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Plato contra atheos = Plato against the atheists ; or, The tenth book of the dialogue on laws, accompanied with critical notes, and followed by extended dissertations on some of the main points of the Platonic philosophy and theology, especially as compared with the Holy Scriptures online

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Xeiv dTa(j)OV. edv de rig eXevSepog avvddnry, dlKag daedel-

11. ■&7}piu6eic. See remarks on this word, page 69 (5). The man-
ner in which it is used here seems to confirm the view that was
there taken. In this place reference is had to the character de-
scribed, page 78, as dolov Kal kvidpag TzlTjprjg, which corresponds
poorly to ■&7]pt66eic in the sense of ferocious. Guile and jugglery,
which are the leading traits, are not in keeping with such a mean-
ing, although perfectly consistent with such beastly views of the
Divine nature as may be entertained by an Atheist, or a Simon
Magus, or such a one as is described Note LXXII., App.

10. tpvxayuyijcn. This term, in its primary sense, is applied to
Mercury as conductor of the souls of the dead to Hades. In a second-
ary sense, it is employed of those who pretended to raise ghosts by
magic arts : qui imprecando et cantando animas ex inferis in terram
evocahant. A third meaning is to cajole or allure the soul by flatteries
or sophistry. It is thus applied by the buffoon Aristophanes to
Socrates himself, in the Comedy of the Birds, 1551:

Aiiivrj TLg laT' akovrog, oi
ipvxajcjyel 2Q/cpdr^f.
Plato uses the word here in both the two latter senses.

11. kut' uKpag. Compare the Iliad, N., 772. :

N£iv u'keTO naca kut' aKprjg
'IXiog dineiv^.

Sometimes it is written as one word, KaruKpag, as in Soph., Antig.,
200.



CONTRA ATHEOS. 81

Of TW eOekovTi Xayxdveiv vnexsTCj. Traldag de dv fiev kcl-
raXiTTxi^^ T'^ TcoXei iKavovg, ol rCdV dpcpavojv e7ri[ieXovfie-
vot}^ Kal rovTCJV, d)g 6vro)v dp(f)av(ov, sTniieXelodcjv jjbrjdev
X^^pov rdv aXXiDV, and rriq Tjfiepag rjg dv 6 Trarrip avrcov
6(ph;i rrjv dlKTjv. kolvov^* (5' eni rovroig Trdai vofiov Kelodai
;^pea)v, og eXdrro) re elg '&eovg avrCdv rovg nroXXovg epycD
Kal Myui irXrjijbfjbeXelv dv ttoloI^ Kal drj Kal dvorjTOvg ylyvec-
6ai 7JTT0V, did ro firj e^elvat ■&eo'noXelv iiapd v6[iov. kard)
yap v6[j,pg ode rolg ^vinraoL Kelfievog dnkuyg • *Iepd fJLTjde
elg ev Idiaig olKiatg eKTrjoOo). -^veiv d' brav enl vovv ty
Tivi, trpbg rd drjfioaca cto) -^vaoyv • Kal rolg lepevat re Kal
lepeiaig eyxeipt^'erG) rd -^vfiara, olg dyveia rovrcdv kmfjte'
Xrjg • ovvev^dado) de avrog re Kal og dv edeXxi fier^ avrov
avvevxeodat. ravra de yiyv6\ieva rdv roiCdvde xdpi-v earo).
lepd^^ Kal -deovg ov padtov Idpveadat, fxeydXrjg de diavoiag
rivbg dpddg dpdv rd roLOvrov • eOog re yvvai^i re drj dca-
(f>ep6vrG)g ndaaig Kal rolg daOevovoi Travrr] Kal Kcvdwev-
ovac Kal dnopovaiVj onrj rig dv dnop^, Kal rovvavrlov,
brav evnopiag nvbg Xadoyvrac, Kadtepovv re rd napbv del

12. iraUag 6e av fiev KaTalciry. This to others must have been
intended as the most solemn and impressive part of the law, much
more so than the casting of the unburied body beyond the boundaries
of the state. The children of the Atheist were to become orphans
immediately after his sentence to solitary imprisonment, that is,
after his civil death. The domestic relations were to be regarded as
no longer existing in the case of the man who had sundered, as far
as in him lay, his relations to God. In the language of the Jewish
law, he was to be utterly cut off from his people.

13. ol Tuv bpipavcjv kTTLfie'kovfiEvoi. These were to be the fifteen
oldest Nomophulakes, who were to have the general charge of all
matters relating to orphans, wills, wards, and wardship. They are
mentioned book eleventh of the Laws, 924, C. They were to be
divided into five classes of three each, to serve successively, each
class for one year.

14. KOLvov enl TovTotg ndai vofiov. See Note LXXIV., App.

15. 'lepa Kal ■&eovq ov l)g.6Lov Idpveodai. See Note LXXIV., App.,
on pnvate innovations in religion.



82 CONTRA ATHEOS.

Kat -^vaiag Evx^odai Kal ISpvaeig vmaxveladat '&eolg Kai
dalfioat^ Kat Txaiol i^eaii', ev re (f)dafj,aacv eypTjyopoTog^ did
(f)66ovg Kal ev dvelpoig, o)g (5' avroyg bipetg no^^dg dnofivr}.
fiovevovrag, EKdaraiol^ re avrOiv aK?) noLoviievovg (3G)fiovg
Kat lepdy Tcdaag [lev olKcag, irdaag de KU)fiag, ev re Kada-
polg* l6pvofievovg e[nnn?idvat, Kat otttj rtg ervxs rcjv tolov-
rb)v. G)v eveKa XPV '^dvzGiv noielv Kard rov vvv Xeyofxe-
vov vofjiov • npog rovroig 6e eveKa rcov dae6ovvTG)v, Iva
fiTj Kat ravra KXenrovreg irpd^eaLV,^ lepd re Kat poyfiovg ev
Idlaig olKLacg Idpvofievoc, Xddpa rovg -Beovg IXecog olofxevoi
TTOielv -^valatg re Kat eyxO'lg, dg dneipov Trjv ddtKcav av^-
dvovreg, avrolg re eyKXrjfjLara irpbg '&eQv TTOCOJvraL, Kat
Tolg entrpenovGLV, ovglv avrcov (ieXrioai • Kat ndaa ovroyg
Tf noXig duoXavif rCiiv daebCov rponov rivd SiKaCcjg. rov

1. ■&eotg Kol 6ai[io(JL koc Tzaial -^euv. See Note LXVIL, on the doc-
trine of the Dcemons or Genii.

2. eypriyopoTac. When awake, vigilantes, as opposed to ev bvetpoi^.
This presents a case of anakolouthon, and is to be referred to the
datives ywat^t and aadevovoi above. Am (l)66ovg here, as Ast ob-
serves, is to be taken as equivalent to Tre^oStjfxevovc, perterritos.

3. kKaGTaLct. The feminine is used in reference to oipetg, the
last mentioned, although the word belongs equally to <pdafxaaiv and
bvEipoLg.

4. EV re Kadapocg. Sub dio, in the open air.

5. KMnrovreg Tzpd^eacv. In this expression the verbal noun
■jTpd^eacv has the force of the verb, and the participle Klircrovreg is
used like a qualifying adverb, as though it had been Ad^pa irpdr-
Tovreg.

