Πρόκλος – Περί της κατά Πλάτωνα Θεολογίας α
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I. The Preface, in which the scope of the treatise is unfolded, together with the praise of Plato himself, and of those that received the philosophy from him.
O PERICLES, to me the dearest of friends, I am of opinion that the whole philosophy of Plato was at first unfolded into light through the beneficent will of superior natures, exhibiting the intellect concealed in them, and the truth subsisting, together with beings, to souls conversant with generation (so far as it is lawful for them to participate of such supernatural and mighty good); and again, that afterwards having received its perfection, returning as it were into itself and becoming unapparent to many who professed to philosophize; and who earnestly desired to engage in the investigation of true being, it again advanced into light. But I particularly think that the mystic doctrine respecting divine concerns, which is purely established on a sacred foundation, and which perpetually subsists with the gods themselves, became thence apparent to such as are
capable of enjoying it for a time, through one man, 1 whom I should not err in calling the primary leader and hierophant of those true mysteries, into which souls separated from terrestrial places are initiated, and of those entire and stable visions, which those participate who genuinely embrace a happy and blessed life. But this philosophy shone forth at first from him so venerably and arcanely, as if established in sacred temples, and within their adyta, and being unknown to many who have entered into these holy places, in certain orderly periods of time, proceeded as much as was possible for it into light, through certain true priests, and who embraced a life corresponding to the tradition of such mystic concerns. It appears likewise to me, that the whole place became splendid, and that illuminations of divine spectacles everywhere presented themselves to the view.
These interpreters of the epopteia (or mystic speculations) of Plato, who have unfolded to us allsacred narrations of divine concerns, and who were allotted a nature similar to their leader, I should determine to be the Egyptian Plotinus, and those who received the theory from him, I mean Amelius and Porphyry, together with those in the third place who were produced like virile statues from these, viz.: Iamblichus and Theodorus, and any others, who after these, following this divine choir, have energized about the doctrine of Plato with a divinely inspired mind.
From these, he 2 who, after the gods, has been our leader to everything beautiful and good, receiving in an undefiled manner the most genuine and pure light of truth in the bosom of his soul, made us a partaker of all the rest of Plato’s philosophy, communicated to us that arcane information which he had received from those more ancient than himself, and caused us, in conjunction with him, to be divinely agitated about the mystic truth of divine concerns. To this man, therefore, should we undertake to return thanks adequate to the benefits which we have received from him; the whole of time would not be sufficient. But if it is necessary, not only that we should have received from others the transcendant good of the Platonic
1 Meaning Plato.
2 Meaning his preceptor Syrianus.
philosophy, but that we should leave to posterity monuments of those blessed spectacles of which we have been spectators, and emulators to the utmost of our ability, under a leader the most perfect of the present time, and who arrived at the summit of philosophy; perhaps we shall act properly in invoking the gods, that they will enkindle the light of truth in our soul, and in supplicating the attendants and ministers of better natures to direct our intellect and lead it to the allperfect, divine and elevated, end of the Platonic theory. For I think that everywhere be who participates in the least degree of intelligence, will begin his undertakings from the Gods, and especially in explications respecting the Gods: for we can no otherwise be able to understand a divine nature than by being perfected through the light of the Gods; nor divulge it to others unless governed by them, and exempt from multiform opinions, and the variety which subsists in words, preserving at the same time the interpretation of divine names. Knowing therefore this, and complying with the exhortation of the Platonic Timaeus, we in the first place establish the Gods as leaders of the doctrine respecting themselves. But may they in consequence of hearing our prayers be propitious to us, and benignantly approaching, guide the intellect of our soul, and lead it about the Vesta of Plato, and to the arduous sublimities of this speculation; where, when arrived, we shall receive all the truth concerning them, and shall obtain the best end of our parturient conceptions of divine concerns, desiring to know something respecting them, inquiring about them of others, and, at the same time, as far as we are able, exploring them ourselves.
II. What the mode of the discussion is in the present treatise, and what preparation of the auditors of it is previously necessary.
And thus much by way of preface. But it is necessary that I should unfold the mode of the proposed doctrine, what it is requisite to expect it will be, and define the preparatives which a hearer of it ought to possess; that being properly adapted, he may approach, not to our discourses, but to the intellectually-elevated and deific philosophy
For it is proper that convenient aptitudes of auditors should she proposed according to the forms of discourses, just as in the mysteries, those who are skillful in concerns of this kind, previously prepare receptacles for the Gods, and neither always use the same inanimate particulars, nor other animals, nor men, in order to procure the presence of the divinities; but that alone out of each of these which is naturally capable of participating divine illumination, is by them introduced to the proposed mystic rites.
The present discourse, therefore, will first of all be divided by me into three parts. In the beginning, considering all those common conceptions concerning the Gods, which Plato summarily delivers, together with the power and dignity everywhere of theological axioms; but in the middle of this work, speculating the total orders of the Gods, enumerating their peculiarities, defining their progressions after the manner of Plato, and referring everything to the hypotheses of theologists; and, in the end, speaking concerning the Gods which are in different places celebrated in the Platonic writings, whether they are supermundane or mundane, and referring the theory respecting them to the total genera of the divine orders.
In every part of this work, likewise, we shall prefer the clear, distinct, and simple, to the contrary of these. And such things as are delivered through symbol, we shall transfer to a clear doctrine concerning them; but such as are delivered through images, we shall transmit to their exemplars. Such things too as are written in a more affirmative way, we shall examine by causal reasonings; but such as are composed through demonstrations, we shall investigate; and besides this, explain the mode of truth which they contain, and render it known to the hearers. And of things enigmatically proposed, we shall elsewhere discover perspicuity, not from foreign hypotheses, but from the most genuine writings of Plato. But with respect to the things which immediately occur to the hearers, of these we shall contemplate the consent with things themselves. And from all these particulars, one perfect form of the Platonic theology will present itself to our view, together with its truth which pervades through the whole of divine intellections, and the one intellect which generated all
the beauty of this theology and the mystic evolution of this theory. Such, therefore, as I have said, will be my present treatise.
But the auditor of the proposed dogmas is supposed to be adorned with the moral virtues, and to be one who has bound by the reason of virtue all the illiberal and inharmonious motions of the soul, and harmonized them to the one form of intellectual prudence: for, as Socrates says, it is not lawful for the pure to be touched by the impure. But every vicious man is perfectly impure; and the contrary character is pure. He must likewise have been exercised in all the logical methods, and have contemplated many irreprehensible conceptions about analyses, and many about divisions, the contraries to these, agreeable, as it appears to me, to the exhortation of Parmenides to Socrates. For prior to such a contest in arguments, the knowledge of the divine genera, and of the truth established in them, is difficult and impervious. But in the third place, he must not be unskilled in physics. For he who has been conversant with the multiform opinions of physiologists, and has after a manner explored in images the causes of beings, will more easily advance to the nature of separate and primary essences. An auditor therefore of the present work, as I have said, must not be ignorant of the truth contained in the phenomena, nor unacquainted with the paths of erudition, and the disciplines which they contain; for through these we obtain a more immaterial knowledge of a divine essence. But all these must be bound together in the leader intellect. Being likewise a partaker of the dialectic of Plato, meditating those immaterial energies which are separate from corporeal powers, and desiring to contemplate by intelligence * in conjunction with reason [true] beings, our auditor must genuinely apply himself to the interpretation of divine and blessed dogmas, and fill his soul, according to the Oracle, with profound love; since, as Plato somewhere observes, for the apprehension of this theory a better assistant than love cannot be obtained.
He must likewise be exercised in the truth which pervades through all things, and must excite his intelligible eye to real and perfect truth. He
* Instead of νόησις μετά λόγου,it is necessary to read, νοήσει μετά λόγου.
must establish himself in a firm, immovable, and safe kind of divine knowledge, and must be persuaded not to admire anything else, nor even to direct his attention to other things, but must hasten to divine light with an intrepid reasoning energy, and with the power of an unwearied life; and in short, must propose to himself such a kind of energy and rest as becomes him to possess who intends to be such a coryphaeus as Socrates describes in the Theaetetus. Such then is the magnitude of our hypothesis, and such the mode of the discourses about it. Before, however, I enter on the narration of the things proposed, I wish to speak about theology itself, its different modes, and what theological forms Plato approves, and what he rejects; and these being previously known, we may more easily learn in what follows, the auxiliaries of the demonstrations themselves.
III. What a theologist is according to Plato, whence he begins, as far as to what hypostases he ascends and according to what power of the soul he particularly energizes.
All, therefore, that have ever touched upon theology, have called things first, according to nature, Gods; and have said that the theological science is conversant about these. And some, indeed, have considered a corporeal essence, as that alone which has any existence, and have placed in a secondary rank with respect to essence, all the genera of incorporeal natures, considering the principles of things as having a corporeal form, and evincing that the habit in us by which we know these, is corporeal. But others, suspending indeed all bodies from incorporeal natures, and defining the first hyparxis 1 to be in soul, and the powers of soul, call (as appears to me) the best of souls, Gods; and denominate the science which proceeds as far as to these, and which knows these, theology. But such as produce the multitude of souls from another more ancient principle, and establish intellect as the leader of wholes, these assert that the best end is a union of the soul with intellect, and consider the intellectual form of life as the most honorable of all things. They
1 Hyparxis, is the summit of any nature, or blossom, as it were, of its essence.
doubtless too consider theology, and the discussion of intellectual essence, as one and the same. All these, therefore, as I have said, call the first and most selfsufficient principles of things, Gods, and the science respecting these, theology.
The divine narration, however, of Plato alone, despises all corporeal natures, with reference to principles. Because, indeed, everything divisible and endued with interval, is naturally unable either to produce or preserve itself, but possesses its being, energy, and passivity through soul, and the motions which soul contains. But Plato demonstrates that the psychical essence [i.e., the essence pertaining to soul] is more ancient than bodies, but is suspended from an intellectual hypostasis [foundation]. For everything which is moved according to time, though it may be selfmoved, is indeed of a more ruling nature than things moved by others, but is posterior to an eternal motion. He shows, therefore, as we have said, that intellect is the father and cause of bodies and souls, and that all things both subsist and energize about it, which are allotted a life conversant with transitions and evolutions.
Plato, however, proceeds to another principle entirely exempt from intellect, more incorporeal and ineffable, and from which all things, even though you should speak of such as are last, have necessarily a subsistence. For all things are not naturally disposed to participate in soul, but such things only as are allotted in themselves a more clear or obscure life. Nor are all things able to enjoy intellect and being, but such only as subsist according to form. But it is necessary that the principle of all things should be participated by all things, if it does not desert anything, since it is the cause of all things which in any respect are said to have a subsistence. Plato having divinely discovered this first principle of wholes, which is more excellent than intellect, and is concealed in inaccessible recesses; and having exhibited these three causes and monads, and evinced them to be above bodies, I mean soul the first intellect, and a union above intellect, produces from these as monads, their proper numbers; one multitude indeed being uniform 1, but the second intellectual, and the third psychical. For every monad [whole or unity] is the leader of a multitude
1 Wherever this word occurs in this translation, it signifies that which is characterized by unity.
coordinate to itself. But as Plato connects bodies with soul, so likewise he connects souls with intellectual forms, and these again with the unities of beings. But he converts all things to one imparticipable unity. And having run back as far as to this unity, he considers himself as having obtained the highest end of the theory of wholes; and that this is the truth respecting the Gods, which is conversant with the unities of beings, and which delivers their progressions and peculiarities, the contact of beings with them, and the orders of forms which are suspended from these unical 1 hypostases.
But he teaches us that the theory respecting intellect, and the forms and the genera revolving about intellect, is posterior to the science which is conversant with the Gods themselves. Likewise that the intellectual theory apprehends intelligibles, and the forms which are capable of being known by the soul through the projecting energy of intellect; but that the theological science transcending this, is conversant with arcane and ineffable hyparxes, and pursues their separation from each other, and their unfolding into light from one cause of all: whence I am of opinion, that the intellectual peculiarity of the soul is capable of apprehending intellectual forms, and the difference which subsists in them, but that the summit, and, as they say, flower of intellect and hyparxis, is conjoined with the unities of beings, and through these, with the occult union of all the divine unities. For as we contain many gnostic powers, through this alone we are naturally capable of being with and participating this occult union. For the genus of the Gods cannot be apprehended by sense, because it is exempt from all bodies; nor by opinion and dianoia2, for these are divisible and come into contact with multiform concerns; nor by intelligence in conjunction with reason, for knowledge of this kind belongs to true beings; but the hyparxis of the Gods rides on beings, and is defined according to the union itself of wholes. It remains, therefore, if it be admitted that a divine nature can be in any respect known, that it must be apprehended by the hyparxis of the soul, and through this, as far as it is possible, be known. For we
1 i.e. Of the nature of the one.
2 i.e. The discursive energy of reason, or the power of the soul that reasons scientifically.
say that everywhere things similar can be known by the similar; viz. the sensible by sense, the doxastic [the object of opinion] by opinion, the dianoetic by dianoia, and the intelligible by intellect. So that the most unical nature must be known by the one, and the ineffable by that which is ineffable.
Indeed, Socrates in the [First] Alcibiades rightly observes, that the soul entering into herself will behold all other things, and deity itself. For verging to her own union, and to the center of all life, laying aside multitude, and the variety of all manifold powers which she contains, she ascends to the highest watchtower of beings. And as in the most holy of the mysteries, they say, that the mystics at first meet with the multiform, and manyshaped [i.e., evil daemons] genera, which are hurled forth before the Gods, but on entering the interior parts of the temple, unmoved, and guarded by the mystic rites, they genuinely receive in their bosom divine illumination, and divested of their garments, as they would say, participate of a divine nature; the same mode, as it appears to me, takes place in the speculation of wholes. For the soul when looking at things posterior to herself, beholds the shadows and images of beings, but when she converts herself to herself she evolves her own essence, and the reasons which she contains. And at first indeed, she only as it were beholds herself; but, when she penetrates more profoundly into the knowledge of herself, she finds in herself both intellect, and the orders of beings. When however, she proceeds into her interior recesses, and into the adytum [holy of holies, inner sanctum] as it were of the soul, she perceives with her eye closed, the genus of the Gods, and the unities of beings. For all things are in us psychically, and through this we are naturally capable of knowing all things, by exciting the powers and the images of wholes which we contain.
And this is the best employment of our energy, to be extended to divine nature itself, having our powers at rest, to revolve harmoniously round it, to excite all the multitude of the soul to this union, and laying aside all such things as are posterior to the one, to become seated and conjoined with that which is ineffable, and beyond all things. For it is lawful for the soul to ascend, till she terminates her flight in the principle
of things; but arriving thither, beholding the place which is there, descending thence, and directing her course through beings; likewise evolving the multitude of forms, exploring their monads and their numbers, and apprehending intellectually how each is suspended from its proper unity, we may consider her as possessing the most perfect science of divine natures, perceiving in a uniform manner the progressions of the Gods into beings, and the distinctions of beings about the Gods. Such then according to Plato’s decision is our theologist; and theology is a habit of this kind, which unfolds the hyparxis itself of the Gods, separates and speculates their unknown and unical light from the peculiarity of their participants, and announces it to such as are worthy of this energy, which is both blessed and comprehends all things at once.
IV. The theological types or forms according to all which Plato disposes the doctrine concerning the Gods.
After this allperfect comprehension of the first theory, we must deliver the modes according to which Plato teaches us mystic conceptions of divine natures. For he appears not to have pursued everywhere the same mode of doctrine about these; but sometimes according to a deific energy, and at other times dialectically, he evolves the truth concerning them. And sometimes he symbolically announces their ineffable peculiarities, but at other times recurs to them from images, and discovers in them the primary causes of wholes. For in the Phaedrus being inspired by the Nymphs, and having exchanged human intelligence for a better possession, fury, he unfolds with a divine mouth many arcane dogmas concerning the intellectual Gods, and many concerning the liberated rulers of the universe, who lead upwards the multitude of mundane Gods to the monads which are intelligible and separate from [mundane] wholes. But relating still more about those gods who are allotted the world, he celebrates their intellections, and mundane fabrications, their unpolluted providence and government of souls, and whatever else Socrates delivers entheastically [or according to divinelyinspired energy] in that dialogue,
as he clearly asserts, ascribing at the same time this fury to the deities of the place.
But in the Sophista, dialectically contending about being, and the separate hypostasis of the one from beings, and doubting against those more ancient than himself, he shows how all beings are suspended from their cause, and the first being, but that being itself participates of the unity which is exempt from the whole of things, that it is a passive one, but not the one itself, being subject to and united to the one, but not being that which is primarily one. In a similar manner too, in the Parmenides, he unfolds dialectically the progressions of being from the one, and the transcendency of the one, through the first hypotheses, and this, as he asserts in that dialogue, according to the most perfect division of this method. And again, in the Gorgias, he relates the fable concerning the three demiugi [or fabricators] and their demiurgic allotment, which indeed is not only a fable, but a true narration. But in the Banquet, he speaks concerning the union of Love. And in the Protagoras, about the distribution of mortal animals from the Gods; in a symbolical manner concealing the truth respecting divine natures, and as far as to mere indication unfolding his mind to the most genuine of his hearers.
If likewise, you are willing that I should mention the doctrine delivered through the mathematical disciplines, and the discussion of divine concerns from ethical or physical discourses, of which many may be contemplated in the Timaeus, many in the dialog called the Politicus, and many may be seen scattered in other dialogs; here likewise to you who are desirous of knowing divine concerns through images, the method will be apparent. For all these shadow forth the powers of things divine. The Politicus, for instance, the fabrication in the heavens. But the figures of the five elements delivered in geometric proportions in the Timaeus 1, represent in images the peculiarities of the Gods who ride on the parts of the universe. And the divisions of the psychical essence in that dialogue shadow forth the total orders of the Gods.
I omit to mention that Plato composes polities, assimilating them to
1. εν τιμαιω is omitted in the Greek.
divine natures, and to the whole world, and adorns them from the powers which it contains. All these therefore, through the similitude of mortal to divine concerns, exhibit to us in images, the progressions, orders, and fabrications of divine natures. And such are the modes of theologic doctrine employed by Plato.
It is evident however, from what has been already said, that they are necessarily so many in number. For those who treat of divine concerns in an indicative manner, either speak symbolically and fabulously, or through images. But of those who openly announce their conceptions, some frame their discourses according to science, but others according to inspiration from the Gods. And he who desires to signify divine concerns through symbols is Orphic, and in short, accords with those who write fables concerning the Gods. But he who does this through images is Pythagoric. For the mathematical disciplines were invented by the Pythagoreans, in order to a reminiscence of divine concerns, at which, through these as images they endeavor to arrive. For they refer both numbers and figures to the Gods, according to the testimony of their historians. But the entheastic character, or he who is under the influence of divine inspiration, unfolding the truth itself by itself concering the Gods, most perspicuously ranks among the highest initiators. For these do not think proper to unfold the divine orders, or their peculiarities to their familiars, through certain veils, but announce their powers and their numbers, in consequence of being moved by the Gods themselves. But the traditions of divine concerns according to science, is the illustrious prerogative of the philosophy of Plato. For Plato alone, as it appears to me, of all those who are known to us, has attempted methodically to divide and reduce into order, the regular progression of the divine genera, their mutual difference, the common peculiarities of the total orders, and the distributed peculiarities in each. But the truth of this will be evident when we frame precedaneous demonstrations about the Parmenides, and all the divisions which it contains.
At present we shall observe that Plato does not admit all the fabulous figments of dramatic composition, but those only which have reference to the beautiful and the good, and which are not discordant with a
divine essence. For that mythological mode which indicates divine concerns through conjecture is ancient, concealing truth under a multitude of veils, and proceeding in a manner similar to nature, which extends sensible fragments of intelligibles, material, of immaterial, partible, of impartible natures, and images, and things which have a false being, of things perfectly true. But Plato rejects the more tragical mode of mythologizing of the ancient poets, who thought proper to establish an arcane theology respecting the Gods, and on this account devised wanderings, sections, battles, lacerations, rapes and adulteries of the Gods, and many other such symbols of the truth about divine natures, which this theology conceals; this mode he rejects, and asserts that it is in every respect most foreign from erudition. But he considers those mythological discourses about the Gods, as more persuasive, and more adapted to truth and the philosophical habit, which assert that a divine nature is the cause of all good, but of no evil, and that it is void of all mutation, ever preserving its own order immutable, and comprehending in itself the fountain of truth, but never becoming the cause of any deception to others. For such types of theology, Socrates delivers in the Republic.
All the fables therefore of Plato, guarding the truth in concealment, have not even their externally apparent apparatus discordant with our undisciplined and unperverted anticipation respecting the Gods. But they bring with them an image of the mundane composition, in which both the apparent beauty is worthy of divinity, and a beauty more divine than this, is established in the unapparent lives and powers of the Gods. This therefore, is one of the mythological modes respecting divine concerns, which from the apparently unlawful, irrational, and inordinate, passes into order and bound, and regards as its scope the composition of the beautiful and good.
But there is another mode which he delivers in the Phaedrus. And this consists in everywhere preserving theological fables, unmixed with physical narrations, and being careful in no respect to confound or exchange theology, and the physical theory with each other. For, as a divine essence is separate from the whole of nature, in like manner, it is
perfectly proper that discourses respecting the Gods should be pure from physical disquisitions. For a mixture of this kind is, says he, laborious; and to make physical passions the end of mythological conjecture, is the employment of no very good man; such for instance, as considering through his [pretended] wisdom, Chimaera, Gorgon, and things of a similar kind, as the same with physical figments. Socrates, in the Phaedrus, reprobating this mode of mythologizing, represents its patron as saying under the figure of a fable, that Orithya sporting with the wind Boreas, and being thrown down the rocks, means nothing more, than that Orithya who was a mortal, was ravished by Borcas through love. For it appears to me, that fabulous narrations about the gods, should always have their concealed meaning more venerable than the apparent. So that if certain persons introduce to us physical hypotheses of Platonic fables, and such as are conversant with sublunary affairs, we must say that they entirely wander from the intention of the philosopher, and that those hypotheses alone, are interpreters of the truth contained in these fables, which have for their scope, a divine, immaterial, and separate hypostasis, and which looking to this, make the compositions and analyses of the fables, adapted 1 to our inherent anticipations of divine concerns.
V. What the dialogues arc from which the theology of Plato may especially be assumed; and to what order, of Gods each of these dialogues refers us.
As we have therefore enumerated all these modes of the Platonic theology, and have shown what compositions and analyses of fables are adapted to the truth respecting the Gods, let us consider, in the next place, whence, and from what dialogs principally, we think the dogmas of Plato concerning the Gods may be collected, and by a speculation of what types or forms we may be able to distinguish his genuine writings, from those spurious compositions which are ascribed to him.
The truth then concerning the Gods pervades, as I may say, through
1. For οικειαις, it is necesaary to read οικειας.
all the Platonic dialogs, and in all of them conceptions of the first philosophy, venerable, clear, and supernatural, are disseminated, in some indeed, more obscurely, but in others more conspicuously; conceptions which excite those that are in any respect able to participate of them, to the immaterial and separate essence of the Gods. And, as in each part of the universe, and in nature herself, the demiurgus of all that the world contains, established resemblances of the unknown hyparxis of the Gods, that all things might be converted to a divine nature, through their alliance with it, in like manner I am of opinion, that the divine intellect of Plato weaves conceptions about the Gods in all his writing, and leaves nothing deprived of the mention of divinity, that from the whole of them, a reminiscence of wholes may be obtained, and imparted to the genuine lovers of divine concerns.
If however, it be requisite to lay before the reader those dialogues out of many, which principally unfold to us the mystic discipline about the Gods, I should not err in ranking among this number, the Phaedo and Phaedrus, the Banquet, and the Philebus, and together with these, the Sophista and Politicus, the Cratylus and the Timaeus. For all these are full through the whole of themselves, as I may say, of the divine science of Plato. But I should place in the second rank after these, the fable in the Gorgias, and that in the Pretagoras; likewise the assertions about the providence of the Gods in the Laws, and such things as are delivered about the Fates, or the mother of the Fates, or the circulations of the universe, in the tenth book of the Republic. Again, you may, if you please, place in the third rank those Epistles, through which we may be able to arrive at the science about divine natures. For in these, mention is made of the three kings; and very many other divine dogmas worthy the Platonic theory are delivered. It is necessary therefore, looking to these, to explore in these each order of the Gods.
Thus from the Philebus, we may receive the science respecting the one good, and the two first principles of things, together with the triad 1 which is unfolded into light from these. For you will find all these
1. τριαδος is omitted in the original.
distinctly delivered to us by Plato in that dialogue. But from the Timaeus, you may obtain the theory about intelligibles, a divine narration about the demiurgic monad; and the most full truth about the mundane Gods. But from the Phaedrus, [you may acquire a scientific knowledge of] all the intelligible genera, and of the liberated orders of Gods, which are proximately established above the celestial circulations. From the Politicus, you may obtain the theory of the fabrication in the heavens, of the uneven periods of the universe, and of the intellectual causes of those periods. But from the Sophista, the whole sublunary generation, and the peculiarity of the Gods who are allotted the sublunary region, and preside over its generations and corruptions. But with respect to each of the Gods, we may obtain many conceptions adapted to sacred concerns from the Banquet, many from the Cratylus, and many from the Phaedo. For in each of these dialogs, more or less mention is made of divine names, from which it is easy for those who are exercised in divine concerns to discover by a reasoning process the peculiarities of each.
It is necessary however, to evince that each of the dogmas accords with Platonic principles, and the mystic traditions of theologists. For all the Grecian theology is the progeny of the mystic tradition of Orpheus; Pythagoras first of all learning from Aglaophemus the orgies of the Gods, but Plato in the second place receiving an allperfect science of the divinities from the Pythagoric and Orphic writings. For in the Philebus referring the theory about the two species of principles [bound and infinity] to the Pythagoreans, he calls them men dwelling with the Gods, and truly blessed. Philolaus therefore, the Pythagorean, has left us in writing many admirable conceptions about these principles, celebrating their common progression into beings, and their separate fabrication of things. But in the Timaeus, Plato endeavoring to teach us about the sublunary Gods, and their order, flies to theologists, calls them the sons of the Gods, and makes them the fathers of the truth about those divinities. And lastly, he delivers the orders of the sublunary Gods proceeding from wholes, according to the progression delivered by them of the intellectual kings. Again in the Cratylus he follows
the traditions of theologists, respecting the order of the divine progressions. But in the Gorgias, he adopts the Homeric dogma, respecting the triadic hypostasis of the demiurgi. And in short, he everywhere discourses concerning the Gods agreeably to the principles of theologists; rejecting indeed, the tragic part of mythological fiction, but establishing first hypotheses in common with the authors of fables.
VI. An objection against collecting the Platonic theology from many dialogues, in consequence of its being partial, and distributed into minute parts.
Perhaps, however, someone may here object to us, that we do not in a proper manner exhibit the everywhere dispersed theology of Plato, and that we endeavor to heap together different particulars from different dialogues, as if we were studious of collecting together many things into one mixture, instead of deriving them all from one and the same fountain. For if this were the case, we might refer different dogmas to different treatises of Plato, but we shall by no means have a precedaneous doctrine concerning the Gods, nor will there be any dialogue which presents us with an allperfect and entire procession of the divine genera, and their coordination with each other. But we shall be similar to those who endeavor to obtain a whole from parts, through the want of a whole prior to parts, and to weave together the perfect from things imperfect; when, on the contrary, the imperfect ought to have the first cause of its generation in the perfect. For the Timaeus, for instance, will teach us the theory of the intelligible genera; and the Phaedrus appears to present us with a methodical account of the first intellectual orders. But where will be the coordination of intellectuals to intelligibles? And what will be the generation of second from first natures? In short, after what manner the progression of the divine orders takes place from the one principle of all things, and how in the generations of the Gods, the orders between the one, and allperfect number, are filled up, we shall be unable to evince.
Farther still, it may be said, where will be the venerableness of your
boasted science about divine natures? For it is absurd to call these dogmas which are collected from many places Platonic; and which, as you acknowledge, are introduced from foreign names to the philosophy of Plato; nor are you able to evince one whole entire truth about divine natures. Perhaps, indeed, they will say, certain persons, junior to Plato, have delivered in their writings, and left to their disciples, one perfect form of theology. You, therefore, are able to produce one entire theory about nature from the Timaeus; but from the Republic, or Laws, the most beautiful dogmas about manners, and which tend to one form of philosophy. Alone, therefore, neglecting the treatise of Plato, which contains all the good of the first philosophy, and which may be called the summit of the whole theory, you will be deprived of the most perfect knowledge of beings, unless you are so much infatuated, as to boast on account of fabulous fictions, though an analysis of things of this kind abounds with much of the probable, but not of the demonstrative. Besides, things of kind are only delivered adventitiously in the Platonic dialogues; as the fable in the Protagoras, which is inserted for the sake of the politic science, and the demonstrations respecting it. In like manner, the fable in the Republic is inserted for the sake of justice; but in the Gorgias, for the sake of temperance. For Plato combines fabulous narrations with investigations of ethical dogmas, not for the sake of the fables, but for the sake of the leading design, that we may not only exercise the intellectual part of the soul, through contending reasons, but that the divine part of the soul may more perfectly receive the knowledge of beings, through its sympathy with more mystic concerns. For, from other discourses, we appear similar to those who are compelled to the reception of truth; but from fables we suffer in an ineffable manner, and call forth our unperverted conceptions, venerating the mystic information which they contain.
Hence, as it appears to me, Timaeus with great propriety thinks it fit that we should produce the divine genera, following the inventors of fables as the sons of the Gods 1, and subscribe to their always generating
1. των θεων is omitted in the original
secondary natures from such as are first, though they should speak without demonstration. For this kind of discourse is not demonstrative, but entheastic [enthusiastic] and was invented by the ancients, not through necessity, but for the sake of persuasion, not regarding mere discipline, but sympathy with things themselves. But if you are willing to speculate not only the causes of fables, but of other theological dogmas, you will find that some of them are scattered in the Platonic dialogues for the sake of ethical, and others for the sake of physical considerations. For in the Philebus, Plato discourses concerning bound and the infinite, for the sake of pleasure and life according to intellect. For I think the latter are species of the former. In the Timaeus, the discourse about the intelligible Gods, is assumed for the sake of the proposed physiology. On which account it is everywhere necessary that images should be known from paradigms; but that the paradigms of material things should be immaterial, of sensibles, intelligible, and that the paradigms of physical forms should be separate.
But again in the Phaedrus, Plato celebrates the supercelestial place, the subcelestial profundity, and every genus under this, for the sake of amatory mania: the manner in which the reminiscence of souls takes place, and the passage to these from hence. But everywhere, as I may say, the leading end is either physical or political, while the conceptions about divine natures take place, either for the sake of invention or perfection. How, therefore, can such a theory as yours be any longer venerable and supernatural, and worthy to be studied beyond everything, when it is neither able to evince the whole in itself, nor the perfect, nor that which is precedaneous in the writings of Plato, but is destitute of all these, is violent and not spontaneous, and does not possess a genuine, but an adventitious order, as in a drama? And such are the objections which may be urged against our design.
1. For μυθικων, it si necessary to read, τα μεν ηθικων.
VII. Α solution of the before mentioned objection, referring to one dialogue, the Parmenides, the whole truth concerning tbe Gods according to Plato.
I, however, to an objection of this kind, shall make a just and perspicuous reply. I say then, that Plato everywhere discourses about the Gods agreeably to ancient rumor, and to the nature of things. And sometimes indeed, for the sake of the cause of the things proposed, he reduces them to the principles of the dogmas; and thence, as from a watchtower, contemplates the nature of the thing proposed. But sometimes he establishes the theological science as the leading end. For in the Phaedrus his subject respects intelligible beauty and the participation of beauty pervading from thence through all things; and in the Banquet it respects the amatory order.
But if it be necessary to survey in one Platonic dialogue, the allperfect, whole, and connected, extending as far as to the complete number of theology, I shall perhaps assert a paradox, and which will alone be apparent to our familiars. We ought however to dare, since we have entered on such like arguments, and affirm against our opponents, that the Parmenides, and the mystic conceptions it contains, will accomplish all you desire. For in this dialogue all the divine genera proceed in order from the first cause, and evince their mutual connection and dependence on each other. And those which are highest indeed, connate with the one, and of a primary nature, are allotted a unical, occult and simple form of hyparxis; but such as are last, are multiplied, are distributed into many parts, and are exuberant in number, but inferior in power to such as are of a higher order; and such as are middle, according to a convenient proportion, are more composite than their causes, but more simple than their proper progeny. And in short, all the axioms of the theologic science, appear in perfection in this dialogue, and all the divine orders are exhibited subsisting in connection. So that this is nothing else than the celebrated generation of the Gods, and the procession of every kind of being from the ineffable and unknown cause of wholes. The Parmenides, therefore, enkindles in the lovers of Plato, the whole and perfect light of the theological science. But after this, the beforementioned dialogues distribute parts of the mystic discipline about the Gods,
and all of them, as I may say, participate of divine wisdom, and excite our spontaneous conceptions respecting a divine nature. And it is necessary to refer all the parts of this mystic discipline to these dialogues, and these again to the one and allperfect theory of the Parmenides. For thus, as it appears to me, we shall suspend the more imperfect from the perfect, and parts from wholes, and shall exhibit reasons assimilated to things, of which, according to the Platonic Timaeus, they are interpreters. Such then is our answer to the objection which may be urged against us; and thus we refer the Platonic theory to the Parmenides; just as the Timaeus is acknowledged by all who are in the least degree intelligent, to contain the whole science about nature.
VIII. An enumeration of the different opinions concerning the Parmenides, and a division of the objections to them.
I appear, however, by these means, to have excited for myself a twofold contest against those who attempt to investigate the writings of Plato; and I see two sorts of persons, who will oppose what has been said. One of these does not think proper to explore any other design in the Parmenides, than exercise through opposite arguments, or to introduce in this dialog a crowd of arcane and intellectual dogmas, which are foreign from its intention. But the other sort, who are more venerable than these, and lovers of forms assert, that one of the hypotheses is about the first God, another about the second God, and the whole of an intellectual nature, and a third, about the natures posterior to this, whether they are the more excellent genera, or souls, or any other kind of beings. For the investigation of these particulars does not pertain to the present discourse.
These, therefore, distribute three of the hypotheses after this manner. But they do not think proper to busy themselves about the multitude of Gods, the intelligible, and the intellectual genera, the supermundane and mundane natures, or to unfold all these by division, or busily explore them.
For according to them, though Plato in the second hypothesis, treats about intellectual beings, yet the nature of intellect is one, simple and indivisible. Against both these therefore, must he contend, who entertains that opinion of the Parmenides, which we have before mentioned. The contest however against these is not equal. But those who make the Parmenides a logical exercise, are again attacked by those who embrace the divine mode of interpretation. And those who do not unfold the multitude of beings, and the orders of divine natures, are indeed, as Homer says, in every respect venerable and skillful men, but yet for the sake of the Platonic philosophy, we must doubt against them, following in this our leader to the most holy and mystic truth. It is proper likewise to relate as far as contributes to our purpose, what appears to us to be the truth respecting the hypotheses of the Parmenides; for thus perhaps by a reasoning process, we may embrace the whole theology of Plato.
IX. Α confutation of those who assert that the Parmenides is a logical dialogue, and who admit that the discussiοn in it is argumentative, proceeding through subjects of opinion.
In the first place then, let us consider those, who draw down the design of this dialogue from the truth of things to a logical exercise, and see whether they can possibly accord with the writings of Plato. It is therefore evident to every one, that Parmenides proposes to himself to deliver in reality the dialectic method, and that with this view he cursorily assumes it in a similar manner in each of the things which have a real being, as, in sameness, difference, similitude, dissimilitude, motion, and permanency, etc.; exhorting at the same time, those who desire to discover the nature of each of these in an orderly method, to this exercise, as to a great contest. He likewise asserts that it was by no means an easy undertaking to him who was so much advanced in years, assimilates himself to the Ibycean horse, and presents us with every argument to prove that this method is a serious undertaking, and not a contest consisting in
mere words. How therefore, is it possible, that we can refer to empty arguments those conceptions 1 about which the great Parmenides, evincing that they require much serious discussion, composed this discourse? How likewise is it reasonable to suppose that an aged man would busy himself with mere verbal contests, and that he who loved to speculate the truth of things, would bestow so much study on this method he who considered everything else, as having no real existence, and who ascended to the high watchtower of being itself? Indeed, he who admits this must suppose that Parmenides is satirized by Plato in this dialog, by thus representing him drawn down to juvenile contests, from the most intellectual visions of the soul.
But if you are willing, let us consider in addition to the above, what Parmenides promises, and on what subject engaging to speak, he entered on this discussion. Was it not then about being according to his doctrine, and the unity of all beings, to which extending himself, his design was concealed from the vulgar, while he exhorts us to collect the multitude of beings into one undivided union? If, therefore, this is the one being, or that which is the highest, and which is perfectly established above the reasons conversant with opinion, is it not absurd to confound dogmas about intelligibles with doxastic arguments? For indeed, such a form of discourse is not adapted to the hypothesis about true beings, nor does the intellection of unapparent and separate causes harmonize with dialectic exercises; but these differ from each other, so far as intellect is established above opinion, as Timaeus informs us, and not Timaeus only, but likewise the daemoniacal Aristotle, who, discoursing on a power of this kind, exhorts us to make our investigations, neither about things perfectly unapparent to us, nor about such as are more known.
It is far therefore from being the case, that Parmenides, who places the science of beings above that which appears to be truth to those who rank sense before intellect, should introduce doxastic knowledge to an intellective nature, since a knowledge of this kind is dubious, various, and unstable; or that he should speculate true being with this doxastic
1. For επιστολας, it is necessary to read επιβολας.
wisdom, and inane discussion. For a various form of knowledge does not harmonize 1 with that which is simple, nor the multiform with the uniform, nor the doxastic with the intelligible.
But still further, nor must this be omitted, that such a mode of discourse is perfectly foreign from the discussion of Parmenides. For he discourses about all beings, and delivers the order of wholes, their progression beginning from the one, and their conversion ending in the one. But the argumentative method is very remote from scientific theory. Does it not therefore appear, that Plato must have attributed a discordant hypothesis to Parmenides, if it be said that he merely regards an exercise through opposite arguments, and for the sake of the power employed in this exercise, he excites the whole of this evolution of reasons? Indeed, it will be found that in all the other dialogs, Plato attributes hypotheses to each of the philosophers adapted to their peculiar tenets. Thus to Timaeus, he assigns the doctrine about nature; to Socrates, that of a republic; to the Elean guest, that about being; and to the priestess Diotima, that respecting love. Afterwards, each of the other dialogs confines itself to those arguments which are adapted to the writings of the principal person of the dialog. But Parmenides alone will appear to us wise in his poems, and in his diligent investigation of true being, but in the Platonic scene, he will be the leader of a juvenile muse. This opinion, therefore, accuses Plato of dissimilitude of imitation, though he himself condemns the poets, for ascribing to the sons of the Gods a love of money, and a life subject to the dominion of the passions. How, therefore, can we refer a discussion of doxastic and empty arguments to the leader of the truth of beings?
But if it be necessary that omitting a multitude of arguments, we should make Plato himself a witness of the proposed discussion, we will cite of you please what is written in the Theaetitus and Sophista; for from these dialogs what we assert will be apparent. In the Theaetetus then Socrates being excited by a young man to a confutation of those who assert that being is immoveable, attacks among these an opinion of this kind
1. For μονον αρμοστεον, it is necessary to read ειδος αναρμοστεον
entertained by Parmenides, and at the same time assigns the cause. “I blush,” says he, “for Parmenides, who is one of these, more than for all the rest; for I, when very young, was conversant with him when he was very elderly, and he appeared to me to possess a certain profundity perfectly generous. I am afraid therefore, lest we do not understand what has been asserted, and much more am I fearful that we fall short of the meaning of Parmenides.” With great propriety therefore do we assert, that the proposed discussion does not regard a logical exercise, and make this the end of the whole, but that it pertains to the science of the first principle of things. For how could Socrates using a power of this kind, and neglecting the knowledge of things, testify that the discourse of Parmenides possessed a depth perfectly generous? And what venerableness can there be in adopting a method which proceeds doxastically through opposite reasons, and in undertaking such an invention of arguments?
Again in the Sophista, exciting the Elean guest to a perspicuous evolution of the things proposed by him, and evincing that he was now accustomed to more profound discourses: “Inform me,” says he, “whether it is your custom to give a prolix discussion of a subject which you are able to demonstrate to anyone by interrogations; I mean such discussions as Parmenides himself formerly used, accompanied with allbeautiful reasons, and of which I was an auditor when I was very young, and he was very elderly? What reason can then be assigned, why we should not believe Socrates, when he asserts that the arguments of Parmenides were allbeautiful, and possessed a generous profundity, and why we should degrade the discussion of Parmenides, hurl it from essence and being, and transfer it to a vulgar, trifling, and empty contest, neither considering that discourses of this kind are alone adapted to youth, nor regarding the hypothesis of being characterized by the one, nor anything else which opposes such an opinion.
But I likewise think it is proper that the authors of this hypothesis, should consider the power of dialectic, such as it is exhibited by Socrates in the Republic; how, as he says, it surrounds all disciplines like a defensive enclosure, and elevates those that use it, to the good itself, and
the first unities, purifies the eye of the soul, establishes it in true beings, and the one principle of all things, and ends at last in that which is no longer hypothetical. For if the power of this dialectic is so great, and the end of this path is so mighty, it is not proper to confound doxastic arguments, with a method of this kind. For the former regards the opinions of men, but the latter is called garrulity by the vulgar. And the one is perfectly destitute of disciplinative science, but the other is the defensive enclosure of such sciences, and the passage to it is through these. Again the doxastic method of reasoning has for its end 1 the apparent, but the dialectic method endeavors to arrive at the one itself, always employing for this purpose steps of ascent, and at last, beautifully ends in the nature of the good.
By no means therefore is it fit that we should draw down to doxastic arguments, a method which is established among the most accurate sciences. For the merely logical method which presides over the demonstrative phantasy is of a secondary nature and is alone pleased with contentious discussions; but our dialectic, for the most part, employs divisions and analyses as primary sciences, and as imitating the progression of beings from the one, and their conversion to it again. But it likewise sometimes uses definitions and demonstrations, and prior to these the definitive method, and the dividing method prior to this. On the contrary the doxastic method is deprived of the incontrovertible reasonings of demonstration. Is it not, therefore, necessary that these powers must be separated from each other, and that the discussion of Parmenides, which employs our dialectic, must be free from the empty variety of mere argument, and must fabricate its reasonings with a view to being itself, and not to that which is apparent? And thus much may suffice in answer to those who reprobate our hypotheses. For if all this cannot convince them, we shall in vain endeavor to persuade them, and urge them to the speculation of things.
1. τέλος is omitted in the original.
X. How far they are right who assert that the hypotheses of the Parmenides are concerning the principles of things, and what is to be added to what they say from the doctrine of our preceptor [Syrianusj
But a greater and more difficult contest remains for me, against those lovers of the speculation of beings, who look to the science of first causes, as the end proposed in the hypothesis of the Platonic Parmenides; and this contest we will accomplish, if you please, by numerous and more known arguments.
And in the first place, we shall define what that is, about which our discourse against them will be employed; for this, I think will render the mystic doctrine of Plato concerning divine natures, apparent in the highest degree. There are, therefore, nine hypotheses which are discussed by Parmenides in this dialogue, as we have evinced in our commentaries upon it. And the five precedaneous hypotheses suppose that the one has a subsistence, and through this hypothesis, that all beings, the mediums of wholes, and the terminations of the progressions of things, may be supposed to subsist. But the four hypotheses which follow these, introduce the one, not having a subsistence according to the exhortation of the dialectic method, show that by taking away the one, all beings, and such things as have an apparent existence, must be entirely subverted, and propose to themselves the confutation of this hypothesis. And some of the hypotheses evidently conclude everything according to reason, but others (if I may be allowed the expression) perfectly evince things more impossible than impossibilities; which circumstance some prior to us perceiving, as it appears to me, necessarily to happen in these hypotheses, have considered it as deserving discussion 1, in their treatises on this dialogue.
With respect to the first of the hypotheses therefore, almost all agree in asserting, that Plato through this celebrates the superessential principle of wholes, as ineffable, unknown, and above all being. But all do not explain the hypothesis posterior to this after the same manner. For the ancient Platonists, and those who participated the philosophy of
1. For διαιτης, i read διατριβης.
Plotinus assert that an intellectual nature presents itself to the view in this hypothesis, subsisting from the superessential principle of things and endeavor to harmonize to the one and allperfect power of intellect, such conclusions as are the result of this hypothesis. But that leader of ours to truth about the Gods, and confabulator of Plato (that I may use the language of Homer) who transferred what was indefinite in the theory of the more ancient philosophers, to bound, and reduced the confusion of the different orders to an intellectual distinction, in the writings which he communicated to his associates;this our leader in his treatise on the present subject, calls upon us to adopt a distinct division of the conclusions, to transfer this division to the divine orders, and to harmonize the first and most simple of the things exhibited to the first of beings; but to adapt those in the middle rank to middle natures, according to the order which they are allotted among beings; and such as are last and multiform, to ultimate progressions. For the nature of being is not one, simple, and indivisible; but as in sensibles, the mighty heaven is one, yet it comprehends in itself a multitude of bodies; and the monad connectedly contains multitude, but in the multitude there is an order of progression; and of sensibles, some are first, some middle, and some last; and prior to these, in souls, from one soul a multitude of souls subsists, and of these, some are placed in an order nearer, but others more remote from their wholeness, and others again fill up the medium of the extremes; in like manner, it is doubtless necessary that among perfectly true beings, such genera as are uniform and occult, should be established in the one and first cause of wholes, but that others should proceed into all multitude, and a whole number, and that others should contain the bond of these, in a middle situation. It is likewise by no means proper to harmonize the peculiarities of first natures with such as are second, nor of those that possess a subject order, with such as are more unical, but it is requisite that among these, some should have powers different from others, and that there should be an order in this progression of true beings, and an unfolding of second from first natures.
In short, being which subsists according to, or is characterized by the one, proceeds indeed from the unity prior to beings, but generates
the whole divine genus, viz. the intelligible, intellectual, supermundane, and that which proceeds as far as to the mundane order. But our preceptor likewise asserts, that each of the conclusions is indicative of a divine peculiarity. And though all the conclusions harmonize to all the progressions of the one being, or of being characterized by the one, yet I am of opinion, it is by no means wonderful that some conclusions should more accord with some hypotheses than with others. For such things as express the peculiarity of certain orders, do not necessarily belong to all the Gods; but such as belong to all, are doubtless by a much greater reason present with each. If therefore, we ascribe to Plato, an adventitious division of the divine orders 1, and do not clearly evince that; in other dialogues, he celebrates the progressions of the Gods from on high to the extremity of things, sometimes in fables respecting the soul, and at other times, in other theological modes, we shall absurdly attribute to him such a division of being and together with this, of the progression of the one. But if we can evince from other dialogues, that he (as will be manifest in the course of this work) has celebrated all the kingdoms of the Gods, in a certain respect, is it not impossible, that in the most mystic of all his works, he should deliver through the first hypothesis, the exempt transcendency of the one with respect to all the genera of beings, to being itself, to a psychical essence, to form, and to matter, but that he should make no mention of the divine progressions, and their orderly separation? For if it is proper to contemplate last things only, why do we touch on the first principle before other things? Or if we think fit to unfold the multitude of the proper hypotheses, why do we pass by the genus of the Gods, and the divisions which it contains? Or if we unfold the natures subsisting between the first and last of things, why do we leave unknown the whole orders of those divine beings, which subsist between the one, and natures that are in any respect deified? For all these particulars evince, that the whole discourse is defective, with respect to the science of things divine.
But still farther, Socrates, in the Philebus, calls upon those that love
1. For πραξεων, it is necessary to read ταξεων.
the contemplation of beings, to use the dividing method, and always to explore the monads of total orders, and the duads, triads, or any other numbers proceeding from these. If this then is rightly determined, it is doubtless necessary that the Parmenides, which employs the whole dialectic method, and discourses about being which is characterized by the one, should neither speculate multitude about the one, nor remain in the one monad of beings, nor in short, introduce to the one which is above all beings, the whole multitude of first beings immediately, but should unfold, as in the first order, such beings as have an occult subsistence, and are allied to the one; but as in the middle rank, those genera of the Gods which subsist according to progression, and which are more divided than the extremely united, but are allotted a union more perfect, than such as have proceeded to the utmost; and should unfold as in the last rank, such as subsist according to the last division of powers, and together with these, such as have a deified essence. If, therefore, the first of the hypotheses is about the one which is above all multitude, it is doubtless necessary that the hypothesis which follows this, should not unfold being itself in an indefinite and indistinct manner, but should deliver all the orders of beings. For the dividing method does not admit, that we should introduce the whole of multitude at once to the one, as Socrates teaches us in the Philebus.
Besides, we may evince the truth of what we assert from the very method of the demonstrations. For the first of the conclusions become immediately manifest from the least, most simple, most known, and as it were common conceptions. But those which are next in order to these, become apparent through a greater multitude of conceptions, and such as are more various. And the last conclusions are entirely the most composite. For he always uses the first conclusions, as subservient to the demonstration of those that follow, 1 and present us with an intellectual paradigm of the order observed in geometry, or other disciplines, in the connection of these conclusions with each other. If, therefore, discourses bring with them an image of the things of which they are interpreters, and if, as are
1. For εχοντων, it is necessary to read εχομενων.
the evolutions from demonstrations, such must the order necessarily be of the things exhibited, it appears to me to be necessary, that such things as derive their beginning from the most simple principles, must be in every respect of a more primary nature, and must be arranged as conjoined with the one; but that such as are always multiplied, and suspended from various demonstrations, must have proceeded farther from the subsistence 1 of the one.
For the demonstrations which have two conclusions, must necessarily contain the conclusions prior to themselves; but those which contain primary, spontaneous, and simple conceptions, are not necessarily united with such as are more composite, which are exhibited through more abundant media, and which are farther distant from the principle of beings. It appears therefore, that some of the conclusions are indicative of more divine orders, but others, of such as are more subordinate; some, of more united, and others, of more multiplied orders; and again, some, of more uniform, and others, of more multiform progressions. For demonstrations are universally from causes, and things first. If, therefore, first are the causes of second conclusions, there is an order of causes and things caused, in the multitude of the conclusions. For, indeed, to confound all things, and speculate them indefinitely in one, neither accords with the nature of things, nor the science of Plato.
1. For αποστασεως, it is necessary to read υποστασεως.
XI. Many demonstrations concerning the conclusions of the second hypothesis, and of the division of it according to the divine orders.
Again, therefore, let us discuss this affair in another way, and view with the dianoetic power, where anything futile is delivered. For let it be said, if you please, and we will first of all allow it, that the conclusions of this second hypothesis are about true being. But as this is multitude, and not only one itself, like the one prior to beings; for being is that
which is passive to the one, as the Elean guest in the Sophista informs us; and as it is universally acknowledged by our opponents, who establish that which is first as the one, but intellect, as one many, soul, as one and many, and body, as many and one; therefore, this has been asserted a thousand times, I mean that in true being there is multitude together with union, whether will they say that these things harmonize with the whole of being, but not with its parts, or both with the whole and its parts? And again, we ask them whether they attribute all things to each part of being, or whether they ascribe different things to different parts?
If, therefore, they are of opinion, that each particular should alone harmonize with the whole of being, being will consist of nonbeings, that which is moved, of things immovable, that which abides, of things deprived of permanency, and universally, all things will consist of their opposites, and we shall no longer agree with the discourse of Parmenides, who says that the parts of being characterized by the one, are in a certain respect wholes, and that each of them is one and being, in a manner similar to the whole. But if we attribute all things to each part, and there is nothing which we do not make all things, how can the summit of being, and that which is most eminently one, contain a wholeness, and an incomprehensible multitude of parts? How can it at one and the same time contain the whole of number, figure, motion and permanency, and in short all forms and genera? For these differ from each other, and the hypothesis will assert things impossible. For things near to, will be similarly multiplied with things remote from the one, and that which is first, will not be a less multitude than that which is last; nor again, will the last of things be a less one than the first, and things in the middle will have no difference with respect to division from the extremes.
As therefore, it is not proper to ascribe all this multitude of conclusions to the whole alone, nor to consider all things in a similar manner in all the parts of being, it remains that different conclusions must harmonize with different things. It is necessary, therefore, that either the enumeration of the conclusions should be inordinate, or ordinate. But if they say they are inordinate, they neither speak agreeably to the dialectic method, nor to the mode of demonstrations, which always generate things
secondary from such as are first, nor to the science of Plato, which always accompanies the order of things. But if they say the conclusions are regular, I think it is entirely necessary, that they should either begin from things first according to nature, or from things last. But if from things last being characterized by the one will be the last, and that which is moved according to time, the first. This, however, is impossible. For that which participates of time, must by a much greater priority participate of first being. But that which participates of first being, does not necessarily participate of time. First being, therefore, is above time. If then Plato begins from first being, but ends in that which participates of time, he proceeds supernally from the first to the last parts of true being. Hence, the first conclusions are to be referred to the first orders, the middle, for the same reason, to the middle orders, and the last, as is evident, to such as are last. For it is necessary, as our discourse has evinced, that different conclusions should be assigned to different things, and that a distribution of this kind should commence from such things as are highest.
But likewise, the order of the hypotheses, as it appears to me, is a sufficient argument of the truth of our assertion. For with us the one which is exempt from all multitude, is allotted the first order, and from this the evolution of all the arguments commences. But the second order after this, is about true beings, and the unity which these participate. And the third order in regular succession, is about soul. Whether, therefore, is it about every soul or not? In answer to this, we shall observe, that our leader Syrianus has beautifully shown, that the discourse about whole souls is comprehended in the second hypothesis. If, therefore, the order of these three hypotheses proceeds according to the nature of things, it is evident that the second is produced from the first, and the last from the second. For I would ask those who are not entirely unskilled in discourses of this kind, what can be more allied to the one, than being characterized by the one, which the first of the conclusions of the second hypothesis unfolds? Or what can be more allied to soul, than that which participates of time, which subsists divisibly, and which is the last thing exhibited in this hypothesis? For the life of partial as well as of total souls is according
to time. And first being is that which first participates of the one, and through its connection with being, has a redundant hyparxis with respect to the imparticipable unity. But if this hypothesis is the middle, and if we aptly harmonize the highest conclusions with things highest, we should doubtless harmonize middles with middles. For this hypothesis commencing from first being, proceeds through all the genera posterior to it, till it ends in a nature participating of time.
But, farther, from the common confession of those interpreters of Plato, who were skilled in divine concerns, we can demonstrate the same things as we have above asserted. For Plotinus, in his book On Numbers, enquiring whether beings subsist prior to numbers, or numbers prior to beings, clearly asserts that the first being subsists prior to numbers, and that it generates the divine number. But if this is rightly determined by him, and being is generative of the first number, but number is produced by being, it is not proper to confound the order of these genera, nor to collect them into one hypostasis, nor, since Plato separately produces first being, and separately number, to refer each of the conclusions to the same order. For it is by no means lawful, that cause and the thing caused, should have either the same power, or the same order: but these are distinct from each other; and the science concerning them is likewise distinct, and neither the nature, nor the definition of them is one and the same.
But, after Plotinus, Porphyry in his treatise On Principles, evinces by many and beautiful arguments, that intellect is eternal, but that at the same time, it contains in itself something prior to the eternal, and through which it is conjoined with the one. For the one is above all eternity, but the eternal has a second, or rather third order in intellect. For it appears to me to be necessary that eternity should be established in the middle of that which is prior to the eternal, and the eternal. But of this hereafter. At the same time, thus much may be collected from what has been said, that intellect contains something in itself better than the eternal. Admitting this, therefore, we ask the father of this assertion, whether this something better than the eternal is not only being characterized by the one, but is a whole and parts, and all multitude, number and figure, that which is moved, and that which is permanent; or whether we are to
ascribe some of the conclusions to it, but not others? For it is impossible that all these can accord with a nature prior to eternity since every intellectual motion, and likewise permanency, are established in eternity. But if we are to ascribe some of the conclusions to it, and not others, it is evident that other orders in intellect are to be investigated, and that each of the conclusions is to be referred to that order, to which it appears particularly adapted. For intellect is not one in number, and an atom, as it appeared to be to some of the ancients, but it comprehends in itself the whole progression of first being.
But the third who makes for our purpose after these, is the divine Iamblichus, who, in his treatise Concerning the Gods, accuses those who place the genera of being in intelligibles, because the number and variety of these is more remote from the one. But afterwards he informs us where these ought to be placed. For they are produced in the end of the intellectual order, by the Gods which there subsist. How the genera of being, however, both are, and are not in intelligibles, will be hereafter apparent. But if, according to his arrangement of the divine orders, intelligibles are exempt from the genera of being, much more are they exempt from similitude and dissimilitude, equality and inequality. Each of the conclusions, therefore, ought not in a similar manner to be accommodated to all things, so as to refer them to the whole breadth of the intelligible, or intellectual order. Hence from what the best of the interpreters have said, when philosophizing according to their own doctrines, both the multitude of the divine orders, and of the Platonic arguments, are to be considered as proceeding according to an orderly distinction.
In addition, likewise, to what has been said, this also may be asserted, that we cannot, on any other hypothesis, obtain a rational solution of the many doubts which present themselves on this subject, but shall ignorantly ascribe what is rash and vain to this treatise of Plato. For in the first place, why are there only so many conclusions, and neither more nor less? For there are fourteen conclusions. But as there are so many, we cannot assign the reason of this, unless we distribute them in conjunction with things themselves. In the second place, neither shall we be able to find the cause of the order of the conclusions with respect to each other,
and how some have a prior, and others a posterior establishment, according to the reason of science, unless the order of the conclusions proceeds in conjunction with the progression of beings. In the third place, why do some of the conclusions become known from things proximately demonstrated, but others from preceding demonstrations? For that the one is a whole and contains parts, is demonstrated from being, which is characterized by the one; but its subsistence in itself and in another, is placed in a proximate order, after the possession of figure, but is demonstrated from whole and parts. Or why are some things often demonstrated, from two of the particulars previously evinced, but others from one of them? For we shall be ignorant of each of these, and shall neither be able scientifically to speculate their number, nor their order, nor their alliance to each other, unless following things themselves, we evince that this whole hypothesis is a dialectic arrangement, proceeding from on high through all the middle genera, as far as to the termination of first being.
Again, if we should say, that all the conclusions demonstrate syllogistically only, in what respect shall we differ from those who assert that the whole of this discussion consists of doxastic arguments, and only regards a mere verbal contest? But if it is not only syllogistic, but likewise demonstrative, it is doubtless necessary, that the middle should be the cause of, and by nature prior to the conclusion. As, therefore, we make the conclusions of the preceding reasons, the media of those that follow, the things which the arguments respect, must doubtless have a similar order as to being, and their progeny must be the causes of things subject, and generative of such as are secondary. But if this be admitted, how can we allow that all of them have the same peculiarity and nature? For cause, and that which is produced from cause, are separated from each other.
But this likewise will happen to those who assert that one nature is to be explored in all the arguments, that they will by no means perceive how in the three first conclusions, the one remains unseparated from being, but is first separated in the fourth conclusion. But in all the following conclusions, the one is explored considered as subsisting itself by itself. Is it not therefore necessary, that these orders must differ from each
other? For that which is without separation, in consequence of having an occult and undivided subsistence, is more allied to the one, but that which is separated, has proceeded farther from the first principle of things.
Again, if you are willing to consider the multitude of the arguments, and the extent of the hypothesis, how much it differs from that which follows it, neither from this will it appear to you to be entirely about one and an unseparated nature. For reasonings about divine concerns, are contracted in the more principal causes, because in these the occult is more abundant than the perspicuous, and the ineffable than the known. But they become multiplied and evolved, by proceeding to divine orders more proximate to our nature. For such things as are more allied to that which is ineffable, unknown, and exempt in inaccessible places, are allotted an hyparxis more foreign from verbal enunciation. But such things as have proceeded farther, are both more known to us, and more apparent to the phantasy, than such as have a prior subsistence.
This, therefore, being abundantly proved, it is necessary that the second hypothesis, should unfold all the divine orders, and should proceed on high, from the most simple and unical to the whole multitude and all the number of divine natures, in which the order of true being ends, which indeed is spread under the unities of the Gods, and at the same time is divided in conjunction with their occult and ineffable peculiarities. If, therefore, we are not deceived in admitting this, it follows that from this hypothesis, the continuity of the divine order and the progression of second from first natures, is to be assumed, together with the peculiarity of all the divine genera. And indeed, that their communion is with each other, and what their distinction proceeding according to measure, likewise, the auxiliaries which may be found in other dialogues respecting the truth of real beings, or the unities which they contain, are all to be referred to this hypothesis. For, here we may contemplate the total progressions of the Gods, and their allperfect orders, according to theological science. For as we have before shown that the whole treatise of the Parmenides has reference to the truth of things, and that it was not devised as a vain evolution of words, it is doubtless necessary, that the nine hypotheses which it discusses, employing the dialectic method,
but speculating with divine science, should be about things and certain natures, which are either middle or last. If, therefore, Parmenides acknowledges that his whole discourse will be about the one, and how it subsists with respect to itself, and all other things, it is evident that the speculation of the one, must commence from that which is highest, but end in that which is the last of all things. For the hyparxis of the one proceeds from on high, as far as to the most obscure hypostasis of things.
XII. The intention of the hypotheses, demonstrating their connexion with each other, and their consent with the things themselves.1
1. The 12th chapter is not marked in the original; but it begins conformably to my translation.
As the first hypothesis, however; demonstrates by negations the ineffable supereminence of the first principle of things, and evinces that he is exempt from all essence and knowledge, it is evident that the hypothesis after this as being proximate to it, must unfold the whole order of the Gods.
For Parmenides does not alone assume the intellectual and essential peculiarity of the Gods, but likewise the divine characteristic of their hyparxis through the whole of this hypothesis. For what other one can that be which is participated by being, than that which is in every being divine, and through which all things are conjoined with the imparticipable one? For as bodies through their life are conjoined with soul, and as souls through their intellective part, are extended to total intellect, and the first intelligence, in like manner true beings through the one which they contain are reduced to an exempt union, and subsist in unproceeding union with this first cause.
But because this hypothesis commences from that which is one being, or being characterized by the one, and establishes the summit of intelligibles as the first after the one, but ends in an essence which participates of time, and deduces divine souls to the extremities of the divine orders, it is necessary that the third hypothesis should demonstrate by various conclusions, the whole multitude of partial souls, and the diversities which
they contain. And thus far the separate and incorporeal hypostasis proceeds.
After this follows that nature which is divisible about bodies, and inseparable from matter, which the fourth hypothesis delivers supernally suspended from the Gods. And the last hypothesis is the procession of matter, whether considered as one, or as various, which the fifth hypothesis demonstrates by negations, according to its dissimilar similitude 1 to the first. But sometimes, indeed, the negations are privations, and sometimes the exempt causes of all the productions. And what is the most wonderful of all, the highest negations are only enunciative, but some in a supereminent manner, and others according to deficiency. But each of the negations consequent to these is affirmative; the one paradigmatically, but the other iconically, or after the manner of an image. But the middle corresponds to the order of soul, for it is composed from affirmative and negative conclusions. But it possesses negations coordinate to affirmations. Nor is it alone multiplied, like material natures, 2 nor does it possess an adventitious one; but the one which it contains, though it is still one, yet subsists in motion and multiplication, and in its progressions is, as it were, absorbed by essence. And such are the hypotheses which unfold all beings, both separable and inseparable, together with the causes of wholes, as well exempt, as subsisting in things themselves, according to the hyparxis of the one.
