Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Cicero De Natura Deorum
Cicero De Natura Deorum
7 There are however other philosophers, and those of eminence and note, who believe that the whole world is ruled and governed by divine
intelligence and reason; and not this only, but also that the gods' providence watches over the life of men
Sunt autem alii philosophi, et ii quidem magni atque nobiles, qui deorum mente atque ratione omnem mundum administrari et regi censeant, neque vero id solum, sed etiam ab isdem hominum vitae consuli et provideri
49 For the divine form we have hints of nature supplemented by the teachings of reason.
Ac de forma quidem partim natura nos admonet, partim ratio docet.
[You Stoics...] are wont to portray the skill of the divine creator by enlarging on the beauty as well as the utility of design displayed in all parts of the human figure. But if the human figure surpasses the form of all other living beings, and god is a living being, god must possess the shape which is most beautiful of all
cum artificium effingitis fabricamque divinam, quam sint omnia hominis figura non modo ad usum verum etiam ad venustatem apta describere.
75 [Why we should think the gods resemble man]
These notions moreover have been fostered by poets, painters and artificers, who found it difficult to represent
living and active deities in the likeness of any other shape than that of man. Perhaps also man's belief in his own
superior beauty, to which you referred, may have contributed to the result. But surely you as a natural philosopher are aware of what an insinuating go-between
and pander of her charms nature is!
Auxerunt autem haec eadem poetae, pictores, opifices; erat enim non facile agentis aliquid et molientis deos in aliarum formarum imitatione servare. Accessit etiam ista opinio fortasse quod homini homine pulchrius nihil videbatur. Sed tu hoc, physice, non vides, quam blanda conciliatrix et quasi sui sit lena natura?
79 Furthermore, Velleuis, what if your assumption, that when we think of god the only form that presents itself to us is that of a man, be entirely untrue? will you nevertheless continue to maintain your absurdities?
Quid si etiam, Vellei, falsum illud omnino est, nullam aliam nobis de deo cogitantibus speciem nisi hominis occurrere? tamenne ista tam absurda defendes?
...They were not so known to the Egyptians or Syrians
At non Aegyptii nec Syri nec fere cuncta barabaria
103 such mental pictures are called by all other philosophers mere empty imaginations, but you say they are the arrival and entrance into our minds of certain images.
omnem enim talem conformationem animi ceteri philosophi motum inanem vocant, vos autem adventum in animos et introitum imaginum dicitis.
105 only the presentation of a certain form -- surely not also a reason for supposing...
Suppose that there are such images constantly impinging on our minds: but that is only the presentation of a certain form, surely not also of a reason for supposing that this form is happy and eternal?
Fac imagines esse quibus pulsentur inimi: species dumtaxat obicitur quaedam--num etiam cur ea beata sit cur aeterna?
Aristotle tells us that the poet Orpheus never existed, had the Pythagoreans say that the Orphic poem which we possess was the work of a certain Cercops, yet Orpheus, that is, according to you, often comes into my mind what of the fact that different images of the same person may enter my mind and yours? or that images come to us of things that never existed at all and never can have existed--for instance, Scylla, and the Chimaera?
Orpheum poetam docet Aristoteles numquam fuisse, et hoc Orphicum carmen Pyhtagorei ferunt cuiusdam fuisse Cercopis; aut Orpheus, id est imago eius ut vos vultis, in animum meum saepe incurrit. Quid quod eiusdem hominis in meum aliae, aliae in tuum? quid quod earum rerum quae numquam omnino fuerunt neque esse potuerunt, ut Scyllae, ut Chimaerae?
111 [Epicurus wrote books about holiness... fatal to religion]
Why, what reason have you for maintaining that men owe worship to the gods, if the gods not only pay no respect to men, but care for nothing and do nothing at all?
Quid est enim, cur deos ab hominibus colendos dicas, cum dei non modo homines non colant sed omnino nihil curent nihil agant?
123 a philosopher should not possess a shifting and unsettled conception of the immortal gods, like the Academics, but a firm and definite one like our school.
Est enim philosophi de dis immortalibus habere non errantem et vagam ut Academici sed ut nostri stabilem certamque sententiam.
125 stoic theology
For when we gaze upward to the sky and contemplate the heavenly bodies, what can be so obvious and so manifest as that there must exist some power possessing transcendent intelligence by whom these things are ruled?
Quid enim potest esse tam apertum tamque perspicuum, cum caelum suspeximus caelestiaque contemplati sumus, quam esse aliquod numen praestantissimae mentis quo haec regantur?