Philo, On Flight and Finding

LCL 275: 82-83

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135αἰσθάνεσθαι ποῦ; ταῦτα πυνθανομένῳ δεόντως ἀποκρίνεται· “ὁ θεὸς ὄψεται ἑαυτῷ”· θεοῦ γὰρ ἔργον ἴδιον τὸ τρίτον. ἐπιφροσύνῃ γὰρ αὐτοῦ ὁ μὲν νοῦς καταλαμβάνει, ἡ δ᾿ ὅρασις ὁρᾷ καὶ πᾶσα αἴσθησις αἰσθάνεται.“κριὸς δ᾿ εὑρίσκεται κατεχόμενος,” τουτέστι λόγος ἡσυχάζων 136καὶ ἐπέχων. ἄριστον γὰρ ἱερεῖον ἡσυχία καὶ | [566]ἐποχὴ περὶ ὧν πάντως οὔκ εἰσι πίστεις. ῥητὸν γὰρ μόνον τοῦτο “ὁ θεὸς ὄψεται,” ᾧ γνώριμα τὰ πάντα, ὃς λαμπροτάτῳ φωτί, ἑαυτῷ, τὰ ὅλα αὐγάζει· τὰ δ᾿ ἄλλα οὐ ῥητὰ γενέσει, ἧς πολὺ κατακέχυται τὸ σκότος· ἠρεμία δ᾿ ἀσφαλὲς ἐν σκότῳ.


XXV. Ζητήσαντες καὶ τί τὸ τρέφον ἐστὶ τὴν ψυχήν—“οὐ γὰρ” ᾗ φησι Μωυσῆς “ᾔδεισαν τί ἦν”—εὗρον μαθόντες ῥῆμα θεοῦ καὶ λόγον θεῖον, ἀφ᾿ οὗ πᾶσαι παιδεῖαι καὶ σοφίαι ῥέουσιν ἀένναοι. ἥδ᾿ ἐστὶν ἡ οὐράνιος τροφή, μηνύεται δ᾿ ἐν ταῖς ἱεραῖς ἀναγραφαῖς ἐκ προσώπου τοῦ αἰτίου λέγοντος· “ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ὕω ὑμῖν ἄρτους ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ”· 138τῷ γὰρ ὄντι τὴν αἰθέριον σοφίαν ὁ θεὸς ταῖς εὐφυέσι καὶ φιλοθεάμοσιν ἄνωθεν ἐπιψεκάζει διανοίαις· αἱ δὲ ἰδοῦσαι καὶ γευσάμεναι καὶ σφόδρ᾿ ἡσθεῖσαι ἔμαθον μὲν ὃ ἔπαθον, τὸ δὲ διαθὲν ἀγνοοῦσι. διὸ πυνθάνονται· “τί ἐστι τοῦτο,” ὃ μέλιτος γλυκύτερον, χιόνος δὲ λευκότερον εἶναι πέφυκε; διδαχθήσονται


On Flight and Finding

then, is the act of perceiving?” To these inquiries135the other gives the only right answer, “God will see for Himself”; for the third term is God’s special work. For it is by His taking thought for them that the mind apprehends, and sight sees, and every sense perceives.As for the words “A ram is found held fast,” this is reason keeping quiet and in suspense. For the best offering is quietness and suspense136of judgement, in matters that absolutely lack proofs. The only word we may say is this, “God will see.” To Him all things are known; He sees all things distinctly, by clearest light, even by Himself. No other word can be spoken by created beings on whom the darkness has been shed in full measure; and in darkness, safety lies in keeping still.

XXV. Another instance. When they sought what137it is that nourished the soul (for, as Moses says, “they knew not what it was”) (Exod. xvi. 15), they became learners and found it to be a saying of God, that is the Divine Word, from which all kinds of instruction and wisdom flow in perpetual stream. This is the heavenly nourishment, and it is indicated as such in the sacred records, when the First Cause in his own person says, “Lo, it is I that am raining upon you bread out of the heaven” (ibid. 4); for in very deed138God drops from above the ethereal wisdom upon minds which are by nature apt and take delight in Contemplation; and they see it and taste it and are filled with pleasure, being fully aware of what they feel, but wholly ignorant of the cause which produced the feeling. So they inquire “What is this” (ibid. 15) which has a nature making it sweeter than honey and whiter than snow? And they will be taught by

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.philo_judaeus-flight_finding.1934