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nature of God: nor did they explain to the people even so far as they did comprehend of it; nor did they compose the other parts of their political settlements according to it, but omitted it as a thing of very
leave both to the poets to introduce what gods they pleased, and those subject to all sorts of passions, and to the orators to procure political decrees from the people for the admission of such foreign gods as they thought proper. The painters also and statuaries of Greece had herein great power, as each of them could contrive a shape (proper for a god]; the one to be formed out of clay and the other by making a bare picture of such a one. But those workmen that were principally admired had the use of ivory and of gold as the constant materials for their new statues : [whereby it comes to pass, that some temples are quite deserted; while others are in great eșteem, and adorned with all the rites of all kinds of purification.] Besides this, the first gods, who have long flourished in the honours done them, are now grown old, [while those that flourished after them are come in their room as a second rank, that I may speak the most honourably of them that I can]; nay, certain other gods there are who are newly introduced, and newly worshiped, [as we by way of digression have said already, and yet have left their places of worship desolate]; and for their temples, some of them are already left desolate, and others are built anew, according to the pleasure of men: whereas they ought to have preserved their opinion about God, and that worship which is due to him, always and immutably the same.
37. But now this Apollonius Molo was one of these foolish and proud men. However, nothing that I have said was unknown to those that were real philosophers among the Greeks; nor were they unacquainted with those frigid pretences of allegories (which had been alleged for such things]; on which account they justly despised them, but have still agreed with us as to the true aud becoming notions of God; whence it was that Plato would not have political settlements admit of any one of the other poets, and dismisses even Homer himself, with a garland on his head, and with ointment poured upon him, and this because he should not destroy the right notions of God with his fables. Nay, Plato principally imitated our legislator in this point, that he enjoined his citizens to have the main regard to this precept, that every one of them should learn their laws accurately. He also ordained, that they should not admit of foreigners intermixing with their own people at random; and provided that the commonwealth should keep itself pure, and consist of such only as persevered in their own laws. Apollonius Molo did noway consider this, when he made it one branch of his accusation against us, that we do not admit of such as
have different notions about God, nor will we have fellowship with those that choose to observe a way of living different from ourselves; yet is not this method peculiar to us, but common to all other men; not among the ordinary Grecians only, but among such of those Grecians as are of the greatest reputation among them. Moreover, the Lacedemonians continued in their way of expelling foreigners, and would not, indeed, give leave to their own people to travel abroad, as suspecting that those two things would introduce a dissolution of their own laws: and, perhaps, there may be some reason to blame the rigid severity of the Lacedemonians ; for they bestowed the privilege of their city on no foreigners, nor, indeed, would give leave to them to stay among them : whereas we, though we do not think fit to imitate other institutions, yet do we willingly admit of those that desire to partake of ours, which, I think, I may reckon to be a plain indication of our humanity, and at the same time of our magnanimity also.
38. But I shall say no more of the Lacedemonians. As for the Athenians, who glory in having made their city to be common to all men, what their behaviour was Apollonius did not know, while they punished those that did but speak one word contrary to their laws about the gods without any mercy: for on what other account was it that Socrates was put to death by them? For certainly be neither betrayed their city to its enemies, nor was he guilty of any sacrilege with regard to any of their temples; but it was on this account that he swore certain new oaths*, and that he affirmed either in earnest, or, as some say, only in jest, that a certain demon used to make sigus to him [what he should not do]. For these reasons he was condemned to drink poison, and kill himself. His accuser also complained that he corrupted the young men, by inducing them to despise the political settlement and laws of their city; and thus was Socrates, the citizen of Athens, punished. There was also Anaxagorus, who although he was of Clazomenæ, was within a few suffrages of being condemned to die, because he said the sun, which the Athenians thought to be a god, was a ball of fire. They also made this public proclamation, that they would give a talent to any one who would kill Diagorus of Melos, because it was reported of him that he laughed at their mysteries. Protagorus also, who was thought to have written somewhat that was not owned for truth by the Athenians about the gods, had been seized upon and put to death, if he had not fled immediately away. Nor need we at all wonder that they thus treated such
* See what these novel oaths were in Dr. Hudson's note, viz. To swear by an oak, by a goat, and by a dog, as also by a gander, as says Philostratus and others. This swearing strange oaths was also forbidden by the Tyrians, B.i. sect. 22, as Spanheim here notes.
