Even this did not tame the impostors mercurial temperament.
No doubt there were many conscious hypocrites and impostors among the professional prophets, as there always will be among the professional representatives of a religious standpoint which is intrinsically untenable, and yet has on its side the prestige of tradition and popular acceptance.
To this period also belongs a set of " philosophers," with regard to whom it is impossible to say whether they are dupes or impostors - the " decepti deceptores " of whom Augustine speaks.
" The sophists," says Grote, " are spoken of as a new class of men, or sometimes in language which implies a new doctrinal sect or school, as if they then sprang up in Greece for the first time - ostentatious impostors, flattering and duping the rich youth for their own personal gain, undermining the morality of Athens, public and private, and encouraging their pupils to the unscrupulous prosecution of ambition and cupidity.
In his Almanac for 1707 a Protestant alarmist and plot vaticinator styled John Partridge warned customers against rivals and impostors.