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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9251
Philo Of Alexandria, That The Worse Attacks The Better, 131-141


nanand this is a matter within the knowledge of almost every one from his daily experience. For, when we thoroughly understand what we are saying, then our speech rejoices and exults, and is rich in most emphatic and appropriate expressions, with which, using great copiousness and fluency of unhesitating diction, it sets before the hearer what it desires to exhibit to him in a most evident and efficient manner. But when the comprehension of the conceptions is doubtful, then the speech stumbles and exhibits a great deficiency of suitable and felicitous expressions, and speaks very inappropriately; on which account it is tedious and wearisome and wanders about, and instead of persuading its hearers it pains their ears. XXXVI.


nanAgain, it is not every speech which should come forward to meet the conceptions; nor is it every kind of conception that it should come to meet; but only the perfect Aaron who should come forward to meet the conceptions of the most perfect Moses. Since else why, when God had said, "Behold, is not Aaron thy brother?" did he add, "the Levite," if it were not for the sake of teaching that it belongs to the Levite and priest, and to virtuous speech alone, to give information respecting the conceptions of the mind, which are shoots of the perfect soul.


nanFor never may the speech of a wicked man be interpreter of divine doctrines, for such an one would deform their beauty by his own pollutions; and, on the other hand, may what is intemperate and disgraceful never be related by the utterance of a virtuous man, but may sacred and holy conversations always deliver the relation of holy things.


nanIn some of the best governed cities of the world they say that such a custom as this prevails. When any man who has not lived well attempts to deliver his opinion, either in the council or in the assembly of the people, he is not permitted to do so by his own mouth, but is compelled by the magistrates to deliver his opinion to some virtuous and honourable man to explain in his behalf; and then he, when he has heard what he wishes said, rises up and unfolds the meaning of the sewn up mouth of his instructor, becoming his extempore pupil; and he displays the imaginations of another, scarcely considering the original concern for them even in the rank of a hearer or spectator. So some people do not choose to receive even benefits from unworthy persons, but look upon the injury accruing from the shame of taking their advice as greater than the advantage which can be derived from it. XXXVII.


nanThis lesson the most holy Moses appears to teach; for such is the object of the statement that Aaron the Levite is coming forward to meet his brother Moses, and that when he sees him he rejoices in himself; and the statement that he rejoices in himself shows also, besides the doctrine which has already been mentioned, another more connected with politics, since the lawgiver is here exhibiting that genuine joy which is most especially akin to the human race;


nanfor to speak strictly, the feeling of joy does not belong to abundance of money, or of possessions, or to brilliancy of renown, nor, in short, to any one of those external circumstances which are lifeless and unstable, and which contain the seeds of their decay in themselves: nor yet does it belong to personal strength and vigour, and to the other advantages of the body, which are common to even the most worthless men, and which have often brought inevitable destruction on those who possessed them.


nanSince then it is only in the virtues of the soul that genuine and unadulterated joy is found, and since every wise man rejoices, he rejoices in himself, and not in his surrounding circumstances; for the things that are in himself are the virtues of the mind on which it is worthy for a man to provide himself; but the circumstances which surround him are either a good condition of body or an abundance of external wealth, which are not proper objects for a man to pride himself on. XXXVIII.


nanHaving shown, therefore, as far as we could by the most unmistakeable testimony of Moses that, to rejoice is the peculiar property of the wise man, we will now also show that to hope also belongs to him alone; and here again we shall have no need of any other witness than Moses; for he tells us that the name of the son of Seth was Enos: and Enos, being interpreted, means hope. "He hoped first," says Moses, "to call upon the name of the Lord his God." Speaking wisely: for to a man inspired with the principles of truth what can be more akin and appropriate than a hope and expectation of the acquisition of good things from the one bounteous God? This, if one must speak the plain truth, is, properly speaking, the only real birth of men, as those who do not hope in God have no share in rational nature.


nanOn which account Moses, after he had previously mentioned with respect to Enos that "he hoped to call upon the name of the Lord his God," adds in express words, "This is the book of the generation of Men;" speaking with perfect correctness: for it is written in the book of God that man is the only creature with a good hope. So that arguing by contraries, he who has no good hope is not a man. The definition, therefore, of our concrete being is that it is a living rational mortal being; but the definition of man, according to Moses, is a disposition of the soul hoping in the truly living God.


nanLet good men, then, by all means having received joy and hope for their blessed inheritance, either possess or expect good things: but let bad men, of whom Cain is a companion, living in fear and pain, reap a harvest of a most bitter portion, namely, either the presence or the expectation of evils, groaning over the miseries which are actually oppressing them, and trembling and shuddering at the expected fearful dangers. XXXIX.


