Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

Qu'est-ce que la philosophie présocratique ?

 | 
André Laks
, 
Claire Louguet

A. Auteurs et œuvres

Xenophanes as a philosopher: theology and theodicy

Emese Mogyoródi

Texte intégral

  • 1 As implied by the earliest testimonies about him, that is, by those of Heraclitus and Empedocles. S (...)
  • 2 That he was primarily a «theologian» seems to be Aristotles opinion about him in Metaph. 986b18-27 (...)
  • 3 Cf. Sph. 242c8-d6 (cf. 21 A 29); Aristotle Metaph. 986b 18-27 (= 21 A 30); the later doxography fro (...)
  • 4 As Palmer points out, the Platonic tradition was first questioned by Burnet (see Palmer 1990.187); (...)
  • 5 Cf. Reinhardt, 1916. passim.
  • 6 For a thorough survey and critical evaluation of the debate see Wiesner 1976; Mansfeld 1988.
  • 7 For examples of dismissive views see Palmer 1990, 188 nn. 10 and 11.

1The scope and scientific-philosophical intention and significance of Xenophanes’ tenets have been controversial since Antiquity. The interpretation of no other Presocratic thinker has suffered more as a consequence of the varied determinations of his status quo. Was he a «natural philosopher», just like his Milesian predecessors1? If so, how are his theological doctrines (whose impact on later Greek philosophers were, after all, far greater than his speculations about «nature») related to those on natural phenomena and his epistemic doctrines? Was he, by contrast, a theologian in the first place, whose significance in the history of Greek philosophy is of minor importance precisely for that reason2? If so, can he be simply dismissed from the history of Greek philosophical speculation and put into a class of religious-moral teachers of Greece represented by Hesiod, Solon and Theognis? Or was he a precursor of «Eleatic monism», as Plato and Aristotle suggest3? It has mainly been on this ground that a firm place was claimed for Xenophanes among Greek philosophers of the highest rank and it might well have been due to the influential authority of Plato and Aristotle that this tradition went on unchallenged in modem criticism as well. However, as critics became more aware that doxographic evidence cannot be relied on without cautious observation and critical evaluation of the inner motivations of a certain source, Plato’s and Aristotle’s authority on the issue was gradually challenged4. The credibility of the tradition had been reinforced by the Pseudo-Aristotelian De Melisso, Xenophane, Gorgia, in which the unknown author employs Eleatic logic to prove the existence of a single god, and which had been thought to preserve authentic Xenophanean ideas and arguments. Since Reinhardt accepted this, yet was convinced that Parmenides’ tenets represented an unparallelled breakthrough in the history of Greek thought, he came to the provocative conclusion that Xenophanes was not the master of Parmenides but his disciple5. Although most scholars immediately accepted Reinhardt’s main thesis that the founder of the Eleatic school was not Xenophanes but Parmenides, his unprecedented dating came to be hotly debated. This might well have contributed to the series of studies that followed on the notorious MXG, the majority of which now argued that it contained post-Parmenidean reasoning and that, whatever its precise origin, it had little, if anything at all, to do with Xenophanes6. However, this gravely undermined the idea that Xenophanes was in close touch with and had any significant influence on the Eleatic school and, in turn, threatened him with complet dismissal from the history of Greek philosophy7.

  • 8 The philosophical purport of his epistemic doctrines (often with reference to their influence on Pa (...)
  • 9 This is how Barnes 1982, 83 summarises the view of the majority. This orthodoxy is gradually being (...)
  • 10 See Dodds 1951, 33; cf. 31. The literature on the topic is vast and fraught with hot debates. The m (...)
  • 11 So much so that – if I don’t misunderstand him – Adkins in his famous work, Merit and Responsibilit (...)

2Attempts at his restoration as a philosopher are varied. They range from demonstrating the philosophical purport of, primarily, his epistemic doctrines or those «on nature» to challenging the view, which seems to be an orthodoxy today, that his One God has little connection with Parmenides’ One/Being or maintaining that, on doser scrutiny, his theological doctrines have deeper philosophical relevance than hitherto believed8. However, for a full appreciation of Xenophanes’ significance in the history of Greek philosophy one must proceed with the working hypothesis (to be assumed in the interpretation of any serious philosopher) that, however fragmentary his ideas as they have came down to us, they were formed by a mind which sought for a simple, unified and, as much as possible, coherent conception of what he speculated about. So that rather than finding fault with him in terms of consistency and originality, we should first try straining our own minds to disentangle the various threads of his conceptions before we put him aside as «a thing of shreds and patches»9. It follows that however varied and disconnected his ideas might seem to be, we must try to unfold as much as possible their interconnectedness and acquire an insight into the internal logic that governs them. However, Greek thinkers, and especially philosophers, do not form their ideas in an intellectual vacuum, but typically in response to their predecessors, often including poets and philosophers alike. The point of departure of their polemic, in other words their most important intellectual-historical motivations seems to be of decisive importance in governing and, consequently, in unfolding the internal logic that weaves their ideas into a consistent or, at least, consistency-oriented whole. The more varied the ideas to be interpreted, the more difficult it is to select any single motivation of outstanding import and unfold their interconnectedness under its guidance. An ideal interpretation of Xenophanes would have to determine from his intellectual-historical environment what triggers his thought and demonstrate the interconnectedness of his religious, epistemic and natural philosophical doctrines from that perspective. This is well beyond the scope of this paper, but I hope to contribute to a clarification of his primary intellectual-historical motivations and, to a lesser degree, indicate the interconnectedness of his various ideas through discussing his religious beliefs from a perspective ignored so far. Xenophanes’ intellectual milieu was decisively determined by Archaic attempts at what could be called a rationalisation of the divine from religious-moral perspectives. From Hesiod and perhaps the Homer of the Odyssey on Archaic poets were concerned with trying to come to grips with a religious-moral challenge that social changes imposed upon them, changes that called for a rearrangement and reconsideration of traditional values and virtues. The upshot of the challenge, which seemed to call forth a sort of theodicy or as Dodds once formulated, a «moral education of Zeus», was that justice as an important new value or virtue had to be integrated into Greek society and traditional religiousness10. Given that Homeric religion characteristically ignored justice as a human virtue and perhaps even more characteristically lacked it as a demand on the gods, the project would have seemed difficult enough11. Without entering upon a detailed discussion of this much debated topic here, I would merely like to indicate unnoticed directions where Xenophanes’ theology might be linked with this important layer of Archaic thought and how his theology might be considered as a relevant response to the challenge referred to above. By putting his religious doctrines in this context, I also hope to demonstrate that the kind of religious-moral reflection that gave rise to them provides for him a secure place among the most significant Greek philosophers.

I. «Theology»: Preliminary considerations

  • 12 Even when they arise, philosophical concepts, especially those that later come to denote discipline (...)

3It is beyond doubt that it was through his theological tenets that Xenophanes exerted the deepest influence on later Greek and non-Greek thought. But however obvious and simple this assertion seems to be, it raises the issue, complicated enough in its own right (but not independent of a discussion of Xenophanes), whether we can talk about theology at all here and, indeed, in Presocratic thought in general and if so, in what sense. I am not, of course discussing this issue here, yet would like to note that it is in a sense unavoidable for our present concerns. For it seems that critics tend to slip too easily into modem terminology such as «natural», «rational» or even «revealed theology» in connection with both Xenophanes and the Presocratics in general and do not heed the theoretical implications such terminology brings into the discussion, If such terminology is inescapable, it should be employed with the utmost caution, keeping in mind that we are dealing with an era when philosophical notions and, along with them, scientific disciplines which we tend to take for granted are either completely lacking or are in the process of a gradual theoretical differentiation the careful study of which might save us from anachronism and misrepresentation12.

  • 13 Cf. Jaeger 1947, 38-54; Barnes 1982, 82-99. To a certain extent, these opposing tendencies of inter (...)

