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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Philo Of Alexandria, On The Eternity Of The World, 13

nanBut some say that the world has been proved by Plato in the Timaeus to be both uncreated and indestructible, in the account of that divine assembly in which the younger gods are addressed by the eldest and the governor of them all in the following terms;"O ye gods of gods, those works of which I am the father and the creator are indissoluble as long as I choose that they shall be so. Now everything which has been bound together is capable of being dissolved, but it is the part of an evil ruler to dissolve that which has been well combined and arranged, and which is in good condition. Wherefore, since you also have been created, you are not of necessity immortal or utterly indissoluble; nevertheless you shall not be dissolved, nor shall you be exposed to the fate of death, inasmuch as you have my will to keep you united, which is a still greater and more powerful bond than those by which you were bound together when you were first created.

Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

23 results
1. Plato, Laws, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

886a. that gods exist? Ath. How so? Clin. First, there is the evidence of the earth, the sun, the stars, and all the universe, and the beautiful ordering of the seasons, marked out by years and months; and then there is the further fact that all Greeks and barbarians believe in the existence of gods. Ath. My dear sir, these bad men cause me alarm—for I will never call it awe —lest haply they scoff at us. For the cause of the corruption in their case is one you are not aware of; since you imagine that it is solely by their incontinence in regard to pleasures and desire
2. Plato, Phaedo, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

97c. that it is the mind that arranges and causes all things. I was pleased with this theory of cause, and it seemed to me to be somehow right that the mind should be the cause of all things, and I thought, If this is so, the mind in arranging things arranges everything and establishes each thing as it is best for it to be. So if anyone wishes to find the cause of the generation or destruction or existence of a particular thing, he must find out what sort of existence, or passive state of any kind, or activity is best for it. And therefore in respect to
3. Plato, Timaeus, 28 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

4. Xenophon, Memoirs, 1.1.11-1.1.16, 4.3.2-4.3.18 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

1.1.11. He did not even discuss that topic so favoured by other talkers, the Nature of the Universe : and avoided speculation on the so-called Cosmos of the Professors, how it works, and on the laws that govern the phenomena of the heavens: indeed he would argue that to trouble one’s mind with such problems is sheer folly. 1.1.12. In the first place, he would inquire, did these thinkers suppose that their knowledge of human affairs was so complete that they must seek these new fields for the exercise of their brains; or that it was their duty to neglect human affairs and consider only things divine? 1.1.13. Moreover, he marvelled at their blindness in not seeing that man cannot solve these riddles; since even the most conceited talkers on these problems did not agree in their theories, but behaved to one another like madmen. 1.1.14. As some madmen have no fear of danger and others are afraid where there is nothing to be afraid of, as some will do or say anything in a crowd with no sense of shame, while others shrink even from going abroad among men, some respect neither temple nor altar nor any other sacred thing, others worship stocks and stones and beasts, so is it, he held, with those who worry with Universal Nature. Some hold that What is is one, others that it is infinite in number: some that all things are in perpetual motion, others that nothing can ever be moved at any time: some that all life is birth and decay, others that nothing can ever be born or ever die. 1.1.15. Nor were those the only questions he asked about such theorists. Students of human nature, he said, think that they will apply their knowledge in due course for the good of themselves and any others they choose. Do those who pry into heavenly phenomena imagine that, once they have discovered the laws by which these are produced, they will create at their will winds, waters, seasons and such things to their need? Or have they no such expectation, and are they satisfied with knowing the causes of these various phenomena? 1.1.16. Such, then, was his criticism of those who meddle with these matters. His own conversation was ever of human things. The problems he discussed were, What is godly, what is ungodly; what is beautiful, what is ugly; what is just, what is unjust; what is prudence, what is madness; what is courage, what is cowardice; what is a state, what is a statesman; what is government, and what is a governor;—these and others like them, of which the knowledge made a gentleman, in his estimation, while ignorance should involve the reproach of slavishness. 4.3.2. In the first place, then, he tried to make his companions prudent towards the gods. Accordingly he discoursed on this topic at various times, as those who were present used to relate. The following conversation between him and Euthydemus I heard myself. 4.3.3. Tell me, Euthydemus, he began, has it ever occurred to you to reflect on the care the gods have taken to furnish man with what he needs? No, indeed it has not, replied Euthydemus. Well, no doubt you know that our first and foremost need is light, which is supplied to us by the gods? of course; since without light our eyes would be as useless as if we were blind. And again, we need rest; and therefore the gods grant us the welcome respite of night. Yes, for that too we owe them thanks. 4.3.4. And since the night by reason of her darkness is dim, whereas the sun by his brightness illuminates the hours of the day and all things else, have they not made stars to shine in the night, that mark the watches of night for us, and do we not thereby satisfy many of our needs? That is so. Moreover, the moon reveals to us not only the divisions of the night, but of the month too. Certainly. 4.3.5. Now, seeing that we need food, think how they make the earth to yield it, and provide to that end appropriate seasons which furnish in abundance the diverse things that minister not only to our wants but to our enjoyment. Truly these things too show loving-kindness. 4.3.6. Think again of their precious gift of water, that aids the earth and the seasons to give birth and increase to all things useful to us and itself helps to nourish our bodies, and mingling with all that sustains us, makes it more digestible, more wholesome, and more palatable: and how, because we need so much of it, they supply it without stint. That too shows design at work. 4.3.7. Think again of the blessing of fire, our defence against cold and against darkness, our helpmate in every art and all that man contrives for his service. In fact, to put it shortly, nothing of any account that is useful to the life of man is contrived without the aid of fire. This too is a signal token of loving-kindness. 4.3.8. Think again how the sun, when past the winter solstice, approaches, ripening some things and withering others, whose time is over; and having accomplished this, approaches no nearer, but turns away, careful not to harm us by excess of heat; and when once again in his retreat he reaches the point where it is clear to ourselves, that if he goes further away, we shall be frozen with the cold, back he turns once more and draws near and revolves in that region of the heavens where he can best serve us. Yes, verily, these things do seem to be done for the sake of mankind. 4.3.9. And again, since it is evident that we could not endure the heat or the cold if it came suddenly, Cyropaedia VI. ii. 29. the sun’s approach and retreat are so gradual that we arrive at the one or the other extreme imperceptibly. For myself, exclaimed Euthydemus, I begin to doubt whether after all the gods are occupied in any other work than the service of man. The one difficulty I feel is that the lower animals also enjoy these blessings. 4.3.10. Yes, replied Socrates, and is it not evident that they too receive life and food for the sake of man? For what creature reaps so many benefits as man from goats and sheep and horses and oxen and asses and the other animals? He owes more to them, in my opinion, than to the fruits of the earth. At the least they are not less valuable to him for food and commerce; in fact a large portion of mankind does not use the products of the earth for food, but lives on the milk and cheese and flesh they get from live stock. Moreover, all men tame and domesticate the useful kinds of animals, and make them their fellow-workers in war and many other undertakings. There too I agree with you, seeing that animals far stronger than man become so entirely subject to him that he puts them to any use he chooses. 4.3.11. Think again of the multitude of things beautiful and useful and their infinite variety, and how the gods have endowed man with senses adapted for the perception of every kind, so that there is nothing good that we cannot enjoy; and again, how they have implanted in us the faculty of reasoning, whereby we are able to reason about the objects of our perceptions and to commit them to memory, and so come to know what advantage every kind can yield, and devise many means of enjoying the good and driving away the bad; 4.3.12. and think of the power of expression, which enables us to impart to one another all good things by teaching and to take our share of them, to enact laws and to administer states. Truly, Socrates, it does appear that the gods devote much care to man. Yet again, in so far as we are powerless of ourselves to foresee what is expedient for the future, Cyropaedia I. vi. 46. the gods lend us their aid, revealing the issues by divination to inquirers, and teaching them how to obtain the best results. With you, Socrates, they seem to deal even more friendly than with other men, if it is true that, even unasked, they warn you by signs what to do and what not to do. 4.3.13. Yes, and you will realise the truth of what I say if, instead of waiting for the gods to appear to you in bodily presence, you are content to praise and worship them because you see their works. Mark that the gods themselves give the reason for doing so; for when they bestow on us their good gifts, not one of them ever appears before us gift in hand; and especially he who co-ordinates and holds together the universe, wherein all things are fair and good, and presents them ever unimpaired and sound and ageless for our use, ibid. VIII. vii. 22. and quicker than thought to serve us unerringly, is manifest in his supreme works, and yet is unseen by us in the ordering of them. 4.3.14. Mark that even the sun, who seems to reveal himself to all, permits not man to behold him closely, but if any attempts to gaze recklessly upon him, blinds their eyes. And the gods’ ministers too you will find to be invisible. That the thunderbolt is hurled from heaven, and that he overwhelms all on whom he falls, is evident, but he is seen neither coming nor striking nor going. And the winds are themselves invisible, yet their deeds are manifest to us, and we perceive their approach. Moreover, the soul of man, which more than all else that is human partakes of the divine, reigns manifestly within us, and yet is itself unseen. For these reasons it behoves us not to despise the things that are unseen, but, realising their power in their manifestations, to honour the godhead. 4.3.15. Socrates, replied Euthydemus, that I will in no wise be heedless of the godhead I know of a surety. But my heart fails me when I think that no man can ever render due thanks to the gods for their benefits. 4.3.16. Nay, be not down-hearted, Euthydemus; for you know that to the inquiry, How am I to please the gods? the Delphic god replies, Follow the custom of the state ; and everywhere, I suppose, it is the custom that men propitiate the gods with sacrifices according to their power. How then can a man honour the gods more excellently and more devoutly than by doing as they themselves ordain? 4.3.17. Only he must fall no whit short of his power. For when he does that, it is surely plain that he is not then honouring the gods. Therefore it is by coming no whit short of his power in honouring the gods that he is to look with confidence for the greatest blessing. Cyropaedia I. vi. 4. For there are none from whom a man of prudence would hope for greater things than those who can confer the greatest benefits, nor can he show his prudence more clearly than by pleasing them. And how can he please them better than by obeying them strictly? 4.3.18. Thus by precept and by example alike he strove to increase in his companions Piety and Prudence.
5. Aristobulus Cassandreus, Fragments, 4 (4th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