nanHowever, we have now said enough on this subject, and let us proceed to investigate what comes afterwards. He continues thus: "And Cain said unto the Lord, My crime is too great to be Forgiven." Now what is meant by this will be shown by a consideration of simple passages. If a pilot were to desert his ship when tossed about by the sea, would it not follow of necessity that the ship would wander out of her course in the voyage? Shall I say more? If a charioteer in the contest of the horse-race were to quit his chariot, is it not inevitable that the course of the free horses would be disorderly and irregular? Again, when a city is left destitute of rulers or of laws, and laws, undoubtedly, are entitled to be classed on an equality with magistrates, must not that city be destroyed by those greatest of evils, anarchy and lawlessness?


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

10 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Genesis, a b c d\n0 "17.17" "17.17" "17 17"\n1 15.10 15.10 15 10 \n2 15.4 15.4 15 4 \n3 15.5 15.5 15 5 \n4 15.6 15.6 15 6 \n5 18.12 18.12 18 12 \n6 18.13 18.13 18 13 \n7 18.14 18.14 18 14 \n8 18.15 18.15 18 15 \n9 9.20 9.20 9 20 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

2. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Abraham, 263-274, 34-35, 262 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

3. Philo of Alexandria, On The Cherubim, 13, 12 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

12. Now the first example of an enemy placed directly in front of one is derived from what is said in the case of Cain, that "he went out from the face of God, and dwelt in the land of Nod, in the front of Eden." Now Nod being interpreted means commotion, and Eden means delight. The one therefore is a symbol of wickedness agitating the soul, and the other of virtue which creates for the soul a state of tranquillity and happiness, not meaning by happiness that effeminate luxury which is derived from the indulgence of the irrational passion of pleasure, but a joy free from toil and free from hardship, which is enjoyed with great tranquillity. 12. in this manner those who are skilful in the art of medicine, save their patients; for they do not think it advisable to give food before they have removed the causes of their diseases; for while the diseases remain, food is useless, being the pernicious materials of their sufferings. III.
4. Philo of Alexandria, On The Change of Names, 184-185, 189-192, 180 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

180. For the fervid and glowing heat of that region does not suffer to to rest tranquil; on which account, overleaping many things, it is borne far beyond every boundary perceptible by the outward senses, to that which is compounded of ideas and appearances by the law of kindred. On which account in the good man there is a slight change, indivisible, unapportionable, not perceptible by the outward senses, but only by the intellect, and being in a manner independent of them. XXXIV.
5. Philo of Alexandria, On Curses, 28-30, 27 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

27. Let these men, then, hang by their appetites as by a halter; but the wise Abraham, where he stands, comes near to God, who is also standing. For Moses says that "Abraham was standing near to God; and coming nigh unto him, he Said,"... For in good truth the unalterable soul is the only thing that has access to the unalterable God; and being of such a disposition, it does really stand very near to the Divine power.
6. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 4.100-4.115 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

