« Prev Of the prediction of the pedagogue. Next »

Chapter XVIII.—Of the prediction of the pedagogue.

Another instance is that of an excellent man at Antioch, entrusted with the charge of young lads, who was better educated than is usually the case with pedagogues,654654    The word seems here used in its strictly Athenian sense of a slave who took charge of boys on their way between school and home (Vide Lycias 910. 2 and Plat. Rep. 373. C.) rather than in the more general sense of teacher. In Xen. Lac. 3. 1. it is coupled with διδάσκαλος: here it is contrasted with it. and was the intimate friend of the chief teacher of that period, Libanius the far-famed sophist.

Now Libanius655655    “One of the most noteworthy and characteristic figures of expiring heathenism.” J.R. Mozley, Dict. Christ. Biog. s.v. Born in Antioch a.d. 314, he died about the close of the century. He was a voluminous author, and wrote among other things a “vain, prolix, but curious narrative of his own life.” Gibbon. The most complete account of him will be found in E. R. Siever’s Das Leben des Libanius. was a heathen expecting victory and bearing in mind the threats of Julian, so one day, in ridicule of our belief he said to the pedagogue, “What is the carpenter’s son about now?” Filled with divine grace, he foretold what was shortly to come to pass. “Sophist,” said he, “the Creator of all things, whom you in derision call carpenter’s son, is making a coffin.”656656    The form in the text (γλωσσόκομον) is rejected by Attic purists, but is used twice by St. John, as well as in the Septuagint. In 2 Chron. xxiv. 8 (cf. 2 Kings xii. 9) it means a chest. In St. John’s Gospel xii. 6 and xiii. 29 it is “the bag,” properly (xi. 3) “box,” which Judas carried. In the Palatine anthology Nicanor the coffin maker makes these “glossokoma” or coffins. Derivatively the word means “tongue-cases,” i.e. cases to keep the tongues or reeds of musical instruments. An instance of similar transfer of meaning is our word “coffin;” derivatively a wicker basket;—at one time any case or cover, and in Shakespeare (Titus Andronicus Act V. 2, 189) pie crust. Perhaps “casket,” which now still holds many things, may one day only hold a corpse.

After a few days the death of the wretch was announced. He was carried out lying in his coffin. The vaunt of his threats was proved vain, and God was glorified.657657    In times and circumstances totally different, it may seem that Julian’s courtesy and moderation contrast favourably with the fierce zeal of the Christians. A modern illustration of the temper of the Church in Julian’s reign may be found in the following account given of his dragoman by the late author of “Eothen.” “Religion and the literature of the Church which he served had made him a man, and a brave man too. The lives of his honored Saints were full of heroic actions provoking imitation, and since faith in a creed involves faith its ultimate triumph, Dthemetri was bold from a sense of true strength; his education too, though not very general in its character, had been carried quite far enough to justify him in pluming himself upon a very decided advantage over the great bulk of the Mahometan population, including the men in authority. With all this consciousness of religious and intellectual superiority, Dthemetri had lived for the most part in countries lying under Mussulman governments, and had witnessed (perhaps too had suffered from) their revolting cruelties; the result was that he abhorred and despised the Mussulman faith and all who clung to it. And this hate was not of the dull, dry, and inactive sort; Dthemetri was in his way a true crusader, and whenever there appeared a fair opening in the defence of Islam, he was ready and eager to make the assault. Such feelings, backed by a consciousness of understanding the people with whom he had to do, made Dthemetri not only firm and resolute in his constant interviews with men in authority, but sometimes also very violent and very insulting.” Kinglake’s “Eothen,” 5th Ed., p. 270.


« Prev Of the prediction of the pedagogue. Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |