Christian Platonism

Rediscovering Ancient Wisdom

Philo – Higher Pleasures

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Philo – Higher Pleasures

On the Giants 10.40

X. (40) And the sentence which follows, “I am the Lord,” is uttered with great beauty and with most excessive propriety, “for,” says the Lord, “oppose, my good man, the good of the flesh to that of the soul, and of the whole man;” therefore the pleasure of the flesh is irrational, but the pleasure of the soul and of the whole man is the mind of the universe, namely God; (41) and the comparison is an admirable one, and one difficult to be instituted, so as for any one to be deceived by the close similitude, unless any one will say that living things are in reality the same as lifeless things, rational things the same as irrational things; well adapted the same as those ill adapted; odd numbers identical with even ones; light with darkness, and day with night; and in short every thing that is contrary the same as its contrary. (42) And yet even although these things have some kind of union and connection together by reason of their being created, still God is not in any respect like the very best of created beings, inasmuch as these have been born, and are liable to suffering; but he is uncreated, and always acting not suffering. (43) Now it is well not to desert the ranks of God, in which it follows inevitably that all who are arrayed must be most excellent, and it would be shameful to quit those ranks, to fly to unmanly and effeminate pleasure, which injures its friends and benefits its enemies, for its nature is a very singular one; for all those to whom it chooses to give a share of its special advantages, it at once chastises and injures; and those whom it thinks fit to deprive of its good things, it benefits in the greatest possible degree, for it injures them when it gives, but it benefits them when it takes away. (44) If therefore, O my soul, any one of the temptations of pleasure invites you, turn yourself away, and directing your views towards another point, look at the genuine beauty of virtue, and having surveyed it, remain, until a desire for it has sunk into you, and draws you to it, like a magnet, and immediately leads you and attaches you to that which has become the object of your desire.

via Philo: On the Giants at Early Jewish Writings.

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Written by John Uebersax

April 26, 2009 at 2:26 pm

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