4.100. Moreover, Moses has not granted an unlimited possession and use of all other animals to those who partake in his sacred constitution, but he has forbidden with all his might all animals, whether of the land, or of the water, or that fly through the air, which are most fleshy and fat, and calculated to excite treacherous pleasure, well knowing that such, attracting as with a bait that most slavish of all the outward senses, namely, taste, produce insatiability, an incurable evil to both souls and bodies, for insatiability produces indigestion, which is the origin and source of all diseases and weaknesses. 4.101. Now of land animals, the swine is confessed to be the nicest of all meats by those who eat it, and of all aquatic animals the most delicate are the fish which have no scales; and Moses is above all other men skilful in training and inuring persons of a good natural disposition to the practice of virtue by frugality and abstinence, endeavouring to remove costly luxury from their characters 4.102. at the same time not approving of unnecessary rigour, like the lawgiver of Lacedaemon, nor undue effeminacy, like the man who taught the Ionians and the Sybarites lessons of luxury and license, but keeping a middle path between the two courses, so that he has relaxed what was over strict, and tightened what was too loose, mingling the excesses which are found at each extremity with moderation, which lies between the two, so as to produce an irreproachable harmony and consistency of life, on which account he has laid down not carelessly, but with minute particularity, what we are to use and what to avoid. 4.103. One might very likely suppose it to be just that those beasts which feed upon human flesh should receive at the hands of men similar treatment to that which they inflict on men, but Moses has ordained that we should abstain from the enjoyment of all such things, and with a due consideration of what is becoming to the gentle soul, he proposes a most gentle and most pleasant banquet; for though it is proper that those who inflict evils should suffer similar calamities themselves, yet it may not be becoming to those whom they ill treated to retaliate, lest without being aware of it they become brutalized by anger, which is a savage passion; 4.104. and he takes such care to guard against this, that being desirous to banish as far as possible all desire for those animals abovementioned, he forbids with all his energy the eating of any carnivorous animal at all, selecting the herbivorous animals out of those kinds which are domesticated, since they are tame by nature, feeding on that gentle food which is supplied by the earth, and having no disposition to plot evil against anything.WHAT QUADRUPEDS ARE CLEANXVIII. 4.105. The animals which are clean and lawful to be used as food are ten in number; the heifer, the lamb, the goat, the stag, the antelope, the buffalo, the roebuck, the pygarga, the wildox, and the chamois, {19}{#de 14:4.} for he always adheres to that arithmetical subtilty which, as he originally devised it with the minutest accuracy possible, he extends to all existing things, so that he establishes no ordices, whether important or unimportant, without taking and as it were adapting this number to it as closely connected with the regulations which he is ordaining. Now of all the numbers beginning from the unit, the most perfect is the number ten, and as Moses says, it is the most sacred of all and a holy number, and by it he now limits the races of animals that are clean, wishing to assign the use of them to all those who partake of the constitution which he is establishing. 4.106. And he gives two tests and criteria of the ten animals thus Enumerated{20}{#le 11:3.} by two signs, first, that they must part the hoof, secondly, that they must chew the cud; for those which do neither, or only one of these things, are unclean. And these signs are both of them symbols of instruction and of the most scientific learning, by which the better is separated from the worse, so that all confusion between them is prevented; 4.107. for as the animal which chews the cud, while it is masticating its food draws it down its throat, and then by slow degrees kneads and softens it, and then after this process again sends it down into the belly, in the same manner the man who is being instructed, having received the doctrines and speculations of wisdom in at his ears from his instructor, derives a considerable amount of learning from him, but still is not able to hold it firmly and to embrace it all at once, until he has resolved over in his mind everything which he has heard by the continued exercise of his memory (and this exercise of memory is the cement which connects idea 4.108. But as it seems the firm conception of such ideas is of no advantage to him unless he is able to discriminate between and to distinguish which of contrary things it is right to choose and which to avoid, of which the parting of the hoof is the symbol; since the course of life is twofold, the one road leading to wickedness and the other to virtue, and since we ought to renounce the one and never to forsake the other.WHAT BEASTS ARE NOT CLEANXIX. 4.109. For this reason all animals with solid hoofs, and all with many toes are spoken of by implication as unclean; the one because, being so, they imply that the nature of good and evil is one and the same; which is just as if one were to say that the nature of a concave and a convex surface, or of a road up hill and down hill, was the same. And the other, because it shows that there are many roads, though, indeed, they have no right to be called roads at all, which lead the life of man to deceit; for it is not easy among a variety of paths to choose that which is the most desirable and the most excellent.WHAT AQUATIC ANIMALS ARE CLEANXX. 4.110. Having laid down these definitions with respect to land animals, he proceeds to describe what aquatic creatures are clean and lawful to be used for food; distinguishing them also by two characteristics as having fins or Scales.{21}{#le 11:9.} For those which have neither one nor the other, and those which have only one of the two, he rejects and Prohibits.{22}{#de 14:10.} And he must state the cause, which is not destitute of sense and propriety; 4.111. for all those creatures which are destitute of both, or even of one of the two, are sucked down by the current, not being able to resist the force of the stream; but those which have both these characteristics can stem the water, and oppose it in front, and strive against it as against an adversary, and struggle with invincible good will and courage, so that if they are pushed they push in their turn; and if they are pursued they turn upon their foe and pursue it in their turn, making themselves broad roads in a pathless district, so as to have an easy passage to and fro. 4.112. Now both these things are symbols; the former of a soul devoted to pleasure, and the latter of one which loves perseverance and temperance. For the road which leads to pleasure is a down-hill one and very easy, being rather an absorbing gulf than a path. But the path which leads to temperance is up hill and laborious, but above all other roads advantageous. And the one leads men downwards, and prevents those who travel by it from retracing their steps until they have arrived at the very lowest bottom, but the other leads to heaven; making those who do not weary before they reach it immortal, if they are only able to endure its rugged and difficult ascent.ABOUT Reptile 4.113. And adhering to the same general idea the lawgiver asserts that those reptiles which have no feet, and which crawl onwards, dragging themselves along the ground on their bellies, or those which have four legs, or many feet, are all unclean as far as regards their being eaten. And here, again, when he mentions reptiles he intimates under a figurative form of expression those who are devoted to their bellies, gorging themselves like cormorants, and who are continually offering up tribute to their miserable belly, tribute, that is, of strong wine, and confections, and fish, and, in short, all the superfluous delicacies which the skill and labour of bakers and confectioners are able to devise, inventing all sorts of rare viands, to stimulate and set on fire the insatiable and unappeasable appetites of man. And when he speaks of animals with four legs and many feet, he intends to designate the miserable slaves not of one single passion, appetite, but of all the passions; the genera of which were four in number; but in their subordinate species they are innumerable. Therefore, the despotism of one is very grievous, but that of many is most terrible, and as it seems intolerable. 4.114. Again, in the case of those reptiles who have legs above their feet, so that they are able to take leaps from the ground, those Moses speaks of as clean; as, for instance, the different kinds of locusts, and that animal called the serpentfighter, here again intimating by figurative expressions the manners and habits of the rational soul. For the weight of the body being naturally heavy, drags down with it those who are but of small wisdom, strangling it and pressing it down by the weight of the flesh. 4.115. But blessed are they to whose lot it has fallen, inasmuch as they have been well and solidly instructed in the rules of sound education, to resist successfully the power of mere strength, so as to be able, by reason of what they have learnt, to spring up from the earth and all low things, to the air and the periodical revolutions of the heaven, the very sight of which is to be admired and earnestly striven for by those who come to it of their own accord with no indolence or indifference.CONCERNING FLYING Creature
7. Philo of Alexandria, On The Virtues, 212-219, 117 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

