This is a list of people whose ideas, actions and speech were not fully appreciated during their lifetime. It was only after their death that their wisdom, truth and actions were fully appreciated. In this sense, we can say that they were born ahead of their time. In some cases, they were even ridiculed or persecuted for their beliefs and actions. But, with the benefit of time, we now see their real contribution to life.
Socrates (469 BC–399 BC) – Greek philosopher. Socrates encouraged people to think for themselves and questioned the motives of going to war. He was arrested by the Athenian authorities for his philosophic teachings, Socrates was willing to accept death rather than change his opinions and beliefs. It is said he calmly accepted his fate. He is now considered the father of Western philosophy.
Hippocrates (460 – 377 BC) – Hippocrates was a great doctor of ancient Greece. His pioneering techniques of health care significantly improved survival rates, and he has become the father of modern medicine. Hippocrates was considered the first doctor to place emphasis on natural causes of disease and not superstition. It was seen as a threat to the old religious beliefs, but his legacy is very important for western medicine.
Jesus Christ (around 0 AD – 32 AD) Jesus Christ was a spiritual teacher who taught a gospel of love and forgiveness. His simple, direct teachings challenged the established religious power of the Jewish priests. He was arrested and mocked by crowds. After his death, his teachings spread throughout the region and later the whole world.
Mary Magdalene A close disciple of Jesus Christ. Present at the crucifixion of Christ, Mary Magdalene retained a close faith in Jesus – even when he was mocked and betrayed by the world and his other disciples. In seeing the divinity in Christ even at his lowest moment, she was a forerunner of those who would come to recognise the special mission of Jesus.
Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179) Mystic, author and composer. Hildegard of Bingen lived a withdrawn life, spending most of her time behind convent walls. However, her writings, poetry and music were revelatory for the time period. She was consulted by popes, kings and influential people of the time. Her writings and music have influenced people to this day.