo- gisms, of sophistical arguments (οἱ μεταπίπτοντες), and in those which work by questions? But such a man has a school; why should not I also have a school? These things are not done, man, in a careless way, nor just as it may happen; but there must be a (fit) age and life and God as a guide. You say, No. But no man sails from a port without having sacrificed to the Gods and invoked their help; nor do men sow without having called on Demeter; and shall a man who has undertaken so great a work undertake it safely without the Gods? and shall they who undertake this work come to it with success? What else are you doing, man, than divulging the mys- teries? You say, there is a temple at Eleusis, and one here also. There is an Hierophant at Eleusis,4 and I also will make an Hierophant: there is a herald, and I will establish a herald: there is a torchbearer at Eleusis, and I also will establish a torchbearer; there are torches at Eleusis, and I will have torches here. The words are the same: how do the things done here differ from those done there?—Most impious man, is there no difference? these things are done both in due place and in due time; and when accompanied with sacrifice and prayers, when a man is first purified, and when he is disposed in his mind to the thought that he is going to approach sacred rites and antient rites. In this way the mysteries are useful, in this way we come to the notion that all these things were established by the antients for the instruction and correction of life.5 But you publish and divulge them out of time, out of place, without sacrifices, without purity; you have not the garments which the hierophant ought to have, nor the hair, nor the headdress, nor the voice, nor the age; nor have you purified yourself as he has: but you have committed to memory the words only, and you say, Sacred are the words by themselves.6 You ought to approach these matters in another way: the thing is great, it is mystical, not a common thing, nor is it given to every man. But not even wisdom7 perhaps is enough to enable a man to take care of youths: a man must have also a certain readiness and fitness for this purpose, and a certain quality of body, and above all things he must have God to advise him to occupy this office, as God advised Socrates to occupy the place of one who confutes error, Diogenes the office of royalty and reproof, and the office of teaching precepts. But you open a doctor's shop, though you have nothing except physic: but where and how they should be applied, you know not nor have you taken any trouble about it. See, that man says, I too have salves for the eyes. Have you also the power of using them? Do you know both when and how they will do good, and to whom they will do good? Why then do you act at hazard in things of the greatest impor- tance? why are you careless? why do you undertake a thing that is in no way fit for you? Leave it to those who are able to do it, and to do it well. Do not yourself bring disgrace on philosophy through your own acts, and be not one of those who load it with a bad reputation. But it theorems please you, sit still, and turn them over by your- self; but never say that you are a philosopher, nor allow another to say it; but say: He is mistaken, for neither are my desires different from what they were before, nor is my activity directed to other objects, nor do I assent to other things, nor in the use of appearances have I altered at all from my former condition. This you must think and say about yourself, if you would think as you ought: if not act at hazard, and do what you are doing; for it becomes you.


1 The practical teaching of the Stoics is contained in iii. c. 7, and it is good and wise. A modern writer says of modern practice: 'If we open our eyes and if we will honestly acknowledge to ourselves what we discover, we shall be compelled to confess that all the life and efforts of the civilized people of our times is founded on a view of the world, which is directly opposed to the view of the world which Jesus had' (Strauss, Der alte und der neue Glaube, p. 74).

2 Cicero (Academ. Prior. ii. 47) names Antipater and Archedemus (Archedemus) the chief of dialecticians, and also 'opiniosissimi homines.'

3 This passage is one of those which show the great good sense of Epictetus in the matter of education; and some other remarks to the same effect follow in this chapter. A man might justly say that we have no clear notion of the purpose of education. A modern writer, who seems to belong to the school of Epictetus says: “it cannot be denied that in all schools of all kinds it ought to be the first and the chief object to make children healthy, good, honest, and, if possible, sensible men and women; and if this is not done in a reasonable degree, I maintain that the education of these schools is good for nothing—I do not propose to make children good and honest and wise by precepts and dogmas and preaching, as you will see. They must be made good and wise by a cultivation of the understanding, by the practice of the discipline necessary for that purpose, and by the example of him who governs, directs and instructs.” Further, “my men and women teachers have something which the others have not: they have a purpose, an end in their system of education; and what is education? What is human life without some purpose or end which may be attained by industry, order and the exercise of moderate abilities? Great abilities are rare, and they are often accompanied by qualities which make the abilities useless to him who has them, and even injurious to society.”

4 There was a great temple of Demeter (Ceres) at Eleusis in Attica, and solemn mysteries, and an Hierophant or conductor of the ceremonies.

5 See the note of T. Burnet, De Fide et Officiis Christianorum, Ed. Sec. p. 89.

6 The reader, who has an inclination to compare religious forms antient and modern, may find something in modern practice to which the words of Epictetus are applicable.

7 This is a view of the fitness of a teacher which, as far as I know, is quite new; and it is also true. Perhaps there was some vague notion of this kind in modern Europe at the time when teachers of youths were only priests, and when it was supposed that their fitness for the office of teacher was secured by their fitness for the office of priest. In the present 'Ordering of Deacons' in the Church of England, the person, who is proposed as a fit person to be a deacon, is asked the following question by the bishop: 'Do you trust that you are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon you this office and ministration to serve God for the promotion of his glory and the edifying of his people?' 'In the ordering of Priests' this question is omitted, and another question only is put, which is used also in the ordering of Deacons; 'Do you think in your heart that you be truly called, according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ' etc. The teacher ought to have God to advise him to occupy the office of teacher, as Epictetus says. He does not say how God will advise: perhaps he supposed that this advice might be given in the way in which Socrates said that he received it. ' Wisdom perhaps is not enough' to enable a man to take care of youths. Whatever 'wisdom' may mean, it is true that a teacher should have a fitness and liking for the business. If he has not, he will find it disagreeable, and he will not do it well. He may and ought to gain a reasonable living by his labour: if he seeks only money and wealth, he is on the wrong track, and he is only like a common dealer in buying and selling, a butcher or a shoemaker, or a tailor, all useful members of society and all of them necessary in their several kinds. But the teacher has a priestly office, the making, as far as it is possible, children into good men and women. Should he he 'ordered' like a Deacon or a Priest, for his office is even more useful than that of Priest or Deacon? Some will say that this is ridiculous. Perhaps the wise will not think so.

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