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'Good’ in a philosophy of religion; and a question in some respects similar (though by no means necessarily to be answered in the same way) is whether, and in what sense, the various principles by which the earlier Greek thinkers sought to explain the world were conceived by them to be divine. Dr. Adam clearly inclines to the view that we have possibly in Thales and Anaximenes, probably in Anaximander, and certainly in Xenophanes, Heraclitus, and Anaxagoras, a true monotheism. In all these cases Professor Burnet takes a contrary view. The difficulties which beset the whole subject remind us of the danger of assuming that what may seem to modern thought to follow almost inevitably from certain positions need necessarily have so followed for the ancients. If, as Professor Burnet has so well shewn in his Early Greek Philosophers, it is hard for the modern student, coming after the history of modern philosophy, to enter into a state of mind for which the distinction between spirit and matter was hazy and undefined, much greater is the difficulty of comprehending the point reached in ancient religious thought. For the distance between the two points is greater in respect of the religious than of the philosophic consciousness. The philosophical aspect of the religious difficulty will only, however, be considered here. It seems to be in the conception of the abstract, the point of view from which abstractions are regarded, that the most crucial change in the thinking that affects philosophy of religion has taken place. In an attempt to come to a conclusion as to the relation of Plato's ‘Good’ to his idea of God we have to make a greater effort to get rid of some of our own philosophical presuppositions than is necessary perhaps in the case of any other question which modern thinking can address to ancient thought. The difficulty is hardly less when we consider the earlier thinkers and their principles, which are conceived physically and, possibly, metaphysically, though not ethically. For the Greek thinkers at their stage of development the way to an elevation of religious ideas might well seem to lie in the direction of depersonalizing, purifying from all association with the element of individuality or particularity, the Supreme Being.

1 αρχαί.

The first philosophical protest against Anthropomorphism is, therefore, perhaps more moral than intellectual in the spirit of its revolt. 'If oxen or lions had hands and could paint with their hands and produce works of art, as men do, horses would paint the forms of the gods like horses and oxen like oxen. Each would represent them with bodies according to the forms of each.'1

The process of de-individualization might certainly commend itself to the reason of Greek thinkers more readily than to that of the moderns, since they came before that long history of the criticism of the abstract, the universal, the work of thought which culminates in modern philosophy. Its culmination is, for one school of thinkers, the idea of a never-ending pursuit by thought of the unique existence that it cannot overtake, or in the mystical beyond-thought conception of the Absolute. For another school it ends in doubt of the validity of all forms of thought except so far as justified by their practical use for life. For minds, then, pervaded by the view that the Universal is a weakness of thought, a necessary staff which the mind would discard if it could, since the abstraction shews the failure of man to realize all things in their unique individuality, it is hardly possible to pass from the greatest of universals to the notion of the one Perfect Being. This difficulty may not have been there at all, certainly was not felt in its extreme by Plato, nor, so far as we can judge, need it have existed for the earlier philosophers. The Greek thinkers had a courage of the objective which philosophy has lost. They do not begin with the mind and its capacity for apprehending anything, but can begin, like Plato, with the Good, from the nature of which may be deduced the nature of the human soul and of the universe. The deduction of reality from value, as the modern thinker would put it, is a simple matter for Plato. The contrast between the spirit of his philosophy in this respect and that of modern times could hardly be better shewn than by a comparison between the religious

Xenophanes, ap. Burnet (from Ritter and Preller).

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philosophy which may be drawn from the Republic and that of Höffding's Philosophy of Religion. In the lastnamed work the conservation of value' is the core of all religion;' but the method of the modern philosopher has no wings wherewith to bear the idea of value out of the subjective world in which modern thought first finds it into the objective sphere in which the religious consciousness seeks for it.

With regard to the various primary principles of the Milesian thinkers, the Logos of Heraclitus and Nous of Anaxagoras, for Dr. Adam the salient point in the evolution of Greek theological reflexion is the development of the monotheistic conception, in poetry and philosophy alike. It is possible that this leading idea may make him at times read too much into the poetic treatment of Zeus, and the philosophic treatment of the Archai or First Principles. The Homeric Zeus might still remain but one amongst other gods, whilst nevertheless the growing, if obscure, need of the human soul for a more satisfying conception of deity would naturally be expressed by the great poet who finally shaped the Iliad in language that could only be addressed to the chief of the Olympic divinities. This tendency becomes more marked in the tragic authors, whose occasional voicing of a lofty Monism, sometimes pantheistic, had probably little connexion with the actual beliefs of even the most thoughtful Athenians.

In the case of the Milesian philosophers we have so little to go upon that a consensus will probably never be arrived at. Here, it seems, we ought to remember Hegel's warning, ' If Thales did speak of God as constituting everything out of water that would not give us any further information about absolute existence. We should have spoken unphilosophically . . . because we should have used an empty word without inquiring about its speculative significance.''

On the other hand, in connexion with our inevitable ignorance here, few pieces of philosophic criticism are, in the light of the later history of science and philosophy, of more

· History of Philosophy, part i. sect i. (E. T. adapted).

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interest than Aristotle's comment on the statements of the early philosophers in their search for a principle.

Surely it is not likely that fire or carth or any such element should be the reason why things manifest goodness and beauty both in their being and in their coming to be, or that those thinkers should have supposed it was, nor again could it be right to ascribe so great a matter to spontaneity and luck.''

Whatever view we take as to the religious meaning of the early Greek philosophers, it is obvious that the daring Monism which at one bound was launched upon philosophy by Greek thought was an excellent discipline for the Greek religious imagination in its progress towards that Monotheism which the Hebrew could better understand through the conception of moral law. It is to the ‘Logos' of Heraclitus that most interest has been given by theology, on account of the special place the Greek idea is thought to have held in the development of Christian doctrine. Dr. Adam takes the view according to which the conception in Heraclitus is the first stage in the evolution of thought which culminates in the opening of St. John's Gospel. Some recent theological criticism is, however, at variance with this interpretation.

Dr. Purves, in the article on 'Logos ’in Dr. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, assigns to the expression as used in St. John's Gospel the special meaning of 'word ' as manifestation, rather than the Greek use of it as 'reason.' Both Dr. Strong (s.v. John the Apostle) and Dr. Reynolds (s.v. St. John's Gospel), in the same Dictionary, also find a difficulty in connecting the Logos of St. John with the Logos of Greek thought. With the Greeks 'the word Logos took on more and more the associations of universality, and lost more and more those of the individual thing or person. . . . With the Hebrews the Word was the emissary and representative of God.'?

From the point of view of the present article the main · Metaphysics, A. III. (trans. J. A. Smith and W. D. Ross).

· Dictionary of the Bible, note to Article on John the Apostle,' by T. B. Strong

question is whether the Logos of Heraclitus is to be conceived as divine for Greek reflexion. There is a great temptation to regard Heraclitus as having conceived his ruling principle spiritually; for he more than any other of his predecessors seems to have had an individuality of thought which remains of an independent and abiding interest not absorbed into the academic philosophy. Nor need the fact that his Logos is embodied as or transmuted into Fire be a stumbling-block.

The difficulty here in understanding Greek thought in its gradual advance towards a clear conception of the spiritual may arise out of its very simplicity. It is not wise, however, to dogmatize

, on this point, and the obscurity in which the Ephesian shrouded his utterances may have had its profoundest cause neither merely in scorn of men nor only in belief in his own prophetic mission, but also in the failure to satisfy himself upon the greatest question.

When we come to Plato's idea of Good the problem is not, as in the case of the earlier thinkers, that we know too little, but that we know too much; for it is Plato's statements about the idea which make it difficult to conceive of it steadily as the object of the religious consciousness.

The idea of Good is that which everyone really pursues, erringly called by some pleasure, by others knowledge; it is an object of thought which can only be apprehended by the keenest minds after a severe study of all the sciences, or again the most universal idea through sharing in which all things ultimately have such reality as they possess. To modern thought barriers hard to break down may seem to separate such a conception from that of Deity, the God and Father of all. But, as earlier suggested, it would be unhistorical to assume that such barriers certainly existed for Greek speculation.

In favour of the view, to which Jowett, Caird, and other modern thinkers incline, and which is accepted by Dr. Adam,' is that Platonic enthusiasm for the aim and method of reason which seems so closely akin to the loftiest religious enthusiasm of the saint. And finally it might be argued

See especially Lecture XXII. p. 446 sq.

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