Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Schubert on St. Augustine's Teaching on the Eternal Law, Part 13

Augustine's Lex Aeterna Teaching
Its Content and its Source

by: P. Alois Schubert, S.V.D.

Part II
What Sources Inform St. Augustine's Teaching on the Eternal Law?

Bust of the Stoic Philosopher Chrysippus of Sol (ca. 278-206 B.C.)

D. THE STOA (336-207 B.C.)

In his teaching on the eternal law, Augustine is further reliant on the Stoa and Heraclitus. Nowhere do we find any evidence to establish that Augustine directly drew from Stoic sources. Doubtlessly, he learned about the Stoa from knowing Cicero and Plotinus.

Cicero himself witnessed that his philosophical works relied upon Greek sources. "Apographa [Aπόγραφα] sunt, minore labore fiunt, verba tantum affero, quibus abundo."(1) [They are copies, and are but little trouble. I only supply words, and of these I abound."]

Cicero's writings De re publica and De legibus are in the form of imitations of Plato's works Politeia and Nomoi.(2) In substance, the work De re publica most especially relies upon Panaetius and Polybius. With respect to his work De legibus we come particularly close to certain sources, especially Panaetius and Antiochus present themselves as sources. In the Academica priora et posteriora Cicero used Antiochus and Philo. In his work De finibus, he was assisted by the following: Zeno, Philodemus, and Antiochus of Ascalon. The Tusculan Disputations rely in part on Posidonius, and in part on other sources. The first book of De natura deorum bases itself on the writing of the Epicurean Phaedrus called Peri Theon, and on Carneades and Posidonius. The second book is based upon Posidonius's Peri Theon. The third book goes back to Cleanthes. The first book of De divinatione is reliant upon the the writing of Cleitomachus called Peri mantikes. The second books is based upon the work of Cleitomachus and Panaetius, perhaps his Peri pronoias. For the first two books of Cicero's De officiis, Panaetius is the main source, for the third book, Posidonius.

Plotinus was familiar with all the Greek philosophical systems. He also knew the Stoa well.(3)

Augustin learned also the Stoa through his familiarity with Cicero and Plotinus. We will investigate now what the Stoa understood under the notion of the eternal law, the Logos.

1. What did the Stoa Understand by the Logos?

The Stoa understood the Logos to be the right Reason impressed upon all things. This Reason is Zeus himself, the ruler of the actions of all things.(4) The Logos is here right Reason, and it is identified even with Zeus, the ultimate governor of the All. Chrysippus praises this law as King of all the divine and human things, as head over all the good and the ugly, as the highest leader of all nature, of political matters, and therefore also the norm and measure of the just and the unjust, and ordering of what ought to be done and what ought to be left alone.(5) This common law is further regarded as the necessity behind fate. Chrysippus, Posidonius, and Zeno teach that this necessity is the fundamental cause of Being, and of Reason under which all things fall.(6) Zeno understands this fundamental cause further as a kinetic power of things. He calls it Nature and Providence. In reality, these are different names for the same thing.(7) The heimarmene [Fate] stands surely with the inner cause of all things, as long as the impression of the pronoia [Providence] imports the control and concern of God into the ruling of the world. Again, Zeno names the Logos or Physis the fiery, artistic, working world reason.(9) He means thereby that nature itself the artistic, constructive fire that purposefully advances the formative path of the world.(10) This fire is depicted as artistic to distinguish it from a consuming fire.(11)

The fundamental fire flows in the fullness of art in the becoming of things. This art lies in the underlying order and the purpose of things. The entire world knows that this same nature is equivalent to the reason of the world, the necessity of fate, Providence, even Zeus himself. This is especially heralded by the Stoics.(12) Cleanthes speaks of Zeus as father of the world order. He prays to him: "You, O Zeus, know in your Wisdom, to make even that which is crooked. You order what is without order, and that which is not beautiful you make beautiful. You also make into one the many, and bring good out of evil, so that the entire stands forth in the eternal and sure Logos."(13)

The thinking regarding order is impressed upon us even more sharply by the Stoic view of the cosmos as a living organism (zoon). Just as in the microcosmos all is law and order, so also in the macrocosmos. The world reason lives, is ensouled, and in measured order manages the cosmos.(14) Chrysippus calls the heimarmene [fate] a kinetic power, one that arranges all things in order (taxei). This requirement he also calls the world law, truth, first cause, nature, fate, and other things.(15) So in fact is the concept of the Stoa of taxis, heirmarmene, ananke, pronoia, aitia, aletheia, physis, logos orthos, and nomos koinos [fate, destiny, providence, cause, truth, nature, right reason, eternal law]. These names all refer to that law, which, at its ultimate basis, is the Reason of the omnipotent Jupiter.

The Stoic termini: order, law, are the same that Augustine used. By comparing the two, we get the following picture:

1. τάξις. S. 52, Anm. 15
1. ordo. S. 3, Anm. 1
2. αἰτία εἰρομένη. S. 50, Anm. 6.
εἱμαρμένη. S. 50, Anm. 6.
2. ordo causarum, causa suprema. S. 7, Anm. 8.
3. ὁ ὀρθὸς λόγος. S. 50, Anm. 4.
3. summa ratio, recta ratio. S. 5, Anm. 14. .
4. ὁ κοινός τὴς φύσεως λόγος. S. 51, Anm. 12.
4. ratio divina. S. 5, Anm. 19.
5. πρόνοια. S. 51, Anm. 7. 5. providentia. S.8, Anm. 14
6. ὁ νόμος ὁ κοινός. S.50, Anm. 4.
6. lex aeterna. S. 9, Anm. 2.