4It seems to me that, in terms of disciplinary categorisation, as it were, interpretations of Xenophanes’ theology range between two extremes, the modem representatives of which might be the conceptions of Werner Jaeger and Jonathan Barnes, respectively13. I think that if we contrast their divergent interpretations, we can come to some useful considerations about Xenophanes’ theology that might contribute to a clarification of its intellectual-historical motivations and through that, its philosophical purport. This brief juxtaposition might also illustrate how, through the above mentioned anachronistic terminology undesired theoretical implications steal into the discussion.

5Rightly challenging the orthodoxy that Xenophanes is a somewhat muddle-headed theologian and relying to a great extent on the notorious MXG, Barnes presents Xenophanes as a «logical theologian», whose main concern was argument and consistency in divine matters. Enlisting and laying out the logical structure of his theological «dogmas», Barnes demonstrates that Xenophanes argues for them with remarkable consistency and concludes that:

  • 14 Op.cit. 99. For his characterisation of Xenophanes as a «logical theologian» see op.cit. 98.

Observing the world in the light of Ionian science, and with a clear and unconventional reasoning power, Xenophanes remained a theist while rejecting the traditional forms of theism. Pure logic moulded his conception of god; science gave his conception substance and matter14.

  • 15 Op.cit. 94f.
  • 16 This is a matter of interpreting his epistemology, which I would like to put aside here, as far as (...)
  • 17 That he was a theist in the first place is, by and large, a consensus among modem critics. See Guth (...)
  • 18 B 32: ἥν τ Iριν καλέουσι, νέφος καὶ τοῦτο πέφυκε, / πορφύρεον καὶ φοινίκεον καὶ χλωρòν ἰδέσθαι.
  • 19 Op.cit. 99. The meaning of Aristotles testimony (Metaph. 986b 18-27 = 21 A 30) is much debated but (...)
  • 20 See e.g. Burnet 1920, 13-5; Gomperz 1922, I, 37-40; Cherniss 1951, 326f.
  • 21 am not, of course, challenging here Jaegers groundbreaking contribution to Presocratic studies. Ye (...)

6Without considering in detail this in many respects highly valuable contribution, I would like to point out some difficulties with some of its implications before I contrast it with that of Jaeger. Despite his main point that science and theology do not exclude each other, Barnes surprisingly arrives at the historically puzzling question of why Xenophanes was a theist at all if, as his reconstruction of the logical structure governing the dogmas leads the author to conclude, his arguments only prove that at most one god exists (that is, monotheism), but do not establish that at least one god does indeed exist15. The much debated issue of Xenophanean monotheism aside, there is no need to find fault with the logic the author reconstructs for Xenophanes’ theological dogmas, for even if it were impeccable, the unexpected question of why Xenophanes was a theist at all should indicate that there might be something wrong with this conception, It is historically unlikely that Xenophanes was not a theist to begin with and that he had to argue not just that traditional religious conceptions about the gods were mistaken and that his conception was the one that held true (or at least was more likely than they were)16, but that there was a god in the first place17. Beyond the historical unlikelihood, however, the theoretical difficulty also arises that if he had had to argue for the existence of god(s), then he (or those around him, with whom he might have intended to argue) should first have arrived at the point of atheism in some way, say, by realising that what was traditionally believed to be some god was but a colourful cloud in the sky18 and then reason that, after all, everything was God somehow or that God existed (even if not the gods of Homer). I think that he did not need to argue for himself, nor even for his Milesian predecessors that way, because he was not a «heretic», but a religious reformer, that is to say, a firm theist through and through, but one who came to criticise traditional Greek conceptions about the gods. No wonder that Barnes looks in vain for an argument in his fragments to the effect that «at least one god exists» and is compelled to suppose the existence of a lost line on which Aristotle and Timon drew, which contained some sort of cosmological argument that grounded belief in god on «a contemplation of the vast and ordered wonders of the heavens»19. The issue has far-reaching implications, for it is possible to argue (as has been done by some interpreters of Presocratic philosophy) that Milesian cosmology left no room for the gods of traditional Greek religion (or even any other god) and if that were so, we would have the desired atheism lurking in the background to necessitate a proof for the existence of god, which Xenophanes might have then seized upon20. I cannot enter on a discussion of this huge issue here, yet would like to point out that Jaeger’s conception, whose main purpose is to refute precisely such arguments about Milesian cosmology and Presocratic philosophy in general, comes to conclusions that, paradoxically, have similarly problematic implications. The reason, I think, is that he, too, conceives of Presocratic theology as «natural theology»21.

  • 22 Jaeger 1947, 40. Accordingly, he denies (again contra Barnes) that the MXG might convey authentic X (...)
  • 23 Op.cit. 49. However, this does not mean for Jaeger that he was «an eclectic pseudo-philosopher» but (...)
  • 24 Barnes 1982, 85.
  • 25 Safely, but somewhat uncommittedly, he characterises it as «rational theology» (op.cit. 54).
  • 26 He thinks that the sublimity of Xenophanes God follows from his moral purity (cf. op.cit. 49).
  • 27 Op.cit 40, and 210 nn. 11 and 12.
  • 28 Op.cit 43.
  • 29 Cf. op.cit Ch. II, passim, especially 31 and 203 n.44. It is remarkable that he comes to formulatio (...)
  • 30 He considers Xenophanes theology a sort of new beginning in terms of the status of religous piety (...)
  • 31 He attempts to bring these opposing tendencies under the same denominator through characterising Mi (...)
  • 32 For Jaeger, «the immediate sense of awe at the sublimity of the divine» is not, of course, an argum (...)
  • 33 Cf. Lesher 1992, 115f. for further considerations against a proof for the existence of god in Xenop (...)

7In accordance with his main argument in The Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers Jaeger takes for granted that Xenophanes was a theist to begin with and, in sharp contrast to Barnes’ conception, contends that «a philosopher Xenophanes with a System of his own never really existed»22 and thus, without denying that he had rational considerations for his conception of God, finds its ultimate source neither in logical proof nor in the study of nature but in «an immediate sense of awe at the sublimity of the Divine»23. Thus, what we have here is a conception of Xenophanes’ theology which Barnes characterises as «revealed theology», which is based, not on pure logic, but rather on «mystical intuition»24. It must be conceded, however, that Jaeger avoids labelling Xenophanes’ theology «natural theology»25, obviously because he posits a completely different source for his conception of God than nature26. The reason for this might partly be that he denies him the status of a «natural philosopher»27, partly because he is reluctant to take him for a pantheist28. But, beyond reasons explicable from within Xenophanes’ philosophy, I think it is his overall conception of «natural theology» that compels him to stress the non-rational character of Xenophanes’ conception of the divine. It seems to me that despite his main intention of refuting the positivistic interpretation of the Presocratic philosophers he comes strikingly close to it, especially in his interpretations of the Milesian thinkers29. Xenophanes’ theology is thus of utmost importance for him in ascertaining the presence of genuine religious sentiment in early Greek thought based neither on Eleatic logic nor on the empirical study of nature. But if it is not the empirical study of nature that grounds a Presocratic theology that clearly reflects religious sentiment, what becomes of Jaeger’s conception of «natural theology»? Where we have natural philosophy (in the Milesians), the role of the divine tends to be dismissed30; where we have theology (and some genuine religious sentiment, that is to say, some trace of «revelation»), the role of nature is excluded from its genesis31. Whether or not Xenophanes arrived at his conception of god with Eleatic logic or a contemplation of nature, this contradiction seems to undermine Jaeger’s conception of «natural theology». Thus, if I see Jaeger’s reason for emphasizing the «irrational» element in Xenophanes’ conception of the divine correctly, then this might lead us to view his interpretation of Xenophanes’ theology with reservations. However, I think Jaeger is right that it is neither Eleatic logic nor the study of nature that leads Xenophanes to the formulation of his theology and that there is a genuine religious awe behind it, but I think more «logic» can be conceded to him than Jaeger seems to allow for, at least on the basis of his ultimate conclusion. Barnes is right against Jaeger, then, that there is more «logic» to it, yet the conceptual-logical requirements he posits as Xenophanes’ intellectual motifs for his theology are just as overemphasised. Interestingly, both conceptions presuppose some form of atheism lurking in the background, and thus both are led to imply that Xenophanes’ concern was some sort of argument for the existence of god32. I find that implication the most problematic from the perspective of Greek Problemgeschichte33.

  • 34 See B 32 quoted above in n. 18; B 31: ήέλιός θ ύπεριέμενος γαὶάν τ' έπιθάλπων; the testimonies on (...)

8Xenophanes was no doubt a naturalist in his explanations of celestial phenomena34, but it is of considerable importance whether his naturalism was the reason for, that is, in some way determined the particular theology he professed or, on the contrary, it was its logical consequence. For if the former is the case, then the reason for his naturalism must have lain somewhere else, say, in the realisation that there was no need for traditional explanations of celestial phenomena because they can be explained in other terms. But if his naturalism was the consequence of his theology, then a different story must be told, one that might also contribute to seeing the Milesian «philosophy of nature» in a different light than that which the notorious positivistic approach implies. I think there is more reason to conclude that his naturalism was the consequence of his theology and not the other way round, but if we wish to demonstrate this, we must refer to his epistemic observations.

  • 35 Β 34: καὶ το μὲν ον σαφές οὔτις άνήρ ἴδεν οὐδέ τις ἓσται / εὶδὼς άμφὶ θεῶν τε καὶ ἄσσα λέγω περί π (...)
  • 36 Frankel 1975, 335. Cf. Frankel 1968, 340.
  • 37 See Mansfeld 1964, 8 n.2; Heitsch 1966, 207-16; Barnes 1982, 138; Lesher 1992, 157 f., 160, 162f.
  • 38 B 16: Αἰθίοπές τε <θεοὺς σψετέρους> σιμοὺς μέλανάς τε / Θρῆικές τε γλαυκοὺς και πυρρούς <φασι πέλεσ (...)
  • 39 Interestingly, there is a not untypical confusion in modem criticism about the causal relationship (...)
  • 40 B 15: άλλ εἰ χειρας εχον βόες <ίπποι τ> ήὲ λέοντες / ή γράψαι χείρεσσι και ἔργα τελεῖν ἅπερ ἄνδρε (...)
  • 41 Such absurdities are, further, that the gods are born and that they have their own, albeit special (...)
  • 42 Heitsch 1966, 221f., 224f. demonstrates this by a thoughtful interpretation of B 38 (quoted below i (...)
  • 43 Heitsch 1966, 218; 1983, 145; Mansfeld 1983, 209; Schäfer 1996, 170.
  • 44 Lesher 1978, 10.
  • 45 B 38: εἰ μη χλωρòν έφυσε θεòς μέλι, πολλòν ἔφασκον / γλύσσονα σῦκα πέλεσθαι.
  • 46 It has been pointed out that the observation that humans represent their gods in their likeness did (...)

9Hermann Frankel once proposed the view that there is no radical scepticism in Xenophanes, since his reluctance to allow for an ultimate certainty available to humans applies only within the domain of «the unseen» (meaning by this «the gods» in B 34.235). In the final analysis, his denial of certainty within that domain is due to his «staunch empiricism»36. Though many have admitted the value of Frànkel’s meticulous linguistic analysis of the much debated text of B 34, his conclusions have been challenged, especially the idea that Xenophanes was an empiricist37. Yet no one could deny that empirical observation did play an important part in the formation of his tenets, what might be debated is merely the conclusions to which it led him and how he generally viewed the range of its validity. One such observation perhaps gained through his travels fruitfully inspired his intellect: he noticed that various peoples represented the gods in various ways and, what is more, typically in their own likeness38. This observation had a theological as well as an epistemological dimension for Xenophanes. I would like to suspend discussing this epistemological dimension because I think that we cannot understand its full import and scope without his theology39, though even the theological moral is not easy to disentangle. It is more or less clear, however, that through taking the observation ad absurdum40, he demonstrates that there is something wrong with divine representation in human likeness, because it leads to absurdities, such as if oxen, horses or lions represented their gods41. Whether or not he drew the conclusion that all these representations are false, we cannot know until we decided how far he went with his scepticism. But one thing seems fairly certain: he must have reasoned somehow that human representations of the divine were incompatible with its true nature because they impose on it some sort of limitation (relativity, particularity) inescapable for our mortal being but contradicting the nature of the divine. It has, I think, been reasonably suggested that he thought that the «limitations» humans impose upon the divine were ultimately due to what could be called their «circumstantial dispositions», the fact, that nothing they experience in their (immanent, empirical) world admits of an absoluteness conceptually implied by the divine42. Thus, it has been concluded, he discovered the via negativa as the only rationally justifiable way of talking about the deity43. If we accept this, we can argue that even if we put aside his epistemic doctrines, it is unlikely that he was a «natural theologian», because he reasoned that the divine represents a domain which is per definitionem distinct from whatever we experience in our (immanent, empirical, «perspectival», «relative», etc.) world. Further, if that is so, the conclusion might also follow that «naturalism» was not the starting point for his theology, but the conclusion of considerations that contributed to the formation of his theology. Thus, the apt summary of Xenophanes’ negative theological considerations Lesher provides, that «true divinity exists elsewhere»44 need not have been the consequence of a naturalism taken for granted in his thought, but could also be explained simply as the conclusion of the observations contained in B 15, B 16 and B 3845. I think that the advantage of this interpretation is that it does not prejudge the issue I have referred to above, that is, whether we could attribute to Xenophanes (or to his intellectual milieu) a sort of atheistic naturalism which might have called for an argument for the existence of god46. In fact, it might help us to see the process of differentiation of naturalism and nature and save us from thinking anachronistically that they were there ready-made right after or in the very rise of philosophical speculation.

  • 47 Jaeger 1947, 49. Jaeger notes that Xenophanes conception of the Divine is determined by moral crit (...)
  • 48 He seems to be also inclined to accept (2) (a), since he considers the Milesians to be «negative at (...)
  • 49 That is also why-among other reasons-he could not have been a pantheist either. Barnes adopts that (...)
  • 50 He says that about pantheism in Burnet 1953, 32.

10So far, we can conclude that the conception of (1) Xenophanes as a «natural theologian» is unlikely and that (2) his alleged need to prove the existence of god either as a consequence of (a) some sort of atheistic naturalism or (b) of Eleatic logic, is also problematic. Jaeger avoided the problems involved in (1) but opted for (2) (a) and thus overbalanced it with a conception of Xenophanes’ theology based on more «revelation» and less «logic» than I think should be attributed to it. What rationality remains in this theology, after all, what speculative element, if it is «not really philosophical at all»47? Barnes, on the other hand, finds ample logic in Xenophanes’ theological dogmas, but their conclusion compels him to opt for (1) and (2) (b)48 and thus involves his conception in the problems I have outlined above. Even if he had felt the need for one, a cosmological argument would have seemed inadequate for Xenophanes, because the via negativa of his theology implies a categorical distinction between nature and the divine49. We might also add here that the sort of cosmological argument this line of interpretation requires to save Xenophanes’ piety could, at most, have produced what is some form of deism in theological terms, which might be called a «polite form of atheism», to adopt a phrase by Burnet50. That is to say, it is religious piety that tends to disappear in this conception.

  • 51 Barnes 1982, 96.
  • 52 See R. 529 a9-530 c3, especially 529 a9-c3.
  • 53 R. 529 d4-5,
  • 54 Plato's attitude to natural philosophy is too complicated an issue to be even referred to here, and (...)
  • 55 Schäfer 1996, 173f.

11Thus, although both Jaeger and Barnes wish to underline that there is no unbridgeable gap between science and religion in early Greek thought, their conclusions eventually seem to undermine that important idea. It must be conceded that «atheism is not an invariable effect of science: on the contrary: Plato argues that a proper appreciation of astronomy leads men to god»51, but it might also be noted that Plato speaks rather ironically about a science that rests content with the observation of physical phenomena and fails to conceive of the metaphorical meaning in «looking upward»52. That is to say, Plato expresses his philosophical-theological reservations about a cosmological religion that mixes up «that which can be seen» (όρατόν, cf. Republic 529 c8 or όρώμενα, 530b3) with «the unseen» (τò άόρατον, Republic 529 b5), which can only be perceived by «reason» (λόγος) and «dialectical reasoning» (διάνοια)53. I would like to venture the suggestion that Xenophanes’ theological speculations, anachronism notwithstanding, are doser to the Platonic «logical» and «dianoetic» investigations than the conception that he was a «natural theologian» implies54. Just like for Plato, logically impossible and theologically intolerable were not alternatives for him, but coalescing requirements. As Schäfer points out, he wishes to provide information about a domain that escapes sensual perception, after all. With that intention he makes a crucial step from (sensual) representation (Vorstellen) to (speculative) thought (Denken) and therefore paves the way for all future «metaphysics»55. Just as it was for Plato, theologically tolerable was for him primarily determined by moral considerations that seemed to him to be reconcilable with the notion of the divine.

  • 56 Cf. Lesher 1992, 73f. (with reference to Barnes view that he does not go beyond the tradition of d (...)
  • 57 Lesher 1992, 74.
  • 58 Op.cit. 75f. Cf. Mansfeld 1964, 121; Schäfer 1996, 114, 146-9, 174.

12Indeed, there is a field of rational thought that is mid-way between science and religion, and that is rational moral reflection. That Xenophanes’ motifs for his criticism of the traditional conceptions about the gods and for a purification of the divine were decisively moral has always been conceded, but this might well have been one of the main reasons why he was denied the status of a philosopher. This question thus leads us back to the issue how far and in what sense Xenophanes might be inserted into the history of Presocratic philosophical speculations as a full-fledged philosopher. From the perspective of the era of the Sophists, when moral issues already constitute an indelible part of philosophical speculation, Xenophanes might indeed seem to be more of a pedestrian «moralist» on a par with traditional Greek didactic poetry than a sophisticated moral philosopher56. But, as Lesher points out, the fact that the need for serious theorising about moral issues was «largely created by the sceptical challenges of the sophists» and that thus «it is fair to say that these issues hardly existed at all in the minds of Xenophanes and his contemporaries»57, does not mean that his moral considerations were devoid of philosophical interest. It is significant, Lesher continues, that the later, fully-fledged moral philosophies of Plato and Aristotle echo many of his most important moral insights. Lesher also calls attention to the philosophically significant technique of the «hypothetical argument», which distinguishes him from the didactic poets in that it demonstrates that his moral tenets aimed at rational persuasion rather than exhortative moralisation and entertainment58. These are sound points, indeed, yet I think we might go even farther than that in establishing the philosophical purport of his moral motivations.

  • 59 See n. 56 above.
  • 60 Cf. Schäfer 1996, 195 and 197. It must be noted, however, that there have been important attempts a (...)

13In what follows, I would like to situate Xenophanes’ religious beliefs in the context of Archaic concerns with theodicy and argue that the moral purification of the divine is not a conceptual-logical requirement in the Eleatic sense; still, it is more rational than Jaeger’ «mystical awe». Unlike Barnes, who does not attribute much philosophical significance to Xenophanes’ moralisation59, Jaeger sees its importance for Xenophanes’ theology, but his conception of «natural theology» works against attributing philosophical rationality to it and precludes him from noticing that it creates a completely different intellectual environment for Xenophanes’ thought than the Milesian search for the «beginning» (ἀρχή)60.

II. Theology and theodicy

  • 61 See B 11: πάντα θεοῖσ ανέβηκαν "Ομηρός θ’ ‘Ησίοδός τε, / όσσα παρ άνθρώποισιν όνείδεα καί ψόγος (...)
  • 62 Schäfer 1996, 147f. ; cf. Heitsch 1983, 126f, For the latter point cf. Dreyer 1970, 8-11; Heitsch 1 (...)
  • 63 See Barnes 1982, 84f. ; Schàfer 1996, 203.
  • 64 See n. 62 above. Typically, these interpreters do not see a wide gap between early Greek science an (...)
  • 65 See B 23: ες θεός, ἔν τε θεoῖσι καί άνθρώποισι μέγιστος, / οὔτι δέμας θνητοῖσιν όμοίιος ουδέ νόημα(...)
  • 66 Β 26: αἰεὶ δ ἐν ταύτώι μίμνει κινούμενος ούδέν / ούδέ μετέρχεσθαί μιν ἐπιπρέπει ἄλλοτε ἄλληι.
  • 67 Β 24: ολος όρᾶι, ολος δὲ νοεῖ, ούλος δέ τ ἀκούει, and Β 25: ἄλλ ἀπάνευθε πόνοιο νόου φρενὶ πάντ (...)
  • 68 Cf. Β 11 and Β 12 quoted in n. 61 above.
  • 69 Hack 1969, 64 quoted by Schäfer 1996, 173f. where see his discussion.
  • 70 Burkerts formulation might be representative: «Thus in essence the old epithets of the everlasting (...)

