The ancient sophists were itinerant teachers, often of oratory, sometimes even of virtue. But the premium put by most of such teachers on the ability to defend any point of view, irrespective of its truth or moral value, explains the pejorative overtones which the term 'sophist' developed. Folly here touches on a theme frequent in the writings of Erasmus, whose blistering comments on the scholastic educational system focus on the accusation of 'sophistical cavilling'. In the middle ages the term 'sophist' could refer to a student as well as to a professor.
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