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παραβολή is juxtaposition, setting one thing by the side of another for the purpose of comparison and illustration; taking analogous or parallel cases; it is the argument from analogy, ἄν τις δύνηται ὅμοιον ὁρᾷν, § 7. A good instance of παραβολή in this sense occurs, Pol. II 5, 1264 b 4, where Plato is said to derive a παραβολή, or analogy, ἐκ τῶν θηρίων (i.e. dogs), to prove that the pursuits and occupations of men and women should be the same. ‘Of παραβολή1 the Socratic practice or method is an example; as for instance if one were to say, that the magistrates ought not to be chosen by lot: for this is analogous to the case of choosing for the athletes (who were to enter the lists) not those who are fitted for the combat, but those upon whom the lot falls; or to choosing the steersman out of a crew of sailors on the principle that it was the man who won the toss, and not the man of knowledge and skill (the man who knows his business), that ought to be chosen’. This very same analogy is ascribed to Socrates by the accuser at his trial, as one of those which he was in the habit of using, Xen. Memor. I 2. 9. And the same mode of inference, from the analogy of the mechanical and other arts, was transmitted by Socrates to Plato, and through him to his pupil Aristotle, in whose writings it constantly appears in illustration of many of his moral and social and political theories. It is to this practice of Socrates that Critias refers, when he and Charicles, during the tyranny of the Thirty, summoned him before them, and forbade him to continue his dialectical practice and intercourse with the young Athenians. Socrates inquires what sort of questions he is ordered to abstain from. Ib. I 2. 37, ὁ δὲ Κριτίας, ἀλλὰ τῶνδέ τοί δε ἀπέχεσθαι, ἔφη, δεήσει, ὦ Σώκρατες, τῶν σκυτέων καὶ τῶν τεκτόνων καὶ τῶν χαλκέων: καὶ γὰρ οἶμαι αὐτοὺς ἤδη κατατετρίφθαι διαθρυλλουμένους ὑπὸ σοῦ. Similarly Callicles, Plat. Gorg. 491 A, νὴ τοὺς θεούς, ἀτεχνῶς γε ἀεὶ σκυτέας τε καὶ κναφέας καὶ μαγείρους λέγων καὶ ἰατροὺς οὐδὲν παύει, κ.τ.λ. Alcibiades, Sympos. 221 E, ὄνους γὰρ κανθηλίους λέγει καὶ χαλκέας τινὰς καὶ σκυτοτόμους καὶ βυρσοδέψας, καὶ ἀεὶ διὰ τῶν αὐτῶν ταῦτα φαίνεται λέγειν. And Hippias' sneer, Xen. Mem. IV 4, 5 and 6, (Socrates had just compared more suo the teaching of justice to that of various trades,) ἔτι γὰρ σύ, ὦ Σώκρατες, τὰ αὐτὰ ἐκεῖνα λέγεις, ἃ ἐγὼ πάλαι ποτέ σου ἤκουσα, and Socrates' rejoinder repeated in Gorg. 490 E, 491 B. Compare Xen. Mem. III 1. 2 and 4, III 7. 6. Plat. Rep. I 332 C, 333 C, II 370 D, 374 C, VIII 551 C (the pilot), Gorg. 447 D, and indeed throughout most of his dialogues. His favourite trades for the purposes of this kind of illustration seem to have been that of the physician and cobbler (ὁ σκυτοτόμος). ὥσπερ ἂν εἴ τις] See note ad I 1. 5, Vol. 1, p. 9.
1 Παραβολή is thus described by Eustath. ad II. A. p. 176 (ap. Gaisford, λέγεται δὲ παραβολὴ διότι τοῖς λεγομένοις παραβάλλει, τουτέστι συγκρίνει καὶ παρατίθησι, πρᾶγμά τι γνώριμον εἰωθὸς ἀεὶ γίνεσθαι: ὅπερ ὀφείλει πάντως γνωριμώτερον εἶναι τοῦ δἰ ὃ παρείληπται. κακία γὰρ παραβολῆς τὸ ἄγνωστον καὶ ἀσύνηθες...διότι οὐδὲ διδασκαλικὴ ἡ τοιαύτη ἐστὶ παραβολή. On the definition, and various definitions of the ‘parable,’ see Trench on the Parables, Ch. 1 Introd. The author in defining parable, and distinguishing it from fable, seems to confine himself too exclusively to the New Testament parables, when he says that the latter “is constructed to set forth a truth spiritual and heavenly,” whereas the fable “never lifts itself above the earth”; it “inculcates maxims of prudential morality, industry, caution, foresight,” all its morality being of a worldly character, p. 2. And again, p. 9, “the parable differs from the fable, moving as it does in a spiritual world, and never transgressing the actual order of things natural.” Aristotle, to whom Dr Trench does not refer, distinguishes parable in general from fable by this; that the former depicts human relations (in which the N. T. parable coincides with it); it invents analogous cases, which are not historical, but always such as might be so; always probable, and corresponding with what actually occurs in real life. The fable is pure fiction, and its essential characteristic is, that it invests beasts, birds, plants, and even things inanimate with the attributes of humanity.
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