who is a great sinner should be compared witha him as the chief head and fount,b as when they say, “like Nimrod.” Thus the name is a clear indication of the thing (signified), for it is to be translated as “Ethiopian,”c and his skilld is that of the hunter. Both of these are to be condemned and reprehended, the Ethiopian because pure evil has no participation in light,e but follows night and darkness, while hunting is as far removed as possible from the rational nature.f But he who is among beasts seeks to equal the bestial habits of animals through evil passions.
- aMeaning doubtful; lit. “should be exchanged (or “completed”), being brought back”; Aucher renders, “referri.”
- bLit. “ruler and leader.”
- cPhilo confuses the etymology of “Nimrod” with that of his father Cush, elsewhere interpreted as “Ethiopian” (though not above in QG ii. 81). In De Gigantibus 66 Philo etymologizes “Nimrod” as if from Heb. mrd “to rebel” and interprets it as αὐτομόλησις “desertion.”
- eἄκρατος κακία οὐδεμίαν ἔχει κοινωνίαν τοῦ φωτός.
- fτῆς λογικῆς φύσεως.
The literal meaningc is clear. That which must be rendered as the deeper meaningd is as follows. The “land of the Chaldaeans” is symbolically mathematical theory,e of which astronomyf is part. And in this (field) the Chaldaeans labour not unsuccessfully or slothfully. Thus He honours the wise man with two gifts. For one thing He takes him awayg from Chaldaean doctrine,h which in addition to being difficult to seize and grasp, is the cause of great evils and impiety in attributing to that which is created the powers of the Creator, and persuades men to honour and worship the works of the world instead of the
- alxx has merely “God,” Heb. has merely “Lord” (YHWH). In the parallel passage, Quis Rer. Div. Heres 96, Philo follows the lxx in reading “God.” Possibly the Arm. translator has here inserted “Lord” on the basis of Arm. O.T. which reads, “Lord God.”
- bSo lxx; Heb. has “Ur Kasdim” (=Ur of the Chaldaeans).
- cτὸ ῥητόν.
- dLit. “to the understanding of its nature”; Aucher more freely renders “ad sensus essentiam.” In the Quaestiones the usual antithesis to τὸ ῥητόν is τὸ πρὸς διάνοιαν.
- eσυμβολικῶς μαθηματικὴ θεωρία ἐστί.
- fἀστρονομία in the sense of astrology.
- gOr “saves him.”
- hLit. “doctrine (or “school”—δόγματος) of opinions”; Aucher renders ad hoc, “de secta astrologorum videlicet de Chaldaeismi hallucinatione.”