6. Anon., Jubilees, 12.17 (2nd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

12.17. And in the sixth week, in the fifth year thereof, Abram sat up throughout the night on the new moon of the seventh month to observe the stars from the evening to the morning, in order to see what would be the character of the year with regard to the rains
7. Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, 2.90 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2.90. Well then, even as the shepherd at the first sight thinks he sees some lifeless and iimate object, but afterwards is led by clearer indications to begin to suspect the true nature of the thing about which he had previously been uncertain, so it would have been the proper course for the philosophers, if it so happened that the first sight of the world perplexed them, afterwards when they had seen its definite and regular motions, and all its phenomena controlled by fixed system and unchanging uniformity, to infer the presence not merely of an inhabitant of this celestial and divine abode, but also of a ruler and governor, the architect as it were of this mighty and monumental structure. "But as it is they appear to me to have no suspicion even of the marvels of the celestial and terrestrial creation.
8. Septuagint, Wisdom of Solomon, 7, 13 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

9. Lucretius Carus, On The Nature of Things, 5.373-5.405 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

10. Philo of Alexandria, On The Eternity of The World, 12, 14, 141, 15-19, 10 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

10. But Aristotle, with a knowledge as to which I know not to what degree I may call it holy and pious, affirmed that the world was uncreated and indestructible, and he accused those who maintained a contrary opinion of terrible impiety, for thinking that so great a visible God was in no respect different from things made with hands, though the contains within himself the sun, and the moon, and all the rest of the planets and fixed stars, and, in fact, the whole of the divine nature;
11. Philo of Alexandria, On The Decalogue, 58 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

12. Philo of Alexandria, On The Migration of Abraham, 6 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

6. What, then, can it be except the Word, which is more ancient than all the things which were the objects of creation, and by means of which it is the Ruler of the universe, taking hold of it as a rudder, governs all things. And when he was fashioning the world, he used this as his instrument for the blameless argument of all the things which he was completing. II.
13. Philo of Alexandria, On The Creation of The World, 11, 119, 12, 133, 7-10 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