(1) Cicero ad Atticum XII 52, 3.
(2) Fr. Überweg, Grundriß der Geschichte der Philosophie des Altertums. I. Bd., S. 497, Ausgabe Praechter, Berlin 1920.
(3) Fr. Überweg, Grundriß der Geschichte der Philosophie des Altertums. I. Bd., S. 497, Ausgabe Praechter, Berlin 1920.
(4) V. . Arnim, Joh. Stoicorum veterum fragmenta, Bd. 1-3, Leipzig 1905, I, No. 162. νόμος ὁ κοινός, ὅσπερ ἐστὶν ὁ ὀρθὸς λόγος, διὰ πάντων ἐρχόμενος, ὁ αὐτὸς ὢν τῷ Διί, καθηγεμόνιτούτῳ τῆς τῶν ὄντων διοικήσεως ὄντι
(5) V. Arnim, Joh. St. v. fr. III, No. 314. ὁ νόμος πάντων ἐστὶ βασιλεὺς ϑείων τε καὶ ἀνϑρωπίνων πραγμάτων˙ δεῖ δὲ αὐτὸν προστάτην τε εἶναι τῶν καλῶν καὶ τῶν αἰσχρῶν καὶ ἄρχοντα καὶ ἡγεμόνα, καὶ κατὰ τοῦτο κανόνα τε εἶναι δικαίων καὶ ἀδίκων καὶ τῶν φύσει πολιτικῶν ζῴων προστακτικὸν μὲν ὧν ποιητέον ἀπαγορευτικὸν δὲ ὧν οὐ ποιητέον . . .
(6) v. Arnim, Joh. St. v. fr. I, No. 175. καθ’ ειμαρμένην δε φασιν τα πάντα γίγνεσθαι Χρύσιππος, . . . καὶ Ποσειδώνιος καὶ Ζήνων . . . ἔστι δὲ εἱμαρμένη αἰτία τῶν ὄντων εἰρομένη ἤ λόγος καθ΄ον ο κόσμος διεξάγεται.
(7) v. Arnim, Joh. St. v. fr. I, No. 176. Ζήνων, ὁ Κιττεὺς, δύναμιν κέκληκε τὴν εἱμαρμένην κινητικὴν τῆς ὕλης, τὴν δὲ αὐτὴν καὶ πρόνοιαν καὶ φύσιν ὠνόμασεν.—St. v. fr. I, No. 102. Ἕν τ' εἶναι θεὸν καὶ νοῦν καὶ εἱμαρμένην καὶ Δία πολλαῖς τ' ἑτέραις ὀνομασίαις προσονομάζεσθαι λέγει Ζήνων ἐν περὶ τοῦ ὅλου . . .
(8) Cf. Überweg I, Berlin 1920, S. 446.
(9) v. Arnim, Joh. St. v. fr. II, No. 1027. πνεῦμα διῆκον δι' ὅλου τοῦ κόσμου πῦρ τεκνικόν.
(10) v. Arnim, Joh. St. v. fr. I, No. 171. τὴν μὲν φύσιν εἱναι πῦρ τεχνικόν ὁδω βαδίζον είς γένεσιν.
(11) Cf. Überweg I, S. 446, Berlin 1920.
(12) Plutarch, De Stoic. repug. 34, 5 nach Zeller, Philosophie der Griechen 31.2 S. 72, Anm. 2, Tübingen 1857. v. Arnim, Joh. St. v. fr. I, No. 171. ὅτι δ' ἡ κοινὴ φύσις καὶ ὁ κοινός τὴς φύσεως λόγος εἱμαρμένη καὶ πρόνοια καὶ Ζεύς ἔστι ὅυδὲ τοὺς αντίποδας λέληθεν παντακοῦ γὰρ ταῦτα θρυλεῖται ὑπ᾽ αὐτῶν . . .
(13) Mohnike, Gottl. Fr. Chr., Kleanthes der Stoiker, Greifswald 1914 and Überweg I 1920, S. 447. ἀλλὰ σὺ καὶ τὰ περισσὰ ἐπίστασαι ἄρτια θεῖναι, / καὶ κοσμεῖν τἄκοσμα, καὶ οὐ φίλα σοὶ φίλα ἐστίν. / ὧδε γὰρ εἰς ἓν πάντα συνήρμοκας ἐσθλὰ κακοῖσιν, / ὥσθ’ ἕνα γίγνεσθαι πάντων λόγον αἰὲν ἐόντα . . .
(14) v. Arnim, Joh. St. v. fr. II, No. 633. ὅτι δε καὶ ζώον ὁ κόσμος καὶ λογικόν καὶ ἔμψυχον καὶ νοερόν καὶ Χρύσιππος φησιν ἐν πρώτω περί προνοίας ... Ποσειδώνιος ζώον ζωον μεν ούτως όντα οὐσίαν ἔμψυχον αἰσθητικήν. . .
(15) Stobaeus, Ecl. I 180 and Anathon Aall S. 133. Χρύσιππος δύναμιν πνευματικὴν τὴν οὐσίαν τῆς εἱμαρμένης, τάξει τοῦ παντὸς διοικητικήν . . .Εἱμαρμένη ἐστὶν ὁ τοῦ κόσμου λόγος ἢ λόγος τῶν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ προνοία διοικουμένων, μεταλαμβάνει δε ἀντι τοῦ λόγου τὴν ἀλήθειαν, τὴν αἰτίαν, τὴν φύσιν, τὴν ἀνάγκην προστιθείς καὶ ἕτερας ὄνομασίας . . .

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