, , , , ,

(Philo continues his discussion of how to read and consider the Creation account in Genesis. The previous post in this series will be found )

6. Just as the smallest seal can be conformed to the outward shape of something immense; perhaps those who read the exceeding beauty of the world’s creation in the laws, find their souls overshadowed when encountering such bright flashes of light.

But first we must consider in short the insinuation of that which ought not be passed over in silence.

7. Now there are certain people, amazed by the world rather the world’s Maker, who definitively pronounce the world without beginning and without end; telling impious lies that God remains in continued inactivity; when the contrary is demanded: that such persons be in a continued state of amazement at the powers of Maker and Father—and not pronounce excessive dignity upon the world.


Section 6 is almost undecipherable Greek. Consider for instance, the translation of Colson & Whitaker:

The minutest seal takes in under the graver’s hand the contours of the world’s creation recorded in the Laws, transcendent as they are and dazzling as they do by their bright gleams the souls of readers, be indicated by delineations minute and slight. But first we must draw attention to a matter which ought not to be passed over in silence.

Yonge translates it:

For as the smallest seal receives imitations of things of colossal magnitude when engraved upon it, so perchance in some instances the exceeding beauty of the description of the creation of the world as recorded in the Law, overshadowing with its brilliancy the souls of those who happen to meet with it, will be delivered to a more concise record after these facts have been first premised which it would be improper to pass over in silence.

§ 6 ὡς γὰρ τῶν κολοσσιαίων μεγεθῶν τὰς ἐμφάσεις καὶ ἡ βραχυτάτη σφραγὶς τυπωθεῖσα δέχεται, οὕτως τάχα που καὶ τὰ τῆς ἀναγραφείσης ἐν τοῖς νόμοις κοσμοποιίας ὑπερβάλλοντα κάλλη καὶ ταῖς μαρμαρυγαῖς τὰς τῶν ἐντυγχανόντων ψυχὰς ἐπισκιάζοντα βραχυτέροις παραδηλωθήσεται χαρακτῆρσιν, ἐπειδὰν ἐκεῖνο μηνυθῇ πρότερον, ὅπερ οὐκ ἄξιον ἀποσιωπῆσαι

§ 7 τινὲς γὰρ τὸν κόσμον μᾶλλον ἢ τὸν κοσμοποιὸν θαυμάσαντες τὸν μὲν ἀγένητόν τε καὶ ἀίδιον ἀπεφήναντο, τοῦ δὲ θεοῦ πολλὴν ἀπραξίαν ἀνάγνως κατεψεύσαντο, δέον ἔμπαλιν τοῦ μὲν τὰς δυνάμεις ὡς ποιητοῦ καὶ πατρὸς καταπλαγῆναι, τὸν δὲ μὴ πλέον ἀποσεμνῦναι τοῦ μετρίου