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that it bears an adjective relation to oiøv. It must, therefore, be understood as expressing the different qualities which belong to that noun. In fairness, then, it ought to be translated by an English word bearing the same relation to the English term existence, and expressing the qualities which belong to this English noun. The adjective which most naturally offers itself to be employed in this intention is existential; an uncouth and uncommon word, to be sure ; but yet not wholly unknown to our language. I should have used it in my former communications, could I have found it any where as an English word; for I dared not employ so strange a term, without some trustworthy authority. I have since seen it introduced in Webster's Dictionary, with Bishop Barrow quoted as using it. It is there defined, merely having existence.' Resting on this evidence for the word as being lawful English, I employ it, in the present discussion, for translating oiários believing, that, in so doing, I do not present the English reader with a term of stranger aspect, than viúvios presented to a Greek, in the days of Plato and Timæus the Locrian; both of whom employ this word, although only in a very few cases. But I must claim the right of considering is as bearing a full adjective relation to the noun existence ; whether this noun be, in any case in hand, a generic name for that which exists; or, in other cases, a specific name for some particular existence in question ; attributing to the English term existence
1; every meaning belonging to the Greek oiv.
EXISTENTIAL, therefore, would signify — having existence; - complete according to its nature, so as to possess an entire principle of existence; - essentially associated with existence;
- partaking of the nature of existence ;—pervading existence; enduring with existence ; - resembling eristence ; -&c. And, with reference to any particular existence at any time in question, it would signify, — vital ; dispensational ; —relating to a state or order of things; periodical ; — enduring ; — spiritual ; — &c. In scriptural usage, other meanings may arise for both the adjective and the noun, from their connexion with the Hebrew kw. But my present labor is with classical Greek; and I name the above, as what I believe to be proper meanings of aicvios in that language ; and what, of course, I consider as comprehended in the English term existential, when employed in translating it. And, that every reader may have a fair oppor
tunity of judging for himself, in the present inquiry, oiøv will, in every case, be rendered EXISTENCE, and oiários EXISTENTIAL. This, at least, will be admitted to be fair dealing.
The instances in Plato are as follow :
Protagoras, Vol. 1. p. 345. C. Wherefore, I will not consume my lot of EXISTENCE (uoigav aiôvos] [measure of human life,] seeking what is impossible to be, the vain and idle hope, an immaculate man. - Plato is here quoting Simonides; I believe, his very words. It may be reckoned, however, among the instances occurring in Plato. There cannot be much, if any, difference in the meaning of cior, be the words, in the sentence, those of the one or the other.
Gorgias, p. 448. C. Prudence makes our EXISTENCE [ròv qiõva vuôv] proceed according to rule; imprudence, according to chance.
De Legib. Lib. iii. Vol. II. p. 701. C.
Leading an EXISTENCE involved in troubles [radentov aðva]; - a wretched life.
The obvious meaning of cior in these three instances is human life; or, existence, considered as the state of being alive in this world; without reference to a longer or shorter duration of that state.
There is also the following instance in the Axiochus, which may or may not be received as Plato's work.
Axioch. Vol. III. p. 370. C. -- Could human nature have seen that the received conditions of the world are associated unto EXISTENCE (COMPLETENESS [sig tor viwra), unless there were some spirit truly divine in the soul, by which it has an understanding and knowledge of such things ?— I name completeness, as the proper meaning of ciòv in this place, because the reference is so plain to the action of the human mind, in discovering a complete or perfect system of harmonizing laws in nature, by a careful observation of the phenomena of the universe. It is inpossible, the writer could have meant eternity by oiáv · for he could not have said, that man, by his intellectual powers, could ascertain of a surety, that the world should endure for ever. It is possible, however, that he might have had reference to the original idea, or spiritual form, or existence in God, according to which Plato and his disciples believed the universe to have been formed; and with which, they believed all things to be mysteriously associated. Perhaps it was with some such reference as this, that he called what I
have translated received conditions, trailruata. If it were so,
, na the sentence would read, that the received conditions of the world are associated according to the spiritual existence in God,' by the flowing forth of which the universe and all things in it were generated. On the use of viwy in the sense here alluded to, more will yet be said. But I think the sense of completeness more consonant, on the whole, to the tenor of the present sentence, and, therefore, translate it so.
The foregoing are all the instances of vioy in Plato; excepting those in the Timæus, which will be produced hereafter in one quotation. On those above, no further comment is needed.
There are, likewise, two instances of aidrios, besides what occur in the Timæus; as follows:
De Repub. Lib. ii. Vol. II. p. 363. D.
