Talk:Isocrates

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Comments[edit]

Did he not found a school, one more popular in its day than the Academy (of Plato)? Kyk 05:04, 3 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Is it really true that he lived to be 108 years old? This sounds very suspicious. Academic Challenger 09:36, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It was actually 98 years old. You have to count bakwards. Coralhue (talk) 01:54, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi, I am contributing to the Isocrates page. I researched him for a school project and decided to add some contributions. I'd love to hear any feedback. Thanks — Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.77.102.183 (talk) 15:53, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 04:09, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Sophist or Antisophist?[edit]

Was he a sophist and then turned against them, or is the title just a rhetoric device? Was he criticizing what he saw as Vulgar Sophism?--87.162.28.69 (talk) 20:54, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Multiculturalist or Assimilationist?[edit]

The following sentence in the article "[ Isocrates said that "A Greek is he who shares our common culture" (meaning Greek culture) and understand from that that he was an early proponent of multiculturalism who wanted barbarians as well as Greeks becoming a part of the Greek ethnic group.]" is self contradictory. Surely someone who defines Greekness by adoption of Greek culture is an assimilationist which is antithetical to being a proponent of multiculturalism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.233.20.217 (talk) 07:32, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Panegyricus 50 and its forgery by modern Greek anti-nationalists[edit]

I've made a significant change to the above section. The English translation of Panegyricus 50 is commically false, so I've corrected it and even listed a few key Greek words that make all the difference in the meaning. Anyone who has a different opinion is free to discuss it with me here, so we can reach a consensus. Colossus (talk) 14:31, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

I have no problem admitting that this passage has been used by some to promote internationalism, cosmopolitanism or whatever; this could be mentioned somewhere. But going from that to calling the interpretation of Greekness becoming at least at some cases and/or in part a thing of the mind rather than of blood, a "forgery" "of the anti-nationalists" is ridiculous and certainly POV.
Now first of all go through your references and correct at minimum the obvious typographical errors (including grammatical and syntactical); don't know where you copied/pasted from, but the quoted Greek text especially, is a mess, is more like Chinese...
Then clearly and precisely demarcate the book quotations from your own writing.
After doing all these corrections, a more sane discussion might begin, might be possible... ;-)
P.S. Let me highlight for you in bold the ones I've noticed at a glance :

