ΠΕΡΙ ΤΩΝ ΔΕΚΑ ΛΟΓΩΝ ΟΙ ΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΑ ΝΟΜΩΝ ΕΙΣΙΝ
I. Τοὺς βίους τῶν κατὰ Μωυσέα σοφῶν ἀνδρῶν, 1οὓς ἀρχηγέτας τοῦ ἡμετέρου ἔθνους καὶ νόμους ἀγράφους αἱ ἱεραὶ βίβλοι δηλοῦσιν, ἐν ταῖς προτέραις συντάξεσι μεμηνυκὼς κατὰ τὰ ἀκόλουθα ἑξῆς τῶν ἀναγραφέντων νόμων τὰς ἰδέας ἀκριβώσω μηδ᾿, εἴ τις ὑποφαίνοιτο τρόπος ἀλληγορίας, τοῦτον παρεὶς ἕνεκα τῆς πρὸς διάνοιαν φιλομαθοῦς ἐπιστήμης, ᾗ πρὸ τῶν ἐμφανῶν ἔθος τὰ ἀφανῆ ζητεῖν.
2Πρὸς δὲ τοὺς ἀποροῦντας, τί δή ποτε οὐκ ἐν πόλεσιν ἀλλ᾿ ἐν ἐρήμῳ βαθείᾳ τοὺς νόμους ἐτίθει, λεκτέον πρῶτον μέν, ὅτι αἱ πολλαὶ τῶν πόλεων ἀμυθήτων κακῶν εἰσι | μεσταί, καὶ τῶν πρὸς τὸ θεῖον ἀνοσιουργημάτων καὶ τῶν πρὸς ἀλλήλους 3ἀδικημάτων. οὐδὲν γάρ ἐστιν ὃ μὴ κεκιβδήλευται, τὰ γνήσια τῶν νόθων παρευημερούντων καὶ τἀληθῆ τῶν εἰκότων, ἃ φύσει μὲν κατέψευσται, πιθανὰς 4δ᾿ ὑποβάλλει φαντασίας πρὸς ἀπάτην. ἐν πόλεσιν οὖν καὶ ὁ πάντων ἐπιβουλότατος φύεται τῦφος, ὅν τινες τεθήπασι καὶ προσκυνοῦσι τὰς κενὰς δόξας σεμνοποιοῦντες διὰ χρυσῶν στεφάνων καὶ ἁλουργίδων
I. Having related in the preceding treatises the1 lives of those whom Moses judged to be men of wisdom, who are set before us in the Sacred Books as founders of our nation and in themselves unwritten laws,a I shall now proceed in due course to give full descriptions of the written laws. And if some allegorical interpretation should appear to underlie them, I shall not fail to state it.b For knowledge loves to learn and advance to full understandingc and its way is to seek the hidden meaning rather than the obvious.
To the question why he promulgated his laws in2 the depths of the desert instead of in cities we may answer in the first place that most cities are full of countless evils, both acts of impiety towards God and wrongdoing between man and man. For everything3 is debased, the genuine overpowered by the spurious, the true by the specious, which is intrinsically false but creates impressions whose plausibility serves but to delude. So too in cities there arises4 that most insidious of foes, Prided admired and worshipped by some who add dignity to vain idease by means of gold crowns and purple robes and a