6. Kal Traaa ovrug ij r^okig hrzoXavi}. We have here the ancient
universal doctrine of The State as an organic whole or body, with a
national conscience, in distinction from the very modern notion of a
mere mass or aggregate of individual wills. As an organic whole, it
was morally responsible for every part. Crime unpunished not only
infected the moral health, but brought also justly imputed guilt upon
the entire corporate organization. No reader of the Old Testament
can doubt that this doctrine was taught there in all its apparent
severity. We need only refer in proof to the case of Achan, Josh,
vii., 25, and other striking examples of those who troubled, ox wrought



CONTRA ATHEOS. 83

fitv drj vofiodeTTjV 6 tJeof ov fiifi'tpeTaL. Keiadcj yap 6 vofjiog
ovrogj fiTj KEKTijadaL i9ea)v ev I6laig olKlaig lepd • rov d^
^avevra KEK,rri\j>evov erepa Kal opytd^ovra ttXtjv rd dTjfio-
aittj edv fiev ddiKov iirjdev tCjv iieydXoav Kai dvoalcjv slp-
yaofievog dvrjp i] KOt yvvrj KEKrrirai rig, 6 [lev aiaOoiievog
Kal elaayyeXXero) rolg vo[j,o(f)vXa^Lv, ol de fTpoararrovrcdv
elg rd drjfioata dno(pepecv lepd rd Idea, {itj netdovreg 6e
^TjfiLovvrcjv, ecdg dv dnevexO'^' sdv 6e rig dae6rjaag firj
7rai6i(i)v dAA' dvdpcjv dae6rj(ia dvoaicdv yevrjrai, tpavepog,
elrs ev Idloig ISpvodfievog, etr' ev drjfioatoLg '&vGag lepd •«?£-
olg olariaivovv, oag ov KaOapog cjv ^vc^v, '&avdr(t) ^TjfjLtova-
6(0* ro de, natdlov ^ firj, Kptvavreg vofiocpvXaKsg, elg rb
dtfcaarrjpLov ovrcjg eloayayovreg, rrjv rrjg daebeiag SIktjv
rovroig enireXovvrddV.

folly in Israel. The same sentiment may often be found in the
Greek poets. Compare, especially, Hesiod, Works and Days, 323 ;
JloTiXaKi Koi ^vfiTcaaa TroAtf xaKOv avdpbg dnTjvpa,
OGTig okiTpaiveL koc ardadaXa [irixdvaaraL.
Tolaiv 6' ovpavodev [liy" k'KrikaGt nrjixa Kpoviuv,
2,1/Lidv dfiov Kal Xoi/idv • dTro(j)6ivv6ovaL de "Xaoi.
ovde ywaiKec tlktovglv ' fiivvBovai 6e oIkoi,
Zijvog ^paSfxoavv^atv 'OXvfnrcov ' aXKort (5' wort
71 TcJv ye (TTparbv evpvv dmoTieaev, y ore relxocy
3? viag kv '!t6vt<i) Kpovidijc dnoTiwrai avruv.



EXTENDED NOTES

AND

DISSERTATIONS,



SUGGESTED BT PASSAGES IN THE TEXT, ON SOME OP THE PRINCIPAI.
POINTS OF THE



PLATONIC PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY,

ESPECIALLY AS COMPARED WITH THE HOLY SCRIPTURES ;

TOGETHER WITH

SOME EXPLANATIONS OF DIFFICULT PASSAGES AT GREATER LENGTH THAN
WOULD BE CONVENIENT IN MARGINAL OBSERVATIONS.



EXTENDED NOTES

AND

DISSERTATIONS.



I.

The Platonic View of the Parental and Filial Relations, and,
the Ancient Doctrine generally on this Subject.
Page 2, Line 8. 'Eig de yoveag. A misconception of
the end and scope of the Republic, or, as it should be more
properly styled, The Dialogue on the Nature of Right or
Righteousness (nepl diKatov), has subjected the name of
Plato to great reproach. He has been charged with main-
taining, in the fifth book of that dialogue, sentiments which,
if carried out, would result in the utter overthrow of all the
domestic relations. A defence, had we space for it here,
might be derived from the peculiar parabolical or allegorical
nature of that work, and from the evident absence of any
design that it should serve as the model of any actual ex-
isting polity. Whether, however, this be regarded as a
right view of the Republic or not, and whatever we may
think of the justice of the charge to which he may there be
thought to have exposed himself, there can be no doubt
that in this treatise (nepl v6fio)v), in which he means to ap-
pear in the character of a serious legislator for a really
practicable, if not existing state, he takes special pains to
remove the reproach to which, even in his own day, he
had been subjected on account of the passages referred to.
This long dialogue on legislation was the work of his old
age, and in it he strives to set in the highest light the
sanctity of the domestic, and especially the filial and pa-