^ Greeks and Barbarians (Edinburgh Readings on the Ancient World, Edinburgh University Press (25 Oct 2001), ISBN 978-0-7486-1270-3, σελ.139-140 "It has been widely assumed in the past that the word Hellene began by having a ‘national’ sense and later, especially in Hellenistic times, came to mean ‘possessing Greek culture’. For instance, in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt the Hellenes were also known as ol ôô to y4lvuaiou, ‘those from the gymnasium’) and frequently had non- Greek names. From Tebtunis we have a list of five E)Avwv ycwpyIvI, ‘Greek farmers’, of whom only one has a Greek name.’ And it has been thought that the beginning of this extension in the meaning of the word can be traced to the fourth century, when Isocrates wrote,”‘Athens has become the teacher of the other cities, and has made the name of Greek (to tcwE?.Xvwv övopa) no longer a mark of race (yvoç) hut of Intellect (6tãvota), so that it is those who share our upbringing (tiç ltau5c6aEwç) rather than our common nature (tiç coiviIc pioç) who are called Hellcnes.’ This passage has attracted great attention, Jaeger going so far as to claim it as° ‘a higher justification for the new national imperialism, in that it identifies what is specifically Greek with what is universally human’. ‘Without the idea which [Isocrates] here expresses for the first time’, he continues, ‘... there would have been no Maccdonian Greek world-empire, and the universal culture which we call Hellenistic would never have existed.’ Unfortunately for this claim, it has been shown” that in this passage Tsocrates is not extending the term Helene to non-Greeks, hut restricting its application; he is in effect saying, ‘Hellenes are no longer all who share in the yévoç and common qnai; of the Greek people, as hitherto, but only those who have gone to school to Athens; henceforth Greece” is equivalent to Athens and her cultural following.’ Thus Isocrates gives the term a cultural value; but he cannot be regarded as initiating a wider concept of Hellas."
^ James I. Porter, Classical pasts: the classical traditions of Greece and Rome Classical pasts, Princeton University Press, 2006, 0691089426, 9780691089423, p.383-384, "The telos towards which the whole encomium is directed is neither military nor material, but cultural, and in particular linguistic: •toiio4ia (in Isocrates’, not in Plato’s sense) is Athens’s gift to the world, and eloquence, which distinguishes men from animals and liberally educated men (τους ευθύς εξαρχής ελευθέρως τεθραμμένους KINDLY ADD TONOI-PNEUMATA) from uncultured ones, is honoured in that city more than in any other. Thus Isocrates can claim that it is above all in the domain of language that Athens has become the school for the rest of the world: “And so far has our city distanced the rest of mankind in thought and in speech that her pupils have become the teachers of the rest of the world; and she has brought it about that the name ‘Hellenes’ suggests no longer a race but an intelligence, and thin the title ‘Hellenes’ is applied rather to those who share our culture than to those who share a common blood:’3’ Like Pericles’ funeral oration in Thucydides, upon which this section of the Panegyricus is closely modelled,32 Isocrates’ panegyric emphasizes abstract cultural values but its ultimate goal is in fact more concretely military: the speech as a whole aims at convincing the other Greek cities to grant Athens hegemony and leadership in an expedition against the Pεrsians, which will reunite the Greeks by distracting them from their internecine warfare. But Athens’s present military weakness in the wake of the Peace of Antalcidas (387 B.C.E.) deprives Isocrates of the easiest argument, that leadership should be given to the city that has the greatest military strength. Hence he must appeal to past military and culturall glories in order to justify present claims—indeed, his evident reuse of themes from Pericles’ funeral oration is part of the same rhetorical strategy, designed as it is to remind fourth-century pan-Hellenic readers of Athens’s fifth-century glory. But what passes itself off here as the disinterested praise of a city is in fact the canny self-advertisement of a successful businessman, and Isocrates’ climactic celebration of Athenian philosophy and eloquence is little more than a thinly disguised panegyric for what he saw as his very own contribution to Athenian, Greek and world culture. For φιλοσοφία and eloquence were in fact the slogans of Isocrates’ own educational program.
^ Takis Poulakos, David J. Depew, Isocrates and civic education, University of Texas Press, 2004, 0292702191, 9780292702196, p.63-64, "He crafts onto his predecessor’s analogy Athens as a school of Hellas an enduring bond among the Hellenes and a great divide between them and the Persians: Athens’ pupils have become the teachers of the rest of the world” and “the title ‘Hellenes’ is applied rather to those who share our culture than to those who share a common blood” (50). The cultural links Pericles had named as uniting Athenians and their allies lies together are refigured here rhetorically, and in a way that forges a symbolic unification among all the cities of Hellas, including Sparta and its allied states. Relying on and at the same time changing Pericles’ wise words, Isocrates creates the perception of Athens as having been unified with all Greek city-stares from the very beginning, and thereby makes this perception part and parcel of Athens’ glorious history. As a result of this rhetorical engagement of conventional wisdom, current concerns about pan-Hellenism find their way into the city’s timeless traditions. Capitalizing on the propensity of epideictic language to amplify and to augment, lsocrates finesses the stable doxa of the community and enlarges its boundaries 90 as to accommodate the less stable doxa of the present".

