Wednesday, October 30, 2019


The Example of Simonides

Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods 1.22.60 (tr. H. Rackham):
Inquire of me as to the being and nature of god, and I shall follow the example of Simonides, who having the same question put to him by the great Hiero, requested a day's grace for consideration; next day, when Hiero repeated the question, he asked for two days, and so went on several times multiplying the number of days by two; and when Hiero in surprise asked why he did so, he replied, 'Because the longer I deliberate the more obscure the matter seems to me.'

roges me quid aut quale sit deus, auctore utar Simonide, de quo cum quaesivisset hoc idem tyrannus Hiero, deliberandi sibi unum diem postulavit; cum idem ex eo postridie quaereret, biduum petivit; cum saepius duplicaret numerum dierum admiransque Hiero requireret cur ita faceret, 'quia quanto diutius considero,' inquit, 'tanto mihi res videtur obscurior.
Scholars compare Theosophia Tubingensis 2.24:
ὅτι Σιµωνίδης ἐρωτηθεὶς ὑπό τινος περὶ τοῦ θείου ἐπὶ πολλὰς ἡµέρας ἀνεβάλλετο καὶ αὖθις ἐρωτηθεὶς τὴν αἰτίαν τῆς ὑπερθέσεως· ὅσον, ἔφη, µᾶλλον σκοπῶ περὶ τοῦ θείου, τοσοῦτον ἀπέχω εἰδέναι.
See Pier Franco Beatrice, Anonymi Monophysitae Theosophia: An Attempt at Reconstruction (Leiden: Brill, 2001), p. 35.

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