considerable men, when they did not spare even women also; for they very lately slew a certain priestess because she was accused by somebody that she initiated people into the worship of strange gods, it having been forbidden so to do by one of their laws: and a capital punishment had been decreed to such as introduced a strange god; it being manifest, that they who make use of such a law do not believe those of other nations to be really gods, otherwise they had not envied themselves the advantage of more gods than they already had. And this was the happy administration of the affairs of the Athenians! Now as to the Scythians, they take a pleasure in killing men, and differ little from brute beasts ; yet do they think it reasonable to have their institutions observed. They also slew Anacharsis, a person greatly admired for his wisdom among the Greeks, when he returned to them, because he appeared to come fraught with G.ecian customs: one may also find many to have been punished among the Persians on the very same account. And to be sure Apollonius was greatly pleased with the laws of the Persians, and was an admirer of them, because the Greeks enjoyed the advantage of their courage, and had the very same opinion about the gods which they had! This last was exemplified in the temples which they burnt, and their courage in coming and almost entirely enslaving the Grecians. However Apollonius has imitated all the Persian institutions, and that by his offering violence to other men's wives, and castrating his own sons. Now with us it is a capital crime if any one does thus abuse even a brute beast: and as for us, neither hath the fear of our governors, nor a desire of following what other nations have in so great esteem, been able to withdraw us from our own laws; nor have we exerted our courage in raising up wars to increase our wealth, but only for the observation of our laws: and when we with patience bear other losses, yet when any persons would compel us to break our laws, then it is that we choose to go to war, though it be beyond our ability to pursue it, and bear the greatest calamities to the last with much fortitude. And, indeed, what reason can there be why we should desire to imitate the laws of other nations, while we see they are not observed by their own legislators? And why do not the Lacedemonians think of abolishing that form of their government which suffers them not to associate with any others, as well as their contempt of matrimony? And why do not the Eleans and Thebans abolish that unnatural and impudent lust, which makes them lie with males ? For they will not show a sufficient sign of their repentance of what they of old thought to be very excellent, and very advantageous in their practices, unless they entirely avoid all such actions for the time to come: nay, such things are inserted into the body of their laws, and had once such a power among the
Greeks, that they ascribed these Sodomitical practices to the gods themselves as a part of their good character; and, indeed, it was according to the same manner that the gods married their own sisters. This the Greeks contrived as an apology for their own absurd and unnatural pleasures.
59. I omit to speak concerning punishments, and how many ways of escaping them the greatest part of the legislators have afforded malefactors, by ordaining that for adulteries fines in money should be allowed, and for corrupting [virgins*] they need only marry them t: as also what excuses they may have in denying the facts, if any one attempts to inquire into them; for amongst most other nations it is a studied art how men may transgress their laws. But no such thing is permitted amongst us; for though we be deprived of our wealth, of our cities, or of the other advantages we have, our law continues immortal: nor can any Jew go so far from his own country, nor be so affrighted at the severest lord, as not to be more affrighted at the law than at himn. If, therefore, this be the disposition we are under with regard to the excellency of our laws, let our enemies make us this concession, that our laws are most excellent; and if still they imagine, that though we so firmly adhere to them, yet are they bad laws notwithstanding, what penalties then do they deserve to undergo who do not observe their own laws, which they esteem so far superior to them? Whereas, therefore, length of time is esteemed to be the truest touchstone in all cases, I would make that a testimonial of the excellency of our laws, and of that belief thereby delivered to us concerning God: for as there hath been a very long time for this comparison, if any one will but compare its duration with the duration of the laws made by other legislators, he will find our legislator to have been the ancientest of them all.
40. We have already demonstrated that our laws have been such as have always inspired admiration and imitation into all other men; nay, the earliest Grecian philosophers, though in appearance they observed the laws of their own countries, yet did they, in their actions and their philosophic doctrines, follow our legislator, and instructed men to live sparingly, and to have friendly communication one with another. Nay, farther, the multitude of mankind itself have had a great inclination of a
Why Josephus here should blame some heathen legislators when they allowed so easy a composition for simple fornication, as an obligation to marry the virgin that was corrupted, is hard to say, seeing he had himself truly informed us that it was a law of the Jews, Antiq. B. iv. chap. viii. sect. 23, as it is the law of Christianity also; see Horeb Covenant, page 61. I am almost ready to suspect that for yámes, we should here read yauwv, and that corrupting wedlock, or other men's wives, is the crime for which these heathens wickedly allowed this composition in money.
+ Or for corrupting other men's wives the same allowance.
long time to follow our religious observances; for there is not any city of the Grecians, nor any of the Barbarians, nor any nation whatsoever, whither our custom of resting on the seventh day hath not conie, and by which our fasts, and lighting up lamps, and many of our prohibitions as to our food, are not observed: they also endeavour to imitate our mutual concord with one another, and the charitable distribution of our goods, and our diligence in our trades, and our fortitude in undergoing the distresses we are in, on account of our laws; and what is here matter of the greatest admiration, our law hath no bait of pleasure to allure men to it, but it prevails by its own force; and as God bimself pervades all the world, so hath our law passed through all the world also : so that if any one will but reflect on his own country and his own family, he will have reason to give credit to what I say. It is, therefore, but just, either to condemn all mankind of indulging a wicked disposition, when they have been so desirous of imitating laws that are to them foreign and evil in themselves, rather than following laws of their own that are of a better character, or else our accusers must leave off their spite against us. Nor are we guilty of
any envious behaviour towards them when we honour our own legislator, and believe what he, by his prophetic authority, bath taught us concerning God: for though we should not be able ourselves to understand the excellency of our own laws, yet would the great multitude of those that desire to imitate them justify us in greatly valuing ourselves upon them.
41. But as for the [distinct] political laws by which we are governed, I have delivered them accurately in my books of Antiquities : and have only mentioned them now so far as was necessary to my present purpose, without proposing to myself either to blame the laws of other nations or to make an encomium upon our own; but in order to convict those that have written about us unjustly, and in an impudent affectation of disguising the truth. And now I think I have sufficiently com pleted what I proposed in writing these books: for whereas our accusers have pretended that our nation are a people of a very late original, I have demonstrated that they are exceeding ancient; for I have produced as witnesses thereto many ancient writers who have made mention of us in their books, while they said that no such writer had so done. Moreover, they had said that we were sprung from the Egyptians, while I have proved that we came from another country into Egypt: while they had told lies of us, as if we were expelled thence on account of discases on our bodies, it has appeared, on the contrary, that we returned to our own country by our own choice, and with sound and strong bodies. Those accusers reproached our legislator as a vile fellow; whereas God in old time bare witness to his vir