Thanatos|talk 22:11, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the response. The book quotation you copied above is a passage that a previous editor thought was important to cite. I haven't edited it at all, so I don't know why the Greek text appears as Chinese. Most likely, the person who first added it as a citation copied it incorrectly. I preserved the original citations only to balance the changes I introduced. Frankly though, I don't see what is has to do with what Isocrates said in Panegyricus 50. The issue of culture supplanting ancestry in the definition of the word "Greek" is definitely relevant for the Hellenistic era, that is, after Alexander the Great opened up Asia to Greece. But Isocrates died before Alexander even began his expeditions, so we can't realistically attribute Hellenistic times phenomena to Isocrates or Classical times.
What's important to me is that Isocrates' text is properly translated, which is why I even used Wiktionary links to point to the correct meaning of the most commonly forged ancient Greek words from Panegyricus 50. The evolution in the meaning of the word Greek is another issue altogether, and I'm perfectly happy to discuss how little or how much can be included in this article.
I've corrected all the grammatical and syntactical errors I could find. I'd appreciate your objections and thoughts. Colossus (talk) 08:21, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
As I wrote in my edit summary your additions are in violation of WP:NPOV, WP:SYNTH, and WP:UNDUE: (i) The inserted statements (apart from being ungrammatical and poorly written) introduce bias and lack precision: "Even though the above statement was completely uncorroborated, it has nevertheless been significantly reproduced in the Greek blogosphere, mostly by anti-nationalists and champions Multiculturalism."; (ii) portions of the text you have inserted use various sources to advance a novel position: you have inserted the statement "Isocrates is also a businessman, the owner of a rhetoric school in Athens, and his speeches also serve as an advertisement for future rhetoricians to get an education. The idea however that he was a proponent of multi-culturalism definitely does not fit his time. Alexander the Great hadn't began his campaigns yet and Greek culture was still very much limited in native Greek territory. Even though in the centuries that followed there was indeed an influx of Greek culture in Asia and Africa, and with it a gradual evolution on what it meant to be Greek, Isocrates era was shaped by internal Greek strife overshadowed by a looming Persian threat and extreme xenophobia by the Greeks", while the cited text (James I. Porter 2006) merely says that "But what passes itself off here as the disinterested praise of a city is in fact the canny self-advertisement of a successful businessman, and Isocrates’ climactic celebration of Athenian philosophy and eloquence is little more than a thinly disguised panegyric for what he saw as his very own contribution to Athenian, Greek and world culture."; (iii) neutrality requires that each article represents all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources; the inserted text assumes that there is academic consensus regarding the correct interpretation of Isocrates' passage, while in fact one can find alternative interpretations: [1] (dubbing an academic position 'forgery' introduces bias; you should have at least cited a reliable source dubbing this position 'forgery'); (iv) portions of the inserted text are borderline off topic (see WP:OFFTOPIC and WP:COATRACK): the "15 year old resident alien [alien?]" affair is particularly non-notable (one can find it documented only in news sites like the one you cited: [2]) and only loosely relevant to an article about Isocrates. Moreover, the inserted section is simply too long for the overall length of the article. --Omnipaedista (talk) 10:20, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
First of all, the "forgery" part doesn't concern the various academic translations of Panegyricus 50, only the notorious modern Greek quotation "Ελληνες είναι αυτοί που μετέχουν της Ελληνικής παιδείας", which the article section opened with. If Greek is your native tongue, you have definitely heard this uncorroborated statement at least once in your lifetime. According to Wikipedia policy, this statement is unreliable because it comes from an unknown or unpublished source and is in blatant violation of Wikipedia:Verifiability), so it shouldn't have been be cited in the first place (by whomever originally edited it in, not me). Since it was widespread enough not to qualify as Original Research, I thought it was useful to keep it in, document its origin and openly disprove its authenticity. However, if we are to uphold Wikipedia policy to the letter, then perhaps we should remove it altogether along with the irrelevant modern Greek nationalistic/anti-nationalistic debate.
Regarding the translation of Panegyricus 50, I suggest we replace my own translation (based on wiktionary meanings of the original Greek text) and replace it with the following translation of a published author: Our city has so far surpassed other men in thought and speech that students of Athens have become the teachers of others, and the city has made the name “Greek” seem to be not that of a people but of a way of thinking; and people are called Greeks because they share in our education (paideusis) rather than in our birth. (Terry L. Papillon, "The Oratory of Classical Greece: Isocrates II", 2004).
