Epimenides


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Epimenides

(ĕpĭmĕn`ĭdēz), fl. 6th cent.? B.C., Cretan prophet and miracle worker. According to one story, he was called to Athens to purify the city after the murder of Cylon on the Acropolis. Many poems, oracles, and sayings were attributed to him (Titus 1.12 is supposed to contain one of these).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Epimenides

 

a semilegendary sage, prophet, and poet of ancient Greece. Born on the island of Crete.

As a young shepherd, Epimenides fell asleep in a cave and slept for 57 (or 40) years. When he awoke, he discovered he had the abilities of both a priest and a poet. According to tradition, Epimenides purified Athens of the taint from murders committed at the altar during Cylon’s uprising (seventh century B.C.) and established the sanctuary of the Eumenides. Epic poems about the origin of the gods and about the construction of the Argo and Jason’s voyage have been ascribed to Epimenides. He is believed to have lived in the seventh or sixth century B.C; according to some authorities, his visit to Athens took place in 500. In classical tradition Epimenides is numbered among the seven wise men.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Epimenides

philosopher nods off for 57 years in cave. [Gk. Legend: LLEI, I: 283]
See: Sleep
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
For it is most true, that a natural and secret hatred, and aversation towards society, in any man, hath somewhat of the savage beast; but it is most untrue, that it should have any character at all, of the divine nature; except it proceed, not out of a pleasure in solitude, but out of a love and desire to sequester a man's self, for a higher conversation: such as is found to have been falsely and feignedly in some of the heathen; as Epimenides the Candian, Numa the Roman, Empedocles the Sicilian, and Apollonius of Tyana; and truly and really, in divers of the ancient hermits and holy fathers of the church.
En su estudio de 1931, "Sobre las proposiciones formalmente indecibles de los Principia mathematica y "sistemas conexos", Kurt Godel desplaza la paradoja de Epimenides, cretense "Todos los cretenses son mentirosos", a la axiomatica de los numeros enteros, produciendo una metamatematica en un mismo nivel, y produciendo de este modo una "recursividad", un "bucle extrano", que harian la proposicion indemostrable.
Epimenides is the guy who came up with the paradox about the Cretans who says All Cretans are liars which then becomes Godel's incompleteness theorem.)
It is an odd quirk in the history of logic that the blameless Cretans should have given their name to the famous "liar paradox." The Cretan Epimenides is supposed to have said: "All Cretans are liars." If Epimenides was lying, he was telling the truth -- and thus was lying.
A renowned paradox that is suitable for our discussion here is the "Liar's Paradox" that tradition ascribes to Epimenides of Crete for having said that "Ali Cretans are liars." Epimenides himself was a Cretan.
(There is an interesting version of the Epimenides though, if one does not restrict how soon Pinocchio's nose should grow.
/ Oh, yes, indeed, the Cretan poet, Epimenides, / that old Sicilian, Aratus, and that prophet of prisons who will set me free / by adjusting my head during my golf swing!"