10. for reason proves that the father and creator has a care for that which has been created; for a father is anxious for the life of his children, and a workman aims at the duration of his works, and employs every device imaginable to ward off everything that is pernicious or injurious, and is desirous by every means in his power to provide everything which is useful or profitable for them. But with regard to that which has not been created, there is no feeling of interest as if it were his own in the breast of him who has not created it.
14. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 1.3 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.3. In consequence of which it would be most fitting for men to discard childish ridicule, and to investigate the real causes of the ordice with more prudence and dignity, considering the reasons why the custom has prevailed, and not being precipitate, so as without examination to condemn the folly of mighty nations, recollecting that it is not probable that so many myriads should be circumcised in every generation, mutilating the bodies of themselves and of their nearest relations, in a manner which is accompanied with severe pain, without adequate cause; but that there are many reasons which might encourage men to persevere and continue a custom which has been introduced by previous generations, and that these are from reasons of the greatest weight and importance.
15. Philo of Alexandria, On The Contemplative Life, 57 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

57. Now of the banquets among the Greeks the two most celebrated and most remarkable are those at which Socrates also was present, the one in the house of Callias, when, after Autolycus had gained the crown of victory, he gave a feast in honour of the event, and the other in the house of Agathon, which was thought worthy of being commemorated by men who were imbued with the true spirit of philosophy both in their dispositions and in their discourses, Plato and Xenophon, for they recorded them as events worthy to be had in perpetual recollection, looking upon it that future generations would take them as models for a well managed arrangement of future banquets;
16. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Moses, 2.12 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

2.12. But that he himself is the most admirable of all the lawgivers who have ever lived in any country either among the Greeks or among the barbarians, and that his are the most admirable of all laws, and truly divine, omitting no one particular which they ought to comprehend, there is the clearest proof possible in this fact, the laws of other lawgivers
17. Philo of Alexandria, That Every Good Person Is Free, 13 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

13. And since, as that sweetest of all writers, Plato, says, envy is removed far from the divine company, but wisdom, that most divine and communicative of all things, never closes its school, but is continually open to receive all who thirst for salutary doctrines, to whom she pours forth the inexhaustible stream of unalloyed instruction and wisdom, and persuades them to yield to the intoxication of the soberest of all drunkenness.
18. Aristobulus Milesius, Fragments, 4 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

19. Epictetus, Discourses, 1.6.3, 1.6.7, 1.19.11 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

20. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 1.154-1.156 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

1.154. 1. Now Abram, having no son of his own, adopted Lot, his brother Haran’s son, and his wife Sarai’s brother; and he left the land of Chaldea when he was seventy-five years old, and at the command of God went into Canaan, and therein he dwelt himself, and left it to his posterity. He was a person of great sagacity, both for understanding all things and persuading his hearers, and not mistaken in his opinions; 1.155. for which reason he began to have higher notions of virtue than others had, and he determined to renew and to change the opinion all men happened then to have concerning God; for he was the first that ventured to publish this notion, That there was but one God, the Creator of the universe; and that, as to other [gods], if they contributed any thing to the happiness of men, that each of them afforded it only according to his appointment, and not by their own power. 1.156. This his opinion was derived from the irregular phenomena that were visible both at land and sea, as well as those that happen to the sun, and moon, and all the heavenly bodies, thus:—“If [said he] these bodies had power of their own, they would certainly take care of their own regular motions; but since they do not preserve such regularity, they make it plain, that in so far as they co-operate to our advantage, they do it not of their own abilities, but as they are subservient to Him that commands them, to whom alone we ought justly to offer our honor and thanksgiving.”
21. Josephus Flavius, Jewish War, 7.341-7.350 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

