Xenophanes


Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
Related to Xenophanes: Theagenes

Xenophanes

(zĕnŏf`ənēz), c.570–c.480 B.C., pre-Socratic Greek philosopher of Colophon. Although thought by some to be the founder of the Eleatic schoolEleatic school
, Greek pre-Socratic philosophical school at Elea, a Greek colony in Lucania, Italy. The group was founded in the early 5th cent. B.C. by Parmenides, its greatest thinker. He denied the reality of change on the ground that things either exist or do not.
..... Click the link for more information.
, his thought is only superficially similar to that of ParmenidesParmenides
, b. c.515 B.C., Greek philosopher of Elea, leading figure of the Eleatic school. Parmenides' great contribution to philosophy was the method of reasoned proof for assertions.
..... Click the link for more information.
. Xenophanes opposed the anthropomorphic representation of the gods common to the Greeks since Homer and Hesiod. Instead he asserted there is only one god, eternal and immutable but intimately connected with the world. Although interpretations of his thought vary, it was probably a form of pantheism. He was a singer of elegies, a poet, and a satirist who exhorted his hearers to virtue.

Bibliography

See G. S. Kirk and J. E. Raven, The Presocratic Philosophers (1957).

Xenophanes

 

(Xenophanes of Colophon). Lived during the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. Greek poet and philosopher. Founder of the Eleatic school.

Xenophanes was the author of elegies. In his parody Satires, he attacked anthropomorphism: “If oxen, horses, and lions had hands wherewith to grave images as men do, then horses would portray gods like unto horses, oxen would portray gods like unto oxen” (Dosokratiki, part 1, Kazan, 1914, p. 111). In contrast to the anthropomorphic gods of the Greek popular religion, Xenophanes posited a single god who did not resemble man either in his appearance or thoughts. Xenophanes created a whole cosmogony that was typical of pre-Socratic philosophers: “From earth all things are and to earth all things return” (ibid., p. 113). Among the numerous motifs of a natural-philosophical, critical-mythological, and poetic nature, the notion of the continuity, unity, eternity, indestructibility, and immutability of being occurs consistently in the extant fragments of Xenophanes’ work. This notion undoubtedly exerted a decisive influence on the whole Eleatic school.

WORKS

Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, vol. 1, 9th ed. Berlin, 1960. (Greek text with German translation by H. Diels.)

REFERENCE

Mandes, M. I. Eleaty. Odessa, 1911. Pages 45–100.

A. F. LOSEV

Xenophanes

?570--?480 bc, Greek philosopher and poet, noted for his monotheism and regarded as a founder of the Eleatic school
References in periodicals archive ?
Xenophanes (late 6 (th)-5 (th) century BCE) fought against pseudo-science and was, perhaps, the first to spell out the relativity of a belief: "If a horse or an ox could paint a picture, their gods would look like a horse or an ox.
Heraclitus' basic criticism of Homer and Hesiod is centered on their epistemic shortcomings regarding unity (rather than on the moral implications of myths), but Xenophanes is also targeted as a polymath lacking true understanding.
48) Xenophanes had lamented the immorality of the gods of the poets (fr.
So far as this came clearly to consciousness there resulted a necessary conflict between the two views of the world[;] instead of the deepening of the older religious conceptions that is found in the cosmologies across the Aegean we find a scientific criticism of the mythology such as is best represented in Xenophanes.
Yet beside the confusion of the image with the reality it represents, it is always possible to retain a critical perspective, as we can see in the fragment of Xenophanes which tells us that Thracians would imagine their gods to be blond and with blue eyes, while those of the Ethiopians were snub-nosed and black, and if animals had hands and instruments, they would certainly create gods according to their own forms.
Burnyeat on eikos mythos, and Comparison with Xenophanes B34 and B35'.
But he has good reason to do so, for the ideology of scientism is not grounded in those results, but rather in a set of assumptions that were introduced into Western thought by pre-Socratic thinkers like Xenophanes, Parmenides, Pythagoras, and Democritus.
She shows that, while many ideas and arguments characteristic of Hellenistic scepticism are found in earlier sources (most notably in Xenophanes, Democritus, Protagoras, Plato and Aristotle), they do not constitute a full-blown scepticism, and that it is only in the Hellenistic period that scepticism came to be seen as a viable position.
The term anthropomorphism was coined by the Greek philosopher Xenophanes when describing the similarity between religious believers and their gods - that is, Greek gods were depicted having light skin and blue eyes while African gods had dark skin and brown eyes.
cit, nota 30: "But there is nothing in the arguments which he (Pseudo Aristoteles) attributes to Xenophanes that could not easily be retranslated into the comparatively simple form of the literal fragments of Xenophanes's work.
The ancients, beginning with Hesiod, and proceeding through Xenophanes, Protagoras, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Thucydides and Plato, had traced an idea of humanity's progress from primitive origins to an ever more developed civilization.
The origin of what today is variously referred to as rationalism, empiricism, naturalism, materialism, or science is generally attributed to ancient Greek thinkers such as Xenophanes and Colophon who 400 to 600 years before the birth of Christ developed what was then the subjugated discourse of logos, meaning reasoned explanation (Martin, 2003).