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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Aristotle Bilingual Anthology : DIVINE THOUGHT

from Aristotle's Metaphysics, * 1074b15-1075a10, translated by W. D. Ross, Greek Fonts

HE nature of the divine thought involves certain problems; for while thought is held to be the most divine of things observed by us, the question how it must be situated in order to have that character involves difficulties. For if it thinks of nothing, what is there here of dignity? It is just like one who sleeps. And if it thinks, but this depends on something else, then (since that which is its substance is not the act of thinking, but a potency) it cannot be the best substance; for it is through thinking that its value belongs to it. Further, whether its substance is the faculty of thought or the act of thinking, what does it think of? Either of itself or of something else; and if of something else, either of the same thing always or of something different. Does it matter, then, or not, whether it thinks of the good or of any chance thing? Are there not some things about which it is incredible that it should think?

νοήσεως νόησις

Τὰ δὲ περὶ τὸν νοῦν ἔχει τινὰς ἀπορίας· δοκεῖ μὲν γὰρ εἶναι τῶν φαινομένων θειότατον͵ πῶς δ΄ ἔχων τοιοῦτος ἂν εἴη͵ ἔχει τινὰς δυσκολίας. εἴτε γὰρ μηδὲν νοεῖ τί ἂν εἴη τὸ σεμνόν͵ ἀλλ΄ ἔχει ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ ὁ καθεύδων· εἴτε νοεῖ͵ τούτου δ΄ ἄλλο κύριον͵ οὐ γάρ ἐστι τοῦτο ὅ ἐστιν αὐτοῦ ἡ οὐσία νόησις͵ ἀλλὰ δύναμις͵ οὐκ ἂν ἡ ἀρίστη οὐσία εἴη· διὰ γὰρ τοῦ νοεῖν τὸ τίμιον αὐτῷ ὑπάρχει. ἔτι δὲ εἴτε νοῦς ἡ οὐσία αὐτοῦ εἴτε νόησίς ἐστι͵ τί νοεῖ; ἢ γὰρ αὐτὸς αὑτὸν ἢ ἕτερόν τι· καὶ εἰ ἕτερόν τι͵ ἢ τὸ αὐτὸ ἀεὶ ἢ ἄλλο. πότερον οὖν διαφέρει τι ἢ οὐδὲν τὸ νοεῖν τὸ καλὸν ἢ τὸ τυχόν; ἢ καὶ ἄτοπον τὸ διανοεῖσθαι περὶ ἐνίων;

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