88 PLATONIC DOCTRINE OF THE

rental relations. For the strongest proof of this, we might
refer, among many other passages, to what is said in the
ninth book, 881, A., and especially to that most striking
and beautiful passage, lib. xi., 931, A., in which he speaks
of the veneration of children towards their parents as a re-
ligious, rather than a merely moral or political duty, and
not only this, but also as involving acts partaking of the na-
ture of religious worship. We would recommend to the
student the close study of the whole argument, not only for
its exceeding moral beauty, but also as a most triumphant
refutation of the charge that Plato, like some modern re-
formers, would have destroyed the family state. Toveo)v
de dfxeXelv, ovre -dedg ovre av6pu)Tcog vovv e%a)v ^vfi6ovX6g
TTore yevoir^ dv ovdetg ovdevL (ppovrjaac 6e XP'H '^^P^ i?ec5v,
K. T. X. In this, passage he not only sets in the highest
light the sanctity of the relation, and of the duties resulting,
but would deduce from it a method of indirectly reforming
the grossness of some parts of religious worship, by sub-
stituting the holy feeling of filial veneration for the idola-
trous adoration of household images of the Gods. He
would have their place occupied by the venerable living
form of the aged sire or grandsire, as the household dyaX-
fia, or image of the Eternal Father. Harrlp ovv oro) Kai
fi'^TTjp 7] rovTG)v narepeg rj fjirjTepeg kv olnia Kslvrai Keifi'q-
XtoL dneipTjKoreg yrjpa, iirjdelg diavorjdrjTO) ttots dyaXfia
avrCii, roLOVTOv ecpeariov Idpyfia kv olnia e%6)v, fiaXXov
KvpLov eoeadai, kdv dij Kara rponov ye 6pdo)g avrb '&epa-
Tzevxi o KeKrriiiEVog. " If any one hath a father, or mother,
or grandparents worn out with age, and laid up as sacred
relics in his house, let him never suppose, as long as he
possesses this altar of the domestic hearth, that any other
ayaXfia or sacred image is more worthy of his adoration,
provided he knows how to worship it aright." And again,
931, D., 'OvKovv 6tavo7]dG)i.iev o)g ovdev -npbg ^eUdv rifiui^'
repov ayaXfJia dv KTrjaaCfieda narpbg Kai TrpondTopog no-



FILIAL RELATION. 89

peifievG)v yrjpa koI fiTirepcjv ttjv avrrjv Svvafiiv exovcCiv —
ovg boov dydXXy rig rifialg yeyTjOev 6 -deog. "Let us,
then, believe that we can have no religious image more pre-
cious in the sight of Heaven than a father, or grandfather, y
or mother worn out with age, and that in proportion as we
honour or delight in them with a religious joy (so dydX-
A^, lohence dyaX\ia, may he rendered here, as in Pindar,
Olymp., i., 139), in the same proportion does God himself
rejoice." If this is idolatry, it is certainly far more inno-
cent than that which is practised by the professedly
Christian Church of Rome. What a beautiful and affect-
ing picture is here presented ! The aged and infirm parent
not only revered in the secret sanctuary of the heart, but
actually regarded, if not as the very household deity of the
secluded domestic temple, yet, in truth, as the best visible
representation or eIkCjV^ through whom homage was to be
rendered to the Invisible God. Sophocles seems to have
had in mind something of this same beautiful conception in
the Antigone, 703 :

Tt yap TTttTpbg ■&dXXovTogf evKXeiag rsKvoig
"ArAAMA iiel^ov ;

There is not the same high meaning to dyaXfjia here as
in Plato, although in other respects the language is striking-
ly similar. It more strongly resembles Proverbs, xvii., 6 :
am'DN a''J3 niX3n» where the Hebrew word nnxsn has
a striking affinity to the Greek dyaXfia, being like it, too,
used in a religious sense, as in Psalm Ixxviii., 61, where
it is applied to the ark of the covenant.