Regarding the interpretation of that passage, I agree that my edits do suffer from too much POV, and I agree they should be removed. I concede that we should revert to the article's previous interpretation, with the exception of removing the very last paragraph which is in breach of Wikipedia:Neutral point of view: "Nonetheless, the misinterpretation of Isocrates is not wholly new. Second Sophistic Greeks, living in a multi-cultural environment, had a fresh impetus to re-interpret him and apply his words, if not spirit, to their time." Colossus (talk) 02:30, 21 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes, a published translation should replace the unpublished one. Edit the article to reflect the version you deem to be better. Then we could resume discussion. My main suggestion remains the same, however: imprecise and/or poorly sourced statements should be removed. --Omnipaedista (talk) 17:08, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
You have added a new translation but you also need to provide a more specific citation
(i.e., the exact page number). The very last paragraph was original research, so it was rightly removed. --Omnipaedista (talk) 15:32, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Comment on garbled text form: My guess is that the aforementioned passages were copied from a pdf that had not been encoded properly in Greek so when they got copied/pasted hereto, the Greek text got messed up. Whatever the conclusion of this discussion/fight/debate/..., I think that it's obvious, self-evident and necessary that someone with access to these sources has to provide the proper text...
P.S.Just for the record, a note to anglophones et al.: "Chinese" is the analogue (or one of the analogues) for us Greeks of your "It seems like Greek to me"... ;-)
Thanatos|talk 12:27, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
Nice catch there! "Athens’s" is the original wording. I fixed all the rest (except for one that I tagged as needing clarification). --Omnipaedista (talk) 15:32, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Comment: Whatever the general conclusion we may eventually reach, I think that paideia and relative terms should be elaborated; translating it-them as education is not enough, is misleading, because in this context the word(s) are to be understood more in the sense of culture, way of life, etc.Thanatos|talk 16:17, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
Well, most Anglophone sources translate paideusis as "education." We could at most add a direct link to the LSJ lexicon. --Omnipaedista (talk) 15:32, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Translating the terms as "education" is not wrong but is also not enough. What most Anglosaxon sources do or don't do is hardly enough, is not of principal importance, since we're talking about what ancient and modern Greeks (may differ btw) understand by the relevant terms and passages. Imagine e.g. yourself being a third party not knowledgeable in the subject at hand, reading the text and hence reading "education" without an explanation, an elaboration somewhere; wouldn't you think "what are these mad Greeks talking, arguing about???" ;-) 04:13, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
'Greek upbringing' is another phrase found in the literature. I think this version is closer to the intended meaning of the Greek phrases "ἡμετέρα παίδευσις" (Ancient Greek and Katharevousa) and "ελληνική παιδεία" / "ελληνική αγωγή" (Dimotiki). --13:40, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
What I'm saying is that whatever the English translations of the primary text are, a usual, I think, interpretation (in the scholarly sphaere) of the passage is the dichotomy of predominantly cultural vs predominantly(or at least sine qua non) racial-ancestral nationalism*(See Note below) or in case this use of the words would be considered anachronistic, something similar or analogous mutatis mutandis. So this has to be explained. The meaning of the passage just isn't that that ancient (or modern) Greek highschools ;-) were (or are) just better than the Persian (or the Albanian) ones.
*Note:There are other interpretations(some seem ,at least imo, less justified than others); e.g. nationalism in general vs cosmopolitanism or internationalism; monoculturalism vs multiculturalism and so on and so forth. Some people when using this passage seem to be contradicting it (or interpreting widly differently) and/or themselves;e.g. some of the so called proponents of multiculturalism in Greece that have used this passage are either not (or much less) justified to use it or if we're to consider that all are equally justified to use and interpret it at will then they're interpreting wildy differently from other people or are only multiculturalist in name only or use the latter term (multiculturalism) in a divergent (or anyway not in the main, literal) sense-way, cause if we're to interpret Isocrates in the "normal", the "usual" way, then it's seems to be much more like a case at minimum of cultural nationalism, imperialism, superiority or assimilation than a case of multiculturalism in the main or literal sense; i.e. the passage seems like much more a case of arguing for a melting pot of a main superior dominant taste-ingredient (i.e. Greek civilisation,culture etc) than of a salad bowl; Greeks after all were (had been and would continue to be) in the process of creating an Empire at that time; a political, lingual, cultural, etc Empire... Thanatos|talk|contributions 17:22, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

