The following quote, attributed to Hypatia (~360-415 AD), is found in many sites:

Fable should be taught as fable, myth as myth, and miracles as poetic fancies. To teach superstitions as truth is horrifying. The mind of a child accepts them and only through great pain, perhaps tragedy, can the child be relieved of them. Men will fight for superstition as quickly as for the living truth -- even more so, since a superstition is intangible, you can't get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, as so is changeable.

I wonder if these words can reasonably attributed to Hypatia, or, elsewhere, in case this a misattribution, if the source can be traced.

  • 2
    Wikipedia says "No written work widely recognized by scholars as Hypatia's own has survived to the present time", and other educational articles I found say the same. So at best, this might turn out to be a quote attributed to her by a contemporary source. Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 1:43
  • 2
    @NateEldredge My original question (before the editing) asked, not if she had "written" that, but whether if the quote was authentic, perhaps in some weaker sense - and, in any case, I was interested in the source of the attribution.
    – leonbloy
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 1:53

1 Answer 1


The fact that this so-called quotation appears in exactly the same ENGLISH wording in hundreds of google entries, all without any indication of its source, ought to raise the alarm. In fact, it comes from a book published in 1908, a fanciful “biography” of Hypatia in volume 10 of “Little Journeys” by Elbert Hubbard, again without any source. There does not seem to be any trace of it before Hubbard, who evidently invented it.

You can find Hubbard’s chapter here: http://www.online-literature.com/elbert-hubbard/journeys-vol-ten/10/ There is nice hatchet job here: http://bedejournal.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/encyclopaedia-britannica-hits-rock.html

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .