Early Church Fathers
15 Plut. po/t. tw=n. z. K.T.l. xelw=nai me\n o'ri/ganon, galai= de\ ph/ganon, o!ta/ o!fewj fa/gwsin, e'pesqi/ousai.
cf. Pliny xx. 68: "Tragoriganum contra viperae ictum efficacissimum."
16 o 9 dra/kwn o 9 tw= mara/qrw to\n o'fqalmo\n a'mblnw/ptonta leptu\nwn kai\ diaxara/ttwn. Plut. po/tepa tw=n z. k.t.l. 731.
17 Ar., Hist. An. ix. 6. peri\ de th=j tw=n e'xinwn ai/sqh\sewj sumbe/bhke pollaxou= teqewrh=sqia o!ti metaballontwn bope/wn kai\ no/twn oi= me=n e'n th= gh= ta\j o'pa\j an 9tw=n metamei/bousi oi\ d0 e'n tai=j oi/kiaij tpefo/menoi metaba/llousi pro\j tou=j toi/xouj.
18 u'etou= poiei=tai shmei=on o 9 Aratoj
0h$ koi/lhj mu/rmhkej o'xh=j e'c w!ea pa/nta
kaitinej ou'k w'a\ fpa/fonsin, a'lla\ i!na tou\j a'pokeime/nouj karpou\j o!tan eu'rw=ta suna/gontaj ai!sqwntai kai\ fobhqw=si fqopa\n kai\ oh=yin a'nafero/ntwn, u 9perba/llei de\ pa=san e 9pinoian sune/sewj h 9 tou= purou= th=j blasth/sewj prokata/lhyij. Plut. pot. tw=n. z. k.t.l. 725.
19 Ps. civ. 24.
20 This is the Stoic doctrine. "Stoicorum quidem facilis conclusio est; qui cum finem bonorum esse senserint, congruere naturae, cumque ea convenienter vivere." cf. Cic., De Fin. iii. 7, 26, and De Nat. D.i. 14, and Hor., Ep., i. x. 12.. "Vivere naturae si convenienter oporet." So the Stoics' main rule of life is o'mologoume/nwj th= fu/sei zh=n. But with Basil this apparent disregard of the doctrine of original sin and the need of grace for redemption must be understood in the light of the catholic doctrine that sin is the corruption of human nature (cf. Art. ix. of Original or Birth Sin), which nature, though corrupt and prone to evil, retains capacities for good. But these capacities do need grace and training. cf. Basil's Homily on Ps. xlv. 166. "What is said about the Saviour had a double sense on account of the nature of the Godhead and the Economy of the incarnation. So, looking to the humanity of God, it is said 'thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity,' instead of saying 'the rest of men by toil and discipline and careful attention mostly attain a disposition towards good and an aversion from vice. But thou hast a kind of natural relationship to good and alienation from iniquity.' And so to us, if we will, it is not hard to acquire a love of righteousness and a hatred of iniquity." i.e. In Christ, redeemed humanity loves good, and all men 'naturally' do need toil and discipline. The heredity of sin is recognised by Basil. (e.g. in Hom. in Famen. 7.) Man fell from grace given, and must return to it. (Serm. Ascet. in init.) It must always be remembered that questions of original sin, the will, and grace never had the same importance in the Greek as they had in the Latin church. cf. Dr. Travers Smith on St. Basil (c. ix. p. 108) and Böhringer (Das Vierte Fahrhundert. Basil, p. 102) who remarks: Wenner auch noch von einer "Wieder herstellung des freien Willens, den wir zu brauchbaren Gefässen für den Herrn und zu jedem guten Werke fähig Werden" (De spir. sanct. 18) spricht, so hat er dies doch nirgends begründet, obschon er bei der Besprechung der Folgen des Falls zuweilen sich äussert, es sei der Mensch der von dem Schöpfer erhaltenen Freiheit beraubt worden. Im Allgemeinen setzt er den frein Willen auch nach dem Fall im Menschen so gut wieder Voraus, wie vor dem Fall, so dass jene Aeusserungen kaum mehr als den Werth einer Redensart haben. Im Ganzen eriunert seine Darstellung wieder an diejenige des Athanasius, dessen Einfluss Man nicht verkennen kann.
21 In Eph. vi. the word is "obey."
22 cf. Eph. vi. 4.
23 Fialon quotes Luc. ii. 367-370:
"Praeterea teneri tremulis cum vocibus haedi
Cornigeras norunt matres, agnique petulci
Balantum pecudes: ita, quod natura reposcit,
Ad sua quisque fere decurrunt ubera lactis."
24 cf. Ovid (Halieut. ad init.):
Accepti mundus legim; dedit arma per omnes,
Admonuuitque sui. Vitulus sic namque minatur,
Qui nondum gerit in tenera jam cornua fronte."
25 cf. Plutarch (pot. twn z.fr. k.t.l. 726). oi\ de\ dialektikol fasi to\n ku/na tw= dia\ pleio/nwn diezeugme/nw xpw/menon e'n toi=spolusxide/sin a'tpapoi=j aullogizesqai pro\j e 9auto\n h!toi th/nde to\qhri/on w!pmhken h$ th/de h$ th/nde : a'lla\ mh\n ou!te th/nde ou!te th/nde, th/de loipo\n a!pa. But the dog is said to smell the first, the second, and the third. If he started off on the third without smelling, he would reason. As it is, there is no "syllogism."
26 Also take from Plutarch (po/teoa tw=n z. 726), who tells stories of a dog found by King Pyrrhus on a journey, and of Hesiod's dog.
27 cf. Herod. iii. 108. Aristotle (Hist. An. 31) refutes this.
28 cf. Pliny (x. 72): "Tertia die intra utrum catulos excludit, deinde singulos singulis diebus parit, viginti fere numero. Itaque ceterae, tardiatis impatientes, perrumpunt latera, occisa parente. cf. Herod. iii. 109.
So Prundentius (Hamartigenia 583):
"Sic vipera, ut aiunt,
Dentibus emoritur fusae per viscera prolis."
See Sir T. Browne's Vulgur Errors, iii. 16 .
29 Pliny (xi. 78) says ruminantibus geminus , but is supposed to be a misreading for quadrigeminus, or ma mistaken interpretation of Aristotle (H.A. ii. 19), whom Basil is no doubt following.
30 See Sir T. Browne, Vulgar Errors, iii. 1.
31 Arist. H.A. viii. 12 and ix. 72. Pliny vii. 10.
32 cf. Hom. v. 4.
33 cf. Ps. xci. 13.
34 cf. St. Matt. vii. 3.
35 cf. Ps. cxxxix. 14.
36 "E Coelo descendit g/w=qi seauto/n" (Juv. xi. 27). Socrates, Chilo, Thales, Cleobulus, Bias, Pythagoras, have all been credited with the saying. "L'église chrétienne s'en empara comme de tout ce qu'elle trouvait de grand et de bon dans l'ancienne grèce. Fialon.
St. Basil has a Homily on the text pro/sexe seautw= (Deut. xv. 9. lxx.)
37 Gen. i. 26.
38 cf. Heb. i. 2, 3.
39 Phil. iii. 2.
40 The Arians.
41 Heb. i. 3.
42 Col. i. 15.
43 John x. 30.
44 John xiv. 9.
45 to\ a'no/moion. Arius had taught that the Persons are a'no/moioi pa/mpan a'llh/lwn.
46 Gen. i. 27.
1 Placed in 357.
2 Another ms. reading is "To Eustathius, Presbyter of Antioch." The benedictine note is "Eustathius was not a Presbyter, but a heathen, as is indicated by Basil's words, 'Are not these things work of fate, - of necessity, as you would say?'"
3 The word tu/xh does not occur in the N.T.
4 wj oudei/s 0Odusseu/j. The Ben. translation is "citius quam quisquam Ulysses." But the reason of the escape of Ulysses was not his speed, but his stopping the ears of his crew with wax and tying himself to the mast. cf. Hom. Od. xii. 158. The "city on the Hellespont," is, according to the Ben. note, Constantinople; but Constantinople is more than 100 m. from the Dardanelles, and Basil could hardly write so loosely.
5 Apparently not the Roman Province of Asia, but what we call Asia Minor, a name which came into use in Basil's century. The "metropolis" is supposed to mean Caesarea.
6 Nu/sioj=0Indiko/j. cf. Soph. Aj. 707. Nyssa was in the Punjab.
1 Placed circa 358, on Basil's retiring to Pontus. Translated in part by Newman, The Church of the Fathers, p. 131, ed. 1840. With the exception of the passages in brackets [ ], the version in the text is that of Newman.
2 Matt. xvi. 24.
3 gunaiko\j fulakh/, rather "guardianship of his wife."
4 oi'ketw=n psostasi/ai, rather "protection of his servants."
5 Rather "for just as it is impossible to write on the wax without previously erasing the marks on it, so is it impossible to communicate divine doctrines to the soul without removing from it its preconceived and habitual notions."
6 The following paragraph is altogether omitted by Newman.
7 Rather "season."
8 Omitted by Newman.
9 Clause omitted by Newman.
10 Omitted by Newman.
11 Here Newman notes that Basil seems sometimes to have fallen short of his own ideal. His translation ends at this point.
12 Basil's admirable little summary of the main principles of conversation may have been suggested by the recollection of many well know writers. On such a subject no wide reader could be original. cf. inter alios, the a!koue polla/ la/lei d0 o'lina of Bias; the glw=tta mh= protrexe/tw tou= /ou= of Pittacus. Aulus Gellius (Noct. Att. I. 15), referring to the
Glw/sshj toi Qhsauro\j e'n a'nQrw/poisin a!pistoj
Feidwlh=j plei/sth de= xa/pij kata\ me/tron i'ou/shj
of Hesiod, says: "Hesiodus poetarum prudentissimus linguam non vulgandam sed recondendam esse dicit, perinde ut thesaurum. Ejusque esse in promendo gratiam pluriman, si modesta et parca et modulata sit."
On the desirability of gentleness in blame, cf. Ambrose, In Lucam.: "Plus proficit amica correctio quam accusatio turbulenta: illa pudorem incutit, haec indignationem movet."
13 This was the mark of the old heathen philosophers. cf. Aristoph., Birds 1282, e'rru/pwn e'swkra/twn.
14 a'skhth\j, firstly an artisan, came to = a'qlhth\j, and by ecclesiastical writers is used for hermit or monk. The e'rhmithj, or desert dweller, lives either in retreat as an anchoret, or solitary, monaxo/j, whence "monk;" or in common with others, in a koino/bion, as a "coenobite." All would be a'skhtai/.
1 Placed at the beginning of the retreat in Pontus.
2 A governor of Cappadocia, friendly to Basil and to Gregory of Nazianzus. (cf. Greg., Ep. cxciv.)
3 i.e. the staff or baton used at Sparta for dispatches. The strip of leather on which the communication was to be mad is said to have been rolled slantwise round it, and the message was then written lengthwise. The correspondent was said to have a staff of a size exactly corresponding, and so by rewinding the strip could read what was written. Vide Aulus Gellius xvii. 9.
4 Plutarch pol. paragg.. xxii. h$ to\ tou= Dhmosqi/nouj o!ti nu=n ou'k e!sti Dhmosqe/nhj a'lla= kai= Qesmoqe/thj h$ xorhgo\j h$ stefanhfo/roj.