Philo, On Sobriety

LCL 247: 442-443

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Philo

ΠΕΡΙ ΩΝ ΝΗΨΑΣ Ο ΝΩΕ ΕΥΧΕΤΑΙ ΚΑΙ ΚΑΤΑΡΑΤΑΙ

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I. Τὰ περὶ μέθης καὶ τῆς ἑπομένης αὐτῇ γυμνότητος εἰρημένα τῷ νομοθέτῃ διεξεληλυθότες πρότερον ἀρξώμεθα τοῖς λεχθεῖσι τὸν ἑξῆς προσαρμόττειν λόγον· περίεστι τοίνυν ἐν τοῖς χρησμοῖς ἀκόλουθα τάδε· “ἐξένηψε δὲ Νῶε ἀπὸ τοῦ οἴνου καὶ ἔγνω ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ὁ νεώτερος.” 2τὸ νήφειν οὐ μόνον ψυχαῖς ἀλλὰ καὶ σώμασιν ὠφελιμώτατον ἀνωμολόγηται· τάς τε γὰρ ἐξ ἀμέτρου πλησμονῆς γινομένας νόσους ἀπωθεῖται καὶ τὰς αἰσθήσεις πρὸς ἄκρας ὀξύτητας ἀκονᾷ καὶ ὅλα μέντοι τὰ σώματα οὐκ ἐᾷ βαρυνόμενα πίπτειν, ἀλλ᾿ ἐξαίρει καὶ ἐπικουφίζει καὶ πρὸς τὰς οἰκείους ἐνεργείας ἀνακαλεῖ πᾶσι τοῖς μέρεσιν ἑτοιμότητα ἐντίκτον· καὶ συνόλως ὅσων δημιουργὸς κακῶν ἡ μέθη, τοσούτων ἔμπαλιν ἀγαθῶν τὸ νηφάλιον. 3 ὁπότ᾿ οὖν καὶ σώμασιν, οἷς ἡ οἴνου πόσις οἰκεῖον, λυσιτελέστατον τὸ νήφειν, οὐ πολὺ μᾶλλον ψυχαῖς, ὧν φθαρτὴ τροφὴ πᾶσα ἀλλότριον; νηφούσης γὰρ διανοίας τί τῶν παρὰ ἀνθρώποις μεγαλειότερον; τίς δόξα; τίς πλοῦτος; τίς δυναστεία;

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On Sobriety

On The Prayers and Curses Uttered by Noah when he became Sober

I. Having in the foregoing pages dealt fully with the1 words of the lawgiver on drunkenness and the nakedness which followed it,a let us proceed to carry on the thread of our discussion by treating of the topic which comes next in order, “And Noah returned to soberness from the wine and knew what his younger son had done to him” (Gen. ix. 24). We are all agreed that soberness is most profitable2 not only to souls but to bodies. For it repels the diseases which arise from excessive self-indulgence; it sharpens the senses to their utmost acuteness and acts indeed upon the whole of our bodies by engendering readiness in every part and thus prevents them from succumbing in weariness, and lifts them up and relieves them and recalls them to their proper activities. In fact, every evil which has drunkenness for its author has its counterpart in some good which is produced by soberness. Since3 then sobriety is a source of the greatest profit to our bodies, to which the use of wine is a natural practice, how much more is it profitable to our souls, which have no relation to any perishable food? What human gift or possession is greater than a sober understanding? What form of glory—or of wealth

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.philo_judaeus-sobriety.1930