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Plato's TIMAEUS : Genesis

Timaeus 27c-34a  * Greek Fonts

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

IM. All men, Socrates, who have any degree of right feeling, at the beginning of every enterprise, whether small or great, always call upon God. And we, too, who are going to discourse of the nature of the universe, how created or how existing without creation, if we be not altogether out of our wits, must invoke the aid of Gods and Goddesses and pray that our words may be acceptable to them and consistent with themselves. Let this, then, be our invocation of the Gods, to which I add an exhortation of myself to speak in such manner as will be most intelligible to you, and will most accord with my own intent.

First then, in my judgment, we must make a distinction and ask, What is that which always is and has no becoming; and what is that which is always becoming and never is? That which is apprehended by intelligence and reason is always in the same state; but that which is conceived by opinion with the help of sensation and without reason, is always in a process of becoming and perishing and never really is. Now everything that becomes or is created must of necessity be created by some cause, for without a cause nothing can be created. The work of the creator, whenever he looks to the unchangeable and fashions the form and nature of his work after an unchangeable pattern, must necessarily be made fair and perfect; but when he looks to the created only, and uses a created pattern, it is not fair or perfect. Was the heaven then or the world, whether called by this or by any other more appropriate name-assuming the name, I am asking a question which has to be asked at the beginning of an enquiry about anything-was the world, I say, always in existence and without beginning? or created, and had it a beginning? Created, I reply, being visible and tangible and having a body, and therefore sensible; and all sensible things are apprehended by opinion and sense and are in a process of creation and created. Now that which is created must, as we affirm, of necessity be created by a cause. But the father and maker of all this universe is past finding out; and even if we found him, to tell of him to all men would be impossible.

Γένεσις

[[27c] ΤΙ. Ἀλλ΄͵ ὦ Σώκρατες͵ τοῦτό γε δὴ πάντες ὅσοι καὶ κατὰ βραχὺ σωφροσύνης μετέχουσιν͵ ἐπὶ παντὸς ὁρμῇ καὶ σμικροῦ καὶ μεγάλου πράγματος θεὸν ἀεί που καλοῦσιν· ἡμᾶς δὲ τοὺς περὶ τοῦ παντὸς λόγους ποιεῖσθαί πῃ μέλλοντας͵ ᾗ γέγονεν ἢ καὶ ἀγενές ἐστιν͵ εἰ μὴ παντάπασι παραλλάττομεν͵ ἀνάγκη θεούς τε καὶ θεὰς ἐπικαλουμένους εὔχεσθαι πάντα κατὰ νοῦν ἐκείνοις μὲν μάλιστα͵ ἑπομένως δὲ ἡμῖν εἰπεῖν. [27d] καὶ τὰ μὲν περὶ θεῶν ταύτῃ παρακεκλήσθω· τὸ δ΄ ἡμέτερον παρακλητέον͵ ᾗ ῥᾷστ΄ ἂν ὑμεῖς μὲν μάθοιτε͵ ἐγὼ δὲ ᾗ διανοοῦμαι μάλιστ΄ ἂν περὶ τῶν προκειμένων ἐνδειξαίμην.

Ἔστιν οὖν δὴ κατ΄ ἐμὴν δόξαν πρῶτον διαιρετέον τάδε· τί τὸ ὂν ἀεί͵ γένεσιν δὲ οὐκ ἔχον͵ καὶ τί τὸ γιγνόμενον μὲν ἀεί͵ ὂν δὲ οὐδέποτε; [28a] τὸ μὲν δὴ νοήσει μετὰ λόγου περιληπτόν͵ ἀεὶ κατὰ ταὐτὰ ὄν͵ τὸ δ΄ αὖ δόξῃ μετ΄ αἰσθήσεως ἀλόγου δοξαστόν͵ γιγνόμενον καὶ ἀπολλύμενον͵ ὄντως δὲ οὐδέποτε ὄν. πᾶν δὲ αὖ τὸ γιγνόμενον ὑπ΄ αἰτίου τινὸς ἐξ ἀνάγκης γίγνεσθαι· παντὶ γὰρ ἀδύνατον χωρὶς αἰτίου γένεσιν σχεῖν. ὅτου μὲν οὖν ἂν ὁ δημιουργὸς πρὸς τὸ κατὰ ταὐτὰ ἔχον βλέπων ἀεί͵ τοιούτῳ τινὶ προσχρώμενος παραδείγματι͵ τὴν ἰδέαν καὶ δύναμιν αὐτοῦ ἀπεργάζηται͵ καλὸν ἐξ ἀνάγκης οὕτως ἀποτελεῖσθαι πᾶν· [28b] οὗ δ΄ ἂν εἰς γεγονός͵ γεννητῷ παραδείγματι προσχρώμενος͵ οὐ καλόν. ὁ δὴ πᾶς οὐρανὸς ἢ κόσμος ἢ καὶ ἄλλο ὅτι ποτὲ ὀνομαζόμενος μάλιστ΄ ἂν δέχοιτο͵ τοῦθ΄ ἡμῖν ὠνομάσθω - σκεπτέον δ΄ οὖν περὶ αὐτοῦ πρῶτον͵ ὅπερ ὑπόκειται περὶ παντὸς ἐν ἀρχῇ δεῖν σκοπεῖν͵ πότερον ἦν ἀεί͵ γενέσεως ἀρχὴν ἔχων οὐδεμίαν͵ ἢ γέγονεν͵ ἀπ΄ ἀρχῆς τινος ἀρξάμενος. γέγονεν· ὁρατὸς γὰρ ἁπτός τέ ἐστιν καὶ σῶμα ἔχων͵ πάντα δὲ τὰ τοιαῦτα αἰσθητά͵ [28c] τὰ δ΄ αἰσθητά͵ δόξῃ περιληπτὰ μετ΄ αἰσθήσεως͵ γιγνόμενα καὶ γεννητὰ ἐφάνη. τῷ δ΄ αὖ γενομένῳ φαμὲν ὑπ΄ αἰτίου τινὸς ἀνάγκην εἶναι γενέσθαι. τὸν μὲν οὖν ποιητὴν καὶ πατέρα τοῦδε τοῦ παντὸς εὑρεῖν τε ἔργον καὶ εὑρόντα εἰς πάντας ἀδύνατον λέγειν·

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