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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10243
Seneca The Younger, Letters, 41


minorque labor est Herculi iussa exequiYou are doing an excellent thing, one which will be wholesome for you, if, as you write me, you are persisting in your effort to attain sound understanding; it is foolish to pray for this when you can acquire it from yourself. We do not need to uplift our hands towards heaven, or to beg the keeper of a temple to let us approach his idol's ear, as if in this way our prayers were more likely to be heard. God is near you, he is with you, he is within you. ,This is what I mean, Lucilius: a holy spirit indwells within us, one who marks our good and bad deeds, and is our guardian. As we treat this spirit, so are we treated by it. Indeed, no man can be good without the help of God. Can one rise superior to fortune unless God helps him to rise? He it is that gives noble and upright counsel. In each good man A god doth dwell, but what god know we not.[1] ,If ever you have come upon a grove that is full of ancient trees which have grown to an unusual height, shutting out a view of the sky by a veil of pleached and intertwining branches, then the loftiness of the forest, the seclusion of the spot, and your marvel at the thick unbroken shade in the midst of the open spaces, will prove to you the presence of deity. Or if a cave, made by the deep crumbling of the rocks, holds up a mountain on its arch, a place not built with hands but hollowed out into such spaciousness by natural causes, your soul will be deeply moved by a certain intimation of the existence of God. We worship the sources of mighty rivers; we erect altars at places where great streams burst suddenly from hidden sources; we adore springs of hot water as divine, and consecrate certain pools because of their dark waters or their immeasurable depth. ,If you see a man who is unterrified in the midst of dangers, untouched by desires, happy in adversity, peaceful amid the storm, who looks down upon men from a higher plane, and views the gods on a footing of equality, will not a feeling of reverence for him steal over you? Will you not say: "This quality is too great and too lofty to be regarded as resembling this petty body in which it dwells? A divine power has descended upon that man." ,When a soul rises superior to other souls, when it is under control, when it passes through every experience as if it were of small account, when it smiles at our fears and at our prayers, it is stirred by a force from heaven. A thing like this cannot stand upright unless it be propped by the divine. Therefore, a greater part of it abides in that place from whence it came down to earth. Just as the rays of the sun do indeed touch the earth, but still abide at the source from which they are sent; even so the great and hallowed soul, which has come down in order that we may have a nearer knowledge of divinity, does indeed associate with us, but still cleaves to its origin; on that source it depends, thither it turns its gaze and strives to go, and it concerns itself with our doings only as a being superior to ourselves. ,What, then, is such a soul? One which is resplendent with no external good, but only with its own. For what is more foolish than to praise in a man the qualities which come from without? And what is more insane than to marvel at characteristics which may at the next instant be passed on to someone else? A golden bit does not make a better horse. The lion with gilded mane, in process of being trained and forced by weariness to endure the decoration, is sent into the arena in quite a different way from the wild lion whose spirit is unbroken; the latter, indeed, bold in his attack, as nature wished him to be, impressive because of his wild appearance, – and it is his glory that none can look upon him without fear, – is favoured[2] in preference to the other lion, that languid and gilded brute. ,No man ought to glory except in that which is his own. We praise a vine if it makes the shoots teem with increase, if by its weight it bends to the ground the very poles which hold its fruit; would any man prefer to this vine one from which golden grapes and golden leaves hang down? In a vine the virtue peculiarly its own is fertility; in man also we should praise that which is his own. Suppose that he has a retinue of comely slaves and a beautiful house, that his farm is large and large his income; none of these things is in the man himself; they are all on the outside. ,Praise the quality in him which cannot be given or snatched away, that which is the peculiar property of the man. Do you ask what this is? It is soul, and reason brought to perfection in the soul. For man is a reasoning animal. Therefore, man's highest good is attained, if he has fulfilled the good for which nature designed him at birth. ,And what is it which this reason demands of him? The easiest thing in the world, – to live in accordance with his own nature. But this is turned into a hard task by the general madness of mankind; we push one another into vice. And how can a man be recalled to salvation, when he has none to restrain him, and all mankind to urge him on? Farewell.


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

14 results
1. Plato, Apology of Socrates, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

27d. gods or children of gods? Yes, or no? Certainly. Then if I believe in spirits, as you say, if spirits are a kind of gods, that would be the puzzle and joke which I say you are uttering in saying that I, while I do not believe in gods, do believe In gods again, since I believe in spirits; but if, on the other hand, spirits are a kind of bastard children of gods, by nymphs or by any others, whoever their mothers are said to be, what man would believe that there are children of gods, but no gods? It would be just as absurd
2. Plato, Symposium, 203, 202 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

3. Anon., Testament of Zebulun, 5.1 (2nd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. CE)

4. New Testament, 1 Thessalonians, 4 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

5. New Testament, 2 Corinthians, 3.18 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

6. New Testament, Galatians, 5 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

7. New Testament, Philippians, 4 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

8. New Testament, Romans, 8.29 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

8.29. For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
9. Plutarch, On Isis And Osiris, None (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

369b. or anything good where God is the Author of nothing; for the concord of the universe, like that of a lyre or bow, according to Heracleitus, is resilient if disturbed; and according to Euripides, The good and bad cannot be kept apart, But there is some commingling, which is well. Wherefore this very ancient opinion comes down from writers on religion and from lawgivers to poets and philosophers; it can be traced to no source, but it carried a strong and almost indelible conviction, and is in circulation in many places among barbarians and Greeks alike, not only in story and tradition but also in rites and sacrifices, to the effect that the Universe is not of itself suspended aloft
10. Seneca The Younger, Letters, 11-15, 17-22, 24, 29-33, 35, 39, 4, 40, 42, 5-9, 90, 10 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

11. Irenaeus, Refutation of All Heresies, 3.16.6, 4.37-4.38, 5.2.3, 5.26.1 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

4.37. And they make moon and stars appear on the ceiling after this manner. In the central part of the ceiling, having fastened a mirror, placing a dish full of water equally (with the mirror) in the central portion of the floor, and setting in a central place likewise a candle, emitting a faint light from a higher position than the dish - in this way, by reflection, (the magician) causes the moon to appear by the mirror. But frequently, also, they suspend on high from the ceiling, at a distance, a drum, but which, being covered with some garment, is concealed by the accomplice, in order that (the heavenly body) may not appear before the (proper) time. And afterwards placing a candle (within the drum), when the magician gives the signal to the accomplice, he removes so much of the covering as may be sufficient for effecting an imitation representing the figure of the moon as it is at that particular time. He smears, however, the luminous parts of the drum with cinnabar and gum; and having pared around the neck and bottom of a flagon of glass ready behind, he puts a candle in it, and places around it some of the requisite contrivances for making the figures shine, which some one of the accomplices has concealed on high; and on receiving the signal, he throws down from above the contrivances, so to make the moon appear descending from the sky. And the same result is achieved by means of a jar in sylvan localities. For it is by means of a jar that the tricks in a house are performed. For having set up an altar, subsequently is (placed upon it) the jar, having a lighted lamp; when, however, there are a greater number of lamps, no such sight is displayed. After then the enchanter invokes the moon, he orders all the lights to be extinguished, yet that one be left faintly burning; and then the light, that which streams from the jar, is reflected on the ceiling, and furnishes to those present a representation of the moon; the mouth of the jar being kept covered for the time which it would seem to require, in order that the representation of full moon should be exhibited on the ceiling. 4.38. But the scales of fishes - for instance, the seahorse - cause the stars to appear to be; the scales being steeped in a mixture of water and gum, and fastened on the ceiling at intervals.
12. Marcus Aurelius Emperor of Rome, Meditations, 5.11 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

