The Ancient Library

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were only of a slender kind, he was able to work up and combine with skill results at which previous writers had already arrived. Above all, it was necessary that this new philosophy of religion should take great care, in unison with the refined doctrine respecting the Deity set forth by Plato and others, to represent Jehovah as the absolutely perfect existence. It was equally necessary to represent him as unchangeable, since transition, whether into a better, a worse, or a similar condition, is inconsistent with absolute perfection. (Quod deterius patiori insid. p. 202, Leg. alleg. ii. pr., Quod mundus sit incorrupt, p. 500,-ofe Sacrif. p. 165, Quod Deus sit immutabilis, p. 275.) The un­changeable character of the Deity was defined more closely as the absolutely simple and uncompounded (quod mundus sit incorrupt, p. 492, de Nomin. mutat. p. 600), incapable of combination with any thing else (Leg. alleg. ii. pr. &c.), in need of nothing else (Leg. alleg. ibid.), as the eternal (de Humanit. p. 386, &c.)» exalted above all predicates (quod Deus sit immut. p. 281, De Profugis^ p. 575), without quality (Leg. alleg. i. p. 51, &c.), as the exclusively blessed (De Septenario, p. 280, &c.), the exclusively free (de Somn. ii. p. 692). While, however, it was also recognised that God is incom­prehensible (d/caraXrjTTTos, de Somn. i. p. 630), and not even to be reached by thought (dTrepivorj-tos, de Nomin. mutat. p. 579, &c.), and inexpres­sible (aKaTovo/JiaffTOS kcu a^prjros^de Somn. i. p. 575, de Vit. Mosis, i. p. 614, &c.), and that we can only know of his existence (t/7rap|is), not of his proper existence (I5ta wtt. de Proem, et Poen. p. 415, &c.), nevertheless knowledge of God must be set down as the ultimate object of human efforts (de Sacrif. p. 264), and contemplation of God (ij rov ovros &ea, 77 o\l/ts &eou, de Migrat. Abrdh. p. 462, &c.) must be attainable ; i. e. man by virtue of his likeness to God can participate in the immediate manifestation of him (e/*(f>a(rts evapyrfs^ quod deter, pot. insid. p. 221, &c.) ; and therefore must exert himself in­cessantly in searching for the ultimate foundation of all that exists (de Monarch, i. p. 216, &c.). Visible phaenomena are to lead us over to the in­visible world (de Somn. i. p. 648, &c., de Proem, et Poen. p. 414), and to give us the conviction that the wisely and the beautifully fashioned world pre­supposes a wise and intelligent cause (de Monarch. I. c. de Praem. et Poen. I. c. de Mundi Opiftc. p. 2); they are to become to us a ladder for getting to the knowledge of God by means of God, and for attaining to immediate contemplation (de Praem. et Poen. I. c.9 Leg. alleg. iii. p. 107). Partly because he was unable to raise himself above the old Greek axiom, that nothing can be produced out of nothing (quod mund. sit incorrupt, p. 488), partly that he might in no way endanger the conviction of the absolute perfection of God, Philon, like the Greek philosophers, took refuge in the assumption of a lifeless matter, in itself immoveable and non­existent, absolutely passive and primeval, and destitute of quality and form ; and while again he conceived this as an unarrangtd and unformed mass, containing within itself the four primal elements (de C/terub. p. 161, &c., de Plantat. pr. &c.), he represented the world-fashioning spirit of God as the divider (ro^ueus) and bond (Sctriuos) of the All (de Mundi Opif. 3, de Somn. i. p. 641, &c., de Plant. Noae91. c.}. In the second connection, conceived as something subordinate to, and resisting the divine arrangement (qu-is rer div. haer. p. 4.95, de


Mundi Qpif. 4), matter was looked upon by him as the source of all imperfection and evil (de Justitia. p. 367) ; whereas in other passages, in which he especially brings into notice the non-existence of matter, God is represented as the creator, as dis­tinguished from the mere fashioner of the universe (de Somn. i. p. 632, &c.). Philon could not con­ceive of the unchangeable, absolutely perfect Deity as the immediate cause of the changeable, imperfect world ; hence the assumption of a mediate cause, which, with reference as well to the immanent and transient activity attributed to him for the projec­tion and realisation of the plan of the universe, as to the thinking and speaking faculty of man, de­signated by one and the same word (6 \6yos 6 ev Stai/oia, svSidOeros and irpotyvptKos), he designated as the divine Logos (de Cherub, p. 162> de Migrat. Abrah. p. 436, &c., de Vita Mosis, iii. p. 154, &c.), within which he then again distinguished on the one hand the divine wisdom (the mother of what was brought into existence), and the activity which exerts itself by means of speech (Leg. alleg. i. p. 52, 58, &c., ii. p. 82, de Ebrietate, p. 361, &c., de Sacrif. p. 175, &c.), on the other hand the good­ness (dyaOorris), the power (dperTy, e|ou(n'a, t<) /cparos), and the world-sustaining grace (de Sacrif. p. 189, Quaest. in Gen. i. 57, de Cherub, p. 143, &c.). As the pattern (TrapdSeiyaa) of the visible world he assumed an invisible, spiritual world (koo^ios dopa-tos, j/otjtos, de Opif. 3, 6, 7, &e,), and this he re­garded platonically as the collective totality of the ideas or spiritual forms (Dahne, 1. c. p. 253); the principia of the mediate cause he regarded as powers invisible and divine, though still distinct from the Deity (de Migrat. Abrah. p. 464, &c., Dahne, p. 240, &c.) ; the spiritual world as com­pletely like God, as his shadow (de Opif. M. p. 3, Leg. alleg. iii. p. 106, &c.); the world of sense in like manner as divine, by virtue of the spiritual forms contained in it (de Mundi Opif. p. 5). The relation of the world to the Deity he conceived of partly as the extension (eKTtiveiv) of the latter to the former (de Nomin. mutat. p. 582, &c.), or as the filling of the void by the boundless fulness of God (de Opif. Mund. p. 36, &c.) ; partly under the image of effulgence: the primal existence was then looked upon by him as the pure light which shed its beams all around, the Logos as the nearest circle of light proceeding from it, each single power as a separate ray of the primordial light, and the uni­verse as an illumination of matter, fading away more and more in proportion to its distance from the primal light (de Somn. i. pp. 638, 641, &c., de Praem. et Poen. p. 414, Leg. alleg. i. p. 47, &c., iii. p. 120, &c.). Thus we already find in Philon in a very distinct form the outlines of the doctrine of emanations, which subsequently was further de­veloped on the one hand by the Gnostics, on the other by the Neo-platonists.

2. The megarian or dialectician, was a dis­ciple of Diodorus Cronus, and a friend of Zenon, though older than the latter, if the reading in Diogenes Laertius (vii. 16) is correct. In his Menexenus he mentioned the five daughters of his teacher (Clem. Alex. Strom. iv. p. 528, a. ed. Potter), and disputed with him respecting the idea of the possible, and the criteria of the truth of hypotheti­cal propositions. With reference to the first point Philon approximated to Aristotle, as he recognized that not only what is, or will be, is possible (as Diodorus maintained), but also \Vhat is in itsejj'

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