But there are four other hypotheses besides these, which by taking away the one, evince that all things must be entirely subverted, both beings and things in generation, and that no being can any longer have any subsistence; and this, in order that he may demonstrate the one to be the cause of being and preservation, that through it all things participate of the nature of being, and that each has its hyparxis suspended from the one. And in short, we syllogistically collect this through all beings, that if the one is, all things subsist as far as to the last hypostasis, and if it is not, no being has any subsistence. The one, therefore, is both the hypostatic and
1. For ανομοιοτητα, it is necessary to read ομοιοτητα.
2. Instead of οτε ως τα ολα, read ουτε ως τα ενυλα.
preservative cause of all things; which Parmenides also himself collects at the end of the dialogue. With respect, however, to the hypothesis of the Parmenides, its division, and the speculation of its several parts, we have sufficiently treated in our commentaries on that dialog; so that it would be superfluous to enter into a prolix discussion of these particulars at present. But as from what has been said, it appears whence we may assume the whole of theology and from what dialogs we may collect into one the theology distributed according to parts, we shall in the next place treat about the common dogmas of Plato, which are adapted to sacred concerns, and which extend to all the divine orders, and shall evince that each of these is defined by him according to the most perfect science. For things common are prior to such as are peculiar, and are more known according to nature.
XIII. What the common rules concerning the Gods are, which Plato delivers in the Laws. And also concerning the hyparxis of the Gods, their providence, and their immutable perfection.
In the first place, therefore, we shall assume the things which are demonstrated in the Laws, and contemplate how they take the lead, with respect to the truth about the Gods, and are the most ancient of all the other mystic conceptions about a divine nature. Three things, therefore, are asserted by Plato in these writings; that there are Gods; that their providence extends to all things; and that they administer all things according to justice, and suffer no perversion from worse natures.
That these then obtain the first rank 1 among all theological dogmas, is perfectly evident. For what can be of a more leading nature, than the hyparxis of the Gods, or than boniform providence, or immutable and undeviating power? Through which they produce secondary natures uniformly, preserve themselves in an undefiled manner, and convert them to themselves. But the Gods indeed govern other things, but suffer nothing
1. For αρχη δευτερα, it is necessary to read αρχειοτερα.
from subordinate natures, nor are changed with the variety of the things to which their providence extends. We shall learn, however, how these things are defined according to nature, if we endeavor to embrace be a reasoning process the scientific method of Plato about each of them; and prior to these, survey by what irrefragable arguments he proves that there are Gods; and thus afterwards consider such problems as are conjoined with this dogma.
Of all beings, therefore, it is necessary that some should move only, but that others should be moved only, and that the natures situated between these, should both move and be moved. And with respect to these last it is necessary, either that they should move others being themselves moved by others, or that they should be selfmotive. These four hypostases likewise, are necessarily placed in an orderly series, one after another; that which is moved only and suffers, depending on other primary causes; that which moves others, and is at the same time moved, being prior to this; that which is selfmotive, and which is beyond that which both moves and is moved, beginning from itself, and through its own motion imparting the representation of being moved, to other things; and that which is immovable, preceding whatever participates either producing or passive motion. For everything selfmotive, in consequence of possessing its perfection in a transition and interval of life, depends on another more ancient cause, which always subsists according to sameness, and in a similar manner, and whose life is not in time, but in eternity. For time is an image of eternity.
If, therefore, all things which are moved by themselves, are moved according to time, but the eternal form of motion is above that which is carried in time, the selfmotive nature will be second in order, and not the first of beings. But that which moves others, and is moved by others, must necessarily be suspended from a selfmotive nature: and not this alone, but likewise every altermotive fabrication, as the Athenian guest demonstrates. For if all things, says he, should stand still, unless selfmotive natures had a subsistence among things, there would be no such thing as that which is first moved. For that which is immovable, is by no means naturally adapted to be moved, nor will there then be that
which is first moved; but the altermotive nature is indigent of another moving power. The selfmotive nature, therefore, alone, as beginning from its own energy, will move both itself and others in a secondary manner. For a thing of this kind imparts the power of being moved to altermotive natures, in the same manner as an immovable nature imparts a motive power to all beings. In the third place, that which is moved only, must first of all be suspended from things moved by another, but moving others. For it is necessary, both that other things, and the series of things moved, which extends in an orderly manner from on high to the last of things, should be filled with their proper media.
All bodies, therefore, belong to those things which are naturally moved only, and are passive. For they are productive of nothing, on account of possessing an hypostasis endued with interval, and participating of magnitude and bulk; since everything productive and motive of others, naturally produces and moves, by employing an incorporeal power.
But of incorporeal natures, some are divisible about bodies, but others are exempt from such a division about the last of things. Those incorporeals, therefore, which are divisible about the bulks of bodies, whether they subsist in qualities, or in material forms, belong to the number of things moved by another, but at the same time moving others. For these, because they possess an incorporeal allotment, participate of a motive power; but because they are divided about bodies, are deprived of the power of verging to themselves, are divided together with their subjects, and are full of sluggishness from these, they are indigent of a motive nature which is not borne along in a foreign seat, but possesses a hypostasis in itself. Where, therefore, shall we obtain that which moves itself? For things extended into natures possessing bulk and interval, or which are divided in these, and subsist inseparably about them, must necessarily either be moved only, or be motive through others. But it is necessary, as we have before observed, that a selfmotive nature should be prior to these, which is perfectly established in itself, and not in others, and which fixes its energy in itself, and not in things different from itself. There is, therefore, another certain nature exempt from bodies, both in the heavens and in these very mutable elements, from which bodies primarily derive the power of being moved. Hence, if it be requisite
to discover what such an essence as this is, (rightly following Socrates, and considering what the end of things is,) which by being present to altermotive natures, imparts to them a representation of selfmotion, to which of the above mentioned natures shall we ascribe the power of things being moved from themselves? For all inanimate natures are alone altermotive, and whatever they suffer, they are adapted to suffer, through a certain power externally moving and compelling. It remains, therefore, that animated natures must possess this representation, and that they are selfmotive in a secondary degree, but that the soul which is in them, primarily moves itself, and is moved by itself, and that through a power derived from itself as it imparts life to bodies, so likewise it extends to them from itself a representation of being moved by themselves.
If, therefore, the selfmotive essence is more ancient than altermotive natures, but soul is primarily selfmotive, from which the image of selfmotion is imparted to bodies, soul will be beyond bodies, and the motion of every body, will be the progeny of soul, and of the motion it contains. Hence it is necessary that the whole heaven and all the bodies it contains possessing various motions, and being moved with these different motions, according to nature (for a circulation is natural to every body of this kind) should have ruling souls, which are essentially more ancient than bodies, and which are moved in themselves, and supernally illuminate these with the power of being moved. It is necessary, therefore, that these souls which dispose in an orderly manner the whole world and the parts it contains, and who impart to everything corporeal which is of itself destitute of life, the power of being moved, inspiring it, for this purpose, with the cause of motion, should either move all things conformably to reason, or after a contrary manner, which it is not lawful to assert. But if indeed this world and everything in it which is disposed in an orderly manner, and is moved equally and perpetually according to nature, as is demonstrated, partly in the mathematical disciplines, and partly in physical discussions, is suspended from an irrational soul, which moving itself moves also other things, neither the order of the periods, nor the motion which is bounded by one reason, nor the position of bodies, nor any other of those things which are generated according to nature, will have a stable cause,
and which is able to distribute everything in an orderly manner, and according to an invariable sameness of subsistence. For everything irrational is naturally adapted to be adorned by something different from itself, and is indefinite and unadorned in its own nature. But to commit all heaven to a thing of this kind, and a circulation revolving according to reason, and with an invariable sameness, is by no means adapted, either to the nature of things, or to our undisciplined conceptions. If however, an intellectual soul, and which employs reason, governs all things, and if everything which is moved with a perpetual lation, is governed by a soul of this kind, and there is no one of the wholes in the universe destitute of soul (for no body is honorable if deprived of such a power as this, as Theophrastus somewhere says) if this be the case, whether does it possess this intellectual, perfect, and beneficent power, according to participation, or according to essence? For if, according to essence, it is necessary that every soul should be of this kind, since each according to its own nature is selfmotive. But if, according to participation, there will be another intellect subsisting in energy, more ancient than soul, which essentially possesses intellection, and by its very being preassumes in itself the uniform knowledge of wholes; since it is also necessary that the soul which is essentialized according to reason, should possess that which pertains to intellect through participation, and that the intellectual nature should be twofold; the one subsisting primarily in a divine intellect itself; but the other, which proceeds from this, subsisting secondarily in soul. To which, you may add, if you please, the presence or intellectual illumination in body. For whence is the whole of this heaven either spherical or moved in a circle, and whence does it revolve with a sameness of circulation according to one definite order? For how could it always be allotted the same idea and power immutably according to nature, if it did not participate of specific formation according to intellect? For soul indeed, is the supplier of motion; but the cause of a firm establishment, and that which reduces the unstable mutation of things that are moved, into sameness, and also a life which is bounded by one reason, and a circulation which subsists with invariable sameness, will evidently be superior to soul.
Body therefore, and the whole of this sensible nature belong to things
which are altermotive. But soul is selfmotive, binding in itself all corporeal motions; and prior to this is intellect which is immovable. Let no one, however, suppose that I assert this immobility of intellect to resemble that which is sluggish, destitute of life, 1 and without respiration, but that it is the leading cause of all motion, and the fountain, if you are willing so to denominate it, of all life, both of that which is converted to itself, and of that which has its hypostasis in other things. Through these causes also, the world is denominated by Timaeus, an animal endued with soul and intellect; being called by him an animal according to its own nature, and the life pervading to it from soul, and which is distributed about it, but animated or endued with soul, according to the presence of a divine soul in it, and endued with intellect, according to intellectual domination. For the supply of life, the government of soul, and the participation of intellect connect and contain the whole of heaven.
If, however, this intellect is essentially intellect, since Timaeus indicating that the essence of intellect is the same with its intellection, denominates it divine; for he says, that soul receiving a divine intellect led an upright and wise life; if, therefore, this be the case, it is necessary that the whole world should be suspended from its divinity, and that motion indeed should be present to this universe from soul, but that its perpetual permanency and sameness of subsistence should be derived from intellect, and that its one union, the conspiration in it and sympathy, and its allperfect measure should originate from that unity 2, from which intellect is uniform, soul is one, 3 every being is whole and perfect according to its own nature, and everything secondary together with perfection in its own proper nature, participates of another more excellent peculiarity, from an order which is always established above it. For that which is corporeal being altermotive, derives from soul the representation of selfmotive power, and is through it an animal. But soul being selfmotive participates of a life according to intellect, and energizing according to time, possesses a never-ceasing energy, and an ever-vigilant life from its
1. For αξων, read αζων.
2. For και της εναδος, read, και από της εναδος.
3. For και ο νου, ενοειδη μια και η ψυχη, read, και ο νους ενοειδης, και η ψυχη μια.
proximity to intellect. And intellect possessing its life in eternity, always subsisting essentially in energy, 1 and fixing all its stable intellection at once is intellect, is entirely deific through the cause prior to itself. For it has twofold energies as Plotinus says, some as intellect, but others as being inebriated with nectar. And elsewhere he observes, that this intellect, by that which is prior to itself and is not intellect, is a god; in the same manner as soul, by its summit which is above soul, is intellect; and as body, by the power which is prior to body, is soul.
All things therefore, as we have said, are suspended from the one through intellect and soul as media. And intellect indeed has the form of unity; but soul has the form of intellect; and the body of the world is vital. But everything is conjoined with that which is prior to itself. And of the natures posterior to these, one in a more proximate, but the other in a more remote degree, enjoys that which is divine. And divinity, indeed, is prior to intellect, being primarily carried in an intellectual nature; but intellect is most divine, as being deified prior to other things; and soul is divine, so far as it requires an intellectual medium. But the body which participates of a soul of this kind, so far as body indeed, is also itself divine; for the illumination of divine 2 light pervades supernally as far as to the last dependencies; yet it is not simply divine; but soul, by looking to intellect, and living from itself, is primarily divine.
My reasoning is also the same about each of the whole spheres, and about the bodies they contain. For all these imitate the whole heaven, since these likewise have a perpetual allotment; and with respect to the sublunary elements, they have not entirely an essential mutation, but they abide in the universe according to their wholeness, and contain in themselves partial animals. For every wholeness has posterior to itself more partial essences. As, therefore, in the heavens, the number of the stars proceeds together with the whole spheres, and as in the earth the multitude of partial terrestrial animals subsists together with their wholeness, thus also it appears to one to be necessary that in the wholes which have
1. For αιων ενεργεια, read, αει ων ενεργεια.
2. The sense requires that θειου should be here supplied.
an intermediate subsistence, each element should be filled up with appropriate numbers. For how in the extremes can wholes which subsist prior to parts, be arranged together with parts, unless there is the same analogy of them in the intermediate natures?
But if each of the spheres is an animal, and is always established after the same manner, and gives completion to the universe, as possessing life indeed, it will always primarily participate of soul, but as preserving its own order immutable in the world, it will be comprehended by intellect, and as one and a whole, and the leader and ruler of its proper parts, it will be illuminated by divine union. Not only the universe, therefore, but each also of its perpetual parts is animated and endued with intellect, and as much as possible is similar to the universe. 1 For each of these parts is a universe with respect to its kindred multitude. In short, there is indeed one corporealformed wholeness of the universe, but there are many others under this, depending on this one; there is one soul of the universe, and after this, other souls, together with this disposing in an orderly manner the whole parts of the universe with undefiled purity; one intellect, and an intellectual number under this, participated by these souls; and one god who connectedly contains at once all mundane and supermundane 2 natures, and a multitude of other gods, who distribute intellectual essences, and the souls suspended from these, and all the parts of the world. For it is not to be supposed that each of the productions of nature is generative of things similar to itself, but that wholes and the first of mundane beings should not in a much greater degree extend in themselves the paradigm of a generation of this kind. For the similar is more allied, and more naturally adapted to the reason of cause than the dissimilar, in the same manner as the same than the different, and bound than the infinite. These things, however, we shall accurately survey in what follows. But we shall now direct our attention to the second of the things demonstrated in the Laws, viz. that the Gods providentially attend at once to wholes and parts, and shall summarily
1. Instead ομοιου μη κατα δυναμιν, it is necessary to read και κατα δυναμιν τω παντι ομοιον, as both the sense of the whole sentence and the version of Portus require.
2. It seems requisite to supply here the word υπερκοσμιον as in the translation.
discuss the irreprehensible conception of Plato about the providence of the Gods.
XIV. How the hyparxis of the Gods is delivered in the Laws, and through what media the discourse recurs to the truly existing Gods. – How the providence of the Gods is demonstrated in the Laws, and what the mode of their providence is according to Platο. *
* The 15th chapter also is not marked in the original; and is comprehended in my translation in the 14th chapter. Perhaps it should begin at the words, ‘Ιf therefore the Gods produce all things,” in Ρ. 49.
From what has been said, therefore, it is evident to everyone, that the Gods being the causes of all motion, some of them are essential and vivific, according to a selfmotive, selfvital, and selfenergetic power. But others of them are intellectual, and excite by their very being all secondary 1 natures to the perfection of life, according to the fountain and principle of all second and third progressions of motion. And others are unical, or characterized by unity, deifying by participation all the whole genera of themselves, according to a primary, allperfect, and unknown power of energy, and who are the leaders of one kind of motion, but are not the principle of another. But again others supply to secondary natures motion according to place or quality, but are essentially the causes of motion to themselves. For everything which is the cause of essence to other things is much prior to this the cause to itself of its own proper energies and perfection. Farther still, that which is selfmotive is again the principle of motion, and being and life are imparted by soul to everything in the world, and not local motion only and the other kinds of motion, but the progression into being is from soul, and by a much greater priority from an intellectual essence, which binds to itself the life of selfmotive natures and precedes according to cause all temporal energy. And in a still greater degree do motion, being, and life proceed from a unical hyparxis, which connectedly contains intellect and soul, is the source of total good, and proceeds as far as to the last of things. For of life indeed, not all the parts of the world are capable of participating, nor of intellect and a gnostic power; but of the one all things participate, as far
1. For δευτερον read δευτερα.
as to matter itself, both wholes and parts, things which subsist according to nature, and the contraries to these; and there is not anything which is deprived of a cause of this kind, nor can anything ever participate of being, if it is deprived of the one. If, therefore, the Gods produce all things, and contain all things, in the unknown comprehension of themselves, how is it possible there should not be a providence of all things in these comprehensions, pervading supernally as far as to the most partial natures? For it is everywhere fit that offspring should enjoy the providential care of their causes. But all altermotive are the progeny of selfmotive natures. And things which subsist in time, either in the whole of time, or in a part of it, are the effects of eternal natures; because that which always is, is the cause of that which sometimes exists. And divine and unical genera, as they give subsistence to all multiplied natures, precede them in existence. In short, there is no essence, or multitude of powers, which is not allowed its generation from the one. It is necessary, therefore, that all these should be partakers of the providence of preceding causes, being vivified indeed from the psychical gods, and circulating according to temporal periods; and participating of sameness and at the same time a stable condition of forms from the intellectual gods; 1 but receiving into themselves the presence of union, of measure, and of the distribution of the good from the first Gods. It is necessary, therefore, either that the Gods should know that a providential care of their own offspring is natural to them, and should not only give subsistence to secondary beings, and supply them with life, essence and union, but also previously comprehend it themselves the primary cause of the goods they contain, or, which it is not lawful to assert, that being Gods, they are ignorant of what is proper and fit.
For what ignorance can there be of beautiful things, with those who are the causes of beauty, or of things good, with those who are allotted an hyparxis defined by the nature of the good? But if they are ignorant, neither do souls govern the universe according to intellect, nor are intellects carried in souls as in a vehicle, nor prior to these do the unities of the Gods contractedly comprehend in themselves all
1. It is necessary here to supply the words, εκ των νοερων θεων.
knowledge, which we have acknowledged they do through the former demonstrations. If, therefore, they are not deprived of knowledge, being the fathers, leaders and governors of everything in the world, and 1 to them as being such a providential cure of the things governed by, and following them, and generated by them, pertains, whether shall we say that they knowing the law which is according to nature, accomplish this law, or that through imbecility they are deprived of a providential attention to their possessions or progeny, for it is of no consequence as to the present discussion which of these two appellations you are willing to adopt? For if through want of power they neglect the superintendence of wholes, what is the cause of this want of power? For they do not move things externally, nor are other things indeed the causes of essence, but they assume the government of the things they have produced, but they rule over all things as if from the stern of a ship, themselves supplying being, themselves containing the measures of life, and themselves distributing to things their respective energies.
Whether also, are they unable to provide at once for all things, or they do not leave each of the parts destitute of their providential care? And if they are not curators of everything in the world, whether do they providentially superintend greater things, but neglect such as are less? Or do they pay attention to the less, but neglect to take care of the greater? For if we deprive them of a providential attention to all things similarly, through the want of power, how, while we attribute to them a greater thing, viz. the production of all things, can we refuse to grant that which is naturally consequent to this, a providential attention to their productions? For it is the province of the power which produces a greater thing, to dispose in a becoming manner that which is less. But if they are curators of less things, and neglect such as are greater, how can this mode of providence be right? For that which is more allied, and more similar to anything, is more appropriately and fitly disposed by nature to the participation of the good which that thing confers on it. If, however, the Gods think that the first of mundane natures deserve their providential care, and that perfection of which they are the sources, but are unable
1. και is omitted in the original.
to extend their regard to the last of things, what is it that can restrain the presence of the Gods from pervading to all things? What is it which can impede their unenvying and exuberant energy? How can those who are capable of effecting greater things, be unable to govern such as are less? Or how can those who produce the essence even of the smallest things, not be the lords of the perfection of them, through a privation of power? For all these things are hostile to our natural conceptions. It remains therefore that the Gods must know what is fit and appropriate, and they must possess a power adapted to the perfection of their own nature, and to the government of the whole of things. But if they know that which is according to nature, and this to those who are the generating causes of all things is to take care of all things, and an exuberance of power, if this be the case, they are not deprived of a providential attention of this kind. Whether, also, together with what has been said, is there a will of providence in them? Or is this alone wanting both to their knowledge and power? And on this account are things deprived 1 of their providential care? For if indeed knowing what is fit for themselves, and being able to accomplish what they know, they are unwilling to provide for their own offspring, they will be indigent of goodness, their unenvying exuberance will perish, and we shall do nothing else than abolish the hyparxis according to which they are essentialized. For the very being of the Gods is defined by the good, and in this they have their subsistence. But to provide for things of a subject nature, is to confer on them a certain good. How, therefore, can we deprive the Gods of providence, without at the same time depriving them of goodness? And how if we subvert their goodness is it possible, that we should not also ignorantly subvert their hyparxis which we established by the former demonstrations? Hence it is necessary to admit as a thing consequent to the very being of the Gods that they are good according to every virtue. And again, it is consequent to this that they do not withdraw themselves from a providential attention to secondary natures, either through indolence, or imbecility, or ignorance. But to this I think it is also consequent that there is with
1. For απηωρηται it is requisite to read, παρηρηνται.
them the most excellent knowledge, unpolluted power, and unenvying and exuberant will. From which it appears that they provide for the whole of things, and omit nothing which is requisite to the supply of good.
Let, however, no one think that the Gods extend such a providence about secondary things, as is either of a busy or laborious nature, or that this is the case with their exempt transcendency, which is established remote from mortal difficulty. For their blessedness is not willing to be defiled with the difficulty of administration, since even the life of good men is accompanied with facility, and is void of molestation and pain. But all labors and molestation arise from the impediments of matter. If, however, it be requisite to define the mode of the providence of the Gods, it must be admitted that it is spontaneous, unpolluted, immaterial, and ineffable. For the Gods do not govern all things either by investigating what is fit, or exploring the good of everything by ambiguous reasonings or by looking externally, and following their effects as men do in the providence which they exert on their own affairs; but preassuming in themselves the measures of the whole of things, and producing the essence of everything from themselves, and also looking to themselves, they lead and perfect all things in a silent path, by their very being, and fill them with good. Neither, likewise, do they produce in a manner similar to nature, energizing only by their very being, unaccompanied with deliberate choice, nor energizing in a manner similar to partial souls in conjunction with will, are they deprived of production according to essence; but they contract both these into one union, and they will indeed such things as they are able to effect by their very being, but by their very essence being capable of and producing all things, they contain the cause of production in their unenvying and exuberant will. By what busy energy, therefore, with what difficulty, or with the punishment of what Ixion, is the providence either of whole souls, or of intellectual essences, or of the Gods themselves accomplished, unless it should be said, that to impart good in any respect is laborious to the Gods? But that which is according to nature is not laborious to anything. For neither is it laborious to fire to impart heat, nor to snow to refrigerate, nor in short to
bodies to energize according to their own proper powers. And prior to bodies, neither is it laborious to natures to nourish, or generate, or increase. For these are the works of natures. Nor again, prior to these, is it laborious to souls. For these indeed produce many energies from deliberate choice, many from their very being, and are the causes of many motions by alone being present. So that if indeed the communication of good is according to nature to the Gods, providence also is according to nature. And these things we must say are accomplished by the Gods with facility, and by their very being alone. But if these things are not according to nature, neither will the Gods be naturally good. For the good is the supplier of good; just as life is the source of another life, and intellect is the source of intellectual illumination. And everything which has a primary subsistence in each nature is generative of that which has a secondary subsistence.
That however, which is especially the illustrious prerogative of the Platonic theology, I should say is this, that according to it, neither is the exempt essence of the Gods converted to secondary natures, through a providential care for things subordinate, nor is their providential presence with all things diminished through their transcending the whole of things with undefiled purity, but at the same time it assigns to them a separate subsistence, and the being unmingled with every subordinate nature, and also the being extended to all things, and the taking care of and adorning their own progeny. For the manner in which they pervade through all things is not corporeal, as that of light is through the air, nor is it divisible about bodies, in the same manner as in nature, nor converted to subordinate natures, in the same manner as that of a partial soul, but it is separate from body, and without conversion to it, is immaterial, unmingled, unrestrained, uniform, primary and exempt. In short, such a mode of the providence of the Gods as this, must at present be conceived. For it is evident that it will be appropriate according to each order of the Gods. For soul indeed, is said to provide for secondary natures in one way, and intellect in another. But the providence of divinity that is prior to intellect is exerted according to a transcendency both of intellect and soul. And of the Gods themselves, the providence of the sublunary is different from that of the celestial divinities. Of the Gods also who are beyond
the world, there are many orders, and the mode of providence is different according to each.
XV. Through what arguments in the same treatise [the Laws] it is demonstrated that the Gods prονide [for all things,] immutably.
The third problem after these we shall connect with the former, and survey how we are to assume the unpervertible in the Gods, who perform all things according to justice, and who do not in the smallest degree subvert its boundary, or its undeviating rectitude, in their providential attention to all other things, and in the mutations of human affairs. I think therefore, that this is apparent to everyone, that everywhere that which governs according to nature, and pays all possible attention to the felicity of the governed, after this manner becomes the leader of that which it governs, and directs it to that which is best. For neither has the pilot who rules over the sailors and the ship any other precedaneous end than the safety of those that sail in the ship, and of the ship itself, nor does the physician who is the curator of the diseased, endeavour to do all things for the sake of anything else than the health of the subjects of his care, whether it be requisite to cut them, or administer to them a purgative medicine. Nor would the general of an army or a guardian say that they look to any other end, than the one to the liberty of those that are guarded, and the other to the liberty of the soldiers. Nor will any other to whom it belongs to be the leader or curator of certain persons, endeavour to subvert the good of those that follow him, which it is his business to procure, and with a view to which he disposes in a becoming manner everything belonging to those whom he governs. If therefore we grant that the Gods are the leaders of the whole of things, and that their providence extends to all things, since they are good, and possess every virtue, how is it possible they should neglect the felicity of the objects of their providential care? Or how can they be inferior to other leaders in the providence
of subordinate natures? Since the Gods indeed always look to that which is better, and establish this as the end of all their government, but other leaders overlook the good of men, and embrace vice rather than virtue, in consequence of being perverted by the gifts of the depraved.
And universally, whether you are willing to call the Gods leaders, or rulers, or guardians, or fathers, a divine nature will appear to be in want of no one of such names. For all things that are venerable and honorable subsist in them primarily. And on this account indeed, here also some things are naturally more venerable and honorable than others, because they exhibit an ultimate resemblance of the Gods. But what occasion is there to speak further on this subject? For I think that we hear from those who are wise in divine concerns paternal, guardian, ruling and paeonian powers celebrated. How is it possible therefore that the images of the Gods which subsist according to nature, regarding the end which is adapted to them, should providentially attend to the order of the things which they govern; but that the Gods themselves with whom there is the whole of good, true and real virtue, and a blameless life, should not direct their government to the virtue and vice of men? And how can it be admitted, on this supposition that they exhibit virtue victorious in the universe, and vice vanquished? Will they not also thus corrupt the measures of justice by the worship paid to them by the depraved, subvert the boundary of undeviating science, and cause the gifts of vice to appear more honorable than the pursuits of virtue? For this mode of providence is neither advantageous to these leaders, nor to those that follow them. For to those who have become wicked, there will be no liberation from guilt, since they will always endeavor to anticipate justice, and pervert the measures of desert. But it will be necessary, which it is not lawful to assert, that the Gods should regard as their final end the vice of the subjects of their providence, neglect their true salvation, and consequently be alone the causes of adumbrant good. This universe also and the whole world will be filled with disorder and incurable perturbation, depravity remaining in it, and being replete with that discord which exists in badly governed cities. Though is it not perfectly impossible that parts
should be governed according to nature in a greater degree than wholes, human than divine concerns, and images than primary causes?
Hence if men properly attend to the welfare of men in governing them, honoring some, but disgracing others, and everywhere giving a proper direction to the works of vice by the measures of virtue, it is much more necessary that the Gods should be the immutable governors of the whole of things. For men are allotted this virtue through similitude to the Gods. But if we acknowledge that men who corrupt the safety and wellbeing of those whom they govern, imitate in a greater degree the providence of the Gods, we shall ignorantly at one and the same time entirely subvert the truth concerning the Gods, and the transcendency of virtue. For this I think is evident to everyone, that what is more similar to the Gods is more happy than those things that are deprived 1 of them through dissimilitude and diversity. So that if among men indeed, the uncorrupted and undeviating form of providence is honorable, it must undoubtedly be in a much greater degree honorable with the Gods. But if with them, mortal gifts are more venerable than the divine measures of justice, with men also earthborn gifts will be more honorable than Olympian goods, and the blandishments of vice than the works of virtue. With a view therefore to the most perfect felicity, Plato in the Laws delivers to us through these demonstrations, the hyparxis of the Gods, their providential care extending to all things, and their immutable energy; which things, indeed, are common to all the Gods, but are most principal and first according to nature in the doctrine pertaining to them. For this triad appears to pervade as far as to the most partial natures in the divine orders, originating supernally from the occult genera of Gods. For a uniform hyparxis, a power which providentially takes care of all secondary natures, and an undeviating and immutable intellect, are in all the Gods that are prior to and in the world.
1. For αυτου it is necessary to read αυτων
XVI. What the axioms are concerning the Gods which are delivered in the Republic, and what order they have with respect to each other.
Again, from another principle we may be able to apprehend the theological demonstrations in the Republic. For these are common to all the divine orders, similarly extend to all the discussion about the Gods, and unfold to us truth in uninterrupted connection with what has been before said. In the second book of the Republic therefore, Socrates describes certain theological types for mythological poets, and exhorts his pupils to purify themselves from those tragic disciplines, which some do not refuse to introduce to a divine nature, concealing in these as in veils the arcane mysteries concerning the Gods. Socrates therefore, as I have said, narrating the types and laws of divine fables, which afford this apparent meaning, and the inward concealed scope, which regards as its end the beautiful and the natural in the fictions about the Gods, in the first place indeed, thinks fit to evince, according to our unperverted conception about the Gods and their goodness, that they are the suppliers of all good, but the causes of no evil to any being at any time. In the second place, he says that they are essentially immutable, and that they neither have various forms, deceiving and fascinating, nor are the authors of the greatest evil lying, in deeds or in words, or of error and folly. These therefore being two laws, the former has two conclusions, viz. that the Gods are not the causes of evils, and that they are the causes of all good. The second law also in a similar manner has two other conclusions; and these are, that every divine nature is immutable, and is established pure from falsehood and artificial variety. All the things demonstrated therefore, depend on these three common conceptions about a divine nature, viz. on the conceptions about its goodness, immutability and truth. For the first and ineffable fountain of good is with the Gods; together with eternity, which is the cause of a power that has an invariable sameness of subsistence; and the first intellect which is beings themselves, and the truth which is in real beings.
XVII. What the goodness of the Gods is, and how they are said to be the causes of all good; and that evil according to every hypostasis is itself adorned and arranged by the Gods.
That, therefore, which has the hyparxis of itself, and the whole of its essence defined in the good, and which by its very being produces all things, must necessarily be productive of every good, but of no evil. For if there was anything primarily good, which is not God, perhaps someone might say that divinity is indeed a cause of good, but that he does not impart to beings every good. If, however, not only every God is good, but that which is primarily boniform and beneficent is God, (for that which is primarily good will not be the second after the Gods, because everywhere, things which have a secondary subsistence, receive the peculiarity of their hyparxis from those that subsist primarily) this being the case, it is perfectly necessary that divinity should be the cause of good, and of all such goods to proceed into secondary descents, as far as to the last of things. For as the power which is the cause of life, gives subsistence to all life, as the power which is the cause of knowledge, produces all knowledge, as the power which is the cause of beauty, produces everything beautiful, as well the beauty which is in words, as that which is in the phenomena, and thus every primary cause produces all similars from itself and binds to itself the one hypostasis of things which subsist according to one form, after the same manner I think the first and most principal good, and uniform hyparxis, establishes in and about itself, the causes and comprehensions of all goods at once. Nor is there anything good which does not possess this power from it, nor beneficent which being converted to it, does not participate of this cause. For all goods are from thence produced, perfected and preserved; and the one series and order of universal good, depends on that fountain. Through the same cause of hyparxis therefore, the Gods are the suppliers of all good, and of no evil. For that which is primarily good, gives subsistence to every good from itself, and is not the cause of an allotment contrary to itself; since that which is productive of life, is not the cause of the privation of life, and that which is the source of beauty is exempt from the nature of that which is void of beauty and is deformed, and from
the causes of this. Hence, of that which primarily constitutes good, it is not lawful to assert that it is the cause of contrary progeny; but the nature of goods proceeds from thence undefiled, unmingled and uniform.
And the divine cause indeed of goods is established eternally in itself extending to all secondary natures, an unenvying and exuberant participation of good. Of its participants, however, some preserve the participation with incorruptible purity, receiving their proper good in undefiled bosoms, and thus through an abundance of power possess inevitably an allotment of goods adapted to them. But those natures which are arranged in the last of the whole of things, entirely indeed enjoy according to their nature the goodness of the Gods; for it is not possible that things perfectly destitute of good should either have a being, or subsist at first; but receiving an efflux of this kind, they neither preserve the gift which pervades to them, pure and unmingled, nor do they retain their proper good stably, and with invariable sameness but becoming imbecile, partial and material, and filled with the privation of vitality of their subject, they exhibit to order indeed, the privation of order, to reason irrationality, and to virtue the contrary to it, vice. And with respect indeed to the natures which rank as wholes, 1 each of these is exempt from a perversion of this kind, things more perfect in them always having dominion according to nature. But partial natures through a diminution of power always diverging 2 into multitude, division and interval, obscure indeed the participation of good, but substitute the contrary in the mixture with good, and which is vanquished by the combination. For neither here is it lawful for evil to subsist unmingled, and perfectly destitute of good; but though some particular thing may be evil to a part, yet it is entirely good to the whole and to the universe. For the universe is always happy, and always consists of perfect parts, and which subsist according to nature. But that which is preternatural is always evil to partial natures, and deformity, privation of symmetry, perversion, and a resemblance of subsistence are in these. For that which is corrupted, is indeed corrupted to itself, and departs from its proper perfection, but to the universe it is incorruptible and indestructible.
1. For αλλων it is necessary to read ολων.
2. For εμβαινοντα read εκβαινοντα.
And everything which is deprived of good so far indeed as pertains to itself and its own subsistence is deprived of it through imbecility of nature; but it is good to the whole, and so far as it is a part of the universe. For it is not possible that either a privation of life or deformity and immoderation, or in short privation can be inserted in the universe; but its whole number is always perfect, being held together by the goodness of wholes. And life is everywhere present, together with existence, and the being perfect, so far as each thing gives completion to the whole. Divinity therefore as we have said is the cause 1 of good; but the shadowy subsistence of evil does not subsist from power, but from the imbecility of the natures which receive the illuminations of the Gods. Nor is evil in wholes, but in partial natures, nor yet in all these. For the first of partial natures and partial intellectual genera are eternally boniform. But the media among these, and which energize according to time, connecting the participation of the good with temporal mutation and motion, are incapable of preserving the gift of the Gods immovable, uniform and simple; by their variety obscuring 2the simplicity of this gift, by their multiform and uniform nature, and by their commixture its purity and incorruptibility. For they do not consist of incorruptible first genera, nor have they a simple essence, nor uniform powers, but such as are composed of the contraries to these, as Socrates somewhere says in the Phaedrus. And the last of partial natures and which are also material, in a much greater degree pervert their proper good. For they are mingled with a privation of life and have a subsistence resembling that of an image, since it is replete with much of nonentity, consists of things hostile to each other and of circumstances which are mutable and dispersed through the whole of time, so that they never cease to evince in everything that they are given up to corruption, privation of symmetry, deformity, and allvarious mutations, being not only extended in their energies, like the natures prior to them but being replete both in their powers and energies with that which is preternatural, and with material imbecility. For things which become situated in a foreign place by co-introducing whole together
1. It is necessary here to supply the word αιτιον.
2. For παρασκευαζοντα it is requisite to read περισκιαζοντα.
with form rule over the subject nature; but again receding to that which is partial, from their proper wholeness, and participating of partibility, imbecility, war and the division which is the source of generation, they are necessarily allvariously changed. Neither, therefore, is every being perfectly good; for there would not be the corruption and generation of bodies, nor the purification and punishment of souls. Nor is there any evil in wholes: for the world would not be a blessed god, if the most principal parts of which it consists were imperfect. Nor are the Gods the causes of evils, in the same manner as they are of goods; but evil originates from the imbecility of the recipients of good, and a subsistence in the last of things. Nor is the evil which has a shadowy subsistence in partial natures unmingled with good. But this participates of it in a certain respect, by its very existence being detained by good. Nor in short, is it possible for evil which is perfectly destitute of all good to have a subsistence. For evil itself is even beyond that which in no respect whatever has an existence, just as the good itself is beyond that which is perfectly being. Nor is the evil which is in partial natures left in a disordered state, but even this is made subservient to good purposes by the Gods, and on this account justice purifies souls from depravity. But another order of gods purifies from the depravity which is in bodies. All things however are converted as much as possible to the goodness of the Gods. And wholes indeed remain in their proper boundaries, and also the perfect and beneficent genera of beings. But more partial and imperfect natures are adorned and arranged in a becoming manner, become subservient to the completion of wholes, are called upward to the beautiful, are changed, and in every way enjoy the participation of the good, so far as this can be accomplished by them.
For there cannot be a greater good to each of these, than what the Gods impart according to measures to their progeny: but all things, each separately, and all in common, receive such a portion of good as it is possible for them to participate. But if some things are filled with greater, and others with less goods, the power of the recipients, and the measures of the distribution must be assigned as the cause of this. For different things are adapted to different beings according to their nature. But the
Gods always extend good, in the same manner as the sun always emits light. For a different thing receives this light differently according to its order, and receives the greatest portion of light it is capable of receiving. For all things are led according to justice, and good is not absent from anything but is present to everything according to an appropriate boundary of participation. And as the Athenian guest says, all things are in a good condition and are arranged by the Gods. Let no one therefore say, that there are precedaneous productive principles of evil in nature, or intellectual paradigms of evils, in the same manner as there are of goods, or that there is a malefic soul, or an evilproducing cause in the Gods, nor let him introduce sedition and eternal war against the first good. For all these are foreign from the science of Plato, and being more remote from the truth wander into barbaric folly, and gigantic mythology. Nor if certain persons speaking obscurely in arcane narrations, devise things of this kind, shall we make any alteration in the apparent apparatus of what they indicate. But the truth indeed of those things is to be investigated, and in the meantime, the science of Plato must be genuinely received in the pure bosoms of the soul, and must be preserved undefiled and unmingled with contrary opinions.
XVIII. What the immutability is of the Gods; where also it is shown what their self-sufficiency, and firm-impassivity are; and how we are to understand their possessing an invariable sameness of subsistence.
In the next place, let us survey the immutability and simplicity of the Gods, what the nature of each of them is, and how both these appear to be adapted to the hyparxis of the Gods, according to the narration of Plato. The Gods therefore are exempt from the whole of things. But filling these, as we have said, with good, they are themselves perfectly good; each of them according to his proper order possesses that which is most excellent; and the whole genus of the Gods is at once allotted predominance according to an exuberance of good. But here again, we must
oppose those who interpret in a divisible manner that which is most excellent in the Gods, and who say, that if the first cause is most excellent, that which is posterior to the first is not so. For it is necessary, say they, that what is produced should be inferior to that by which it is produced. And this indeed is rightly asserted by them. For it is necessary in the Gods, to preserve the order of causes unconfused, and to define separately their second and third progressions. But together with a progression of this kind, and with 1 the unfolding into light of things secondary from those that are first, that which is most excellent must also be surveyed in each of the Gods. For each of the Gods in his own characteristic peculiarity is allotted a transcendency which is primary and perfectly good. One of them indeed, that we may speak of something known, is allotted this transcendency, and is most excellent as possessing a prophetic power, another as demiurgic but another as a perfecter of works. And Timaeus indicating this to us, continually calls the first demiurgus the best of causes. For the world, says he, is the most beautiful of generated natures, and its artificer is the best of causes; though the intelligible paradigm, and which is the most beautiful of intelligibles, is prior to the demiurgus. But this is most beautiful and at the same time most excellent, as the demiurgic paradigm; and the maker and at the same time father of the universe is most excellent as a demiurgic God. In the Republic also, Socrates speaking of the Gods, very properly observes that each of them being as much as possible most beautiful and most excellent, remains always with a simplicity of subsistence in his own form. For each of them being allotted that which is first and the summit in his own series, does not depart from his own order, but contains the blessedness and felicity of his own proper power. And neither does he exchange his present for a worse order; for it is not lawful for that which possesses all virtue to be changed into a worse condition; nor does he pass into a better order. For where can there be any thing better than that which is most excellent? But this is present with each of the divinities according to his own order, as we have said, and also with every genus of the Gods.
1. For το it is necessary to read τη.
It is necessary therefore that every divine nature should be established immutably, abiding in its own accustomed manner. Hence from these things the selfsufficiency, undefiled purity, and invariable sameness of subsistence of the Gods is apparent. For if they are not changed to a more excellent condition of being, as possessing that which is best in their own nature, they are sufficient to themselves, and are not in want of any good. And if they are not at any time changed to a worse condition, they remain undefiled, established in their own transcendencies. If also they guard the perfection of themselves immutably, they subsist always with invariable sameness. What the selfsufficiency therefore of the Gods is, what their immutability, and what their sameness of subsistence, we shall in the next place consider.
The world then is said to be selfsufficient, because its subsistence is perfect from things perfect, and a whole from wholes; and because it is filled with all appropriate goods from its generating father. But a perfection and selfsufficiency of this kind is partible, and is said to consist of many things coalescing in one, and is filled from separate causes according to participation. The order of divine souls also, is said to be selfsufficient, as being full of appropriate virtues, and always preserving the measure of its own blessedness without indulgence. But here likewise the selfsufficiency is in want of powers. For these souls have not their intellections directed to the same intelligibles; but they energize according to time, and obtain the complete perfection of their contemplation in whole periods of time. The selfsufficiency therefore of divine souls, and the whole perfection of their life is not at once present. Again, the intellectual world is said to be selfsufficient, as having its whole good established in eternity, comprehending at once its whole blessedness, and being indigent of nothing, because all life and all intelligence are present with it, and nothing is deficient, nor does it desire anything as absent. But this, indeed, is sufficient to itself in its own order, yet it falls short of the selfsufficiency of the Gods. For every intellect is boniform, yet is not goodness itself, nor primarily good; but each of the Gods is a unity, hyparxis and goodness. The peculiarity however of hyparxis changes the progression of the goodness of each. For one divinity is a perfective
goodness, another is a goodness connective of the whole of things, and another is a collective goodness. But each is simply a goodness sufficient to itself. Or it may be said, that each is a goodness possessing the selfsufficient and the allperfect, neither according to participation, illumination, but by being that very thing which it is. For intellect is sufficient to itself by participation, and soul by illumination, but this universe, according to a similitude to a divine nature. The Gods themselves, however, are selfsufficient through and by themselves, filling themselves, or rather subsisting as the plenitudes of all good.
But with respect to the immutability of the Gods, of what kind shall are say it is? Is it such as that of a [naturally] circulating body? For neither is this adapted to receive anything from inferior natures, nor is it filled with the mutation arising from generation, and the disorder which occurs in the sublunary regions. For the nature of the celestial bodies is immaterial and immutable. But this indeed is great and venerable, as in corporeal hypostases, yet it is inferior to the nature of the Gods. For every body possesses both its being, and its perpetual immutability from other precedaneous causes. But neither is the impassive and the immutable in the Gods such as the immutability of souls. For these communicate in a certain respect with bodies, and are the media of an impartible essence, and of an essence divided about bodies. Nor again is the immutability of intellectual essences equivalent to that of the Gods. For intellect is immutable, impassive, and unmingled with secondary natures, on account of its union with the Gods. And so far indeed as it is uniform, it is a thing of this kind; but so far as it is manifold, it has something which is more excellent, and something which is subordinate, in itself. But the Gods alone having established their unions according to this transcendency of beings, are immutable dominations, are primary and impassive. For there is nothing in them which is not one and hyparxis. But as fire abolishes everything which is foreign to it and of a contrary power, as light expels all darkness, and as lightning proceeds through all things without defilement, thus also the unities of the Gods unite all multitudes and abolish everything which tends to dispersion and allperfect division. But they deify everything which participates of them, receiving nothing from
their participants, and do not 1 diminish their own proper union by the participation.
Hence also the Gods being present everywhere, are similarly exempt from all things, and containing all things are vanquished by no one of the things they contain; but they are unmingled with all things and undefiled. In the third place, this world indeed is said to subsist with invariable sameness, so far as it is allotted an order in itself which is always proved indissoluble. At the same time however, since it possesses a corporeal form, it is not destitute of mutation, as the Elean guest observes. The psychical order likewise is said to obtain an essence always established in sameness; and this is rightly said. For it is entirely impassive according to essence; but it has energies extended into time, and as Socrates says in the Phaedrus, at different times it understands different intelligibles, and in its progressions about intellect comes into contact with different forms. Besides these also, muchhonored intellect is said both to subsist and to understand with invariable and perpetual sameness, establishing at once in eternity its essence, powers, and energies. Through the multitude however of its intellections, and through the variety of intelligible species and genera, there is not only an invariable sameness, but also a difference of subsistence in intellect. For difference there is consubsistent with sameness. And there is not only a wandering of corporeal motions, and of the psychical periods, but likewise of intellect itself, so far as it produces the intelligence of itself into multitude; and evolves the intelligible. For soul indeed evolves intellect, but intellect the intelligible, as Plotinus somewhere rightly observes, when speaking of the intelligible subjections. For such are the wanderings of intellect and which it is lawful for it to make. If therefore we should say that a perpetual sameness of subsistence is primarily in the Gods alone, and is especially inherent in them, we shall not deviate from the truth, and we shall accord with Plato, who says in the Politicus, that an eternally invariable sameness of subsistence alone pertains to the most divine of all things. The Gods, therefore, bind to themselves the causes of a sameness of this kind, and guard with immutable
1. ουχ is omitted in the original.
sameness their proper hyparxis established according to the unknown union of themselves. And such is the immutability of the Gods, which is contained in selfsufficiency, impassivity and sameness.
XIX. What the simplicity is of the Gods; and how that which is simple in them αppears to be various in secondary natures.
In the next place, let us consider what power the simplicity of the Gods possesses; for this Socrates adds in his discourse concerning a divine nature, not admitting that which is various, and multiform, and which appears different at different times, but referring to divinity the unifonn and the simple. Each of the divinities therefore, as he says, remains simply in his own form. What then shall we conclude respecting this simplicity? That it is not such as that which is defined to be one in number. For a thing of this kind is composed of many things, and abundantly mingled. But it appears to be simple so far as it has distinctly a common form. Nor is it such as the simplicity which is in many things according to an arranged species or genus. For these are indeed more simple than the individuals in which they are inherent, but are replete with variety, communicate with matter, and receive the diversities of material natures. Nor is it such as the form of nature. For nature is divided about bodies, verges to corporeal masses, emits many powers about the composition subject to it, and is indeed more simple than bodies, but has an essence mingled with their variety. Nor is it such as the psychical simplicity. For soul subsisting as a medium between an impartible essence, and an essence which is divided about bodies, communicates with both the extremes. And by that which is multiform indeed in its nature it is conjoined with things subordinate, but its head is established on high, and according to this it is especially divine, and allied to intellect.
Nor again is the simplicity of the Gods such as that of intellect. For every intellect is impartible and uniform, but at the same time it possesses multitude and progression; by which it is evident that it has a habitude
to secondary natures, to itself, and about itself. It is also in itself, and is not only uniform, but also multiform, and as it is said, is one many. It is therefore allotted an essence subordinate to the first simplicity. But the Gods have their hyparxis defined in one simplicity alone, being exempt indeed from all multitude so far as they are gods, and transcending all division and interval, or habitude to secondary natures, and all composition. And they indeed are in inaccessible places, expanded above the whole of things, and eternally ride on beings. But the illuminations proceeding from them to secondary natures, being mingled in many places with their participants which are composite and various, are filled with a peculiarity similar to them. Let no one therefore wonder, if the Gods being essentialized in one simplicity according to transcendency, various phantasms are hurled forth before the presence of them; nor, if they being uniform the appearances are multiform, as we have learnt in the most perfect of the mysteries. For nature, and the demiurgic intellect extend corporealformed images of things incorporeal, sensible images of intelligible, and of things without interval, images endued with interval. For Socrates also in the Phaedrus indicating things of this kind, and evincing that the mysteries into which souls without bodies are initiated are most blessed, and truly perfect. says, that they are initiated into entire, simple and immovable visions, such souls becoming situated there, and united with the Gods themselves, but not meeting with the resemblances which are emitted from the Gods into these sublunary realms. For these are more partial and composite, and present themselves to the view attended with motion. But illuminated, uniform, simple, and, as Socrates says, immovable spectacles exhibit themselves to the attendants of the Gods, and to souls that abandon the abundant tumult of generation, and who ascend to divinity pure and divested of the garments of mortality. And thus much is concluded by us respecting the simplicity of the Gods. For it is necessary that the nature which generates things multiform should be simple, 1 and should precede what is generated, in the same manner as the uniform precedes the multiplied. If, therefore, the Gods are the causes of
1. After απλουν in the original, it is requisite to insert ειναι και.
all composition, and produce from themselves the variety of beings, it is certainly necessary that the one of their nature which is generative of the whole of things, should have its subsistence in simplicity. For as incorporeal causes precede bodies, immovable causes things that are moved, and impartible causes all partible natures, after the same manner uniform intellectual powers precede multiform natures, unmingled powers, things that are mingled together, and simple powers, things of a variegated nature.
XX. What the truth is in the Gods; and whence falsehood is introduced in the participations of the Gods by secoiidary natures.
In the next place, let us speak concerning the truth which is in the Gods; for this in addition to what has been said is concluded by Socrates, because a divine nature is without falsehood, and is neither the cause of deception or ignorance to us or to any other beings. We must understand therefore, that divine truth is exempt from the truth which consists in words, so far as this truth is composite, and in a certain respect is mingled with its contrary, and because its subsistence consists of things that are not true. For the first parts do not admit of a truth of this kind, unless some one being persuaded by what Socrates asserts in the Cratylus, should say that these also are after another manner true. Divine truth also is exempt from psychical truth, whether it is surveyed in opinions or in sciences, so far as it is in a certain respect divisible, and is not beings themselves, but is assimilated to and coharmonized with beings, and as being perfected in motion and mutation falls short of the truth which is always firm, stable and of a principal nature. Divine truth is likewise again exempt from intellectual truth, because though this subsists according to essence, and is said to be and is, beings themselves, through the power of sameness, yet again, through difference, it is separated from the essence of them, and preserves its peculiar hypostasis unconfused with respect to them. The
truth therefore of the Gods alone is the undivided union and allperfect communion of them. And through this the ineffable knowledge of the Gods, surpasses all knowledge, and all secondary forms of knowledge participate of an appropriate perfection. But this knowledge alone of the Gods contractedly comprehends these secondary forms of knowledge, and all beings according to an ineffable union. And through this the Gods know all things at once, wholes and parts, beings and nonbeings, things eternal and things temporal, not in the same manner as intellect by the universal knows a part, and by being, nonbeing, but they know everything immediately, such things as are common, and such as are particulars, though you should speak of the most absurd of all things, though you should speak of the infinity of contingencies, or even of matter itself.
If, however, you investigate the mode of the knowledge and truth of the Gods, concerning all things that have a subsistence in any respect whatever, it is ineffable and incomprehensible by the projecting energies of the human intellect; but is alone known to the Gods themselves. And I indeed admire those Platonists that attribute to intellect the knowledge of all things, of individuals, of things preternatural, and in short, of evils, and on this account establish intellectual paradigms of these. But I much more admire those who separate the intellectual peculiarity from divine union. For intellect is the first fabrication and progeny of the Gods. These therefore assign to intellect whole and first causes, and such as are according to nature, and to the Gods a power which is capable of adorning and generating all things. For the one is everywhere, but whole is not everywhere. And of the one indeed matter participates and every being; but of intellect and intellectual species and genera, all things do not participate. All things therefore are alone from the Gods, and real truth is with them who know all things unically. For on this account also, in oracles the Gods similarly teach all things, wholes and parts, things eternal, and such as are generated through the whole of time. For being exempt from eternal beings, and from those that exist in time, they contract in themselves the knowledge of each and of all things, according to one united truth. If therefore any falsehood occurs in the oracles of the Gods, we must not say that a thing of this kind originates from the Gods,
p. 71 but from the recipients, or the instruments, or the places or the times. For all these contribute to the participation of divine knowledge, and when they are appropriately coadapted to the Gods, they receive a pure illumination of the truth which is established in them. But when they are separated from the Gods through inaptitude, and become discordant with them, then they obscure the truth which proceeds from them. What kind of falsehood therefore can be said to be derived from the Gods, who produce all the species of knowledge? What deception can there be with those who establish in themselves the whole of truth? In the same manner, as it appears to me, the Gods extend good to all things, but always that which is willing and able receives the extended good, as Socrates says in the Phaedrus. And a divine nature indeed is causeless of evil, but that which departs from it, and gravitates downward, is elongated through itself; thus also, the Gods indeed are always the suppliers of truth, but those natures are illuminated by them, who are lawfully their participants. For the Elean wise man says, that the eye of the soul in the multitude, is not strong enough to look to the truth.
The Athenian guest also celebrates this truth which subsists primarily in the Gods; for he says that truth is the leader to the Gods of every good, and likewise of every good to men. For as the truth which is in souls conjoins them with intellect, and as intellectual truth conducts all the intellectual orders to the one, thus also the truth of the Gods unites the divine unities to the fountain of all good, with which being conjoined, they are filled with all boniform power. For everywhere the hyparxis of truth has a cause which is collective of multitude into one; since in the Republic also, the light proceeding from the good, and which conjoins intellect with the intelligible, is denominated by Plato truth. This characteristic property therefore, which unites and binds together the natures that fill and the natures that are filled, according to all the orders of the Gods, must be arranged as originating supernally and proceeding as far as to the last of things.
XXI. From the axioms in the Phaedrus concerning every thing divine [it follows] that every thing divine is beautiful, wise, and good.
To us however discussing what pertains to every divine nature, what we assert will be known from those commonly received truths adduced in the Phaedrus, and which we have before mentioned. Socrates therefore says that everything divine is beautiful, wise, and good, 1 and he indicates that this triad pervades to all the progressions of the Gods. What therefore is the goodness, what the wisdom, and what the beauty of the Gods? With respect to the goodness of the Gods therefore, we have before observed, that it preserves and gives subsistence to the whole of things, that it everywhere exists as the summit, as that which fills subordinate natures, and as preexisting in every order analogous to the first principle of the divine orders. For according to this all the Gods are conjoined with the one cause of all things, and on account of this primarily derive their subsistence as Gods. For in all beings there is not anything more perfect than the good, and the Gods. To the most excellent of beings therefore, and which are in every respect perfect, the best and most perfect of things is adapted.
XXII. A discussion of the dogmas concerning the goodness [of tbe Gods,] and an investigation of the elements of the good in the Philebus.
But in the Philebus, Plato delivers to us the three most principal elements of the good, viz. the desirable, the sufficient, and the perfect. For it is necessary that it should convert all things to itself, and fill all things, and that it should be in no respect deficient, and should not diminish its exuberance. Let no one therefore conceive the desirable to be such as that which is frequently extended in sensibles as the object of appetite.
1. δυνατον is erroneously printed instead of αγαθον.
For such is apparent beauty. Nor let him suppose it to be such as is indeed able to energize upon and excite to itself the natures which are able to participate it, but which at the same time may be apprehended by intelligence, and is educed by us according to a projecting energy, and an adhesion of the dianoetic power. For it is ineffable, and prior to all knowledge extends to all beings. For all things desire the good, and are converted to it. But if it be requisite summarily to unfold the characteristic peculiarity of the desirable, as the supplier of light proceeds by his rays into secondary natures, converts the eye to himself, causes it to be solarform, and to resemble himself, and through a different similitude conjoins it with his own fulgid splendor, thus also I think the desirable of the Gods allures and draws upward all things to the Gods in an ineffable manner by its own proper illuminations, being everywhere present to all things, and not deserting any order whatever of beings. Since even matter itself is said to be extended to this desirable, and through this desire is filled with as many goods as it is able to participate. It is therefore the center of all beings, and all beings, and all the Gods have their essences, powers and energies about this. And the extension and desire of things towards this is inextinguishable. For all beings aspire after this desirable which is unknown and incomprehensible. Not being able therefore either to know or receive that which they desire, they dance round it, and are parturient and as it were prophetic with respect to it. But they have an unceasing and neverending desire of its unknown and ineffable nature, at the same time that they are unable to embrace and embosom it. For being at once exempt from all things, it is similarly present to and moves all things about itself, and is at the same time by all of them incomprehensible. By this motion also and this desire it preserves all things. But by its unknown transcendency through which it surpasses the whole of things, it preserves its proper union unmingled with secondary natures. Such therefore is the desirable.
But the sufficient is full of boniform power, proceeds to all things, and extends to all beings the gifts of the Gods. For we conceive such a sufficiency as this to be a power pervading and protending to the last of things, extending the unenvying and exuberant will of the Gods, and
not abiding in itself, but unically comprehending the superplenitude, the neverfailing, the infinite, and that which is generative of good in the divine hyparxis. For the desirable being firmly established, and surpassing the whole of things, and arranging all beings about itself, the sufficient begins the progression and multiplication of all good, calls forth that which is primary in the uniform hyparxis of the desirable, by its own prolific 1 exuberance, and by the beneficent replenishings which pervade to all things, and copiously produces and imparts it to every being. It is owing to the sufficient therefore, that the stability of divine natures, and that which proceeds from its proper causes is full of goodness, and that, in short, all beings are benefited, abiding in, proceeding from, and being united to their principles, and essentially separated from them. Through this power therefore, the intellectual genera give subsistence to natures similar to themselves, souls desire to generate, and imitate the beings prior to souls, natures deliver their productive principles into another place, and all things possess, in short, the love of generation. For the sufficiency of the goodness of the Gods, proceeding from this goodness, is disseminated in all beings, and moves all things to the unenvying communication of good; intellect indeed to the communication of intellectual, but soul of psychical, and nature of natural good.
All things therefore abide through the desirable of goodness, and generate and proceed into second and third generations through the sufficient. But the third thing, the perfect, is convertive of the whole of things, and circularly collects them to their causes; and this is accomplished by divine, intellectual, psychical and physical perfections. For all things participate of conversion, since the infinity of progression is through this again recalled to its principles; and the perfect is mingled from the desirable and sufficient. For everything of this kind is the object of desire, and is generative of things similar to itself. Or in the works of nature also, are not perfect things everywhere lovely and prolific through the acme of their beauty? The desirable therefore establishes all things, and comprehends them in itself. The sufficient excites them into progressions
1. Instead of μονιμω it is necessary to read γονιμω.
and generations. And the perfect consummately leads progressions to conversions and convolutions. But through these three causes, the goodness of the Gods fixing the unical power and authority of its proper hypostasis in this triad, is the primary and most principal fountain and vestal seat of things which have any kind of subsistence whatever.
XXIII. What the wisdom of the Gods is, and what elements of it may be assumed from Plato.
After this, wisdom is allotted the second order, being the intelligence of the Gods, or rather the hyparxis of their intelligence. For intelligence indeed, is intellectual knowledge; but the wisdom of the Gods is ineffable knowledge, which is united to the object of knowledge and the intelligible union of the Gods. But it appears to me that Plato especially surveyed this in the triad [of the beautiful, the wise and the good,] as may be inferred from the conceptions scattered about it in many places. I say then that Diotima in the Banquet is of opinion that wisdom is full of that which is known, and that it neither seeks, nor investigates, but possesses the intelligible. Hence, she says, that no one of the Gods philosophizes, nor desires to become wise; for a God is wise. Hence that which is philosophic is imperfect, and indigent of truth; but that which is wise is full and unindigent, and has everything present which it wishes and desires nothing. But the desirable and the appetible are proposed to the philosopher. Socrates, however, in the Republic considers that which is generative of truth and intellect, as affording an indication of wisdom, to our souls indeed the ascent to divine plenitude being accomplished through knowledge, 1 but to the Gods intellect being present from the fullness of knowledge. 2 For the progression in them is not from an
1. For γεννησεως it is requisite to read γνωσεως.
2. The same emendation is necessary here as above.
imperfect habit to the perfect; but from a self-perfect hyparxis a power prolific of inferior natures proceeds. But in the Theaetetus he indicates that the perfective of things imperfect, and that which calls forth concealed intelligence in souls, pertain to wisdom. For he says, it compels me to obstetrication, but prevents me from generating. It is evident therefore, from these things, that the genus of wisdom is triadic. Hence it is full of being and truth, is generative of intellectual truth, and is perfective of intellectual natures that are in energy, and itself possesses a stable power. We must admit therefore, that these things pertain to the wisdom of the Gods. For this wisdom is full indeed of divine goodness, generates divine truth, and perfects all things posterior to itself.
XXIV. Concerning divine beauty, and the elements of it, as delivered by Plato.
In the next place let us consider the beautiful, what it is, and how it primarily subsists in the Gods. It is said therefore to be boniform beauty, and intelligible beauty, to be more ancient than intellectual beauty, and to be beauty itself, and the cause of beauty to all beings; and all such like epithets. And it is rightly said. But it is separate not only from the beauty which is apparent in corporeal masses, from the symmetry which is in these from psychical elegance, and intellectual splendor, but also from the second and third progressions in the Gods; and subsisting in the intelligible place of survey, it proceeds from this to all the genera of the Gods, and illuminates their superessential unities, and all the essences suspended from these unities, as far as to the apparent vehicles of the Gods. As therefore through the first goodness all the Gods are boniform, and through intelligible wisdom they have a knowledge ineffable, and established above intellect, thus also, I think, through the summit of beauty, everything divine is lovely. For from
thence all the Gods derive beauty, and being filled with it, fill the natures posterior to themselves, exciting all things, agitating them with Bacchic fury about the love of themselves, and pouring supernally on all things the divine effluxion of beauty.
Such therefore, in short, is divine beauty, the supplier of divine hilarity, familiarity and friendship. For through this the Gods are united to and rejoice in each other, admire, and are delighted in communicating with each other, and in their mutual replenishings, and do not desert the order which they are always allotted in the distributions of themselves. Plato also delivers three indications of this beauty, in the Banquet indeed, denominating it the delicate; for the perfect and that which is most blessed, accedes to the beautiful through the participation of goodness. But he thus speaks of it in that dialogue: “That which is truly beautiful, is delicate, perfect and most blessed.” One of the indications therefore of the beautiful, is a thing of this kind, viz, the delicate. But we may assume another indication of it from the Phaedrus, viz. the splendid. For Plato attributing this to the beautiful says: “It was then that we were permitted to see splendid beauty shining upon us, etc.” And afterwards he adds: “And arriving hither we apprehended it shining most manifestly through the clearest of the senses.” And at last he says: “But now beauty alone has this allotment to be most splendid and most lovely.” These two things therefore are to be assumed as indications of beauty. Another indication of beauty is this, that it is the object of love, which now also Plato appears to me to have called most lovely. And in many other places he shows that the amatory fury is conversant with the beautiful, defining, and in short, suspending love from the monad of beauty.” For love, says he, is conversant with the beautiful.”
Because, therefore, beauty converts and moves all things to itself, causes them to energize enthusiastically, and recalls them through love, it is the object of love, being the leader of the whole amatory series, walking on the extremities of its feet, and exciting all things to itself through desire and astonishment. But again because it extends to secondary natures plenitudes from itself, in conjunction with hilarity and divine facility, alluring, inflaming, and elevating all things, and pouring on
them illuminations from on high, it is delicate, and is said to be so by Plato. And because it bounds this triad, and covers as with a veil the ineffable union of the Gods, swims as it were on the light of forms, causes intelligible light to shine forth and announces the occult nature of goodness, it is denominated splendid, lucid and manifest. For the goodness of the Gods is supreme and most united; their wisdom is in a certain respect now parturient with intelligible light, and the first forms; but their beauty is established in the highest forms, is the luminous precursor of divine light, and is the first thing that is apparent to ascending souls, being more splendid and more lovely to the view and to embrace than every luciferous essence, and when it appears is received with astonishment. This triad therefore filling all things, and proceeding through all things, it is certainly necessary that the natures which are filled should be converted to and conjoined with each of the three through kindred, and not through the same media. For of different things that are filled by this triad there is a different medium; and different powers are converted to a different perfection of the Gods. I think therefore, it is manifest to everyone, and it is frequently asserted by Plato, that the cause which congregates all secondary natures to divine beauty, which familiarizes them to it and is the source of their being filled with it, and of their derivation from thence, is nothing else than love, which always conjoins according to the beautiful, secondary to the first Gods, and the more excellent genera, and the best of souls. But again, truth is certainly the leader to, and establishes beings in, divine wisdom, with which intellect being filled, possesses a knowledge of beings, and souls participating of this energize intellectually. For the full participation of true wisdom is effected through truth, since this everywhere illuminates intellective natures, and conjoins them with the objects of intellection, just as truth also is the first thing that congregates intellect and the intelligible. To those however who hasten to be conjoined with the good, knowledge and cooperation are no longer requisite, but collocation, a firm establishment and quiet are necessary.
1.Instead of προς αυτον it is require to read πρωτιστοις.
XXV. What the triad is which is conjoined with the good, the wise, and the beautiful, and what auxiliaries to the theory of it, Plato affords us.*
* Such is the title of this chapter in the Greek, which is οbνiously erroneous. For the proper title is, “What that is which unites us to the good; and that it is divine faith.” What is said indeed in the Greek to be the contents of this, belong to the preceding chapter.
What therefore is it which unites us to the good? What is it which causes in us a cessation of energy and motion? What is it which establishes all divine natures in the first and ineffable unity of goodness? And how does it come to pass that everything being established in that which is prior to itself according to the good which is in itself, again establishes things posterior to itself according to cause? It is, in short, the faith of the Gods, which ineffably unites all the genera of the Gods, of daemons, and of happy souls to the good. For it is necessary to investigate the good neither gnostically, nor imperfectly, but giving ourselves up to the divine light, and closing the eyes of the soul, after this manner to become established in the unknown and occult unity of beings. For such a kind of faith as this is more ancient than the gnostic energy, not in us only, but with the Gods themselves, and according to this all the Gods are united, and about one center uniformly collect the whole of their powers and progressions.
If however it be requisite to give a particular definition of this faith, let no one suppose that it is such a kind of faith as that which is conversant with the wandering about sensibles. For this falls short of science, and much more of the truth of beings. But the faith of the Gods surpasses all knowledge, and according to the highest union conjoins secondary with first natures. Nor again, let him conceive a faith of a similar species with the celebrated belief in common conceptions; for we believe in common conceptions prior to all reasoning. But the knowledge of these is divisible, and is by no means equivalent to divine union; and the science of these is not only posterior to faith, but also to intellectual simplicity. For intellect is established beyond all science, both the first science, and that which is posterior to it. Neither, therefore, must we say that the energy according to intellect is similar to such a faith as this. For intellectual energy is multiform, and is separated from the
object of intellection through difference; and in short, it is intellectual motion about the intelligible. But it is necessary that divine faith should be uniform and quiet, being perfectly established in the port of goodness. For neither is the beautiful, nor wisdom, nor anything else among beings, so credible and stable to all things, and so exempt from all ambiguity, divisible apprehension and motion, as the good. For through this intellect also embraces another union more ancient than intellectual energy, and prior to energy. And soul considers the variety of intellect and the splendor of forms as nothing with respect to that transcendency of the good by which it surpasses the whole of things. And it dismisses indeed intellectual perception, running back to its own hyparxis; but it always pursues, investigates, and aspires after the good, hastens as it were to embosom it, and gives itself to this alone among all things without hesitation. But why is it necessary to speak of the soul? For these mortal animals, as Diotima somewhere says, despise all other things, and even life itself and being, through a desire of the nature of the good; and as all things have this one immovable and ineffable tendency to the good; but they overlook, consider as secondary, and despise the order of everything else. This, therefore, is the one secure port of all beings.
This also is especially the object of belief to all beings. And through this the conjunction and union with it is denominated faith by theologists, and not by them only, but by Plato likewise, (if I may speak what appears to me to be the case) the alliance of this faith with truth and love is proclaimed in the Laws. The multitude therefore are ignorant, that he who has a conception of these things, when discoursing about their contraries, infers the same thing with respect to the deviations from this triad. Plato then clearly asserts in the Laws that the lover of falsehood is not to be believed, and that he who is not to be believed is void of friendship. Hence it is necessary that the lover of truth should be worthy of belief, and that he who is worthy of belief should be well adapted to friendship. From these things therefore, we may survey divine truth, faith and love, and comprehend by a reasoning process their stable communion with each other. If, however, you are willing, prior to these things we will recall to our memory that Plato denominates that virtue
fidelity which conciliates those that disagree, and subverts the greatest of wars, I mean seditions in cities. For from these things faith appears to be the cause of union, communion and quiet. And if there is such a power as this in us, it is by a much greater priority in the Gods themselves. For as Plato speaks of a certain divine temperance, justice and science, how is it possible that faith which connectedly comprehends the whole order of the virtues should not subsist with the Gods? In short, there are these three things which replenish divine natures, and which are the sources of plenitude to all the superior genera of beings, viz. goodness, wisdom and beauty. And again, there are three things which collect together the natures that are filled, being secondary indeed to the former, but pervading to all the divine orders, and these are faith, truth and love. But all things are saved through these, and are conjoined to their primary causes; some things indeed, through the amatory mania, others through divine philosophy, and others through theurgic power, which is more excellent than all human wisdom, and which comprehends prophetic good, the purifying powers of perfective good, and in short, all such things as are the effects of divine possession. Concerning these things therefore, we may perhaps again speak more opportunely.
XXVI. Concerning the axioms delivered in the Ρhaedο,* respecting an invisible nature. What the divine nature is. What the immortal, and the intelligible ** are; and what order these possess with reference to each other.
* For εν φαίδρω it is necessary to read εν φαίδωνι.
** In the Greek το μονοειδές the uniform, but it should evidently be το νοητόν, the intelligible.
Again, let us, if you are willing, from other dialogues investigate the common dogmas of Plato about divine natures. Whence therefore, and what dogmas shall we assume, while we proceed in our search according to nature? Are you willing that we should in the next place recall to our memory what is written in the Phaedo? Socrates therefore says in the demonstrations of the immortality of the soul which are derived from its similitude to divinity, that the essence which is superior to the soul,
(and to which the soul is naturally similar, and being similar participates of an immortal allotment) is divine and immortal, intelligible and uniform, indissoluble and possesses an invariable sameness of subsistence; but that the essence which is inferior to the soul, is entirely the contrary, to which also it pertains to be corrupted and to be passive. For a thing of this kind is sensible and multiform, and is dissoluble because it is a composite; and he predicates among these all such things as pertain to a corporeal subsistence. Let us therefore direct our attention to these common dogmas, and examine after what manner each of them pertains to the Gods.
In the first place then what is that which we look to when we speak of that which is said to be divine? From what has been said therefore, it is evident that every God subsists according to the highest union of beings. For to us ascending from bodies, the Gods have appeared to be superessential unities, the generators, perfectors and measurers of essences, and who bind all first essences to themselves. But that which is divine, is not only hyparxis and the one in each order of being, but at the same time is that which participates and that which is participated; of which the latter is a God, but the former is divine. Whether however, prior to the participated unities, there is something which is separate and participated will be evident in what follows. But at present we shall define that which is divine to be a thing of this kind, viz. being which participates of the one, or the one subsisting contractedly together with being. For we assume all things in the Gods except the one, as suspended from them and secondary, viz. essence, life and intellect. For the Gods do not subsist in, but prior to these, and they produce and contain these in themselves, but are not defined in them. But it is necessary not to be ignorant that these are in reality thus distinguished from each other. In many places, however, Plato magnificently celebrates the participants of the Gods by the same names, and denominates them Gods. For not only the Athenian guest in the Laws calls a divine soul a God, but also Socrates in the Phaedrus. For he says “that all the horses and charioteers of the Gods are good and consist of things good”; and afterwards still more clearly, “and this is the life of the Gods.” But this is not yet wonderful. For is it not admirable that he should denominate those beings Gods who
are always conjoined with the Gods, and who together with them give completion to one series? For in many places he calls daemons Gods, though they are essentially posterior to, and subsist about the Gods. For in the Phaedrus and Timaeus, and in other dialogues, you will find him extending the appellation of the Gods even as far as to daemons. But what is still more paradoxical than these things, he does not refuse to call certain men Gods; for in the Sophista he thus denominates the Elean guest.
From all that has been said therefore, this must be assumed, that with respect to a God, one thing is simply a God, another according to union, another according to participation, another according to contact, and another according to similitude. For of superessential natures indeed, each is primarily a God; of intellectual natures, each is a God according to union; and of divine souls each is a God according to participation. But divine daemons are Gods according to contact with the Gods; and the souls of men are allotted this appellation through similitude. Each of these however is, as we have said, rather divine than a God. Since the Athenian guest calls intellect itself divine; but that which is divine is posterior to the first deity, in the same manner as that which is united is posterior to the one, that which is intellectual to intellect, and that which is animated, to soul. And always those natures that are more uniform and simple have the precedency; but the series of beings ends in the one itself. Let this, therefore, be the definition and distinction of that which is divine.
In the next place, let us survey the immortal. For with Plato there are many orders of immortality, pervading from on high as far as to the last of things; and the last echo, as it were, of immortality, is in those visible natures that are perpetual; which the Elean guest, in his discourse about the circulation of the universe, says, are allotted from the father a renovated immortality. For every body is allotted a being and a life dependent on another cause; but is not itself naturally adapted to connect, or adorn, or preserve itself. The immortality of partial souls is, I think, more manifest and more perfect than this; which Plato evinces by many demonstrations in the Phaedo, and in the 10th book of the Republic.
But I mean by the immortality of partial souls, that which has a more principal subsistence, as containing in itself the cause of eternal permanency. We shall not, however, err if prior to both these we establish the immortality of daemons. For the genera of these through which they subsist are incorruptible, and they neither verge to mortality, nor are filled with the nature of things which are generated and corrupted. But I infer that the immortality of divine souls is still more venerable and essentially more transcendent than that of daemons; which divine souls we say are primarily selfmotive, and are the fountains and principles of the life divided about bodies, and through which bodies obtain a renovated immortality. If, however, prior to these you conceive the Gods themselves, and the immortality in them, and how in the Banquet Diotima does not attribute an immortality of this kind even to daemons, but defines it to subsist in the Gods alone, such an immortality as this will appear to you to be separate, and exempt from the whole of things. For there eternity subsists, which is the fountain of all immortality, and through it all things live and possess life, some things indeed a perpetual life, but others a life dispersed into nonbeing. In short, therefore, that which is divine is immortal so far as it generates and comprehends in itself a perpetual life. For it is immortal, not as participating of life, but as the supplier of a divine life, and as deifying life itself, whether you are willing to call such a life intelligible, or by any other name.
In the next place let us direct our attention to the intelligible. It is denominated, therefore, in opposition to that which is sensible and which is apprehended by opinion in conjunction with sense. For the intelligible is first unfolded into light in the most principal causes. For soul is indeed intelligible, is of this allotment, is exempt from sensibles, and obtains an essence separated from them. Prior to soul also intellect is intelligible; for we rather think it fit to arrange soul in the middle, than to conumerate it with the first essences. That likewise is denominated intelligible, which is more ancient than intellect, which replenishes intelligence, and is itself by itself perfective of it, and which Timaeus arranges prior to the demiurgic intellect and intellectual energy, in the order of a paradigm. But beyond these is the divine intelligible, which is defined according to
union itself, and a divine hyparxis. For this is intelligible as the object of desire to intellect, as perfecting and comprehending intellect, and as the plenitude of being. In one way, therefore, we must denominate the intelligible as the hyparxis of the Gods; in another way as true being and the first essence; in another way as intellect and all intellectual life; and in another way as soul and the psychical order. It is likewise necessary not to fashion the different natures of things conformably to names. Such, therefore, is the order of this triad; so that what is divine indeed is unmingled and ranks as the first; that which is immortal is the second; and that which is intelligible the third. For the first of these is deified being; the second is life subsisting according to the immortality of the Gods; and the third is intellect, which is denominated intelligible in consequence of being replete with union.
XXVII. What the uniform and indissoluble are, and how sameness of subsistence (and the unbegotten are] to be assumed in divine natures.
After this, it follows in the next place, that we should consider the uniform, the indissoluble, and that which has an invariable sameness of subsistence, from the same causes, and these are the precursors of, and pervading through all the divine orders. For the uniform, indeed, has the highest subsistence, is present with the divine monad, and appears to be especially adapted to that which is primarily being, 1and in which also every participable genus of unities ends. For the one is prior to these, as will be evident as we proceed. But the indissoluble is the second. For it comprehends and binds the extremes according to divine union; since the dissoluble is such as it is through the want of connection and of a power which collects multitude into one. And that which has an invariable sameness of subsistence is eternal, and is full of the perpetuity of the
1. For το ον it is necessary to read τω οντι.
Gods; from which also the participation of immortality and eternal sameness is derived to other things. The uniform, therefore pertains to the same thing as the divine; but the indissoluble to the same thing as the immortal; and that which has an invariable sameness of subsistence we must refer to the intelligible.
And do you not see how these are severally after a manner coadapted to each other? For the first of these, through the first unity which is participated by being is, as it is fit it should be, uniform. For if a God subsists according to the one, that which is divine will doubtless be uniform. But that which through one cause of life is immortal, is also similarly indissoluble. For life is the bond of dissoluble natures; which also Timaeus indicating to us, opposes the dissoluble to the immortal: “for you are not immortal, says the demiurgus, yet you shall never be dissolved, nor be subject 1 to the fatality of death.” Everything mortal, therefore, is dissoluble; but the immortal is indissoluble. That, however, which has a renovated immortality is for the same reason neither indissoluble, nor mortal. For being in the middle of both it is neither of the extremes, according to each opposition. But the third of these being established according to the plenitude of whole intelligibles subsists at once and is invariably the same. For the intelligible is the cause of sameness and of eternal permanency; and intellect through this is entirely eternal. These triads, therefore, proceed from the first and most principal causes, in the same manner as we demonstrated of the beforementioned triads. But these things, indeed, we shall consider hereafter.
These things, therefore, being discussed, let us direct our attention to the unbegotten in divine natures, and unfold what we assert it to be. For we say that all [true] being is without generation, and Socrates demonstrates in the Phaedrus, that souls are unbegotten. Prior to these, also, the Gods themselves are established above generations and a subsistence according to time. How, therefore, shall we define the unbegotten when applied to a divine nature, and according to what reason? Is it because divinity is exempt from all generation, not only from that which subsists
1. For γευσεσθε read τευξεσθε.
in the parts of time, such as we assert the generation of material natures to be, nor from that only which is extended into the whole of time, such as Timeaus demonstrates the generation of the celestial bodies to be, but also from the psychical generation? Since Timaeus denominates this to be unbegotten according to time, but to be the best of generated natures. And in short, a divine nature is exempt from all division and essential separation. For the progression of the Gods is always according to a union of secondary natures, which are uniformly established in the natures prior to them, the things producing containing in themselves the things produced. The indivisible, therefore, the unseparated and the united are in reality unbegotten. So that if certain generations of the Gods are spoken of by Plato in fabulous figments, as in the fable of Diotima, the generation of Venus is celebrated, and of Love at the birth of Venus, it is necessary not to be ignorant after what manner things of this kind are asserted, and that they are composed for the sake of symbolical indication; and that fables for the sake of concealment call the ineffable unfolding into light through causes, generation. For in the Orphic writings, indeed, the first cause is on this account denominated Time; since again, for another reason, it is thus denominated, in order that a subsistence according to cause may be the same as a subsistence according to time. And the progression of the Gods from the best of causes is properly denominated generation according to time. To Plato, therefore, mythologizing, it is adapted to devise things of this kind conformably to theologists; but when he is discoursing dialectically, and investigating and unfolding divine natures intellectually and not mystically, it is then adapted to him to celebrate the unbegotten essence of the Gods. For the Gods primarily establish in themselves the paradigm of nongeneration. But an intellectual nature is in a secondary degree unbegotten, and after this the psychical essence. And in bodies there is an ultimate resemblance of unbegotten power; which some posterior to Plato perceiving, have indefinitely shown that the whole heaven is unbegotten. The Gods, therefore, are unbegotten. But there is an order in them of first, middle, and last progressions, and a transcendency and subjection of powers. There are also in them uniform comprehensions of causes; but multiform progenies of
things caused. And all things, indeed, are consubsistent in each other; but the mode of subsistence is various. For some things as replenishing subsist prior to secondary natures; but others, as being filled aspire after more perfect natures, and participating of their power become generative of things posterior to themselves, and perfective of their hyparxis.
XXVIII. How paternal, and how maternal causes are to be assumed in the Gods.
Looking to these things, therefore, we may unfold what is said of paternal causes, and of the prolific powers of mothers in fables. For everywhere, we may suppose that the cause of a more excellent and more uniform nature is paternal; 1 but we may say that the cause of a more subordinate and partial nature preexists in the order of a mother. For with the Gods a father is analogous to the monad, and the cause of bound; but a mother, to the duad, and to the infinite power which is generative of beings. The paternal cause, however, is with Plato uniform, and is established in a more elevated order than the natures which proceed from it, and subsists prior to its progeny in the allotment of the desirable. Again, the maternal cause has the form of the duad [dyad]; and at one time presents itself to the view in fables as more excellent than its progeny, but at another time as essentially subordinate to it; as in the Banquet, Plato calls Poverty the mother of Love. And this is not only the case in fabulous figments, but also in the philosophic theory of beings, as is evident in the Timaeus. For there Plato calls being the father, but matter the mother and nurse of generation. The powers, therefore, which are prolific and perfective of secondary natures, and the suppliers of life and causes of separation are mothers, being established above the natures produced by them. But the powers which receive the natures
1. πατρικον is omitted in the original.
that proceed into light, which multiply their energies, and extend even the subordinate allotment of the progeny, are also themselves called mothers. Again, however, the progeny of such like causes, at one time indeed, proceed according to union from their proper principles, and are filled from both the paternal and maternal cause; but at another time they contain the bond of them, being arranged in the middle, conveying the gifts of the fathers to the maternal bosoms, and converting the receptacles of them to the completions of primary causes. But of the natures which subsist from twofold preexisting principles, some are assimilated to the paternal cause; and such like genera of Gods are productive, defensive, and comprehensive. For to produce, to contain, and to defend, pertain to the cause of bound. But others are assimilated to the maternal cause and are prolific, and vivific, and the suppliers of motion, of the multiplication of powers, of variety and progressions. For all these are the progeny of infinity and the first multitude.
XXIX. Concerning divine names, and the rectitude of them as delivered in the Cratylus.
Thus much therefore may suffice concerning the unbegotten hyparxis of the Gods. It now remains, I think, to speak of divine names. For Socrates in the Cratylus thinks fit to unfold in a remarkable degree the rectitude of names in divine natures. And Parmenides indeed, in the first hypothesis, as he denies of the one everything else that is known, and all knowledge, so likewise he denies of it name and language. But in the second hypothesis, besides all other things, he shows that this one may be spoken of and 1 that it has a name. In short therefore, it must be admitted that the first, most principal and truly divine names are established in the Gods themselves. But it must be said that the second names, which are the imitations of the first, and which subsist
1. και is omitted in the original.
intellectually, are of a daemoniacal allotment. And again we may say that those names which are the third from the truth, which are logically devised, and which receive the ultimate resemblance of divine natures, are unfolded by scientific men, at one time energizing divinely, and at another intellectually and generating moving images of their inward spectacles. For as the demiurgic intellect establishes resemblances about matter of the first forms contained in himself, and produces temporal images of things eternal, divisible images of things indivisible, and adumbrated images as it were of true beings, after the same manner I think the science that is with us representing intellectual production, fabricates resemblances of other things, and also of the Gods themselves, representing that which is void of composition in them, through composition; that which is simple, through variety; and that which is united through multitude; and thus fashioning names, ultimately exhibits images of divine natures. For it generates every name as if it were a statue of the Gods. And as the theurgic art through certain symbols calls forth the exuberant and unenvying goodness of the Gods into the illumination of artificial statues, thus also the intellectual science of divine concerns, by the compositions and divisions of sounds unfolds the occult essence of the Gods. Very properly therefore, does Socrates in the Philebus say, that on account of his reverence of the Gods, he is agitated with the greatest fear respecting their names. For it is necessary to venerate even the ultimate echoes of the Gods, and venerating these to become established in the first paradigms of them. And thus much concerning divine names, which at present may be sufficient for the purpose of understanding the theology of Plato. For we shall accurately discuss them when we speak of partial powers.
I. Προοίμιον ἐν ᾧ διώρισται τῆς πραγματείας ὁ σκοπός μετ’ εὐφημίας τῆς τε αὐτοῦ τοῦ Πλάτωνος καὶ τῶν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ διαδεξαμένων τὴν φιλοσοφίαν.
Ἅπασαν μὲν τὴν Πλάτωνος φιλοσοφίαν ὦ φίλων ἐμοὶ φίλτατε Περίκλεις καὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν ἐκλάμψαι νομίζω κατὰ τὴν τῶν κρειττόνων ἀγαθοειδῆ βούλησιν τὸν ἐν αὐτοῖς κεκρυμμένον νοῦν καὶ τὴν ἀλήθειαν τὴν ὁμοῦ τοῖς οὖσι συνυφεστῶσαν ταῖς περὶ γένεσιν στρεφομέναις ψυχαῖς καθ’ ὅσον αὐταῖς θεμιτὸν τῶν οὕτως ὑπερφυῶν καὶ μεγάλων ἀγαθῶν μετέχειν ἐκφαίνουσαν καὶ πάλιν ὕστερον τελειωθῆναι καὶ ὥσπερ εἰς ἑαυτὴν ἀναχωρήσασαν καὶ τοῖς πολλοῖς τῶν φιλοσοφεῖν ἐπαγγελλομένων καὶ τῆς τοῦ ὄντος θήρας ἀντιλαμβάνεσθαι σπευδόντων ἀφανῆ καταστᾶσαν αὖθις εἰς φῶς προελθεῖν· διαφερόντως δὲ οἶμαι τὴν περὶ αὐτῶν τῶν θείων μυσταγωγίαν ἐν ἁγνῷ βάθρῳ καθαρῶς ἱδρυμένην καὶ παρ’ αὐτοῖς τοῖς θεοῖς διαιωνίως ὑφεστηκυῖαν ἐκεῖθεν
τοῖς κατὰ χρόνον αὐτῆς ἀπολαῦσαι δυναμένοις ἐκφανῆναι δι’ ἑνὸς ἀνδρός ὃν οὐκ ἂν ἁμάρτοιμι τῶν ἀληθινῶν τελετῶν ἃς τελοῦνται χωρισθεῖσαι τῶν περὶ γῆν τόπων αἱ ψυχαί καὶ τῶν ὁλοκλήρων καὶ ἀτρεμῶν φασμάτων ὧν μεταλαμβάνουσιν αἱ τῆς εὐδαίμονος καὶ μακαρίας ζωῆς γνησίως ἀντεχόμεναι προηγεμόνα καὶ ἱεροφάντην ἀποκαλῶν· οὕτως δὲ σεμνῶς καὶ ἀπορρήτως ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ τὴν πρώτην ἐκλάμψασαν οἷον ἁγίοις ἱεροῖς καὶ τῶν ἀδύτων ἐντὸς ἱδρυνθεῖσαν ἀσφαλῶς καὶ τοῖς πολλοῖς τῶν εἰσιόντων ἀγνοηθεῖσαν ἀσφαλῶσ ἐν τακταῖς χρόνων περιόδοις ὑπὸ δή τινων ἱερέων ἀληθινῶν καὶ τὸν προσήκοντα τῇ μυσταγωγίᾳ βίον ἀνελομένων προελθεῖν μὲν ἐφ’ ὅσον ἦν αὐτῇ δυνατόν ἅπαντα δὲ καταλάμψαι τὸν τόπον καὶ πανταχοῦ τῶν θείων φασμάτων ἐλλάμψεις καταστήσασθαι.
Τούτους δὴ τοὺς τῆς Πλατωνικῆς ἐποπτείας ἐξηγητὰς καὶ τὰς παναγεστάτας ἡμῖν περὶ τῶν θείων ὑφηγήσεις ἀναπλώσαντας καὶ τῷ σφετέρῳ καθηγεμόνι παραπλησίαν τὴν φύσιν λαχόντας εἶναι θείην ἂν ἔγωγε Πλωτῖνόν τε τὸν Αἰγύπτιον καὶ τοὺς ἀπὸ τούτου παραδεξαμένους τὴν θεωρίαν Ἀμέλιόν τε καὶ Πορφύριον καὶ τρίτους οἶμαι τοὺς ἀπὸ τούτων ὥσπερ ἀνδριάντασ ἡμῖν ἀποτελεσθέντας Ἰάμβλιχόν τε καὶ Θεόδωρον καὶ εἰ δή τινες ἄλλοι μετὰ τούτους ἑπόμενοι τῷ θείῳ τούτῳ χορῷ περὶ τῶν τοῦ Πλάτωνος τὴν ἑαυτῶν διάνοιαν
ἀνεβάκχευσαν παρ’ ὧν τὸ γνησιώτατον καὶ καθαρώτατον τῆς ἀληθείας φῶς τοῖς τῆς ψυχῆς κόλποις ἀχράντως ὑποδεξάμενος ὁ μετὰ θεοὺς ἡμῖν τῶν καλῶν πάντων καὶ ἀγαθῶν ἡγεμών τῆς τε ἄλλης ἁπάσης ἡμᾶς μετόχους κατέστησε τοῦ Πλάτωνος φιλοσοφίας καὶ κοινωνοὺς ὧν ἐν ἀπορρήτοις παρὰ τῶν αὐτοῦ πρεσβυτέρων μετείληφε καὶ δὴ καὶ τῆς περὶ τῶν θείων μυστικῆς ἀληθείας συγχορευτὰς ἀπέφηνε. Τούτῳ μὲν οὖν εἰ μέλλοιμεν τὴν προσήκουσαν χάριν ἐκτίσειν τῶν εἰς ἡμᾶς εὐεργεσιῶν οὐδ’ ἂν ὁ σύμπας ἐξαρκέσειε χρόνος. Εἰ δὲ δεῖ μὴ μόνον αὐτοὺς εἰληφέναι παρ’ ἄλλων τὸ τῆς Πλατωνικῆς φιλοσοφίας ἐξαίρετον ἀγαθὸν
ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς ὕστερον ἐσομένοις ὑπομνήματα καταλείπειν τῶν μακαρίων θεαμάτων ὧν αὐτοὶ καὶ θεαταὶ γενέσθαι φαμὲν καὶ ζηλωταὶ κατὰ δύναμιν ὑφ’ ἡγεμόνι τῷ τῶν καθ’ ἡμᾶς τελεωτάτῳ καὶ εἰς ἄκρον ἥκοντι φιλοσοφίας τάχ’ ἂν εἰκότως αὐτοὺς τοὺς θεοὺς παρακαλοῖμεν τὸ τῆς ἀληθείας φῶς ἀνάπτειν ἡμῶν ταῖς ψυχαῖς καὶ τοὺς τῶν κρειττόνων ὀπαδοὺς καὶ θεραπευτὰς κατιθύνειν τὸν ἡμέτερον νοῦν καὶ ποδηγετεῖν εἰς τὸ παντελὲς καὶ θεῖον καὶ ὑψηλὸν τέλος τῆς Πλατωνικῆς θεωρίας. Πανταχοῦ μὲν γάρ οἶμαι προσήκει τὸν καὶ κατὰ βραχὺ μετέχοντα σωφροσύνης ἀπὸ θεῶν ποιεῖσθαι τὰς ἀρχάς οὐχ ἥκιστα δὲ ἐν ταῖς περὶ τῶν θεῶν ἐξηγήσεσιν· οὔτε γὰρ νοῆσαι τὸ θεῖον ἄλλως δυνατὸν ἢ τῷ παρ’ αὐτῶν φωτὶ τελεσθέντας οὔτε εἰς ἄλλους ἐξενεγκεῖν ἢ παρ’ αὐτῶν κυβερνωμένους καὶ τῶν πολυειδῶν δοξασμάτων καὶ τῆς ἐν λόγοις φερομένης ποικιλίας ἐξῃρημένην φυλάττοντας τὴν τῶν θείων ὀνομάτων ἀνέλιξιν. Ταῦτ’ οὖν καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰδότες καὶ τῷ Πλατωνικῷ Τιμαίῳ παραινοῦντι πειθόμενοι προστησώμεθα τοὺς θεοὺς ἡγεμόνας τῆς περὶ αὐτῶν διδασκαλίας· οἱ δὲ ἀκούσαντες ἵλεῴ τε καὶ εὐμενεῖσ ἐλθόντες ἄγοιεν τὸν τῆς ψυχῆς ἡμῶν νοῦν καὶ περιάγοιεν εἰσ τὴν τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἑστίαν καὶ τὸ ἄναντεσ τῆς θεωρίας ταύτης. Οὗ δὴ γενόμενοι σύμπασαν τὴν περὶ αὐτῶν ἀλήθειαν ὑποδεξόμεθα καὶ τέλος τὸ ἄριστον ἕξομεν τῆς ἐν ἡμῖν ὠδῖνος ἣν ἔχομεν περὶ τὰ θεῖα γνῶναί τι περὶ τούτων ποθοῦντες καὶ παρ’ ἄλλων πυνθανόμενοι καὶ ἑαυτοὺς εἰς δύναμιν βασανίζοντες.
II. Τίς ὁ τρόπος τῶν λόγων ἐν τῇ προκειμένῃ πραγματείᾳ καὶ τίνα προηγεῖσθαι δεῖ τῶν ἀκροασομένων παρασκευήν.
β Ἀλλὰ τῶν μὲν προοιμίων ἅλις· ἀναγκαῖον δέ ἐστί μοι καὶ τὸν τρόπον ἐκθέσθαι τῆς προκειμένης διδασκαλίας ὁποῖόν τινα αὐτὸν ἔσεσθαι προσδοκᾶν χρή καὶ τῶν τούτου ἀκροασομένων τὴν παρασκευὴν ἀφορίσασθαι καθ’ ἣν οὐ πρὸς τοὺς ἡμετέρους λόγους ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὴν ὑψηλόνουν καὶ ἔνθεον τοῦ Πλάτωνος φιλοσοφίαν ἐπιτηδείως
ἔχοντες ἀπαντήσονται. Προσήκει γὰρ δήπου καὶ τὰ εἴδη τῶν λόγων καὶ τὰς ἐπιτηδειότητας τῶν ἀκροατῶν προσφόρους ὑποκεῖσθαι καθάπερ ἐν ταῖς τελεταῖς οἰκείας τὰς ὑποδοχὰς τοῖς θεοῖς προευτρεπίζουσιν οἱ περὶ ταῦτα δεινοί καὶ οὔτε ἀψύχοις ἀεὶ τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἅπασιν οὔτε τοῖς ἄλλοις ζῴοις οὔτε ἀνθρώποις χρῶνται πρὸς τὴν παρουσίαν τῶν θεῶν ἀλλ’ ἐφ’ ἑκάστων τὸ μετέχειν συμφυῶς δυνάμενον εἰς τὴν προκειμένην ἄγουσι τελετήν.
Ὁ μὲν οὖν λόγος ἔσται μοι τριχῇ τὴν πρώτην διῃρημένος· ἐν ἀρχῇ μὲν τὰ κοινὰ πάντα νοήματα περὶ θεῶν ὅσα παραδίδωσιν ὁ Πλάτων συγκεφαλαιούμενος καὶ τάς τε δυνάμεις ἁπανταχοῦ καὶ τὰς ἀξίας τῶν ἀξιωμάτων ἐπισκοπῶν· ἐν δὲ μέσοις τὰς ὅλας τάξεις τῶν θεῶν διαριθμούμενος δέ καὶ τὰς ἰδιότητας αὐτῶν καὶ τὰς προόδους κατὰ τὸν Πλατωνικὸν τρόπον ἀφοριζόμενος καὶ πάντα ἐπανάγων εἰς τὰς τῶν θεολόγων ὑποθέσεις· ἐν δὲ τῇ τελευτῇ περὶ τῶν σποράδην ἐν τοῖς Πλατωνικοῖς συγγράμμασιν ὑμνημένων θεῶν εἴτε ὑπερκοσμίων εἴτε ἐγκοσμίων διαλεγόμενος καὶ ἀναφέρων εἰς τὰ ὅλα γένη τῶν θείων διακόσμων τὴν περὶ αὐτῶν θεωρίαν.
Ἐν ἅπασι δὲ τὸ σαφὲς καὶ διηρθρωμένον καὶ ἁπλοῦν προθήσομεν τῶν ἐναντίων τὰ μὲν διὰ συμβόλων παραδεδομένα μεταβιβάζοντες εἰς τὴν ἐναργῆ περὶ αὐτῶν διδασκαλίαν τὰ δὲ δι’ εἰκόνων ἀναπέμποντες ἐπὶ τὰ σφέτερα παραδείγματα καὶ τὰ μὲν ἀποφαντικώτερον ἀναγεγραμμένα τοῖς τῆς αἰτίας βασανίζοντες λογισμοῖς τὰ δὲ δι’ ἀποδείξεων συντεθέντα διερευνώμενοι καὶ τὸν τρόπον τῆς ἐν αὐτοῖς ἀληθείας ἐπεκδιηγούμενοι καὶ γνώριμον τοῖς ἀκούουσι ποιοῦντες καὶ τῶν μὲν ἐν αἰνίγμασι κειμένων ἀλλαχόθεν τὴν σαφήνειαν ἀνευρίσκοντες οὐκ ἐξ ἀλλοτρίων ὑποθέσεων ἀλλ’ ἐκ τῶν γνησιωτάτων τοῦ Πλάτωνος συγγραμμάτων τῶν δὲ αὐτόθεν τοῖς ἀκούουσι προσπιπτόντων τὴν πρὸς τὰ πράγματα συμφωνίαν θεωροῦντες· ἀφ’ ὧν δὴ πάντων ἡμῖν τὸ ἓν καὶ τέλειον τῆς Πλατωνικῆς θεολογίας εἶδος ἀναφανήσεται καὶ ἡ δι’ ὅλων αὐτοῦ τῶν θείων νοήσεων ἀλήθεια διήκουσα καὶ
εἷς νοῦς ὁ τὸ σύμπαν τούτου κάλλος ἀπογεννήσας καὶ τὴν μυστικὴν ταύτης τῆς θεωρίας ἀνέλιξιν. Ὁ μὲν οὖν λόγος τοιοῦτος ἔσται μοι καθάπερ ἔφην·
ὁ δὲ αὖ τῶν προκειμένων δογμάτων ἀκροατὴς ταῖς μὲν ἠθικαῖς ἀρεταῖς κεκοσμημένος ὑποκείσθω καὶ πάντα τὰ ἀγενῆ καὶ ἀνάρμοστα τῆς ψυχῆς κινήματα τῷ τῆς ἀρετῆς λόγῳ καταδησάμενος καὶ πρὸς ἓν τὸ τῆς φρονήσεως εἶδος ἁρμόσας.
Μὴ καθαρῷ γάρ φησὶν ὁ Σωκράτης καθαροῦ ἐφάπτεσθαι μὴ οὐ θεμιτὸν ᾖ· πᾶς γε μὴν ὁ κακὸς πάντως ἀκάθαρτος καθαρὸς δὲ ὁ ἐναντίος. Ταῖς δὲ λογικαῖς μεθόδοις ἁπάσαις γεγυμνάσθω καὶ πολλὰ μὲν περὶ ἀναλύσεων πολλὰ δὲ περὶ τῶν ἐναντίων πρὸς ταύτας διαιρέσεων ἀνέλεγκτα νοήματα τεθεαμένος παρέστω καθάπερ οἶμαι καὶ ὁ Παρμενίδης τῷ Σωκράτει παρεκελεύσατο· πρὸ γὰρ τῆς τοιαύτης ἐν τοῖς λόγοις πλάνης χαλεπὴ καὶ ἄπορός ἐστιν ἡ τῶν θείων γενῶν καὶ τῆς ἐν αὐτοῖς ἱδρυμένης ἀληθείας κατανόησις. Τὸ δὲ δὴ τρίτον ἐπὶ τούτοις μηδὲ τῆς φυσικῆς ἀνήκοος ἔστω καὶ τῶν ἐν ταύτῃ πολυειδῶν δοξασμάτων ἵνα κἀν ταῖς εἰκόσι κατὰ τρόπον τὰς αἰτίας τῶν ὄντων διερευνησάμενος ἐπ’ αὐτὴν ἤδη τὴν τῶν χωριστῶν καὶ πρωτουργῶν ὑποστάσεων φύσιν ῥᾷον πορεύηται.
Μήτ’ οὖν ταύτης ὅπερ εἴπομεν τῆς ἐν τοῖς φαινομένοις ἀληθείας μήτε αὖ τῶν κατὰ παίδευσιν ὁδῶν καὶ τῶν ἐν αὐταῖς μαθήσεων ἀπολελείφθω· διὰ γὰρ τούτων ἀυλότερον τὴν θείαν οὐσίαν γινώσκομεν.
Πάντα δὲ ταῦτα συνδησάμενος εἰς τὸν ἡγεμόνα νοῦν καὶ τῆς Πλάτωνος διαλεκτικῆς μεταλαβὼν καὶ μελετήσας τὰς ἀΰλους καὶ χωριστὰς τῶν σωματικῶν δυνάμεων ἐνεργείας καὶ νοήσει μετὰ λόγου τὰ ὄντα θεωρεῖν ἐφιέμενος ἁπτέσθω λιπαρῶς τῆς τῶν θείων τε καὶ μακαρίων δογμάτων ἐξηγήσεως ἔρωτι μὲν τὰ βάθη κατὰ τὸ Λόγιον ἀναπλώσας τῆς ψυχῆς ἐπεὶ καὶ συνεργὸν ἔρωτος ἀμείνω λαβεῖν εἰς τὴν τῆς θεωρίας ταύτης ἀντίληψιν οὐκ ἔστιν ὥς πού φησιν ὁ Πλάτωνος
λόγος ἀληθείᾳ δὲ τῇ διὰ πάντων ἡκούσῃ γεγυμνασμένος καὶ πρὸς αὐτὴν τὴν ὄντως ἀλήθειαν
ἐγείρας τὸ νοητὸν ὄμμα τῷ δὲ μονίμῳ καὶ ἀκινήτῳ καὶ ἀσφαλεῖ τῆς τῶν θείων γνώσεως εἴδει προσιδρύσας ἑαυτὸν καὶ μηδὲν ἄλλο θαυμάζειν ἔτι μηδὲ ἀποβλέπειν εἰς ἄλλα πειθόμενος ἀλλ’ ἀτρεμεῖ τῇ διανοίᾳ καὶ ζωῆς ἀτρύτου δυνάμει πρὸς τὸ θεῖον φῶς ἐπειγόμενος καί ὡς συνελόντι φάναι τοιοῦτον ἐνεργείας τε καὶ ἠρεμίας εἶδος ὁμοῦ προβεβλημένος ὁποῖον ἔχειν προσήκει τὸν ἐσόμενον οὕτως κορυφαῖον ὥς πού φησιν ὁ ἐν Θεαιτήτῳ Σωκράτης.
III. Τίς ὁ κατὰ Πλάτωνα θεολογικὸς καὶ πόθεν ἄρχεται καὶ μέχρι τίνων ἄνεισιν ὑποστάσεων καὶ κατὰ τίνα τῆς ψυχῆς δύναμιν ἐνεργεῖ διαφερόντως.
Ἡ μὲν οὖν ὑπόθεσις οὕτω μεγάλη καὶ ὁ τρόπος τῶν περὶ αὐτῆς λόγων τοιοῦτος καὶ ἡ τῶν μαθησομένων παρασκευὴ τοιάδε τίς ἐστιν ὥς γέ μοι καταφαίνεται· πρὶν δὲ ἄρξωμαι τῆς τῶν προκειμένων ἡμῖν πραγμάτων ὑφηγήσεως βούλομαι περί τε αὐτῆς θεολογίας εἰπεῖν καὶ τῶν κατ’ αὐτὴν τρόπων καὶ τίνας μὲν ὁ Πλάτων δογματίζει τίνας δὲ ἀποσκευάζεται τῶν θεολογικῶν τύπων ἵνα ταῦτα προειδότες ῥᾷον ἐν τοῖς ἐχομένοις τὰς τῶν ἀποδείξεων ἀφορμὰς καταμανθάνωμεν. Ἅπαντες μὲν οὖν ὅσοι πώποτε θεολογίας εἰσὶν ἡμμένοι τὰ πρῶτα κατὰ φύσιν θεοὺς ἐπονομάζοντες περὶ ταῦτα τὴν θεολογικὴν ἐπιστήμην πραγματεύεσθαί φασιν. Καὶ οἱ μὲν τὴν σωματικὴν ὑπόστασιν τοῦ εἶναι μόνον ἀξιοῦντες τὰ δὲ τῶν ἀσωμάτων γένη συμπάντα πρὸς οὐσίαν δεύτερα τιθέμενοι τάς τε ἀρχὰς τῶν ὄντων σωματοειδεῖς καὶ τὴν ταύτας γνωρίζουσαν ἐν ἡμῖν ἕξιν σωματικὴν ἀποφαίνουσιν. Οἱ δὲ τὰ μὲν σώματα πάντα τῶν ἀσωμάτων ἐξάψαντες τὴν δὲ πρωτίστην ὕπαρξιν
ἐν ψυχῇ καὶ ταῖς ψυχικαῖς δυνάμεσιν ὁριζόμενοι θεοὺς μέν οἶμαι καλοῦσι τῶν ψυχῶν τὰς ἀρίστας τὴν δὲ μέχρι τούτων ἀνιοῦσαν καὶ ταύτας γινώσκουσαν ἐπιστήμην θεολογίαν ἐπονομάζουσιν.
Ὅσοι δὲ αὖ καὶ τὰ τῶν ψυχῶν πλήθη παράγουσιν ἐξ ἄλλης πρεσβυτέρας ἀρχῆς καὶ νοῦν ἡγεμόνα τῶν ὅλων ὑποτίθενται τέλος μὲν τὸ ἄριστον εἶναί φασι τὴν πρὸς τὸν νοῦν τῆς ψυχῆς ἕνωσιν καὶ τὸ νοερὸν τῆς ζωῆς εἶδος τιμιότητι τῶν πάντων διαφέρειν νομίζουσιν εἰς δὲ ταὐτὸν ἄγουσι θεολογίαν δήπου καὶ τὴν περὶ τῆς νοερᾶς οὐσίας ἐξήγησιν. Ἅπαντες μὲν οὖν ὅπερ ἔφην τὰς πρωτίστας ἀρχὰς τῶν ὄντων καὶ αὐταρκεστάτας θεοὺς ἀποκαλοῦσι καὶ θεολογίαν τὴν τούτων ἐπιστήμην.
Μόνη δὲ ἡ τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἔνθεος ὑφήγησις τὰ μὲν σωματικὰ πάντα πρὸς ἀρχῆς λόγον ἀτιμάσασα διότι δὴ τὸ μεριστὸν πᾶν καὶ διαστατὸν οὔτε παράγειν οὔτε σῴζειν ἑαυτὸ πέφυκεν ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ εἶναι καὶ τὸ ἐνεργεῖν ἢ πάσχειν διὰ ψυχῆς ἔχει καὶ τῶν ἐν αὐτῇ κινήσεων τὴν δὲ ψυχικὴν οὐσίαν πρεσβυτέραν μὲν εἶναι σωμάτων ἀποδείξασα τῆς δὲ νοερᾶς ὑποστάσεως ἐξηρτημένην ἐπειδὴ πᾶν τὸ κατὰ χρόνον κινούμενον κἂν αὐτοκίνητον ᾖ τῶν μὲν ἑτεροκινήτων ἐστὶν ἡγεμονικώτερον τῆς δὲ διαιωνίας κινήσεως δεύτερον σωμάτων μέν ὥσπερ εἴρηται καὶ ψυχῶν πατέρα τὸν νοῦν ἀποφαίνει καὶ αἴτιον καὶ περὶ ἐκεῖνον πάντα καὶ εἶναι καὶ ἐνεργεῖν ὅσα τὴν ζωὴν ἐν διεξόδοις καὶ ἀνελίξεσι κέκτηται πρόεισι δὲ ἐπ’ ἄλλην ἀρχὴν τοῦ νοῦ παντελῶς ἐξῃρημένην καὶ ἀσωματωτέραν καὶ ἄρρητον ἀφ’ ἧς πάντα κἂν τὰ ἔσχατα τῶν ὄντων λέγῃς τὴν ὑποστάσιν ἔχειν ἀναγκαῖον· ψυχῆς μὲν γὰρ οὐ πάντα μετέχειν πέφυκεν ἀλλ’ ὅσα ζωὴν ἔσχηκε τρανεστέραν ἢ ἀμυδροτέραν ἐν αὑτοῖς οὐδὲ νοῦ πάντα καὶ τοῦ ὄντος ἀπολαύειν δυνατὸν ἀλλ’ ὅσα κατ’ εἶδος ὑφέστηκε δεῖ δὲ αὖ τὴν ἀρχὴν τῶν πάντων ὑπὸ πάντων μετέχεσθαι τῶν ὄντων εἴπερ μηδενὸς ἀποστατήσει πάντων αἰτία τῶν ὁπωσοῦν ὑφεστάναι λεγομένων οὖσα.
Ταύτην δὲ πρωτίστην τῶν ὅλων καὶ νοῦ πρεσβυτέραν ἀρχὴν ἐν ἀβάτοις ἀποκεκρυμμένην ἐνθέως ἀνευροῦσα καὶ τρεῖς ταύτας αἰτίας καὶ μονάδας ἐπέκεινα σωμάτων ἀναφήνασα ψυχὴν λέγω καὶ νοῦν τὸν πρώτιστον καὶ τὴν ὑπὲρ νοῦν ἕνωσιν παράγει μὲν ἐκ τούτων ὡς μονάδων τοὺς οἰκείους ἀριθμούς τὸν μὲν ἑνοειδῆ τὸν δὲ νοερὸν τὸν δὲ ψυχικόν πᾶσα γὰρ μονὰς ἡγεῖται πλήθους ἑαυτῇ συστοίχου συνάπτει δὲ ὥσπερ τὰ σώματα ταῖς ψυχαῖς οὕτω δήπου καὶ τὰς ψυχὰς μὲν τοῖς νοεροῖς εἴδεσι ταῦτα δὲ ταῖς ἑνάσι τῶν ὄντων πάντα δὲ εἰς μίαν ἐπιστρέφει τὴν ἀμέθεκτον ἑνάδα.
Καὶ μέχρι ταύτης ἀναδραμοῦσα πέρας οἴεται τὸ ἀκρότατον ἔχειν τῆς τῶν ὅλων θεωρίας καὶ ταύτην εἶναι τὴν περὶ θεῶν ἀλήθειαν ἣ περὶ τὰς ἑνάδας τῶν ὄντων πραγματεύεται καὶ τάς τε προόδους αὐτῶν καὶ τὰς ἰδιότητας παραδίδωσι καὶ τὴν τῶν ὄντων πρὸς αὐτὰς συναφὴν καὶ τὰς τῶν εἰδῶν τάξεις αἳ τούτων ἐξήρτηνται τῶν ἑνιαίων ὑποστάσεων· τὴν δὲ περὶ νοῦν καὶ τὰ εἴδη καὶ τὰ γένη τοῦ νοῦ στρεφομένην θεωρίαν δευτέραν εἶναι τῆς περὶ αὐτῶν τῶν θεῶν πραγματευομένης ἐπιστήμης· καὶ ταύτην μὲν ἔτι νοητῶν ἀντιλαμβάνεσθαι καὶ τῇ ψυχῇ δι’ ἐπιβολῆς γινώσκεσθαι δυναμένων εἰδῶν τὴν δὲ ταύτης ὑπερέχουσαν ἀρρήτων καὶ ἀφθέγκτων ὑπάρξεων μεταθεῖν τήν τε ἐν ἀλλήλαις αὐτῶν διάκρισιν καὶ τὴν ἀπὸ μιᾶς αἰτίας ἔκφανσιν. Ὅθεν οἶμαι καὶ τῆς ψυχῆς τὸ μὲν νοερὸν ἰδίωμα καταληπτικὸν ὑπάρχειν τῶν νοερῶν εἰδῶν καὶ τῆς ἐν αὐτοῖς διαφορᾶς τὴν δὲ ἀκρότητα τοῦ νοῦ καί ὥς φασι τὸ ἄνθοσ καὶ τὴν ὕπαρξιν συνάπτεσθαι πρὸς τὰς ἑνάδας τῶν ὄντων καὶ διὰ τούτων πρὸς αὐτὴν τὴν πασῶν τῶν θείων ἑνάδων ἀπόκρυφον ἕνωσιν. Πολλῶν γὰρ ἐν ἡμῖν δυνάμεων οὐσῶν γνωριστικῶν κατὰ ταύτην μόνην τῷ θείῳ συγγίνεσθαι καὶ μετέχειν ἐκείνου πεφύκαμεν· οὔτε γὰρ αἰσθήσει τὸ θεῶν γένος ληπτόν εἴπερ ἐστὶ σωμάτων ἁπάντων ἐξῃρημένον οὔτε δόξῃ καὶ διανοίᾳ μερισταὶ γὰρ αὗται καὶ πολυειδῶν ἐφάπτονται πραγμάτων οὔτε νοήσει μετὰ λόγου τῶν γὰρ ὄντως ὄντων εἰσὶν αἱ τοιαῦται γνώσεις ἡ δὲ τῶν θεῶν ὕπαρξις ἐποχεῖται τοῖς οὖσι καὶ κατ’ αὐτὴν ἀφώρισται τὴν ἕνωσιν τῶν ὅλων. Λείπεται οὖν εἴπερ ἐστὶ καὶ ὁπωσοῦν τὸ θεῖον γνωστόν τῇ τῆς ψυχῆς ὑπάρξει καταληπτὸν ὑπάρχειν καὶ διὰ ταύτης γνωρίζεσθαι καθ’ ὅσον δυνατόν.
Τῷ γὰρ ὁμοίῳ πανταχοῦ φαμὲν τὰ ὅμοια γινώσκεσθαι· τῇ μὲν αἰσθήσει δηλαδὴ τὸ αἰσθητόν τῇ δὲ δόξῃ τὸ δοξαστόν τῇ δὲ διανοίᾳ τὸ διανοητόν τῷ δὲ νῷ τὸ νοητόν ὥστε καὶ τῷ ἑνὶ τὸ ἑνικώτατον καὶ τῷ ἀρρήτῳ τὸ ἄρρητον.
Ὀρθῶς γὰρ καὶ ὁ ἐν Ἀλκιβιάδῃ Σωκράτης ἔλεγεν εἰς ἑαυτὴν εἰσιοῦσαν τὴν ψυχὴν τά τε ἄλλα πάντα κατόψεσθαι καὶ τὸν θεόν· συννεύουσα γὰρ εἰς τὴν ἑαυτῆς ἕνωσιν καὶ τὸ κέντρον τῆς συμπάσης ζωῆς καὶ τὸ πλῆθος ἀποσκευαζομένη καὶ τὴν ποικιλίαν τῶν ἐν αὑτῇ παντοδαπῶν δυνάμεων ἐπ’ αὐτὴν ἄνεισι τὴν ἄκραν τῶν ὄντων περιωπήν. Καὶ ὥσπερ ἐν ταῖς τῶν τελετῶν ἁγιωτάταις φασὶ τοὺς μύστας τὴν μὲν πρώτην πολυειδέσι καὶ πολυμόρφοις τῶν θεῶν προβεβλημένοις γένεσιν ἀπαντᾶν εἰσιόντας δὲ ἀκλινεῖς καὶ ταῖς τελεταῖς πεφραγμένους αὐτὴν τὴν θείαν ἔλλαμψιν ἀκραιφνῶς ἐγκολπίζεσθαι καὶ γυμνῆτασ ὡς ἂν ἐκεῖνοι φαῖεν τοῦ θείου μεταλαμβάνειν· τὸν αὐτὸν οἶμαι τρόπον καὶ ἐν τῇ θεωρίᾳ τῶν ὅλων εἰς μὲν τὰ μεθ’ ἑαυτὴν βλέπουσαν τὴν ψυχὴν τὰς σκιὰς καὶ τὰ εἴδωλα τῶν ὄντων βλέπειν εἰς ἑαυτὴν δὲ ἐπιστρεφομένην τὴν ἑαυτῆς οὐσίαν καὶ τοὺς ἑαυτῆς λόγους ἀνελίττειν· καὶ τὸ μὲν πρῶτον ὥσπερ ἑαυτὴν μόνον καθορᾶν βαθύνουσαν δὲ τῇ ἑαυτῆς γνώσει καὶ τὸν νοῦν εὑρίσκειν ἐν αὑτῇ καὶ τὰς τῶν ὄντων τάξεις χωροῦσαν δὲ εἰς τὸ ἐντὸς αὑτῆς καὶ τὸ οἷον ἄδυτον τῆς ψυχῆς ἐκείνῳ καὶ τὸ θεῶν γένος καὶ τὰς ἑνάδας τῶν ὄντων μύσασαν θεάσασθαι. Πάντα γάρ ἐστι καὶ ἐν ἡμῖν ψυχικῶς καὶ διὰ τοῦτο τὰ πάντα γινώσκειν πεφύκαμεν ἀνεγείροντες τὰς ἐν ἡμῖν δυνάμεις καὶ τὰς εἰκόνας τῶν ὅλων.
Καὶ τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ ἄριστον τῆς ἐνεργείας ἐν ἠρεμίᾳ τῶν δυνάμεων πρὸς αὐτὸ τὸ θεῖον ἀνατείνεσθαι καὶ περιχορεύειν ἐκεῖνο καὶ πᾶν τὸ πλῆθος τῆς ψυχῆς συναγείρειν ἀεὶ πρὸς τὴν ἕνωσιν ταύτην καὶ πάντα ἀφέντας ὅσα μετὰ τὸ ἓν αὐτῷ προσιδρύεσθαι καὶ συνάπτεσθαι τῷ ἀρρήτῳ καὶ πάντων ἐπέκεινα τῶν ὄντων.
Μέχρι γὰρ τούτου τὴν ψυχὴν ἀνιέναι θεμιτὸν ἕως ἂν ἐπ’ αὐτὴν ἀνιοῦσα τελευτήσῃ τὴν τῶν ὄντων ἀρχήν· ἐκεῖ δὲ γενομένην καὶ τὸν ἐκεῖ τόπον θεασαμένην καὶ κατιοῦσαν ἐκεῖθεν καὶ διὰ τῶν ὄντων πορευομένην καὶ ἀνελίττουσαν τὰ πλήθη τῶν εἰδῶν τάς τε μονάδας αὐτῶν καὶ τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς διεξιοῦσαν καὶ ὅπως ἕκαστα τῶν οἰκείων ἑνάδων ἐξήρτηται νοερῶς διαγινώσκουσαν τελεωτάτην οἴεσθαι τῶν θείων ἐπιστήμην ἔχειν τάς τε τῶν θεῶν προόδους εἰς τὰ ὄντα καὶ τὰς τῶν ὄντων περὶ τοὺς θεοὺς διακρίσεις ἑνοειδῶς θεασαμένην.
IV. Τρόποι θεολογικοὶ καθ’ οὓς πάντας ὁ Πλάτων διατίθησι τὴν περὶ θεῶν διδασκαλίαν.
Ὁ μὲν δὴ θεολογικὸς ἡμῖν ἔστω κατὰ τὴν τοῦ Πλάτωνος ψῆφον τοιοῦτος καὶ ἡ θεολογία τοιάδε τις ἕξις αὐτὴν τὴν τῶν θεῶν ὕπαρξιν ἐκ φαίνουσα καὶ τὸ ἄγνωστον αὐτῶν καὶ ἑνιαῖον φῶς ἀπὸ τῆς τῶν μετεχόντων ἰδιότητος διακρίνουσα καὶ θεωμένη καὶ ἀπαγγέλλουσα τοῖς ἀξίοις τῆς μακαρίας ταύτης καὶ πάντων ὁμοῦ τῶν ἀγαθῶν παρεκτικῆς ἐνεργείας· μετὰ δὲ ταύτην τὴν παντελῆ τῆς πρωτίστης θεωρίας περίληψιν καὶ τοὺς τρόπους διαστησώμεθα καθ’ οὓς ὁ Πλάτων τὰ μυστικὰ περὶ τῶν θείων ἡμᾶς ἀναδιδάσκει νοήματα. Φαίνεται γὰρ οὐ τὸν αὐτὸν πανταχοῦ τρόπον μετιὼν τὴν περὶ τῶν θείων διδασκαλίαν ἀλλ’ ὁτὲ μὲν ἐνθεαστικῶς ὁτὲ δὲ διαλεκτικῶς ἀνελίττων τὴν περὶ αὐτῶν ἀλήθειαν καὶ ποτὲ μὲν συμβολικῶς ἐξαγγέλλων τὰς ἀρρήτους αὐτῶν ἰδιότητας ποτὲ δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν εἰκόνων ἐπ’ αὐτοὺς ἀνατρέχων καὶ τὰς πρωτουργοὺς ἐν αὐτοῖς αἰτίας τῶν ὅλων ἀνευρίσκων. Ἐν Φαίδρῳ μὲν γὰρ νυμφόληπτοσ γενόμενος καὶ τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης νοήσεως τὴν κρείττονα μανίαν ἀλλαξάμενος ἐνθέῳ στόματι πολλὰ μὲν περὶ τῶν νοερῶν διέξεισι θεῶν ἀπόρρητα δόγματα πολλὰ δὲ περὶ τῶν ἀπολύτων ἡγεμόνων τοῦ παντός οἳ τὸ τῶν ἐγκοσμίων θεῶν πλῆθος ἐπὶ τὰς νοητὰς καὶ χωριστὰς τῶν ὅλων μονάδας ἀνατείνουσιν ἔτι δὲ πλείω περὶ αὐτῶν τῶν τὸν κόσμον διαλαχόντων θεῶν τάς τε νοήσεις αὐτῶν καὶ τὰς περικοσμίους ποιήσεις ἀνυμνῶν καὶ τήν τε πρόνοιαν τὴν ἄχραντον καὶ τὴν περὶ τὰς ψυχὰς διακυβέρνησιν καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα παραδίδωσιν ὁ Σωκράτης ἐν ἐκείνοις ἐνθεαστικῶς ὡς αὐτὸς διαρρήδην λέγει καὶ τοῦτο τοὺς ἐγχωρίους θεοὺς τῆς τοιαύτης μανίας αἰτιώμενος.
Ἐν δέ γε τῷ Σοφιστῇ περί τε τοῦ ὄντος καὶ τῆς τοῦ ἑνὸς ἀπὸ τῶν ὄντων χωριστῆς ὑποστάσεως διαλεκτικῶς ἀγωνιζόμενος καὶ ἀπορῶν πρὸς τοὺς παλαιοτέρους ἐπιδείκνυσιν ὅπως τὰ μὲν ὄντα πάντα τῆς ἑαυτῶν αἰτίας ἐξήρτηται καὶ τοῦ πρώτως ὄντος αὐτὸ δὲ τὸ ὂν μετέχει τῆς ἐξῃρημένης τῶν ὅλων ἑνάδος καὶ ὡς πεπονθός ἐστι τὸ ἓν ἀλλ’ οὐκ αὐτοέν ὑφειμένον τοῦ ἑνὸς καὶ ἡνωμένον ὑπάρχον ἀλλ’ οὐ πρώτως ἕν. Ὁμοίως δὲ αὖ κἀν τῷ Παρμενίδῃ τάς τε τοῦ ὄντος ἀπὸ τοῦ ἑνὸς προόδους καὶ τὴν τοῦ ἑνὸς ὑπεροχὴν διὰ τῶν πρώτων ὑποθέσεων ἐκφαίνει διαλεκτικῶς καί ὡς αὐτὸς ἐν ἐκείνοις λέγει κατὰ τὴν τελεωτάτην τῆς μεθόδου ταύτης διαίρεσιν. Καὶ μὴν καὶ ἐν Γοργίᾳ μὲν περὶ τῶν τριῶν δημιουργῶν καὶ περὶ τῆς δημιουργικῆς ἐν αὐτοῖς διακληρώσεως μῦθον ἀπαγγέλλων οὐ μῦθον ὄντα μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ λόγον ἐν Συμποσίῳ δὲ περὶ τῆς τοῦ ἔρωτος ἑνώσεως ἐν δὲ Πρωταγόρᾳ περὶ τῆς τῶν θνητῶν ζῴων ἀπὸ θεῶν διακοσμήσεως τὸν συμβολικὸν τρόπον κατακρύπτει τὴν περὶ τῶν θείων ἀλήθειαν καὶ μέχρι ψιλῆς ἐνδείξεως ἐκφαίνει τὴν ἑαυτοῦ βούλησιν τοῖς γνησιωτάτοις τῶν ἀκουόντων.
Εἰ δὲ βούλει καὶ τῆς διὰ τῶν μαθημάτων διδασκαλίας μνησθῆναι καὶ τῆς ἐκ τῶν ἠθικῶν ἢ φυσικῶν λόγων περὶ τῶν θείων πραγματείας οἷα πολλὰ μὲν ἐν Τιμαίῳ πολλὰ δὲ ἐν Πολιτικῷ πολλὰ δὲ ἐν ἄλλοις διαλόγοις ἐστὶ κατεσπαρμένα θεωρεῖν ἐνταῦθα δήπου σοι καὶ ὁ διὰ τῶν εἰκόνων τὰ θεῖα γινώσκειν ἐφιέμενος τρόπος ἔσται καταφανής. Ἅπαντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὰς τῶν θείων ἀπεικονίζεται δυνάμεις· ὁ μὲν πολιτικός εἰ τύχοι τὴν ἐν οὐρανῷ δημιουργίαν τὰ δὲ τῶν πέντε στοιχείων ἐν λόγοις γεωμετρικοῖς ἀποδεδομένα σχήματα τὰς τῶν θεῶν τῶν ἐπιβεβηκότων τοῖς μέρεσι τοῦ παντὸς ἰδιότητας αἱ δὲ τῆς ψυχικῆς οὐσίας διαιρέσεις τὰς ὅλας τῶν θεῶν διακοσμήσεις.
Ἐῶ γὰρ λέγειν ὅτι καὶ τὰς πολιτείας ἃς συνίστησιν ἀπεικάζων τοῖς θείοις
καὶ τῷ παντὶ κόσμῳ καὶ ταῖς ἐν αὐτῷ δυνάμεσι διακοσμεῖ.
Πάντα δὴ οὖν ταῦτα δι’ ὁμοιότητος τῶν τῇδε πρὸς τὰ θεῖα τὰς ἐκείνων ἡμῖν προόδους καὶ τάξεις καὶ δημιουργίας ἐν εἰκόσιν ἐπιδείκνυσιν. Οἱ μὲν οὖν τρόποι τῆς παρὰ τῷ Πλάτωνι θεολογικῆς διδασκαλίας τοιοίδε τινές εἰσι·
δῆλον δὲ ἐκ τῶν εἰρημένων ὅτι καὶ τὸν ἀριθμὸν εἶναι τοσούτους ἀναγκαῖον· οἱ μὲν γὰρ δι’ ἐνδείξεως περὶ τῶν θείων λέγοντες ἢ συμβολικῶς καὶ μυθικῶς ἢ δι’ εἰκόνων λέγουσιν οἱ δὲ ἀπαρακαλύπτως τὰς ἑαυτῶν διανοήσεις ἀπαγγέλλοντες οἱ μὲν κατ’ ἐπιστήμην οἱ δὲ κατὰ τὴν ἐκ θεῶν ἐπίπνοιαν ποιοῦνται τοὺς λόγους. Ἔστι δὲ ὁ μὲν διὰ τῶν συμβόλων τὰ θεῖα μηνύειν ἐφιέμενος Ὀρφικὸς καὶ ὅλως τοῖς τὰς θεομυθίας γράφουσιν οἰκεῖος. Ὁ δὲ διὰ τῶν εἰκόνων Πυθαγόρειος ἐπεὶ καὶ τοῖς Πυθαγορείοις τὰ μαθήματα πρὸς τὴν τῶν θείων ἀνάμνησιν ἐξηύρητο καὶ διὰ τούτων ὡς εἰκόνων ἐπ’ ἐκεῖνα διαβαίνειν ἐπεχείρουν· καὶ γὰρ τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς ἀνεῖσαν τοῖς θεοῖς καὶ τὰ σχήματα καθάπερ λέγουσιν οἱ τὰ ἐκείνων ἱστορεῖν σπουδάζοντες. Ὁ δὲ ἐνθεαστικῶς μὲν αὐτὴν καθ’ ἑαυτὴν ἐκφαίνων τὴν περὶ θεῶν ἀλήθειαν παρὰ τοῖς ἀκροτάτοις τῶν τελεστῶν μάλιστα καταφανής· οὐ γὰρ ἀξιοῦσιν οὗτοι διὰ δή τινων παραπετασμάτων τὰς θείας τάξεις ἢ τὰς ἰδιότητας αὐτῶν τοῖς ἑαυτῶν γνωρίμοις ἀποδιδόναι ἀλλὰ τάς τε δυνάμεις καὶ τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς τοὺς ἐν αὐτοῖς ὑπ’ αὐτῶν κινούμενοι τῶν θεῶν ἐξαγγέλλουσιν. Ὁ δὲ αὖ κατ’ ἐπιστήμην ἐξαίρετός ἐστι τῆς τοῦ Πλάτωνος φιλοσοφίας· καὶ γὰρ τὴν ἐν τάξει πρόοδον τῶν θείων γενῶν καὶ τὴν πρὸς ἄλληλα διαφορὰν καὶ τάς τε κοινὰς τῶν ὅλων διακόσμων ἰδιότητας καὶ τὰς ἐν ἑκάστοις διῃρημένας μόνος ὡς ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ τῶν ἡμῖν συνεγνωσμένων ὁ Πλάτων καὶ διελέσθαι καὶ τάξαι κατὰ τρόπον ἐπεχείρησε. Τοῦτο μὲν οὖν ἔσται καταφανές ὅταν περὶ Παρμενίδου τὰς προηγουμένας ἀποδείξεις ποιησώμεθα καὶ τῶν ἐν αὐτῷ πασῶν διαιρέσεων·
νῦν δὲ λέγωμεν ὅτι καὶ τῶν μυθικῶν πλασμάτων οὐ πᾶσαν ὁ Πλάτων εἰσεδέξατο τὴν δραματουργίαν ἀλλ’ ὅσον αὐτῆς τοῦ καλοῦ στοχάζεται καὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ καὶ
πρὸς τὴν θείαν ὑπόστασίν ἐστιν οὐκ ἀνάρμοστον. Ἔστι μὲν γὰρ ὁ τῆς μυθολογίας τρόπος ἀρχαῖος δι’ ὑπονοιῶν τὰ θεῖα μηνύων καὶ πολλὰ παραπετάσματα τῆς ἀληθείας προβεβλημένος καὶ τὴν φύσιν ἀπεικονιζόμενος ἣ τῶν νοητῶν αἰσθητὰ καὶ τῶν ἀύλων ἔνυλα καὶ τῶν ἀμερίστων μεριστὰ προτείνει πλάσματα καὶ τῶν ἀληθινῶν εἴδωλα καὶ ψευδῶς ὄντα κατασκευάζει. Τῶν δέ γε παλαιῶν ποιητῶν τραγικώτερον συντιθέναι τὰς περὶ τῶν θεῶν ἀπορρήτους θεολογίας ἀξιούντων καὶ διὰ τοῦτο πλάνας θεῶν καὶ τομὰς καὶ πολέμους καὶ σπαραγμοὺς καὶ ἁρπαγὰς καὶ μοιχείας καὶ πολλὰ ἄλλα τοιαῦτα σύμβολα ποιουμένων τῆς ἀποκεκρυμμένης παρ’ αὐτοῖς περὶ τῶν θείων ἀληθείας τὸν μὲν τοιοῦτον τρόπον τῆς μυθολογίας ὁ Πλάτων ἀποσκευάζεται καὶ πρὸς παιδείαν εἶναί φησι παντελῶς ἀλλοτριώτατον πιθανώτερον δὲ καὶ πρὸς ἀλήθειαν καὶ φιλόσοφον ἕξιν οἰκειότερον πλάττειν παρακελεύεται τοὺς περὶ θεῶν λόγους ἐν μύθων σχήμασι πάντων μὲν ἀγαθῶν τὸ θεῖον αἰτιωμένους κακοῦ δὲ οὐδενός μεταβολῆς μὲν ἁπάσης ἄμοιρον ἀεὶ δὲ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ τάξιν ἄτρεπτον διαφυλάττον καὶ τῆς μὲν ἀληθείας ἐν ἑαυτῷ τὴν πηγὴν προειληφὸς ἀπάτης δὲ οὐδεμιᾶς ἄλλοις αἴτιον γινόμενον· τοιούτους γὰρ ἡμῖν θεολογίας τύπους ὁ ἐν Πολιτείᾳ Σωκράτης ὑφηγήσατο.
Πάντες τοίνυν οἱ τοῦ Πλάτωνος μῦθοι τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἐν ἀπορρήτῳ φρουροῦντες οὐδὲ τὴν ἐκτὸς προφαινομένην διασκευὴν ἀπᾴδουσαν ἔχουσι τῆς περὶ θεῶν ἀδιδάκτου καὶ ἀδιαστρόφου κατὰ φύσιν ἐν ἡμῖν προλήψεως ἀλλ’ ὅτι εἰκόνα φέρουσι τῆς κοσμικῆς συστάσεως ἐν ᾗ καὶ τὸ φαινόμενον κάλλος θεοπρεπές ἐστι καὶ τὸ τούτου θειότερον ἐν ταῖς ἀφανέσιν ἵδρυται ζωαῖς καὶ δυνάμεσι τῶν θεῶν. Ἕνα μὲν οὖν τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον τοὺς περὶ τῶν θείων πραγμάτων μύθους ἐκ τοῦ φαινομένου παρανόμου καὶ ἀλογίστου καὶ ἀτάκτου μετήγαγεν εἰς τάξιν καὶ ὅρον καὶ τὴν τοῦ καλοῦ καὶ ἀγαθοῦ στοχαζομένην σύνθεσιν·
ἕτερον δὲ ὃν ἐν Φαίδρῳ παραδίδωσιν ἄμικτον ἀξιῶν φυλάττειν τὴν θεομυθίαν πανταχοῦ πρὸς τὰς φυσικὰς ἀποδόσεις καὶ μηδαμοῦ συμφύρειν μηδὲ ἐπαλλάττειν θεολογίαν καὶ φυσικὴν θεωρίαν. Ὡς γὰρ αὐτὸ τὸ θεῖον ἐξῄρηται τῆς ὅλης φύσεως οὕτω δήπου
καὶ τοὺς περὶ θεῶν λόγους καθαρεύειν πάντῃ προσήκει τῆς περὶ τὴν φύσιν πραγματείας· τὸ γὰρ τοιοῦτον ἐπίπονον καὶ οὐ πάνυ φησίν ἀνδρὸς ἀγαθοῦ τέλος ποιεῖσθαι τῆς τῶν μύθων ὑπονοίας τὰ φυσικὰ παθήματα καὶ τήν τε Χίμαιραν εἰ τύχοι καὶ τὴν Γοργόνα καὶ τῶν τοιούτων ἕκαστον ὑπὸ σοφίας εἰς ταὐτὸν ἄγειν φυσικοῖς πλάσμασιν. Ταῦτα γὰρ δὴ καὶ ὁ Σωκράτης ἐν ἐκείνοις αἰτιώμενος πεποίηται τοὺς τὴν Ὠρείθυιαν παίζουσαν ὑπὸ τοῦ πνεύματος βορέου κατὰ τῶν πετρῶν ὠσθεῖσαν ἐν μύθου σχήματι λέγοντας ὑπὸ τοῦ Βορέου δι’ ἔρωτα θνητὴν οὖσαν ἡρπάσθαι· δεῖ γὰρ οἶμαι τὰ περὶ θεῶν μυθολογήματα σεμνοτέρας ἀεὶ τῶν φαινομένων ἔχειν τὰς ἀποκεκρυμμένας ἐννοίας. Ὥστ’ εἴ τινες καὶ τῶν Πλατωνικῶν μύθων φυσικὰς ἡμῖν εἰσηγοῖντο καὶ περὶ τὰ τῇδε στρεφομένας ὑποθέσεις παντάπασιν αὐτοὺς τῆς τοῦ φιλοσόφου διανοίας ἀποπλανᾶσθαι φήσομεν καὶ μόνους ἐκείνους τῶν λόγων τῆς ἐν τούτοις ἀληθείας ὑπάρχειν ἐξηγητάς ὅσοι τῆς θείας καὶ ἀύλου καὶ χωριστῆς ὑποστάσεως στοχάζονται καὶ πρὸς ταύτην βλέποντες τάς τε συνθέσεις ποιοῦνται καὶ τὰς ἀναλύσεις τῶν μύθων οἰκείας ταῖς περὶ τῶν θείων ἐν ἡμῖν προλήψεσιν.
V. Τίνες εἰσὶν οἱ διάλογοι ἀφ’ ὧν μάλιστα ληπτέον τὴν Πλάτωνος θεολογίαν καὶ τίσι τάξεσι θεῶν ἕκαστος τούτων ἡμᾶς ἐφίστησι. Ἀπάντησις πρὸς τὴν ἐκ πλειόνων διαλόγων ἄθροισιν τῆς Πλατωνικῆς θεολογίας ὡς μερικὴν καὶ κατατετεμαχισμένην ἀτιμάζουσα.
Ἐπειδὴ τοίνυν τούτους τε τοὺς τρόπους ἅπαντας τῆς Πλατωνικῆς θεολογίας διηριθμησάμεθα καὶ τὰς τῶν μύθων συνθέσεις τε καὶ ἀναλύσεις ὁποίας εἶναι προσήκει τῆς περὶ θεῶν ἀληθείας παραδεδώκαμεν τοῦτο μὲν οὖν αὐτοῦ περιγεγράφθω· σκεψώμεθα δὲ ἐπὶ τούτοις πόθεν καὶ ἐκ τίνων μάλιστα διαλόγων ἡγούμεθα χρῆναι τὰ περὶ θεῶν δόγματα τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἀναλέγεσθαι καὶ πρὸς τίνας τύπους ἀποβλέποντες τά τε γνήσια καὶ τὰ νόθα τῶν εἰς αὐτὸν ἀναφερομένων κρίνειν δυνησόμεθα.
Ἔστι μὲν οὖν διὰ πάντων ὡς εἰπεῖν τῶν Πλατωνικῶν διαλόγων ἡ περὶ θεῶν ἀλήθεια
διήκουσα καὶ πᾶσιν ἐνέσπαρται τοῖς μὲν ἀμυδρότερα τοῖς δὲ εὐαγέστερα τὰ τῆς πρωτίστης φιλοσοφίας νοήματα σεμνὰ καὶ ἐναργῆ καὶ ὑπερφυῆ καὶ πρὸς τὴν ἄυλον καὶ χωριστὴν οὐσίαν τῶν θεῶν ἀνεγείροντα τοὺς καὶ ὁπωσοῦν αὐτῶν μετασχεῖν δυναμένους· καὶ ὥσπερ ἐν ἑκάστῃ μοίρᾳ τοῦ παντὸς καὶ φύσει τῆς ἀγνώστου τῶν θεῶν ὑπάρξεως ἰνδάλματα κατέθηκεν ὁ τῶν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ πάντων δημιουργὸς ἵνα πάντα πρὸς τὸ θεῖον ἐπιστρέφηται κατὰ τὴν πρὸς αὐτὸ συγγένειαν οὕτως οἶμαι καὶ τὸν ἔνθεον τοῦ Πλάτωνος νοῦν ἅπασι τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ γεννήμασι τὰς περὶ θεῶν ἐννοίας συνυφῆναι καὶ μηδὲν ἄμοιρον ἀφεῖναι τῆς τοῦ θείου μνήμης ἵν’ ἐκ πάντων ἀνάγεσθαι καὶ τῶν ὅλων ἀνάμνησιν πορίζεσθαι τοῖς γνησίοις ὑπάρχῃ τῶν θείων ἐρασταῖς.
Εἰ δὲ δεῖ τοὺς μάλιστα τὴν περὶ θεῶν μυσταγωγίαν ἡμῖν ἐκφαίνοντας τῶν πολλῶν προθεῖναι διαλόγων οὐκ ἂν φθάνοιμι τόν τε Φαίδωνα καὶ τὸν Φαῖδρον ἀπολογιζόμενος καὶ τὸ Συμπόσιον καὶ τὸν Φίληβον τόν τε αὖ Σοφιστὴν καὶ τὸν Πολιτικὸν μετὰ τούτων καταλέγων καὶ Κρατύλον καὶ Τίμαιον· ἅπαντες γὰρ οὗτοι τῆς ἐνθέου τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἐπιστήμης δι’ ὅλων ὡς εἰπεῖν ἑαυτῶν πλήρεις τυγχάνουσιν ὄντες. Δευτέρους ἂν ἔγωγε θείην μετὰ τούτους τόν τε ἐν Γοργίᾳ καὶ τὸν Πρωταγόρειον μῦθον καὶ τὰ περὶ προνοίας θεῶν ἐν Νόμοις καὶ ὅσα περὶ Μοιρῶν ἢ τῆς μητρὸς τῶν Μοιρῶν ἢ τῶν περιφορῶν τοῦ παντὸς ἐν τῷ δεκάτῳ τῆς Πολιτείας ἡμῖν παραδέδοται. Εἰ δὲ βούλει κατὰ τρίτην τάξιν καὶ τὰς Ἐπιστολὰς τίθει παρ’ ὅσων δυνατὸν εἰς τὴν περὶ τῶν θείων ἐπιστήμην ἀναπέμπεσθαι· καὶ γὰρ περὶ τῶν τριῶν βασιλέων ἐν ταύταις εἴρηται καὶ ἄλλα πάμπολλα δόγματα θεῖα τῆς Πλατωνικῆς ἐπάξια θεωρίας.
Δεῖ τοίνυν πρὸς ταῦτα βλέποντας ἕκαστον διάκοσμον θεῶν ἐν τούτοις ἀναζητεῖν καὶ λαμβάνειν ἐκ μὲν τοῦ Φιλήβου τὴν περὶ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἀγαθοῦ καὶ τὴν περὶ τῶν δυεῖν ἀρχῶν τῶν πρωτίστων καὶ τῆς ἐκ τούτων ἀναφανείσης τριάδος ἐπιστήμην
εὑρήσεις γὰρ ταῦτα πάντα διακεκριμένως ὑπὸ τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἡμῖν παραδεδομένα ἐκ δὲ τοῦ Τιμαίου τὴν περὶ τῶν νοητῶν θεωρίαν καὶ τὴν περὶ τῆς δημιουργικῆς μονάδος ἔνθεον ὑφήγησιν καὶ τὴν περὶ τῶν ἐγκοσμίων θεῶν πληρεστάτην ἀλήθειαν ἐκ δὲ τοῦ Φαίδρου τά τε νοητὰ πάντα καὶ νοερὰ γένη καὶ τὰς ἀπολύτους τάξεις τῶν θεῶν ὅσαι προσεχῶς ὑπερίδρυνται τῶν οὐρανίων περιφορῶν ἐκ δὲ τοῦ Πολιτικοῦ τήν τε ἐν οὐρανῷ δημιουργίαν καὶ τὰς διττὰς περιόδους τοῦ παντὸς καὶ τὰς νοερὰς αἰτίας αὐτῶν ἐκ δὲ τοῦ Σοφιστοῦ σύμπασαν τὴν ὑπὸ σελήνην γένεσιν καὶ τὴν ἰδιότητα τῶν ταύτην κληρωσαμένων θεῶν. Περὶ δὲ αὖ τῶν καθ’ ἕκαστα θεῶν πολλὰ μὲν ἐκ τοῦ Συμποσίου θηράσομεν ἱεροπρεπῆ νοήματα πολλὰ δὲ ἐκ τοῦ Κρατύλου πολλὰ δὲ ἐκ τοῦ Φαίδωνος· ἐν ἑκάστῳ γὰρ αὐτῶν πλείων ἢ ἐλάττων μνήμη γίνεται τῶν θείων ὀνομάτων ἀφ’ ὧν ῥᾴδιον τοῖς περὶ τὰ θεῖα γεγυμνασμένοις τὰς ἰδιότητας αὐτῶν τῷ λογισμῷ περιλαμβάνειν.
Δεῖ δὲ ἕκαστα τῶν δογμάτων ταῖς Πλατωνικαῖς ἀρχαῖς ἀποφαίνειν σύμφωνα καὶ ταῖς τῶν θεολόγων μυστικαῖς παραδόσεσιν· ἅπασα γὰρ ἡ παρ’ Ἕλλησι θεολογία τῆς Ὀρφικῆς ἐστὶ μυσταγωγίας ἔκγονος πρώτου μὲν Πυθαγόρου παρὰ Ἀγλαοφήμου τὰ περὶ θεῶν ὄργια διδαχθέντος δευτέρου δὲ Πλάτωνος ὑποδεξαμένου τὴν παντελῆ περὶ τούτων ἐπιστήμην ἔκ τε τῶν Πυθαγορείων καὶ τῶν Ὀρφικῶν γραμμάτων. Ἐν Φιλήβῳ μὲν γὰρ τὴν περὶ τῶν δυοειδῶν ἀρχῶν θεωρίαν εἰς τοὺς Πυθαγορείους ἀναφέρων μετὰ θεῶν οἰκοῦντας αὐτοὺς καὶ μακαρίους ὄντως ἀποκαλεῖ· πολλὰ γοῦν ἡμῖν περὶ τούτων καὶ Φιλόλαος ὁ Πυθαγόρειος ἀνέγραψε νοήματα καὶ θαυμαστά τήν τε κοινὴν αὐτῶν εἰς τὰ ὄντα πρόοδον καὶ τὴν διακεκριμένην ποίησιν ἀνυμνῶν· ἐν Τιμαίῳ δὲ περὶ τῶν ὑπὸ σελήνην θεῶν καὶ τῆς ἐν αὐτοῖς τάξεως ἀναδιδάσκειν ἐγχειρῶν ἐπὶ τοὺς θεολόγους καταφεύγει καὶ θεῶν παῖδας αὐτοὺς ἀποκαλεῖ καὶ πατέρας ποιεῖται τῆς περὶ αὐτῶν ἀληθείας καὶ τέλος κατὰ τὴν παρ’ αὐτοῖς τῶν νοερῶν βασιλέων πρόοδον καὶ τῶν ὑπὸ σελήνην θεῶν παραδίδωσι τὰς ἀπὸ τῶν ὅλων προϊούσας διακοσμήσεις· καὶ πάλιν ἐν Κρατύλῳ τῆς
τῶν θείων διακόσμων τάξεως ἐν Γοργίᾳ δὲ τὸν Ὅμηρον τῆς τῶν δημιουργικῶν μονάδων τριαδικῆς ὑποστάσεως. Πανταχοῦ δέ ὡς εἰπεῖν συλλήβδην ἑπομένως ταῖς ἀρχαῖς τῶν θεολόγων τοὺς περὶ θεῶν λόγους ἀποδίδωσι τῆς μὲν μυθοποιίας τὸ τραγικὸν ἀφελὼν τὰς δὲ ὑποθέσεις τὰς πρωτίστας κοινὰς πρὸς αὐτοὺς τιθέμενος.
VI. Μια αντίρρηση για τη συλλογή της πλατωνικής θεολογίας από πολλούς διαλόγους, εξαιτίας της κατάτμησή σε μικρά μέρη (αρίθμ κεφ αγγλ μετ).
Ἴσως δ’ ἄν τις ἡμῖν ταῦτα διαταττομένοις ἀπαντήσειε λέγων ὡς οὐκ ὀρθῶς διεσπαρμένην πανταχοῦ τὴν Πλατωνικὴν θεολογίαν ἀποφαίνομεν καὶ τὰ μὲν ἐξ ἄλλων τὰ δὲ ἐξ ἄλλων διαλόγων ἀθροίζειν ἐπιχειροῦμεν ὥσπερ νάματα πολλὰ συνάγειν εἰς μίαν σύγκρασιν σπουδάζοντες οὐκ ἐκ μιᾶς ὁρμώμενα πάντα καὶ τῆς αὐτῆς πηγῆς. Εἰ γὰρ οὕτως ἔτυχε τὰ μὲν ἄλλα δόγματα πρὸς τὰς ἄλλας ἀναφέρειν ἕξομεν τοῦ Πλάτωνος πραγματείας τὰ δὲ περὶ θεῶν οὐδαμοῦ προηγουμένην ἕξει διδασκαλίαν οὐδὲ εἴς τινα ταχθήσεται χώραν παντελῆ καὶ ὁλόκληρα τὰ θεῖα γένη προάγουσαν καὶ μετὰ τῆς πρὸς ἄλληλα συντάξεως· ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἐοίκαμεν τοῖς τὸ ὅλον ἐκ τῶν μερῶν κατασκευάζειν ἐπιχειροῦσι δι’ ἀπορίαν τῆς πρὸ τῶν μερῶν ὁλότητος κἀκ τῶν ἀτελῶν τὸ τέλειον συνυφαίνειν δέοντος ἐν τῷ τελείῳ τὸ ἀτελὲς τὴν πρωτίστην αἰτίαν ἔχειν τῆς αὑτοῦ γενέσεως. Ὁ μὲν γὰρ Τίμαιος ἡμᾶς εἰ τύχοι διδάξει τὴν περὶ τῶν νοητῶν γενῶν θεωρίαν ὁ δὲ Φαῖδρος τὰς πρώτας νοερὰς διακοσμήσεις ἐν τάξει παραδιδοὺς ἀναφανήσεται· ποῦ δὲ ἡ τῶν νοερῶν πρὸς τὰ νοητὰ σύνταξις καὶ τίς ἡ τῶν δευτέρων ἀπὸ τῶν πρώτων γένεσις καὶ ὅλως τίνα τρόπον ἀπὸ τῆς μιᾶς τῶν πάντων ἀρχῆς εἰς τὸ πλῆθος τῶν ἐγκοσμίων θεῶν ἡ πρόοδος γέγονε τῶν θείων διακόσμων καὶ πῶς συμπεπλήρωται τὰ μέσα τοῦ τε ἑνὸς καὶ τοῦ παντελοῦς ἀριθμοῦ ταῖς τῶν θεῶν ἀπογεννήσεσι κατὰ τὴν ὁμοφυῆ καὶ ἀδιαίρετον ὑπόβασιν τῶν ὅλων εἰπεῖν οὐχ ἕξομεν.
Καὶ τί τὸ σεμνόν ἔτι φαῖεν ἂν οἱ ταῦτα λέγοντες τῆς παρ’ ὑμῖν
θρυλλουμένης περὶ τῶν θείων ἐπιστήμης; Καὶ γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ πολλαχόθεν ἀθροιζόμενα δόγματα Πλατωνικὰ προσονομάζειν ἄτοπον ἐξ ἀλλοτρίων ὥς φατε ναμάτων εἰς τὴν τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἀναχθέντα φιλοσοφίαν καὶ μίαν ὅλην περὶ τῶν θείων ἀλήθειαν δεικνύναι παρ’ ὑμῖν οὐχ ἕξετε. Καίτοι φαῖεν ἂν ἴσως καὶ τοὺς τοῦ Πλάτωνος νεωτέρους ἓν καὶ τέλειον εἶδος θεολογίας ἐν ταῖς ἑαυτῶν συνυφήναντας παραδιδόναι συγγραφαῖς τοῖς ἑαυτῶν κατηκόοις. Ὑμεῖς δὲ ἄρα ἐκ μὲν τοῦ Τιμαίου τὴν ὅλην περὶ τῆς φύσεως θεωρίαν προάγειν δυνήσεσθε ἐκ δὲ τῆς Πολιτείας ἢ τῶν Νόμων τὰ περὶ τῶν ἠθῶν κάλλιστα δόγματα πρὸς ἓν φιλοσοφίας εἶδος συντείνοντα μόνην δὲ ἄρα τὴν Πλάτωνος πραγματείαν τὴν περὶ τῆς πρώτης φιλοσοφίας ἀγαθόν ὃ δὴ κεφάλαιον ἄν τις εἴποι τῆς συμπάσης θεωρίας ἀπολιπόντες τῆς τελεωτάτης ὑμᾶς αὐτοὺς ἀφαιρήσετε τῶν ὄντων γνώσεως εἰ μὴ λίαν εὐηθικῶς ἀπὸ τῶν μυθικῶν πλασμάτων ἐθέλοιτε καλλωπίζεσθαι πολλοῦ τοῦ εἰκότος ἀναπεπλησμένης τῆς τῶν τοιούτων ἀναλύσεως καίτοι καὶ τούτων ἐπεισοδιώδη τὴν παράδοσιν ἐν τοῖς Πλατωνικοῖς διαλόγοις ἐχόντων οἷον ἐν Πρωταγόρᾳ τῆς πολιτικῆς ἕνεκα καὶ τῶν περὶ αὐτῆς ἀποδείξεων ἐν δὲ Πολιτείᾳ τῆς δικαιοσύνης ἐν δὲ Γοργίᾳ τῆς σωφροσύνης. Οὐ γὰρ αὐτῶν ἀλλὰ τῶν προηγουμένων ἕνεκα σκοπῶν συμπλέκει τὰς μυθολογίας ὁ Πλάτων ταῖς τῶν ἠθικῶν δογμάτων ζητήσεσιν ἵνα μὴ μόνον τὸ νοερὸν τῆς ψυχῆς διὰ τῶν ἀγωνιστικῶν λόγων γυμνάζωμεν ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ θεῖον τῆς ψυχῆς τῇ πρὸς τὰ μυστικώτερα συμπαθείᾳ τελειότερον ἀντιλαμβάνηται τῆς τῶν ὄντων γνώσεως. Ἐκ μὲν γὰρ τῶν ἄλλων λόγων ἀναγκαζομένοις ἐοίκαμεν εἰς τὴν τῆς ἀληθείας παραδοχήν ἐκ δὲ τῶν μύθων ἀρρήτως πάσχομεν καὶ τὰς ἀδιαστρόφους ἐννοίας προβάλλομεν τὸ ἐν αὐτοῖς μυστικὸν σέβοντες.
Ὅθεν οἶμαι καὶ ὁ Τίμαιος εἰκότως ἀξιοῖ τοῖς μυθοπλάσταις ὡς παισὶ θεῶν ἑπομένους τὰ θεῖα γένη προάγειν ἀπὸ τῶν πρώτων ἀεὶ τὰ δεύτερα γεννῶντας εἰ καὶ ἄνευ ἀποδείξεως λέγοιεν. Οὐ γὰρ ἀποδεικτικὸν τὸ
τοιοῦτον εἶδος τῶν λόγων ἀλλ’ ἐνθεαστικόν οὐδὲ ἀνάγκης ἀλλὰ πειθοῦς ἕνεκα τοῖς παλαιοῖς μεμηχανημένον οὐδὲ μαθήσεως ψιλῆς ἀλλὰ τῆς πρὸς τὰ πράγματα συμπαθείας στοχαζόμενον. Εἰ δὲ μὴ τῶν μύθων μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων θεολογικῶν δογμάτων τὰς αἰτίας ἐθέλοιτε σκοπεῖν εὑρήσετε τὰ μὲν ἠθικῶν ἕνεκα τὰ δὲ φυσικῶν σκεμμάτων τοῖς Πλατωνικοῖς παρεσπαρμένα διαλόγοις. Ἐν Φιλήβῳ μὲν γὰρ περί τε ἀπείρου καὶ πέρατος τῆς ἡδονῆς ἕνεκα καὶ τοῦ κατὰ τὸν νοῦν βίου πεποίηται τὸν λόγον· γένη γὰρ οἶμαι τὰ ἕτερα τῶν ἑτέρων δῆλον δὲ πότερα ποτέρων. Ἐν Τιμαίῳ δὲ τὰ περὶ τῶν νοητῶν θεῶν τῆς προκειμένης ἕνεκα φυσιολογίας παρείληπται διότι δὴ πανταχοῦ τὰς εἰκόνας ἀπὸ τῶν παραδειγμάτων γινώσκειν ἀναγκαῖον παραδείγματα δὲ τὰ ἄυλα τῶν ἐνύλων τὰ νοητὰ τῶν αἰσθητῶν τὰ χωριστὰ τῶν φυσικῶν εἰδῶν.
Ἐν δὲ αὖ τῷ Φαίδρῳ τόν τε ὑπερουράνιον τόπον ἀνυμνεῖ καὶ τὸ ὑπουράνιον βάθος καὶ πᾶν τὸ ὑπὸ τοῦτο γένος τῆς ἐρωτικῆς ἕνεκα μανίας καὶ τοῦ τρόπου τῆς ἀναμνήσεως τῶν ψυχῶν καὶ τῆς ἐντεῦθεν ἐπ’ ἐκεῖνα πορείας. Πανταχοῦ δὲ ὡς εἰπεῖν τὸ μὲν προηγούμενον τέλος ἐστὶ φυσικὸν ἢ πολιτικόν τὰ δὲ περὶ τῶν θείων νοήματα τῆς ἐκείνων εὑρέσεως ἢ τελειώσεως ἕνεκα προτείνεται. Πῶς οὖν ἔτι παρ’ ὑμῖν ἡ τοιαύτη θεωρία σεμνὴ καὶ ὑπερφυὴς ἔσται καὶ παντὸς μᾶλλον ἀξία σπουδάζεσθαι μήτε τὸ ὅλον ἐν ἑαυτῇ δεικνύειν ἔχουσα μήτε τὸ τέλειον μήτε τὸ προηγούμενον ἐν τῇ πραγματείᾳ τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἀλλὰ πάντων τούτων ἀπολειπομένη καὶ βιαίως ἀλλ’ οὐκ αὐτοφυῶς οὐδὲ γνησίαν ἀλλ’ ἐπεισοδιώδη τὴν τάξιν ὥσπερ ἐν δράμασι κεκτημένη;
VIΙ. Λύσις τῆς προειρημένης ἀπαντήσεως εἰς ἕνα τὸν Παρμενίδην ἀνάγουσα τὴν ὅλην παρὰ Πλάτωνι περὶ θεῶν ἀλήθειαν.
Ἃ μὲν οὖν δυσχεράνειεν ἄν τις ἐπὶ τοῖς προκειμένοις τοιαῦτα ἄττα ἐστίν. Ἐγὼ δὲ πρὸς μὲν τὴν τοιαύτην ἀπάντησιν δικαίαν ποιήσομαι καὶ σαφῆ τὴν ἀπόκρισιν καὶ τὸν Πλάτωνα πανταχοῦ μὲν τοὺς περὶ θεῶν λόγους ἑπομένως ταῖς παλαιαῖς φήμαις καὶ τῇ φύσει τῶν πραγμάτων μετιέναι φήσω καὶ ποτὲ μὲν τῆς αἰτίας ἕνεκα τῶν προκειμένων ἐπὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς τῶν δογμάτων ἀνάγεσθαι κἀκεῖθεν ὥσπερ ἀπὸ σκοπιᾶς καταθεωρεῖν τὴν τοῦ προκειμένου φύσιν ποτὲ δὲ καὶ προηγούμενον τέλος τίθεσθαι τὴν θεολογικὴν ἐπιστήμην· καὶ γὰρ ἐν Φαίδρῳ περὶ τοῦ νοητοῦ κάλλους καὶ τῆς ἐκεῖθεν ἐπὶ πάντα διηκούσης τῶν καλῶν μετουσίας καὶ ἐν Συμποσίῳ περὶ τῆς ἐρωτικῆς τάξεως ἡ πραγματεία.
Εἰ δὲ δεῖ τὸ παντελὲς καὶ ὅλον καὶ συνεχὲς ἄνωθεν ἄχρι τοῦ σύμπαντος ἀριθμοῦ τῆς θεολογίας ἐν ἑνὶ Πλατωνικῷ διαλόγῳ σκοπεῖν παράδοξον μὲν ἴσως εἰπεῖν καὶ τοῖς ἐκ τῆς ἡμετέρας ἑστίας μόνης τὸ λεχθησόμενον καταφανές· τολμητέον δ’ οὖν ὅμως ἐπείπερ ἠρξάμεθα τῶν τοιούτων λόγων καὶ ῥητέον πρὸς τοὺς ταῦτα λέγοντας ὡς ὁ Παρμενίδης ὃν ποθεῖτε καὶ τὰ μυστικὰ τοῦ διαλόγου τοῦδε νοήματα φαντάζεσθε. Πάντα γὰρ ἐν τούτῳ τὰ θεῖα γένη καὶ πρόεισιν ἐκ τῆς πρωτίστης αἰτίας ἐν τάξει καὶ τὴν πρὸς ἄλληλα συνάρτησιν ἐπιδείκνυσι· καὶ τὰ μὲν ἀκρότατα καὶ τῷ ἑνὶ συμφυόμενα καὶ πρωτουργὰ τὸ ἑνιαῖον καὶ ἁπλοῦν καὶ κρύφιον ἔλαχε τῆς ὑπάρξεως εἶδος τὰ δὲ ἔσχατα πληθύνεται κατακερματιζόμενα καὶ τῷ μὲν ἀριθμῷ πλεονάζει τῇ δὲ δυνάμει τῶν ὑπερτέρων ἐλασσοῦται τὰ δὲ μέσα κατὰ τὸν προσήκοντα λόγον συνθετώτερα μέν ἐστι τῶν αἰτίων ἁπλούστερα δὲ τῶν οἰκείων γεννημάτων. Καὶ πάντα ὡς συνελόντι φάναι τὰ τῆς θεολογικῆς ἐπιστήμης ἀξιώματα τελέως ἐνταῦθα καταφαίνεται καὶ τῶν θείων οἱ διάκοσμοι πάντες συνεχῶς ὑφιστάμενοι δείκνυνται· καὶ οὐδὲν ἄλλο ἐστὶν ἢ θεῶν γένεσις ὑμνημένη καὶ τῶν ὁπωσοῦν ὄντων ἀπὸ τῆς ἀρρήτου καὶ ἀγνώστου τῶν ὅλων αἰτίας. Τό τε οὖν ὅλον καὶ τέλειον τῆς θεολογικῆς ἐπιστήμης φῶς ὁ Παρμενίδης ἀνάπτει τοῖς τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἐρασταῖς καὶ μετὰ τοῦτον οἱ προειρημένοι διάλογοι μέρη κατενείμαντο τῆς περὶ θεῶν μυσταγωγίας
καὶ πάντες ὡς εἰπεῖν τῆς ἐνθέου σοφίας μετειλήφασιν καὶ τὰς αὐτοφυεῖς ἡμῶν ἐννοίας περὶ τὸ θεῖον ἀνεγείρουσι. Καὶ δεῖ τὸ μὲν ὅλον πλῆθος εἰς τοὺς προκειμένους ἀναφέρειν διαλόγους τοὺς δὲ αὖ πάλιν εἰς τὴν μίαν καὶ παντελῆ τοῦ Παρμενίδου θεωρίαν συνάγειν. Οὕτω γὰρ οἶμαι τά τε ἀτελέστερα τῶν τελείων καὶ τὰ μέρη τῶν ὅλων ἐξάψομεν καὶ τοῖς πράγμασιν ἐοικότας ἀποφανοῦμεν τοὺς λόγους ὧνπέρ εἰσιν ἐξηγηταί κατὰ τὸν παρὰ Πλάτωνι Τίμαιον.
VIII. Ἔκθεσις τῶν διαφόρων περὶ τοῦ Παρμενίδου δοξῶν καὶ διαίρεσις τῶν πρὸς αὐτὰς ἀπαντήσεων.
Πρὸς μὲν οὖν ταύτην ὅπερ ἔφην τὴν ἀπάντησιν τοιάνδε ποιησόμεθα τὴν ἀπόκρισιν καὶ τὴν Πλατωνικὴν θεωρίαν εἰς ἕνα τὸν Παρμενίδην ἀνοίσομεν ὥσπερ δὴ τὴν περὶ φύσεως ἐπιστήμην σύμπασαν ὁ Τίμαιος περιέχειν ὑπὸ πάντων ὁμολογεῖται τῶν καὶ σμικρὰ συνορᾶν δυναμένων. Ὁρῶ δέ μοι διττὸν ἐντεῦθεν ἀγῶνα πρὸς τοὺς τὰ Πλάτωνος ἐξετάζειν ἐπιχειρήσαντας ἀνεγειρόμενον καὶ διττοὺς ἄνδρας τοὺς ἀντιληψομένους τῶν εἰρημένων· τοὺς μὲν ἀξιοῦντας μηδεμίαν ἄλλην τοῦ Παρμενίδου πρόθεσιν δοκιμάζειν ἢ τὴν εἰς ἑκάτερον γυμνασίαν μηδὲ ἀπορρήτων ἐνταῦθα καὶ νοερῶν δογμάτων ἐπεισάγειν ὄχλον οὐδὲν προσήκοντα τῷ διαλόγῳ· τοὺς δὲ σεμνοτέρους τούτων καὶ τῶν εἰδῶν φίλους οἳ τὴν μὲν τῶν ὑποθέσεων περὶ τοῦ πρώτου τὴν δὲ περὶ τοῦ δευτέρου θεοῦ καὶ τῆς νοερᾶς φύσεως ἁπάσης τὴν δὲ περὶ τῶν μετὰ ταύτην εἴτ’ οὖν κρειττόνων γενῶν εἴτε ψυχῶν εἴτε ἄλλων ὡντινωνοῦν – οὐδὲν γὰρ πρὸς τὸν παρόντα λόγον ἡ περὶ τούτων ζήτησις –
τὰς δὲ οὖν τρεῖς ὑποθέσεις ταύτας τὸν τρόπον διανέμουσι τοῦτον τὰ δὲ πλήθη τῶν θεῶν καὶ τὰ γένη τὰ νοητὰ καὶ τὰ νοερὰ καὶ τὰ πρὸ τοῦ κόσμου καὶ τὰ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ πάντα μὴ καταδιαιρεῖν ἐνταῦθα μηδὲ πολυπραγμονεῖν ἀξιοῦσι·
κἂν γὰρ ἐν τῇ δευτέρᾳ περὶ τῶν νοερῶν ὄντων ποιῆται τὴν πραγματείαν ἀλλ’ ἡ τοῦ νοῦ φύσις μία καὶ ἁπλῆ καὶ ἀδιαίρετός ἐστι. Πρὸς μὲν οὖν ἀμφοτέρους τούτους διαγωνιστέον τῷ ταύτην ἔχοντι περὶ τοῦ Παρμενίδου τὴν γνώμην ἣν πρότερον εἴπομεν. Ἔστι δὲ οὐκ ἴσος ὁ πρὸς τούτους ἀγών ἀλλ’ οἱ μὲν γυμνάσιον λογικὸν τὸν Παρμενίδην ποιοῦντες καὶ πάλαι δεδώκασιν εὐθύνας τοῖς τὸν ἔνθεον τρόπον τῆς ἐξηγήσεως ἀσπαζομένοις· οἱ δὲ τὰ πλήθη τῶν ὄντων καὶ τὰς τάξεις τῶν θείων μὴ διορίζοντες αἰδοῖοι μὲν ἄνδρες καὶ δεινοὶ παντάπασιν ὥς φησιν Ὅμηρος τῆς δὲ αὖ περὶ τὸν Πλάτωνα φιλοσοφίας ἕνεκα καὶ ἡμῖν πρὸς αὐτοὺς διαπορητέον ἑπομένοις τῷ τῆς παναγεστάτης ἡμῖν καὶ μυστικωτάτης ἀληθείας ἡγεμόνι καὶ λεκτέον ἐφ’ ὅσον τοῖς προκειμένοις συντελεῖ καὶ περὶ τῶν ὑποθέσεων τοῦ Παρμενίδου τὰ δοκοῦντα. Τάχα γὰρ ἂν οὕτω καὶ τὴν ὅλην τοῦ Πλάτωνος θεολογίαν τῷ τῆς διανοίας λογισμῷ περιλάβοιμεν.
IX. Ἀντιλογία πρὸς τοὺς λογικὸν εἶναι τὸν Παρμενίδην εἰπόντας καὶ τὴν ἐν αὐτῷ πραγματείαν δι’ ἐνδόξων ἐπιχειρηματικὴν ὑποτιθεμένους.
Πρώτους μὲν οὖν σκεψώμεθα τοὺς ἀπὸ τῆς τῶν πραγμάτων ἀληθείας ἐπὶ λογικὴν γυμνασίαν καθέλκοντας τὴν τοῦδε τοῦ διαλόγου πρόθεσιν καὶ κατίδωμεν εἴ πῃ ἄρα συνᾴδειν τοῖς τοῦ Πλάτωνος δυνήσονται. Παντὶ δὴ οὖν καταφανὲς ὅτι τὴν διαλεκτικὴν μέθοδον ἔργῳ παραδοῦναι προθέμενος ὁ Παρμενίδης καί ὡς τύπῳ διαλαβεῖν ἐφ’ ἑκάστου τῶν ὄντων αὐτὴν ὁμοίως παραλαμβάνειν οἷον ταὐτότητος ἑτερότητος ὁμοιότητος ἀνομοιότητος κινήσεως στάσεως τῶν ἄλλων ἑκάστου παρακελευσάμενος τοῖς μέλλουσι κατὰ τρόπον τὴν ἑκάστου φύσιν ἀνερευνήσειν μέγαν τὸν ἀγῶνα καὶ οὐδ’ αὐτῷ τῷ τηλικῷδε ὄντι ῥᾴδιον εἶναι λέγει καὶ πρὸς τὸν Ἰβύκειον ἵππον ἑαυτὸν ἀπεικάζει καὶ πάντα τὰ τεκμήρια παρέχεται τοῦ πραγματειώδη καὶ μὴ κενὴν ἐν λόγοις ψιλοῖς θεωρουμένην ποιήσεσθαι τὴν τῆς μεθόδου ταύτης
παράδοσιν. Πῶς οὖν ἔτι δυνατὸν εἰς ἐπιχειρήσεις διακένους ἀποπέμπειν τὰς ἐπιβολὰς ταύτας περὶ ὧν ὁ μέγας Παρμενίδης ὡς πολλῆς πραγματείασ δεομένων ἐνδειξάμενος διεπεράνατο τὸν περὶ αὐτῶν λόγον; Πῶς δὲ πρεσβυτικὸν ἐν λόγοις γυμνοῖς διατρίβειν καὶ τῇ περὶ ταύτην δυνάμει τηλικαύτην ἀποδιδόναι σπουδὴν τὸν τῆς τῶν ὄντων ἀληθείας φιλοθεάμονα καὶ πάντα μὲν τὰ ἄλλα μηδὲ εἶναι λογιζόμενον ἐπ’ αὐτὴν δὲ τὴν ἄκραν ἀναβεβηκότα τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος περιωπήν; Εἰ μή τις ἄλλως κωμῳδεῖσθαι τὸν Παρμενίδην ὑπὸ τοῦ Πλάτωνος λέγοι καθελκόμενον εἰς νεοπρεπεῖς ἀγῶνας ἀπὸ τῶν νοερωτάτων τῆς ψυχῆς θεαμάτων.
Εἰ δὲ βούλει καὶ τοῦτο πρὸς τοῖς εἰρημένοις θεασώμεθα τί ποτε ὑποσχόμενος ὁ Παρμενίδης καὶ περὶ τίνος ποιήσεσθαι τὸν λόγον εἰπὼν ἐφήψατο τῆς τοιαύτης πραγματείας. Ἆρ’ οὐ περὶ τοῦ κατ’ αὐτὸν ὄντος καὶ τῆς τῶν ὄντων ἁπάντων ἑνάδος ἐφ’ ἣν ἀνατεινόμενος ἐλελήθει τοὺς πολλοὺς ὡς τὰ πλήθη τῶν ὄντων εἰς μίαν ἕνωσιν ἀδιάκριτον συνάγειν παρακελευόμενος; Εἰ τοίνυν τοῦτο μέν ἐστι τὸ ἓν ὂν ὑπὲρ οὗ κἀν τοῖς ποιήμασιν ἐπραγματεύετο τὸ δὲ ἓν ὂν εἴτ’ οὖν ἀκρότατον ὃ ὑπερίδρυται παντελῶς τῶν ἐν δόξῃ φερομένων λόγων τίς μηχανὴ συμφύρειν εἰς ταὐτὸν τὰ περὶ τῶν νοητῶν δόγματα ταῖς δοξαστικαῖς ἐπιχειρήσεσιν; Οὐ γὰρ τῇ περὶ τῶν ὄντως ὄντων ὑποθέσει προσήκει τὸ τοιοῦτο τῶν λόγων εἶδος οὔτε τοῖς διαλεκτικοῖς γυμνασίοις ἡ τῶν ἀφανῶν καὶ χωριστῶν αἰτίων συναρμόζεται νόησις ἀλλὰ ταῦτα διέστηκεν ἀπ’ ἀλλήλων καθ’ ὅσον καὶ ὁ νοῦς τῆς δόξης ὑπερίδρυται καθάπερ ἡμᾶς ὁ Τίμαιος ἀνεδίδαξε· καὶ οὐχὶ ὁ Τίμαιος μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ ὁ δαιμόνιος Ἀριστοτέλης ὃς τὴν τοιαύτην δύναμιν παραδοὺς οὔτε περὶ τῶν παντελῶς ἀφανῶν ἡμῖν οὔτε περὶ τῶν γνωριμωτέρων ποιεῖσθαι τὰς ζητήσεις παρακελεύεται.
Πολλοῦ ἄρα δεῖ Παρμενίδης ὁ τὴν ἐπιστήμην τῶν ὄντων τῆς δοκούσης εἶναι παρὰ τοῖς τὴν αἴσθησιν τοῦ νοῦ προβεβλημένοις ἀληθείας ἐπέκεινα τοῦ νοῦ τιθέμενος τὴν δοξαστικὴν γνῶσιν ἐπὶ τὴν νοητὴν φύσιν ἀνάξειν ἀμφίβολον οὖσαν καὶ ποικίλην καὶ ἀστάθμητον ἢ τὸ ὄντως ὂν μετὰ τῆς τοιαύτης δοξοσοφίας καὶ
τῆς διακένου πραγματείας θεωρήσειν. Τῷ γὰρ ἁπλῷ τὸ ποικίλον καὶ τῷ μονοειδεῖ τὸ πολυειδὲς καὶ τῷ νοητῷ τὸ δοξαστικὸν τῆς γνώσεως μόνον ἁρμοστέον.
Ἔτι τοίνυν μηδὲ ἐκεῖνο παρῶμεν ὡς παντελῶς ἀλλότριος ὁ τρόπος οὗτός ἐστι τῶν λόγων τῆς τοῦ Παρμενίδου πραγματείας. Ἐκείνη μὲν γὰρ τὰ ὄντα πάντα καὶ τὴν τάξιν τῶν ὅλων παραδίδωσι καὶ τὴν ἀφ’ ἑνός τε ἀρχομένην πρόοδον καὶ εἰς ἓν τελευτῶσαν ἐπιστροφήν ἡ δὲ διὰ τῶν ἐπιχειρημάτων μέθοδος πόρρω διῴκισται τῆς ἐπιστημονικῆς θεωρίας. Πῶς οὖν οὐκ ἀνάρμοστον ὑπόθεσιν ὁ Πλάτων φανήσεται τῷ Παρμενίδῃ παραδιδούς εἰ τῆς ἐφ’ ἑκάτερα γυμνασίας αὐτὸν στοχάζεσθαι λέγοι καὶ τῆς ἐν τούτῳ δυνάμεως ἕνεκα τὴν ὅλην ἀνακινεῖν ταύτην τῶν λόγων ἀνέλιξιν; Καίτοι γε ἐν τοῖς ἄλλοις ἅπασι τὰς προσηκούσας ὑποθέσεις εἰς ἕκαστον ἀναφέρει τῶν φιλοσόφων τῷ μὲν Τιμαίῳ τὴν περὶ φύσεως ἀφορίζων διδασκαλίαν τῷ δὲ Σωκράτει τὴν περὶ πολιτείας τῇ δὲ Μαντινικῇ ξένῃ τὰ ἐρωτικά τῷ δὲ Ἐλεάτῃ ξένῳ τὰ περὶ τοῦ ὄντος. Εἶτα τῶν μὲν ἄλλων ἕκαστος τοιούτων προΐσταται τῶν λόγων ὧν καὶ καθ’ ἑαυτὸν ὑπάρχει προηγουμένως ἀντεχόμενος μόνος δὲ ἡμῖν ὁ Παρμενίδης ἐν μὲν τοῖς ποιήμασιν ἔσται καὶ τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ σπουδάσμασι τὰ ὄντα σοφός ἐν δὲ τῇ Πλατωνικῇ σκηνῇ νεαροπρεποῦς Μούσης καθηγεμών; Ἀλλὰ μὴ ταῦτα μιμήσεως ἀνομοιότητα κατηγορεῖν τοῦ Πλάτωνος βουλομένων ᾖ. Καίτοι καὶ τοὺς ποιητὰς αὐτὸς ᾐτιάσατο φιλοχρηματίαν καὶ τὴν ἐμπαθῆ ζωὴν εἰς θεῶν παῖδας ἀναπέμποντας· ποῦ οὖν ἡμεῖς τὴν τῶν ἐνδόξων ἐπιχειρημάτων καὶ διακένων πραγματείαν εἰς τὸν ἡγεμόνα τῆς τῶν ὄντων ἀληθείας ἀνάξομεν;
Εἰ δὲ δεῖ τῶν πολλῶν ἀπαλλαγέντας ἐπιχειρήσεων αὐτὸν τὸν Πλάτωνα ποιήσασθαι μάρτυρα τῆς προκειμένης ταύτης συνουσίας καὶ τῶν ἐν ταύτῃ λόγων ἀναμνησθῶμεν εἰ μὲν βούλει τῶν ἐν Θεαιτήτῳ γεγραμμένων εἰ δὲ βούλει τῶν ἐν Σοφιστῇ· φανήσεται γὰρ ἃ λέγομεν ἐκ τούτων. Οὐκοῦν ἐν Θεαιτήτῳ μὲν ὁ Σωκράτης ὑπὸ τοῦ νεανίσκου προκαλούμενος εἰς τὸν τῶν ἀκίνητον τὸ ὂν λεγόντων ἔλεγχον
ἀποσκευαζόμενος τὴν τοιαύτην ἀντίληψιν τοῦ Παρμενίδου καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν προστιθείς· Παρμενίδην γάρ φησίν ἕν’ ὄντα αἰσχύνομαι ἢ πάντας τοὺς ἄλλους. Συνέμιξα γὰρ τῷ ἀνδρὶ πάνυ νέος πάνυ πρεσβύτῃ καί μοι ἔδοξε βάθος τι ἔχειν παντάπασι γενναῖον. Φοβοῦμαι οὖν μὴ οὔτε τὰ λεγόμενα ξυνίωμεν τί τε διανοούμενος εἶπε πολὺ πλέον λειπώμεθα. Ὀρθῶς ἄρα ἐλέγομεν τὴν προκειμένην συνουσίαν οὐκ εἰς λογικὴν γυμνασίαν ἀποτείνεσθαι καὶ τοῦτο ποιεῖσθαι τῶν λόγων ἁπάντων τέλος ἀλλ’ εἰς τὴν τῶν πρωτίστων ἀρχῶν ἐπιστήμην. Πῶς γὰρ ἂν ὁ Σωκράτης τὸν τῇ δυνάμει τῇ τοιαύτῃ χρώμενον καὶ τῆς τῶν πραγμάτων ἀμελήσαντα γνώσεως βάθος τι γενναῖον παντάπασιν ἔχειν ἐν τοῖς λόγοις ἐμαρτύρει; Τί γὰρ ἂν εἴη σεμνόν καὶ συλλαβεῖν τὴν μέθοδον τῶν ἐφ’ ἑκάστῳ συντιθεμένων ἐνδόξως καὶ ὑποδῦναι τὴν τοιαύτην εὕρεσιν τῶν ἐπιχειρημάτων;
Ἐν δὲ αὖ τῷ Σοφιστῇ τὸν Ἐλεάτην ξένον ἀνεγείρων εἰς τὴν τῶν προτεθέντων αὐτῷ διάρθρωσιν καὶ ἤδη συνήθη πρὸς τοὺς βαθυτέρους εἶναι λόγους ἑαυτὸν ἐνδεικνύμενος· τοσόνδε ἡμῖν φράζε φησί πότερον εἴωθας αὐτὸς ἐπὶ σαυτοῦ μακρῷ λόγῳ διεξιέναι λέγων τοῦτο ὃ ἂν ἐνδείξασθαί τῳ βου- ληθῇς ἢ δι’ ἐρωτήσεων οἵων ποτὲ καὶ Παρμενίδῃ χρωμένῳ καὶ διεξιόντι λόγους παγκάλους παρεγενόμην ἐγὼ νεὸς ὤν ἐκείνου τότε ὄντος εὖ μάλα πρεσβύτου. Τίς οὖν μηχανή τοῦ Σωκράτους λέγοντος παγκάλους εἶναι τοὺς λόγους τούτους καὶ βάθος ἔχειν παντάπασι γενναῖον ἡμᾶς διαπιστεῖν καὶ διαλωβᾶσθαι τὴν τοῦ Παρμενίδου πραγματείαν καὶ τῆς μὲν οὐσίας αὐτὴν καὶ τοῦ ὄντος ἐκβάλλειν ἐπὶ δὲ τὴν δημώδη καὶ φορτικὴν μετάγειν τῶν ἐπιχειρήσεων κενολογίαν μήτε τὸ νεαροπρεπὲς τῶν τοιούτων λόγων μήτε τὴν ὑπόθεσιν τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος μήτε ἄλλο μηδὲν τῶν πρὸς τὴν τοιαύτην ὑπόνοιαν ἐναντιουμένων λογιζομένους;
Καὶ μὴν καὶ τὴν τῆς διαλεκτικῆς δύναμιν ἀξιώσαιμ’ ἂν αὐτοὺς σκοπεῖν ὁποίαν ὁ ἐν Πολιτείᾳ Σωκράτης ἐνδείκνυται καὶ πῶς θριγκὸν μὲν αὐτὴν ἐφ’ ἅπασι περιβεβλῆσθαι τοῖς μαθήμασιν ἀνάγειν δὲ τοὺς χρωμένους ἐπ’ αὐτὸ τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ τὰς πρωτίστας ἑνάδας ἐκκαθαίρειν δὲ τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς ὄμμα φησὶ
καὶ προσιδρύειν τοῖς ὄντως οὖσι καὶ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν πάντων ἀρχῇ καὶ μέχρι τοῦ ἀνυποθέτου τελευτᾶν. Εἰ γὰρ τοσαύτη μὲν ἡ τῆς διαλεκτικῆς ταύτης δύναμις τηλικοῦτον δὲ τὸ τέλος τῆς ὁδοῦ ταύτης οὐ δεῖ τὴν διὰ τῶν ἐνδόξων ἐπιχείρησιν εἰς ταὐτὸν τῇ τοιαύτῃ μεθόδῳ συγκυκᾶν. Ἐκείνη μὲν γὰρ πρὸς ἀνθρώπων ἀποτείνεται δόξας αὕτη δὲ ὑπὸ τῶν πολλῶν ἀδολεσχία καλεῖται· καὶ ἡ μὲν παντελῶς ἀπολείπεται τῆς τῶν μαθημάτων ἐπιστήμης αὕτη δὲ θριγκόσ ἐστι τῶν ἐπιστημῶν τούτων καὶ διὰ τούτων ἐπ’ ἐκείνην ἡ πορεία· καὶ τῇ μέν ἐστι τὸ δοκοῦν καὶ τὸ φαινόμενον τῆς γυμνασίας ἡ δὲ ἁμιλλᾶται πρὸς τὸ ὂν ἐπαναβιβασμοῖς ἀεὶ χρωμένη καὶ τελευτᾷ δὴ καλῶς εἰς τὴν τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ φύσιν.
Πολλοῦ ἄρα δεήσομεν ἡμεῖς τὴν πρὸ τῶν ἀκριβεστάτων τῶν ἐπιστημῶν ἱδρυμένην καθέλκειν εἰς τὴν ἔνδοξον ἐπιχείρησιν. Αὕτη μὲν γὰρ τῆς ἀποδεικτικῆς προέχουσα φαντασίασ ἐστὶ δευτέρα καὶ μόνης ἀγαπῴη ἂν τῆς ἐριστικῆς προέχουσα φαντασίασ ἡ δὲ παρ’ ἡμῖν διαλεκτικὴ τὰ μὲν πολλὰ διαιρέσεσι χρῆται καὶ ἀναλύσεσιν ὡς πρωτουργοῖς ἐπιστήμαις καὶ μιμουμέναις τὴν τῶν ὄντων πρόοδον ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς καὶ πρὸς αὐτὸ πάλιν ἐπιστροφήν χρῆται δέ ποτε καὶ ὁρισμοῖς καὶ ἀποδείξεσιν εἰς τὴν τοῦ ὄντος θήραν. Ὅτε τοίνυν ἡ μὲν χρῆται ταῖς ἀποδείξεσι καὶ πρὸ τούτων τῇ ὁριστικῇ μεθόδῳ καὶ τῇ διαιρετικῇ πρὸ ταύτης ἡ δὲ παντάπασιν ἀπολείπεται τῶν τῆς ἀποδείξεως ἀνελέγκτων λογισμῶν πῶς οὐκ ἀνάγκη διωρίσθαι μὲν τὰς δυνάμεις ταύτας ἀπ’ ἀλλήλων τὴν δὲ τοῦ Παρμενίδου πραγματείαν τῇ παρ’ ἡμῖν διαλεκτικῇ χρωμένην καθαρεύειν τῆς διακένου τῶν ἐπιχειρημάτων ποικιλίας καὶ πρὸς αὐτὸ τὸ ὂν ἀλλ’ οὐ πρὸς τὸ φαινόμενον ποιεῖσθαι τοὺς λόγους; Πρὸς μὲν οὖν τοὺς ἑτέρους τῶν τὰς ἡμετέρας ὑποθέσεις ἀποδοκιμαζόντων ταῦτα ἱκανά· καὶ γὰρ ἂν εἰ τούτοις διαπιστοῖεν μάτην ἂν πείθειν αὐτοὺς καὶ προσβιβάζειν τῇ τῶν πραγμάτων θεωρίᾳ σπουδάζοιμεν.
X. Τίνα κατορθοῦσιν οἱ περὶ τῶν ἐν τοῖς οὖσιν ἀρχῶν εἶναι τὰς ὑποθέσεις τοῦ Παρμενίδου λέγοντες καὶ τίνα προσθετέον οἷς λέγουσιν ἐκ τῆς αὐτοῦ τοῦ καθηγεμόνος ἡμῶν παραδόσεως.
Πρὸς δὲ αὖ τοὺς τῶν ὄντων φιλοθεάμονας καὶ τῆς τῶν πρωτίστων αἰτίων ἐπιστήμης στοχαζομένους ἐν τῇ τοῦ Πλατωνικοῦ Παρμενίδου προθέσει μείζω καὶ χαλεπώτερον ὄντα μοι τὸν ἀγῶνα διὰ πλειόνων εἰ βούλει καὶ γνωριμωτέρων λόγων διαπερανώμεθα·
καὶ πρῶτον διοριζώμεθα περὶ τίνος ἡμῖν ὁ πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἔσται λόγος ὃ δὴ καὶ μάλιστα νομίζω ποιήσειν καταφανῆ τὴν Πλάτωνος περὶ τῶν θείων μυσταγωγίαν. Ἐννέα τοίνυν ὑποθέσεων ὑπὸ τοῦ Παρμενίδου γεγυμνασμένων ἐν τῷ διαλόγῳ τούτῳ καθάπερ ἡμῖν ἐν τοῖς εἰς αὐτὸν εἰρημένοις ὑπέμνησται καὶ τῶν πέντε τῶν προηγουμένων τὸ ἓν ὑποτιθεμένων καὶ διὰ ταύτην τὴν ὑπόθεσιν τά τε ὄντα πάντα καὶ τὰς μεσότητας τῶν ὅλων καὶ τὰς ἀποπερατώσεις τῆς προόδου τῶν πραγμάτων ὑποστῆσαι δυναμένων τῶν δὲ αὖ τεττάρων τῶν ταύταις ἑπομένων μὴ εἶναι μὲν τὸ ἓν κατὰ τὴν τῆς διαλεκτικῆς μεθόδου παρακέλευσιν εἰσηγουμένων ἐκ δὲ τῆς τοῦ ἑνὸς ἀναιρέσεως ἅπαντα τὰ ὄντα καὶ ὅσα φαινομένως ἐστὶν ἐκποδὼν γινόμενα κατὰ τὴν ὑπόθεσιν ταύτην διελέγχειν προθεμένων καὶ τῶν μὲν δηλαδὴ πάντα κατὰ λόγον συμπεραινόντων τῶν δὲ τὰ τῶν ἀδυνάτων εἰ χρὴ φάναι παντελῶς ἀδυνατώτερα προφερομένων – ὃ καὶ τῶν πρὸ ἡμῶν τινές οἶμαι συνεῖδον ἐν ταῖς ὑποθέσεσι ταύταις συμβαίνειν ἀναγκαῖον ὄν ὡς καὶ τοῦτο διαίτης ἐν τοῖς εἰς τὸν διάλογον τοῦτον γεγραμμένοις ἠξίωται –
περὶ μὲν οὖν τῆς πρωτίστης τῶν ὑποθέσεων ἅπαντες σχεδὸν συμπεφωνήκασιν ἀλλήλοις καὶ τῆς ὑπερουσίου τῶν ὅλων ἀρχῆς διὰ ταύτης ἀξιοῦσι τὸν Πλάτωνα τῆς ὑποθέσεως τὸ ἄρρητον καὶ ἄγνωστον καὶ παντὸς ἐπέκεινα τοῦ ὄντος ἀνυμνεῖν. Περὶ δὲ τῆς μετὰ ταύτην οὐ τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον ἅπαντες ἀναδιδάσκουσιν.