13. Tertullian, On The Games, 3 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

3. Fortified by this knowledge against heathen views, let us rather turn to the unworthy reasonings of our own people; for the faith of some, either too simple or too scrupulous, demands direct authority from Scripture for giving up the shows, and holds out that the matter is a doubtful one, because such abstinence is not clearly and in words imposed upon God's servants. Well, we never find it expressed with the same precision, You shall not enter circus or theatre, you shall not look on combat or show; as it is plainly laid down, You shall not kill; you shall not worship an idol; you shall not commit adultery or fraud. Exodus 20:14 But we find that that first word of David bears on this very sort of thing: Blessed, he says, is the man who has not gone into the assembly of the impious, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of scorners. Though he seems to have predicted beforehand of that just man, that he took no part in the meetings and deliberations of the Jews, taking counsel about the slaying of our Lord, yet divine Scripture has ever far-reaching applications: after the immediate sense has been exhausted, in all directions it fortifies the practice of the religious life, so that here also you have an utterance which is not far from a plain interdicting of the shows. If he called those few Jews an assembly of the wicked, how much more will he so designate so vast a gathering of heathens! Are the heathens less impious, less sinners, less enemies of Christ, than the Jews were then? And see, too, how other things agree. For at the shows they also stand in the way. For they call the spaces between the seats going round the amphitheatre, and the passages which separate the people running down, ways. The place in the curve where the matrons sit is called a chair. Therefore, on the contrary, it holds, unblessed is he who has entered any council of wicked men, and has stood in any way of sinners, and has sat in any chair of scorners. We may understand a thing as spoken generally, even when it requires a certain special interpretation to be given to it. For some things spoken with a special reference contain in them general truth. When God admonishes the Israelites of their duty, or sharply reproves them, He has surely a reference to all men; when He threatens destruction to Egypt and Ethiopia, He surely pre-condemns every sinning nation, whatever. If, reasoning from species to genus, every nation that sins against them is an Egypt and Ethiopia; so also, reasoning from genus to species, with reference to the origin of shows, every show is an assembly of the wicked.
14. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, 7.151 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

7.151. Hence, again, their explanation of the mixture of two substances is, according to Chrysippus in the third book of his Physics, that they permeate each other through and through, and that the particles of the one do not merely surround those of the other or lie beside them. Thus, if a little drop of wine be thrown into the sea, it will be equally diffused over the whole sea for a while and then will be blended with it.Also they hold that there are daemons (δαίμονες) who are in sympathy with mankind and watch over human affairs. They believe too in heroes, that is, the souls of the righteous that have survived their bodies.of the changes which go on in the air, they describe winter as the cooling of the air above the earth due to the sun's departure to a distance from the earth; spring as the right temperature of the air consequent upon his approach to us;


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
adaptation Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95
allegory Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 151
appropriate/appropriation Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95
avarice Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155
bona exempla Tite, Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse: Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity (2009) 99
cicero Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95; Tite, Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse: Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity (2009) 98
comparison, of paul and greco-roman philosophers Allison, Saving One Another: Philodemus and Paul on Moral Formation in Community (2020) 4
cult/cults, oriental cult Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95
cynicism Tite, Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse: Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity (2009) 98
diatribe Tite, Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse: Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity (2009) 98
epictetus Allison, Saving One Another: Philodemus and Paul on Moral Formation in Community (2020) 4
epicureanism, comparison to pauline christianity Allison, Saving One Another: Philodemus and Paul on Moral Formation in Community (2020) 4
eschatology Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 136
eternity of the gods Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 151
ethnic Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95
gods Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95
guide Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95
heaven Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155
hellenistic psychagogy Tite, Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse: Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity (2009) 98
isis Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155
isocrates Tite, Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse: Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity (2009) 98
lenient members Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95
luxury Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155
marcus aurelius Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 136
mystery cults Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155
oriental Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95
osiris Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155
paraclesis/paraklesis Tite, Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse: Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity (2009) 98
paul, relationship to greco-roman philosophy Allison, Saving One Another: Philodemus and Paul on Moral Formation in Community (2020) 4
paul Tite, Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse: Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity (2009) 98, 99
pauline paraenesis Tite, Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse: Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity (2009) 98, 99
philosophy Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155
plato/platonism Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95
platonism Allison, Saving One Another: Philodemus and Paul on Moral Formation in Community (2020) 4
praecepta bona Tite, Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse: Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity (2009) 99
providence Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155
reading Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95
recapitulation Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 136
rites Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155
seneca Allison, Saving One Another: Philodemus and Paul on Moral Formation in Community (2020) 4; Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95; Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155; Tite, Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse: Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity (2009) 98, 99
shows Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95
social Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95
soul' Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 151
statues Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95
stoicism Allison, Saving One Another: Philodemus and Paul on Moral Formation in Community (2020) 4; Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95; Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 136; Tite, Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse: Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity (2009) 99
superstition Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155
truth Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155
vice Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155
virtue Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155
weak individuals Binder, Tertullian, on Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah: Questioning the Parting of the Ways Between Christians and Jews (2012) 95
wisdom Brenk and Lanzillotta, Plutarch on Literature, Graeco-Roman Religion, Jews and Christians (2023) 155