Gildersleeve and Palladas

Laudator Temporis Acti quotes Basil L. Gildersleeve:

Platonic scholars, with rare exceptions, are roughly to be divided into two classes, those who can understand the thought but not the Greek and those who can read the Greek but cannot understand the thought . . .

According to Palladas (A.P. 11.305) there is, or was in his day, a third kind, who belongs to neither class but pretends to belong to both:

Child of shamelessness, most ignorant, foster-child of stupidity, tell me, why do you hold your head high, though you know nothing? Among the grammarians you are a Platonist, but if someone asks about Plato’s teachings, you are once again a grammarian. You flee from the one to the other, but neither do you know the grammatical art nor are you a Platonist.

Here is the Greek:

Τέκνον ἀναιδείης, ἀμαθέστατε, θρέμμα μορίης,
    εἰπέ, τί βρενθύηι μηδὲν ἐπιστάμενος;
ἐν μὲν γραμματικοῖς ὁ Πλατωνικός· ἂν δὲ Πλάτωνος
    δόγματά τις ζητῆι, γραμματικὸς σὺ πάλιν.
ἐξ ἑτέρου φεύγεις ἐπὶ θάτερον· οὔτε δὲ τέχνην
    οἶσθα γραμματικήν, οὔτε Πλατωνικὸς εἶ.

If the Greek text is unintelligible, try the PDF version at my long-abandoned Ioci Antiqui page: scroll down to Joke 43 on page 13 (December 13th, 2000).

I wonder if Gildersleeve was thinking of Palladas: he does write “roughly”.

This entry was posted in - Epigrams, Ephemerides, General, Greek Epigram, Philosophy. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Gildersleeve and Palladas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *