Fragments of Aristobulus

 

[All English translations are from http://www.tertullian.org/fathers or from http://www.tertullian.org/fathers2.]

 

From Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 1.15:

 

Of all these, by far the oldest is the Jewish race; and that their philosophy committed to writing has the precedence of philosophy among the Greeks, the Pythagorean Philo shows at large; and, besides him, Aristobulus the Peripatetic, and several others, not to waste time, in going over them by name.

 

From Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 1.22:

 

Καὶ τὰ μὲν περὶ τῶν χρόνων διαφόρως πολλοῖς ἱστορηθέντα καὶ πρὸς ἡμῶν ἐκτεθέντα ὧδε ἐχέτω, ἑρμηνευθῆναι δὲ τὰς γραφὰς τάς τε τοῦ νόμου καὶ τὰς προφητικὰς ἐκ τῆς τῶν Ἑβραίων διαλέκτου εἰς τὴν Ἑλλάδα γλῶττάν φασιν ἐπὶ βασιλέως Πτολεμαίου τοῦ Λάγου ἢ ὥς τινες ἐπὶ τοῦ Φιλαδέλφου ἐπικληθέντος, τὴν μεγίστην φιλοτιμίαν εἰς τοῦτο προσενεγκαμένου, Δημητρίου τοῦ Φαληρέως {καὶ} τὰ περὶ τὴν ἑρμηνείαν ἀκριβῶς πραγματευσαμένου. ....

 

It is said that the Scriptures both of the law and of the prophets were translated from the dialect of the Hebrews into the Greek language in the reign of Ptolemy the son of Lagos, or, according to others, of Ptolemy surnamed Philadelphus; Demetrius Phalereus bringing to this task thegreatest earnestness, and employing painstaking accuracy on the materials for the translation. ....

 

Ἀριστόβουλος δὲ ἐν τῷ πρώτῳ τῶν πρὸς τὸν Φιλομήτορα κατὰ λέξιν γράφει· “κατηκολούθηκε δὲ καὶ ὁ Πλάτων τῇ καθ’ ἡμᾶς νομοθεσίᾳ, καὶ φανερός ἐστι περιειργασμένος ἕκαστα τῶν ἐν αὐτῇ λεγομένων. διηρμήνευται δὲ πρὸ Δημητρίου ὑφ’ ἑτέρων, πρὸ τῆς Ἀλεξάνδρου {καὶ} Περσῶν ἐπικρατήσεως, τά τε κατὰ τὴν ἐξ Αἰγύπτου ἐξαγωγὴν τῶν Ἑβραίων τῶν ἡμετέρων πολιτῶν καὶ ἡ τῶν γεγονότων ἁπάντων αὐτοῖς ἐπιφάνεια καὶ κράτησις τῆς χώρας καὶ τῆς ὅλης νομοθεσίας ἐπεξήγησις· ὥστε εὔδηλον εἶναι τὸν προειρημένον φιλόσοφον εἰληφέναι πολλά (γέγονε γὰρ πολυμαθής), καθὼς καὶ Πυθαγόρας πολλὰ τῶν παρ’ ἡμῖν μετενέγκας εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ δογματοποιίαν.”

 

And Aristobulus, in his first book addressed to Philometor, writes in these words: "And Plato followed the laws given to us, and had manifestly studied all that is said in them." And before Demetrius there had been translated by another, previous to the dominion of Alexander and of the Persians, the account of the departure of our countrymen the Hebrews from Egypt, and the fame of all that happened to them, and their taking possession of the land, and the account of the whole code of laws; so that it is perfectly clear that the above-mentioned philosopher derived a great deal from this source, for he was very learned, as also Pythagoras, who transferred many things from our books to his own system of doctrines.

 

From Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 5.14:

 

Ἀριστοβούλω δὲ τῷ κατὰ Πτολεμαῖον γεγονότι τὸν Φιλάδελφον, οὗ μέμνηται, ὁ συνταξάμενος τὴν τῶν Μακκαβαϊκῶν ἐπιτομὴν, βιβλία γεγονέναι ἱκανὰ, δι’ ὧν ἀποδείκνυσι τὴν Περιπατητικὴν φιλοσοφίαν ἔκ τε τοῦ κατὰ Μωϋσέα νόμου καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἠρτῆσθαι προφητῶν. ....

 

And by Aristobulus, who lived in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, who is mentioned by the composer of the epitome of the books of the Maccabees, there were abundant books to show that the Peripatetic philosophy was derived from the law of Moses and from the other prophets. ....

 

Ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν ἑβδόμην ἱερὰν οὐ μόνον οἱ Ἑβραῖοι, ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ Ἕλληνες ἴσασι, καθ’ ἣν ὁ πᾶς κόσμος κυκλεῖται τῶν ζωογονουμένων καὶ φυομένων ἁπάντων. Ἡσίοδος μὲν <οὖν> οὕτως περὶ αὐτῆς λέγει· πρῶτον ἔνη τετράς τε καὶ ἑβδόμη ἱερὸν ἦμαρ. καὶ πάλιν· ἑβδομάτῃ δ’ αὖθις λαμπρὸν φάος ἠελίοιο. Ὅμηρος δέ· ἑβδομάτῃ δἤπειτα κατήλυθεν ἱερὸν ἦμαρ. καί· ἑβδόμη ἦν ἱερή. καὶ πάλιν· ἕβδομον ἦμαρ ἔην, καὶ τῷ τετέλεστο ἅπαντα. καὶ αὖθις· ἑβδομάτῃ δ’ ἠοῖ λίπομεν ῥόον ἐξ Ἀχέροντος. ναὶ μὴν καὶ Καλλίμαχος ὁ ποιητὴς γράφει· ἑβδομάτῃ δ’ ἠοῖ καί οἱ τετύκοντο ἅπαντα. καὶ πάλιν· ἑβδόμη εἰν ἀγαθοῖσ<ι> καὶ ἑβδόμη ἐστὶ γενέθλη. καὶ· ἑβδόμη ἐν πρώτοισι{ν} καὶ ἑβδόμη ἐστὶ τελείη. καὶ· ἑπτὰ δὲ πάντα τέτυκτο ἐν οὐρανῷ ἀστερόεντι ἐν κύκλοισι φανέντα ἐπιτελλομένοις ἐνιαυτοῖς. ἀλλὰ καὶ αἱ Σόλωνος ἐλεγεῖαι σφόδρα τὴν ἑβδομάδα ἐκθειάζουσιν.

 

But the seventh day is recognised as sacred, not by the Hebrews only, but also by the Greeks; according to which the whole world of all animals and plants revolve. Hesiod says of it:: "The first, and fourth, and seventh day were held sacred." And again: "And on the seventh the sun's resplendent orb." And Homer: "And on the seventh then came the sacred day." And: "The seventh was sacred." And again: "It was the seventh day, and all things were accomplished." And again: "And on the seventh morn we leave the stream of Acheron." Callimachus the poet also writes: "It was the seventh morn, and they had all things done." And again: "Among good days is the seventh day, and the seventh race." And: "The seventh is among the prime, and the seventh is perfect." And: "Now all the seven were made in starry heaven, in circles shining as the years appear." The Elegies of Solon, too, intensely deify the seventh day.

 

From Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 6.3:

 

Πῶς δὲ ἔτι ἀπιστήσουσιν Ἕλληνες τῇ θείᾳ ἐπιφανείᾳ περὶ τὸ ὄρος τὸ Σινᾶ, ὁπηνίκα πῦρ μὲν ἐφλέγετο, μηδὲν καταναλίσκον τῶν φυομένων κατὰ τὸ ὄρος, σαλπίγγων τε ἦχος ἐφέρετο ἄνευ ὀργάνων ἐμπνεόμενος; ἐκείνη γὰρ ἡ λεγομένη κατάβασις ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος θεοῦ ἐπίφασίς ἐστι θείας δυνάμεως ἐπὶ πάντα τὸν κόσμον διηκούσης καὶ κηρυττούσης τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀπρόσιτον. τοιαύτη γὰρ ἡ κατὰ τὴν γραφὴν ἀλληγορία. πλὴν “ἑωράθη τὸ πῦρ,” ὥς φησιν Ἀριστόβουλος, “παντὸς τοῦ πλήθους μυριάδων οὐκ ἔλασσον ἑκατόν, χωρὶς τῶν ἀφηλίκων, ἐκκλησιαζόντων κύκλῳ τοῦ ὄρους, οὐχ ἧττον ἡμερῶν πέντε τῆς περιόδου τυγχανούσης περὶ τὸ ὄρος. κατὰ πάντα τοίνυν τόπον τῆς ὁράσεως πᾶσιν αὐτοῖς κυκλόθεν, ὡς ἂν παρεμβεβληκόσι, τὸ πῦρ φλεγόμενον ἐθεωρεῖτο, ὥστε τὴν κατάβασιν μὴ τοπικὴν γεγονέναι· πάντῃ γὰρ ὁ θεός ἐστιν.”

 

How then shall the Greeks any longer disbelieve the divine appearance on Mount Sinai, when the fire burned, consuming none of the things that grew on the mount; and the sound of trampets issued forth, breathed without instruments? For that which is called the descent on the mount of God is the advent of divine power, pervading the whole world, and proclaiming "the light that is inaccessible."

For such is the allegory, according to the Scripture. But the fire was seen, as Aristobulus says, while the whole multitude, amounting to not less than a million, besides those under age, were congregated around the mountain, the circuit of the mount not being less than five days' journey. Over the whole place of the vision the burning fire was seen by them all encamped as it were around; so that the descent was not local. For God is everywhere.

 

From Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 6.16:

 

Τρίτος δέ ἐστι λόγος ὁ μηνύων γεγονέναι πρὸς τοῦ θεοῦ τὸν κόσμον καὶ δεδωκέναι ἀνάπαυσιν ἡμῖν ἑβδόμην ἡμέραν διὰ τὴν κατὰ τὸν βίον κακοπάθειαν· θεὸς γὰρ ἄκμητός τε καὶ ἀπαθὴς καὶ ἀπροσδεής, ἀναπαύλης δὲ ἡμεῖς οἱ σαρκοφοροῦντες δεόμεθα. ἡ ἑβδόμη τοίνυν ἡμέρα ἀνάπαυσις κηρύσσεται, ἀποχῇ κακῶν ἑτοιμάζουσα τὴν ἀρχέγονον ἡμέραν τὴν τῷ ὄντι ἀνάπαυσιν ἡμῶν, ἣ δὴ καὶ πρώτη τῷ ὄντι φωτὸς γένεσις, ἐν ᾧ τὰ πάντα συνθεωρεῖται καὶ πάντα κληρονομεῖται. ἐκ ταύτης τῆς ἡμέρας ἡ πρώτη σοφία καὶ ἡ γνῶσις ἡμῖν ἐλλάμπεται· τὸ γὰρ φῶς τῆς ἀληθείας φῶς ἀληθές, ἄσκιον, ἀμερῶς μεριζόμενον πνεῦμα κυρίου εἰς τοὺς διὰ πίστεως ἡγιασμένους, λαμπτῆρος ἐπέχον, τάξιν εἰς τὴν τῶν ὄντων ἐπίγνωσιν. ἀκολουθοῦντες οὖν αὐτῷ δι’ ὅλου τοῦ βίου ἀπαθεῖς καθιστάμεθα, τὸ δέ ἐστιν ἀναπαύσασθαι. διὸ καὶ Σολομὼν πρὸ οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς καὶ πάντων τῶν ὄντων τῷ παντοκράτορι γεγονέναι τὴν σοφίαν λέγει, ἧς ἡ μέθεξις (ἡ κατὰ δύναμιν, οὐ κατ’ οὐσίαν λέγω) θείων καὶ ἀνθρωπίνων καταληπτικῶς ἐπιστήμονα εἶναι διδάσκει.

 

And the third [or fourth] word is that which intimates that the world was created by God, and that He gave us the seventh day as a rest, on account of the trouble that there is in life. For God is incapable of weariness, and suffering, and want. But we who bear flesh need rest. The seventh day, therefore, is proclaimed a rest-abstraction from ill"-preparing for the Primal Day, our true rest; which, in truth, is the first creation of light, in which all things are viewed and possessed. From this day the first wisdom and knowledge illuminate us. For the light of truth-a light true, casting no shadow, is the Spirit of God indivisibly divided to all, who are sanctified by faith, holding the place of a luminary, in order to the knowledge of real existences. By following Him, therefore, through our whole life, we become impossible; and this is to rest. Wherefore Solomon also says, that before heaven, and earth, and all existences, Wisdom had arisen in the Almighty; the participation of which-that which is by power, I mean, not that by essence-teaches a man to know by apprehension things divine and human.

 

From Eusebius, History of the Church 7.32.13b-19a:

 

Ἐκ τῶν περὶ τοῦ πάσχα Ἀνατολίου κανόνων “Ἔχει τοίνυν ἐν τῷ πρώτῳ ἔτει τὴν νουμηνίαν τοῦ πρώτου μηνός, ἥτις ἁπάσης ἐστὶν ἀρξὴ τῆς ἐννεακαιδεκαετηρίδος, τὴν κατ’ Αἰγυπτίους μὲν Φαμενὼθ κςʹ, κατὰ δὲ τοὺς Μακεδόνων μῆνας Δύστρου κβʹ, ὡς δ’ ἂν εἴποιεν Ῥωμαῖοι, πρὸ ιαʹ Καλενδῶν Ἀπριλίων. εὑρίσκεται δὲ ὁ ἥλιος ἐν τῇ προκειμένῃ Φαμενὼθ κςʹ οὐ μόνον ἐπιβὰς τοῦ πρότου τμήματος, ἀλλ’ ἤδη καὶ τετάρτην ἡμέραν ἐν αὐτῷ διαπορευόμενος. τοῦτο δὲ τὸ τμῆμα πρῶτον δωδεκατημόριον καὶ ἰσημερινὸν καὶ μηνῶν ἀρχὴν καὶ κεφαλὴν τοῦ κύκλου καὶ ἄφεσιν τοῦ τῶν πλανητῶν φρόμου καλεῖν εἰώθασιν, τὸ δὲ πρὸ τούτου μηνῶν ἔσχατον καὶ τμῆμα δωδέκατον καὶ τελευταῖον δωδεκατημόριον καὶ τέλος τῆς τῶν πλανητῶν περιόδου· δι’ ὃ καὶ τοὺς ἐν αὐτῷ τιθεμένους τὸν πρῶτον μῆνα καὶ τὴν τεσσαρεσκαιδεκάτην τοῦ πάσχα κατ’ αὐτὴν λαμβάνοντας οὐ μικρῶς οὐδ’ ὡς ἔτυχεν ἁμαρτάνειν φαμέν. ἔστιν δ᾽ οὐχ ἡμέτερος οὗτος ὁ λόγος, Ἰουδαίοις δὲ ἐγινώσκετο τοῖς πάλαι καὶ πρὸ Χριστοῦ ἐφυλάττετό τε πρὸς αὐτῶν μάλιστα· μαθεῖν δ᾽ ἔστιν ἐκ τῶν ὑπὸ Φίλωνος Ἰωσήπου Μουσαίου λεγομένων, καὶ οὐ μόνων τούτων, ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν ἔτι παλαιοτέρων ἀμφοτέρων Ἀγαθοβούλων, τῶν ἐπίκλην διδασκάλων Ἀριστοβούλου τοῦ πάνυ, ὃς ἐν τοῖς οʹ κατειλεγμένος τοῖς τὰς ἱερὰς καὶ θείας Ἑβραίων ἑρμηνεύσασι γραφὰς Πτολεμαίῳ τῷ Φιλαδέλφῳ καὶ τῷ τούτου πατρί, καὶ βίβλους ἐξηγητικὰς τοῦ Μωυσέως νόμου τοῖς αὐτοῖς προσεφώνησεν βασιλεῦσιν. οὗτοι τὰ ζητούμενα κατὰ τὴν Ἔξοδον ἐπιλύοντες, φασὶ δεῖν τὰ διαβατήρια θύειν ἐπ᾽ ἴσης ἅπαντας μετὰ ἰσημερίαν ἐαρινήν, μεσοῦντος τοῦ πρώτου μηνός· τοῦτο δὲ εὑρίσκεσθαι, τὸ πρῶτον τμῆμα τοῦ ἡλιακοῦ, ἢ ὥς τινες αὐτῶν ὠνόμασαν, ζῳοφόρου κύκλου διεξιόντος ἡλίου. ὁ δὲ Ἀριστόβουλος προστίθησιν ὡς εἴη ἐξ ἀνάγκης τῇ τῶν διαβατηρίων ἑορτῇ μὴ μόνον τὸν ἥλιον ἰσημερινὸν διαπορεύεσθαι τμῆμα, καὶ τὴν σελήνην δέ. τῶν γὰρ ἰσημερινῶν τμημάτων ὄντων δύο, τοῦ μὲν ἐαρινοῦ, τοῦ δὲ μετοπωρινοῦ, καὶ διαμετρούντων ἄλληλα δοθείσης τε τῆς τῶν διαβατηρίων ἡμέρας τῇ τεσσαρεσκαιδεκάτῃ τοῦ μηνὸς μεθ᾽ ἑσπέραν, ἐνστήξεται μὲν ἡ σελήνη τὴν ἐναντίαν καὶ διάμετρον τῷ ἡλίῳ στάσιν, ὥσπερ οὖν ἔξεστιν ἐν ταῖς πανσελήνοις ὁρᾶν, ἔσονται δὲ ὃ μὲν κατὰ τὸ ἐαρινὸν ἰσημερινόν, ὁ ἥλιος, τμῆμα, ἣ δὲ ἐξ ἀνάγκης κατὰ τὸ φθινοπωρινὸν ἰσημερινόν, ἡ σελήνη. οἷδα πλεῖστα καὶ ἄλλα πρὸς αὐτῶν λεγόμενα, τοῦτο μὲν πιθανά, τοῦτο δὲ κατὰ τὰς κυριακὰς ἀποκείξεις προϊόντα, δι’ ὧν περιστάνειν πειρῶνται τὴν τοῦ πάσχα καὶ τῶν ἀξύμων ἑορτὴν δεῖν πάντως μετ’ ἱσημερίαν ἄγεσθαι· παρίημι δὲ τὰς τοιαύτας τῶν ἀποδείξεων ὕλας ἀπαιτῶν ὧν περιῄρηται μὲν τὸ ἐπὶ τῷ Μωυσέως νόμῳ κάλυμμα.....”

 

From the Paschal Canons of Anatolius. "There is then in the first year the new moon of the first month, which is the beginning of every cycle of nineteen years, on the twenty-sixth day of the Egyptian Phamenoth; but according to the months of the Macedonians, the twenty-second day of Dystrus, or, as the Romans would say, the eleventh before the Kalends of April. On the said twenty-sixth of Phamenoth, the sun is found not only entered on the first segment, but already passing through the fourth day in it. They are accustomed to call this segment the first dodecatomorion, and the equinox, and the beginning of months, and the head of the cycle, and the starting-point of the planetary circuit. But they call the one preceding this the last of months, and the twelfth segment, and the final dodecatomorion, and the end of the planetary circuit. Wherefore we maintain that those who place the first month in it, and determine by it the fourteenth of the passover, commit no slight or common blunder. And this is not an opinion of our own; but it was known to the Jews of old, even before Christ, and was carefully observed by them. This may be learned from what is said by Philo, Josephus, and Musaeus; and not only by them, but also by those yet more ancient, the two Agathobuli, surnamed `Masters,` and the famous Aristobulus, who was chosen among the seventy interpreters of the sacred and divine Hebrew Scriptures by Ptolemy Philadelphus and his father, and who also dedicated his exegetical books on the law of Moses to the same kings. These writers, explaining questions in regard to the Exodus, say that all alike should sacrifice the passover offerings after the vernal equinox, in the middle of the first month. But this occurs while the sun is passing through the first segment of the solar, or as some of them have styled it, the zodiacal circle. Aristobulus adds that it is necessary for the feast of the passover, that not only the sun should pass through the equinoctial segment, but the moon also. For as there are two equinoctial segments, the vernal and the autumnal, directly opposite each other, and as the day of the passover was appointed on the fourteenth of the month, beginning with the evening, the moon will hold a position diametrically opposite the sun, as may be seen in full moons; and the sun will be in the segment of the vernal equinox, and of necessity the moon in that of the autumnal. I know that many other things have been said by them, some of them probable, and some approaching absolute demonstration, by which they endeavor to prove that it is altogether necessary to keep the passover and the feast of unleavened bread after the equinox. But I refrain from demanding this sort of demonstration for matters from which the veil of the Mosaic law has been removed,

 

From Eusebius, Preparation 7.13-14:

 

Καὶ Ἀριστόβουλος δὲ ἄλλος Ἑβραίων σοφὸς ἀνήρ, κατὰ τὴν τῶν Πτολεμαίων ἀκμάσας ἡγεμονίαν, κυροῖ τὸ δόγμα ὡς πάτριον, αὐτῷ Πτολεμαίῳ τὴν τῶν ἱερῶν νόμων προσφωνῶν ἑρμηνείαν, ἐν ᾗ τάδε φησί· “Μεταφέροιτο δ’ ἂν τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς σοφίας· τὸ γὰρ πᾶν φῶς ἐστιν ἐξ αὐτῆς. διὸ καί τινες εἰρήκασι τῶν ἐκ τῆς αἱρέσεως ὄντες τοῦ Περιπάτου λαμπτῆρος αὐτὴν ἔχειν τάξιν. ἀκολουθοῦντες γὰρ αὐτῇ συνεχῶς, ἀτάραχοι καταστήσονται δι’ ὅλου τοῦ βίου. σαφέστερον δὲ καὶ κάλλιον τῶν ἡμετέρων προγόνων τις εἶπε Σολομῶν, πρὸ οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς αὐτὴν ὑπάρχειν· τὸ δὲ σύμφωνόν ἐστι τῷ προειρημένῳ.”

 

And Aristobulus also, another wise man of the Hebrews, who flourished under the rule of the Ptolemies, confirms the doctrine as inherited from his fathers, addressing to Ptolemy himself the Interpretation of the sacred laws, in which he speaks as follows: “But the same metaphor might be used also in the case of wisdom: for all light comes from it. Wherefore also some who were of the Peripatetic School have said that it holds the place of a torch: for by following it continuously men will be kept undisturbed through their whole life. But more clearly and more beautifully one of our forefathers, Solomon, said that wisdom subsisted before heaven and earth. This accords with what was said before.”

 

From Eusebius, Preparation 8.8:

 

Ταῦτα μὲν καὶ ὁ Ἰώσηπος περὶ τῆς κατὰ Μωσέα Ἰουδαίων πολιτείας. Περὶ δὲ τῆς ἐν τοῖς ὑπ´ αὐτοῦ τεθεῖσι νόμοις ἐπεσκιασμένης καὶ ἀλληγορικῆς θεωρίας πολλὰ ἔχων εἰπεῖν ἐπαρκεῖν ἡγοῦμαι τὰς Ἐλεαζάρου καὶ Ἀριστοβούλου διηγήσεις, ἀνδρῶν τὸ μὲν γένος Ἑβραίων ἀνέκαθεν, τὸν δὲ χρόνον κατὰ τοὺς Πτολεμαίων χρόνους διαπρεψάντων.

 

These are the statements of Josephus concerning the political constitution of the Jews established by Moses. But with regard to the allegorical meaning shadowed out in the laws enacted by him, though I might say much, I think it sufficient to mention the narratives of Eleazar and Aristobulus, men originally of Hebrew descent, and, as to date, distinguished in the times of the Ptolemies.

 

From Eusebius, Preparation 8.9-10:

 

Ὁ δὲ Ἀριστόβουλος καὶ τῆς κατ´ Ἀριστοτέλην φιλοσοφίας πρὸς τῇ πατρίῳ μετειληχώς, ὁποῖα περὶ τῶν ἐν ταῖς ἱεραῖς βίβλοις φερομένων ὡς περὶ θεοῦ μελῶν διῆλθεν ἐπακοῦσαι καιρός· οὗτος δ´ (αὐτὸς ἐκεῖνος, οὗ καὶ ἡ δευτέρα τῶν Μακκαβαίων ἐν ἀρχῇ τῆς βίβλου μνημονεύει) ἐν τῷ πρὸς Πτολεμαῖον τὸν βασιλέα συγγράμματι τοῦτον καὶ αὐτὸς διασαφεῖ τὸν τρόπον·

 

But it is time to hear what Aristobulus, who had partaken of Aristotle's philosophy in addition to that of his own country, declared concerning the passages in the Sacred Books which are currently understood to refer to limbs of God's body. This is that very man who is mentioned in the beginning of the Second Book of Maccabees: and in his writing addressed to King Ptolemy he too explains this principle:

 

Πλὴν ἱκανῶς εἰρημένων πρὸς τὰ προκείμενα ζητήματα ἐπεφώνησας καὶ σύ, βασιλεῦ, διότι σημαίνεται διὰ τοῦ νόμου τοῦ παρ´ ἡμῖν καὶ χεῖρες καὶ βραχίων καὶ πρόσωπον καὶ πόδες καὶ περίπατος ἐπὶ τῆς θείας δυνάμεως· ἃ τεύξεται λόγου καθήκοντος καὶ οὐκ ἀντιδοξήσει τοῖς προειρημένοις ὑφ´ ἡμῶν οὐδέν. Παρακαλέσαι δέ σε βούλομαι πρὸς τὸ φυσικῶς λαμβάνειν τὰς ἐκδοχὰς καὶ τὴν ἁρμόζουσαν ἔννοιαν περὶ θεοῦ κρατεῖν, καὶ μὴ ἐκπίπτειν εἰς τὸ μυθῶδες καὶ ἀνθρώπινον κατάστημα. Πολλαχῶς γὰρ ὃ βούλεται λέγειν ὁ νομοθέτης ἡμῶν Μωσῆς ἐφ´ ἑτέρων πραγμάτων λόγους ποιούμενος (λέγω δὲ τῶν κατὰ τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν), φυσικὰς διαθέσεις ἀπαγγέλλει καὶ μεγάλων πραγμάτων κατασκευάς. Οἷς μὲν οὖν πάρεστι τὸ καλῶς νοεῖν, θαυμάζουσι τὴν περὶ αὐτὸν σοφίαν καὶ τὸ θεῖον πνεῦμα, καθ´ ὃ καὶ προφήτης ἀνακεκήρυκται· ὧν εἰσιν οἱ προειρημένοι φιλόσοφοι καὶ πλείονες ἕτεροι καὶ ποιηταὶ παρ´ αὐτοῦ μεγάλας ἀφορμὰς εἰληφότες, καθὸ καὶ θαυμάζονται. Τοῖς δὲ μὴ μετέχουσι δυνάμεως καὶ συνέσεως, ἀλλὰ τῷ γραπτῷ μόνον προσκειμένοις οὐ φαίνεται μεγαλεῖόν τι διασαφῶν. Ἄρξομαι δὲ λαμβάνειν καθ´ ἕκαστον σημαινόμενον, καθ´ ὅσον ἂν ὦ δυνατός. Εἰ δὲ μὴ τεύξομαι τοῦ πράγματος μηδὲ πείσω, μὴ τῷ νομοθέτῃ προσάψῃς τὴν ἀλογίαν, ἀλλ´ ἐμοὶ τῷ μὴ δυναμένῳ διαιρεῖσθαι τὰ ἐκείνῳ νενοημένα. Χεῖρες μὲν οὖν νοοῦνται προδήλως καὶ ἐφ´ ἡμῶν κοινότερον. Ὅταν γὰρ δυνάμεις ἐξαποστέλλῃς σὺ βασιλεὺς ὤν, βουλόμενός τι κατεργάσασθαι, λέγομεν· μεγάλην χεῖρα ἔχει ὁ βασιλεύς, φερομένων τῶν ἀκουόντων ἐπὶ τὴν δύναμιν ἣν ἔχεις. Ἐπισημαίνεται δὲ τοῦτο καὶ διὰ τῆς νομοθεσίας ἡμῶν λέγων ὁ Μωσῆς οὕτως· « Ἐν χειρὶ κραταιᾷ ἐξήγαγεν ὁ θεός σε ἐξ Αἰγύπτου. » Καὶ πάλιν εἰρηκέναι αὐτῷ φησι τὸν θεόν· « Ἀποστελῶ τὴν χεῖρά μου καὶ πατάξω τοὺς Αἰγυπτίους. » Καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ γεγονότος θανάτου τῶν κτηνῶν καὶ τῶν ἄλλων φησὶ τῷ βασιλεῖ τῶν Αἰγυπτίων λέγων· « Ἰδοὺ χεὶρ κυρίου ἐπέσται ἐν τοῖς κτήνεσί σου καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἐν τοῖς πεδίοις θάνατος μέγας, » ὥστε δηλοῦσθαι τὰς χεῖρας ἐπὶ δυνάμεως εἶναι θεοῦ· καὶ γὰρ ἔστι μεταφέροντας νοῆσαι τὴν πᾶσαν ἰσχὺν τῶν ἀνθρώπων καὶ τὰς ἐνεργείας ἐν ταῖς χερσὶν εἶναι. Διόπερ καλῶς ὁ νομοθέτης ἐπὶ τὸ μεγαλεῖον μετενήνοχε, λέγων τὰς συντελείας χεῖρας εἶναι θεοῦ. Στάσις δὲ θεία καλῶς ἂν λέγοιτο κατὰ τὸ μεγαλεῖον ἡ τοῦ κόσμου κατασκευή. Καὶ γὰρ ἐπὶ πάντων ὁ θεός, καὶ πάνθ´ ὑποτέτακται καὶ στάσιν εἴληφεν· ὥστε τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καταλαμβάνειν ἀκίνητα εἶναι ταῦτα. Λέγω δὲ τὸ τοιοῦτον, ὡς οὐδέποτε γέγονεν οὐρανὸς γῆ, γῆ δ´ οὐρανός, οὐδ´ ἥλιος σελήνη λάμπουσα, οὐδὲ σελήνη πάλιν ἥλιος, οὐδὲ ποταμοὶ θάλασσα, οὐδὲ θάλασσα ποταμοί. Καὶ πάλιν ἐπὶ τῶν ζῴων ὁ αὐτός ἐστι λόγος. Οὐ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἔσται θηρίον οὐδὲ θηρίον ἄνθρωπος. Καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν λοιπῶν δὲ ταὐτὸν ὑπάρχει φυτῶν τε καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων· ἀμετάβλητα μέν ἐστι, τὰς αὐτὰς δ´ ἐν αὑτοῖς τροπὰς λαμβάνει καὶ φθοράς. Ἡ στάσις οὖν ἡ θεία κατὰ ταῦτα ἂν λέγοιτο, πάντων ὑποκειμένων τῷ θεῷ. Λέγεται δὲ καὶ κατάβασις ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος θεία γεγονέναι διὰ τῆς γραφῆς τοῦ νόμου, καθ´ ὃν ἐνομοθέτει καιρόν, ἵνα πάντες θεωρήσωσι τὴν ἐνέργειαν τοῦ θεοῦ. Κατάβασις γὰρ αὕτη σαφής ἐστι· καὶ περὶ τούτων οὖν οὕτως ἄν τις ἐξηγήσαιτο, βουλόμενος συντηρεῖν τὸν περὶ θεοῦ λόγον. Δηλοῦται γὰρ ὡς « τὸ ὄρος ἐκαίετο πυρί », καθώς φησιν ἡ νομοθεσία, διὰ τὸ τὸν θεὸν καταβεβηκέναι σαλπίγγων τε φωνὰς καὶ τὸ πῦρ φλεγόμενον ἀνυποστάτως εἶναι. Τοῦ γὰρ παντὸς πλήθους μυριάδων οὐκ ἔλαττον ἑκατόν, χωρὶς τῶν ἀφηλίκων, ἐκκλησιαζομένων κυκλόθεν τοῦ ὄρους, οὐκ ἔλασσον ἡμερῶν πέντε οὔσης τῆς περιόδου περὶ αὐτό, κατὰ πάντα τόπον τῆς ὁράσεως πᾶσιν αὐτοῖς κυκλόθεν, ὡς ἦσαν παρεμβεβληκότες, τὸ πῦρ φλεγόμενον ἐθεωρεῖτο· ὥστε τὴν κατάβασιν μὴ τοπικὴν εἶναι· πάντη γὰρ ὁ θεός ἐστιν. Ἀλλὰ τὴν τοῦ πυρὸς δύναμιν, παρὰ πάντα θαυμάσιον ὑπάρχουσαν διὰ τὸ πάντ´ ἀναλίσκειν, ἔδειξε φλεγομένην ἀνυποστάτως, μηδὲν δ´ ἐξαναλίσκουσαν, εἰ μὴ τὸ παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ δυναμικὸν αὐτῇ προσείη. Τῶν γὰρ φυομένων κατὰ τὸ ὄρος, τόπων φλεγομένων σφοδρῶς, οὐδὲν ἐξανάλωσεν, ἀλλ´ ἔμεινε τῶν ἁπάντων ἡ χλόη πυρὸς ἄθικτος, σαλπίγγων τε φωναὶ σφοδρότερον συνηκούοντο σὺν τῇ τοῦ πυρὸς ἀστραπηδὸν ἐκφάνσει, μὴ προκειμένων ὀργάνων τοιούτων μηδὲ τοῦ φωνήσοντος, ἀλλὰ θείᾳ κατασκευῇ γινομένων ἁπάντων· ὥστε σαφὲς εἶναι διὰ ταῦτα τὴν κατάβασιν τὴν θείαν γεγονέναι, διὰ τὸ τοὺς συνορῶντας ἐκφαντικῶς ἕκαστα καταλαμβάνειν, μήτε τὸ πῦρ κεκαυκός, ὡς προείρηται, μηδὲν μήτε τὰς τῶν σαλπίγγων φωνὰς δι´ ἀνθρωπίνης ἐνεργείας ἢ κατασκευῆς ὀργάνων γίνεσθαι, τὸν δὲ θεὸν ἄνευ τινὸς δεικνύναι τὴν ἑαυτοῦ διὰ πάντων μεγαλειότητα.

When, however, we had said enough in answer to the questions put before us, you also, O king, did further demand, why by our law there are intimations given of hands, and arm, and face, and feet, and walking, in the case of the Divine Power: which things shall receive a becoming explanation, and will not at all contradict the opinions which we have previously expressed. But I would entreat you to take the interpretations in a natural way, and to hold fast the fitting conception of God, and not to fall off into the idea of a fabulous anthropomorphic constitution. For our lawgiver Moses, when he wishes to express his meaning in various ways, announces certain arrangements of nature and preparations for mighty deeds, by adopting phrases applicable to other things, I mean to things outward and visible. Those therefore who have a good understanding admire his wisdom, and the divine inspiration in consequence of which he has been proclaimed a prophet; among whom are the aforesaid philosophers and many others, including poets, who have borrowed important suggestions from him, and are admired accordingly. But to those who are devoid of power and intelligence, and only cling close to the letter, he does not appear to explain any grand idea. I shall begin then to interpret each particular signification, as far as I may be able. But if I shall fail to hit upon the truth, and to persuade you, do not impute the inconsistency to the Lawgiver, but to my want of ability to distinguish clearly the thoughts in his mind. First then the word "hands" evidently has, even in our own case, a more general meaning. For when you as a king send out forces, wishing to accomplish some purpose, we say, The king has a mighty hand, and the hearers' thoughts are carried to the power which you possess. Now this is what Moses also signifies in our Law, when he speaks thus : "God brought thee forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand"; and again: "I will put forth My hand," saith God, "and will smite the Egyptians." Again in the account of the death of the cattle Moses says to Pharaoh: "Behold, the hand of the Lord shall be upon thy cattle, and upon all that are in the fields a great death." So that the "hands" are understood of the power of God: for indeed it is easy to perceive that the whole strength of men and their active powers are in their hands. Wherefore our Lawgiver, in saying that the effects are God's hands, has made the word a beautiful metaphor of majesty. The constitution too of the world may well be called for its majesty God's standing; for God is over all, and all things are subject unto Him, and have received from Him their station, so that men may comprehend that they are immovable. Now my meaning is like this, that heaven has never become earth, and earth heaven, nor the sun become the shining moon, nor again the moon become the sun, nor rivers seas, nor seas rivers. And again in the case of living beings there is the same principle. For man will never be beast, nor beast man. In the case of all the rest too the same rule exists, of plants and all other things: they are not interchangeable, but are subject to the same changes in themselves, and to decay. In these ways then God may rightly be spoken of as standing, since all things are set under Him. It is said too in the book of the Law that there was a descent of God upon the mountain, at the time when He was giving the Law, in order that all might behold the operation of God: for this is a manifest descent; and so any one wishing to guard safely the doctrine of God would interpret these circumstances as follows. It is declared that the mountain burned with fire, as the Lawgiver says, because God had descended upon it, and that there were the voices of trumpets, and the fire blazing so that none could withstand it. For while the whole multitude, not less than a thousand thousands, besides those of unfit age, were assembled around the mount, the circuit of it being not less than five days' journey, in every part of the view around them all as they were encamped the fire was seen blazing. So that the descent was not local; for God is everywhere. But whereas the power of fire is beyond all things marvellous because it consumes everything, he could not have shown it blazing irresistibly, yet consuming nothing, unless there were the efficacy given to it from God. For though the places were all ablaze, the fire did not actually consume any of the things which grew upon that mountain: but the herbage of all remained untouched by fire, and the voices of trumpets were loudly heard together with the lightning-like flashing of the fire, though there were no such instruments present nor any that sounded them, but all things were done by divine arrangement. So that it is plain that the divine descent took place for these reasons, that the spectators might have a manifest comprehension of the several circumstances, that neither the fire which, as I said before, burnt nothing, nor the voices of the trumpets were produced by human action or a supply of instruments, but that God without any aid was exhibiting His own all-pervading majesty.

 

Ταῦτα καὶ ὁ Ἀριστόβουλος.

 

Thus far Aristobulus.

 

From Eusebius, Preparation 9.6:

 

Ἔτι πρὸς τούτοις ὁ Κλήμης Ἀριστοβούλου τοῦ Περιπατητικοῦ καὶ Νουμηνίου τοῦ Πυθαγορείου μνημονεύει λέγων· “Ἀριστόβουλος δὲ ἐν τῷ πρώτῳ τῶν πρὸς τὸν Φιλομήτορα κατὰ λέξιν γράφει· ‘Κατηκολούθηκε δὲ ὁ Πλάτων τῇ καθ’ ἡμᾶς νομοθεσίᾳ καὶ φανερός ἐστι περιειργασμένος ἕκαστα τῶν ἐν αὐτῇ λεγομένων. 7 διηρμήνευται δὲ πρὸ Δημητρίου ὑφ’ ἑτέρων, πρὸ τῆς Ἀλεξάνδρου καὶ Περσῶν ἐπικρατήσεως, τά τε κατὰ τὴν ἐξ Αἰγύπτου ἐξαγωγὴν τῶν Ἑβραίων τῶν ἡμετέρων πολιτῶν καὶ ἡ τῶν γεγονότων ἁπάντων αὐτοῖς ἐπιφάνεια καὶ κράτησις τῆς χώρας καὶ τῆς ὅλης νομοθεσίας ἐπεξήγησις. 8 ὥστε εὔδηλον εἶναι τὸν προειρημένον φιλόσοφον εἰληφέναι πολλά· γέγονε γὰρ πολυμαθὴς καθὼς καὶ Πυθαγόρας, πολλὰ τῶν παρ’ ἡμῖν μετενέγκας εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ δογματοποιίαν.’”

 

Besides this Clement also mentions Aristobulus the Peripatetic and Numenius the Pythagorean, saying: Aristobulus, in his first book addressed to Philometor, writes in these words: Plato too has followed our legislation, and has evidently studied carefully the several precepts contained in it. And others before Demetrius, and prior to the supremacy of Alexander and of the Persians, have translated both the narrative of the Exodus of our fellow countrymen the Hebrews from Egypt, and the fame of all that happened to them, and their conquest of the land, and the exposition of the whole Law. So it is perfectly clear that the philosopher before-mentioned has borrowed much, for he is very learned; as also was Pythagoras, who transferred many of our precepts into his own system of doctrines.

 

From Eusebius, Preparation 13.11-12:

 

Ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἡμεῖς μὲν ταῦτα ἐκ τῶν Πλάτωνος ἀνελεξάμεθα· φιλόκαλος δέ τις ἄλλος καὶ τούτων ἔτι πλείω ἂν εὕροι παρὰ τῷ αὐτῷ σύμφωνα τοῖς ἡμετέροις δόγμασι, τάχα δὲ καὶ παρ´ ἑτέροις. Ἐπεὶ δὲ τῆς αὐτῆς ἡμῖν ὑποθέσεως προλαβόντες ἐφήψαντο καὶ ἄλλοι, εὖ μοι δοκεῖ ἐπισκέψασθαι δεῖν καὶ τὰ τούτοις πεπονημένα. Παραθήσω δὲ πρώτου Ἀριστοβούλου, τοῦ ἐξ Ἑβραίων φιλοσόφου, τὰς οὕτως ἐχούσας φωνάς·

 

But in truth though I have made these selections out of the writings of Plato, any other student might find still more points of agreement with our doctrines in the same author, and perhaps in others also. Since, however, others before us have touched upon the same subject, I think it would be right for me to look at the results of their work also. And I will quote first the words of the Hebrew philosopher Aristobulus, which are as follows:

 

«Φανερὸν ὅτι κατηκολούθησεν ὁ Πλάτων τῇ καθ´ ἡμᾶς νομοθεσίᾳ καὶ φανερός ἐστι περιειργασμένος ἕκαστα τῶν ἐν αὐτῇ. Διηρμήνευται γὰρ πρὸ Δημητρίου τοῦ Φαληρέως δι´ ἑτέρων, πρὸ τῆς Ἀλεξάνδρου καὶ Περσῶν ἐπικρατήσεως, τά τε κατὰ τὴν ἐξαγωγὴν τὴν ἐξ Αἰγύπτου τῶν Ἑβραίων, ἡμετέρων δὲ πολιτῶν, καὶ ἡ τῶν γεγονότων ἁπάντων αὐτοῖς ἐπιφάνεια καὶ κράτησις τῆς χώρας καὶ τῆς ὅλης νομοθεσίας ἐπεξήγησις, ὡς εὔδηλον εἶναι τὸν προειρημένον φιλόσοφον εἰληφέναι πολλά· γέγονε γὰρ πολυμαθής, καθὼς καὶ Πυθαγόρας πολλὰ τῶν παρ´ ἡμῖν μετενέγκας εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ δογματοποιίαν κατεχώρισεν. Ἡ δ´ ὅλη ἑρμηνεία τῶν διὰ τοῦ νόμου πάντων ἐπὶ τοῦ προσαγορευθέντος Φιλαδέλφου βασιλέως, σοῦ δὲ προγόνου, προσενεγκαμένου μείζονα φιλοτιμίαν, Δημητρίου τοῦ Φαληρέως πραγματευσαμένου τὰ περὶ τούτων.»

It is evident that Plato closely followed our legislation, and has carefully studied the several precepts contained in it. For others before Demetrius Phalereus, and prior to the supremacy of Alexander and the Persians, have translated both the narrative of the exodus of the Hebrews our fellow countrymen from Egypt, and the fame of all that had happened to them, and the conquest of the land, and the exposition of the whole Law; so that it is manifest that many things have been borrowed by the aforesaid philosopher, for he is very learned: as also Pythagoras transferred many of our precepts and inserted them in his own system of doctrines. But the entire translation of all the contents of our law was made in the time of the king surnamed Philadelphus, thy ancestor, who brought greater zeal to the work, which was managed by Demetrius Phalereus.

 

Εἶτα μεταξύ τινα εἰπὼν ἐπιφέρει λέγων·

 

Then, after interposing some remarks, he further says:

 

«Δεῖ γὰρ λαμβάνειν τὴν θείαν φωνὴν οὐ ῥητὸν λόγον, ἀλλ´ ἔργων κατασκευάς, καθὼς καὶ διὰ τῆς νομοθεσίας ἡμῖν ὅλην τὴν γένεσιν τοῦ κόσμου θεοῦ λόγους εἴρηκεν ὁ Μωσῆς. Συνεχῶς γάρ φησιν ἐφ´ ἑκάστου· «καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεὸς, καὶ ἐγένετο.» Δοκοῦσι δέ μοι περιειργασμένοι πάντα κατηκολουθηκέναι τούτῳ Πυθαγόρας τε καὶ Σωκράτης καὶ Πλάτων λέγοντες ἀκούειν φωνῆς θεοῦ, τὴν κατασκευὴν τῶν ὅλων συνθεωροῦντες ἀκριβῶς ὑπὸ θεοῦ γεγονυῖαν καὶ συνεχομένην ἀδιαλείπτως. Ἔτι δὲ καὶ Ὀρφεὺς ἐν ποιήμασι τῶν κατὰ τὸν Ἱερὸν Λόγον αὐτῷ λεγομένων οὕτως ἐκτίθεται περὶ τοῦ διακρατεῖσθαι θείᾳ δυνάμει τὰ πάντα καὶ γενητὰ ὑπάρχειν καὶ ἐπὶ πάντων εἶναι τὸν θεόν. Λέγει δ´ οὕτως· Φθέγξομαι οἷς θέμις ἐστί, θύρας δ´ ἐπίθεσθε βέβηλοι, φεύγοντες δικαίων θεσμούς, θείοιο τιθέντος πᾶσιν ὁμοῦ· σὺ δ´ ἄκουε, φαεσφόρου ἔκγονε Μήνης Μουσαῖ´. Ἐξενέπω γὰρ ἀληθέα· μηδέ σε τὰ πρὶν ἐν στήθεσσι φανέντα φίλης αἰῶνος ἀμέρσῃ, εἰς δὲ λόγον θεῖον βλέψας τούτῳ προσέδρευε, ἰθύνων κραδίης νοερὸν κύτος· εὖ δ´ ἐπίβαινε ἀτραπιτοῦ, μοῦνον δ´ ἐσόρα κόσμοιο τυπωτὴν ἀθάνατον. Παλαιὸς δὲ λόγος περὶ τοῦδε φαείνει· Εἷς ἔστ´ αὐτοτελής, αὐτοῦ δ´ ὕπο πάντα τελεῖται, ἐν δ´ αὐτοῖς αὐτὸς περινίσσεται, οὐδέ τις αὐτὸν εἰσοράᾳ ψυχὴν θνητῶν, νῷ δ´ εἰσοράαται. Αὐτὸς δ´ ἐξ ἀγαθῶν θνητοῖς κακὸν οὐκ ἐπιτέλλει ἀνθρώποις· αὐτῷ δὲ χάρις καὶ μῖσος ὀπηδεῖ· καὶ πόλεμος καὶ λοιμὸς ἰδ´ ἄλγεα δακρυόεντα· οὐδέ τίς ἐσθ´ ἕτερος. Σὺ δέ κεν ῥέα πάντ´ ἐσορήσω, αἴ κεν ἴδῃς αὐτόν· πρὶν δή ποτε δεῦρ´ ἐπὶ γαῖαν, τέκνον ἐμόν, δείξω σοι, ὁπηνίκα δέρκομαι αὐτοῦ ἴχνια καὶ χεῖρα στιβαρὴν κρατεροῖο θεοῖο. Αὐτὸν δ´ οὐχ ὁρόω· περὶ γὰρ νέφος ἐστήρικται λοιπὸν ἐμοί· ´στᾶσιν δὲ δεκάπτυχον ἀνθρώποισιν. Οὐ γάρ κέν τις ἴδοι θνητῶν μερόπων κραίνοντα, εἰ μὴ μουνογενής τις ἀπορρὼξ φύλου ἄνωθεν Χαλδαίων· ἴδρις γὰρ ἔην ἄστροιο πορείης καὶ σφαίρης κίνημ´ ἀμφὶ χθόνα ὡς περιτέλλει κυκλοτερές τ´ ἐν ἴσῳ, κατὰ δὲ σφέτερον κνώδακα. Πνεύματα δ´ ἡνιοχεῖ περί τ´ ἠέρα καὶ περὶ χεῦμα νάματος· ἐκφαίνει δὲ πυρὸς σέλας ἰφιγενήτου. Αὐτὸς δὴ μέγαν αὖθις ἐπ´ οὐρανὸν ἐστήρικται χρυσέῳ εἰνὶ θρόνῳ· γαίη δ´ ὑπὸ ποσσὶ βέβηκε· χεῖρα δὲ δεξιτερὴν ἐπὶ τέρμασιν Ὠκεανοῖο ἐκτέτακεν· ὀρέων δὲ τρέμει βάσις ἔνδοθι θυμῷ οὐδὲ φέρειν δύναται κρατερὸν μένος. Ἔστι δὲ πάντως αὐτὸς ἐπουράνιος καὶ ἐπὶ χθονὶ πάντα τελευτᾷ, ἀρχὴν αὐτὸς ἔχων καὶ μέσσην ἠδὲ τελευτήν, ὡς λόγος ἀρχαίων, ὡς ὑδογενὴς διέταξεν, ἐκ θεόθεν γνώμῃσι λαβὼν κατὰ δίπλακα θεσμόν. Ἄλλως οὐ θεμιτὸν δὲ λέγειν· τρομέω δέ γε γυῖα, ἐν νόῳ· ἐξ ὑπάτου κραίνει περὶ πάντ´ ἐνὶ τάξει. Ὦ τέκνον, σὺ δὲ τοῖσι νόοισι πελάζευ, γλώσσης εὖ μάλ´ ἐπικρατέων, στέρνοισι δὲ ἔνθεο φήμην. Καὶ Ἄρατος δὲ περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν φησιν οὕτως· Ἐκ θεοῦ ἀρχώμεσθα, τὸν οὐδέποτ´ ἄνδρες ἐῶσιν ἄρρητον· μεσταὶ δὲ θεοῦ πᾶσαι μὲν ἀγυιαί, πᾶσαι δ´ ἀνθρώπων ἀγοραί, μεστὴ δὲ θάλασσα καὶ λιμένες, πάντη δὲ θεοῦ κεχρήμεθα πάντες. Τοῦ γὰρ καὶ γένος ἐσμέν· ὁ δ´ ἤπιος ἀνθρώποισι δεξιὰ σημαίνει, λαοὺς δ´ ἐπὶ ἔργον ἐγείρει μιμνήσκων βιότοιο· λέγει δ´ ὅτε βῶλος ἀρίστη βουσί τε καὶ μακέλῃσι, λέγει δ´ ὅτε δεξιαὶ ὧραι καὶ φυτὰ γυρῶσαι καὶ σπέρματα πάντα βαλέσθαι. «Σαφῶς οἴομαι δεδεῖχθαι διότι διὰ πάντων ἐστὶν ἡ δύναμις τοῦ θεοῦ. Καθὼς δὲ δεῖ, σεσημάγκαμεν περιαιροῦντες τὸν διὰ τῶν ποιημάτων Δία καὶ Ζῆνα· τὸ γὰρ τῆς διανοίας αὐτῶν ἐπὶ θεὸν ἀναπέμπεται, διόπερ οὕτως ἡμῖν εἴρηται. Οὐκ ἀπεοικότως οὖν τοῖς ἐπεζητημένοις προενηνέγμεθα ταῦτα. Πᾶσι γὰρ τοῖς φιλοσόφοις ὁμολογεῖται διότι δεῖ περὶ θεοῦ διαλήψεις ὁσίας ἔχειν, ὃ μάλιστα παρακελεύεται καλῶς ἡ καθ´ ἡμᾶς αἵρεσις. Ἡ δὲ τοῦ νόμου κατασκευὴ πᾶσα τοῦ καθ´ ἡμᾶς περὶ εὐσεβείας τέτακται καὶ δικαιοσύνης καὶ ἐγκρατείας καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν ἀγαθῶν τῶν κατὰ ἀλήθειαν.»

For we must understand the voice of God not as words spoken, but as construction of works, just as Moses in the Law has spoken of the whole creation of the world as words of God. For he constantly says of each work, "And God said, and it was so." Now it seems to me that he has been very carefully followed in all by Pythagoras, and Socrates, and Plato, who said that they heard the voice of God, when they were contemplating the arrangement of the universe so accurately made and indissolubly combined by God. Moreover, Orpheus, in verses taken from his writings in the Sacred Legend, thus sets forth the doctrine that all things are governed by divine power, and that they have had a beginning, and that God is over all. And this is what he says:

"I speak to those who lawfully may hear: 
Depart, and close the doors, all ye profane, 
Who hate the ordinances of the just, 
The law divine announced to all mankind. 
But thou, Musaeus, child of the bright Moon, 
Lend me thine ear; for I have truths to tell. 
Let not the former fancies of thy mind 
Amerce thee of the dear and blessed life. 
Look to the word divine, keep close to that, 
And guide thereby the deep thoughts of thine heart. 
Walk wisely in the way, and look to none, 
Save to the immortal Framer of the world: 
For thus of Him an ancient story speaks: 
One, perfect in Himself, all else by Him 
Made perfect: ever present in His works, 
By mortal eyes unseen, by mind alone 
Discerned. It is not He that out of good 
Makes evil to spring up for mortal men. 
Both love and hatred wait upon His steps, 
And war and pestilence, and sorrow and tears: 
For there is none but He. All other things 
'Twere easy to behold, could'st thou but first 
Behold Himself here present upon earth. 
The footsteps and the mighty hand of God 
Whene'er I see, I'll show them thee, my son: 
But Him I cannot see, so dense a cloud 
In tenfold darkness wraps our feeble sight. 
Him in His power no mortal could behold, 
Save one, a scion of Chaldaean race: 
For he was skilled to mark the sun's bright path, 
And how in even circle round the earth
The starry sphere on its own axis turns, 
And winds their chariot guide o'er sea and sky; 
And showed where fire's bright flame its strength displayed. 
But God Himself, high above heaven unmoved, 
Sits on His golden throne, and plants His feet 
On the broad earth; His right hand He extends 
O'er Ocean's farthest bound; the eternal hills 
Tremble in their deep heart, nor can endure 
His mighty power. And still above the heavens
Alone He sits, and governs all on earth, 
Himself first cause, and means, and end of all. 
So men of old, so tells the Nile-born sage, 
Taught by the twofold tablet of God's law; 
Nor otherwise dare I of Him to speak: 
In heart and limbs I tremble at the thought, 
How He from heaven all things in order rules. 
Draw near in thought, my son; but guard thy tongue 
With care, and store this doctrine in thine heart."

Aratus also speaks of the same subject thus:

"From Zeus begin the song, nor ever leave 
His name unsung, whose godhead fills all streets, 
All thronging marts of men, the boundless sea 
And all its ports: whose aid all mortals need; 
For we his offspring are; and kindly he 
Reveals to man good omens of success, 
Stirs him to labour by the hope of food, 
Tells when the land best suits the grazing ox, 
Or when the plough; when favouring seasons bid 
Plant the young tree, and sow the various seed."

It is clearly shown, I think, that all things are pervaded by the power of God: and this I have properly represented by taking away the name of Zeus which runs through the poems; for it is to God that their thought is sent up, and for that reason I have so expressed it. These quotations, therefore, which I have brought forward are not inappropriate to the questions before us. For all the philosophers agree, that we ought to hold pious opinions concerning God, and to this especially our system gives excellent exhortation; and the whole constitution of our law is arranged with reference to piety, and justice, and temperance, and all things else that are truly good.

 

Τούτοις ἑξῆς μεθ´ ἕτερα ἐπιλέγει·

 

To this, after an interval, he adds what follows:

 

«Ἐχομένως δ´ ἐστὶν ὡς ὁ θεός, ὃς τὸν ὅλον κόσμον κατεσκεύακε, καὶ δέδωκεν ἀνάπαυσιν ἡμῖν, διὰ τὸ κακόπαθον εἶναι πᾶσι τὴν βιοτήν, ἑβδόμην ἡμέραν, ἣ δὴ καὶ πρώτη φυσικῶς ἂν λέγοιτο φωτὸς γένεσις, ἐν ᾧ τὰ πάντα συνθεωρεῖται. Μεταφέροιτο δ´ ἂν τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς σοφίας· τὸ γὰρ πᾶν φῶς ἐστιν ἐξ αὐτῆς. Καί τινες εἰρήκασι τῶν ἐκ τῆς αἱρέσεως ὄντες τῆς ἐκ τοῦ Περιπάτου λαμπτῆρος αὐτὴν ἔχειν τάξιν· ἀκολουθοῦντες γὰρ αὐτῇ συνεχῶς ἀτάραχοι καταστήσονται δι´ ὅλου τοῦ βίου. Σαφέστερον δὲ καὶ κάλλιον τῶν ἡμετέρων προγόνων τις εἶπε Σολομῶν αὐτὴν πρὸ οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς ὑπάρχειν· τὸ δὴ σύμφωνόν ἐστι τῷ προειρημένῳ. Τὸ δὲ διασαφούμενον διὰ τῆς νομοθεσίας ἀποπεπαυκέναι τὸν θεὸν ἐν αὐτῇ, τοῦτο οὐχ, ὥς τινες ὑπολαμβάνουσι, μηκέτι ποιεῖν τι τὸν θεὸν καθέστηκεν, ἀλλ´ ἐπὶ τῷ καταπεπαυκέναι τὴν τάξιν αὐτῶν οὕτως εἰς πάντα τὸν χρόνον τεταχέναι. Σημαίνει γὰρ ὡς ἐν ἓξ ἡμέραις ἐποίησε τόν τε οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ πάντα τὰ ἐν αὐτοῖς, ἵνα τοὺς χρόνους δηλώσῃ καὶ τὴν τάξιν προείπῃ τί τίνος προτερεῖ. Τάξας γάρ, οὕτως αὐτὰ συνέχει καὶ μεταποιεῖ. Διασεσάφηκε δ´ ἡμῖν αὐτὴν ἔννομον ἕνεκεν σημείου τοῦ περὶ ἡμᾶς ἑβδόμου λόγου καθεστῶτος, ἐν ᾧ γνῶσιν ἔχομεν ἀνθρωπίνων καὶ θείων πραγμάτων. Δι´ ἑβδομάδων δὲ καὶ πᾶς ὁ κόσμος κυκλεῖται τῶν ζῳογονουμένων καὶ τῶν φυομένων ἁπάντων· τῷ δὲ σάββατον αὐτὴν προσαγορεύεσθαι διερμηνεύεται ἀνάπαυσις οὖσα. Διασαφεῖ δὲ καὶ Ὅμηρος καὶ Ἡσίοδος, μετειληφότες ἐκ τῶν ἡμετέρων βιβλίων ἱερὰν εἶναι. Ἡσίοδος μὲν οὕτως· Πρῶτον ἕνη τετράς τε καὶ ἑβδόμη ἱερὸν ἦμαρ· καὶ πάλιν λέγει· Ἑβδομάτη δ´ αὖτις λαμπρὸν φάος ἠελίοιο. Ὅμηρος δὲ οὕτω λέγει· Ἑβδομάτη δἤπειτα κατήλυθεν, ἱερὸν ἦμαρ· καὶ πάλιν· Ἕβδομον ἦμαρ ἔην καὶ τῷ τετέλεστο ἅπαντα καί· Ἑβδομάτῃ δ´ ἠοῖ λίπομεν ῥόον ἐξ Ἀχέροντος. Τοῦτο δὴ σημαίνων, ὡς ἀπὸ τῆς κατὰ ψυχὴν λήθης καὶ κακίας ἐν τῷ κατὰ ἀλήθειαν ἑβδόμῳ λόγῳ καταλιμπάνεται τὰ προειρημένα καὶ γνῶσιν ἀληθείας λαμβάνομεν, καθὼς προείρηται. Λίνος δέ φησιν οὕτως· Ἑβδομάτῃ δ´ ἠοῖ τετελεσμένα πάντα τέτυκται· καὶ πάλιν· Ἑβδόμη εἰν ἀγαθοῖς καὶ ἑβδόμη ἐστὶ γενέθλη καί· Ἑβδόμη ἐν πρώτοισι καὶ ἑβδόμη ἐστὶ τελείη καί· Ἑπτὰ δὲ πάντα τέτυκται ἐν οὐρανῷ ἀστερόεντι, ἐν κύκλοισι φανέντ´ ἐπιτελλομένοις ἐνιαυτοῖς.»

With this it is closely connected, that God the Creator of the whole world, has also given us the seventh day as a rest, because for all men life is full of troubles: which day indeed might naturally be called the first birth of light, whereby all things are beheld. The same thought might also be metaphorically applied in the case of wisdom, for from it all light proceeds. And it has been said by some who were of the Peripatetic School that wisdom is in place of a beacon-light, for by following it constantly men will be rendered free from trouble through their whole life. But more clearly and more beautifully one of our forefathers, Solomon, said that it has existed before heaven and earth; which indeed agrees with what has been said above. But what is clearly stated by the Law, that God rested on the seventh day, means not, as some suppose, that God henceforth ceases to do anything, but it refers to the fact that, after He has brought the arrangement of His works to completion, He has arranged them thus for all time. For it points out that in six days He made the heaven and the earth and all things that are therein, to distinguish the times, and predict the order in which one thing comes before another: for after arranging their order, He keeps them so, and makes no change. He has also plainly declared that the seventh day is ordained for us by the Law, to be a sign of that which is our seventh faculty, namely reason, whereby we have knowledge of things human and divine. Also the whole world of living creatures, and of all plants that grow, revolves in sevens. And its name "Sabbath" is interpreted as meaning "rest." Homer also and Hesiod declare, what they have borrowed from our books, that it is a holy day; Hesiod in the following words: "The first, the fourth, the seventh a holy day." And again he says: "And on the seventh again the sun shines bright." Homer too speaks as follows: "And soon the seventh returned, a holy day." And again: "It was the seventh day, and all was done." Again: "And on the seventh dawn the baleful stream of Acheron we left." By which he means, that after the soul's forgetfulness and vice have been left, the things it chose before are abandoned on the true seventh which is reason, and we receive the knowledge of truth, as we have said before. Linus too speaks thus: "All things are finished on the seventh dawn." And again: "Good is the seventh day, and seventh birth." And: "Among the prime, and perfect is the seventh." And: "Seven orbs created in the starlit sky shine in their courses through revolving years."

 

Τὰ μὲν οὖν Ἀριστοβούλου τοιαῦτα.

 

Such then are the statements of Aristobulus.