7.341. So he made a lamentable groan, and fixing his eyes intently on those that wept, he spake thus:—“Truly, I was greatly mistaken when I thought to be assisting to brave men who struggled hard for their liberty, and to such as were resolved either to live with honor, or else to die; 7.342. but I find that you are such people as are no better than others, either in virtue or in courage, and are afraid of dying, though you be delivered thereby from the greatest miseries, while you ought to make no delay in this matter, nor to await anyone to give you good advice; 7.343. for the laws of our country, and of God himself, have from ancient times, and as soon as ever we could use our reason, continually taught us, and our forefathers have corroborated the same doctrine by their actions, and by their bravery of mind, that it is life that is a calamity to men, and not death; 7.344. for this last affords our souls their liberty, and sends them by a removal into their own place of purity, where they are to be insensible of all sorts of misery; for while souls are tied down to a mortal body, they are partakers of its miseries; and really, to speak the truth, they are themselves dead; for the union of what is divine to what is mortal is disagreeable. 7.345. It is true, the power of the soul is great, even when it is imprisoned in a mortal body; for by moving it after a way that is invisible, it makes the body a sensible instrument, and causes it to advance further in its actions than mortal nature could otherwise do. 7.346. However, when it is freed from that weight which draws it down to the earth and is connected with it, it obtains its own proper place, and does then become a partaker of that blessed power, and those abilities, which are then every way incapable of being hindered in their operations. It continues invisible, indeed, to the eyes of men, as does God himself; 7.347. for certainly it is not itself seen while it is in the body; for it is there after an invisible manner, and when it is freed from it, it is still not seen. It is this soul which hath one nature, and that an incorruptible one also; but yet it is the cause of the change that is made in the body; 7.348. for whatsoever it be which the soul touches, that lives and flourishes; and from whatsoever it is removed, that withers away and dies; such a degree is there in it of immortality. 7.349. Let me produce the state of sleep as a most evident demonstration of the truth of what I say; wherein souls, when the body does not distract them, have the sweetest rest depending on themselves, and conversing with God, by their alliance to him; they then go everywhere, and foretell many futurities beforehand.
22. Anon., Letter of Aristeas, 132

132. punishments inflicted by God upon the guilty. For he proved first of all that there is only one God and that his power is manifested throughout the universe, since every place is filled with his sovereignty and none of the things which are wrought in secret by men upon the earth escapes His knowledge. For all that a man does and all that is to come to pass in the future are manifest to
23. Stoic School, Stoicor. Veter. Fragm., 2.1009

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aristotle Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32
cicero Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32
conflagration (ἐκπύρωσις) Frey and Levison, The Holy Spirit, Inspiration, and the Cultures of Antiquity Multidisciplinary Perspectives (2014) 291
cosmos Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32
creation Frey and Levison, The Holy Spirit, Inspiration, and the Cultures of Antiquity Multidisciplinary Perspectives (2014) 291
deity, deities Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32
diotima Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 142
earth Frey and Levison, The Holy Spirit, Inspiration, and the Cultures of Antiquity Multidisciplinary Perspectives (2014) 291
epicureans, epicureanism Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32
heavenly bodies Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32
leah Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 142
lucretius Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32
moses Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 142
philo judeas Frey and Levison, The Holy Spirit, Inspiration, and the Cultures of Antiquity Multidisciplinary Perspectives (2014) 291
philo of alexandria Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32
plato Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32; Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 142
platonism, platonists Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32
pseudo-heraclitus Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32
reason/rational Frey and Levison, The Holy Spirit, Inspiration, and the Cultures of Antiquity Multidisciplinary Perspectives (2014) 291
rebecca Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 142
sarah Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 142
socrates Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32
spirit, characterizations as, divine Frey and Levison, The Holy Spirit, Inspiration, and the Cultures of Antiquity Multidisciplinary Perspectives (2014) 291
stoicism/stoic; Frey and Levison, The Holy Spirit, Inspiration, and the Cultures of Antiquity Multidisciplinary Perspectives (2014) 291
stoics, stoicism Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32
symposium Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 142
therapeutac Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 142
virtue Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 142
wisdom' Frey and Levison, The Holy Spirit, Inspiration, and the Cultures of Antiquity Multidisciplinary Perspectives (2014) 291
wisdom of solomon Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32
xenophon Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 32; Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 142
zipporah Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 142