Philo, On Providence

LCL 363: 454-455

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De Providentia

(EUS. PRAEP. EV ANG. vii. 21, 336 b—337 a)

[625]Περὶ δὲ τοῦ ποσοῦ τῆς οὐσίας, εἰ δὴ γέγονεν ὄντως, ἐκεῖνο λεκτέον. ἐστοχάσατο πρὸς τὴν τοῦ κόσμου γένεσιν ὁ Θεὸς αὐταρκεστάτης ὕλης ὡς [626]μήτ᾿ ἐνδέοι μήθ᾿ ὑπερβάλλοι. καίγαρ | ἄτοπον ἦν τοῖς μὲν κατὰ μέρος τεχνίταις, ὁπότε τι δημιουργοῖεν, καὶ μάλιστα τῶν πολυτελῶν, τὸ ἐν ὕλαις αὔταρκες σταθμήσασθαι, τὸν δ᾿ ἀριθμοὺς καὶ μέτρα καὶ τὰς ἐν τούτοις ἰσότητας ἀνευρηκότα μὴ φροντίσαι τοῦ ἱκανοῦ. λέξω δὴ μετὰ παρρησίας, ὅτι οὔτ᾿ ἐλάττονος οὔτε πλείονος οὐσίας ἔδει τῷ κόσμῳ πρὸς κατασκευήν, ἐπεὶ οὐκ ἂν ἐγένετο τέλειος, οὐδ᾿ ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς μέρεσιν ὁλόκληρος· εὖ δὲ δεδημιουργημένος ἐκ τελείας οὐσίας ἀπετελέσθη· πανσόφου γὰρ τὴν τέχνην ἴδιον, πρὶν ἄρξασθαί τινος κατασκευῆς, τὴν ἱκανὴν ἰδεῖν ὕλην. ἄνθρωπος μὲν οὖν κἂν εἰ τῶν ἄλλων τὴν ἐπιστήμην διαφέροι, μὴ δυνάμενος κατὰ τὸ παντελὲς ἐκφυγεῖν τὴν συγγενῆ τῶν θνητῶν πλάνην, ἀπατῷτο


On Providence, 1

On Providence

(fragment I)a

As to the quantity of the substance assuming that itb was really created what we have to say is this. God estimated for the creation of the world just sufficient matter that there should be neither deficiency nor excess. For it would be monstrous to suppose that while particular craftsmen when framing something, especially anything costly, estimate what material is just sufficient, He who invented numbers, measures and equality in them had no thought for what was adequate. I will say indeed with all confidence that the world needed neither less nor more substance for its construction, since otherwise it would not have been made perfect nor complete in all its parts, whereas actually it was made excellently out of a perfect substance. For it is a characteristic of a complete master of his art to see before he begins any constructive work that he has sufficient material. Now a man even if superior to everyone in knowledge may perhaps, as he cannot escape the errors congenital to mortals, be deceived as to the quantity of

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.philo_judaeus-providence.1941