As a consequence of this religious relation, Plato attaches
great importance to the blessing and curse of a parent, and
in this he is in accordance with one of the most ancient
and universal doctrines that have ever prevailed among
mankind. After reciting the examples of Theseus, (Edipus,
and Amyntor, he thus proceeds : dpalog yap yovevg eKyovoig
H2



y



90 PLATONIC DOCTRINE OF THE

b)g ovdet^ erepog d?<.^OLg dLKaiorara^ 931, C. "For the
curse of a parent (to give a free rendering) comes loaded
with calamity to children in a way that is true of no other
relations." Wherefore, as he says in another passage,
irag 67] vovv e%a)v (potdrai Kai TLfia yoveoyv evxdg, eidojg
TToXXolg Kai TToXXoLKLg entrskelg yevofxevag, 931 , A. " Every
one that hath reason both fears and honours the prayers of
parents, knowing well that often, and to many, have they
been fulfilled." How deeply this sentiment was impressed
upon the minds of the Grecian poets, and how important an
element it forms of their most tragic representations, we
may learn from the dismal effects and long train of calam-
itous consequences which they set forth as following the
imprecations of CEdipus upon his unnatural sons. The
sad story of Hippolytus, who, although innocent, is repre-
sented by Euripides as perishing under a father's impreca-
tion, exhibits the same doctrine, although in a most pervert-
ed and distorted form. The dying cry which the poet puts
into the mouth of the wretched young man,
G) irarpbg efiov dvarrjvog dpd,
shows how awful was the calamity which the ancient world
universally regarded as involved in a parent's curse. The
I converse doctrine, namely, the importance of the parental
i blessing, is certainly one of the most clearly taught truths
of the Old Testament. How consonant it is, both with the
language and spirit of Scripture, no one need be told who
recollects the value attached to the blessing of the Patriach
Isaac, and the declarations of the dying Jacob to the twelve
heads of Israel, besides many other passages which are
founded upon the same idea.

It was a prominent principle in all the ancient systems
of law and religion that the relation of parent and child
gave rise to religious, rather than merely civil obligations.
Hence Aristotle says, eaTt, (J' rj fiev npbg yovelg (f)tXca tsk-
voig <jjg dvdpcjnoLg npog -^eovg • rov yap elvai Kai rpa>^^vai



FILIAL RELATION. 91'

air (.01^ Kai yevofievoig tov natdevdrivai. Ethic. Nicomach.,
viii., 12, 5. They belonged to the class of duties styled
5aia, in distinction from those that were only SiKaiay and
their violation was regarded among offences committed
directly against Heaven. Something of this feeling has
come down and affected even modern languages. Hence
we speak of filial piety or impiety. On this account the
Bible makes this relation the subject of the first command-
ment immediately following the direct duties we owe to God,
and hence, too, the Jewish law punished the crime with
such unrelenting severity, as though, if permitted to pass
with impunity, it would be the fruitful source of every viola-
tion, both of the laws of Heaven and Earth. The filial and
parental tie seems to have been regarded as a continuation
of that which bound us to God, and hence, in strictest har-
mony with this view, Plato regards the man who had sun-
dered the latter as having utterly annihilated the duties and
obligations of the former. On this account, as we have
seen in a passage on which we have already commented,
page 81, the children of the Atheist were to be regarded as
orphans, and placed under the care of the state.

The importance of this relation in a political point of
view, may be inferred from the fifth commandment itself.
The promise annexed has generally been referred to indi-
viduals. It appears to us, however, to have more of a po-
litical aspect, and to be addressed to the nation collective-
ly. The language certainly seems to favour this idea :
" that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy
God giveth thee ;" intimating that the long continuance of
their national polity in the land of Canaan would depend,
more than on anything else, on the preservation of this fund-
amental conservative article ; on the reverence with which
this duty should be regarded, as forming the connecting
link between the civil, and the more purely religious, and
as being the source and guarantee of every inferior domestic



92 PLATONIC DOCTRINE OP THE

and political obligation. For undoubted examples of the
s-ame and similar language, used in the national instead of
the individual sense, see Deuteronomy, iv., 26, 40 ; v., 30 ;
vi., 2.

In accordance with this universal sentiment of antiquity,
Plato, in the passage at the beginning of these remarks,
and in other places in the Laws, enumerates duties to
parents as immediately succeeding those which are owed
to God, and ranks their violation as next in enormity to
public and private sacrilege. Compare the fourth book of
the Laws, 717, B., and especially a most remarkable pas-
sage in the ninth book, 881, A. : liarpbg yap rj firjrpog i]
rovTG)v ETC 7Tpoy6vG)v oGTcg ToXnTjoei, dipaadac nore (ita^o.
fievog aiKia nvl, firjre rojv avo) deioag ■decjv firjvtv, [j,r]re
Ttdv vno y^f TLiJ,G)pLG)v Xeyofievcdv, aXka Kara(^poviiiv rCjv
rcaXatcJv Kal vno iravrodv elpTjfjievcdv napavoiiel, rovrco del
TLVog anoTpOTrrjg eaxdrTjg. -ddvarog [lev ovv ovk eariv
eaxO'TOV, ol de kv "Kidov rovTOiac keyofMSVot novoi, &;c.
*' If any one shall dare to treat with violence father or
mother, or any one of his or their progenitors, having before
his eyes neither the fear of the powers above, nor of the
vengeance of the world beneath, but, despising the ancient
and universal traditions of mankind, shall break through all
law, for such a one there is need of some most extreme
remedy. Death, then, is not this greatest or most extreme
remedy, but something still beyond this, even those pains
of Hell which are said to await these enormous offenders."
The whole passage is full of dreadful meaning, which can
with difficulty be transferred to the English. We have no
word which comes up to the Greek dnorponrj. It is ap-
plied to th-e most solemn religious act by which we may
avert the wrath of Heaven for some enormous wickedness,
and hence the terms dnorponaiog, dnorpoTnaafiog, inauspi-
cious, that which is to be averted by sacrifice, an expiation
or turning away of the Divine wrath, and, in a secondary



FILIAL RELATION. 93

sense, whatever is most odious or an utter ahomination. In
all lists of great crimes, as presented to us by the poets^
one of the worst abodes in Tartarus is ever assigned to of-
fenders of this description, and thus Paul classes those who
are guilty of violence towards their parents among the un-
holy and profane : dvoaiocg Kal (ietriXoLg TxarpaXi^aig Kat
fi7]Tpa?.G)aLg. 1 Timothy, i., 9.

The holiness of the family relation is intimated, in the
ancient mythology, by the worship of Vesta ; and the per-
petual cherishing of the domestic affections, as afTording
the vivifying and fructifying warmth by which all social
and political institutions must be preserved, is represented
in the Eternal Fire. Well did Cicero say, in aris et focis
est Respublica. This intimate connexion is set forth by the
Greek and Latin poets in almost every form of expression.
Virgil presents the holy alliance in one line :

Sacra Deum sanctique patres.

Georg., ii., 473.
And this seems but a reiteration of the precept, Leviticus,
xix., 2, and of the order in which the religious and family
duties are there given. Speak unto all the congregation of
Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord
your God am holy. Fear ye every man his father and his
mother. I am the Lord your God.

