Plato’s Counterfeit Sophists

  Tell, Håkan. 2011. Plato's Counterfeit Sophists. Hellenic Studies Series 44. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.


I am grateful for the encouragement and support I have received while writing this book. I owe special thanks to my teachers, Leslie Kurke, Mark Griffith, and Tony Long, who all, in different ways, inspired me with their teaching, and who sparked my interest in the Greek wisdom tradition. Without their intellectual engagement and generosity of spirit this book would not have been possible.

Loïc Wacquant introduced me to the cultural sociology of Pierre Bourdieu and helped me develop a critical framework to analyze the development of the field of Greek philosophy in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE.

I would also like to thank my colleagues at Dartmouth College for their unwavering support. Jim Tatum, especially, read through several versions of the manuscript at different stages and proved to be an invaluable critic.

The Center for Hellenic Studies provided an ideal scholarly environment to bring this project to completion, with its knowledgeable and accommodating staff. I am especially grateful to Greg Nagy for his encouragement and advice.

There are many others—friends, teachers, and colleagues—who have read portions of this book and generously offered their criticism. Thanks to Pascale Brillet-Dubois, Paul Christesen, Elizabeth Irwin, Giuseppe Lentini, Gauthier Liberman, Richard Martin, Bill Scott, Roberta Stewart, Ronald Stroud, Leslie Threatte, Roger Ulrich, Bob Wallace, and Margaret Williamson.

John Zaleski provided crucial editorial assistance at the last stages of the book and saved me from many errors.

Thanks are due also to Jill Curry Robbins of the Center for Hellenic Studies for her encouragement and steady stewardship of the project.

Last, I would like to express my gratitude to Sophie Tell for her commitment and love, to which no words can do justice. I dedicate this book to her.

Portions of chapters 2, 4, and 5 have appeared in print: “Sages at the Games: Intellectual Displays and Dissemination of Wisdom in Ancient Greece,” Classical Antiquity 26:249–275 (2007), and “Wisdom for Sale? The Sophists and Money,” Classical Philology 104:13–33 (2009). Permission to reprint is gratefully acknowledged.