Wednesday, March 17, 2021


Insane Folly

Procopius, Wars 5.3.6-9 (tr. H.B. Dewing):
As for the points in dispute, although I know them well, I shall by no means make mention of them; for I consider it a sort of insane folly to investigate the nature of God, enquiring of what sort it is. For man cannot, I think, apprehend even human affairs with accuracy, much less those things which pertain to the nature of God. As for me, therefore, I shall maintain a discreet silence concerning these matters, with the sole object that old and venerable beliefs may not be discredited. For I, for my part, will say nothing whatever about God save that He is altogether good and has all things in His power. But let each one say whatever he thinks he knows about these matters, both priest and layman.

τὰ δὲ ἀντιλεγόμενα ἐγὼ ἐξεπιστάμενος ὡς ἥκιστα ἐπιμνήσομαι· ἀπονοίας γὰρ μανιώδους τινὸς ἡγοῦμαι εἶναι διερευνᾶσθαι τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ φύσιν, ὁποία ποτέ ἐστιν. ἀνθρώπῳ γὰρ οὐδὲ τὰ ἀνθρώπεια ἐς τὸ ἀκριβὲς οἶμαι καταληπτά, μή τί γε δὴ τὰ εἰς θεοῦ φύσιν ἥκοντα. ἐμοὶ μὲν οὖν ταῦτα ἀκινδύνως σεσιωπήσθω μόνῳ τῷ μὴ ἀπιστεῖσθαι τὰ τετιμημένα. ἐγὼ γὰρ οὐκ ἂν οὐδὲν ἄλλο περὶ θεοῦ ὁτιοῦν εἴποιμι ἢ ὅτι ἀγαθός τε παντάπασιν εἴη καὶ ξύμπαντα ἐν τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τῇ αὑτοῦ ἔχει. λεγέτω δὲ ὥς πη ἕκαστος γινώσκειν ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν οἴεται, καὶ ἱερεὺς καὶ ἰδιώτης.

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