The obligation of filial obedience, as the fountain of all
moral and political virtues, is thus beautifully set forth in a
fragment of Euripides from Stobaeus :

"Eyw 6' 6 fiev METISTON ap^ojiaL Xeyeiv
EK roijde Trpo)rov • narpl neideadaL %p£a)v
naldag, vofiL^ecv r' avro rovr' elvai Siktjv,

Eurip. Alopa.

So, also, in a still more striking fragment of the same
poet, in which duties to parents are ranked next after those
due the Gods, and before mere political obligations :



94 PLATONIC DOCTRINE OF THE FILIAL RELATION.

rpelg holv dperai ag XPV <^' o,gkeIv g) tekvov,
eEOTD re rtjiav, rovg re -dpexpavrag TONEIS,
NOMOTH re Koivovg 'EXMSog • Kal ravra dpHdv
KaXXiarov e^eig aretpavov evKXeiag del.

Eurip. Aniiope.
We have dwelt the longer on this, because we think
that Plato's views here, and in many other places in the
Laws and other dialogues, furnish a complete refutation of
the charge, which might otherwise be drawn from the fifth
book of the Republic ; and because, at the present day,
even with all the declarations of the Bible, the relation
seems to be becoming divested of that sanctity which it
anciently possessed. In the theories of some, it is placed
even below civil duties. So far from being thought to pos-
sess any religious character, it is denied that it forms a sub-
ject even for political legislation. It is ranked among im-
perfect ohligations, and is never with us, except in some few
cases of pauperism, enforced by law. Why, when so
many inferior subjects are made matters of legislation, this
fundamental and all-conservative relation should have so
little space assigned to it in our jurisprudence, it would be
difficult to say. The effects, however, which will inevita-
bly result, in loosening the whole political structure, can be
far more easily and with more certainty predicted. The
relation and the duties resulting are also attacked by spuri-
ous reformers, who, under the name of a cold and heart-
hardening universal benevolence, or love to being ingeneraU
would utterly break up all the family ties, and destroy all
the associations connected with that holy word. Our Home.
These men sometimes, in their ignorance, make stale second-
hand quotations from Plato, and we would wish to rescue
him from their profane grasp.



PREAMBLE, OR ADVISORY PART OP THE LAW. 95
II.

The Words rrpooLfZLov and irapafivdcov. The Preamble,
the Advisory or Argumentative Part of the Law.
Page 2, Line 16. To napafivOwv vTrodefievio prjriov a
del ndax^tv. " The lawgiver (vofiodeTxi, understood) must
declare what each one must suffer, after having put under,
by way of hypothesis or foundation, an exhortation or pre-
amble." Another reading has TTpooLfiiov, which is followed
by Ficinus. They both, however, would possess nearly
the same significance. Upooifjitov would literally mean " a
preface or preamble ;" Trapafivdiov, " an exhortatory ex-
ordium," containing the ground or reason of the law. This
the philosopher deemed essentially and peculiarly neces-
sary in those institutions that rielated to religion. Such an
exhortation or argument, by way of preamble, nearly the
whole of this tenth book may be considered, as only the
last few pages are devoted to the preceptive declaration,
and the penal statute founded upon it. In a more limited
sense, however, the rrapafjivdiov here intended is contained
in what immediately follows. In like manner, Cicero, in
evident imitation of Plato, introdjJC.^S Jn^Jiis treatise De
Legibus a, similar TrpooifjiLOv, in which he makes religious
belief and reverence the only true foundation of law and
of every form of civil polity. It may be found in that noble
passage, lib. ii., sec. vii. : Sit igitur hoc a principio per-
suasum civibus, dominos esse omnium rerum ac moderatores
Deos, eaque quae gerantur, eorum geri judicio ac numine,



Online LibraryPlatoPlato contra atheos = Plato against the atheists ; or, The tenth book of the dialogue on laws, accompanied with critical notes, and followed by extended dissertations on some of the main points of the Platonic philosophy and theology, especially as compared with the Holy Scriptures → online text (page 10 of 33)