Page:Early Greek philosophy by John Burnet, 3rd edition, 1920.djvu/189

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

one. For what kind of origin for it wilt thou look for? In what way and from what source could it have drawn its increase? . . . I shall not let thee say nor think that it came from what is not; for it can neither be thought nor uttered that anything is not. 10And, if it came from nothing, what need could have made it arise later rather than sooner? Therefore must it either be altogether or be not at all. Nor will the force of truth suffer aught to arise besides itself from that which is not. Wherefore, justice doth not loose her fetters and let anything come into being or pass away, but holds it fast. 15Our judgment thereon depends on this: "Is it or is it not?" Surely it is adjudged, as it needs must be, that we are to set aside the one way as unthinkable and nameless (for it is no true way), and that the other path is real and true. How, then, can what is be going to be in the future? Or how could it come into being? 20If it came into being, it is not; nor is it if it is going to be in the future. Thus is becoming extinguished and passing away not to be heard of. R. P. 117.

Nor is it divisible, since it is all alike, and there is no more[1] of it in one place than in another, to hinder it from holding together, nor less of it, but everything is full of what is. 25Wherefore it is wholly continuous; for what is, is in contact with what is.

Moreover, it is immovable in the bonds of mighty chains, without beginning and without end; since coming into being and passing away have been driven afar, and true belief has cast them away. It is the same, and it rests in the self-same place, abiding in itself. 30And thus it remaineth constant in its place; for hard necessity keeps it in the bonds of the limit that holds it fast on every side. Wherefore it is not permitted to what is to be infinite; for it is in need of nothing; while, if it were infinite, it would stand in need of everything.[2] R. P. 118.

  1. For the difficulties which have been felt about μᾶλλον here, see Diels's note. If the word is to be pressed, his interpretation is admissible; but it seems to me that this is simply an instance of "polar expression." It is true that it is only the case of there being less of what is in one place than another that is important for the divisibility of the One; but if there is less in one place, there is more in another than in that place. In any case, the reference to the Pythagorean "air" or "void" which makes reality discontinuous is plain.
  2. Simplicius certainly read μὴ ἐὸν δ' ἂν παντὸς ἐδεῖτο, which is metrically impossible. I have followed Bergk in deleting μή, and have interpreted with Zeller. So too Diels.