Abstract The overview of Sophistic proposed by Philostratus in the introduction to the Lives of the Sophists creates a serious problem of interpretation. The system of two Sophistics: Old Sophistic and Second Sophistic as the author of the Lives defines them, appears to involve weaknesses and contradictions which bring into question the credibility of Philostratus. One might therefore believe that the Philostratean sysem of two Sophistics, through its apparent incoherence, in no way clarifies the question of the definition of a sophist. This article proposes, in contrast, to make visible the conception of Sophistic that hides behind the opposition between Old Sophistic and Second Sophistic, by analysing the introduction and the preface of the Lives of the Sophists.
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