All Time Famous Xenophanes Quotes

Xenophanes Quotes

Xenophanes, an ancient Greek philosopher and poet (570–475 BCE), challenged traditional Greek mythology by critiquing anthropomorphic gods and proposing a monotheistic concept of an unchanging supreme deity. Born in Colophon, he questioned the morality and inconsistencies attributed to the conventional gods, suggesting that human cultural influences shaped their depictions. Xenophanes’ ideas laid the foundation for later philosophical developments, encouraging a shift towards more abstract and rational conceptions of the divine. As a poet, he expressed his thoughts through elegiac and iambic verses. While some of his works are lost, fragments of his writings survive through later philosophers’ references, contributing significantly to the evolution of Greek philosophical and theological thought.

Xenophanes Quotes

1. “Ethiopians imagine their gods as black and snub-nosed; Thracians blue-eyed and red-haired. But if horses or lions had hands, or could draw and fashion works as men do, horses would draw the gods shaped like horses and lions like lions, making the gods resemble themselves.”
— Xenophanes

2. “If horses had Gods, they would look like horses.”
— Xenophanes

3. “For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.”
— Xenophanes

4. “Truly the gods have not from the beginning revealed all things to mortals, but by long seeking, mortals discover what is better.”
— Xenophanes

5. “If cows and horses had hands and could draw, cows would draw gods that look like cows and horses would draw gods that look like horses.”
— Xenophanes

6. “God is one, greatest of gods and men, not like mortals in body or thought.”
— Xenophanes

7. “If oxen and horses and lions could draw and paint, they would delineate the gods in their own image.”
— Xenophanes

8. “It takes a wise man to recognize a wise man.”
— Xenophanes

9. “Homer and Hesiod attributed to the gods all things which are disreputable and worthy of blame when done by men; and they told of them many lawless deeds, stealing, adultery, and deception of each other.”
— Xenophanes

10. “If God had not made brown honey, men would think figs much sweeter than they do.”
— Xenophanes

11. “Even if a man should chance to speak the most complete truth, yet he himself does not know it; all things are wrapped in appearances.”
— Xenophanes

12. “All men begin their learning with Homer.”
— Xenophanes

13. “Pure truth no man has seen, nor ever shall know.”
— Xenophanes

14. “The Ethiopians say that their gods are snub-nosed and black the Thracians that theirs have light blue eyes and red hair.”
— Xenophanes

15. “If an ox could paint a picture, his god would look like an ox.”
— Xenophanes

16. “In the beginning the gods did not at all reveal all things clearly to mortals, but by searching men in the course of time find them out better.”
— Xenophanes

17. “No human being will ever know the truth, for even if they happen to say it by chance, they would not even know they had done so.”
— Xenophanes

18. “For we are all sprung from earth and water.”
— Xenophanes

19. “One god there is, in no way like mortal creatures either in bodily form or in the thought of his mind. The whole of him sees, the whole of him thinks, the whole of him hears. He stays always motionless in the same place; it is not fitting that he should move about now this way, now that.”
— Xenophanes

20. “This upper limit, of earth at our feet is visible and touches the air, but below it reaches to infinity.”
— Xenophanes

21. “All things that come into being and grow are earth and water.”
— Xenophanes

22. “The sun comes into being each day from little pieces of fire that are collected.”
— Xenophanes

23. “It isn’t right to judge strength as better than good wisdom.”
— Xenophanes

24. “Men always makes gods in their own image.”
— Xenophanes

25. “If cattle and horses, or lions, had hands…”
— Xenophanes

26. “No man knows distinctly anything, and no man ever will.”
— Xenophanes

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