[471] 1 I. Ἐσσαίων πέρι διαλεχθείς, οἳ τὸν πρακτικὸν ἐζήλωσαν καὶ διεπόνησαν βίον ἐν ἅπασιν ἢ—τὸ γοῦν φορητότερον1 εἰπεῖν—τοῖς πλείστοις μέρεσι διενεγκόντες, αὐτίκα καὶ περὶ τῶν θεωρίαν ἀσπασαμένων ἀκολουθίᾳ τῆς πραγματείας ἑπόμενος τὰ προσήκοντα λέξω, μηδὲν οἴκοθεν ἕνεκα τοῦ βελτιῶσαι προστιθείς, ὃ δρᾶν ἔθος ἐν σπάνει καλῶν ἐπιτηδευμάτων ἅπασι τοῖς ποιηταῖς καὶ λογογράφοις, ἀλλ᾿ ἀτεχνῶς αὐτῆς περιεχόμενος τῆς ἀληθείας, πρὸς ἣν οἶδ᾿ ὅτι καὶ ὁ δεινότατος εἰπεῖν ἀπαγορεύσει. διαθλητέον δὲ ὅμως καὶ διαγωνιστέον· οὐ γὰρ δεῖ τὸ μέγεθος τῆς τῶν ἀνδρῶν ἀρετῆς αἴτιον ἀφωνίας γενέσθαι τοῖς μηδὲν καλὸν 2ἡσυχάζεσθαι δικαιοῦσιν. ἡ δὲ προαίρεσις τῶν φιλοσόφων εὐθὺς ἐμφαίνεται διὰ τῆς προσρήσεως·


the Contemplative Life

On the Contemplative Life or Suppliants

(the fourth part concerning the virtues)a

I. I have discussed the Essenes, who persistently1 pursued the active life and excelled in all or, to put it more moderately, in most of its departments. I will now proceed at once in accordance with the sequence required by the subject to say what is needed about those who embraced the life of contemplation. In doing so I will not add anything of my own procuring to improve upon the facts as is constantly done by poets and historians through lack of excellence in the lives and practices which they record, but shall adhere absolutely to the actual truth. Though I know that in this case it is such as to unnerve the greatest master of oratory, still we must persevere and not decline the conflict, for the magnitude of virtue shown by these men must not be allowed to tie the tongues of those who hold that nothing excellent should be passed over in silence. The vocationb of these philosophers2 is at once made clear from their title of

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.philo-judaeus-contemplative_life_suppliants.1941