Call Me Frank: Lucian’S (Self-)Defense Of Frank Speaking And Philodemus’ Περí Παρρησíας

in Philodemus and the New Testament World
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The satirist Lucian of Samosata provides valuable insights into the popular estimation of the philosophical schools, their teachings, and their adherents in the second century C.E. In his dialogue, The Dead Come to Life, or the Fisherman, Lucian’s alter ego, Παρρησιάδης (Frank Talk), is accused by the shades of the great philosophers of slandering them in his satires. Frank Talk wins acquittal by claiming that his satiric attacks are in fact an exercise of the philosophical virtue of frank criticism, exercised against the charlatans who claim to follow the great philosophers, but who by their hypocrisy bring the founders of their philosophical schools into disrepute. Although much of what Lucian says in the character of Frank Talk is consistent with the exercise of parrhs¤a as Philodemus describes it, Lucian in fact extends the mandate for frank criticism beyond brotherly correction within the philosophical community to cover satiric attacks carried out in public for educated but non-philosophical audiences in search of amusement.

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