Philo, On Drunkenness

LCL 247: 318-319

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I. Τὰ μὲν τοῖς ἄλλοις φιλοσόφοις εἰρημένα περὶ [I.357] 1μέθης, ὡς οἷόν τε ἦν, ἐν τῇ πρὸ ταύτης ὑπεμνήσαμεν βίβλῳ, νυνὶ δὲ ἐπισκεψώμεθα τίνα τῷ πάντα μεγάλῳ καὶ σοφῷ νομοθέτῃ περὶ αὐτῆς δοκεῖ. πολλαχοῦ 2γὰρ τῆς νομοθεσίας οἴνου καὶ τοῦ γεννῶντος φυτοῦ τὸν οἶνον ἀμπέλου διαμέμνηται· καὶ τοῖς μὲν ἐμπίνειν ἐπιτρέπει, τοῖς δ᾿ οὐκ ἐφίησι, καὶ τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἔστιν ὅτε προστάττει τἀναντία, οἴνῳ χρῆσθαί τε καὶ μή. οὗτοι μὲν οὖν εἰσιν οἱ τὴν μεγάλην εὐχὴν εὐξάμενοι, οἷς δὲ ἀκράτῳ χρῆσθαι ἀπείρηται οἱ λειτουργοῦντες ἱερεῖς, οἱ δὲ προσφερόμενοι τὸν οἶνον μυρίοι τῶν ἐπ᾿ ἀρετῇ μάλιστα καὶ παρ᾿ αὐτῷ τεθαυμασμένων. πρὶν δὲ περὶ τούτων 3ἄρξασθαι λέγειν, τὰ συντείνοντα πρὸς τὰς κατασκευὰς αὐτῶν ἀκριβωτέον. ἔστι δ᾿ ὥς γ᾿ οἶμαι τάδε·

II. σύμβολον τὸν ἄκρατον Μωυσῆς οὐχ 4ἑνὸς ἀλλὰ πλειόνων εἶναι νομίζει, τοῦ ληρεῖν καὶ παραπαίειν, ἀναισθησίας παντελοῦς, ἀπληστίας ἀκορέστου καὶ δυσαρέστου, εὐθυμίας1 καὶ εὐφροσύνης, τῆς τἄλλα περιεχούσης καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς


On Drunkenness

On Drunkenness

I. The views expressed by the other philosophers1 on drunkenness have been stated by me to the best of my ability in the preceding book. Let us now consider what the great lawgiver in his never-failing wisdom holds on this subject. In many places of2 his legislation he mentions wine and the plant whose fruit it is—the vine. Some persons he permits, others he forbids, to drink of it, and sometimes he gives opposite orders,a at one time enjoining and at another prohibiting its use to the same persons. These last are those who have made the great vow (Num. vi. 2), while those who are forbidden the use of strong drink are the ministering priests (Lev. x. 9); while of persons who take wine there are numberless instances among those whom he too holds in the highest admiration for their virtue. But before we begin to discuss these matters, we3 must carefully investigate the points which bear on our exposition. These points, I think, are the following.

II. Moses uses strong liquor as a symbol4 for more than one, in fact for several, things: for foolish talking and raving, for complete insensibility, for insatiable and ever-discontented greediness, for cheerfulness and gladness, for the nakedness which embraces the rest and manifests itself in all the

  • aSee App. p. 500.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.philo_judaeus-drunkenness.1930