Monday, November 01, 2021


The Prevalence of Evil

Sophocles, Philoctetes 446-452 (tr. Richard C. Jebb):
It was his due. No evil thing has been known to perish; no, the gods take tender care of such, and have a strange joy in turning back from Hades all things villainous and knavish, while they are ever sending the just and the good out of life. How am I to deem of these things, or wherein shall I praise them, when, praising the ways of the gods, I find that the gods are evil?

ἔμελλ᾽· ἐπεὶ οὐδέν πω κακόν γ᾽ ἀπώλετο,
ἀλλ᾽ εὖ περιστέλλουσιν αὐτὰ δαίμονες,
καί πως τὰ μὲν πανοῦργα καὶ παλιντριβῆ
χαίρουσ᾽ ἀναστρέφοντες ἐξ Ἅιδου, τὰ δὲ
δίκαια καὶ τὰ χρήστ᾽ ἀποστέλλουσ᾽ ἀεί.        450
ποῦ χρὴ τίθεσθαι ταῦτα, ποῦ δ᾽ αἰνεῖν, ὅταν
τὰ θεῖ᾽ ἐπαινῶν τοὺς θεοὺς εὕρω κακούς;

446 κακόν codd.: κακῶν Wakefield
452 ἐπαινῶν codd.: ἐπαρθῶν Postgate: ἐρευνῶν Schneidewin | κακούς codd.: κακά Musgrave
For a defence of ἐπαινῶν in line 452 see Nicholas Lane, "Textual Notes on Sophocles, Philoctetes 1-675," Classical Quarterly 54.2 (December, 2004) 441-450 (at 446-447).

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