Ἀλλ’ οἱ μὲν παλαιοὶ καὶ τῆς Πλωτίνου φιλοσοφίας μετασχόντες τὴν νοερὰν φύσιν ἐνταῦθα πεφηνέναι λέγουσιν ἀπὸ τῆς ὑπερουσίου τῶν ὄντων ἀρχῆς ὑφισταμένην καὶ πάνθ’ ὅσα διὰ ταύτης συμπεράσματα προτείνεται τῇ τοῦ νοῦ μιᾷ καὶ παντελεῖ δυνάμει συναρμόζειν ἐπιχειροῦσιν· ὁ δὲ δὴ τῆς περὶ θεῶν ἡμῖν ἀληθείας καθηγεμὼν καὶ τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἵνα καθ’ Ὅμηρον εἴπωμεν ὀαριστὴς τὸ τῆς θεωρίας τῶν παλαιοτέρων ἀόριστον εἰς ὅρον μεταστήσας καὶ τὸ συγκεχυμένον τῶν διαφόρων τάξεων εἰς διάκρισιν νοερὰν περιαγαγών ἐν ταῖς ἀγράφοις συνουσίαις κἀν ταῖς περὶ τούτων πραγματείαις παρεκελεύετο τὴν τῶν συμπερασμάτων διαίρεσιν κατ’ ἄρθρον λαμβάνοντας ἐπὶ τοὺς θείους διακόσμους ἀναφέρειν καὶ τὰ μὲν πρώτιστα καὶ ἁπλούστατα τῶν δεικνυμένων τοῖς πρωτίστοις ἐφαρμόζειν τῶν ὄντων τὰ δὲ μέσα τοῖς μέσοις ὥσπερ δὴ καὶ ἔλαχε τὴν ἐν τοῖς οὖσι τάξιν τὰ δὲ ἔσχατα καὶ πολυειδῆ τοῖς ἐσχάτοις. Οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ἡ τοῦ ὄντος φύσις μία καὶ ἁπλῆ καὶ ἀδιαίρετος· ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ ἐν τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς εἷς μὲν ὁ μέγας οὗτος οὐρανός περιέχει δὲ πλῆθος ἐν ἑαυτῷ σωμάτων καὶ συνεκτικὴ μὲν τοῦ πλήθους ἡ μονάς ἐν δὲ τῷ πλήθει τάξις ἐστὶ τῆς προόδου καὶ τὰ μὲν πρῶτα τὰ δὲ μέσα τὰ δὲ ἔσχατα τῶν αἰσθητῶν καὶ πρὸ τούτων ἐν ταῖς ψυχαῖς ἀπὸ τῆς μιᾶς τὸ πλῆθος ὑπέστη τῶν ψυχῶν καὶ τούτων αἱ μὲν ἐν ἐγγυτέρω τῆς ἑαυτῶν ὁλότητος αἱ δὲ πορρωτέρω ἐτάχθησαν αἱ δὲ καὶ τὴν μεσότητα τῶν ἄκρων
συμπεπληρώκασιν οὕτως ἀνάγκη δήπου καὶ τῶν ὄντως ὄντων τὰ μὲν ἑνοειδῆ καὶ κρύφια τῶν γενῶν ἐνιδρῦσθαι τῇ μιᾷ καὶ πρωτίστῃ τῶν ὅλων αἰτίᾳ τὰ δὲ εἰς τὸ πᾶν προεληλυθέναι πλῆθος καὶ τὸν ὅλον ἀριθμόν τὰ δὲ τὸν σύνδεσμον αὐτῶν ἐν μέσῳ κατέχειν καὶ μήτε τὰς τῶν πρώτων ἰδιότητας ἐφαρμόζειν τοῖς δευτέροις μήτε τὰς τῶν ὑφειμένων τοῖς ἑνικωτέροις ἀλλὰ τῶν μὲν ἄλλας εἶναι τῶν δὲ ἄλλας δυνάμεις καὶ τάξιν ἐν τῇ προόδῳ ταύτῃ καὶ τῶν δευτέρων ἀπὸ τῶν πρώτων ἔκφανσιν.
Ἵν’ οὖν συνελόντες εἴπωμεν τὸ ἓν ὂν πρόεισι μὲν ἀπὸ τῆς ἑνάδος τῆς πρὸ τῶν ὄντων πᾶν δὲ τὸ θεῖον γένος ἀπογεννᾷ τό τε νοητὸν καὶ τὸ νοερὸν καὶ
τὸ ὑπερουράνιον καὶ τὸ μέχρι τῶν ἐγκοσμίων προεληλυθός· καὶ δεῖ καὶ τῶν συμπερασμάτων ἕκαστον ἰδιότητος εἶναι θείας γνωριστικόν. Εἰ δὲ καὶ πάντα πάσαις ἐφαρμόζει ταῖς τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος προόδοις ἀλλ’ οὐδὲν οἶμαι θαυμαστὸν καὶ τὰ μὲν ἄλλαις τὰ δὲ ἄλλαις ὑποθέσεσι μᾶλλον προσήκειν. Τὰ μὲν γὰρ ἴδιά τινων διακόσμων οὐκ ἐξ ἀνάγκης ὑπάρχει πᾶσι τοῖς θεοῖς τὰ δὲ αὖ πᾶσιν ὑπάρχοντα πολλῷ δήπου μᾶλλον ἑκάστοις πάρεστιν. Εἰ μὲν οὖν ἐπεισοδιώδη τῷ Πλάτωνι τὴν τῶν θείων τάξεων διαίρεσιν παρεισήγομεν καὶ μὴ σαφῶς αὐτὸν ἐπεδείκνυμεν κἀν τοῖς ἄλλοις διαλόγοις ἄνωθεν ἄχρι τῶν ἐσχάτων ὑμνήσαντα τὰς τῶν θεῶν προόδους ὁτὲ μὲν ἐν μυθικοῖς πλάσμασιν ὁτὲ δὲ ἐν ἄλλοις θεολογικοῖς τρόποις ἀτόπως ἂν αὐτῷ τὴν τοιαύτην τοῦ τε ὄντος καὶ μετὰ τούτου τῆς τοῦ ἑνὸς προόδου τὴν διαίρεσιν ἀνετίθεμεν· εἰ δὲ ἐκ τῶν ἄλλων διαλόγων ἐπιδείκνυμεν αὐτόν ὡς ἔσται προελθοῦσιν ἡμῖν καταφανές ἁπάσας τὰς τῶν θεῶν βασιλείας ὑμνήσαντα κατὰ τρόπον πῶς οὐκ ἀδύνατον ἐν τῇ τῶν πραγματειῶν ἐποπτικωτάτῃ τὴν μὲν τοῦ ἑνὸς ἐξῃρημένην αὐτὸν παραδιδόναι διὰ τῆς πρώτης ὑποθέσεως πρὸς ἅπαντα τὰ γένη τῶν ὄντων ὑπεροχὴν καὶ τὸ ὂν αὐτὸ καὶ τὴν ψυχικὴν οὐσίαν καὶ τὸ εἶδος εἰ τύχοι καὶ τὴν ὕλην ὑπὲρ δὲ τῶν θείων προόδων καὶ τῆς ἐν τάξει διακρίσεως αὐτῶν μηδένα πεποιῆσθαι λόγον; Εἴτε γὰρ τὰ ἔσχατα μόνον ἔδει θεωρεῖν πῶς τῆς πρωτίστης ἀρχῆς πρὸ τῶν ἄλλων ἐφηπτόμεθα; Εἴτε τῶν οἰκείων ὑποθέσεων τὸ πλῆθος ἐκφαίνειν ἠξιοῦμεν τὸ δὲ τῶν θεῶν γένος καὶ τὰς ἐν αὐτῷ διαιρέσεις παρελιμπάνομεν; Εἴτε πάσασ τὰς ἀπὸ τοῦ πρώτου μέχρι τῆς ἐσχάτης ὑποβάσεως φύσεις πῶς τὰς ὅλας διακοσμήσεις τῶν θείων μέσας ὑφεστώσας τοῦ τε ἑνὸς καὶ τῶν ὁπωσοῦν ἐκθεουμένων ἀγνώστους ἀφίεμεν; Ἅπαντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὴν ὅλην πραγματείαν ἐλλείπουσαν κατὰ τὴν περὶ τῶν θείων ἐπιστήμην ἀποδείκνυσι.
Καὶ μὴν καὶ ὁ ἐν Φιλήβῳ Σωκράτης παρακελεύεται τοῖς τῶν ὄντων φιλοθεάμοσι
τῇ διαιρετικῇ μεθόδῳ τάς τε μονάδας ἀεὶ τῶν ὅλων διακόσμων ἐπιζητεῖν καὶ τὰς ἀπ’ αὐτῶν προϊούσας δυάδας ἢ τριάδας ἢ ἄλλους οὑστινασοῦν ἀριθμούς. Εἰ δὲ τοῦτο ὀρθῶς παρείληπται δεῖ δήπου καὶ τὸν Παρμενίδην τῇ συμπάσῃ διαλεκτικῇ
χρώμενον καὶ περὶ τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος διαλεγόμενον μήτε τὸ πλῆθος πρὸ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἐπισκοπεῖν μήτε μένειν ἐπὶ τῆς μιᾶς τῶν ὄντων μονάδος μηδ’ ὅλως τῷ ἑνὶ τῷ πάντων ἐπέκεινα τῶν ὄντων τὸ σύμπαν εὐθὺς πλῆθος προσφέρειν τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος ἀλλὰ πρῶτα μὲν ἐκφαίνειν τὰ κρυφίως ὄντα καὶ τῷ ἑνὶ συγγενέστατα μέσα δὲ τὰ κατὰ τὴν πρόοδον τῶν θεῶν γένη τῶν μὲν ἄκρως ἡνωμένων διῃρημένα μᾶλλον τῶν δὲ ἐπὶ πᾶν προεληλυθότων τελεωτέραν ἕνωσιν λαχόντα τελευταῖα δὲ τὰ κατὰ τὴν ἐσχάτην διαίρεσιν τῶν δυνάμεων ὑφεστηκότα καὶ αὐτὴν ἤδη μετὰ τούτων τὴν ἐκθεουμένην οὐσίαν. Εἰ τοίνυν ἡ πρώτη τῶν ὑποθέσεων περὶ τοῦ ἑνός ἐστιν ὃ παντὸς ἐπέκεινα πλήθους ὁ λόγος ἀπέφηνε δεῖ δήπου τὴν μετὰ ταύτην μὴ τὸ ὂν ἀδιορίστως οὕτω καὶ ἀδιακρίτως ἐκφαίνειν ἀλλὰ πάσας τὰς διακοσμήσεις τῶν ὄντων. Τὸ γὰρ ὅλον πλῆθος ὁμοῦ τῷ ἑνὶ προσφέρειν ὁ τῆς διαιρετικῆς τρόπος ἀποδοκιμάζει καθάπερ ἡμᾶς ὁ ἐν τῷ Φιλήβῳ Σωκράτης ἐδίδαξεν.
Ἔτι τοίνυν κἀκ τοῦ τρόπου τῶν ἀποδείξεων τὸ αὐτὸ καταδησώμεθα. Τὰ μὲν γὰρ πρῶτα τῶν συμπερασμάτων δι’ ἐλαχίστων ὡς οἷόν τε καὶ ἁπλουστάτων καὶ γνωριμωτάτων καὶ οἷον κοινῶν ἐννοιῶν εὐθὺς κατάδηλα γίνεται τὰ δὲ τούτων ἐφεξῆς διὰ πλειόνων καὶ ποικιλωτέρων τὰ δὲ ἔσχατα παντελῶς ἐστὶ συνθετώτατα· χρῆται γὰρ ἀεὶ τοῖς πρώτοις συμπεράσμασιν εἰς τὰς τῶν ἐχομένων ἀποδείξεις καὶ τῆς ἐν γεωμετρίᾳ τάξεως ἢ τοῖς ἄλλοις μαθήμασι παράδειγμα προτείνει νοερὸν τὴν τῶν συμπερασμάτων τούτων πρὸς ἄλληλα συνάρτησιν. Εἰ τοίνυν οἱ λόγοι τῶν πραγμάτων εἰκόνα φέρουσιν ὧν εἰσὶν ἐξηγηταὶ καὶ
ὡς ἔχουσιν αἱ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποδείξεων ἀνελίξεις οὕτως ἀνάγκη καὶ τὰ δεικνύμενα τάξεως ἔχειν ἀναγκαῖον οἶμαι τὰ μὲν δι’ ἁπλουστάτων ἀρχόμενα πάντως ἀρχοειδέστατα καὶ τῷ ἑνὶ συνηνωμένα τετάχθαι τὰ δὲ ἀεὶ πληθυόμενα καὶ ποικίλων ἀποδείξεων ἠρτημένα πορρώτερον προεληλυθέναι τῆς τοῦ ἑνὸς ἀποστάσεως εἰ θέμις εἰπεῖν.
Οἷς μὲν γὰρ ἂν ὑπάρχῃ τὰ δεύτερα συμπεράσματα τούτοις ἀνάγκη καὶ τὰ πρὸ αὐτῶν ὑπάρχειν· οἷς δ’ ἂν τὰ πρωτουργὰ καὶ αὐτοφυῆ καὶ ἁπλᾶ τούτοις οὐκ ἀνάγκη καὶ τὰ συνθετώτερα παρεῖναι καὶ διὰ πλειόνων δεικνύμενα καὶ ὄντα πορρωτέρω τῆς τῶν ὄντων ἀρχῆς. Ἔοικεν ἄρα τὰ μὲν θειοτέρων εἶναι τάξεων ἐκφαντικὰ τὰ δὲ καταδεεστέρων καὶ τὰ μὲν ἑνικωτέρων τὰ δὲ ἤδη πληθυομένων καὶ τὰ μὲν μονοειδεστέρων τὰ δὲ πολυειδεστέρων. Αἱ γὰρ ἀποδείξεις ἐκ τῶν αἰτίων εἰσὶ καὶ τῶν πρώτων ἑκασταχοῦ. Εἰ τοίνυν τὰ πρότερα συμπεράσματα τῶν δευτέρων αἴτια τάξις ἐστὶν αἰτίων καὶ αἰτιατῶν ἐν τῷ πλήθει τῶν συμπερασμάτων καὶ πάντα συγχεῖν καὶ ἀδιορίστως ἐν ἑνὶ θεωρεῖν οὔτε τῇ φύσει τῶν πραγμάτων οὔτε τῇ τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἐπιστήμῃ προσήκει.
XI. Ἀποδείξεις πλείους περὶ τῶν τῆς δευτέρας ὑποθέσεως συμπερασμάτων καὶ τῆς κατὰ τὰς θείας τάξεις αὐτῆς διαιρέσεως.
Πάλιν δὴ οὖν αὐτὸ καθ’ ἑτέραν ὁδὸν περικρούσωμεν καὶ ὅπῃ σαθρὸν φθέγγεται τῇ διανοίᾳ θεωρήσωμεν. Λεγέσθω γὰρ εἰ βούλει τὰ τῆς ὑποθέσεως ταύτης συμπεράς- ματα περὶ τοῦ ὄντως ὄντος καὶ συγκεχωρήσθω παρ’ ἡμῶν τὴν πρώτην. Ἀλλ’ ἐπειδὴ τοῦτο πλῆθός ἐστι καὶ οὐχ ἓν αὐτὸ μόνον ὥσπερ τὸ πρὸ τῶν ὄντων ἕν – τὸ γὰρ ὂν πεπονθός ἐστι
τὸ ἕν ὥσπερ καὶ ὁ Ἐλεάτης ξένος ἡμᾶς ἐν Σοφιστῇ περὶ τούτων ἀνεδίδαξε καὶ παρ’ αὐτοῖς εἴωθε θρυλλεῖσθαι τὸ μὲν πρῶτον ἓν τιθεμένοις τὸν δὲ νοῦν ἓν πολλά τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν ἓν καὶ πολλά τὰ δὲ σώματα πολλὰ καὶ ἕν – ἐπειδὴ τοίνυν τὸ μὲν μυριόλεκτον τοῦτο μετὰ τῆς ἑνώσεως καὶ πλῆθός ἐστιν ἐν τῷ ὄντως ὄντι πότερον τῷ μὲν ὅλῳ ταῦτα φήσουσιν ἐφαρμόζειν τοῖς δὲ μέρεσιν οὐκέτι τοῦ ὄντος ἢ καὶ τῷ ὅλῳ καὶ τοῖς μέρεσι; Καὶ εἰ τῷ ὅλῳ καὶ τοῖς μέρεσι πάλιν αὐτοὺς ἐρησόμεθα πότερον ἑκάστῳ πάντα τῶν τοῦ ὄντος μερῶν ἀποδώσουσιν ἢ τὰ μὲν ἄλλοις διανεμοῦσι τὰ δὲ ἄλλοις τῶν ἐν αὐτῷ μερῶν.
Εἰ μὲν τοίνυν τῷ ὅλῳ μόνον ἀξιώσουσιν ἕκαστον προσαρμόττειν τὸ ὂν ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων ἔσται καὶ τὸ κινούμενον ἐξ ἀκινήτων καὶ τὸ ἑστὼς ἐκ τῶν ἐστερημένων τῆς στάσεως καὶ πάντα ἁπλῶς ἐκ τῶν ἀντικειμένων καὶ οὐκ ἂν ἔτι τῷ Παρμενίδου λόγῳ συνᾴδοιμεν ὃς καὶ τὰ μέρη τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος ὅλα πως εἶναί φησι καὶ ἕκαστον αὐτῶν ἕν τε καὶ ὂν ὑπάρχειν τῷ ὅλῳ παραπλησίως. Εἰ δὲ ἑκάστῳ τὰ πάντα δώσομεν καὶ οὐδὲν ὅτι μὴ πάντα ποιήσομεν πῶς τὸ ἀκρότατον τοῦ ὄντος καὶ τὸ ἑνικώτατον ὁλότητα καὶ μερῶν ἕξει πλῆθος ἀπερίληπτον; Πῶς δὲ ὁμοῦ καὶ ἀριθμὸν τὸν ὅλον καὶ σχῆμα καὶ κίνησιν καὶ στάσιν καί ὡς συνελόντι φάναι τὰ εἴδη πάντα καὶ τὰ γένη; Ταῦτα γὰρ διαφέρει τε ἀλλήλων καὶ ἀδύνατα λέγειν. Ἔσται δὴ οὖν ἡμῖν ὁμοίως πεπληθυσμένα τά τε ἐγγὺς τοῦ ἑνὸς καὶ τὰ πόρρω καὶ οὐ παρ’ ἔλαττον πλῆθος τοῦ ἐσχάτου τὸ πρώτιστον οὐδὲ αὖ παρ’ ἔλαττον ἓν ἔσται τοῦ πρωτίστου τὸ ἔσχατον καὶ τὰ μέσα τῶν ἄκρων κατὰ τὴν διαίρεσιν ἀδιάφορα.
Ὅτε τοίνυν μήτε τῷ ὅλῳ μόνῳ ἀποδιδόναι προσήκει τῶν συμπερασμάτων τὸ σύμπαν τοῦτο πλῆθος μήτε ἐν πᾶσι πάντα παραπλησίως ποιεῖν τῶν τοῦ ὄντος μερῶν λείπεται δήπου τὰ μὲν ἄλλοις τὰ δὲ ἄλλοις ἐφαρμόζειν. Οὐκοῦν ἀναγκαῖον ἢ ἄτακτον εἶναι τὴν τῶν συμπερασμάτων ἀπαρίθμησιν ἢ τεταγμένην· ἀλλ’ εἰ μὲν ἄτακτον φήσουσιν οὔτε τῇ διαλεκτικῇ προσήκοντα λόγον ἐροῦσιν οὔτε τῷ τρόπῳ τῶν ἀποδείξεων
ἐκ τῶν προτέρων ἀεὶ τοῖς δευτέροις διδόντι τὴν γέννησιν οὔτε τῇ τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἐπιστήμῃ πανταχοῦ συνοδεύοντος τῇ τάξει τῶν πραγμάτων· εἰ δὲ τεταγμένην ἀναγκαῖον οἶμαι πάντως ἢ ἀπὸ τῶν πρώτων ἄρχεσθαι κατὰ φύσιν ἢ ἀπὸ τῶν ἐσχάτων· ἀλλ’ εἰ μὲν ἀπὸ τῶν ἐσχάτων ἔσται τὸ μὲν ἓν ὂν ἔσχατον τὸ δὲ κατὰ χρόνον κινούμενον πρώτιστον. Τοῦτο μὴν ἀδύνατον· τὸ μὲν γὰρ χρόνου μετέχον καὶ τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος πολλῷ πρότερον ἀνάγκη μετέχειν τὸ δὲ τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος μετειληφὸς οὐκ ἀνάγκη καὶ τοῦ χρόνου μετέχειν· ἐπέκεινα ἄρα τοῦ χρόνου τὸ ἓν ὄν ἐστιν. Εἰ τοίνυν ἄρχεται μὲν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος καταλήγει δὲ εἰς τὸ τοῦ χρόνου μετέχον ἄνωθεν κἀκ τῶν πρωτίστων ἄχρι τῶν ἐσχάτων πρόεισι τοῦ ὄντως ὄντος μερῶν· ὥστε τὰ μὲν πρώτιστα τῶν συμπερασμάτων ἐπὶ τὰς πρωτίστας ἀνενεκτέον τάξεις τὰ δὲ μέσα κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον ἐπὶ τὰς μέσας τὸ δὲ ἔσχατον δῆλον ὡς ἐπὶ τὰς ἐσχάτας ἐπείπερ ἀναγκαῖον ὡς ὁ λόγος ἀπέφηνεν ἄλλα μὲν ἄλλαις διανέμειν καὶ ἄρχεσθαι ἀπὸ τῶν ἀκροτάτων τὴν τοιαύτην διανομήν.
Καὶ μὴν καὶ ἡ τῶν ὑποθέσεων τάξις ἱκανόν οἶμαι τεκμήριόν ἐστιν ὧν λέγομεν· ἡ μὲν γὰρ περὶ τοῦ ἑνὸς ὃ πλήθους ἐστὶ παντὸς ἐξῃρημένον πρωτίστην ἔλαχε τάξιν καὶ ἀπ’ αὐτῆς ἡ τῶν λόγων ἁπάντων ἀνέλιξις ὥρμηται δευτέραν δὲ ἄρα μετὰ ταύτην ἡ περὶ τῶν ὄντως ὄντων καὶ τῆς μετεχομένης ὑπὸ τούτων ἑνάδος τρίτην δὲ ἐφεξῆς ἡ περὶ τῆς ψυχῆς εἴτ’ οὖν ἁπάσης εἴτε καὶ μή· καὶ γὰρ τοῦτο παγκάλως τῷ ἡμετέρῳ καθηγεμόνι δέδεικται καὶ ὡς προείληπται ὁ περὶ τῶν ὅλων ψυχῶν λόγος κατὰ τὴν δευτέραν ὑπόθεσιν. Εἰ τοίνυν κατὰ τὴν τῶν πραγμάτων φύσιν ἡ τῶν τριῶν τούτων ὑποθέσεων τάξις προελήλυθε δῆλον ὅτι τὰ μὲν πρῶτα τῆς δευτέρας τῇ πρὸ αὐτῆς συμφυόμενα τὰ δὲ ἔσχατα τῇ μετ’ αὐτήν. Καὶ τί γὰρ ἂν φανείη τοῖς μὴ παντάπασι τῶν τοιούτων λόγων ἀπείροις ἢ τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος ὃ πρῶτον ἐκφαίνεται τῶν τῆς δευτέρας συμπερασμάτων τῷ ἑνὶ συγγενέστερον ἢ τοῦ χρόνου μεριστῶς μετέχοντος ὃ τῶν ἐν αὐτῇ δεικνυμένων ἐστὶν ἔσχατον τῇ ψυχῇ προσεχέστερον;
Καὶ γὰρ ταῖς μερικαῖς ψυχαῖς τὸ ζῆν κατὰ χρόνον ὥσπερ καὶ ταῖς ὅλαις καὶ τὸ ἓν ὂν τὸ πρώτως ἐστὶ μετασχὸν τοῦ ἑνὸς καὶ τῇ τοῦ ὄντος συναρτήσει τῆς ἀμεθέκτου πλεονάσαν ἑνάδος. Εἰ δὲ μέσης οὔσης ταύτης τῆς ὑποθέσεως τὰ ἄκρα τοῖς ἄκροις οἰκεῖα καὶ τὰ μέσα δήπου τοῖς μέσοις ἐφαρμόσομεν· ἀρχομένη γὰρ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος διὰ πάντων πρόεισι τῶν μετ’ αὐτὸ γενῶν ἄχρις ἂν εἰς τὴν τοῦ χρόνου μετέχουσαν καταλήξῃ φύσιν.
Καὶ μὲν δὴ καὶ ἐκ τῶν κοινῶν ὁμολογημάτων τοῖς τὰ θεῖα δεινοῖς τῶν τὰ Πλάτωνος ἐξηγουμένων ἡγούμεθα τὸ αὐτὸ δεικνύναι τοῖς ἔμπροσθεν εἰρημένοις. Πλωτῖνος μὲν γὰρ ἐν τῷ Περὶ τῶν ἀριθμῶν βιβλίῳ ζητήσας πότερον τὰ ὄντα πρὸ τῶν ἀριθμῶν ὑφέστηκεν ἢ πρὸ τῶν ὄντων οἱ ἀριθμοί λέγει διαρρήδην ὅτι τὸ πρώτιστον ὂν πρὸ τῶν ἀριθμῶν ὑπέστη καὶ ὡς γεννᾷ τὸν θεῖον ἀριθμόν. Εἰ δὲ ταῦτα ἐκεῖνος ὀρθῶς διατάττεται καὶ γεννητικὸν μέν ἐστι τὸ ὂν τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ τοῦ πρώτου παράγεται δὲ ὁ ἀριθμὸς ὑπὸ τοῦ ὄντος οὐ δεῖ συγχεῖν τὴν τάξιν τῶν γενῶν τούτων οὐδὲ εἰς μίαν ὑπόστασιν συνάγειν οὐδὲ τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἰδίᾳ μὲν τὸ ἓν ὂν παράγοντος ἰδίᾳ δὲ τὸν ἀριθμόν ἑκάτερον τῶν συμπερασμάτων εἰς τὴν αὐτὴν τάξιν ἀναφέρειν· τὸ γὰρ αἴτιον καὶ τὸ αἰτιατὸν οὐδαμῶς θέμις ἢ δύναμιν τὴν αὐτὴν ἢ τάξιν ἔχειν ἀλλὰ διώρισται μὲν ταῦτα ἀπ’ ἀλλήλων διακέκριται δὲ καὶ ἡ περὶ αὐτῶν ἐπιστήμη καὶ οὔτε μία φύσις αὐτῶν οὔτε λόγος εἷς.
Πορφύριος δὲ αὖ μετὰ τοῦτον ἐν τῇ Περὶ ἀρχῶν πραγματείᾳ τὸν νοῦν εἶναι μὲν αἰώνιον ἐν πολλοῖς καὶ καλοῖς ἀποδείκνυσι λόγοις ἔχειν δὲ ὅμως ἐν ἑαυτῷ καὶ προαιώνιόν τι· καὶ τὸ μὲν προαιώνιον τοῦ νοῦ τῷ ἑνὶ συνάπτειν ἐκεῖνο γὰρ ἦν ἐπέκεινα παντὸς αἰῶνος τὸ δὲ αἰώνιον δευτέραν ἔχειν μᾶλλον δὲ τρίτην ἐν ἐκείνῳ τάξιν· δεῖ γάρ οἶμαι τοῦ προαιωνίου καὶ τοῦ αἰωνίου τὸν αἰῶνα μέσον ἱδρῦσθαι. Ἀλλὰ μήπω τοῦτο· τοσόνδε δὲ ὅμως ἐκ τῶν εἰρημένων λάβωμεν ὅτι δὴ καὶ ὁ νοῦς ἔχει τι κρεῖττον ἐν ἑαυτῷ τοῦ αἰωνίου· καὶ τοῦτο λαβόντες ἐρώμεθα τὸν τοῦ λόγου πατέρα πότερον καὶ τοῦτο οὐ μόνον ἓν ὄν ἐστιν ἀλλὰ καὶ ὅλον καὶ μέρη καὶ πλῆθος πᾶν καὶ ἀριθμὸς καὶ σχῆμα καὶ κινούμενον καὶ ἑστώς ἢ τὰ μὲν αὐτῷ τῶν συμπερασμάτων
προσοίσομεν τὰ δὲ οὔ. Πάντα μὲν γὰρ ἀδύνατον· πᾶσα γὰρ νοερὰ κίνησις ἐν αἰῶνι καὶ στάσις ὡσαύτως· εἰ δὲ τὰ μέν τὰ δ’ οὔ δῆλον ὅτι καὶ τὰς ἄλλας ἐν τῷ νῷ τάξεις διερευνητέον καὶ τῶν συμπερασμάτων ἕκαστον ἀνενεκτέον ἐπ’ ἐκείνην ᾗ ἂν μάλιστα φαίνηται προσῆκον· ὁ γὰρ νοῦς οὐχ ἕν ἐστιν ἀριθμῷ καὶ ἄτομον ὥς πού τισι τῶν παλαιῶν δοκεῖ ἀλλὰ σύμπασαν περιέχει τὴν τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος πρόοδον.
Ἐκ τρίτων δὴ οὖν ἡμῖν μετὰ τούτους ὁ θεῖος Ἰάμβλιχος ἐν τῇ Περὶ θεῶν πραγματείᾳ τοὺς τὰ γένη τοῦ ὄντος ἐν τοῖς νοητοῖς ἀποτιθεμένους ᾐτιάσατο· καὶ γὰρ τὸν ἀριθμὸν αὐτῶν καὶ τὴν ποικιλίαν πορρωτέρω βεβλῆσθαι τοῦ ἑνός. Ποῦ τοίνυν ταῦτα πρώτως ὑποτίθεσθαι προσήκει διδάσκων ἐπήνεγκε· πρὸς γὰρ τῷ τέλει τῆς νοερᾶς τάξεως ὑπὸ τῶν ἐκεῖ θεῶν ταῦτα παράγεται. Πῶς μὲν οὖν τὰ γένη τοῦ ὄντος καὶ ἔστιν ἐν ἐκείνοις καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν τοῖς ὕστερον ἔσται καταφανές. Εἰ δ’ ὥσπερ ἐκεῖνος διατάττεται τὰ νοητὰ τῶν γενῶν τούτων ἐξῄρηται πολλῷ δήπου μᾶλλον καὶ ὁμοιότητος καὶ ἀνομοιότητος καὶ ἰσότητος καὶ ἀνισότητος. Οὐκ ἄρα ἦν ἕκαστον τῶν συμπερασμάτων ἅπασιν ὡσαύτως ἐφαρμόζειν οὐδὲ ἐπὶ πᾶν τὸ νοητὸν πλάτος ἢ νοερὸν ἀναπέμπειν. Ὥστε καὶ ἐξ ὧν εἰρήκασιν ἰδίᾳ φιλοσοφοῦντες οἱ τῶν ἐξηγητῶν ἄριστοι τό τε πλῆθος ἀναφαίνεται τῶν θείων διακόσμων καὶ ἡ τῶν Πλατωνικῶν λόγων κατ’ ἄρθρα προϊοῦσα διάκρισις.
Πρὸς δὲ τοῖς εἰρημένοις εἰ χρὴ καὶ τοῦτο φάναι περὶ πολλῶν διαποροῦντες οὐκ ἂν ἔχοιμεν αἰτίαν εὔλογον οὐδεμίαν τῶν ἀπορημάτων εἰπεῖν ἀλλὰ λήσομεν ἡμᾶς αὐτοὺς τὸ εἰκῇ καὶ μάτην ἐπὶ τὴν τοῦ Πλάτωνος πραγματείαν ἀναφέροντες. Πρῶτον γὰρ διὰ τί τοσαῦτα μόνα συμπεράσματα καὶ οὔτε πλείω οὔτε ἐλάττω; Ἔστι μὲν γὰρ δὶς ἑπτὰ τὰ σύμπαντα· τοσούτων δὲ ὄντων τίς ὁ τῆς αἰτίας ἀπολογισμὸς εἰπεῖν οὐχ ἕξομεν μὴ τοῖς πράγμασιν αὐτοῖς τοὺς λόγους ἑκάστους συνδιαιροῦντες. Δεύτερον δὲ οὐδὲ τῆς πρὸς ἄλληλα τάξεως αὐτῶν τὴν αἰτίαν ἀνευρεῖν δυνησόμεθα καὶ πῶς τὰ μὲν πρότερα
τὰ δὲ ὕστερα κατὰ λόγον ἐτάχθη τὸν τῆς ἐπιστήμης εἰ μὴ τῇ προόδῳ τῶν ὄντων συνοδεύοι τῶν συμπερασμάτων ἡ τάξις.
Τὸ δὲ αὖ τρίτον ἐπὶ τούτοις τί δήποτε τὰ μὲν ἐκ τῶν προσεχῶς ἀποδεδειγμένων γνώριμα γίνεται τὰ δὲ ἐκ τῶν ἀνωτέρω; Τὸ μὲν γὰρ ὅλον εἶναι καὶ μέρη ἔχειν ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος τὸ δὲ ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐν ἄλλῳ τέτακται μὲν προσεχῶς μετὰ τὸ σχῆμα ἔχον δείκνυται δὲ ἔκ τε τοῦ ὅλου καὶ τῶν μερῶν. Ἢ διὰ τί πολλάκις τὰ μὲν ἐκ δύο τῶν πρότερον δεδειγμένων πρόεισι τὰ δὲ ἐξ ἑνός; Ἕκαστα γὰρ τούτων ἀγνοήσομεν καὶ οὔτε τὸν ἀριθμὸν αὐτῶν οὔτε τὴν τάξιν οὔτε τὴν πρὸς ἄλληλα συγγένειαν μετ’ ἐπιστήμης θεωρήσομεν εἰ μὴ τοῖς πράγμασιν ἑπόμενοι κόσμον διαλεκτικὸν ἀποφήναιμεν τὴν ὅλην ταύτην ὑπόθεσιν ἄνωθεν ἄχρι τῆς ἀποπερατώσεως τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος προερχομένην διὰ πάντων τῶν μέσων γενῶν.
Ἔτι τοίνυν εἰ μὲν συλλογιστικῶς μόνον τὰ σύμπαντα συμπεράσματα δείκνυσθαι λέγοιμεν τί διοίσομεν τῶν τὰς ἐπιχειρήσεις ἐνδόξους ποιούντων καὶ πρὸς γυμνασίαν ψιλὴν τὴν ὅλην πραγματείαν ἀποβλέπειν λεγόντων; Εἰ δὲ μὴ μόνον συλλογιστικῶς ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀποδεικτικῶς ἀνάγκη δήπου τὸ μέσον αἴτιον εἶναι καὶ τῇ φύσει πρότερον τοῦ συμπεράσματος. Ὅτε τοίνυν τὰ τῶν ἡγουμένων λόγων συμπεράσματα μέσα ποιούμεθα τῶν ἑπομένων ἔσται δήπου καὶ τὰ πράγματα περὶ ὧν οἱ λόγοι τὴν ὁμοίαν ἔχοντα κατὰ τὸ εἶναι τάξιν καὶ τὰ γεννήματα τῶν ὑποκειμένων ἔσται αἴτια καὶ γεννητικὰ τῶν δευτέρων. Εἰ δὲ τοῦτο πῶς τὴν αὐτὴν ἰδιότητα καὶ φύσιν ἁπάντων εἶναι συγχωρήσομεν; Διώρισται γὰρ ἀπ’ ἀλλήλων αἰτία καὶ τὸ ἀπ’ αἰτίας γινόμενον.
Ἀλλὰ μὴν κἀκεῖνο συμβαίνει τοῖς λέγουσι μίαν εἶναι τὴν ἐν ἅπασι τοῖς λόγοις ἐξεταζομένην φύσιν τὸ μὴ διορᾶν ὅπως ἐν μὲν τοῖς τρισὶ τοῖς πρώτοις συμπεράσμασιν ἀδιάκριτον μένει τοῦ ὄντος τὸ ἕν ἐν δὲ τῷ τετάρτῳ διακρίνεται πρώτως ἐν δὲ τοῖς ἑξῆς ἅπασι χωρὶς τοῦ ὄντος αὐτὸ καθ’ ἑαυτὸ θεωρούμενον ἐξήτασται. Πῶς οὖν οὐκ ἀνάγκη τὰς τάξεις ταύτας διαφέρειν
ἀλλήλων; Τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἀδιάκριτον ἅτε κρυφίως ὂν καὶ ἀδιαιρέτως συγγενέστερόν ἐστι πρὸς τὸ ἕν τὸ δὲ διακρινόμενον δευτέραν ἔχει μετὰ τοῦτο τάξιν τὸ δὲ διακεκριμένον πορρώτερον ἤδη προελήλυθεν ἀπὸ τῆς πρωτίστης.
Εἰ δὲ καὶ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν λόγων ἀνασκέψασθαι καὶ τὸ τῆς ὑποθέσεως μῆκος ἐθέλοις ὁπόσῳ διαφέρει τῆς μετ’ αὐτήν οὐδὲ ταύτῃ σοι φανεῖται περὶ μιᾶς εἶναι φύσεως αὐτὴν καὶ ἀδιακρίτου παντελῶς. Οἱ γὰρ περὶ τῶν θείων λόγοι συνῄρηνται μὲν ἐν τοῖς ἀρχηγικωτέροις αἰτίοις διότι τὸ κρύφιον ἐκείνων τοῦ φανοῦ καὶ τὸ ἄρρητον τοῦ γνωστοῦ πλεονάζει πληθύονται δὲ καὶ ἀνελίττονται προϊόντες ἐπὶ τὰς προσεχεστέρας ἡμῖν τῶν θείων διακοσμήσεις. Τὰ μὲν γὰρ τοῦ ἀρρήτου καὶ ἀγνώστου καὶ ἐν ἀβάτοις ἐξῃρημένου συγγενῆ πρὸς τὴν διὰ λόγων μήνυσιν ἀλλοτριωτέραν ἔλαχε τὴν ὕπαρξιν τὰ δὲ εἰς τὸ πρόσω προεληλυθότα καὶ ἡμῖν γνωριμώτερα καὶ τῇ φαντασίᾳ καταφανέστερα τῶν πρὸ αὐτῶν ἐστί.
Τοῦτο μὲν οὖν ἐνταῦθα κείσθω διὰ πλειόνων ἡμῖν ἀποπεφασμένον ὡς ἀνάγκη τὴν δευτέραν ὑπόθεσιν ἁπάσας μὲν τὰς θείας ἐκφαίνειν διακοσμήσεις ἄνωθεν δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν ἁπλουστάτων καὶ ἑνικωτάτων εἰς τὸ ὅλον πλῆθος τῶν θείων καὶ τὸν σύμπαντα χωρεῖν ἀριθμόν εἰς ὃν κατέληξε τῶν ὄντως ὄντων ἡ τάξις ὑπεστρωμένη μὲν ταῖς ἑνάσι τῶν θεῶν συνδιαιρουμένη δὲ ταῖς ἀρρήτοις αὐτῶν καὶ ἀφράστοις ἰδιότησιν. Εἰ δὲ ταῦτα ἡμεῖς μὴ ἐξαπατώμενοι συγκεχωρήκαμεν ἐκ ταύτης δήπου τῆς ὑποθέσεως τήν τε τῶν θείων διακόσμων συνέχειαν καὶ τὴν τῶν δευτέρων ἀπὸ τῶν πρώτων πάροδον ληπτέον καὶ τὴν ἰδιότητα τῶν θείων ἁπάντων γενῶν καὶ τίς μὲν αὐτῶν ἡ πρὸς ἄλληλα κοινωνία τίς δὲ ἡ κατὰ μέτρα προϊοῦσα διάκρισις· καὶ τὰς ἐκ τῶν λοιπῶν διαλόγων ἀφορμὰς τῆς περὶ τῶν ὄντως ὄντων ἢ τῶν ἑνάδων τῶν ἐν αὐτοῖς ἀληθείας εἰς τήνδε τὴν ὑπόθεσιν ἀνενεκτέον. Τὰς γὰρ ὅλας προόδους τῶν θεῶν καὶ τὰς παντελεῖς αὐτῶν διακοσμήσεις ἐνταῦθα κατὰ τὴν θεολογικὴν ἐπιστήμην ἐκφαινομένας θεωρήσομεν. Ἐπεὶ γὰρ δέδεικται πρότερον ὅτι τῆς ἐν τοῖς πράγμασιν ἀληθείας στοχάζεται πᾶσα ἡ τοῦ Παρμενίδου πραγματεία καὶ οὐκ ἔστι διὰ κενῆς μεμηχανημένη τῶν λόγων ἀνέλιξις ἀνάγκη δήπου τὰς ἐννέα ταύτας ὑποθέσεις ἃς διέξεισι τῇ μὲν διαλεκτικῇ μεθόδῳ
χρώμενος ἐπιστήμῃ δὲ τῇ θείᾳ θεωρῶν περὶ πραγμάτων εἶναι καὶ φύσεών τινων πρώτων ἢ μέσων ἢ ἐσχάτων. Εἰ τοίνυν ὁ Παρμενίδης περὶ τοῦ ἑνὸς αὐτῷ τὸν σύμπαντα λόγον ἔσεσθαι συνομολογεῖ καὶ πῶς ἔχει τοῦτο πρός τε αὑτὸ καὶ τὰ ἄλλα πάντα δῆλον ὡς καὶ τούτου ἀναγκαῖον ἄρχεσθαι μὲν τὴν θεωρίαν ἀπὸ τῶν ἀκροτάτων τελευτᾶν δὲ εἰς τὸ ἔσχατον τῶν πάντων· πρόεισι γὰρ ἡ τοῦ ἑνὸς ὕπαρξις ἄνωθεν ἄχρι τῆς ἀμυδροτάτης τῶν πραγμάτων ὑποστάσεως.
XII. Σκοποὶ τῶν ὑποθέσεων τὴν πρὸς ἀλλήλας αὐτῶν συνέχειαν καὶ τὴν πρὸς τὰ πράγματα συμφωνίαν δεικνύοντες.
Ἀλλ’ ἐπείπερ ἡ πρωτίστη τῶν ὑποθέσεων τὴν ἀπεριήγητον τῆς πρωτίστης ἀρχῆς ὑπερβολὴν διὰ τῶν ἀποφάσεων ἐπιδείκνυσι καὶ πάσης μὲν οὐσίας αὐτὴν πάσης δὲ γνώσεως ἐξῃρημένην ἀφίησι δῆλον ὡς ἡ μετ’ αὐτήν ἅτε προσεχῶς ἀπ’ αὐτῆς ἐκφαινομένη τὸν σύμπαντα διάκοσμον ἐκφαίνει τῶν θεῶν.
Οὐ γὰρ τὸ νοερὸν αὐτῶν οὐδὲ τὸ οὐσιῶδες μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ θεῖον τῆς ὑπάρξεως ἰδίωμα παραλαμβάνει διὰ πάσης τῆς ὑποθέσεως. Τί γὰρ ἄλλο ἐστὶ τὸ ἓν τὸ μετεχόμενον ὑπὸ τοῦ ὄντος ἢ τὸ ἐν ἑκάστῳ θεῖον καθ’ ὃ καὶ ἥνωται πάντα πρὸς τὸ ἀμέθεκτον ἕν; Ὡς γὰρ τὰ σώματα τῇ ἑαυτῶν ζωῇ συνάπτεται πρὸς τὴν ψυχήν καὶ ὡς αἱ ψυχαὶ τῷ ἑαυτῶν νοητικῷ πρὸς τὸν ὅλον νοῦν ἀνατείνονται καὶ τὴν πρωτίστην νόησιν οὕτω δήπου καὶ τὰ ὄντως ὄντα τῷ ἑαυτῶν ἑνὶ πρὸς τὴν ἐξῃρημένην ἕνωσιν ἀνῆκται καὶ ταύτῃ τῆς πρωτίστης αἰτίας ἐστὶν ἀνεκφοίτητα.
Ἐπεὶ δὲ ἄρχεται μὲν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος ἡ ὑπόθεσις αὕτη καὶ τὴν ἀκρότητα τῶν νοητῶν πρώτην ἀπὸ τοῦ ἑνὸς ὑφίστησι καταλήγει δὲ εἰς τὴν τοῦ χρόνου μετέχουσαν οὐσίαν καὶ τὰς θείας ψυχὰς ἐπ’ ἐσχάτοις τῶν θείων διακόσμων παράγει τὴν τρίτην ἀναγκαῖον πάντως τὸ τῶν μερικῶν ψυχῶν πλῆθος ἅπαν καὶ τὰς ἐν αὐταῖς διαφορὰς τοῖς ποικίλοις συμπεράσμασιν
ἐπιδεικνύναι. Καὶ μέχρι τούτων ἡ χωριστὴ καὶ ἀσώματος ὑπόστασις προελήλυθε.
Μετὰ δὲ ταύτην ἡ μεριστὴ περὶ τὰ σώματα καὶ τῆς ὕλης ἀχώριστος ἣν ἡ τετάρτη παραδίδωσιν ἄνωθεν ἀπὸ τῶν θεῶν ἠρτημένην. ἡ Τελευταία δὲ ἡ τῆς ὕλης πρόοδος εἴτε μιᾶς εἴτε ποικίλης οὔσης ἣν ἡ πέμπτη διὰ τῶν ἀποφάσεων κατὰ τὴν πρὸς τὸ πρῶτον αὐτῆς ἀνόμοιον ὁμοιότητα δείκνυσιν. Ἀλλ’ οὗ μὲν αἱ ἀποφάσεις στερήσεις εἰσίν οὗ δὲ αἰτίαι τῶν γενομένων ἁπάντων ἐξῃρημέναι. Καί ὃ πάντων ἐστὶ θαυμαστότατον αἱ μὲν ἄκραι μόνως ἀποφατικαί ἀλλ’ ἡ μὲν καθ’ ὑπεροχὴν ἡ δὲ κατὰ ἔλλειψιν· τῶν δὲ ὑπ’ αὐτὰς ἑκατέρα καταφατική ἀλλ’ ἡ μὲν παραδειγματικῶς ἡ δὲ εἰκονικῶς· ἡ δὲ μέση τῇ ψυχικῇ τάξει προσήκουσα·σύγκειται μὲν γὰρ ἐκ καταφατικῶν καὶ ἀποφατικῶν συμπερασμάτων ἔχει δὲ συστοίχους ταῖς καταφάσεσι τὰς ἀποφάσεις καὶ οὔτε ὡς τὰ ἄλλα πεπλήθυσται μόνον καὶ ἐπεισοδιῶδες ἔχει τὸ ἓν οὔτε ὡς τὰ πρὸ αὐτῆς ὑπερανενήνεκται τῆς οὐσίας τὸ ἕν ἀλλ’ ἓν μέν ἐστιν ἔτι τὸ ἐν αὐτῇ προτεινόμενον ἕν κινήσει δὲ καὶ πληθυσμῷ τὸ ἓν τοῦτο καὶ οἷον ὑπὸ τῆς οὐσίας καταπινόμενον προελήλυθεν. Αἱ μὲν οὖν τὰ ὄντα πάντα τά τε χωριστὰ καὶ τὰ ἀχώριστα καὶ τὰς αἰτίας τῶν ὅλων τάς τε ἐξῃρημένας καὶ τὰς ἐν αὐτοῖς τοῖς πράγμασιν οὔσας ἐκφαίνουσαι κατὰ τὴν ὕπαρξιν τοῦ ἑνός εἰσι τοιαίδε τινὲς ὑποθέσεις.
Ἄλλαι δὲ πρὸς ταύταις τέτταρες αἳ τὸ ἓν ἀνελοῦσαι πάντα ἐκποδὼν φαίνουσι τὰ ὄντα καὶ γινόμενα καὶ οὐδὲν ἔτι οὐδαμοῦ ὄν ἵνα δὴ καὶ τοῦ εἶναι καὶ τοῦ σῴζεσθαι τὸ ἓν αἴτιον ἀποδειχθῇ καὶ δι’ ἐκεῖνο πάντα τὰ ὄντα μετέχῃ τῆς τοῦ ὄντος φύσεως καὶ πρὸς ἐκεῖνο τὴν ὕπαρξιν ἕκαστον ἀνηρτημένην ἔχῃ. Καὶ ὡς συλλήβδην εἰπεῖν τοῦτο διὰ πάντων συλλογιζόμεθα τῶν ὄντων ὡς εἴτε ἔστι τὸ ἕν τὰ πάντα ἐστὶν ἄχρι καὶ τῆς ἐσχάτης ὑποστάσεως εἴτε μὴ ἔστι τὸ ἕν οὐδέν ἐστι τῶν ὄντων. Αἴτιον ἄρα καὶ τὸ ὑποστατικὸν καὶ
σωστικὸν τῶν ὄντων ἁπάντων τὸ ἕν ὃ καὶ ὁ Παρμενίδης ἐπὶ τέλει τοῦ διαλόγου συνήγαγεν. Ἀλλὰ περὶ μὲν τῶν ὑποθέσεων τοῦ Παρμενίδου καὶ τῆς ἐν αὐτῷ διαιρέσεως καὶ τῆς καθ’ ἕκαστα θεωρίας ἐν τοῖς εἰς αὐτὸν γεγραμμένοις ἡμῖν ἱκανῶς ἐξείργασται καὶ οὐδὲν ἐν τῷ παρόντι μηκύνειν προσήκει περὶ τούτων· ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἐκ τῶν εἰρημένων τήν τε σύμπασαν θεολογίαν πόθεν καὶ ἐκ τίνος παραληψόμεθα καὶ τὴν κατὰ μέρη διωρισμένην ἐκ ποίων διαλόγων εἰς ἓν συνάγειν ἐπιχειρήσομεν περὶ τῶν κοινῶν πρῶτον καὶ διατεινόντων εἰς πάντας τοὺς θείους διακόσμους ἱεροπρεπῶν τοῦ Πλάτωνος δογμάτων διαπραγματευσώμεθα καὶ δείξωμεν ὅτι ἕκαστα παρ’ αὐτῷ κατὰ τὴν τελεωτάτην ἐπιστήμην διώρισται. Τὰ γὰρ κοινὰ τῶν ἰδίων πρότερα καὶ γνωριμώτερα κατὰ φύσιν ἐστί.
XIII. Τίνας κοινοὺς κανόνας περὶ θεῶν ὁ Πλάτων ἐν Νόμοις παραδίδωσι περί τε ὑπάρξεως θεῶν καὶ περὶ προνοίας καὶ περὶ τῆς ἀτρέπτου τελειότητος.
Λαβώμεθα δὴ οὖν πρῶτον τῶν ἐν Νόμοις ἀποδεδειγμένων καὶ θεωρήσωμεν ὅπως ἐκεῖνα τῆς περὶ τῶν θεῶν ἀληθείας ἡγεῖται καὶ ὡς πάντων ἐστὶ πρεσβύτερα τῶν ἄλλων περὶ τοῦ θείου μυστικῶν νοημάτων. Λέγεται δὲ ἄρα καὶ λέγεται παρὰ τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἐν ἐκείνοις τρία ταῦτα τὸ εἶναι τοὺς θεούς τὸ προνοεῖν πάντων τὸ κατὰ δίκην τὰ πάντα ἄγειν καὶ μηδεμίαν ἐκ τῶν χειρόνων εἰσδέχεσθαι παρατροπήν.
Ταῦτ’ οὖν ὅτι μὲν ἁπάντων ἐστὶ τῶν ἐν θεολογίᾳ δογμάτων ἀρχοειδέστερα παντὶ καταφανές· τί γὰρ ἢ τῆς ὑπάρξεως τῶν θεῶν ἢ τῆς ἀγαθοειδοῦς προνοίας ἢ τῆς ἀτρέπτου καὶ ἀκλινοῦς δυνάμεώς ἐστιν ἡγεμονικώτερον δι’ ὧν καὶ παράγουσι τὰ δεύτερα μονοειδῶς καὶ σῴζουσιν ἀχράντως καὶ πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς ἐπιστρέφουσιν αὐτοὶ δὲ τὰ μὲν ἄλλα διακοσμοῦντες πάσχοντες δὲ ὑπὸ τῶν χειρόνων οὐδὲν οὐδὲ τῇ ποικιλίᾳ
τῶν προνοουμένων συμμεταβάλλοντες; Ὅπως δὲ καὶ κατὰ φύσιν διώρισται μάθοιμεν ἂν εἰ καθ’ ἕκαστον αὐτῶν τὴν ἐπιστημονικὴν τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἔφοδον τῷ λογισμῷ περιλαβεῖν ἐπιχειρήσαιμεν καὶ πρὸ τῶν ἄλλων τὸ εἶναι τοῦτο τοὺς θεοὺς ποίοις δή τισιν ἀνελέγκτοις ἐκεῖνος λόγοις κατεδήσατο καὶ ὅσα τούτῳ συνήρτηται προβλήματα μετὰ τοῦτο νοήσαιμεν.
Πῶς κατεσκεύασται τῶν θεῶν ἡ ὕπαρξις ἐν Νόμοις καὶ διὰ ποίων μεσοτήτων ἀνέδραμεν ὁ λόγος ἐπ’ αὐτοὺς τοὺς ὄντως θεούς. Ἁπάντων δὴ τῶν ὄντων ἀναγκαῖον τὰ μὲν κινεῖν μόνον τὰ δὲ κινεῖσθαι μόνον τὰ δὲ μεταξὺ τούτων ὄντα καὶ κινεῖσθαι καὶ κινεῖν· καὶ ταῦτα δὲ ἢ παρ’ ἄλλων κινούμενα ἄλλα κινεῖν ἢ αὐτοκίνητα ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι καὶ τέτταρας ταύτας ἑξῆς ἀλλήλων ὑποστάσεις τετάχθαι τὴν κινεῖσθαι μόνον καὶ πάσχειν ἀπ’ ἄλλων τῶν πρωτουργῶν αἰτίων λεγομένην καὶ πρὸ ταύτης τὴν ἄλλα μὲν κινοῦσαν ὑπ’ ἄλλων δὲ κινουμένην καὶ τούτων ἐπέκεινα τὴν αὐτοκίνητον ἀφ’ ἑαυτῆς ἀρχομένην καὶ τῷ ἑαυτὴν κινεῖν καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις τὴν τοῦ κινεῖσθαι παρέχουσαν ἔμφασιν καὶ τελευταῖον ἁπάντων τῶν ὅσα μετέχει κινήσεως ποιητικῆς ἢ παθητικῆς τὴν ἀκίνητον. Τὸ μὲν γὰρ αὐτοκίνητον πᾶν ἅτε ἐν μεταβάσει καὶ διαστάσει ζωῆς τὴν τελειότητα κεκτημένον ἄλλης αἰτίας ἐξήρτηται πρεσβυτέρας τῆς ἀεὶ κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ καὶ ὡσαύτως ἐχούσης ἧς οὐ κατὰ χρόνον ἀλλ’ ἐν αἰῶνι τὸ ζῆν· χρόνος γὰρ αἰῶνος εἰκών·
εἰ τοίνυν τὰ ὑφ’ ἑαυτῶν κινούμενα πάντα κατὰ χρόνον κινεῖται τὸ δὲ αἰώνιον τῆς κινήσεως εἶδος ἐπέκεινα τῆς κατὰ χρόνον φερομένης δεύτερον ἂν εἴη τάξει καὶ οὐ πρῶτον ἐν τοῖς οὖσι τὸ αὐτοκίνητον. Τὸ δὲ αὖ ἄλλα μὲν κινοῦν ὑπ’ ἄλλων δὲ κινούμενον εἰς τὴν αὐτοκίνητον ἀνηρτῆσθαι φύσιν ἀναγκαῖον· καὶ οὐ τοῦτο μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν ἑτεροκίνητον σύστασιν ὥσπερ ὁ Ἀθηναῖος ξένος ἀποδείκνυσιν. Εἰ γὰρ σταίη φησί τὰ κινούμενα πάντα τὸ πρῶτον κινηθησόμενον οὐκ ἔσται μὴ τῶν αὐτοκινήτων ἐν τοῖς οὖσιν ὑφεστηκότων· τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἀκίνητον οὐδαμῶς κινεῖσθαι πεφυκός οὐδ’ ἂν τότε κινηθείη
πρῶτον τὸ δὲ ἑτεροκίνητον ἄλλης ἂν δέοιτο κινούσης δυνάμεως· μόνον δὲ τὸ αὐτοκίνητον ὡς ἀφ’ ἑαυτοῦ τῆς ἐνεργείας ἀρχόμενον ἑαυτό τε καὶ τὰ ἄλλα δευτέρως κινήσει. Καὶ γὰρ τοῖς ἑτεροκινήτοις τὸ τοιοῦτον ἐνδίδωσι τὴν τοῦ κινεῖσθαι δύναμιν ὥσπερ ἅπασι τοῖς οὖσι τὸ ἀκίνητον τὴν τοῦ κινεῖν. Τρίτον δὲ αὖ τὸ κινούμενον μόνον τῶν ὑπ’ ἄλλου μὲν κινουμένων ἕτερα δὲ κινούντων πρώτως ἐξάψομεν· δεῖ γὰρ ταῖς οἰκείαις μεσότησιν συμπεπληρῶσθαι τά τε ἄλλα πάντα καὶ τὴν τῶν κινουμένων σειρὰν ἄνωθεν ἄχρι τῶν ἐσχάτων τάξει διατείνουσαν.
Τὰ μὲν οὖν σώματα πάντα τῶν κινεῖσθαι μόνον καὶ πάσχειν ἐστὶ πεφυκότων· οὐδενὸς γάρ ἐστι ποιητικὰ κατ’ αὐτὴν τὴν διαστατὴν καὶ μεγέθους καὶ ὄγκου μετασχοῦσαν ὑπόστασιν εἴπερ ἅπαν τὸ ποιητικὸν ἄλλων καὶ κινητικὸν ἀσωμάτῳ δυνάμει χρώμενον ποιεῖν τε καὶ κινεῖν πέφυκε.
Τῶν δὲ ἀσωμάτων τὰ μέν ἐστι μεριστὰ περὶ τοῖς σώμασιν τὰ δὲ ἐξῃρημένα τῆς τοιαύτης περὶ τὰ τῶν ὄντων ἔσχατα διαιρέσεως. Τὰ μὲν οὖν μεριζόμενα περὶ τοὺς ὄγκους τῶν σωμάτων εἴτε ἐν ποιότησιν εἴτε ἐν εἴδεσιν ἐνύλοις ὑφεστηκότα τῶν ὑπ’ ἄλλου μὲν κινουμένων ἄλλα δὲ κινούντων ἐστί· διότι μὲν γὰρ τῆς ἀσωμάτου καὶ ταῦτα μοίρας ἐστί τῆς τοῦ κινεῖν μετέχει δυνάμεως διότι δὲ αὖ μερίζεται περὶ τοῖς σώμασιν παρῃρημένα τῆς εἰς αὑτὰ συννεύσεως καὶ τοῖς ὑποκειμένοις συνδιιστάμενα καὶ τῆς ἐκ τούτων ἀργίας ἀναπιμπλάμενα δεῖται τῆς κινούσης οὐκ ἐπ’ ἀλλοτρίας ἕδρας φερομένης ἀλλ’ ἐν ἑαυτῇ τὴν ὑπόστασιν ἐχούσης. Ποῦ τοίνυν τὸ ἑαυτὸ κινοῦν ἕξομεν; Τὰ μὲν γὰρ εἰς ὄγκους ἐκτεινόμενα καὶ διαστάσεις ἢ ἐν τούτοις διῃρημένα καὶ ἀχωρίστως περὶ αὐτοὺς ὑφεστῶτα δυεῖν τὸ ἕτερον ἢ κινεῖσθαι μόνον ἢ παρ’ ἄλλων κινούμενα κινεῖν ἀνάγκη· δεῖ δέ ὡς πρότερον εἴρηται καὶ τὴν αὐτοκίνητον πρὸ τούτων εἶναι πάντως οὐσίαν ἐν ἑαυτῇ καὶ οὐκ ἐν ἄλλοις ἱδρυμένην καὶ πρὸς ἑαυτὴν ἀλλ’ οὐ πρὸς ἄλλα τὰς ἐνεργείας ἀπερείδουσαν. Ἔστιν ἄρα τις φύσις ἄλλη σωμάτων ἐξῃρημένη καὶ ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐν τοῖσδε τοῖς πολυμεταβόλοις στοιχείοις παρ’ ἧς τὸ κινεῖσθαι πρώτως τοῖς σώμασιν. Εἰ δὴ δέοι τὴν τοιαύτην οὐσίαν
ἀνευρεῖν ἥτις ἐστίν ὀρθῶς ἂν ποιοῖμεν ἑπόμενοι τῷ Σωκράτει καὶ σκοποῦντες τί ποτέ ἐστι τῶν ὄντων ὃ τῷ παρεῖναι τοῖς ἑτεροκινήτοις αὐτοκινησίας αὐτοῖς ἔμφασιν δίδωσιν καὶ τοῖς ποίοις δή τισι τῶν ὁρωμένων τὸ παρ’ ἑαυτῶν κινεῖσθαι προσφέρομεν. Τὰ μὲν γὰρ ἄψυχα πάντα μόνως ἐστὶν ἑτεροκίνητα καὶ ἅπερ ἂν πάσχῃ διὰ δή τινα δύναμιν ἔξωθεν κινοῦσαν καὶ βιαζομένην πάσχειν πέφυκε. Λείπεται δὴ τὰ ἔμψυχα τὴν τοιαύτην ἔμφασιν ἔχειν καὶ εἶναι δευτέρως αὐτοκίνητα τὴν δὲ ἐν αὐτοῖς οὖσαν ψυχὴν πρώτως ἑαυτήν τε καὶ κινεῖν καὶ ὑφ’ ἑαυτῆς κινεῖσθαι καὶ διὰ τὴν ὑφ’ ἑαυτῆς δύναμιν ὥσπερ τοῦ ζῆν οὕτω δὴ καὶ τοῦ κινεῖσθαι παρ’ ἑαυτῶν τοῖς σώμασιν ἰνδάλματα παρέχειν.
Εἰ τοίνυν τῶν μὲν ἑτεροκινήτων πρεσβυτέραν εἶναι δεῖ τὴν αὐτοκίνητον οὐσίαν ἡ δὲ ψυχὴ τὸ πρώτως αὐτοκίνητον παρ’ ἧς καὶ τοῖς σώμασιν ἐφήκει τὸ τῆς αὐτοκινησίας εἴδωλον ἐπέκεινα ἂν εἴη σωμάτων ἡ ψυχή καὶ παντὸς σώματος ἡ κίνησις ψυχῆς ἂν εἴη καὶ τῆς ἐν αὐτῇ κινήσεως ἔκγονος. Ἀναγκαῖον ἄρα καὶ τὸν ὅλον οὐρανὸν καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῷ πάντα ποικίλας ἔχοντα κινήσεις καὶ τὸ μὲν ἄλλην τὸ δὲ ἄλλην καὶ ταύτας κινούμενα κατὰ φύσιν παντὶ γὰρ τῷ τοιῷδε κατὰ φύσιν ἡ ἐγκύκλιος φορά ψυχὰς ἡγεμονούσας ἔχειν καὶ κατ’ οὐσίαν πρεσβυτέρας σωμάτων ἐν ἑαυταῖς κινουμένας αἳ καὶ τούτοις ἐκλάμπουσιν ἄνωθεν τὴν τοῦ κινεῖσθαι δύναμιν. Ταύτας δὴ οὖν τὰς ψυχάς αἳ τὸν σύμπαντα κόσμον καὶ τὰς ἐν αὐτῷ μοίρας διεκόσμησαν καὶ πᾶν τὸ σωματικὸν παρ’ ἑαυτοῦ ζωῆς ἄμοιρον ὂν κινούμενον καὶ ζῶν ἀπέφηναν ἐμπνεύσασαι τὴν τῆς κινήσεως αὐτοῖς αἰτίαν ἀναγκαῖον ἢ κατὰ λόγον πάντα κινεῖν ἢ τὸν ἐναντίον τρόπον ὃ μὴ θέμις εἰπεῖν. Ἀλλ’ εἰ μὲν ὁ κόσμος οὗτος καὶ πᾶν τὸ ἐν αὐτῷ τεταγμένον καὶ ὁμαλῶς κινούμενον καὶ φερόμενον ἀεὶ κατὰ φύσιν ὥσπερ δέδεικται τὰ μὲν ἐν τοῖς μαθήμασιν τὰ δὲ ἐν ταῖς περὶ φύσεως πραγματείαις εἰς ψυχὴν ἀνήρτηται τὴν ἀλόγως αὐτήν τε κινουμένην καὶ τὰ ἄλλα κινοῦσαν οὔτε ἡ τάξις αὕτη τῶν περιόδων οὔτε ἡ καθ’ ἑαυτὸ καθ’ ἕνα λόγον ὡρισμένη κίνησις οὔτε ἡ θέσις τῶν σωμάτων
οὔτε ἄλλο τῶν κατὰ φύσιν γινομένων οὐδὲν αἰτίαν ἑστῶσαν ἕξει καὶ κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ καὶ ὡσαύτως ἕκαστα διακοσμεῖν δυναμένην. Πᾶν γὰρ δὴ τὸ ἄλογον ὑπ’ ἄλλου κοσμεῖσθαι πέφυκεν ἀόριστον ὂν τῇ ἑαυτοῦ φύσει καὶ ἄκοσμον. Τὸ δὴ τῷ τοιούτῳ τὸν ὅλον οὐρανὸν ἐπιτρέψαι καὶ τὴν κατὰ λόγον ἀεὶ τὸν αὐτὸν ὡσαύτως ἀνακυκλουμένην περιφορὰν οὔτε τῇ φύσει τῶν πραγμάτων οὔτε ταῖς ἀδιδάκτοις ἡμῶν ἐννοίαις ἐστὶ προσῆκον οὐδαμῶς. Εἰ δὲ αὖ ψυχὴ νοερὰ καὶ λόγῳ χρωμένη τὰ πάντα ποδηγετεῖ καὶ πᾶν τὸ τὴν ἀίδιον φερόμενον φορὰν ὑπὸ ψυχῆς κυβερνᾶται τοιαύτης καὶ μηδέν ἐστι τῶν ὅλων ἄμοιρον ψυχῆς οὐθὲν γὰρ τίμιον τῶν σωμάτων τῆς τοιαύτης δυνάμεως ἐστερημένον ὥς πού φησιν ὁ Θεόφραστος πότερον κατὰ μέθεξιν ἔχει τὸ νοερὸν τοῦτο καὶ τὸ τέλειον καὶ τὸ ἀγαθουργὸν ἢ κατ’ οὐσίαν; Εἰ μὲν γὰρ κατ’ οὐσίαν ἀνάγκη καὶ πᾶσαν εἶναι ψυχὴν τοιαύτην εἴπερ ἑκάστη κατὰ τὴν ἑαυτῆς φύσιν ἐστὶν αὐτοκίνητος· εἰ δὲ κατὰ μέθεξιν ἄλλος ἂν εἴη ψυχῆς πρεσβύτερος ὁ κατ’ ἐνέργειαν νοῦς ὃς κατ’ οὐσίαν ἔχει τὸ νοεῖν αὐτῷ τῷ εἶναι τὴν ἑνοειδῆ γνῶσιν τῶν ὅλων ἐν ἑαυτῷ προειληφώς· ἐπεὶ καὶ ἀνάγκη τὴν ψυχὴν κατὰ λόγον οὐσιωμένην τὸ κατὰ νοῦν διὰ μεθέξεως ἔχειν καὶ τὸ νοερὸν εἶναι διττόν τὸ μὲν πρώτως ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ θείῳ νῷ τὸ δὲ ἀπ’ ἐκείνου δευτέρως ἐν ψυχῇ· πρόσθες δέ εἰ βούλει καὶ τὴν εἰς τὸ σῶμα παρουσίαν τῆς νοερᾶς ἐλλάμψεως. Πόθεν γὰρ ὁ σύμπας οὗτος οὐρανὸς ἢ σφαιρικός ἐστιν ἢ κύκλῳ φέρεται καὶ περὶ τὸ αὐτὸ κατὰ μίαν τάξιν ὡρισμένην ἀνακυκλοῦται; Πῶς δὲ ἀεὶ τὴν αὐτὴν ἰδέαν καὶ δύναμιν ἀτρέπτως ἔλαχε κατὰ φύσιν εἰ μὴ τῆς κατὰ νοῦν μετείληχεν εἰδοποιίας; Ψυχὴ μὲν γὰρ κινήσεώς ἐστι χορηγός τὸ δὲ τῆς μονίμου καταστάσεως αἴτιον καὶ τὴν ἀνίδρυτον τῶν κινουμένων παράλλαξιν εἰς ταὐτότητα τήν τε καθ’ ἕνα λόγον πεπερασμένην ζωὴν καὶ ὡσαύτως ἔχουσαν περιφορὰν ἐπανάγον δῆλον ὡς ἐπέκεινα ἂν εἴη ψυχῆς.
Σῶμα μὲν ἄρα καὶ πᾶν τὸ αἰσθητὸν τοῦτο τῶν ἑτεροκινήτων ἐστί ψυχὴ
δὲ αὐτοκίνητος εἰς αὑτὴν ἁπάσας τὰς σωματικὰς κινήσεις ἀναδησαμένη πρὸ δὲ ταύτης ὁ νοῦς ἀκίνητος ὤν. Καί μοι τοῦτο τὸ ἀκίνητον μὴ τοιοῦτον ὑπολάβῃς οἷον τὸ ἀργὸν καὶ ἄζων καὶ ἄπνευμον εἶναί φαμεν ἀλλὰ τὸ πάσης κινήσεως ἀρχηγικὸν αἴτιον καὶ τὴν πηγήν εἰ βούλει πάσης ζωῆς τῆς τε εἰς ἑαυτὴν ἐπιστρεφομένης καὶ τῆς ἐν ἑτέροις τὴν ὑπόστασιν ἐχούσης. Καὶ διὰ ταύτας ὁ κόσμοσ τὰς αἰτίας ζῷον ἔμψυχον ἔννουν ὑπὸ τοῦ Τιμαίου προσείρηται κατὰ μὲν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ φύσιν καὶ τὴν εἰς αὐτὸν καθήκουσαν ζωὴν ἀπὸ ψυχῆς καὶ περὶ αὐτὸν μεριζομένην ζῷον ἀποκαλούμενος κατὰ δὲ τὴν τῆς θείας ψυχῆς εἰς αὐτὸν παρουσίαν ἔμψυχον κατὰ δὲ τὴν νοερὰν ἐπιστασίαν ἔννουν· καὶ γὰρ ζωῆς χορηγία καὶ ψυχῆς ἡγεμονία καὶ νοῦ μετουσία συνέχει τὸν ὅλον οὐρανόν.
Εἰ δὲ καὶ ὁ νοῦς οὗτος κατ’ οὐσίαν μέν ἐστι νοῦς ἐπεὶ ταὐτόν ἐστι τὸ νοεῖν καὶ τὸ εἶναι φησὶν ὁ Παρμενίδης κατὰ μέθεξιν δὲ θεός ὅ μοι καὶ ὁ Ἀθηναῖος δοκεῖ ξένος ἐνδεικνύμενος θεῖον αὐτὸν προσειπεῖν· νοῦν γάρ φησιν θεῖον προσλαβοῦσαν τὴν ψυχὴν ὀρθὰ καὶ ἔμφρονα παιδαγωγεῖν ἀνάγκη δήπου καὶ τὸν ὅλον οὐρανὸν εἰς τὴν αὐτοῦ θεότητα καὶ ἕνωσιν ἀνηρτῆσθαι καὶ τῷδε τῷ παντὶ κόσμῳ τὴν μὲν κίνησιν ἀπὸ ψυχῆς παρεῖναι τὴν δὲ ἀίδιον διαμονὴν καὶ τὸ ὡσαύτως ἀπὸ νοῦ τὴν δὲ ἕνωσιν τὴν μίαν καὶ τὴν σύμπνοιαν τὴν ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν συμπάθειαν καὶ τὸ παντελὲς μέτρον ἐκ τῆς ἑνάδος ἀφ’ ἧς καὶ ὁ νοῦς ἑνοειδὴς καὶ ἡ ψυχὴ μία καὶ ἕκαστον τῶν ὄντων ὅλον ἐστὶ καὶ τέλειον κατὰ τὴν αὑτοῦ φύσιν καὶ τῶν δευτέρων ἕκαστον μετὰ τῆς ἐν τῇ οἰκείᾳ φύσει τελειότητος κἀκ τῆς ὑπεριδρυμένης ἀεὶ τάξεως μεταλαμβάνει κρείττονος ἄλλης ἰδιότητος. Τὸ μὲν γὰρ σωματικὸν ἑτεροκίνητον ὂν αὐτοκινήτου δυνάμεως ἔμφασιν ἀπὸ ψυχῆς κομίζεται καὶ ζῷόν ἐστι δι’ ἐκείνην· ψυχὴ δὲ αὐτοκίνητος οὖσα τῆς κατὰ νοῦν μετέχει ζωῆς καὶ κατὰ χρόνον ἐνεργοῦσα τὸ τῆς ἐνεργείας ἄπαυστον καὶ τὴν ἄγρυπνον ζωὴν ἐκ τῆς πρὸς
τὸν νοῦν ἔχει γειτνιάσεως· νοῦς δὲ ἐν αἰῶνι τὸ ζῆν ἔχων καὶ τῇ οὐσίᾳ ὢν ἐνέργεια καὶ πᾶσαν ὁμοῦ τὴν νόησιν ἐν τῷ νῦν ἑστῶσαν πηξάμενος ἔνθεός ἐστι διὰ τὴν πρὸ αὐτοῦ πάντως αἰτίαν. Διττὰς γὰρ ἔχει τὰς ἐνεργείας ὥς φησιν ὁ Πλωτῖνος τὰς μὲν ὡς νοῦς τὰς δὲ ὡς μεθύων τῷ νέκταρι· καὶ ἐν ἄλλοις ἐδείξαμεν ὅτι καὶ ὁ νοῦς οὗτος τῷ πρὸ ἑαυτοῦ μὴ νῷ θεός ὥσπερ ἡ ψυχὴ τῇ ἑαυτῆς ὑπὲρ ψυχὴν ἀκρότητι νοῦς καὶ τὸ σῶμα τῇ πρὸ τοῦ σώματος δυνάμει ψυχή.
Πάντα δ’ οὖν ὥσπερ εἴπομεν ἀνήρτηται τοῦ ἑνὸς διὰ μέσου νοῦ καὶ ψυχῆς· καὶ ὁ μὲν νοῦς ἑνοειδής ἐστιν ἡ δὲ ψυχὴ νοοειδής τὸ δὲ σῶμα τὸ τοῦ κόσμου ζωτικόν πᾶν δὲ εἰς τὸ πρὸ αὐτοῦ συνῄρηται. Καὶ τῶν μετὰ ταῦτα τὰ μὲν ἐγγύτερον τὰ δὲ πορρώτερον ἀπολαύει τοῦ θείου· καὶ ὁ μὲν θεὸσ πρὸ νοῦ τῇ νοερᾷ φύσει πρώτως ἐποχούμενοσ ὁ δὲ νοῦς θειότατος ὡς πρὸ τῶν ἄλλων ἐκθεούμενος ἡ δὲ ψυχὴ θεία καθ’ ὅσον τῆς νοερᾶς δεῖται μεσότητος τὸ δὲ σῶμα τὸ τῆς τοιαύτης ψυχῆς μετέχον ὡς μὲν σῶμα θεῖον δήπου καὶ αὐτό διήκει γὰρ ἄνωθεν ἄχρι τῶν ἐσχάτως ἐξηρτημένων ἡ τοῦ φωτὸς ἔλλαμψισ ἁπλῶς δὲ οὐ θεῖον ἀλλὰ ψυχὴ τῷ πρὸς νοῦν βλέπειν καὶ παρ’ ἑαυτῆς ζῆν θεία πρώτως ἐστίν.
Ὁ αὐτὸς δή μοι λόγος ἐστὶ καὶ περὶ τῶν ὅλων σφαιρῶν ἑκάστης καὶ περὶ τῶν ἐν αὐταῖς σωμάτων. Πάντα γὰρ μιμεῖται τὸν ὅλον οὐρανόν ἐπείπερ καὶ αὐτὰ τῆς ἀιδίου μοίρας ἐστί καὶ τὰ ὑπὸ σελήνην στοιχεῖα τὸ μὲν πάντῃ κατ’ οὐσίαν ἀμετάβλητον οὐκ ἔχοντα μένοντα δὲ κατὰ τὰς αὐτῶν ὁλότητας ἐν τῷ παντὶ καὶ ζῴων ὄντα περιεκτικὰ μερικῶν. Πᾶσα γὰρ ὁλότης ἔχει μεθ’ ἑαυτὴν τὰς μερικωτέρας ὑποστάσεις· ὥσπερ οὖν ἐν οὐρανῷ μετὰ τῶν ὅλων σφαιρῶν καὶ ὁ τῶν ἄστρων συμπροῆλθεν ἀριθμὸς καὶ ὥσπερ ἐν γῇ μετὰ τῆς ὁλότητος καὶ ζῴων γηΐνων μερικῶν ὑφέστηκε πλῆθος οὕτως ἀναγκαῖον οἶμαι κἀν τοῖς μεταξὺ
τῶν ὅλων ἕκαστον στοιχεῖον συμπεπληρῶσθαι τοῖς οἰκείοις ἀριθμοῖς. Καὶ πῶς γὰρ ἂν ἐν τοῖς ἄκροις τὰ ὅλα μετὰ τῶν μερῶν ἐτέτακτο πρὸ τῶν μερῶν ὑφιστάμενα μὴ κἀν τοῖς μέσοις οὔσης τῆς αὐτῆς ἀναλογίας;
Εἰ δὲ ἑκάστη τῶν σφαιρῶν καὶ ζῷόν ἐστι καὶ ἀεὶ ὡσαύτως ἵδρυται καὶ συμπληροῖ τὸ πᾶν ὡς μὲν ζωὴν ἔχον ψυχῆς ἀεὶ μετέχον πρώτως ὡς δὲ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ τάξιν ἄτρεπτον ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ διαφυλάττον ὑπὸ νοῦ συνεχόμενον ὡς δὲ ἓν καὶ ὅλον τῶν οἰκείων μερῶν ἡγεμονοῦν ὑπὸ τῆς ἑνώσεως τῆς θείας ἐλλαμπόμενον οὐ μόνον ἄρα τὸ πᾶν ἀλλὰ καὶ ἕκαστον τῶν ἀιδίων ἐν αὐτῷ μερῶν ἔμψυχόν ἐστι καὶ ἔννουν ὁμοιούμενον τῷ παντὶ κατὰ δύναμιν· καὶ γὰρ τούτων ἕκαστόν ἐστι πᾶν πρὸς τὸ συγγενὲς αὐτῷ πλῆθος. Ἵν’ οὖν συνελόντες εἴπωμεν μία μὲν ἡ τοῦ παντὸς σωματοειδὴς ὁλότης πολλαὶ δὲ ὑπὸ ταύτην ἄλλαι τῆς μιᾶς ταύτης ἐξεχόμεναι· καὶ ψυχὴ μία τοῦ παντός καὶ μετὰ ταύτην ἄλλαι συνδιακοσμοῦσαι ταύτῃ τὰς ὅλας μερίδας ἀχράντως· καὶ νοῦς εἷς καὶ νοερὸς ἀριθμὸς ὑπὸ τοῦτον μετεχόμενος ὑπὸ τῶν ψυχῶν τούτων· καὶ θεὸς εἷς ἁπάντων ὁμοῦ τῶν ἐγκοσμίων συνοχεύς καὶ πλῆθος ἄλλων θεῶν τάς τε νοερὰς οὐσίας καὶ τὰς ψυχὰς τὰς τούτων ἠρτημένας καὶ τὰς μοίρας τοῦ κόσμου πάσας κατανειμαμένων. Οὐ γὰρ δήπου τῶν μὲν φύσει γεγονότων ἕκαστον τῶν ὁμοίων ἐστὶ γεννητικόν τὰ δὲ ὅλα καὶ πρώτιστα τῶν ἐγκοσμίων οὐ πολλῷ μειζόνως τῆς τοιαύτης ἀπογεννήσεως ἐν ἑαυτοῖς προτείνει τὸ παράδειγμα· τὸ γὰρ ὅμοιον τοῦ ἀνομοίου καθάπερ δὴ καὶ τὸ ταὐτὸν τοῦ θατέρου καὶ τὸ πέρας τοῦ ἀπείρου τῷ τῆς αἰτίας λόγῳ συγγενέστερόν ἐστι καὶ κατὰ φύσιν προσῆκον. Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν κἀν τοῖς ὕστερον δι’ ἀκριβείας θεωρήσομεν· ἐπὶ δὲ τὸ δεύτερον τραπώμεθα τῶν ἐν Νόμοις ἀποδεδειγμένων τὸ τοὺς θεοὺς προνοεῖν τῶν τε ὅλων ὁμοῦ καὶ τῶν μερῶν καὶ
τίνα περὶ τῆς προνοίας τῶν θεῶν ἀνέλεγκτον ἔννοιαν ὁ Πλάτων ἡμῖν παραδίδωσι τῷ λογισμῷ συνέλωμεν.
XIV. Πῶς ἀποδέδεικται τῶν θεῶν ἡ πρόνοια ἐν Νόμοις καὶ τίς ὁ τρόπος τῆς προνοίας αὐτῶν ἐστὶ κατὰ Πλάτωνα.
Οὐκοῦν ἐκ τῶν προειρημένων παντὶ καταφανὲς ὅτι θεοὶ κινήσεως αἴτιοι πάντες ὄντες οἱ μὲν οὐσιώδεις καὶ ζωτικοὶ κατὰ τὴν αὐτοκίνητον καὶ αὐτόζωον καὶ αὐτενέργητον δύναμιν οἱ δὲ νοεροὶ καὶ αὐτῷ τῷ εἶναι τὰ δεύτερα πάντα πρὸς τὴν τελειότητα τῆς ζωῆς ἀνεγείροντες κατὰ τὴν πηγήν τε καὶ ἀρχὴν πασῶν τῶν δευτέρων τε καὶ τρίτων τῆς κινήσεως προόδων οἱ δὲ ἑνιαῖοι καὶ πάντα τὰ ὅλα γένη ταῖς ἑαυτῶν μεθέξεσιν ἐκθεοῦντες κατὰ τὴν πρωτουργὸν καὶ παντελῆ καὶ ἄγνωστον τῆς ἐνεργείας δύναμιν οὐ τῆσδε μέν εἰσιν ἡγεμόνες τῆς κινήσεως τῆς δὲ ἄλλοις ἀφεῖσαν τὴν ἀρχήν οὐδ’ αὖ τὴν μὲν κατὰ τόπον ἢ κατὰ ποιότητα κίνησιν χορηγοῦσι τοῖς δευτέροις τὴν δὲ κατ’ οὐσίαν ἢ κατὰ ποσότητα παρ’ ἑαυτῶν ἔχει τὰ τῇδε. Πᾶν γὰρ τὸ τῆς οὐσίας αἴτιον ἑαυτῷ πολλῷ πρότερόν ἐστι καὶ τῶν ἐνεργειῶν τῶν οἰκείων καὶ τῆς τελειότητος αἴτιον. Ἔτι τὸ αὐτοκίνητον πᾶσίν ἐστιν ἀρχὴ κινήσεως καὶ τὸ εἶναι τοῖς ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ πᾶσι καὶ τὸ ζῆν ἀπὸ ψυχῆς καὶ οὐχ ἡ τοπικὴ μόνον οὐδὲ αἱ ἄλλαι κινήσεις ἀλλὰ καὶ ἡ εἰς τὸ εἶναι πάροδος ἀπὸ ταύτης καὶ πολλῷ πρότερον ἐκ τῆς νοερᾶς οὐσίας ἣ καὶ τὴν τῶν αὐτοκινήτων ζωὴν εἰς ἑαυτὴν ἀνεδήσατο καὶ προηγεῖται κατ’ αἰτίαν ἁπάσης χρονικῆς ἐνεργείας καὶ ἔτι μειζόνως ἐκ τῆς ἑνιαίας ὑπάρξεως ἣ καὶ τὸν νοῦν καὶ τὴν ψυχὴν συνέχει καὶ πληροῖ τῶν ὅλων ἀγαθῶν καὶ πρόεισιν ἄχρι τῶν ἐσχάτων. Ζωῆς μὲν γὰρ οὐ πάντα τὰ τοῦ κόσμου μέρη μετέχειν δυνατὸν οὐδὲ νοῦ καὶ τῆς γνωστικῆς δυνάμεως τοῦ δὲ ἑνὸς πάντα μετείληχεν ἄχρι τῆς ὕλης τά τε ὅλα καὶ
τὰ μέρη τά τε κατὰ φύσιν καὶ τὰ τούτοις ἐναντία καὶ οὐδέν ἐστιν ἄμοιρον τῆς τοιαύτης αἰτίας οὐδ’ ἂν τοῦ ὄντος μετάσχοι τί ποτε τοῦ ἑνὸς ἐστερημένον. Εἰ τοίνυν πάντα μὲν παράγουσιν οἱ θεοί πάντα δὲ συνέχουσι ταῖς ἑαυτῶν ἀγνώστοις περιοχαῖς τίς μηχανὴ μὴ οὐχὶ καὶ πρόνοιαν εἶναι τῶν πάντων ἐν αὐτοῖς διήκουσαν ἄνωθεν ἄχρι τῶν μερικωτάτων; Τὰ γὰρ ἔκγονα πανταχοῦ προσήκει τῆς τῶν αἰτίων ἀπολαύειν κηδεμονίας· τὰ δὲ ἑτεροκίνητα πάντα τῶν αὐτοκινήτων ἔκγονα καὶ τὰ κατὰ χρόνον ἢ τὸν ὅλον ἢ τὸν τοῦδε μερικώτερον ὑφιστάμενα τῶν αἰωνίων ἐστὶν ἀποτελέσματα διότι τὸ ἀεὶ ὂν τοῦ ποτὲ ὄντος αἴτιον καὶ τὰ θεῖα καὶ ἑνιαῖα γένη τῶν πεπληθυσμένων ἁπάντων ὑποστατικὰ προϋπάρχει καὶ οὐδέν ἐστιν ὅλως οὐσιῶν ἢ δυνάμεων πλῆθος ὃ μὴ τὴν γένεσιν ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἔλαχε. Ταῦτα τοίνυν πάντα καὶ τῆς προνοίας ἀνάγκη τυγχάνειν τῶν προηγουμένων αἰτίων ζωοποιούμενα μὲν ἐκ τῶν ψυχικῶν θεῶν καὶ κατὰ τὰς χρονικὰς περιόδους ἀνακυκλούμενα τοῦ δὲ εἶναι καὶ τῆς οὐσίας ἐκ τῶν νοερῶν ἀποπληρούμενα καὶ ταὐτότητος ὁμοῦ καὶ τῆς μονίμου τῶν εἰδῶν καταστάσεως μεταλαγχάνοντα τῆς δὲ ἑνώσεως καὶ τοῦ μέτρου καὶ τῆς τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ διανομῆς ἐκ τῶν πρωτίστων θεῶν καταδεχόμενα τὴν εἰς αὐτὰ παρουσίαν. Ἀνάγκη τοίνυν ἢ γινώσκειν τοὺς θεοὺς ὅτι κατὰ φύσιν ἐστὶν αὐτοῖς ἡ τῶν οἰκείων γεννημάτων πρόνοια καὶ τὸ μὴ μόνον ὑφιστάνειν τὰ δεύτερα καὶ ζωὴν χορηγεῖν καὶ οὐσίαν καὶ ἕνωσιν ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν ἀγαθῶν τῶν ἐν τούτοις προειληφέναι τὴν πρωτουργὸν αἰτίαν ἢ τὸ προσῆκον αὐτοὺς θεοὺς ὄντας ὃ μηδὲ θέμις εἰπεῖν ἀγνοεῖν.
Ποία γὰρ ἄγνοια τῶν καλῶν παρὰ τοῖς τῆς καλλονῆς αἰτίοις ἢ τῶν ἀγαθῶν παρὰ τοῖς ἐν τῇ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ φύσει τὴν ὕπαρξιν ἀφωρισμένην λαχοῦσιν; Ἀλλ’ εἰ μὲν ἀγνοοῦσιν οὔτε κατὰ νοῦν αἱ ψυχαὶ ποδηγοῦσι τὸ πᾶν οὔτε νόες εἰσὶν ἐπιβατεύοντες ταῖς ψυχαῖς οὔτε πρὸ τούτων αἱ τῶν θεῶν ἑνάδες
τὰς ἁπάσας γνώσεις ἐν αὐτοῖς συνῃρήκασιν ἃ δὴ διὰ τῶν ἔμπροσθεν ἀποδείξεων ἡμεῖς ὡμολογήκαμεν. Εἰ δὲ γινώσκουσι πατέρες ὄντες τῶν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ πάντων καὶ ἡγεμόνες καὶ ἄρχοντες ὡς τοιούτοις οὖσιν αὐτοῖς ἡ τῶν ἀρχομένων καὶ ἑπομένων καὶ γενομένων παρ’ αὐτῶν ἐπιμέλεια προσήκει πότερον αὐτοὺς καὶ δύνασθαι γινώσκοντας τὸν κατὰ φύσιν νόμον ἀποπληροῦν φήσομεν ἢ δι’ ἀσθένειαν τῆς προνοίας παρῃρῆσθαι τῶν οἰκείων εἴτε βούλει κτημάτων εἴτε γεννημάτων λέγειν; Οὐδὲν ἡμεῖς γε διοισόμεθα πρὸς τὸν παρόντα λόγον. Εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἀδυνατοῦντες τῆς τῶν ὅλων κηδεμονίας ἀπολείπονται τί τὸ τῆς ἀδυναμίας ταύτης αἴτιον; Οὐ γὰρ ἔξωθεν τὰ πράγματα κινοῦσιν οὐδ’ ἄλλοι μέν εἰσιν αἴτιοι τῆς οὐσίας αὐτοὶ δὲ τὴν ἡγεμονίαν παρειλήφασιν ὧν ἐκεῖνοι παρήγαγον ἀλλ’ οἷον ἐκ πρύμνησ τὰ πάντα κατευθύνουσιν αὐτοὶ τὸ εἶναι χορηγοῦντες αὐτοὶ τὰ τῆς ζωῆς μέτρα κατέχοντες αὐτοὶ τὰ τῆς ἐνεργείας ἑκάστοις διανέμοντες.
Καὶ πότερον ἀδυνατοῦσιν ἁπάντων ὁμοῦ προνοεῖν ἢ καὶ τῶν μερῶν ἕκαστον οὐκ ἄμοιρον ἀφεῖσαν τῆς ἑαυτῶν ἐπιστασίας; Καὶ εἰ μὴ πάντων τῶν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ εἰσὶ κηδεμόνες πότερον τῶν μὲν μειζόνων προμηθοῦνται τῶν δὲ ἐλαττόνων ἀμελοῦσιν ἢ τῶν μὲν ἐλαττόνων κήδονται τῶν δὲ μειζόνων τῆς ἐπιμελείας ἀφεστήκασιν; Εἰ μὲν γὰρ ὁμοίως ἁπάντων δι’ ἀδυναμίαν τῆς προνοίας αὐτοὺς ἀφαιρήσομεν πῶς τὸ μεῖζον αὐτοῖς ἀποδόντες τὸ πάντα παράγειν τὸ τῷδε κατὰ φύσιν ἑπόμενον τὸ προνοεῖν τῶν ὑποστάντων οὐ συγχωρήσομεν; Δυνάμεως γὰρ τῆς τὸ μεῖζον ποιούσης καὶ τὸ ἔλαττον κατορθοῦν. Εἰ δὲ τῶν μὲν ἐλαττόνων ἐπιμελήσονται τῶν δὲ μειζόνων ἀμελήσουσι πῶς ὁ τρόπος οὗτος τῆς προνοίας ὀρθὸς ἂν εἴη; Παντὶ γὰρ τὸ συγγενέστερον καὶ ὁμοιότερον μᾶλλόν ἐστι πρὸς τὴν μετουσίαν ὧν αὐτῷ δίδωσιν ἀγαθῶν οἰκεῖον καὶ κατὰ φύσιν προσῆκον. Εἰ δὲ τὰ μὲν πρώτιστα τῶν ἐγκοσμίων προνοίας ἀξιοῦσι καὶ τῆς παρ’ ἑαυτῶν τελειώσεως μέχρι δὲ τῶν ἐσχάτων χωρεῖν ἀδυνατήσουσιν
τί τὸ διεῖργον ἔσται τὴν ἐπὶ πάντα παρουσίαν τῶν θεῶν; Τί τὸ διακόπτον τὴν ἄφθονον ἐνέργειαν αὐτῶν; Πῶς δὲ οἱ τὰ μείζω δυνηθέντες τῶν ἐλαττόνων κρατεῖν ἀσθενοῦσιν; Ἢ πῶς τὴν οὐσίαν καὶ τῶν ἐλαχίστων παράγοντες τῆς τελειότητος αὐτῶν δι’ ἀδυναμίαν οὐκ ἔσονται κύριοι; Ταῦτα γὰρ πάντα πρὸς τὰς κατὰ φύσιν ἡμῶν ἐννοίας διαμάχεται. Λείπεται τοίνυν αὐτοὺς καὶ γινώσκειν τὸ προσῆκον καὶ δύναμιν ἔχειν εἰς τὴν τοῦ πρέποντος αὐτοῖς σχήματος τελειότητα καὶ τὴν τῶν ὅλων ἡγεμονίαν. Εἰ δὲ καὶ γινώσκουσι τὸ κατὰ φύσιν τοῦτο δέ ἐστι τοῖς τὰ πάντα γεννησαμένοις τῶν πάντων κήδεσθαι καὶ δυνάμεως περιουσίᾳ τῆς τοιαύτης οὐ παρῄρηνται κηδεμονίας καὶ πότερον ὁμοῦ τοῖς εἰρημένοις καὶ βούλησίς ἐστι τῆς προνοίας ἐν αὐτοῖς ἢ τοῦτο μόνον ἐλλείπει τῇ τε γνώσει καὶ τῇ δυνάμει καὶ διὰ τοῦτο τὰ πράγματα τῆς παρ’ αὐτῶν ἀπῃώρηται κηδεμονίας; Εἰ μὲν γὰρ καὶ γινώσκοντες τὰ προσήκοντα σφίσιν αὐτοῖς καὶ δυνάμενοι τὰ γνωσθέντα πληροῦν οὐ βούλονται προμηθεῖσθαι τῶν οἰκείων γεννημάτων ἀγαθότητος ἂν εἶεν ἐνδεεῖς καὶ τὸ ἄφθονον αὐτῶν οἰχήσεται καὶ οὐδὲν ἀλλ’ ἢ τὴν ὕπαρξιν ἀναιρήσομεν καθ’ ἣν οὐσίωνται. Τῷ γὰρ ἀγαθῷ τὸ εἶναι τῶν θεῶν ἀφώρισται καὶ ἐν τούτῳ τὴν ὑπόστασιν ἔχουσιν οἱ θεοί τὸ δὲ προνοεῖν τῶν ὑφειμένων ἀγαθοῦ τινός ἐστιν αὐτοῖς μεταδιδόναι· πῶς οὖν ἀφαιρούμενοι τῆς προνοίας τοὺς θεοὺς οὐχ ἅμα καὶ τῆς ἀγαθότητος αὐτοὺς ἀφαιρήσομεν; Πῶς δὲ τὴν ἀγαθότητα σαλεύοντες οὐχὶ καὶ τὴν ὕπαρξιν αὐτῶν ἣν κατεδησάμεθα ταῖς ἔμπροσθεν ἀποδείξεσιν ἀναιροῦντες λανθάνομεν; Ἀνάγκη τοίνυν τῷ μὲν εἶναι τοὺς θεοὺς καὶ τὸ ἀγαθοὺς εἶναι πᾶσαν ἀρετὴν συνακολουθεῖν τούτῳ δὲ αὖ τὸ μήτε ῥαθυμίᾳ μήτε ἀσθενείᾳ μήτε ἀγνοίᾳ τῆς τῶν δευτέρων προνοίας ἀποστατεῖν τούτῳ δὲ οἶμαι καὶ
τὸ γνῶσιν εἶναι παρ’ αὐτοῖς τὴν ἀρίστην καὶ δύναμιν ἄχραντον καὶ βούλησιν ἄφθονον· ἐξ ὧν δὴ καὶ προνοοῦντες τῶν ὅλων καὶ μηδὲν ἐλλείποντες εἰς τὴν τῶν ἀγαθῶν χορηγίαν πεφήνασι.
Καί μοι μηδεὶς τὴν τοιαύτην πρόνοιαν ἢ κατατείνειν περὶ τὰ δεύτερα τοὺς θεοὺς ἡγείσθω καὶ τῆς ἐξῃρημένης αὐτοὺς ἀφαιρεῖν ὑπεροχῆς ἢ πραγματειώδη καὶ ἐπίπονον αὐτοῖς τὸν βίον ποιεῖν πόρρω τῆς θνητῆς δυσχερείας ἱδρυμένοις. Οὐ γὰρ ἐθέλει χραίνεσθαι τὸ μακάριον αὐτῶν τῇ δυσκολίᾳ τῆς διοικήσεως ἐπεὶ καὶ τοῖς παρ’ ἡμῖν ἀγαθοῖς μετὰ ῥᾳστώνης ὁ βίος καὶ ἀπράγμων καὶ ἄλυπος πάντες δὲ οἱ πόνοι καὶ τὰ τῆς ὀχλήσεως ἐκ τῶν τῆς ὕλης ἐμποδίων. Ἀλλ’ εἰ δεῖ τὸν τρόπον ἀφορίσασθαι τῆς τῶν θεῶν προνοίας αὐτοφυῆ καὶ ἄχραντον αὐτὸν καὶ ἄυλον καὶ ἄρρητον ὑποθετέον. Οὐ γὰρ ζητοῦντες τὸ προσῆκον οὐδὲ λογισμοῖς ἀμφιβόλοις τὸ ἀγαθὸν ἑκάστου θηρεύοντες οὐδὲ ἔξω βλέποντες καὶ ἐπακολουθοῦντες τοῖς ἀποτελέσμασιν ὥσπερ ἄνθρωποι ποιοῦσιν ἐν τῇ προνοίᾳ τῶν οἰκείων πραγμάτων οὕτω δὴ καὶ οἱ θεοὶ τὰ πάντα κυβερνῶσιν· ἀλλ’ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς τὰ μέτρα τῶν ὅλων προειληφότες καὶ τὰς οὐσίας ἑκάστων ἀφ’ ἑαυτῶν παράγοντες καὶ εἰς ἑαυτοὺς βλέποντες αὐτῷ τῷ εἶναι ποδηγετοῦσιν ἀψόφῳ κελεύθῳ τὰ πάντα καὶ τελειοῦσι καὶ πληροῦσι τῶν ἀγαθῶν. Καὶ οὔτε τῇ φύσει παραπλησίως ποιοῦντες τῷ εἶναι μόνον ἀπροαιρέτως ἐνεργοῦσιν οὔτε ταῖς μερικαῖς ψυχαῖς ὁμοίως μετὰ βουλήσεως ἐνεργοῦντες τῆς κατ’ οὐσίαν ποιήσεως ἐστέρηνται συνῃρήκασι δὲ ἄμφω κατὰ μίαν ἕνωσιν καὶ βούλονται μὲν ὅσα τῷ εἶναι δύνανται τῷ δὲ εἶναι πάντα καὶ δυνάμενοι καὶ ποιοῦντες ἀφθόνῳ βουλήσει τὴν τῆς ποιήσεως αἰτίαν συνέχουσιν. Τίς οὖν πραγματεία; Ποία δυσχέρεια; Τίνος Ἰξίονος δίκην ἢ τῶν ὅλων ψυχῶν ἢ τῶν νοερῶν οὐσιῶν ἢ τῶν θεῶν αὐτῶν τὴν πρόνοιαν ἐπιτελεῖσθαι φήσει τις; Εἰ μὴ καὶ αὐτὸ τὸ διδόναι καὶ ὁπωσοῦν τὸ ἀγαθὸν ἐπίπονον τοῖς θεοῖς. Ἀλλὰ οὐδενὶ τὸ κατὰ φύσιν ἐπίπονον· οὔτε γὰρ πυρὶ τὸ θερμαίνειν οὔτε χιόνι τὸ ψύχειν οὔτε ὅλως τοῖς σώμασι τὸ κατὰ τὰς οἰκείας δυνάμεις ἐνεργεῖν· ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ
πρὸ τῶν σωμάτων ταῖς φύσεσι τὸ τρέφειν ἢ γεννᾶν ἢ αὔξειν ταῦτα γὰρ ἔργα τῶν φύσεων· οὐδὲ αὖ πρὸ τούτων ταῖς ψυχαῖς καὶ γὰρ αὗται πολλὰ μὲν ἐκ προαιρέσεως ἐνεργοῦσι πολλὰ δὲ αὐτῷ τῷ εἶναι καὶ κινοῦσι πολλὰς κινήσεις τῷ παρεῖναι μόνον. Ὥστ’ εἰ μὲν κατὰ φύσιν τοῖς θεοῖς ἡ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ μετάδοσις καὶ ἡ πρόνοια κατὰ φύσιν καὶ ταῦτα μετὰ ῥᾳστώνης καὶ αὐτῷ τῷ εἶναι μόνον παρὰ τῶν θεῶν ἐπιτελεῖσθαι φήσομεν· εἰ δὲ ταῦτα μὴ κατὰ φύσιν οὐδ’ ἂν ἀγαθοὶ κατὰ φύσιν εἶεν. Τὸ γὰρ ἀγαθὸν ἀγαθοῦ παρεκτικόν καθάπερ δὴ καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ζωῆς ἄλλης ὑποστατικὴ καὶ ὁ νοῦς νοερᾶς ἐλλάμψεως καὶ πᾶν τὸ πρώτως ὂν ἐν ἑκάστῃ φύσει τοῦ δευτέρως ὄντος γεννητικόν.
Ὃ δὲ μάλιστα τῆς Πλατωνικῆς ἐστὶ θεολογίας ἐξαίρετον τοῦτο ἔγωγε εἶναί φημι τὸ μήτε τὴν ἐξῃρημένην οὐσίαν τῶν θεῶν ἐπιστρέφειν εἰς τὰ δεύτερα διὰ τὴν τῶν καταδεεστέρων ἐπιμέλειαν μήτε τὴν προνοητικὴν ἐπὶ πάντα παρουσίαν ἐλαττοῦν διὰ τὴν τῶν ὅλων ἄχραντον αὐτῶν ὑπεροχήν ἀλλ’ ὁμοῦ μὲν αὐτοῖς τὸ χωριστὸν τῆς ὑποστάσεως ἀποδιδόναι καὶ τὸ ἀμιγὲς πρὸς ἅπασαν τὴν χείρονα φύσιν ὁμοῦ δὲ τὸ διατεῖνον εἰς ἅπαντα καὶ κηδεμονικὸν καὶ διακοσμητικὸν τῶν οἰκείων γεννημάτων. Οὐ γὰρ σωματικὸς ὁ τῆς διήξεως τρόπος ὥσπερ ὁ τοῦ φωτὸς διὰ τοῦ ἀέρος οὐδὲ μεριστὸς περὶ τοῖς σώμασιν ὥσπερ ἐπὶ τῆς φύσεως οὐδὲ ἐπιστρεφόμενος εἰς τὰ χείρονα καθάπερ ὁ τῆς μερικῆς ψυχῆς ἀλλὰ σώματος χωριστός ἀνεπί- στροφος ἄυλος ἀμιγής ἄσχετος ἑνοειδής πρωτουργός ἐξῃρημένος τοιοῦτός τις ὁ τῆς προνοίας τῶν θεῶν τρόπος ὡς συνελόντι φάναι πρός γε τὸ παρὸν νοείσθω. Δῆλον γὰρ ὅτι καθ’ ἑκάστην τάξιν θεῶν οἰκεῖος ἔσται· καὶ γὰρ ψυχὴ μὲν ἄλλως προνοεῖν λέγεται τῶν δευτέρων νοῦς δὲ ἄλλως θεὸς δὲ ὁ πρὸ νοῦ καὶ καθ’ ὑπεροχὴν τούτων ἀμφοτέρων· καὶ τῶν θεῶν αὐτῶν ἄλλη μὲν ἡ τῶν ὑπὸ σελήνην ἄλλη δὲ ἡ τῶν ἐν οὐρανῷ πρόνοια καὶ τῶν ἐπέκεινα τοῦ κόσμου
πολλαὶ μὲν αἱ τάξεις καθ’ ἑκάστην δὲ ὁ τρόπος τῆς προμηθείας ἐξήλλακται.
XV. Διὰ ποίων ἐπιχειρήσεων ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ πραγματείᾳ δέδεικται τὸ ἀτρέπτως προνοεῖν τοὺς θεούς.
Τὸ δὴ τρίτον ἐπὶ τούτοις τῶν προβλημάτων τοῖς ἔμπροσθεν καταδησώμεθα καὶ θεωρήσωμεν ὅπως τὸ ἄτρεπτον ἐπὶ τῶν θεῶν παραληψόμεθα πάντα κατὰ δίκην ἀγόντων καὶ μηδ’ ὁπωστιοῦν τὸν ὅρον ταύτης σαλευόν- των μηδὲ τῆς ὀρθότητος τῆς ἀκλινοῦς ἐν τῇ προνοίᾳ τῶν τε ἄλλων ἁπάντων καὶ δὴ καὶ τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων ἐξισταμένων. Παντὶ δὴ οὖν τοῦτό γε οἶμαι καταφανὲς ὅτι τὸ ἄρχον ἑκασταχοῦ κατὰ φύσιν ἔχον τῆς τῶν ἀρχομένων εὐδαιμονίας τὸν σύμπαντα λόγον ποιούμενον ταύτῃ τὸ διοικούμενον ποδηγετεῖ καὶ κατευθύνει πρὸς τὸ ἄριστον. Οὔτε γὰρ ἂν κυβερνήτης ναυτῶν ἄρχων καὶ νεὼς ἄλλο τι προηγούμενον σχοίη τέλος ἢ τὴν τῶν ἐμπλεόντων καὶ τοῦ σκάφους σωτηρίαν οὔτε ἰατρὸς νοσούντων ἐπιμελητὴς ὢν ἄλλου δή τινος ἕνεκα πάντα πράττειν ἐπιχειρεῖ κἂν τέμνειν δέῃ κἂν φαρμακεύειν ἢ τῆς ὑγείας τῶν προνοουμένων οὔτε στρατηγὸς ἢ φύλαξ πρὸς ἄλλο βλέπειν φήσειεν ἂν τέλος ἢ ὁ μὲν τὴν τῶν φρουρουμένων ὁ δὲ τὴν τῶν στρατηγου- μένων ἐλευθερίαν· οὐδ’ ἄλλος οὐδεὶς τῶν ἡγεῖσθαι καὶ προνοεῖν τεταγμένων ὡντινωνοῦν ἀνατρέπειν σπουδάζει τὸ τῶν ἑπομένων ἀγαθόν ἐφ’ ᾧ τέτακται καὶ οὗ στοχαζόμενος παντα τὰ τῶν ἀρχομένων διατίθησι δεόντως. Εἰ τοίνυν καὶ τοὺς θεοὺς ἡγεμόνας εἶναι τῶν ὅλων συγκεχωρήκαμεν καὶ τὴν πρόνοιαν αὐτῶν ἐπὶ πάντα διατείνειν ἀγαθῶν ὄντων καὶ πᾶσαν ἀρετὴν ἐχόντων ὡμολογήκαμεν τίς μηχανὴ τῆς τῶν προνοουμένων αὐτοὺς εὐδαιμονίας ἀμελεῖν; Ἢ πῶς τῶν ἄλλων ἡγεμόνων ἔλαττον ἕξουσιν ἐν τῇ προνοίᾳ
τῶν καταδεεστέρων εἴπερ οἱ μὲν ἀεὶ πρὸς τὸ βέλτιστον τῶν ἀρχομένων ἀποβλέπουσι καὶ τοῦτο τέλος τίθενται τῆς συμπάσης ἡγεμονίας οἱ δὲ παρορῶσι τὸ ἀγαθὸν τὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων καὶ κακίαν ἀρετῆς μᾶλλον ἀσπάζονται τοῖς τῶν μοχθηρῶν παρατρεπόμενοι δώροις;
Πάντως εἴτε ἡγεμόνας αὐτοὺς εἴτε ἄρχοντας εἴτε φύλακας εἴτε πατέρας ἐθέλεις καλεῖν οὐδενὸς τῶν τοιούτων ὀνομάτων ἐνδεὲς τὸ θεῖον φανήσεται. Πάντα γάρ ἐστιν ἐν ἐκείνοις τὰ σεμνὰ καὶ τίμια πρώτως· καὶ διὰ τοῦτο δήπου κἀνταῦθα σεμνότερα καὶ τιμιώτερα κατὰ φύσιν ἄλλων ἄλλα διότι δὴ τῶν θεῶν ἐσχάτην ἀπεικασίαν φέρεται. Καὶ τί δεῖ λέγειν; Παρ’ αὐτῶν γὰρ οἶμαι τῶν τὰ θεῖα σοφῶν πατρικάς τε δυνάμεις καὶ φρουρητικὰς καὶ ἡγεμονικὰς καὶ παιωνείους ὑμνημένας ἀκούομεν. Τίς οὖν μηχανὴ τὰ μὲν εἴδωλα τῶν θεῶν κατὰ φύσιν ἔχοντα τοῦ προσήκοντος αὐτοῖς στοχαζόμενα τέλους τῆς τῶν ἀρχομένων εὐθημοσύνης προνοεῖν αὐτοὺς δὲ τοὺς θεούς παρ’ οἷς τὸ ὅλον ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἡ ὄντως οὖσα ἀρετὴ καὶ ὁ ἀπήμων βίος μὴ πρὸς τὴν τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἀρετήν τε καὶ κακίαν κατευθύνειν τὴν ἡγεμονίαν καὶ ὅπως νικῶσαν μὲν ἀρετὴν ἐν τῷ παντὶ κακίαν δὲ ἡττωμένην παρέξουσιν ἀλλὰ ταῖς τῶν μοχθηρῶν θεραπείαις διαφθείρειν μὲν τὰ μέτρα τῆς δίκης ἀνατρέπειν δὲ τὸν τῆς ἀκλινοῦς ἐπιστήμης ὅρον τὰ δὲ τῆς κακίας δῶρα προτιμότερα τῶν τῆς ἀρετῆς ἐπιτηδευμάτων καταφαίνειν; Οὔτε γὰρ αὐτοῖς δήπου τοῖς ἡγεμόσιν ὁ τρόπος οὗτος τῆς προνοίας οὔτε τοῖς ἑπομένοις συνοίσει· τοῖς μὲν γὰρ κακοῖς γενομένοις οὐκ ἔσται τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων ἀπαλλαγὴ προκαταλαμβάνειν ἐπιχειροῦσιν ἀεὶ τὴν δίκην καὶ παρατρέπειν τῶν τῆς ἀξίας μέτρων τοῖς δὲ ἀναγκαῖον ὃ μὴ θέμις εἰπεῖν τῆς τῶν προνοουμένων στοχάζεσθαι κακίας καὶ τῆς μὲν ἀληθινῆς αὐτῶν σωτηρίας ἀμελεῖν ἐσκιαγραφημένων δὲ ἀγαθῶν ἄρα μόνως αἰτίοις ὑπάρχειν τὸ δὲ πᾶν τοῦτο καὶ τὸν ὅλον κόσμον ἀταξίας ἐμπίπλασθαι καὶ ταραχῆς ἀνιάτου τῆς μοχθηρίας μενούσης καὶ ταῖς κακῶς πολιτευομέναις τῶν πόλεων τὴν ὁμοίαν ἔχειν διαφθοράν. Καίτοι πῶς οὐ παντελῶς ἀδύνατον τὰ μέρη
τῶν ὅλων κατὰ φύσιν διοικεῖσθαι μᾶλλον καὶ τὰ ἀνθρώπινα τῶν θείων καὶ τὰ εἴδωλα τῶν πρωτουργῶν αἰτίων;
Ὥστ’ εἰ μὲν ὀρθῶς ἄνθρωποι προνοοῦσιν ἀνθρώπων ἄρχοντες καὶ τοὺς μὲν τιμῶντες τοὺς δὲ ἀτιμάζοντες καὶ πανταχοῦ τὰ τῆς κακίας ἔργα τοῖς τῆς ἀρετῆς μέτροις κατευθύνοντες πολλῷ πρότερον ἀνάγκη καὶ τοὺς θεοὺς ἀτρέπτους εἶναι τῶν ὅλων ἡγεμόνας. Καὶ γὰρ ἄνθρωποι διὰ τὴν πρὸς θεοὺς ὁμοιότητα ταύτην ἔλαχον ἀρετήν· εἰ δὲ καὶ ἀνθρώπων τοὺς τῶν ἀρχομένων τὴν σωτηρίαν καὶ τὸ εὖ διαφθείροντας ὁμολογήσομεν τὴν τῶν θεῶν πρόνοιαν μᾶλλον ἀπεικονίζεσθαι λήσομεν ὁμοῦ τὴν περὶ θεῶν ἀλήθειαν καὶ τὴν τῆς ἀρετῆς ἄρδην ἀφανίζοντες ὑπεροχήν. Τοῦτο γὰρ οἶμαι παντὶ καταφανές ὅτι δὴ τὸ τοῖς θεοῖς ὁμοιότερον εὐδαιμονεῖ μᾶλλον τῶν δι’ ἀνομοιότητος αὐτῶν καὶ ἀλλοτριότητος ἐστερημένων. Ὥστ’ εἰ μὲν κἀνταῦθα τὸ ἀδιάφθορον τῆς προνοίας εἶδος καὶ τὸ ἀκλινὲς τίμιον πολλῷ δήπου παρὰ τοῖς θεοῖς μειζόνως ἐντιμότερον· εἰ δὲ παρ’ ἐκείνοις τὰ θνητὰ δῶρα τῶν θείων τῆς δίκης μέτρων σεμνότερα καὶ παρ’ ἀνθρώποις ἂν εἴη τῶν Ὀλυμπίων ἀγαθῶν τὰ γηγενῆ καὶ τῶν τῆς ἀρετῆς ἔργων τὰ τῆς κακίας θωπεύματα πρὸς εὐδαιμονίαν τελεώτερα. Τὴν μὲν ὕπαρξιν τῶν θεῶν καὶ τὴν ἐπὶ πάντα διατείνουσαν κηδεμονίαν καὶ τὴν ἄτρεπτον ἐνέργειαν διὰ τούτων ἡμῖν ὁ Πλάτων ἐν Νόμοις τῶν ἀποδείξεων παραδέδωκεν· ἃ δὴ κοινὰ μέν ἐστιν ἅπασι τοῖς θεοῖς ἀρχικώτατα δὲ καὶ πρώτιστα κατὰ φύσιν ἐν τῇ αὐτῶν διδασκαλίᾳ. Μέχρι γὰρ τῶν μερικωτάτων ἐν τοῖς θείοις διακόσμοις ἄνωθεν ἀπὸ τῶν κρυφίων γενῶν ἡ τριὰς αὕτη διήκουσα φαίνεται· καὶ γὰρ ὕπαρξις ἑνοειδὴς καὶ δύναμις προνοητικὴ τῶν δευτέρων ἁπάντων καὶ νοῦς ἀκλινὴς καὶ ἄτρεπτός ἐστιν ἐν ἅπασι τοῖς τε πρὸ τοῦ κόσμου καὶ τοῖς ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ θεοῖς.
XVI. Τίνα τὰ ἐν Πολιτείᾳ παραδοθέντα περὶ θεῶν ἀξιώματα καὶ τίνα ἔχει πρὸς ἄλληλα τάξιν.
Πάλιν δὲ ἀπ’ ἄλλης ἀρχῆς τῶν ἐν Πολιτείᾳ θεολογικῶν ἀποδεί- ξεων ἀντιλαβώμεθα. Κοιναὶ γὰρ δὴ καὶ αὗται πάντων εἰσὶ τῶν θείων διακόσμων καὶ διατείνουσιν ὁμοίως εἰς ἅπασαν τὴν περὶ θεῶν ὑφήγησιν καὶ συνεχῆ τὴν ἀλήθειαν τοῖς προειρημένοις ἡμῖν ἐκφαίνουσιν. Ἐν τοίνυν τῷ δευτέρῳ τῆς Πολιτείας τύπουσ δή τινας θεολογικοὺς ὁ Σωκράτης ὑπογράφων τοῖς μυθοπλάσταις τῆς ποιητικῆς δραματουργίας τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ τροφίμοις καθαρεύειν παρακελευόμενος καὶ τῶν τραγικῶν ἐκείνων παθημάτων ἃ τῷ θείῳ προσφέρειν οὐκ ὤκνησάν τινες τὴν ἀπόρρητον περὶ αὐτῶν μυσταγωγίαν ἐν τούτοις ὥσπερ παραπετάσμασι κρύπτοντες – τύπουσ δὴ οὖν ὥσπερ ἔφην καὶ νόμους τῆς θεομυθίας ὑφηγούμενος οἳ καὶ τὸ φαινόμενον δὴ τοῦτο καὶ τὸν εἴσω κεκρυμμένον σκοπὸν ἐν τοῖς περὶ θεῶν πλάσμασι τοῦ καλοῦ καὶ τοῦ κατὰ φύσιν ἐστοχασμένον παρέξονται πρῶτον μὲν ἀξιοῖ κατὰ τὴν ἀδιάστροφον περὶ θεῶν ἔννοιαν καὶ τῆς ἀγαθότητος αὐτῶν ἁπάντων μὲν αὐτοὺς ἀγαθῶν χορηγοὺς ἀποφαίνειν κακοῦ δὲ οὐδενὸς οὐδενί ποτε τῶν ὄντων αἰτίους· δεύτερον κατ’ οὐσίαν ἀμεταβλήτους καὶ μήτε αὐτοὺς ποικίλας μορφὰς ἴσχειν ἐξαπατῶντας καὶ γοητεύοντας μήτ’ ἐν ἔργοις ἢ λόγοις τοῦ μεγίστου κακοῦ ψεύδους ἢ καὶ πλάνης καὶ ἀνοίας εἶναι ποιητικούς. Δύο δὴ τούτων ὄντων νόμων ὁ μὲν πρότερος ἔχει συμπεράσματα δύο τό τε ἀναιτίους εἶναι τῶν κακῶν τοὺς θεοὺς καὶ τὸ τῶν ἀγαθῶν πάντων αἰτίους· ὁ δὲ δεύτερος αὖ παραπλησίως ἕτερα ἄττα διττὰ καὶ ταῦτα τό τε ἀμετάβλητον εἶναι τὸ θεῖον πᾶν καὶ τὸ ψεύδους καὶ ποικιλίας μεμηχανημένης καθαρὸν ἱδρῦσθαι. Πάντα τοίνυν τὰ δεικνύμενα τριῶν τούτων ἤρτηται περὶ τὸ θεῖον κοινῶν ἐννοιῶν τῆς ἀγαθότητος τῆς ἀμεταβλησίας τῆς ἀληθείας· καὶ γὰρ ἡ τῶν ἀγαθῶν πρωτίστη πηγὴ καὶ ἄρρητος παρ’ αὐτοῖς καὶ ὁ αἰὼν ὁ τῆς αὐτῆς καὶ ὡσαύτως ἐχούσης δυνάμεως αἴτιος καὶ ὁ πρώτιστος νοῦς ὅς ἐστιν αὐτὰ τὰ ὄντα καὶ ἡ ἐν τοῖς ὄντως οὖσιν ἀλήθεια.
XVII. Τίς ἡ ἀγαθότης τῶν θεῶν καὶ πῶς αἴτιοι λέγονται πάντων ἀγαθῶν· ἐν ᾧ καὶ ὅτι τὸ κακὸν κατὰ παρυπόστασίν ἐστι κοσμούμενον καὶ αὐτὸ καὶ ταττόμενον ὑπὸ τῶν θεῶν.
Τὸ τοίνυν ἐν τῷ ἀγαθῷ τὴν ὕπαρξιν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ καὶ τὴν οὐσίαν πᾶσαν ἀφορίζον καὶ αὐτῷ τῷ εἶναι τὰ πάντα παράγον οὐκ ἀνάγκη παντὸς μὲν ἀγαθοῦ παρεκτικὸν εἶναι κακοῦ δὲ οὐδενός; Εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἦν τι πρώτως ἀγαθὸν ὃ μή ἐστι θεός ἴσως ἄν τις ἡμῖν ἀγαθῶν μὲν αἴτιον τὸ θεῖον ἀλλ’ οὐχ ἁπάντων εἶναι τῶν ἀγαθῶν χορηγὸν ἀπέφηνε τοῖς οὖσιν. Εἰ δὲ μὴ μόνον τῶν θεῶν ἕκαστος ἀγαθός ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ πρώτως ἀγαθοειδὲς καὶ τὸ ἀγαθουργὸν θεός οὐ γὰρ ἂν εἴη πρώτως ἀγαθόν δεύτερον ὂν μετὰ θεούς διότι δὴ πανταχοῦ τὰ δευτέρως ὑφιστάμενα παρὰ τῶν πρώτως ὄντων ὑποδέχεται τὴν τῆς ὑπάρξεως ἰδιότητα πάντως ἀνάγκη καὶ ἀγαθῶν αἴτιον εἶναι τὸ θεῖον καὶ πάντων ἀγαθῶν ὅσα πρόεισιν εἰς δευτέρας ὑποβάσεις μέχρι καὶ τῶν ἐσχάτων. Ὡς γὰρ ἡ τῆς ζωῆς αἰτία δύναμις πᾶσαν ὑφίστησι ζωήν ὡς ἡ τῆς γνώσεως πᾶσαν γνῶσιν ὡς ἡ τοῦ καλοῦ πᾶν τὸ καλόν τό τε ἐν λόγοις ἱδρυμένον καὶ ὅσον ἐστὶν ἐν τῷ φαινομένῳ τοιοῦτον ἕκαστον γὰρ τῶν πρωτουργῶν αἰτίων ἀφ’ ἑαυτοῦ πάντα παράγει τὰ ὅμοια καὶ εἰς αὑτὸ τὴν μίαν ὑπόστασιν τῶν καθ’ ἓν εἶδος ὑφεστηκότων ἀνεδήσατο τὸν αὐτὸν οἶμαι τρόπον καὶ ἡ τῶν ἀγαθῶν πρωτίστη καὶ ἀρχηγικωτάτη καὶ ἑνοειδὴς ὕπαρξις ἁπάντων ὁμοῦ τῶν ἀγαθῶν τὰς αἰτίας καὶ τὰς περιοχὰς ἐν ἑαυτῇ καὶ περὶ ἑαυτὴν ἱδρύσατο καὶ οὐδέν ἐστι τῶν ὄντων ἀγαθόν ὃ μὴ παρ’ αὐτῆς κέκτηται τὴν τοιαύτην δύναμιν οὐδὲ ἀγαθουργόν ὃ μὴ πρὸς αὐτὴν ἐπιστρέφον τῆς αἰτίας ταύτης μεταλαγχάνει. Πάντα γὰρ ἐκεῖθεν καὶ παράγεται καὶ τελειοῦται καὶ σῴζεται τὰ ἀγαθά καὶ ἡ μία τῶν ὅλων ἀγαθῶν σειρὰ καὶ τάξις εἰς ἐκείνην ἀνήρτηται τὴν πηγήν. Διὰ τὴν αὐτὴν ἄρα τῆς ὑπάρξεως αἰτίαν καὶ πάντων εἰσὶν ἀγαθῶν οἱ θεοὶ χορηγοὶ καὶ τῶν κακῶν οὐδενός· τὸ γὰρ πρώτως ἀγαθὸν καὶ παρ’ ἑαυτοῦ πᾶν τὸ ἀγαθὸν ὑφίστησι καὶ τῆς ἐναντίας πρὸς αὐτὸ μοίρας οὐκ ἔστιν αἴτιον ἐπεὶ καὶ τὸ ζωῆς παρεκτικὸν ἀζωΐας αἴτιον οὐκ ἔστι καὶ τὸ κάλλους ποιητικὸν τῆς ἀκαλλοῦς καὶ αἰσχρᾶς φύσεως ἐξῄρηται καὶ
τῶν ταύτης αἰτίων. Καὶ τοίνυν τὸ τῶν ἀγαθῶν πρώτως ὑποστατικὸν τῶν ἐναντίων εἶναι γεννημάτων αἴτιον οὐ θέμις ἀλλ’ ἄχραντος καὶ ἀμιγὴς καὶ μονοειδὴς ἐκεῖθεν πρόεισιν ἡ τῶν ἀγαθῶν φύσις.
Καὶ τὸ μὲν θεῖον τῶν ἀγαθῶν αἴτιον ἵδρυται διαιωνίως ἐν ἑαυτῷ πᾶσι τοῖς δευτέροις προτεῖνον τὴν μετουσίαν ἄφθονον τῶν ἀγαθῶν· τῶν δὲ μετεχόντων τὰ μὲν ἀκήρατον φυλάττει τὴν μέθεξιν καὶ τὸ οἰκεῖον ἀγαθὸν ἐν καθαροῖς ὑποδεξάμενα κόλποις ἀναπόδραστον ἔχει διὰ περιουσίαν δυνάμεως τὴν προσήκουσαν αὐτοῖς τῶν ἀγαθῶν μοῖραν τὰ δὲ ἐν ἐσχάτοις τῶν ὅλων τεταγμένα πάντως μὲν καὶ αὐτὰ κατὰ τὴν αὐτῶν φύσιν ἀπολαύει τῆς ἀγαθότητος τῶν θεῶν οὐδὲ γὰρ εἶναι δυνατὸν οὐδὲ τὴν πρώτην ὑποστῆναι τὰ παντελῶς ἄμοιρα τῆς τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ παρουσίασ δεξάμενα δὲ τὴν τοιαύτην ἀπορροήν οὔτε ἀκραιφνῆ καὶ ἄμικτον πέφυκε τηρεῖν τὴν εἰς αὐτὰ καθήκουσαν δόσιν οὔτε κατέχειν μονίμως καὶ ἀεὶ ὡσαύτως τὸ οἰκεῖον ἀγαθόν ἀλλ’ ἀσθενῆ καὶ μερικὰ καὶ ἔνυλα γενόμενα καὶ τῆς ὑποκειμένης ἀζωΐας ἀναπλησθέντα τῇ μὲν τάξει τὴν ἀταξίαν παρυφίστησι τῷ δὲ λόγῳ τὴν ἀλογίαν τῇ δὲ ἀρετῇ τὴν ἐναντίαν πρὸς ταύτην κακίαν. Καὶ τῶν μὲν ὅλων ἕκαστον τῆς τοιαύτης ἐστὶ παρατροπῆς ἐξῃρημένον κρατούντων ἀεὶ τῶν κατὰ φύσιν ἐν αὐτοῖς τελειοτέρων· τὰ δὲ μερικὰ διὰ τὴν τῆς δυνάμεως ὕφεσιν εἰς πλῆθος ἀεὶ καὶ μερισμὸν καὶ διάστασιν ἐκβαίνοντα τῶν ὅλων ἀμυδροῖ μὲν τὴν τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ μέθεξιν παρυφίστησι δὲ τὸ ἐναντίον ἐν τῇ πρὸς τὸ ἀγαθὸν μίξει καὶ διαπλοκῇ κρατούμενον. Οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐνταῦθα τὸ κακὸν ἀμιγὲς καὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ παντε λῶς ἔρημον ὑποστῆναι θεμιτόν ἀλλ’ εἰ καὶ τῷ μέρει τὸ τοιόνδε κακόν τῷ γε ὅλῳ καὶ παντὶ πάντως ἀγαθόν· ἀεὶ γὰρ εὔδαιμον τὸ πᾶν καὶ ἐκ μερῶν ἐστὶ τελείων ἀεὶ καὶ κατὰ φύσιν ἐχόντων· τὸ δὲ παρὰ φύσιν ἀεὶ τοῖς μερικοῖς ἦν κακόν καὶ τὸ αἰσχρὸν καὶ τὸ ἀσύμμετρον καὶ ἡ παρατροπὴ καὶ ἡ παρυπόστασις ἐν τούτοις. Καὶ γὰρ τὸ φθειρόμενον ἑαυτῷ μὲν φθείρεται καὶ τῆς οἰκείας τελειότητος ἐξίσταται τῷ παντὶ δὲ ἄφθαρτόν ἐστι καὶ ἀνώλεθρον·
καὶ πᾶν τὸ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ στερισκόμενον ὡς μὲν πρὸς αὑτὸ καὶ τὴν οἰκείαν ὑπόστασιν ἐστέρηται δι’ ἀσθένειαν φύσεως τῷ δὲ ὅλῳ καὶ ὡς τοῦ παντὸς μέρος ἀγαθόν ἐστιν. Οὔτε γὰρ ἀζωΐαν οὐδὲ αἰσχρότητα καὶ ἀμετρίαν οὔτε ὅλως στέρησιν τῷ παντὶ παρεμπίπτειν δυνατόν ἀλλ’ ἀεὶ τέλειος ὁ σύμπας ἀριθμὸς τῇ τῶν ὅλων ἀγαθότητι συνεχόμενος καὶ ζωὴ πανταχοῦ πάρεστι καὶ τὸ εἶναι καὶ τὸ τελείοις εἶναι καθ’ ὅσον ἕκαστα συμπληροῖ τὸ πᾶν. Τὸ μὲν οὖν θεῖον ὥσπερ εἴρηται πάντων ἐστὶν αἴτιον τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἡ δὲ τῶν κακῶν παρυπόστασις οὐκ ἐκ δυνάμεως ὑφέστηκεν ἀλλ’ ἐκ τῆς ἀσθενείας τῶν δεχομένων τὰς τῶν θεῶν ἐλλάμψεις οὐδὲ ἐν τοῖς ὅλοις ἀλλ’ ἐν τοῖς μερικοῖς οὐδὲ ἐν τούτοις ἅπασι. Καὶ γὰρ τῶν μερικῶν τὰ μὲν πρώτιστα καὶ νοερὰ γένη διαιωνίως ἐστὶν ἀγαθοειδῆ· τὰ δὲ μέσα καὶ κατὰ χρόνον ἐνεργοῦντα τὴν τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ μέθεξιν τῇ κατὰ χρόνον μεταβολῇ καὶ κινήσει συμπλέκοντα τὴν τῶν θεῶν δόσιν ἀκίνητον καὶ μονοειδῆ καὶ ἁπλῆν διαφυλάττειν ἀδυνατεῖ τῷ μὲν ἑαυτῶν ποικίλῳ τὸ ἁπλοῦν αὐτῆς παρασκιάζοντα τῷ δὲ πολυειδεῖ τὸ μονοειδές τῷ δὲ συμμιγεῖ τὸ ἀκήρατον· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἦν ἐξ ἀκηράτων ὑποστάντα τῶν πρώτων γενῶν οὐδὲ ἁπλῆν εἶχε τὴν οὐσίαν οὐδὲ τὰς δυνάμεις μονοειδεῖς ἀλλ’ ἐξ ἐναντίων συμ- φυομένας ὥς πού φησιν ὁ ἐν τῷ Φαίδρῳ Σωκράτης. Τὰ δὲ ἔσχατα καὶ ἔνυλα πολλῷ δήπου μειζόνως παρατρέπει τὸ οἰκεῖον ἀγαθόν· καὶ γὰρ ἀζωΐᾳ συγκέκραται καὶ τὴν ὑπόστασιν εἰδωλικὴν ἔχει πολλοῦ τοῦ μὴ ὄντος ἀναπεπλησμένα καὶ ἐκ μαχομένων ὑφέστηκε κἀκ τῶν περιεστώτων μεταβαλλόμενα καὶ σκιδνάμενα τὸν ἀεὶ χρόνον οὐδὲν παύεται κατὰ πάντα δηλοῦντα ὡς φθορᾷ καὶ ἀσυμμετρίᾳ καὶ αἰσχρότητι καὶ τροπαῖς ἐκδίδοται παντοίαις οὐ ταῖς ἐνεργείαις μόνον κακυνόμενα καθάπερ οἶμαι τὰ πρὸ αὐτῶν ἀλλὰ καὶ ταῖς δυνάμεσι καὶ ταῖς οὐσίαις ἀναπιμπλάμενα τοῦ παρὰ φύσιν καὶ τῆς ὑλικῆς ἀσθενείας. Τὰ γὰρ ἐν ἀλλοτρίᾳ γενόμενα χώρᾳ τὸ μὲν ὅλον τῷ εἴδει συνεπιφέροντα κρατεῖ
τῆς ὑποκειμένης φύσεως εἰς δὲ αὖ τὸ μερικὸν ἀπὸ τῆς οἰκείας ὁλότητος ἐξιστάμενα μερισμοῦ καὶ ἀσθενείας καὶ πολέμου καὶ τῆς γενεσιουργοῦ διαιρέσεως μετασχόντα παντοίως μεταβάλλειν ἀναγκαῖον. Οὔτ’ οὖν πανάγαθον τῶν ὄντων ἕκαστον οὐ γὰρ ἂν ἦν φθορὰ καὶ γένεσις σωμάτων οὐδὲ κάθαρσις καὶ κόλασις ψυχῶν· οὔτε ἐν τοῖς ὅλοις τὸ κακόν οὐ γὰρ ἂν ἦν ὁ κόσμος εὐδαίμων θεός ἐκ μερῶν τῶν κυριωτάτων ἀτελῶν ὑφιστάμενος· οὔτε οἱ θεοὶ τῶν κακῶν αἴτιοι καθάπερ δὴ τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἀλλ’ ἡ τῶν δεχομένων τὸ ἀγαθὸν ἀσθένεια καὶ ἡ ἐν ἐσχάτοις αὐτῶν ὑπόστασις· οὔτε ἄμικτον τὸ παρυφιστάμενον ἐν τοῖς μερικοῖς κακὸν καὶ ὁπωσοῦν πρὸς τὸ ἀγαθόν ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῦτο μετέχει πως τῷ εἶναι τῷ ἀγαθῷ κατεχόμενον· οὔθ’ ὅλως ὑποστῆναι δυνατὸν τὸ παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ παντελῶς ἔρημον κακόν ἐπέκεινα γὰρ καὶ τοῦ μηδαμῶς ὄντος τὸ αὐτοκακόν ὥσπερ δὴ καὶ τοῦ παντελῶς ὄντος τὸ αὐτοαγαθόν· οὔτε ἄτακτον ἀφεῖται τὸ ἐν τοῖς μερικοῖς κακόν ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῦτο κατευθύνεται παρὰ τῶν θεῶν καὶ διὰ ταῦτα καθαρτικὴ μὲν τῆς ἐν ψυχαῖς πονηρίας ἡ Δίκη καθαρτικὴ δὲ τῆς ἐν σώμασιν ἄλλη τάξις θεῶν. Πάντα δὲ ἐπιστρέφεται κατὰ δύναμιν πρὸς τὴν ἀγαθότητα τῶν θεῶν· καὶ μένει μὲν ἐν τοῖς οἰκείοις ὅροις τὰ ὅλα καὶ τέλεια καὶ ἀγαθουργὰ τῶν ὄντων γένη κοσμεῖται δὲ καὶ τάττεται δεόντως τὰ μερικώτερα καὶ ἀτελέστερα καὶ δουλεύει τῇ τῶν ὅλων συμπληρώσει καὶ ἀνακαλεῖται πρὸς τὸ καλὸν καὶ μεταβάλλεται καὶ πάντα τρόπον τῆς τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ μετουσίας ἀπολαύει καθ’ ὅσον αὐτοῖς δυνατόν.
Οὐδὲν γὰρ ἂν μεῖζον ἀγαθὸν ἑκάστοις γένοιτο ὧν οἱ θεοὶ κατὰ μέτρα πορίζουσι τοῖς ἑαυτῶν γεννήμασιν· ἀλλὰ πάντα καὶ χωρὶς ἕκαστον καὶ κοινῇ πάντα τοσαύτην ὑποδέχεται τῶν ἀγαθῶν μοῖραν ὅσης μετέχειν αὐτοῖς δυνατόν. Εἰ δὲ τὰ μὲν μειζόνων τὰ δὲ ἐλαττόνων ἀγαθῶν πληροῦνται τὴν τῶν δεχομένων δύναμιν καὶ τὰ μέτρα τῆς διανομῆς αἰτιατέον ἄλλα γὰρ ἄλλοις προσήκει κατὰ τὴν αὐτῶν φύσιν·
θεοὶ δὲ ἀεὶ πάντα τὰ ἀγαθὰ προτείνουσιν ὥσπερ ἥλιος ἀνίσχων τὸ φῶς· δέχεται γὰρ ἄλλος ἄλλως κατὰ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ τάξιν καὶ δέχεται τοσοῦτον τοῦ φωτὸς οὗ μεῖζον οὐκ ἂν δύναιτο δέξασθαι. Πάντα γὰρ κατὰ δίκην ἄγεται τὰ ὄντα καὶ οὐδενὸς μὲν ἀποστατεῖ τὸ ἀγαθόν πάρεστι δὲ ἑκάστοις κατὰ τὸν προσήκοντα τῆς μεταλήψεως ὅρον καί ᾗ φησὶν ὁ Ἀθηναῖος ξένος πάντα καλῶς ἔχει καὶ τέτακται ἐκ τῶν θεῶν. Μὴ τοίνυν ἡμῖν τῶν κακῶν ἢ προηγουμένους λόγους ἐν τῇ φύσει λεγέτω τις ἢ παραδείγματα νοερὰ κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς ἢ ψυχὴν κακεργάτιν ἢ κακοποιὸν αἰτίαν ἐν θεοῖς ὑποτιθέσθω καὶ πρὸς τὸ ἀγαθὸν τὸ πρῶτον διάστασιν καὶ πόλεμον εἰσαγέτω διαιώνιον· ἅπαντα γὰρ ταῦτα τῆς τοῦ Πλάτωνός ἐστιν ἐπιστήμης ἀλλότρια καὶ πορρώτερόν ποι τῆς ἀληθείας εἰς βαρβαρικὰς ἀπονοίας καὶ δραματουργίαν Γιγαντικὴν ἀποπλανᾶται. Μηδ’ εἴ τινες ἐν ἀπορρήτοις λόγοις αἰνιττόμενοι τὰ τοιαῦτα πλάττουσι τῆς ἐνδείξεως ἡμεῖς τὴν φαινομένην ἀλλαξώμεθα σκευω- ρίαν· ἀλλ’ ἐκείνων μὲν τὴν ἀλήθειαν ζητητέον τοῦ δὲ Πλά- τωνος τὴν ἐπιστήμην ἐν τοῖς καθαροῖς τῆς ψυχῆς κόλποις εἰλικρινῶς ὑποδεκτέον ἀκηλίδωτον αὐτὴν καὶ ἄμικτον πρὸς τὰς ἐναντίας δόξας φυλάττουσιν.
XVIII. Τί τὸ ἀμετάβλητον τῶν θεῶν· ἐν ᾧ λέγεται καὶ τίς ἡ αὐτάρκεια καὶ τίς ἡ ἄτρεπτος ἀπάθεια καὶ πῶς τὸ κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ καὶ ὡσαύτως ἔχειν ἀκουστέον ἐπὶ τῶν θεῶν.
Ἀλλὰ δὴ τὸ ἀμετάβλητον τῶν θεῶν καὶ τὸ ἁπλοῦν μετὰ τοῦτο θεωρήσωμεν οἷόν ποτε τυγχάνει ὂν ἑκάτερον καὶ πῶς ἀμφότερα ταῦτα τῇ τῶν θεῶν ὑπάρξει προσήκοντα φαίνεται κατὰ τὴν τοῦ Πλάτωνος ὑφήγησιν. Οὐκοῦν ἐξῄρηνται μὲν οἱ θεοὶ τῶν ὅλων ταῦτα δὲ πληροῦντες ὥσπερ εἴπομεν ἀγαθῶν αὐτοὶ πανάγαθοι τυγχάνουσιν ὄντες· καὶ ἕκαστος αὐτῶν κατὰ τὴν οἰκείαν τάξιν ἔχει τὸ ἄριστον καὶ πᾶν ὁμοῦ τὸ τῶν θεῶν γένος τὸ πρωτεῖον ἔλαχε κατὰ τὴν τῶν ἀγαθῶν περιουσίαν. Πάλιν δὲ
κἀνταῦθα παραιτησόμεθα τοὺς μεριστῶς ἐν τοῖς θεοῖς τὸ ἄριστον ἐξηγουμένους καὶ λέγοντας ὡς εἰ τὸ πρῶτον ἄριστον τὸ μετὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἄριστον· ἀνάγκη γὰρ εἶναι τοῦ παράγοντος τὸ παραγόμενον καταδεέστερον. Τοῦτο μὲν γὰρ ὀρθῶς λέγουσι· δεῖ γὰρ ἐν τοῖς θεοῖς τὴν τάξιν τῶν αἰτίων ἀσύγχυτον φυλάττειν καὶ τὰς δευτέρας αὐτῶν καὶ τρίτας προόδους διακεκριμένας ἀφορίζειν· ὁμοῦ δὲ τῇ τοιαύτῃ προόδῳ καὶ τῇ τῶν δευτέρων ἀπὸ τῶν πρώτων ἐκφάνσει θεωρητέον καὶ τὸ ἄριστον ἐν ἑκάστῳ τῶν θεῶν. Ἐν γὰρ τῇ ἑαυτοῦ ἰδιότητι πρωτουργὸν καὶ πανάγαθον ἕκαστος ὑπεροχὴν κεκλήρωται καὶ ὁ μέν ἵν’ ἐπί τινος γνωρίμου ποιήσωμαι τὸν λόγον ὡς μαντικός ὁ δὲ ὡς δημιουργικός ὁ δὲ ὡς τελεσιουργὸς ἄριστος. Ὃ καὶ ὁ Τίμαιος ἡμῖν ἐνδεικνύμενος ἄριστον τῶν αἰτίων τὸν πρῶτον συνεχῶς ἀποκαλεῖ δημιουργόν ὁ μὲν γὰρ τῶν αἰτίων ἄριστος ὁ δὲ τῶν γεγονότων κάλλιστοσ καίτοι πρὸ τοῦ δημιουργοῦ τὸ παράδειγμα τὸ νοητὸν ἦν καὶ τὸ τῶν νοουμένων ἁπάντων κάλλιστον· ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῦτο κάλλιστον ἅμα καὶ ἄριστον ὡς παράδειγμα δημιουργικόν καὶ ὁ τοῦ παντὸς ποιητὴσ ἅμα καὶ πατὴρ ἄριστος ὡς δημιουργικὸς θεός. Καὶ δὴ καὶ ὁ ἐν Πολιτείᾳ Σωκράτης εἰκότως ἐπὶ θεῶν ποιούμενος τὸν λόγον ἀλλ’ ὡς ἔοικε φησί κάλλιστος καὶ ἄριστος ὢν εἰς τὸ δυνατὸν ἕκαστος αὐτῶν μένει ἀεὶ ἁπλῶς ἐν τῇ αὑτοῦ μορφῇ. Τὸ μὲν γὰρ πρῶτον καὶ τὸ ἄκρον ἐν τῇ ἑαυτοῦ σειρᾷ κληρωσάμενος ἕκαστος οὐκ ἐξίσταται τῆς ἑαυτοῦ τάξεως ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ μακάριον καὶ τὸ εὔδαιμον τῆς οἰκείας δυνάμεως συνέχει· καὶ οὔτε χείρονα τάξιν ἀλλάττεται τῆς παρούσης τὸ γὰρ πᾶσαν ἀρετὴν ἔχον οὐ θέμις μεταβάλλειν εἰς τὴν χείρονα μοῖραν οὔτε ἐπὶ τὸ κρεῖττον μεθίσταται ποῦ γὰρ τοῦ ἀρίστου κρεῖττον ἂν γένοιτο; Πάρεστι δὲ καὶ ἑκάστῳ τοῦτο κατὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ τάξιν ὡς εἴπομεν καὶ τῷ παντὶ γένει τῶν θεῶν.
Ἀναγκαῖον ἄρα τὸ θεῖον πᾶν ἀμετάβλητον ἱδρῦσθαι μένον ἐν τῷ ἑαυτοῦ κατὰ τρόπον ἤθει. Τό τε οὖν αὔταρκες ἐκ τούτων ἀναφαίνεται τῶν θεῶν καὶ τὸ ἄχραντον καὶ τὸ ἀεὶ κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ καὶ ὡσαύτως ἔχον. Εἰ γὰρ μὴ μεταβάλλουσιν ἐπὶ τὸ κρεῖττον ὡς ἔχοντες τὸ τῆς οἰκείας φύσεως ἄριστον αὐτάρκεις εἰσὶ καὶ οὐδενὸς ἐνδεεῖς τῶν ὅλων ἀγαθῶν· καὶ εἰ μὴ μεθίστανταί ποτε πρὸς τὴν χείρονα μοῖραν ἄχραντοι διαμένουσιν ἐν ταῖς ἑαυτῶν ὑπεροχαῖς ἱδρυμένοι· καὶ εἰ φρουροῦσιν ἀμεταστάτως τὴν ἑαυτῶν τελειότητα κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ ἀεὶ καὶ ὡσαύτως ἔχουσι. Τί οὖν τὸ αὔταρκές ἐστι τὸ τῶν θεῶν καὶ τί τὸ ἄτρεπτον καὶ τί τὸ ὡσαύτως ἔχον ἐφεξῆς τοῖς εἰρημένοις λάβωμεν.
Λέγεται μὲν οὖν καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτάρκης ὅτι τέλειος ἐκ τελείων καὶ ὅλος ἐξ ὅλων ὑπέστη καὶ συμπεπλήρωται τοῖς οἰκείοις ἅπασιν ἀγαθοῖς ὑπὸ τοῦ γεννήσαντος αὐτὸν πατρός· ἀλλ’ ἡ τοιαύτη τελειότης καὶ αὐτάρκεια μεριστὴ καὶ ἐκ πολλῶν εἰς ἓν συνιοῦσα λέγεται καὶ κατὰ μετοχὴν ἀποπληροῦται τῶν χωριστῶν αἰτίων. Λέγεται δὲ καὶ ὁ τῶν θείων ψυχῶν διάκοσμος αὐτάρκης ὡς ἂν δὴ πλήρης τῶν οἰκείων ἀρετῶν καὶ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ μακαριότητος τὸ μέτρον ἀεὶ φυλάττων ἀνενδεές· ἀλλὰ κἀνταῦθα τὸ αὔταρκες ἐνδεές ἐστι δυνάμεων οὐ γὰρ πρὸς τὰ αὐτὰ νοητὰ τὰς νοήσεις ἔχουσιν ἀλλὰ καὶ κατὰ χρόνον ἐνεργοῦσι καὶ τὸ παντελὲς τῆς θεωρίας ἐν ταῖς ὅλαις κέκτηνται περιόδοις· ἡ τοίνυν αὐτάρκεια τῶν θείων ψυχῶν καὶ τελειότης τῆς ζωῆς οὐχ ὁμοῦ πᾶσα σύνεστι. Λέγεται δὲ αὖ καὶ ὁ νοερὸς κόσμος αὐτάρκης ὡς ἐν αἰῶνι τὸ ὅλον ἀγαθὸν ἱδρυσάμενος καὶ πᾶσαν ὁμοῦ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ μακαριότητα συλλαβὼν καὶ μηδενὸς ὢν ἐνδεής τῷ πᾶσαν αὐτῷ παρεῖναι ζωήν πᾶσαν δὲ νόησιν ἐλλείπειν δὲ μηδὲν μηδὲ ποθεῖν ὡς ἀπόν· ἀλλὰ καὶ οὗτος αὐτάρκης μὲν ἐν τῇ ἑαυτοῦ τάξει τῆς δὲ τῶν θεῶν αὐταρκείας ἀπολείπεται· πᾶς γὰρ νοῦς ἀγαθοειδής ἐστιν ἀλλ’ οὐκ αὐτοαγαθότης οὐδὲ πρώτως ἀγαθόν· ἕκαστος δὲ τῶν θεῶν ἑνάς ἐστι καὶ ὕπαρξις καὶ ἀγαθότης ἡ δὲ ἰδιότης τῆς ὑπάρξεως ἐξαλλάττει τὴν ἑκάστης ἀγαθότητος πρόοδον – ὁ μὲν γάρ ἐστιν ἀγαθότης
τελεσιουργός ὁ δὲ ἀγαθότης συνεκτικὴ τῶν ὅλων ὁ δὲ ἀγαθότης συναγωγός – ἕκαστος δὲ ἁπλῶς ἀγαθότης αὐτάρκειά ἐστιν ἢ οὕτως οὐ κατὰ μέθεξιν οὐδὲ κατ’ ἔλλαμψιν οὐδὲ καθ’ ὁμοιότητα τὸ αὔταρκες ἔχουσα καὶ τὸ παντελές ἀλλ’ αὐτῷ τῷ εἶναι ὅ ἐστι. Νοῦς μὲν γὰρ κατὰ μέθεξιν ψυχὴ δὲ κατ’ ἔλλαμψιν τὸ δὲ πᾶν τοῦτο κατὰ τὴν πρὸς τὸ θεῖον ὁμοιότητα αὔταρκες αὐτοὶ δὲ οἱ θεοὶ δι’ ἑαυτοὺς καὶ παρ’ ἑαυτῶν αὐτάρκεις ἑαυτοὺς πεπληρωκότες μᾶλλον δὲ πληρώματα τῶν ὅλων ἀγαθῶν ὑπάρχοντες. Τοῦτο μὲν οὖν τοιαύτην ἂν ἔχοι φύσιν τὸ αὔταρκες.
Τὸ δέ γε ἄτρεπτον τῶν θεῶν ὁποῖον εἶναι φήσομεν; Ἆρ’ οἷον τὸ τοῦ κυκλοφορητικοῦ σώματος; Οὐδὲ γὰρ τοῦτο παρὰ τῶν χειρόνων οὐδὲν εἰσδέχεσθαι πέφυκεν οὐδὲ τῆς γενεσιουργοῦ μεταβολῆς ἀναπίμπλαται καὶ τῆς ἐνταῦθα παρεμπιπτούσης ἀταξίας· ἄυλος γὰρ καὶ ἀμετάβλητος ἡ τῶν οὐρανίων σωμάτων φύσις. Ἀλλὰ τοῦτο μέγα μὲν καὶ σεμνὸν ὡς ἐν ταῖς σωματικαῖς ὑποστάσεσι καταδεέστερον δὲ αὖ τῶν θεῶν ἐστί· πᾶν δὲ σῶμα καὶ τὸ εἶναι καὶ τὸ ἀεὶ ἀτρέπτως εἶναι παρ’ ἄλλων ἔχει τῶν προηγουμένων αἰτίων. Ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ τοιοῦτόν ἐστιν οἷον τὸ ἄτρεπτον τῶν ψυχῶν ἐπὶ τῶν θεῶν τὸ ἀπαθὲς καὶ ἀμετάβλητον· καὶ γὰρ αὗται κοινωνοῦσί πως σώμασι καί εἰσι μέσαι τῆς ἀμερίστου καὶ τῆς περὶ τὰ σώματα μεριζομένης οὐσίας. Οὐδὲ αὖ τὸ τῶν νοερῶν οὐσιῶν ἄτρεπτον ἐξισοῦται τοῖς θεοῖς· κατὰ γὰρ τὴν πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺς ἕνωσιν καὶ ὁ νοῦς ἄτρεπτος καὶ ἀπαθὴς καὶ ἀμιγὴς πρὸς τὰ δεύτερα· καὶ ὡς μὲν ἑνοειδὴς τοιοῦτός ἐστιν ὡς δὲ πληθυόμενος ἔχει τὸ μὲν κρεῖττον ἐν ἑαυτῷ τὸ δὲ καταδεέστερον. Μόνοι δὲ οἱ θεοὶ κατὰ ταύτην τὴν ὑπεροχὴν τῶν ὄντων ἱδρυσάμενοι τὰς ἑαυτῶν ἑνώσεις ἄτρεπτοι κυριώτατα καὶ πρώτως εἰσὶ καὶ ἀπαθεῖς. Οὐδὲν γάρ ἐστιν ἐν αὐτοῖς ὃ μή ἐστιν ἓν καὶ ὕπαρξις· ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ τὸ πῦρ παντός ἐστι τοῦ ἀλλοτρίου καὶ τῆς ἐναντίας δυνάμεως ἀφανιστικόν καὶ ὥσπερ τὸ φῶς πᾶν ἐξελαύνει τὸ σκότος καὶ ὡς οἱ κεραυνοὶ διὰ πάντων χωροῦσιν ἀχράντως οὕτω δὴ καὶ αἱ τῶν θεῶν ἑνάδες πᾶν μὲν τὸ πλῆθος ἑνίζουσι πᾶν δὲ τὸ εἰς σκεδασμὸν καὶ μερισμὸν παντελῆ φερόμενον ἀφανίζουσι πᾶν δὲ τὸ μετέχον αὐτῶν ἐκθεοῦσιν οὐδὲν ἀπὸ τῶν μετεχόντων
εἰσδεχόμεναι καὶ τὴν ἕνωσιν τὴν οἰκείαν οὐκ ἐλαττοῦσαι κατὰ τὴν μέθεξιν.
Διὸ δὴ καὶ πανταχοῦ παρόντες οἱ θεοὶ πάντων ὁμοίως ἐξῄρηνται καὶ πάντα συνέχοντες ὑπ’ οὐδενὸς κρατοῦνται τῶν συνεχομένων ἀλλ’ εἰσὶν ἀμιγεῖς πρὸς πάντα καὶ ἄχραντοι. Τὸ δὴ τρίτον λέγεται μὲν καὶ ὁ κόσμος οὗτος ὡσαύτως ἔχειν καθ’ ὅσον ἄλυτον ἀεὶ κρατουμένην ἔλαχε τὴν ἐν αὑτῷ τάξιν· ἀλλ’ ὅμως ἐπεὶ σωματοειδής ἐστι μεταβολῆς ἄμοιρος οὐκ ἔστιν ὥς φησιν ὁ Ἐλεάτης ξένος. Λέγεται δὲ καὶ ἡ ψυχικὴ διακόσμησις ἀεὶ κατὰ ταὐτὰ τὴν οὐσίαν ἑστῶσαν κεκτῆσθαι καὶ ὀρθῶς λέγεται πάντῃ γάρ ἐστιν ἀπαθὴς κατὰ τὴν οὐσίαν· ἀλλὰ τὰς ἐνεργείας εἰς χρόνον παρεκτεινομένας ἔχει καί ὥς φησιν ὁ ἐν Φαίδρῳ Σωκράτης ἄλλοτε ἄλλα νοεῖ νοητὰ καὶ ἐν ἄλλοις καὶ ἄλλοις εἴδεσιν γίνεται περιπορευομένη τὸν νοῦν. Λέγεται δὴ πρὸς τούτοις καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ πολυτίμητος νοῦς καὶ ἀεὶ κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ καὶ ὡσαύτως εἶναι καὶ νοεῖν ἐν αἰῶνι τήν τε οὐσίαν ὁμοῦ καὶ τὰς δυνάμεις καὶ τὰς ἐνεργείας τὰς ἑαυτοῦ πηξάμενος· ἀλλὰ διὰ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν νοήσεων καὶ διὰ τὴν ποικιλίαν τῶν νοητῶν εἰδῶν τε καὶ γενῶν οὐ τὸ ὡσαύτως ἐστὶν ἐν τῷ νῷ μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ ἑτέρως· ὁμοῦ γὰρ ἡ ἑτερότης ἐκεῖ τῇ ταὐτότητι συνυφέστηκε. Καὶ οὐ τῶν σωματικῶν ἐστὶ κινήσεων πλάνη μόνον οὐδὲ τῶν ψυχικῶν περιόδων ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτοῦ τοῦ νοῦ καθ’ ὅσον ἑαυτοῦ τὴν νόησιν εἰς πλῆθος προήγαγε καὶ τὸ νοητὸν ἀνελίξας ἔχει· ψυχὴ μὲν γὰρ ἀνελίττει τὸν νοῦν νοῦς δὲ αὑτὸν ἀνείλιξεν ὥσπερ καὶ ὁ Πλωτῖνος ὀρθῶς πού φησι περὶ τῶν νοητῶν ὑποβάσεων εἰπών. Τοιαῦται γάρ εἰσιν αἱ νοῦ πλάναι καὶ ἃς ἐκείνῳ πλανᾶσθαι θεμιτόν. Εἰ δὴ καὶ τὸ ἀεὶ ὡσαύτως ἐν μόνοις τοῖς θεοῖς πρώτως καὶ μάλιστα φήσαιμεν ὑπάρχειν οὔτ’ ἂν τῆς ἀληθείας ἁμάρτοιμεν καὶ τῷ Πλάτωνι συμφωνήσαιμεν ὅς πού φησιν ἐν τῷ Πολιτικῷ τὸ κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ καὶ ὡσαύτως ἔχειν ἀεὶ τοῖς πάντων θειοτάτοις μόνοις προσήκειν. Θεοὶ δὴ οὖν ἡμῖν καὶ τῆς τοιαύτης ταὐτότητος εἰς ἑαυτοὺς τὰς αἰτίας ἀνεδήσαντο καὶ κατὰ τὴν ἕνωσιν ἑαυτῶν
τὴν ἄγνωστον ἱδρυμένην φρουροῦσιν ὡσαύτως τὴν οἰκείαν ὕπαρξιν.
XIX. Τίς ἡ ἁπλότης τῶν θεῶν καὶ πῶς τὸ ἁπλοῦν αὐτῶν ποικίλον ἐν τοῖς δευτέροις φαντάζεται.
Τὸ μὲν οὖν ἀμετάβλητον τῶν θεῶν ἐν αὐταρκείᾳ καὶ ἀπαθείᾳ καὶ ταὐτότητι συνεχόμενον τοιοῦτόν ἐστι· τὸ δὲ ἁπλοῦν ἐπὶ τούτοις νοήσωμεν ἥντινα δύναμιν ἔχει. Καὶ γὰρ τοῦτο προστίθησιν ὁ Σωκράτης ἐν τοῖς περὶ τοῦ θείου λόγοις τὸ μὲν ποικίλον καὶ πολύμορφον καὶ ἄλλοτε ἀλλοῖον φανταζόμενον οὐ προσιέμενος τὸ δὲ μονοειδὲς καὶ ἁπλοῦν εἰς τὸ θεῖον ἀναπέμπων· μένει γοῦν ὥς φησιν ἕκαστος ἁπλῶς ἐν τῇ ἑαυτοῦ μορφῇ. Τί δὴ οὖν ἡμεῖς καὶ περὶ ταύτης διοριζόμεθα τῆς ἁπλότητος; Ὡς οὐκ ἔστιν οἷον τὸ κατ’ ἀριθμὸν ἓν ἀφωρισμένη· τὸ γὰρ τοιοῦτον πολυσύνθετόν ἐστι καὶ πολυμιγές δοκεῖ δὲ ἁπλοῦν εἶναι καθ’ ὅσον διῃρημένον ἔχει τὸ κοινὸν εἶδος. Οὐδ’ οἷον τὸ ἐν τοῖς πολλοῖς κατατεταγμένον εἶδος ἢ γένος· καὶ γὰρ ταῦτα τῶν μὲν ἀτόμων ἐν οἷς ἐστὶν ἁπλούστερα τυγχάνει ὄντα ποικιλίας δὲ ἀναπέπλησται τῇ ὕλῃ κοινωνήσαντα καὶ προσλαβόντα τὰς τῶν ἐνύλων διαφορότητας. Οὐδὲ οἷον τὸ τῆς φύσεως εἶδος· μερίζεται γὰρ καὶ ἡ φύσις περὶ τὰ σώματα καὶ δύνει κατὰ τῶν σωματικῶν ὄγκων καὶ πολλὰς προβάλλει δυνάμεις περὶ τὴν ὑποκειμένην αὐτῇ σύστασιν καὶ ἔστι τῶν μὲν σωμάτων ἁπλουστέρα συμμιγῆ δὲ τὴν οὐσίαν ἔχουσα πρὸς τὴν ἐν αὐτοῖς ποικιλίαν. Οὐδὲ ὁποῖον τὸ ψυχικόν· καὶ γὰρ ἡ ψυχὴ μέση τῆς ἀμερίστου καὶ τῆς περὶ τὰ σώματα μεριζομένης οὐσίας ὑπάρχουσα κοινωνεῖ πρὸς ἀμφοτέρας τοῖς ἄκροις καὶ τῷ μὲν πολυειδεῖ τῷ ἑαυτῆς συνάπτει τοῖς χείροσι κάρα δὲ αὐτῆς ἐστήρικται ἄνω
καὶ ἔστι κατ’ ἐκεῖνο μάλιστα θεία καὶ τῷ νῷ συγγενής. Οὐδ’ οἷον τὸ νοερόν· ἀμέριστος γὰρ ἅπας νοῦς καὶ ἑνοειδής πλῆθος δὲ ὅμως ἔχει καὶ πρόοδον καθὸ δηλονότι σχέσιν ἔχει πρὸς
τὰ δεύτερα εἰς ἑαυτὸν καὶ περὶ ἑαυτόν καὶ ἔστιν ἐν ἑαυτῷ καὶ οὐ μονοειδὴς μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ πολυειδὴς καί ὥσπερ εἰώθασι λέγειν ἓν πολλά· τῆς οὖν πρωτίστης ἁπλότητος ὑποδεεστέραν ἔλαχεν οὐσίαν. Οἱ δέ γε θεοὶ μόνως ἐν ἁπλότητι μιᾷ τὴν ὕπαρξιν ἀφωρισμένην ἔχουσι παντὸς μὲν πλήθους ἐξῃρημένοι καθ’ ὅσον εἰσὶ θεοί πάσης δὲ διαιρέσεως καὶ μερισμοῦ καὶ διαστάσεως ἢ σχέσεως πρὸς τὰ δεύτερα καὶ πάσης συνθέσεως ὑπερέχοντες. Καὶ αὐτοὶ μέν εἰσιν ἐν ἀβάτοις τῶν ὅλων ὑπερηπλωμένοι καὶ πᾶσιν ἐποχούμενοι τοῖς οὖσιν αἰωνίως· αἱ δὲ ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ἐλλάμψεις εἰς τὰ δεύτερα συμμιγνύμεναι πολλαχοῦ τοῖς μετέχουσι συνθέτοις οὖσι καὶ ποικίλοις ἀναπίμπλανται τῆς ὁμοίας αὐτῶν ἰδιότητος. Μὴ τοίνυν θαυμαζέτω τις εἰ τῶν θεῶν ἐν ἁπλότητι μιᾷ καθ’ ὑπεροχὴν οὐσιωμένων ποικίλα προβέβληται τῆς παρουσίας αὐτῶν φαντάσματα μηδ’ εἰ μονοειδῶν ἐκείνων ὄντων πολυειδῆ τὰ φαινόμενα καθάπερ ἐν ταῖς τελεωτάταις τῶν τελετῶν μεμαθήκαμεν. Καὶ γὰρ ἡ φύσις καὶ ὁ δημιουργικὸς νοῦς τῶν ἀσωμάτων σωματοειδῆ καὶ τῶν νοητῶν εἴδωλα προτείνουσιν αἰσθητὰ καὶ τῶν ἀδιαστάτων διαστατά. Τοιαῦτα γὰρ δὴ καὶ ὁ ἐν τῷ Φαίδρῳ Σωκράτης ἐνδεικνύμενος καὶ τῶν ψυχῶν τὰς ἄνευ σωμάτων τελετὰς μακαριωτάτασ εἶναι καὶ τελείας ὄντως ἀποφαινόμενος ὁλόκληρα καὶ ἁπλᾶ καὶ ἀτρεμῆ φάσματα μυεῖσθαί φησιν αὐτὰς ἐκεῖ γενομένας καὶ τοῖς θεοῖς αὐτοῖς ἑνιζομένας ἀλλ’ οὐ τοῖς ἀπ’ αὐτῶν εἰς τὰ τῇδε προβαλλομένοις ἰνδάλμασιν ἐντυγχα- νούσας. Ταῦτα μὲν γὰρ μερικώτερα καὶ συνθετώτερα καὶ ἐν κινήσει προφαίνεται· τὰ δὲ ταῖς τῶν θεῶν ὀπαδοῖσ καὶ τὸν πολὺν ὄχλον τῆς γενέσεως ἀπολιπούσαις καὶ γυμναῖσ πρὸς τὸ θεῖον καὶ καθαρὸν ἀνηγμέναις ἐλλαμ- πόμενα φάσματα μονοειδῆ καὶ ἁπλᾶ καί ὥς φησιν ὁ Σωκράτης ἀτρεμῆ πρόεισιν εἰς αὐτάς. Τοσαῦτα καὶ περὶ τῆς ἁπλότητος τῆς ἐν τοῖς θεοῖς ἡμῖν ἀφωρίσθω. Δεῖ γὰρ δὴ τὸ τῶν πολυμόρφων γεννητικὸν ἁπλοῦν προϋπάρχειν τῶν γεννωμένων καθάπερ δὴ καὶ τὸ τῶν πεπληθυσμένων ἑνοειδές. Εἰ τοίνυν οἱ θεοὶ πάσης συνθέσεώς εἰσιν αἴτιοι καὶ
τὴν τῶν ὄντων ποικιλίαν ἀφ’ ἑαυτῶν παρήγαγον δεῖ δήπου τὸ ἓν αὐτῶν τὸ τῶν ὅλων γεννητικὸν ἐν ἁπλότητι τὴν ὑπόστασιν ἔχειν. Καὶ γὰρ ὥσπερ τῶν σωμάτων ἀσώματα καὶ τῶν κινουμένων ἀκίνητα καὶ τῶν μεριστῶν ἀμέριστα προηγεῖται πάντων αἴτια τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον καὶ τῶν πολυειδῶν μονοειδεῖς καὶ τῶν συμμεμιγμένων ἀμιγεῖς καὶ τῶν ποικίλων ἁπλαῖ προϋφεστήκασιν αἱ πρωτουργοὶ δυνάμεις.
XX. Τίς ἡ ἐν τοῖς θεοῖς ἀλήθεια καὶ πόθεν παρεμπίπτει τὸ ψεῦδος ἐν ταῖς εἰς τὰ δεύτερα μεθέξεσι τῶν θεῶν.
Θεία Αλήθεια https://www.ellopos.net/
Περὶ δὲ τῆς ἐν αὐτοῖς ἀληθείας μετὰ ταῦτα λέγωμεν· καὶ γὰρ τοῦτο πρὸς τοῖς εἰρημένοις ὁ Σωκράτης συλλελόγισται διότι τὸ θεῖον ἀψευδές καὶ οὔτε ἀπάτης οὔτε ἀγνοίας ἐστὶν ἡμῖν ἢ ἄλλοις τισὶ τῶν ὄντων αἴτιον. Τῆς μὲν οὖν ἐν λόγοις ὑφεστώσης ἀληθείας τὴν θείαν ἐξῃρημένην νοήσωμεν καθ’ ὅσον αὕτη πολυσύνθετός ἐστι καὶ τρόπον τινὰ τῷ ἐναντίῳ συμπέφυρται καὶ διότι δὴ τὴν ὑπόστασιν ἐκ μὴ ἀληθῶν ἔσχηκε· τὰ γὰρ μόρια τὰ πρῶτα τῆς τοιαύτης ἀληθείας ἄδεκτα εἰ μή τις ἄλλον καὶ ταῦτα τρόπον ἀληθεύειν λέγοι τῷ ἐν Κρατύλῳ Σωκράτει πειθόμενος. Τῆς δὲ αὖ ψυχικῆς ἐν δόξαις εἴτε καὶ ἐπιστήμαις θεωρουμένης καθ’ ὅσον μεριστή πώς ἐστι καὶ οὐκ αὐτὰ τὰ ὄντα ἐστίν ἀλλ’ ὁμοιοῦται καὶ συναρμόζεται τοῖς οὖσι καὶ ὡς ἐν κινήσει καὶ μεταβάσει τελουμένη τῆς ἑστώσης ἀεὶ καὶ μονίμου καὶ ἀρχηγικῆς ἀληθείας ἀπολείπεται. Τῆς δὲ αὖ νοερᾶς διότι κατ’ οὐσίαν ὑφέστηκε καὶ λέγεται μὲν εἶναι τὰ ὄντα καὶ ἔστι διὰ τὴν τῆς ταὐτότητος δύναμιν πάλιν δὲ αὖ κατὰ τὴν ἑτερότητα διακρίνεται τῆς οὐσίας αὐτῶν καὶ τὴν ἰδίαν ὑπόστασιν ἀσύγχυτον πρὸς αὐτὰ διαφυλάττει.
Μόνη τοίνυν ἡ τῶν θεῶν ἀλήθεια ἕνωσις αὐτῶν ἐστὶν ἀδιαίρετος καὶ παντελὴς κοινωνία καὶ διὰ ταύτην ἥ τε τῶν θεῶν ἄρρητος γνῶσις ὑπερέχει πάσης γνώσεως καὶ πάντα τὰ δεύτερα τῶν γνώσεων εἴδη τελειότητος μεταλαγχάνει τῆς προσηκούσης. Μόνη δὲ αὕτη καὶ πάντα τὰ ὄντα καθ’ ἕνωσιν ἄφραστον συνῃρημένως περιέχει καὶ διὰ ταύτην οἱ θεοὶ τὰ πάντα γινώσκουσιν ὁμοῦ τά τε ὅλα καὶ τὰ μέρη τά τε ὄντα καὶ τὰ μὴ ὄντα τά τε αἰώνια καὶ τὰ ἔγχρονα· οὐχ ὥσπερ ὁ νοῦς τῷ καθόλου τὸ μέρος καὶ τῷ ὄντι τὸ μὴ ὄν ἀλλ’ αὐτόθεν ἕκαστα καὶ ὅσα κοινὰ καὶ ὅσα καθ’ ἕκαστα κἂν τὰ τῶν πάντων ἀτομώτατα λέγῃς κἂν τὴν ἀπειρίαν τῶν ἐνδεχομένων κἂν τὴν ὕλην αὐτήν.
Εἰ δὲ τὸν τρόπον ἐπιζητεῖς τῆς τῶν θεῶν περὶ πάντα τὰ ὁπωσοῦν ὑφεστηκότα γνώσεως καὶ ἀληθείας ἄρρητός ἐστι καὶ ἄληπτος ἀνθρωπίναις ἐπιβολαῖς μόνοις δὲ αὐτοῖς γνώριμος τοῖς θεοῖς. Καὶ ἔγωγε θαυμάζω μὲν καὶ τῶν Πλατωνικῶν τοὺς πάντων τὴν γνῶσιν ἀποδόντας τῷ νῷ καὶ τῶν ἀτόμων λέγω καὶ τῶν παρὰ φύσιν καὶ ὅλως τῶν κακῶν καὶ διὰ τοῦτο νοερὰ καὶ τούτων παραδείγματα θεμένους. Πολλῷ δ’ ἂν μᾶλλον ἀγασθείην τοὺς διακρί- νοντας μὲν τὴν νοερὰν ἰδιότητα τῆς θείας ἑνώσεως καὶ γὰρ ὁ νοῦς δημιούργημα καὶ γέννημα τῶν θεῶν ἐστὶ τὸ πρώ- τιστον τῷ δὲ νῷ τὰ ὅλα καὶ πρώτιστα καὶ κατὰ φύσιν ἀποδόντας αἴτια καὶ τοῖς θεοῖς τὴν πάντων κοσμητικὴν καὶ γεννητικὴν δύναμιν· τὸ γὰρ ἓν πανταχοῦ τὸ δὲ ὅλον οὐ πανταχοῦ· καὶ τοῦ μὲν ἑνὸς καὶ ἡ ὕλη μετέσχε καὶ ἕκαστον τῶν ὄντων νοῦ δὲ καὶ τῶν νοερῶν εἰδῶν τε καὶ γενῶν οὐ πάντα. Πάντα οὖν μόνως ἐκ τῶν θεῶν καὶ ἡ ὄντως ἀλήθεια παρ’ ἐκείνοις οἳ πάντα γινώσκουσιν ἑνιαίως. Καὶ διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἐν τοῖς χρησμοῖς ὁμοίως οἱ θεοὶ τὰ πάντα διδάσκουσιν τά τε ὅλα καὶ τὰ μερικά καὶ τὰ αἰώνια καὶ τὰ εἰς ἅπαντα τὸν χρόνον γιγνόμενα· καὶ γὰρ τῶν αἰωνίως ὄντων καὶ τῶν ἐν χρόνοις ἐξῃρημένοι κατὰ μίαν καὶ ἡνωμένην ἀλήθειαν τὴν ἑκάστου καὶ πάντων γνῶσιν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς συνῃρήκασιν. Εἰ δ’ ἄρα τι καὶ παρεμπίπτοι ψεῦδος εἰς τὰ χρηστήρια τῶν θεῶν οὐκ ἀπὸ τῶν θεῶν τὸ τοιοῦτο γεννᾶσθαι φήσομεν
ἀλλ’ ἀπὸ τῶν δεχομένων ἢ τῶν ὀργάνων ἢ τῶν τόπων ἢ τῶν καιρῶν· ἅπαντα γὰρ ταῦτα συντελεῖ πρὸς τὴν μετουσίαν τῆς θείας γνώσεως καὶ συναρμοζόμενα μὲν οἰκείως τοῖς θεοῖς καθαρὰν ὑποδέχεται τῆς ἐν αὐτοῖς ἱδρυμένης ἀληθείας τὴν ἔλλαμψιν ἀφιστά- μενα δὲ δι’ ἀνεπιτηδειότητος τῶν θεῶν καὶ ἀνάρμοστα γινόμενα πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἐπηλυγάζει τὴν ἀπ’ αὐτῶν προϊοῦσαν ἀλήθειαν. Ποῖον οὖν ψεῦδος ἐκ θεῶν τῶν πάντα τὰ τῆς γνώσεως εἴδη παραγόντων; Τίς ἀπάτη παρὰ τῶν τὴν ὅλην ἀλήθειαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἱδρυσαμένων; Καθάπερ γὰρ οἶμαι πᾶσι μὲν τὰ ἀγαθὰ προτείνουσιν οἱ θεοί δέχεται δὲ ἀεὶ ὁ ἐθέλων τε καὶ δυνάμενοσ φησὶν ὁ ἐν Φαίδρῳ Σωκράτης καὶ τὸ μὲν θεῖον ἀναίτιον τῶν κακῶν τὸ δὲ ἀφιστάμενον ἐκείνου καὶ βρῖθον εἰς τὸ κάτω δι’ ἑαυτοῦ κακύνεται τὸν αὐτὸν δὴ τρόπον καὶ θεοὶ μὲν ἀεὶ τῆς ἀληθείας εἰσὶ χορηγοί προσλάμπεται δὲ ὑπ’ αὐτῶν οἷς θέμις μετέχειν ἐκείνων. Τὰ γὰρ τῶν πολλῶν τῆς ψυχῆς ὄμματα καρτερεῖν πρὸς τὸ ἀληθὲς ἀφορῶντα ἀδύνατα φησὶν ὁ Ἐλεάτης σοφός.
Ταύτην δὴ τὴν ἐν τοῖς θεοῖς πρώτως ὑφεστηκυῖαν ἀλήθειαν καὶ ὁ Ἀθηναῖος ξένος ἀνύμνησεν ἀλήθεια δή φάς πάντων μὲν ἀγαθῶν θεοῖς ἡγεῖται πάντων δὲ ἀνθρώποις. Ὡς γὰρ τὰς ψυχὰς ἡ ἐν αὐταῖς ἀλήθεια συνάπτει πρὸς νοῦν ὡς τὰς νοερὰς πάσας τάξεις ἡ νοερὰ ἀλήθεια συνάγει πρὸς τὸ ἕν οὕτω δὴ καὶ ἡ τῶν θεῶν ἀλήθεια τὰς θείας ἑνάδας ἑνοῖ τῇ πηγῇ τῶν ὅλων ἀγαθῶν πρὸς ἣν δὴ συνενιζόμεναι πληροῦνται πάσης ἀγαθοειδοῦς δυνάμεως. Πανταχοῦ γὰρ δὴ συναγωγὸν ἔχει τοῦ πλήθους εἰς τὸ ἓν αἰτίαν ἡ τῆς ἀληθείας ὕπαρξις· ἐπεὶ καὶ τὸ ἐν Πολιτείᾳ προϊὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ φῶς τὸ συνάπτον τῷ νοητῷ τὸν νοῦν ἀλήθειαν ὁ Πλάτων καλεῖ. Ταύτην τοίνυν τὴν ἑνοποιὸν καὶ συνδετικὴν τῶν πληρούντων τε καὶ πληρουμένων ἰδιότητα κατὰ πάσας τῶν θεῶν τὰς διακοσμήσεις τακτέον ἄνωθεν ἄχρι τῶν ἐσχάτων.
XXI. Ἀπὸ τῶν ἐν τῷ Φαίδρῳ ῥηθέντων περὶ τοῦ θείου παντὸς ἀξιωμάτων ὅτι καλὸν σοφὸν ἀγαθόν ἐξεργασία τῶν περὶ τῆς ἀγαθότητος δογμάτων καὶ τῶν ἐν Φιλήβῳ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ στοιχείων ἐξέτασις.
Ἔσται δὲ ἡμῖν γνώριμον ὃ λέγομεν πρότερον περὶ τῶν ἐν Φαίδρῳ γεγραμμένων κοινῶν ὁμολογημάτων περὶ παντὸς τοῦ θείου τὸν λόγον ποιησαμένοις. Λέγει τοίνυν ὁ Σωκράτης ὡς ἄρα πᾶν ἐστὶ τὸ θεῖον καλόν σοφόν ἀγαθόν καὶ τὴν τριάδα ταύτην διήκειν ἐπὶ πάσας ἐνδείκνυται τὰς τῶν θεῶν προόδους. Τί οὖν ἂν εἴη τὸ ἀγαθὸν τὸ τῶν θεῶν καὶ τίς ἡ σοφία καὶ τί τὸ κάλλος; Τὸ μὲν ἀγαθὸν καὶ πρότερον εἴπομεν ὅτι σωστικόν ἐστι τῶν ὅλων καὶ ὑποστατικόν καὶ ὡς ἀκρότατον ὑφέστηκε πανταχοῦ καὶ ὡς πληρωτικόν ἐστι τῶν ὑφειμένων καὶ ὡς ἀνάλογον ἐν ἑκάστῃ τάξει προϋπάρχει τῇ πρωτίστῃ τῶν θείων διακόσμων ἀρχῇ. Κατὰ γὰρ τοῦτο πάντες οἱ θεοὶ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν ὅλων αἰτίᾳ συνήνωνται καὶ τὸ εἶναι θεοὶ κατὰ τοῦτο πρώτως ἔχουσιν· οὔτε γὰρ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ τελεώτερον ἅπασι τοῖς οὖσιν οὔτε τῶν θεῶν. Τοῖς οὖν ἀρίστοις καὶ κατὰ πάντα τελείοις τὸ ἄριστον μάλα προσήκει καὶ τελικώτατον τῶν ὄντων.
Ἐν δέ γε τῷ Φιλήβῳ στοιχεῖα παραδίδωσιν ἡμῖν ὁ Πλάτων τῆς τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ φύσεως τρία τὰ κυριώτατα τὸ ἐφετόν τὸ ἱκανόν τὸ τέλειον· δεῖ γὰρ αὐτὸ καὶ πρὸς ἑαυτὸ πάντα ἐπιστρέφειν καὶ πληροῦν καὶ κατὰ μηδὲν ἐλλείπειν μηδὲ ἐλαττοῦν τὴν αὑτοῦ περιουσίαν. Τὸ μὲν τοίνυν ἐφετὸν μὴ τοιοῦτον νοείτω τις οἷον ἐν τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς προτείνεται πολλάκις ὀρεκτόν ἄγονον ὑπάρχον καὶ ἀνενέργητον τοιοῦτον γὰρ
τὸ φαινόμενον καλόν μηδ’ οἷον ἐνεργεῖν μὲν καὶ ἀνεγείρειν εἰς αὑτὸ τὰ δυνάμενα μετέχειν νοήσει δὲ ληπτὸν καὶ κατ’ ἐπιβολὴν ἡμῖν καὶ κατ’ ἐπέρεισιν τῆς διανοίας ἐκφερόμενον· ἄρρητον γάρ ἐστι καὶ πρὸ γνώσεως πάσης ἐπὶ πάντα διατείνει τὰ ὄντα. Πάντα γὰρ ἐφίεται τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ καὶ ἐπέστραπται πρὸς ἐκεῖνο τὰ μὲν μᾶλλον τὰ δὲ ἧττον. Ἀλλ’ εἰ δεῖ συνελόντα φάναι τὴν ἰδιότητα τοῦ ἐφετοῦ· καθάπερ ὁ τοῦ φωτὸς χορηγὸς ταῖς ἀκτῖσι πρόεισιν εἰς τὰ δεύτερα καὶ πρὸς ἑαυτὸν ἐπιστρέφει τὰ ὄμματα καὶ ἡλιοειδῆ ποιεῖ καὶ ἑαυτῷ παραπλήσια καὶ διὰ τῆς ἑτερομοιότητος συνάπτει ταῖς ἑαυτοῦ μαρμαρυγαῖς οὕτως οἶμαι καὶ τὸ ἐφετὸν τῶν θεῶν ἀνέλκει πάντα καὶ ἀνασπᾷ πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺς ἀρρήτως ταῖς οἰκείαις ἐλλάμψεσι πανταχοῦ παρὸν πᾶσι καὶ μηδ’ ἡντινοῦν ἀπολεῖπον τάξιν τῶν ὄντων· ἐπεὶ καὶ αὐτὴ ἡ ὕλη πρὸς τὸ ἐφετὸν τοῦτο τετάσθαι λέγεται καὶ διὰ τῆς ἐφέσεως ταύτης πληροῦται τοσούτων ἀγαθῶν ὅσων δύναται μετασχεῖν. Πάντων οὖν ἐστὶ τῶν ὄντων κέντρον καὶ περὶ αὐτὸ πάντα τὰ ὄντα καὶ πάντες οἱ θεοὶ τάς τε οὐσίας καὶ τὰς δυνάμεις καὶ τὰς ἐνεργείας ἔχουσι. Καὶ ἡ πρὸς τοῦτο τάσις καὶ ἡ ἔφεσις τῶν ὄντων ἄσβεστός ἐστιν· ἄγνωστον γὰρ ὂν ποθεῖ τὰ ὄντα τὸ ἐφετὸν τοῦτο καὶ ἄληπτον. Μήτε οὖν γνῶναι μήτε ἑλεῖν ὃ ποθεῖ δυνάμενα περὶ αὐτὸ πάντα χορεύει καὶ ὠδίνει μὲν αὐτὸ καὶ οἷον ἀπομαντεύεται τὴν δὲ ἔφεσιν ἀκατάληκτον ἔχει καὶ ἄπαυστον τῆς ἀγνώστου καὶ ἀρρήτου φύσεως αὐτοῦ λειπόμενα καὶ περιπτύξασθαι καὶ ἐγκολπίσασθαι τὸ ἐφετὸν ἀδυνατοῦντα. Πάντων γὰρ ὁμοῦ τῶν ὄντων ἐξῃρημένον πᾶσι πάρεστιν ὁμοίως καὶ κινεῖ πάντα περὶ ἑαυτό πᾶσιν ἀκατάληπτον ὄν· καὶ τῇ μὲν κινήσει ταύτῃ καὶ τῇ ἐφέσει σῴζει τὰ πάντα τῇ δὲ ἀγνώστῳ τῶν ὅλων ὑπεροχῇ τὴν οἰκείαν ἕνωσιν ἄμικτον φυλάττει πρὸς τὰ δεύτερα. Τὸ μὲν οὖν ἐφετὸν τοιοῦτον·
τὸ δέ γε ἱκανὸν δυνάμεώς ἐστι πλῆρες ἀγαθοειδοῦς καὶ πρόεισιν ἐπὶ πάντα καὶ τὰς τῶν θεῶν δόσεις ἐκτείνει καὶ ἐπορέγει τοῖς οὖσι πᾶσι. Τοιαύτην γὰρ δὴ τὴν ἱκανότητα νομίζομεν εἶναι δύναμιν ἐπὶ τὰ ἔσχατα διικνουμένην καὶ διατείνουσαν καὶ τὴν ἄφθονον τῶν θεῶν βούλησιν
ἐκφαίνουσαν καὶ μὴ ἱσταμένην ἐφ’ ἑαυτῆς ἀλλὰ τὸ ὑπέρπληρες καὶ ἀνέκλειπτον καὶ ἄπειρον καὶ γεννητικὸν τῶν ἀγαθῶν τῆς θείας ὑπάρξεως συλλαβοῦσαν ἑνιαίως. Τοῦ γὰρ ἐφετοῦ μονίμως ἱδρυμένου καὶ τῶν ὅλων ὑπερέχοντος καὶ πάντα περὶ ἑαυτὸ τὰ ὄντα στήσαντος τὸ ἱκανὸν ἐξάρχει προόδου καὶ πολλαπλασιασμοῦ τῶν ὅλων ἀγαθῶν καὶ τὸ πρωτουργὸν τῆς τοῦ ἐφετοῦ μονοειδοῦς ὑπάρξεως τῇ γονίμῳ περιουσίᾳ καὶ ταῖς ἐπὶ πάντα διηκούσαις ἀγαθουργοῖς ἀποπληρώσεσιν ἐκκαλεῖται καὶ προάγει καὶ πᾶσιν ἐνδίδωσιν ἀφθόνως ἵνα δὴ καὶ τὸ μόνιμον τῶν θείων καὶ τὸ προϊὸν ἀπὸ τῶν οἰκείων αἰτίων τῆς ἀγαθότητος πλῆρες ὑπάρχῃ καὶ πάντα ἁπλῶς ἀγαθύ- νηται τὰ ὄντα μένοντά τε καὶ προερχόμενα καὶ ταῖς ἀρχαῖς ἡνωμένα ταῖς ἑαυτῶν καὶ διακρινόμενα κατ’ οὐσίαν ἀπ’ ἐκείνων. Διὰ ταύτην δὴ οὖν τὴν δύναμιν καὶ τὰ νοερὰ γένη τῶν ὁμοίων ἐστὶ συστατικά καὶ αἱ ψυχαὶ γεννᾶν ἐφίενται καὶ μιμεῖσθαι τὰ πρὸ αὐτῶν καὶ αἱ φύσεις τοὺς αὑτῶν λόγους εἰς ἄλλην διάγουσι χώραν καὶ πάντα ἁπλῶς κατ’ οὐσίαν ἔχει τὸν τῆς γεννήσεως ἔρωτα. Τὸ γὰρ ἱκανὸν τῆς ἀγαθότητος τῶν θεῶν ἀπ’ αὐτῆς ὡρμημένον πᾶσιν ἐνέσπαρται τοῖς οὖσι καὶ πάντα κινεῖ πρὸς τὴν ἄφθονον μετάδοσιν τῶν ἀγαθῶν τὸν μὲν νοῦν τῶν νοερῶν τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν τῶν ψυχικῶν τὴν δὲ φύσιν τῶν φυσικῶν.