117. Also the law proceeds to say, If you see the beast of one who is thy Enemy wandering about, leave the excitements to quarrelling to more perverse dispositions, and lead the animal back and restore him to his owner; for so you will not be benefiting him more than yourself; since he will by this means save only an irrational beast which is perhaps of no value, but you will get the greatest and most valuable of all things in nature, namely, excellence.
8. Philo of Alexandria, Allegorical Interpretation, 3.83-3.87, 3.105-3.107, 3.217-3.219 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

9. Philo of Alexandria, Who Is The Heir, 91-94, 90 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

90. Therefore it is a necessary addition which is subjoined, "Abraham believed in God," to the praise of him who did thus believe. And yet, perhaps, some one may say, "Do you judge this worthy of praise? who would not give his attention to God when saying or promising anything, even if he were the most wicked and impious of all men?
10. Philo of Alexandria, That The Worse Attacks The Better, 120, 123-126, 130, 132-141, 146-148, 152-154, 157, 159-162, 170, 177-178, 185, 205, 224, 228, 119 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

119. But to the impious Cain, neither does the earth contribute anything to give him vigour, even though he never concerns himself about anything which is exterior to it; on which account, in the next sentence, he is found "groaning and trembling upon the Earth," that is to say, under the influence of grief and terror; and such also is the miserable life of a wicked man, who has received for his inheritance the most painful of the four passions, pain and terror; the one being equivalent to groaning, and the other to trembling; for it is inevitable, that some evil should either be present to or impending over such a man. Now the expectation of impending evil causes fear, but the suffering of present evil causes pain.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aaron, as speech/logos prophorikos Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 439
aaron Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 125, 439
abraham Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 218
abram/abraham, faith and doubt of Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463
abram/abraham Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 135
allegorical commentary Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 139, 439
arithmology, ten Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 125, 139
atoms Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 221
camel, symbol of memory Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 218
chewing the cud Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 221
creation of the Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 218
cultivator Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 218
democritus Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 221
distinction Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 218
division Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 218
doubt Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463
elements Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 218
emotions, bad Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 139
emotions, good Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 135, 139, 439
emotions Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 135, 139
etymology Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 135
faith Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463
fall Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 125
figures of speech, rhetorical question Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 218
hope Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 135, 463
isaac Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 135, 139
israel, nation/people Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 439
joy Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 125, 135, 139, 439
laughter Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 125, 135, 139, 439, 463
law Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 135, 139
levite Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 135, 139
logos, tomeus Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 218, 221
metaphorical language/use Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 218, 221
moses Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463
offering, first fruit (tithe) Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 135
onomasticon Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 135
passions Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 218, 221
perfection Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 439
plato, timaeus Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 221
platonism Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 439
priest, high priest Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 439
priest Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 135, 439
promises, divine Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463
ps.aristotle Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 221
ps.plutarch Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 221
qge Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 439
rhetoric Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 135
sarah Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 125, 439, 463
soul Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 135; Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 218, 221
splitting the hoof Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 221
stoicism Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 135, 439
tithe, levitical Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 139
virtue Cover, Philo of Alexandria: On the Change of Names (2023) 463
worker of the earth' Geljon and Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On Cultivation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2013) 218