Having stated, what providential favors Homer and Hesiod affirm that the gods grant the just, in this life; he proceeds to state, in substance, that Musæus, and his son, proclaim for them greater favors from the Gods than these, for carrying them to Hades by the word, tự lóyo, (probably their doctrine, and giving them repose, and preparing the banquet of the holy ones, they make them, crowned, spend all the time continually intoxicated ;
Esteeming the best recompense of virtue to be EXISTENTIAL intoxication [uéIn oiáviov]; i. e. an intoxication pervading the whole person, and absorbing all his faculties, or whole self
. A state, which, should it take place on this side of Hades, might, in coarse English, be called being dead drunk. And, verily, there seem to be some of our race, whose opinion of supreme felicity appears too much like that of Musæus and his
Nor will it be denied, that some of the ideas of the ancients, concerning the condition and employment of souls in Hades, were not far removed from those of the rudest of mankind.
Perhaps, as the reference is to souls in Hades, you may think the expression ought to have a spiritual rendering. If so, you can say, spiritual intoxication. And if you doubt whether such a thing can be, you need only go into some of the assemblies of modern fanatics; observe the movements there taking place, the springings up and fallings down; see the contortions; hear the screams; and witness the feelings exhibited; and, I think you will not doubt that soul, as well
as body, may be intoxicated; and the whole being, for the present time, be absorbed in the complete intoxication [uétny αιώνιον.]
In any case, it can hardly be possible, that the author was contemplating the duration, but the nature and quality and extent of that, which constituted the supreme felicity in view. He represents it as constant (tov änavtu xpórov ñ8n, per omne jam tempus, all the time constantly]; and its completeness, absorbing the subject, is represented under the term viwvlov [existential.]
Also, Plato informs us, -"'Tis a very ancient opinion that souls quitting this world, repair to the infernal regions, and return after that, live in this world.'* So, that, if aidvios refer to the duration of the soul's state in Hades, it would still be a temporary and not an eternal state.
But I see no reason to refer it to endurance, in any sense.
De Legib. Lib. x. Vol. II. p. 904. A. . When our king beheld all works being animate, and much virtue being in them, and much vice, and that which was generated being soul and body, indestructible, but not EXISTENTIAL, [ανωλεθρον δε όν γενόμενον, αλλ' ουκ αιώνιον, ψυχήν xai owuæ,] as the Gods according to law are; (for there would never be any generation of animals if either of these were destroyed ;) and he perceived, that whatever of soul was good, was naturally disposed to benefit, but the evil to injure; seeing all these things together, he contrived so to place each of the parts, that he
would have virtue conquering, and vice conquered in the universe, to the greatest extent, and in the easiest and best mode.
I have quoted the passage at large, in order to exhibit more clearly the connexion in which this viáriov occurs. It cannot mean eternal, inasmuch as it stands in direct contrast with de fpov, indestructible. Had Plato been contemplating duration of any kind under the term oiáriov, it must have been only future duration; for the very idea of a being as generated, implies a beginning of its being, and he would never have taken pains to say that a being had not endured, either for ever, or for any term, before it begun to be. But then, had he been contemplating future duration, his words would be the same as saying, that the generated thing was indestructible, and yet should not endure either for a long term, or for ever; – too great an inconsistency to have been committed by Plato.
* Phædon. - In the same dialogue, among the last words of Socrates, it is taught, that some souls, in Hades, having suffered punishment proportional to their crimes, and being cleansed of their sins, are set at liberty, and receive the recompense of their good actions ; and those only whose sins are incurable are doomed to perpetual imprisonment. How does this affect Prof. Stuart's assertion (p. 57.) that the Greeks and Romans notoriously held “to the eternity of future punishments ?' have
If then aiovov expresses neither past nor future duration, it expresses no duration at all. It must have implied something different from enduring in any sense.
The meaning seems to be that of completeness as an unit, * or monad, more than otherwise; that which is, in itself, a complete and indivisible being, and does not depend, for its existence, on the union of different and distinct parts ; a fixed existence. This quality of completeness, or fixedness in an indivisible unity, cannot, as Flato elsewhere affirms, belong, properly, to that which he calls generated; for, whatever is generated is, according to his ideas, a compound. So Proclus remarks, in commenting on a passage in the Timæus ; – That
. is denominated generated, which has not the whole of its essence or energy abiding in one, so as to be perfectly immutable. And of this kind are this sensible world, time in things moved,' &c.
Man, and probably the mundane Gods, are the beings contemplated by Plato, as the yevóuevov [generated) in the present passage. But all these, in his view, are body and soul. To be sure, he believed these Gods to be generated with a body different from ours; and such an one as we may after death; like that perhaps, which St. Paul calls owuo Tivevuarınóv · by which, possibly, he intended something not very different from what might be termed an aërial, or ethereal, or, if you prefer it, a spiritual body, i. e. a body adapted to a spiritual mode of being. But, still, in Plato's view, both these gods and men, in whatever world, were composite. Soul and body went together, to make up man, or a god, in this sense. This composite he speaks of as a being indestructible, (as he elsewhere teaches, by the will of its Creator,) but not possessing that completeness of existence in an unity, which the
* See also in comment on Timæus, infra. † Taylor's Plato, p. 473. Note.