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What the Heck's an “Epopt”?
For a time I flippantly answered, “a test of a really good dictionary . . .”
- epopt: A ‘beholder’; in Gr. Antiq. a person fully initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries. Also transf.
- 1696 TOLAND Christianity not Myst. 167 The right of seeing every thing, or being Epopts. 1798 W. TAYLOR in Monthly Mag. VI. 552 Those..who obtained the insight of these revelations, called themselves Epopts, Seers, or the Initiated. 1833 Brit. Mag. III. 48 That which has made us in some sort epopts of those mysteries which are between this world and the next. 1850 GROTE Greece II. lviii. (1862) V. 183 Addressing his companions as Mysts and Epopts.
- Hence e'poptic a, of or pertaining to an epopt. epoptics n. pl., e'poptist = EPOPT.
- 1770 LANGHORNE Plutarch's Lives, Alexander (ed. Tegg) 467 Those more secret and profound branches of science, which they call acroamatic and epoptic. 1711 tr. Werenfel's Disc. Logom. 99 Aristotle's Books of deep Learning, his Acroamaticks, Esotericks, Epopticks, and mysterious Writings. a1652 J. SMITH Sel. Disc. i. 10 Hidden mysteries in divine truth..which cannot be discerned but only by divine Epoptists.
Alexander gained from [Aristotle] not only moral and political knowledge, but was also instructed in those more secret and profound branches of science, which they call epoptic and acroamatic; and which they did not communicate to every common scholar. For when Alexander was in Asia, and received information that Aristotle had published some books, in which those points were discussed, he wrote to him a letter, on behalf of Philosophy, in which he blamed the course he had taken.
|Alexander to Aristotle, prosperity.
You did wrong in publishing the acroamatic parts of science. In what shall we differ from others, if the sublimer knowledge, which we gained from you, be made common to all the world? For my part, I had rather excel the bulk of mankind in the superior parts of learning, than in the extent of power and dominion.
--Plutarch, in vit. Alex.
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