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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

A History of Greek Philosophy / THE SCHOOL OF MILETUS / ANAXIMANDER


The Original Greek New Testament
Page 2

To Anaximander this principle was, as he expressed it, the infinite; not water nor any other of the so-called elements, but a different thing from any of them, something hardly namable, out of whose formlessness the heavens and all the worlds in them came to be. And by necessity into that same infinite or indefinite existence, out of which they originally emerged, did every created thing return. Thus, as he poetically expressed it, “Time brought its revenges, and for the wrong-doing of existence all things paid the penalty of death.”
The momentary resting-place of Thales on the confines of the familiar world of things, in his formulation of Water as the principle of existence, is thus immediately removed. We get, as it were, to the earliest conception of things as we find it in Genesis; before the heavens were, or earth, or the waters under the earth, or light, or sun, or moon, or grass, or the beast of the field, when the “earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”
Only, be it observed, that while in the primitive Biblical idea this formless void precedes in time an ordered universe, in Anaximander’s conception this formless infinitude is always here, is in fact the only reality which ever is here, something without beginning or ending, underlying all, enwrapping all, governing all.
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Cf. Anaximander Resources / Guthrie, The Early Presocratics and the Pythagoreans - A Synopsis of Greek Philosophy

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

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