Μένει τε οὖν πάντα διὰ τὸ ἐφετὸν τῆς ἀγαθότητος καὶ γεννᾷ καὶ πρόεισιν εἰς δευτέρας καὶ τρίτας ἀπογεννήσεις διὰ τὸ ἱκανόν. Τὸ δὲ αὖ τρίτον τὸ τέλειον ἐπιστρεπτικόν ἐστι τῶν ὅλων καὶ συναγωγὸν ἐπὶ τὰ αἴτια κατὰ κύκλον οὗ μὲν τὸ θεῖον οὗ δὲ τὸ νοερόν οὗ δὲ τὸ ψυχικόν οὗ δὲ τὸ φυσικόν· πάντα γὰρ μετέχει τῆς ἐπιστροφῆς ἐπεὶ καὶ τὸ ἄπειρον τῆς προόδου διὰ ταύτης ἐπὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς αὖθις ἀνακαλεῖται. Καὶ ἔστι σύμμικτον τὸ τέλειον ἐκ τοῦ ἐφετοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἱκανοῦ. Πᾶν γὰρ τὸ τοιοῦτον ὀρεκτόν ἐστι καὶ γεννητικὸν τῶν ὁμοίων· ἢ οὐχὶ κἀν τοῖς τῆς φύσεως ἔργοις τὰ τέλεια πανταχοῦ καὶ ἐραστὰ διὰ τὴν τῆς ὥρας ἀκμὴν καὶ γόνιμα τυγχάνει ὄντα; Τό τε οὖν ἐφετὸν ἑδράζει τὰ πάντα καὶ ἐν ἑαυτῷ κατέχει καὶ τὸ ἱκανὸν εἰς προόδους
καὶ ἀπογεννήσεις ἀνεγείρει καὶ τὸ τέλειον εἰς ἐπιστροφὰς καὶ συνελίξεις τελεσιουργεῖ τὰ προελθόντα· διὰ δὲ τούτων τῶν τριῶν αἰτίων τά τε θεῖα πάντα καὶ τὰ μετὰ θεοὺς γένη κεκόσμηται· πάντων ἄρα πρωτουργός ἐστι καὶ ἀρχηγικωτάτη πηγὴ καὶ ἑστία τῶν ὁπωσοῦν ὑφεστηκότων ἡ τῶν θεῶν ἀγαθότης ἐν τριάδι τοιαύτῃ πηξαμένη τὸ ἑνιαῖον κράτος τῆς οἰκείας ὑποστάσεως.
XXIII. Τίς ἡ σοφία τῶν θεῶν καὶ τίνα ἄν τις αὐτῆς στοιχεῖα λάβοι παρὰ τοῦ Πλάτωνος.
Μετὰ δὲ ταύτην ἡ σοφία δευτέραν ἔλαχε τάξιν νόησις οὖσα τῶν θεῶν μᾶλλον δὲ ὕπαρξις τῆς νοήσεως τῶν θεῶν. Ἡ μὲν γὰρ νόησις γνῶσίς ἐστι νοερά θεῶν δὲ ἡ σοφία γνῶσις ἄρρητος ἥτις ἥνωται πρὸς τὸ γνωστὸν καὶ τὴν νοητὴν ἕνωσιν τῶν θεῶν. Δοκεῖ δέ μοι καὶ ταύτην ἐν τριάδι μάλιστα θεωρεῖν ὁ Πλάτων ὡς ἔστιν ἐκ τῶν πολλαχοῦ διεσπαρμένων περὶ αὐτῆς ἐννοιῶν συλλογίσασθαι. Λέγω δὲ ὅτι ἡ μὲν ἐν Συμποσίῳ Διοτίμα τὸ σοφὸν πλῆρες εἶναι βούλεται τοῦ γνωστοῦ καὶ οὐ ζητεῖν οὐδὲ θηρᾶν ἀλλ’ ἔχειν τὸ νοητόν· θεῶν οὐδεὶς φιλοσοφεῖ οὐδὲ ἐπιθυμεῖ σοφὸς γενέσθαι ἔστι γάρ. Οὐκοῦν τὸ μὲν φιλόσοφον ἀτελές ἐστι καὶ ἐνδεὲς τῆς ἀληθείας τὸ δὲ σοφὸν πλῆρες καὶ ἀνενδεές καὶ πᾶν ὃ βούλεται παρὸν ἔχει καὶ οὐδὲν ποθοῦν ἀλλ’ ἐφετὸν καὶ ὀρεκτὸν τῷ φιλοσόφῳ προκείμενον. Ὁ δὲ ἐν τῇ Πολιτείᾳ Σωκράτης τὸ γεννητικὸν ἀληθείας καὶ νοῦ τῆς σοφίας παρέχεται γνώρισμα ταῖς μὲν ἡμετέραις ψυχαῖς διὰ γεννήσεως εἰς τὸ πλῆρες τῆς ἀνόδου γινομένης τοῖς δὲ θεοῖς ἐκ τοῦ πλήρους τῆς γεννήσεως τοῦ νοῦ παρούσης. Οὐ γὰρ ἐκ τῆς ἀτελοῦς ἕξεως ἐπὶ τὸ τέλειον ἐν ἐκείνοις ἡ πρόοδος ἀλλ’ ἐκ
τῆς αὐτοτελοῦς ὑπάρξεως ἡ γόνιμος τῶν ὑποδεεστέρων δύναμις. Ἐν δὲ αὖ τῷ Θεαιτήτῳ τὸ τελεσιουργὸν τῶν ἀτελῶν καὶ τὸ προκλητικὸν τῶν κρυπτομένων ἐν ταῖς ψυχαῖς νοήσεων τῇ σοφίᾳ προσήκειν ἐνδείκνυται· μαιεύεσθαί με ὁ θεὸς ἀναγκάζει γεννᾶν δὲ ἀπεκώλυσε. Δῆλον οὖν ἐκ τούτων ὅτι τριαδικόν ἐστι τὸ τῆς σοφίας γένος πλῆρες μὲν ὂν τοῦ ὄντος καὶ τῆς ἀληθείας γεννητικὸν δὲ τῆς νοερᾶς ἀληθείας τελειωτικὸν δὲ τῶν κατ’ ἐνέργειαν νοερῶν καὶ αὐτὸ κατὰ δύναμιν ἑστώς. Ταῦτα τοίνυν καὶ τῇ τῶν θεῶν σοφίᾳ προσήκειν ὑπολάβωμεν· καὶ γὰρ ἐκείνη τῆς μὲν ἀγαθότητός ἐστι τῆς θείας πλήρης γεννᾷ δὲ τὴν θείαν ἀλήθειαν τελειοῖ δὲ πάντα τὰ μεθ’ ἑαυτήν.
XXIV. Περὶ τοῦ θείου κάλλους καὶ τῶν στοιχείων ὧν αὐτοῦ παραδίδωσιν ὁ Πλάτων.
Τὸ δὴ καλὸν ἐπὶ τούτοις σκεψώμεθα τί ποτέ ἐστι καὶ ὅπως ἐν τοῖς θεοῖς πρώτως ὑφέστηκε. Λέγεται μὲν οὖν ἀγαθοειδὲς εἶναι κάλλος καὶ νοητὸν κάλλος καὶ πρεσβύτερον τῆς νοερᾶς καλλονῆς καὶ αὐτοκαλλονή καὶ τῶν ὄντων ἁπάντων αἰτία καλλοποιός καὶ πάντα τὰ τοιαῦτα καὶ ὀρθῶς λέγεται. Χωριστὸν δέ ἐστιν οὐ μόνον τῶν ἐν τοῖς σωματικοῖς ὄγκοις φαινομένων καλῶν οὐδὲ τῆς ἐν τούτοις συμμετρίας ἢ τῆς ψυχικῆς εὐαρμοστίας ἢ τοῦ νοεροῦ φέγγους ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτῶν τῶν δευτέρων καὶ τρίτων ἐν τοῖς θεοῖς προόδων τὸ πρώτιστον καὶ ἑνιαῖον κάλλος· καὶ ἵδρυται μονοειδῶς ἐν τῇ νοητῇ περιωπῇ καὶ ἀπὸ ταύτης πρόεισιν ἐφ’ ἅπαντα τὰ τῶν θεῶν γένη καὶ καταλάμπει τάς τε ὑπερουσίους αὐτῶν ἑνάδας καὶ τὰς ἐξηρτημένας ἁπάσας οὐσίας μέχρι καὶ τῶν ἐμφανῶν ὀχημάτων. καὶ Ὥσπερ οὖν διὰ τὴν πρωτίστην ἀγαθότητα πάντες ἀγαθοειδεῖς οἱ θεοί καὶ διὰ τὴν νοητὴν σοφίαν γνῶσιν ἔχουσιν ἄρρητον καὶ ὑπὲρ νοῦν ἱδρυμένην οὕτως οἶμαι καὶ διὰ τὴν ἀκρότητα τοῦ κάλλους ἐράσμιόν ἐστι τὸ θεῖον πᾶν. Ἐκεῖθεν
γὰρ ἐποχετεύονται πάντες οἱ θεοὶ τὸ κάλλος καὶ πληρούμενοι τὰ μεθ’ ἑαυτοὺς πληροῦσιν ἀνεγείροντες πάντα καὶ ἐκβακχεύοντες περὶ τὸν ἑαυτῶν ἔρωτα καὶ ἐπαντλοῦντες ἄνωθεν τοῖς πᾶσιν τὴν ἔνθεον ἀπορροὴν τοῦ κάλλους.
Ἔστι μὲν οὖν ὡς τὸ ὅλον εἰπεῖν τοιοῦτον τὸ θεῖον κάλλος τῆς θείας εὐφροσύνης χορηγὸν καὶ τῆς οἰκειότητος καὶ τῆς φιλίας· κατὰ γὰρ τοῦτο καὶ ἥνωνται ἀλλήλοις οἱ θεοὶ καὶ χαίρουσιν ἀλλήλοις καὶ ἄγανται καὶ εὐφραίνονται ταῖς πρὸς ἀλλήλους κοινωνίαις καὶ ταῖς πληρώσεσιν καὶ οὐκ ἀπολείπουσιν ἣν ἔλαχον ἀεὶ τάξιν ἐν ταῖς ἑαυτῶν διακοσμήσεσι. Τρία δὲ ὁ Πλάτων καὶ τούτου γνωρίσματα παραδίδωσιν. Ἐν Συμποσίῳ μὲν τὸ ἁβρόν· τὸ γὰρ τέλειον δήπου καὶ τὸ μακαριστὸν κατὰ τὴν τῆς ἀγαθότητος μετουσίαν ἐφήκει τῷ καλῷ· λέγει δὲ οὕτω πως ἐν ἐκείνοις· ἀλλὰ τὸ τῷ ὄντι καλόν τοῦτό ἐστιν ἁβρὸν καὶ τέλειον καὶ μακαριστόν. Τοῦτο μὲν οὖν τοιοῦτον τοῦ κάλλους ἕν τὸ ἁβρόν ἕτερον δὲ ἐκ τοῦ Φαίδρου λάβωμεν τὸ φανόν. Καὶ γὰρ τοῦτο τῷ κάλλει φέρων ἀνέθηκεν· κάλλος δὲ τότε ἦν ἰδεῖν λαμπρόν καὶ ἐφεξῆς· περὶ δὲ κάλλους ὥσπερ ἔφαμεν μετ’ ἐκείνων τε ἔλαμπεν ὄν καὶ πάλιν ἐν τοῖς ἐχομένοις· δεῦρό τε ἐλθόντες κατειλήφαμεν αὐτὸ διὰ τῆς ἐναργεστάτης τῶν αἰσθήσεων στίλ- βον ἐναργέστατα καὶ τέλος ἐπὶ τούτοις· νῦν δὲ κάλλος μόνον ταύτην ἔσχε μοῖραν ἐκφανέστατόν τε εἶναι καὶ ἐρασμιώτατον. Δύο μὲν οὖν ταῦτα τοῦ κάλλους εἰλήφθω γνωρίσματα. Τρίτον δὲ ἄλλο τὸ ἐραστόν ὃ καὶ νῦν οὗτος ἐρας- μιώτατον προσειρηκέναι μοι δοκεῖ καὶ ἄλλοθι πολλαχοῦ δεικνύει τὴν ἐρωτικὴν μανίαν περὶ τὸ καλὸν ἀφοριζόμενος καὶ ὅλως τὸν ἔρωτα τῆς τοῦ κάλλους ἐξάπτων μονάδος· Ἔρως γάρ ἐστι φησίν ἔρως περὶ τὸ καλόν.
Διότι μὲν οὖν ἐπιστρέφει πάντα πρὸς ἑαυτὸ καὶ κινεῖ καὶ ἐνθουσιᾶν ποιεῖ καὶ ἀνακαλεῖται δι’ ἔρωτος ἐραστόν ἐστι τὸ κάλλος πάσης ἡγεμονοῦν τῆς ἐρωτικῆς σειρᾶς καὶ ἐπ’ ἄκροις τοῖσ ποσὶ βεβηκὸς καὶ ἐφ’ ἑαυτὸ πάντα διὰ πόθου καὶ ἐκπλήξεως ἀνεγεῖρον. Διότι δὲ αὖ μετ’ εὐφροσύνης καὶ τῆς θείας ῥᾳστώνης ἐπορέγει τοῖς δευτέροις τὰσ ἀφ’ ἑαυτοῦ πληρώσεις κηλοῦν πάντα καὶ
θέλγον καὶ μετεωρίζον τὰ ἀγόμενα καὶ ἐποχετευόμενα τὰς ἐκεῖθεν ἐλλάμψεις ἁβρόν ἐστί τε καὶ λέγεται παρὰ τοῦ Πλάτωνος. Διότι γε μὴν συμπεραίνει τὴν τριάδα ταύτην καὶ προκύπτει τῆς ἀρρήτου τῶν θεῶν ἑνώσεως καὶ οἷον ἐπινήχεται τῷ φωτὶ τῶν εἰδῶν καὶ τὸ νοητὸν φῶς ἐκλάμπει καὶ ἐξαγγέλλει τὸ τῆς ἀγαθότητος κρύφιον λαμπρόν τε καὶ στιλπνὸν καὶ ἐκφανὲσ ἐπονομάζεται. Τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἀγαθὸν τῶν θεῶν ἀκρότατόν ἐστι καὶ ἑνοειδέστατον· τὸ δὲ σοφὸν ὠδίνει πως ἤδη τὸ φῶς τὸ νοητὸν καὶ τὰ εἴδη τὰ πρώτιστα· τὸ δὲ αὖ κάλλος ἐπ’ ἄκροις ἵδρυται τοῖς εἴδεσι καὶ προλάμπει τὸ θεῖον φῶς καὶ τοῖς ἀνιοῦσι πρῶτον ἐκφαίνεται παντὸς φωσφόρου στιλπνότερον καὶ ἐρασμιώτερον ἰδεῖν καὶ περιπτύξασθαι καὶ μετ’ ἐκπλήξεως ἐκφαινόμενον λαβεῖν. Ταύτης τοίνυν τῆς τριάδος τὰ πάντα πληρούσης καὶ διὰ πάντων χωρούσης ἀνάγκη δήπου καὶ τὰ πληρούμενα διὰ τῶν συγγενῶν πρὸς ἕκαστον ἐπιστρέφειν καὶ συνάπτεσθαι καὶ μὴ διὰ τῶν αὐτῶν ἕκαστα τῶν μέσων· ἄλλη γὰρ μεσότης ἄλλων καὶ δυνάμεις ἄλλαι πρὸς ἄλλην τελειότητα θεῶν ἐπιστρέφουσι. Πρὸς μὲν οὖν τὸ θεῖον κάλλος τὸ συνάγον τὰ δεύτερα πάντα καὶ οἰκειοῦν καὶ τῆς πληρώσεως αἴτιον καὶ τῆς ἐκεῖθεν ἐποχετείας δῆλον οἶμαι παντί καὶ τοῦ Πλάτωνος πολλάκις λέγοντος ὡς οὐδὲν ἄλλο ἐστὶν ἢ ὁ ἔρωσ ὃς δὴ καὶ θεοὺς ἀεὶ τοὺς δευτέρους τοῖς πρὸ ἑαυτῶν καὶ τὰ κρείττονα γένη καὶ ψυχῶν τὰς ἀρίστας συνάπτει κατὰ τὸ καλόν. Πρὸς δὲ αὖ τὴν θείαν σοφίαν ἧς καὶ ὁ νοῦς πληρούμενος γινώσκει τὰ ὄντα καὶ ψυχαὶ μετέχουσαι νοερῶς ἐνεργοῦσιν ἀλήθεια δήπου καὶ ἀνάγει καὶ προσιδρύει τὰ ὄντα. Διὰ γὰρ ἀληθείας ἡ τῆς ὄντως οὔσης σοφίας πλήρωσις· φωτίζει γὰρ δὴ τὰ νοοῦντα πανταχοῦ καὶ συνάπτει τοῖς νοουμένοις ὥσπερ δὴ καὶ ἡ πρωτίστη νοῦ καὶ νοητοῦ συναγωγὸς ὑπῆρχε. Πρὸς δὲ αὖ τὸ ἀγαθὸν οὐ γνώσεως ἔτι καὶ ἐνεργείας δεῖ τοῖς συναφθῆναι σπεύδουσιν ἀλλ’ ἱδρύσεως καὶ μονίμου καταστάσεως καὶ ἠρεμίας.
XXV. Τίς ἡ τριὰς ἡ πρὸς τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ τὸ σοφὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν συνάπτουσα καὶ ποίας ἀφορμὰς ὁ Πλάτων ἡμῖν καταβέβληται τῆς περὶ αὐτὴν θεωρίας;
Τί οὖν ἡμᾶς ἑνώσει πρὸς αὐτό; Τί τῆς ἐνεργείας παύσει καὶ κινήσεως; Τί δὲ τὰ θεῖα πάντα καὶ τῇ πρωτίστῃ καὶ ἀρρήτῳ τῆς ἀγαθότητος ἑνάδι συνίστησι; Πῶς δὲ ἕκαστον ἐνιδρυμένον τῷ πρὸ αὑτοῦ κατὰ τὸ ἀγαθὸν ἐν ἑαυτῷ πάλιν ἑδράζει τὰ μεθ’ ἑαυτὸ κατὰ τὴν αἰτίαν; Ὡς μὲν τὸ ὅλον εἰπεῖν τῶν θεῶν πίστισ ἐστὶν ἡ πρὸς τὸ ἀγαθὸν ἀρρήτως ἑνίζουσα τά τε τῶν θεῶν γένη σύμπαντα καὶ δαιμόνων καὶ ψυχῶν τὰς εὐδαίμονας. Δεῖ γὰρ οὐ γνωστικῶς οὐδὲ ἀτελῶς τὸ ἀγαθὸν ἐπιζητεῖν ἀλλ’ ἐπιδόντας ἑαυτοὺς τῷ θείῳ φωτὶ καὶ μύσαντασ οὕτως ἐνιδρύεσθαι τῇ ἀγνώστῳ καὶ κρυφίῳ τῶν ὄντων ἑνάδι· τὸ γὰρ τοιοῦτον τῆς πίστεως γένος πρεσβύτερόν ἐστι τῆς γνωστικῆς ἐνεργείας οὐκ ἐν ἡμῖν μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ παρ’ αὐτοῖς τοῖς θεοῖς καὶ κατὰ τοῦτο πάντες οἱ θεοὶ συνήνωνται καὶ περὶ ἓν κέντρον μονοειδῶς τὰς ὅλας δυνάμεις τε καὶ προόδους αὐτῶν συνάγουσιν.
Εἰ δὲ δεῖ καὶ καθ’ ἕκαστον ἀφορίζεσθαι μή μοι τὴν τοιαύτην πίστιν τῇ περὶ τὰ αἰσθητὰ πλάνῃ τὴν αὐτὴν ὑπολάβῃς· αὕτη μὲν γὰρ ἐπιστήμης ἀπολείπεται καὶ πολλῷ μᾶλλον τῆς τῶν ὄντων ἀληθείας ἡ δέ γε τῶν θεῶν πίστις ἅπασαν ὑπεραίρει γνῶσιν καὶ κατ’ αὐτὴν ἄκραν τὴν ἕνωσιν συνάπτει τὰ δεύτερα τοῖς πρώτοις. Μηδ’ αὖ τῇ τῶν κοινῶν καλουμένων ἐννοιῶν ὁμοειδῆ τὴν νῦν ὑμνουμένην πίστιν νοήσῃς· καὶ γὰρ ταῖς κοιναῖς ἐννοίαις πρὸ παντὸς λόγου πιστεύομεν ἀλλὰ γνῶσίς ἐστι καὶ τούτων μεριστὴ καὶ πρὸς τὴν θείαν ἕνωσιν οὐδαμῶς ἰσοστάσιος καὶ οὐ τῆς πίστεως μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ τῆς νοερᾶς ἁπλότητος ἡ τούτων ἐπιστήμη δευτέρα· νοῦς γὰρ ἐπέκεινα πάσης ἐπιστήμης ἵδρυται τῆς τε πρώτης ὁμοῦ καὶ τῆς μετ’ ἐκείνην. Μὴ τοίνυν μηδὲ τὴν κατὰ νοῦν ἐνέργειαν τῇ τοιαύτῃ πίστει τὴν αὐτὴν εἶναι λέγωμεν· πολυειδὴς γὰρ καὶ αὕτη καὶ δι’ ἑτερότητος χωριζομένη
τῶν νοουμένων καὶ ὅλως κίνησίς ἐστι νοερὰ περὶ τὸ νοητόν· δεῖ δὲ τὴν θείαν πίστιν ἑνοειδῆ καὶ ἤρεμον ὑπάρχειν ἐν τῷ τῆς ἀγαθότητος ὅρμῳ τελείως ἱδρυνθεῖσαν. Οὔτε γὰρ τὸ καλὸν οὔτε τὸ σοφὸν οὔτε ἄλλο τῶν ὄντων οὐδὲν οὕτω πιστόν ἐστιν ἅπασι τοῖς οὖσι καὶ ἀσφαλὲς καὶ πάσης ἀμφιβολίας καὶ διῃρημένης ἐπιβολῆς καὶ κινήσεως ἐξῃρημένον ὡς τὸ ἀγαθόν. Διὰ γὰρ τοῦτο καὶ ὁ νοῦς τῆς νοερᾶς ἐνεργείας πρεσβυτέραν ἄλλην καὶ πρὸ ἐνεργείας ἕνωσιν ἀσπάζεται· καὶ ψυχὴ τὴν τοῦ νοῦ ποικιλίαν καὶ τὴν τῶν εἰδῶν ἀγλαΐαν οὐδὲν εἶναι τίθεται πρὸς τὴν τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ τῶν ὅλων ὑπεροχήν καὶ τὸ μὲν νοεῖν ἀφίησιν εἰς τὴν ἑαυτῆς ὕπαρξιν ἀναδραμοῦσα τὸ δὲ ἀγαθὸν ἀεὶ διώκει καὶ θηρᾷ καὶ ἐφίεται καὶ οἷον ἐγκολπίσασθαι σπεύδει καὶ μόνῳ τούτῳ τῶν πάντων ἐπιδίδωσιν ἑαυτὴν ἀνενδοιάστως. Καὶ τί δεῖ τὴν ψυχὴν λέγειν; Ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ θνητὰ ταῦτα ζῷα καθάπερ πού φησιν ἡ Διοτίμα πάντων ὑπερφρονεῖ τῶν ἄλλων καὶ τῆς ζωῆς αὐτῆς καὶ τοῦ ὄντος πόθῳ τῆς τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ φύσεως καὶ μίαν ἅπαντα ταύτην ἀκίνητον ἔχει καὶ ἄρρητον ἔφεσιν τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ τῶν δὲ ἄλλων ἕκαστα κἂν παρίδοι καὶ δεύτερα ποιήσαιτο καὶ ἀτιμήσειε τὴν τεῦξιν. Εἷς οὖν οὗτος ὅρμος ἀσφαλὴς τῶν ὄντων ἁπάντων καὶ
τοῦτο μάλιστα τοῖς οὖσιν ἅπασι πιστόν. Καὶ διὰ τοῦτο δήπου καὶ ἡ πρὸς αὐτὸ συναφὴ καὶ ἕνωσις ὑπὸ τῶν θεολόγων πίστις ἀποκαλεῖται· καὶ οὐχ ὑπ’ ἐκείνων μόνον ἀλλ’ εἰ δεῖ τὰ δοκοῦντα λέγειν καὶ ὑπὸ τοῦ Πλάτωνος ἐν Νόμοις ἡ τῆς πίστεως ταύτης πρός τε τὴν ἀλήθειαν καὶ τὸν ἔρωτα συγγένεια κεκήρυκται. Λανθάνει δὲ ἄρα τοὺς πολλοὺς ὡς οὐ ταῦτα διανοούμενος ἐπὶ τῶν ἐναντίων τὸν λόγον ποιούμενος καὶ τὰς ἀποπτώσεις τῆς τριάδος ταύτης εἰς ταὐτὸν συνάγων. Λέγει δ’ οὖν καὶ αὐτὸς ἐν ἐκείνοις σαφῶς ὡς ὁ μὲν φιλοψευδὴς ἄπιστόσ ἐστιν ὁ δὲ ἄπιστος ἄφιλοσ. Ἀναγκαῖον ἄρα καὶ τὸν μὲν φιλαλήθη πιστὸν εἶναι τὸν δὲ πιστὸν εἰς φιλίαν εὐάρμοστον. Ἀπὸ δὴ τούτων θεωρήσωμεν ἀλήθειαν αὐτὴν καὶ πίστιν καὶ ἔρωτα καὶ τὴν μίαν αὐτῶν κοινωνίαν αὐτῷ τῷ λογισμῷ συνέλωμεν. Εἰ δὲ βούλει καὶ πρὸ τούτων ἀναμνησθῶμεν ὅτι
τὴν συναγωγὸν τῶν διαφερομένων ἀρετὴν καὶ τῶν μεγίστων πολέμων ἀναιρετικήν λέγω δὲ τῶν ἐν ταῖς πόλεσι στάσεων πιστότητα προσείρηκεν· ἑνώσεως γὰρ δὴ καὶ κοινωνίας καὶ ἠρεμίας ἐκ τούτων ἡ πίστις αἰτία καταφαίνεται· καὶ εἴπερ ἐν ἡμῖν ἐστὶ τοιαύτη τις δύναμις πολλῷ πρότερον ἐν αὐτοῖς ἐστὶ τοῖς θεοῖς. Καὶ γὰρ ὡς σωφροσύνη τις θεία καὶ δικαιοσύνη παρ’ αὐτῷ λέγεται καὶ ἐπιστήμη πῶς οὐχὶ καὶ πίστις ἔσται παρ’ ἐκείνοις ἡ τὸν ὅλον διάκοσμον συνέχουσα τῶν ἀρετῶν; Ἵν’ οὖν συνελόντες εἴπωμεν τρία μέν ἐστι τὰ πληρωτικὰ ταῦτα τῶν θείων διὰ πάντων χωροῦντα τῶν κρειττόνων γενῶν ἀγαθότης σοφία κάλλος· τρία δὲ αὖ καὶ τῶν πληρουμένων συναγωγά δεύτερα μὲν ἐκείνων διήκοντα δὲ εἰς πάσας τὰς θείας διακοσμήσεις πίστις καὶ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἔρως. Σῴζεται δὲ πάντα διὰ τούτων καὶ συνάπτεται ταῖς πρωτουργοῖς αἰτίαις τὰ μὲν διὰ τῆς ἐρωτικῆς μανίας τὰ δὲ διὰ τῆς θείας φιλοσοφίας τὰ δὲ διὰ τῆς θεουργικῆς δυνάμεως ἣ κρείττων ἐστὶν ἁπάσης ἀνθρωπίνης σωφρο- σύνης καὶ ἐπιστήμης συλλαβοῦσα τά τε τῆς μαντικῆς ἀγαθὰ καὶ τὰς τῆς τελεσιουργικῆς καθαρτικὰς δυνάμεις καὶ πάντα ἁπλῶς τὰ τῆς ἐνθέου κατακωχῆς ἐνεργήματα.
XXVI. Περὶ τῶν ἐν Φαίδωνι παραδοθέντων ἀξιωμάτων τῆς ἀοράτου φύσεως· τί τὸ θεῖον τί τὸ ἀθάνατον τί τὸ νοητόν καὶ τίνα ἔχει πρὸς ἄλληλα ταῦτα τάξιν;
Περὶ μὲν οὖν τούτων τάχ’ ἂν καὶ εἰσαῦθις ἐγκαιρότερον διέλθοιμεν· πάλιν δὲ ἀλλαχόθεν εἰ βούλει τὰ κοινὰ περὶ τῶν θείων δόγματα τοῦ Πλάτωνος θηράσωμεν. Πόθεν οὖν δὴ καὶ ποῖα ληπτέον ἡμῖν κατὰ φύσιν πορευομένοις; Βούλει τῶν ἐν Φαίδωνι γεγραμμένων ἐφεξῆς τοῖς εἰρημένοις ἀναμνησθῶμεν; Λέγει τοίνυν ὁ Σωκράτης ἐν ταῖς ἀπὸ τῆς ὁμοιότητος τῆς πρὸς τὸ θεῖον τῆς ψυχικῆς ἀθανασίας ἀποδείξεσιν ὡς ἄρα ἐστὶ τὸ μὲν ἀνωτέρω τῆς ψυχῆς ᾧ δὴ καὶ
ἔοικε φύσει καὶ ἐοικυῖα ἀθανάτου μετέχει μοίρας θεῖον καὶ ἀθάνατον καὶ νοητὸν καὶ μονοειδὲς καὶ ἀδιάλυτον καὶ κατὰ ταὐτὰ καὶ ὡσαύτως ἔχον· τὸ δὲ καταδεέστερον αὐτῆς πᾶν τοὐναντίον ᾧ δὴ καὶ προσήκει φθείρεσθαι καὶ πάσχειν τὸ γὰρ τοιοῦτον αἰσθητόν ἐστι καὶ πολυειδὲς καὶ διαλυτὸν ταύτῃ ᾗπερ συνετέθη καὶ πάντα ὅσα τῆς σωματικῆς ὑποστάσεως ἐν τούτοις κατηγόρησε. Ταῦτα τοίνυν σκοπῶμεν καθ’ ἕκαστον ἐξετάζοντες ὅπῃ ποτὲ προσήκει τοῖς θεοῖς.
Καὶ πρῶτον αὐτὸ τοῦτο ὃ λέγεται τὸ θεῖον πρὸς τί βλέποντές φαμεν; Οὐκοῦν ἐκ τῶν προειρημένων δῆλον ὅτι θεὸς μὲν πᾶς κατ’ αὐτὴν ἄκραν ὑφέστηκεν τὴν ἕνωσιν τῶν ὄντων· ἑνάδες γὰρ ἡμῖν ἐφάνησαν ἀπὸ τῶν σωμάτων ἀνιοῦσιν οἱ θεοί ἑνάδες ὑπερούσιοι γεννητικαὶ τῶν οὐσιῶν καὶ τελειωτικαὶ καὶ μετρητικαὶ καὶ πάσας οὐσίας τὰς πρωτίστας εἰς ἑαυτὰς ἀναδησάμεναι. Τὸ δὲ θεῖον οὐκ αὐτὸ μόνον ἐστὶν ἡ ὕπαρξις καὶ τὸ ἓν τὸ ἐν ἑκάστῃ τάξει τοῦ ὄντος ἀλλ’ ὁμοῦ τὸ μετέχον καὶ τὸ μετεχόμενον· ὧν τὸ μέν ἐστι θεός τὸ δὲ ἐκθεούμενον· εἰ δὲ καὶ πρὸ τῶν μετεχομένων ἑνάδων χωριστόν ἐστί τι καὶ μετεχόμενον ἐν τοῖς ὕστερον ἡμῖν ἔσται καταφανές. Νῦν δὲ ὅτι τὸ θεῖον τοιοῦτόν ἐστι διορισώμεθα τὸ ὂν τὸ τοῦ ἑνὸς μετέχον ἢ τὸ ἓν συνῃρημένως μετὰ τοῦ ὄντος. Πάντα γὰρ ἐπὶ τῶν θεῶν πλὴν τοῦ ἑνός ὡς ἐξηρτημένα καὶ δεύτερα παραλαμβάνομεν τὴν οὐσίαν τὴν ζωήν τὸν νοῦν· οὐ γὰρ ἐν τούτοις ἀλλὰ πρὸ τούτων ὑφεστήκασι καὶ παράγουσι ταῦτα καὶ συνέχουσιν ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἐν αὐτοῖς ἀφορίζονται. Δεῖ δὲ μὴ λανθάνειν ὅτι κατ’ ἀλήθειαν μὲν οὕτω ταῦτα διώρισται ἀπ’ ἀλλήλων· πολλαχοῦ δὲ ὁ Πλάτων καὶ τὰ μετέχοντα τῶν θεῶν τοῖς αὐτοῖς ὀνόμασιν ἀποσεμνύνει καὶ θεοὺς ἐπονομάζει. Καὶ γὰρ τὴν ψυχὴν τὴν θείαν οὐκ ἐν Νόμοις μόνον ὁ Ἀθηναῖος ξένος ἀλλὰ καὶ ὁ Σωκράτης ὁ ἐν Φαίδρῳ θεὸν ἀποκαλεῖ· θεῶν μὲν οὖν ἵπποι τε καὶ ἡνίοχοι πάντες αὐτοί τε ἀγαθοὶ καὶ ἐξ ἀγαθῶν καὶ ἔτι διὰ τῶν ἑξῆς ἐναργέστερον· καὶ οὗτος μὲν θεῶν βίος. Καὶ οὔπω τοῦτο θαυμαστόν· τὰ γὰρ ἀεὶ συνηνωμένα τοῖς θεοῖς καὶ
μίαν συμπληροῦντα μετ’ αὐτῶν σειράν πῶς οὐ θεμιτὸν προσονομάζειν θεούς; Ἀλλὰ καὶ τοὺς δαίμονας οἳ κατ’ οὐσίαν δεύτεροι τῶν θεῶν εἰσὶ καὶ περὶ τοὺς θεοὺς ὑφεστήκασιν θεοὺς προσαγορεύει πολλαχοῦ· καὶ γὰρ ἐν Φαίδρῳ καὶ ἐν Τιμαίῳ καὶ ἐν ἄλλοις εὕροις ἂν αὐτὸν ἐκτείνοντα καὶ μέχρι δαιμόνων τὴν τῶν θεῶν ἐπωνυμίαν. Ὃ δὲ τούτων ἐστὶ παραδοξότερον καὶ ἀνθρώπων τινὰς θεοὺς προσειπεῖν οὐκ ἀπηξίωσεν ὥσπερ ἐν Σοφιστῇ τὸν Ἐλεάτην ξένον.
Ληπτέον τοίνυν ἐκ τούτων ἁπάντων ὅτι θεὸς ὁ μέν ἐστιν ἁπλῶς θεός ὁ δὲ καθ’ ἕνωσιν ὁ δὲ κατὰ μέθεξιν ὁ δὲ κατὰ συναφήν ὁ δὲ καθ’ ὁμοίωσιν· τῶν μὲν γὰρ ὑπερουσίων ἕκαστος πρώτως θεός τῶν δὲ νοερῶν ἕκαστος καθ’ ἕνωσιν τῶν δὲ αὖ ψυχῶν ἑκάστη τῶν θείων κατὰ μέθεξιν δαίμονες δὲ οἱ θεῖοι κατὰ τὴν πρὸς ἐκείνους συναφὴν θεοί ψυχαὶ δὲ ἀνδρῶν δι’ ὁμοιότητος τῆς προσηγορίας ταύτης μεταλαγχάνουσιν. Ἕκαστον δὲ τούτων ὥσπερ εἴρηται θεῖον μᾶλλόν ἐστιν ἢ θεός· ἐπεὶ καὶ τὸν νοῦν αὐτὸν ὁ Ἀθηναῖος ξένος θεῖον προσείρηκεν. Τὸ δὲ δὴ θεῖον δεύτερόν ἐστι τῆς πρωτίστης θεότητος ὥσπερ δὴ καὶ τὸ ἡνωμένον τοῦ ἑνός καὶ τὸ νοερὸν τοῦ νοῦ καὶ τὸ ἐψυχωμένον τῆς ψυχῆς καὶ προηγεῖται μὲν ἀεὶ τὰ ἑνοειδέστερα καὶ ἁπλούστερα τελευτᾷ δὲ ἡ σειρὰ τῶν ὄντων εἰς αὐτὸ τὸ ἕν. Τὸ μὲν οὖν θεῖον τοιοῦτον ἡμῖν ἐχέτω διορισμόν τὸ δὲ ἀθάνατον μετὰ τοῦτο θεωρήσωμεν.
Πολλαὶ γὰρ δὴ καὶ τῆς ἀθανασίας εἰσὶ παρ’ αὐτῷ τάξεις ἄνωθεν ἄχρι τῶν ἐσχάτων διήκουσαι. Καὶ ἔστι τὸ μὲν τελευταῖον ἀπήχημα τῆς ἀθανασίας ἐν τοῖς ἀιδίοις τῶν φανερῶν ἃ δὴ καὶ ὁ Ἐλεάτης ξένος ἐν τοῖς περὶ τῆς ἀνακυκλήσεως λόγοις ἀθανασίας ἐπισκευαστῆς μετειληχέναι φησὶν ἀπὸ τοῦ πατρός· πᾶν γὰρ σῶμα καὶ τὸ εἶναι καὶ τὸ ζῆν ἑτέρας αἰτίας ἠρτημένον ἔλαχεν αὐτὸ δὲ ἑαυτὸ συνέχειν ἢ κοσμεῖν ἢ σῴζειν οὐ πέφυκε. Τούτου δὲ ἐναργέστερον οἶμαι καὶ τελεώτερον τὸ τῶν μερικῶν ψυχῶν ἀθάνατον ὃ δὴ καὶ ἐν Φαίδωνι πολλαῖς ἀποδείξεσιν κατεδήσατο κἀν τῷ δεκάτῳ τῆς Πολιτείας·
λέγω δὲ αὐτὸ καὶ κυριώτερον ὡς ἐν ἑαυτῷ τὴν αἰτίαν ἔχον τῆς αἰωνίου διαμονῆς. Πρὸ δὲ τούτων ἀμφοτέρων εἶναι τιθέντες τὴν τῶν δαιμόνων ἀθανασίαν οὐκ ἂν ἁμάρτοιμεν· ἀκήρατα γὰρ καὶ τὰ τούτων γένη δι’ ὧν ὑπέστησαν καὶ οὔτε ῥέπουσιν εἰς τὸ θνητὸν οὔτε δὲ ἀναπίμπλανται τῆς τῶν γινομένων τε καὶ φθειρομένων φύσεως. Τούτων δ’ ἔτι σεμνοτέραν καὶ κατ’ οὐσίαν ὑπερέχουσαν εἶναι λογίζομαι τὴν τῶν θείων ψυχῶν ἀθανασίαν ἃς δὴ καὶ πρώτως αὐτοκινήτουσ εἶναί φαμεν καὶ πηγὰς καὶ ἀρχὰς τῆς περὶ τοῖς σώμασι μεριζομένης ζωῆς δι’ ἣν καὶ αὐτὰ τῆς ἐπισκευαστῆς ἀθανασίας μετείληχεν. Εἰ δὲ δὴ καὶ πρὸ τούτων αὐτοὺς τοὺς θεοὺς καὶ τὴν ἐν αὐτοῖς ἀθανασίαν ἐννοήσειας καὶ ὅπως ἐν Συμποσίῳ τῆς τοιαύτης ἀθανασίας οὐδὲ τοῖς δαίμοσιν ἡ Διοτίμα μεταδίδωσιν ἀλλ’ ἐν μόνοις αὐτὴν ἀφορίζεται τοῖς θεοῖς παντελῶς χωριστὸν καὶ τῶν ὅλων ἐξῃρημένον σοι φανεῖται τὸ τοιοῦτον ἀθάνατον· ἐκεῖ γὰρ ὁ αἰών ἡ πηγὴ τῆς ὅλης ἀθανασίας καὶ δι’ ἐκεῖνον πάντα καὶ ζῇ καὶ ἔχει ζωήν τὰ μὲν ἀίδιον τὰ δὲ εἰς τὸ μὴ ὂν σκεδαννυμένην. Ἔστιν οὖν ὡς συνελόντι φάναι τὸ θεῖον ἀθάνατον καθ’ ὅσον ἐστὶ γεννητικὸν τῆς ἀιδίου ζωῆς καὶ συνεκτικόν. Οὐ γὰρ ὡς μετέχον τοῦ ζῆν ἀλλ’ ὡς παρεκτικὸν τῆς θείας ζωῆς ἀθάνατόν ἐστι καὶ ὡς ἐκθεοῦν τὴν αὐτοζωήν εἴτε νοητὴν αὐτὴν εἴτε ὁπωσοῦν ἐθέλοις καλεῖν.
Ἀλλὰ δὴ τὸ νοητὸν μετὰ τοῦτο σκεπτέον. Λέγεται μὲν οὖν καὶ πρὸς τὸ αἰσθητὸν ὡς ὁρατὸν καὶ δόξῃ μετ’ αἰσθήσεωσ τὸ τὴν πρωτίστην ἔκφανσιν ἐν ταῖς ἀρχηγικωτάταις αἰτίαις ἔχον φανήσεται. Νοητὸν μὲν γὰρ καὶ ἡ ψυχή καὶ τῆς μοίρας ἐστὶ ταύτης καὶ τῶν αἰσθητῶν ἐξῃρημένη καὶ τὴν οὐσίαν λαχοῦσα χωριστὴν ἀπ’ αὐτῶν. Νοητὸν δὲ καὶ πρὸ ταύτης ὁ νοῦς· ὅθεν δὴ καὶ τὴν ψυχὴν ἐν μέσῳ τάττειν ἀξιοῦμεν μᾶλλον ἢ τοῖς πρώτοις ἐνάριθμον ποιεῖν. Νοητὸν δὲ καὶ τὸ τοῦ νοῦ πρεσβύτερον τὸ πληρωτικὸν τῆς νοήσεως καὶ τελειωτικὸν αὐτὸ καθ’ αὑτὸ ὑπάρχον· ὃ δὴ καὶ ὁ Τίμαιος ἐν παραδείγματος τάξει προτίθησι τοῦ δημιουργικοῦ νοῦ καὶ τῆς νοερᾶς ἐνεργείας. Ἐπέκεινα δὲ τούτων ἁπάντων τὸ θεῖόν ἐστι νοητόν
ὃ κατ’ αὐτὴν ἀφώρισται τὴν ὕπαρξιν καὶ ἕνωσιν τὴν θείαν· καὶ γὰρ τοῦτο νοητόν ἐστιν ὡς ἐφετὸν τῷ νῷ καὶ ὡς τελεσιουργὸν καὶ ὡς συνεκτικὸν τοῦ νοῦ καὶ ὡς πλήρωμα τοῦ ὄντος. Ἄλλως οὖν νοητὸν τὴν ὕπαρξιν τῶν θεῶν φήσομεν ἄλλως τὸ ὄντως ὂν καὶ τὴν πρωτίστην οὐσίαν ἄλλως τὸν νοῦν καὶ τὴν νοερὰν πᾶσαν ζωήν ἄλλως τὴν ψυχὴν καὶ τὸν ψυχικὸν διάκοσμον· καὶ δεῖ μὴ τοῖς ὀνόμασιν ἑπομένους συγχεῖν τὰς διαφόρους τῶν πραγμάτων φύσεις. Ἡ μὲν οὖν τριὰς αὕτη τοιαύτην ἔχει τὴν τάξιν ὡς τὸ μὲν θεῖον ἀκρότατον εἶναι καὶ πρώτιστον τὸ δὲ ἀθάνατον δεύτερον τὸ δὲ νοητὸν τρίτον· οὗ μὲν γὰρ τὸ ὄν ἐστιν ἐκθεούμενον οὗ δὲ ἡ ζωὴ κατὰ τὴν ἀθανασίαν τῶν θεῶν ὑφέστηκεν οὗ δὲ ὁ νοῦς κατὰ τὴν πλήρωσιν τῆς ἑνώσεως νοητὸν ἐπονομάζεται.
XXVII Τί τὸ μονοειδές τί τὸ ἀδιάλυτον τί τὸ ὡσαύτως ἔχον ἐπὶ τῶν θείων ληπτέον;
Μετὰ δὲ ταύτην ἐστὶν ἐφεξῆς τὸ μονοειδές τὸ ἀδιάλυτον τὸ ὡσαύτως ἔχον ἀπὸ τῶν αὐτῶν αἰτίων καὶ ταῦτα προθορόντα καὶ διὰ πάντων χωροῦντα τῶν θείων διακόσμων. Τὸ μὲν γὰρ μονοειδὲσ ἀκρότατόν ἐστι καὶ τῇ μονάδι τῇ θείᾳ παρ’ ᾗ καὶ τὸ ὂν πρώτως ἐκφαίνεται μάλιστα προσῆκον· εἰς ὃ δὴ καὶ τελευτᾷ πᾶν τὸ μεθεκτὸν τῶν ἑνάδων γένος. Τὸ γὰρ ἓν καὶ πρὸ τούτων ἐστίν ὡς ἔσται προϊοῦσι δῆλον. Τὸ δὲ ἀδιάλυτον δεύτερον· συνεκτικὸν γάρ ἐστι καὶ συνδετικὸν τῶν ἄκρων κατὰ τὴν θείαν ἕνωσιν ἐπεὶ καὶ τὸ διαλυτὸν συνοχῆς ἐνδείᾳ καὶ δυνάμεως εἰς ἓν τὸ πλῆθος συναγούσης τοιοῦτον. Τὸ δὲ κατὰ ταὐτὰ καὶ ὡσαύτως ἔχον αἰώνιόν ἐστι καὶ τῆς ἀιδιότητος τῶν θεῶν
πλῆρες· παρ’ οὗ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἡ τῆς ἀθανασίας καὶ τῆς αἰωνίου ταὐτότητος μέθεξις. Εἰς ταὐτὸν ἄρα τῷ θείῳ ἥκει τὸ μονοειδές τῷ δὲ ἀθανάτῳ τὸ ἀδιάλυτον τῷ δὲ νοητῷ τὸ ὡσαύτως ἔχον ἀνοίσομεν.
Καὶ ὁρᾷς ὅπως ἕκαστα συνήρμοσται κατὰ τρόπον ἀλλήλοις; Τὸ μὲν γὰρ διὰ τὴν ἑνάδα τὴν πρώτην ὑπὸ τοῦ ὄντος μετεχομένην μονοειδές ἐστιν εἰκότως· εἰ γὰρ κατὰ τὸ ἓν ὁ θεός ἑνοειδὲς δήπου τὸ θεῖον ἔσται τὸ δὲ ἑνοειδὲς τῷ μονοειδεῖ ταὐτόν. Τὸ δὲ διὰ τὴν μίαν τῆς ζωῆς αἰτίαν ἀθάνατον ὂν καὶ ἀδιάλυτόν ἐστιν ὁμοίως· δεσμὸς γὰρ ἡ ζωὴ τῶν φύσει διαλυτῶν ὃ καὶ ὁ Τίμαιος ἡμῖν ἐνδεικνύμενος τῷ ἀθανάτῳ τὸ διαλυτὸν ἀνθίστησιν ἀθάνατοι μὲν γὰρ οὐκ ἐστέ φησίν οὔτι μὲν δὴ διαλυθήσεσθε οὐδὲ τεύξεσθε θανάτου μοίρασ· ἔστιν ἄρα τὸ μὲν θνητὸν πᾶν διαλυτόν τὸ δὲ ἀθάνατον ἀδιάλυτον τὸ δὲ ἐπισκευαστὴν ἀθανασίαν ἔχον οὔτ’ οὖν ἀδιάλυτον οὔτε οὖν θνητόν κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον· ἐν μέσῳ γὰρ ὂν ἀμφοτέρων οὐδέτερόν ἐστι τῶν ἄκρων καθ’ ἑκατέραν ἀντίθεσιν. Τὸ δὲ αὖ τρίτον κατὰ τὸ πλήρωμα τῶν ὅλων νοητῶν ἱδρυμένον ὁμοῦ καὶ ὡσαύτως ἔχον ἐστί· ταὐτό- τητος γὰρ καὶ τῆς αἰωνίου διαμονῆς αἴτιον τὸ νοητόν ἐστι καὶ ὁ νοῦς διὰ τοῦτο πάντως αἰώνιος. Ἀπὸ τῶν πρωτίστων ἄρα καὶ ἀρχοειδεστάτων αἰτίων αἱ τριάδες αὗται καθήκουσιν ὥσπερ δὴ καὶ περὶ τῶν ἔμπροσθεν ἐδείκνυμεν.
Ἀλλὰ ταῦτα μὲν εἰς ὕστερον· διωρισμένων δὲ τούτων τὸ ἀγέννητον τῶν θείων νοήσωμεν οἷόν ποτε λέγομεν εἶναι. Καὶ γὰρ τὸ ὂν πᾶν γένεσιν οὐκ ἔχειν φαμέν καὶ τὰς ψυχὰς ἀγεννήτους ὁ ἐν τῷ Φαίδρῳ Σωκράτης ἀποδείκνυσι καὶ πρὸ τούτων αὐτοὶ οἱ θεοὶ γενέσεως ὑπερίδρυνται καὶ τῆς κατὰ χρόνον ὑποστάσεως. Πῶς οὖν ἀγέννητον τὸ θεῖον ἀφοριζόμεθα καὶ κατὰ τίνα λόγον; Ἢ ὅτι πάσης ἐξῄρηται γενέσεως οὐ τῆς ἐν μορίῳ
τοῦ χρόνου γινομένης οἵαν δὴ λέγοιμεν ἂν τὴν τῶν ἐνύλων γένεσιν οὐδὲ τῆς εἰς πάντα τὸν χρόνον ἐκτεινομένης ὁποίαν τὴν τῶν οὐρανίων σωμάτων γένεσιν ὁ Τίμαιος ὑποδείκνυσιν ἀλλὰ καὶ τῆς ψυχικῆς γενέσεως ἐπεὶ καὶ ταύτην ἀγέννητον μὲν κατὰ χρόνον ἀρίστην δὲ τῶν γεννηθέντων ὁ Τίμαιος ἀποκαλεῖ καὶ πάσης ἁπλῶς διαιρέσεως καὶ διακρίσεως οὐσιώδους· ἡ γὰρ τῶν θεῶν πρόοδος καθ’ ἕνωσίν ἐστιν ἀεί τῶν δευτέρων ἑνοειδῶς ἐν τοῖς πρὸ ἑαυτῶν ἱδρυμένων καὶ τῶν παραγόντων ἐν αὑτοῖς τὰ παραγόμενα συνεχόντων. Τὸ τοίνυν ἀδιαίρετον καὶ ἀδιάκριτον καὶ ἡνωμένον ἀγέννητόν ἐστιν ὡς ὁ ἀληθὴς λόγος. Ὥστε καὶ εἴ τινες γενέσεις ἐπὶ θεῶν ἐν μυθικοῖς πλάσμασιν ὑπὸ τοῦ Πλάτωνος λέγοιντο καθάπερ ἐν τῷ μύθῳ τῆς Διοτίμας ἡ τῆς Ἀφροδίτης γένεσις ὕμνηται καὶ τοῦ Ἔρωτος ἐν γενεθλίοις Ἀφροδίτης ἀπογεννωμένου δεῖ μὴ λανθάνειν ὅπως τὰ τοιαῦτα λέγεται καὶ ὡς ἐνδείξεως ἕνεκα συμβολικῆς ταῦτα σύγκειται καὶ διότι τὴν ἀπὸ τῶν αἰτίων ἄρρητον ἔκφανσιν ἐπικρυπτόμενοι γένεσιν οἱ μῦθοι καλοῦσιν. Τοῖς μὲν γὰρ Ὀρφικοῖς καὶ διὰ τοῦτο τὸ πρώτιστον αἴτιον Χρόνος προσείρηται – καὶ γὰρ αὖ δι’ ἄλλας αἰτίας – ἵνα τὸ κατ’ αἰτίαν τῷ κατὰ χρόνον ᾖ ταὐτόν καὶ ἡ πρόοδος ἡ τῶν θεῶν ἀπ’ αἰτίας προϊοῦσα τῆς ἀρίστης κατὰ χρόνον γένεσις κυρίως ἐπονομάζεται· Πλάτωνι δὲ ἄρα μυθολογοῦντι μὲν τὰ τοιαῦτα πλάττειν ἑπομένως τοῖς θεολόγοις ἥρμοζε διαλεκτικευομένῳ δὲ καὶ νοερῶς ἀλλ’ οὐ μυστικῶς τὰ θεῖα ζητοῦντι καὶ ἀφηγουμένῳ τὸ ἀγέννητον ὑμνεῖν τὸ τῶν θεῶν· πρώτως γὰρ οἱ θεοὶ τῆς ἀγεννησίας ἐν αὑτοῖς ἱδρύσαντο τὸ παράδειγμα δευτέρως δὲ ἡ νοερὰ φύσις ἀγέννητος καὶ μετὰ ταύτην ἡ ψυχικὴ σύστασις ἔσχατον δὲ ἴνδαλμα κἀν τοῖς σώμασίν ἐστι τῆς ἀγεννήτου δυνάμεως ὃ καὶ τῶν μετὰ Πλάτωνά τινες συνιδόντες ἀγέννητον ἀδιορίστως ἀποφαίνονται τὸν ὅλον οὐρανόν. Ἀγέννητοι μὲν οὖν οἱ θεοί τάξις δέ ἐστιν ἐν αὐτοῖς πρώτων τε καὶ μέσων καὶ τελευταίων προόδων καὶ ὑπεροχαὶ δυνάμεων καὶ ὑφέσεις καὶ τῶν μὲν αἰτίων ἑνοειδεῖς περιλήψεις τῶν δὲ αἰτιατῶν ἀπογεννήσεις
πολυειδεῖς· καὶ πάντα μὲν συνυφέστηκεν ἐν ἀλλήλοις ὁ δὲ τῆς ὑποστάσεως τρόπος ἐξήλλακται καὶ τὰ μὲν ὡς πληροῦντα προϋπάρχει τῶν δευτέρων τὰ δὲ ὡς πληρούμενα τῶν τελειοτέρων ἐφίεται καὶ μεταλαμβάνοντα τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτῶν γεννητικὰ τῶν μεθ’ ἑαυτὰ καὶ τελεσιουργὰ τῆς ὑπάρξεως αὐτῶν ἀποτελεῖται.
XXVIII. Πῶς τὰ πατρικὰ αἴτια πῶς τὰ μητρικὰ ληπτέον ἐν τοῖς θεοῖς;
Πρὸς ταῦτα τοίνυν ἀποβλέποντες καὶ τὰσ πατρικὰς αἰτίας τῶν μύθων καὶ τὰς γονίμους τῶν μητέρων δυνάμεις ἐξηγησόμεθα. Πανταχοῦ γὰρ δὴ τὸ μὲν τῆς κρείττονος καὶ ἑνοειδεστέρας φύσεως αἴτιον πατρικὸν καὶ ὑποθησόμεθα τὸ δὲ τῆς καταδεεστέρας καὶ μερικωτέρας ἐν μητρὸς τάξει προϋπάρχειν φήσομεν· ἀνάλογον γὰρ μονάδι μὲν καὶ τῇ τοῦ πέρατος αἰτίᾳ παρὰ τοῖς θεοῖς ὁ πατήρ δυάδι δὲ καὶ τῇ ἀπείρῳ δυνάμει τῇ γεννητικῇ τῶν ὄντων ἡ μήτηρ. Ἀλλὰ τὸ μὲν πατρικὸν μονοειδὲς ἀεὶ παρὰ Πλάτωνι καὶ τῶν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ προϊόντων ὑψηλότερον ἵδρυται καὶ ἐν ἐφετοῦ μοίρᾳ τῶν τικτομένων προϋφέστηκε τὸ δὲ αὖ μητρικὸν δυοειδὲς καὶ ποτὲ μὲν ὡς κρεῖττον τῶν γεννημάτων ποτὲ δὲ ὡς ὑφειμένον κατὰ τὴν οὐσίαν ἐν τοῖς μύθοις προτείνεται καθάπερ ἐν Συμποσίῳ τὴν Πενίαν τοῦ Ἔρωτος μητέρα λέγουσι· καὶ οὐκ ἐν τοῖς μυθικοῖς πλάσμασι μόνον ἀλλὰ κἀν τῇ φιλοσόφῳ θεωρίᾳ τῶν ὄντων ὥσπερ ἐν Τιμαίῳ γέγραπται· καὶ γὰρ ἐκεῖ τὸ μὲν ὂν πατέρα τὴν δὲ ὕλην μητέρα καὶ τιθήνην ἐπονομάζει τῆς γενέσεως. Αἱ μὲν οὖν γόνιμοι καὶ τελεσιουργοὶ τῶν δευτέρων δυνάμεις καὶ ζωῆς χορηγοὶ καὶ διακρίσεως αἴτιοι μητέρες εἰσὶν ὑπεριδρυμέναι τῶν παραγομένων ἀφ’ ἑαυτῶν· αἱ δὲ ὑποδεχόμεναι τὰ προϊόντα καὶ πολλαπλασιάζουσαι τὰς ἐνεργείας αὐτῶν καὶ ἐκτείνουσαι
καὶ τὴν χείρονα μοῖραν τῶν ἀπογεννηθέντων ἀποκαλοῦνται δὲ καὶ αὗται μητέρες. Τὰ δὲ αὖ γεννήματα τῶν τοιούτων αἰτίων ὁτὲ μὲν καθ’ ἕνωσιν ἀπὸ τῶν οἰκείων πρόεισιν ἀρχῶν καὶ πληροῦται παρ’ ἀμφοῖν ὁτὲ δὲ συνέχει τὸν σύνδεσμον αὐτῶν ἐν μέσῳ τεταγμένα καὶ διαπορθμεύοντα τὰς τῶν πατέρων δόσεις ἐπὶ τοὺς μητρικοὺς κόλπους καὶ ἐπιστρέφοντα τὰς αὐτῶν ὑποδοχὰς εἰς τὰς τῶν πρωτουργῶν αἰτίων ἀποπληρώσεις· τῶν δὲ ὑφισταμένων ἀπὸ τῶν διττῶν ἀρχῶν τῶν προϋπ- αρχουσῶν τῆς ἀπογεννήσεως τὰ μὲν πρὸς τὴν πατρικὴν ἀφομοιοῦται καὶ ἔστι ποιητικὰ καὶ φρουρητικὰ καὶ συνεκτικὰ τὰ τοιαῦτα γένη τῶν θεῶν καὶ γὰρ τὸ ποιεῖν καὶ τὸ συνέχειν καὶ τὸ φρουρεῖν τῇ τοῦ πέρατος αἰτίᾳ προσήκει τὰ δὲ πρὸς τὴν μητρικὴν καὶ ἔστι γόνιμα καὶ ζωοποιὰ καὶ κινήσεως χορηγὰ καὶ πολλαπλασιασμοῦ τῶν δυνάμεων καὶ ποικιλίας καὶ προόδων· ἅπαντα γὰρ ταῦτα τῆς ἀπειρίας ἐστὶν ἔκγονα καὶ τοῦ πρωτίστου πλήθους.
XXIX. Περὶ τῶν θείων ὀνομάτων καὶ τῆς ὀρθότητος αὐτῶν τῆς ἐν Κρατύλῳ παραδεδομένης.
Περὶ μὲν οὖν τῆς ἀγεννήτου τῶν θεῶν ὑπάρξεως καὶ ταῦτα ἱκανά· λείπεται δὲ οἶμαι καὶ περὶ τῶν ὀνομάτων τῶν θείων εἰπεῖν. Καὶ γὰρ ὁ ἐν τῷ Κρατύλῳ Σωκράτης τὴν ὀρθότητα τῶν ὀνομάτων ἐν τοῖς θείοις διαφερόντως ἐκφαίνειν ἀξιοῖ· καὶ ὁ Παρμενίδης κατὰ μὲν τὴν πρώτην ὑπόθεσιν ὥσπερ τἆλλα πάντα γνωστὰ καὶ τὰς γνώσεις ἁπάσας οὕτω δὴ καὶ τὸ ὄνομα καὶ τὸν λόγον ἀποφάσκει τοῦ ἑνός· κατὰ δὲ τὴν δευτέραν ἐφ’ ἅπασι τοῖς ἄλλοις καὶ ὅτι λόγος ἐστὶ τοῦ ἑνὸς τούτου καὶ ὄνομα δείκνυσιν. Ἵν’ οὖν συλλήβδην εἴπωμεν τὰ μὲν πρώτιστα καὶ κυριώτατα καὶ ὄντως θεῖα τῶν ὀνομάτων ἐν αὐτοῖς ὑποθετέον ἱδρῦσθαι τοῖς θεοῖς· τὰ δὲ δεύτερα καὶ τούτων ὁμοιώματα νοερῶς
ὑφεστηκότα τῆς δαιμονίας μοίρας εἶναι λεκτέον· τὰ δ’ αὖ τρίτα μὲν ἀπὸ τῆς ἀληθείας λογικῶς δὲ πλαττόμενα καὶ τῶν θείων ἔμφασιν ἐσχάτως καταδεχόμενα παρὰ τῶν ἐπιστημόνων ἐκφαίνεσθαι φήσομεν ὁτὲ μὲν ἐνθέως ὁτὲ δὲ νοερῶς ἐνεργούντων καὶ τῶν ἔνδον θεαμάτων εἰκόνας ἐν κινήσει φερομένας ἀπογεννώντων. Ὡς γὰρ ὁ νοῦς ὁ δημιουργικὸς τῶν ἐν αὑτῷ πρωτίστων εἰδῶν περὶ τὴν ὕλην ἐμφάσεις ὑφίστησι καὶ τῶν αἰωνίων ἔγχρονα καὶ τῶν ἀμερίστων μεριστὰ καὶ οἷον ἐσκιαγραφημένα τῶν ἀληθινῶς ὄντων εἴδωλα παράγει κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν οἶμαι τρόπον καὶ ἡ παρ’ ἡμῖν ἐπιστήμη τὴν νοερὰν ἀποτυπουμένη ποίησιν διὰ λόγου δημιουργεῖ τῶν τε ἄλλων πραγμάτων ὁμοιώματα καὶ δὴ καὶ αὐτῶν τῶν θεῶν τὸ μὲν ἀσύνθετον αὐτῶν διὰ συνθέσεως τὸ δὲ ἁπλοῦν διὰ ποικιλίας τὸ δὲ ἡνωμένον διὰ πλήθους ἀπεικάζουσα. Καὶ οὕτω δὴ τὰ ὀνόματα πλάττουσα τῶν θείων εἰκόνας ἐσχάτως ἐπιδείκνυσιν· ἕκαστον γὰρ ὄνομα καθάπερ ἄγαλμα τῶν θεῶν ἀπογεννᾷ· καὶ ὥσπερ ἡ θεουργία διὰ δή τινων συμβόλων εἰς τὴν τῶν τεχνητῶν ἀγαλμάτων ἔλλαμψιν προκαλεῖται τὴν τῶν θεῶν ἄφθονον ἀγαθότητα κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ δὴ καὶ ἡ νοερὰ τῶν θείων ἐπιστήμη συνθέσεσι καὶ διαιρέσεσι τῶν ἤχων ἐκφαίνει τὴν ἀποκεκρυμμένην οὐσίαν τῶν θεῶν. Εἰκότως ἄρα καὶ ὁ ἐν τῷ Φιλήβῳ Σωκράτης περὶ τὰ τῶν θεῶν ὀνόματα πέρα τοῦ μεγίστου φόβου τῆς περὶ αὐτὰ χάριν εὐλαβείας ἐλαύνειν φησί. Δεῖ γὰρ καὶ τὰ ἔσχατα τῶν θεῶν ἀπηχήματα σεμνύνειν καὶ σεβομένους καὶ ταῦτα τοῖς πρωτίστοις αὐτῶν ἐνιδρύεσθαι παραδείγμασι. Τοσαῦτα καὶ περὶ τῶν θείων ὀνομάτων ὥς γε πρὸς τὸ παρὸν ἐξαρκέσει τοῖς τῆς τοῦ Πλάτωνος θεολογίας ἀντιλήψεσθαι μέλλουσι· τὸ δὲ ἀκριβὲς περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν ἀποδώσομεν ὁπότε περὶ τῶν μερικῶν δυνάμεων τὸν λόγον προάγωμεν.