Rama mentions that Achitophel was a teacher of Socrates, as per the Moses Isserles, Torat ha-Olah 1:11):

"Socrates was said to have been his disciple"

I'm not lucidly fluent in Hebrew, but here's the text

ודע כי ראיתי בספר אחד ישן מאוד היו מצויירין בו כל הפילוסופים בצורתן וחכמתן איך המציאן והיה כתוב בו שס"ארוט שהוא שקראוהו הפילוסופים סקרא"ט האלהי להיותו שהוא המציא בראשונה בפילוסופיא שיש נמצא נבדל: ואחריו נמשכו הפילוסופים האחרים.
וכתב שם שהוא קבל החכמה מאסף הקרחי ומאחיתופל.

My question is how is this possible? Achitophel was known to have advised David HaMelech, circa 1000 BCE, whereas Socrates had lived between 470-399 BCE. It was also known that Achitophel died when he was 33 years old, as per Masechet Sanhedrin 69b, "And it is written: “Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days” (Psalms 55:24). And in keeping with this verse, it is taught in a baraita: All of Doeg’s years were only thirty-four and Ahithophel’s were only thirty-three".

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    Maybe it means he received Achitophel’s teachings via a chain of other teachers? – Joel K May 17 at 3:23
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  • @JoelK Good point, I considered that, however, that assumes the Rama had no purpose to assert a distinction between explicitly writing "talmidim" of achitophel and leaving it as it is now-which appears to be direct from the phrase "kibel haHochma mi...", mashma that it was davka from them. – Yaakov Pinchas May 17 at 3:44
  • @JoelK I appreciate the blog, however, it did not address the anachronism of Socrates and Achitophel – Yaakov Pinchas May 17 at 3:45
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    @AlBerko Based only upon your quote it’s obvious that the chain of transmission mentioned in the old book by the Rema is not to be taken literally. It also says Socrates philosophical approach of abstract reasoning was from Asaph ben Korach. Asaph was long before David HaMelech & Achitophel. – Yaacov Deane May 17 at 12:22

In Rabbinical literature, the expression "קיבל ממישהו" does not mean literally "was his disciple" but "received his heritage" or "followed his teachings" like in Avos 1:

"אַנְטִיגְנוֹס אִישׁ סוֹכוֹ קִבֵּל מִשִּׁמְעוֹן הַצַּדִּיק.
Antigonus a man of Socho received [the oral tradition] from Shimon the Righteous.

Chronologically it appears that there are big gaps between Rabbis mentioned in that Mishna, although it uses the term "קיבל מהם" extensively and the list does not account for 400-500 years of the Rabbis mentioned.

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    Shimon the Righteous didn't live at the beginning of the Second Temple. He lived at the same time as Alexander the Great according to the Talmud or afterwards according to Josephus (Wikipedia). What is your source that Antignos lived much later than Shimon the Righteous? – b a May 17 at 8:46
  • @ba we did some calculations once in Kollel and the chain in Avos does not account for the 500 years mentioned in the 2nd Temple Rabbis. I know there are many discrepancies, I just mentioned it in "appears that" language. Maybe there are other better sources, That does not invalidate the main idea of the answer. – Al Berko May 17 at 9:05
  • @ba But thank you, I edited that to distance myself from unneeded Machlokes. – Al Berko May 17 at 9:07
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    The answer might be more convincing if you explained what your calculations were in kolel. Even so I am not persuaded because קיבל מ- usually does mean that they studied directly from them, e.g. Hillel (if I remember correctly) is mentioned somewhere else as שימש את שמעיה ואבטליון – b a May 17 at 10:31
  • This is not a proof, this is just an example of figurative speech, that קיבל does not require physical contact. – Al Berko May 17 at 10:36

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