(outdent) Personally, I am aware of this debate and its intricacies. However, I fail to see how this discussion can lead to the improvement of the article. (1) The 'Who is a Greek?' question has indeed been under debate in the Greek public sphere since the early 2000s. However, there is much lore surrounding this topic and the relevant discussions have been rarely documented by reliable sources. (2) Leaving aside the problem that there are no reliable sources documenting this debate, Wikipedia is not a soapbox. We cannot start editorializing at length on current affairs and politics in an article about an ancient figure, let alone doing it in an unbalanced way as User:Colossus proposed above. --Omnipaedista (talk) 20:38, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

Ok if you've agreed to stop here let's forget this specific incident. But I was hoping it'd serve as a basis of writing more about Isocrates' message as the general idea lived and evolved into and through the later periods; i.e. this is very important for the Hellenistic and later periods. Because while our Greek heads have been drilled infinite times with these things, most Westerners (hence also whoever in the world bases studies on them) are totally ignorant about Greek stuff in the post classical period and post Alexander. They only learn (if they learn, that is) about Rome and then about stuff more to the west; all the way to modern times, i.e. including Byzantium. Do you understand where I'm trying to get to??? Thanatos|talk|contributions 23:53, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

--

Some claim, that Isocrates, judged by modern standards, was a fervent Greek Nationalist. I do not know, but either way, whether this is true or not, historical anachronism is not my favorite area. I have studied Isocrates from his original text and I can confidently say that his whole life and his work support the fact that he believed Athens was culturally superior to any other Greek city-state and of course every other foreign, barbarian, place. In Panigirikos, he is not making a statement that we should call Greeks those who partake in our culture. He is merely lamenting the fact that others (i.e. barbarians) who came and studied the Greek language and culture in Athens, end up being called "Greeks" by their fellow people when they return back to their countries. He is clearly not approving this, he is merely stating that Athens, being the most prominent, Greek city (culturally speaking) has made such a great name for itself that pretty much any foreigner who speaks Greek is considered a Greek NOT by other Greeks or of course the Athenians but the people in other foreign, barbaric, places. The text is so easy to understand for anyone with a basic knowledge of Ancient Greek, e.g. those who had a minimum number of years studying Ancient Greek in high school. Thank you for taking the time to read my comment, dimitriosp (at) hotmail. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.135.91.121 (talk) 05:53, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

--

This section, even after the discussion a few years ago, overtly editorializes while simultaneously failing to include any substantial reference information or background for those who are not familiar with debates surrounding Greek national identity. Also, this event took place nearly 20 years ago. If every article on a classical author were to include every time a passage was used in a political debate over the past 2500 years in any country, let alone Greece, then we are talking about Wiki pages that would be many times longer than any of them currently are. If this page is going to have a reception section, or even a reception in modern Greece section, than it needs attention of a specialist to write it, and not just someone who is going to cite republished FW Walbank articles written around midcentury to prove a particular--and partisan--point. But I suspect that we would be entering into Oxbridge Companion territory--not Wikipedia--if we did. If nobody objects, this section should be deleted as more or less irrelevant to the topic.47.16.210.75 (talk) 03:04, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

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