14It has been noted that Xenophanes’ criticism of the gods of Homer and Hesiod concern almost exclusively their moral stature61 and many have argued that his theology owes them far more than might be seen at first sight62. Even though the first of these points does not seem to be attested by the fragments, since out of the (extant) «divine dogmas»63 that make up his theology only one concerns the issue directly, I think that more of them might have a complex religious-moral relevance and implications than his «Eleaticising view» or his conception as a natural philosopher suggest. These implications have been brought to light by interpreters who consider him to be a religious reformer rather than a critic of religion, that is to say, by those who see more continuity between him and Homer and Hesiod than his attack on them might imply64. It seems to me that if we interpret him in this context, the problem of reconciling Xenophanes the logician or philosopher and Xenophanes the theologian or moralist disappears. His non-anthropomorphic and non-born65, immobile66 and greatest God of immense power and abilities67 exempt from immorality68 is apparently a far cry from the gods of Homer or Hesiod. Yet his attitude to God and his tenets about him do not seem to be those of a logician, whose intention is to eliminate inconsistencies, but primarily those of «a worshiper who will heap every imaginable perfection upon the object of his worship»69. Critics have noted that many of his theological doctrines have their Homeric antecedents and asserted that Xenophanes takes the Homeric conception of the divine to its logical conclusions70. But logical and theological «perfection» do not seem to overlap, indeed, they are typically in opposition. Much that seems contradictory or inexplicable in logical terms is perfectly acceptable for a believer and not just as a dogma to be complied with, but as an illuminative substantiation of an order which is «complete». I would like to argue that Xenophanes radicalises the Homeric-Hesiodean conception of the divine from the perspective of a religious-moral sensitivity for which it seemed incomplete in this sense. Thus, paradoxically, his attack on them is grounded in religious piety, but one imbued with a new moral sensitivity Homer characteristically lacked or was, at least, little concerned with. This new moral sensitivity lent what might well be considered rational to Xenophanes’ theology, because its demands seemed for him to contradict the order of the world Greek believers brought up on Homer found «complete».

15Without intending to be exhaustive, I would like to discuss some of the religious-moral implications of his «divine dogmas» from the perspective of the «logic» of this new order.

  • 71 Fr. 292.7, Nauck: εἰ θεοί τι δρώσιν αισχρόν, οὐκ εἰσὶν θεοί. Cf. Ion 436-51; IT380-91.
  • 72 That Homeric gods are not concerned with (reciprocal) justice at all is an idea whose most famous r (...)
  • 73 This is a feature of Homeric «theology» discussed by many. See e.g. Nilsson 1957, 193-7; Dodds 1951 (...)
  • 74 A quote from Dover might illustrate the consequence of this feature of Homeric religion: «In the tr (...)
  • 75 Cf. Adkins 1960, especially 6f., 37-46, 71.
  • 76 The demand for a theodicy was felt not only because of the absence of an observable correlation bet (...)
  • 77 This, as a reason for indignation and confusion is emphasised by Hesiod (Op. 270-3), Solon (13.65-7 (...)
  • 78 That is to say, «justice» based on equity, that is, «reciprocal» or «distributive justice» (see n. (...)
  • 79 That is to say, rewarding in the long run already in this life, because the gods punish moral guilt (...)
  • 80 This idea is suggested to me, at least, by a remark of Burkerts in his discussion of «Gods between (...)

16But before we turn to a discussion of the relevant fragments, it would be helpful to outline at least some important details of the religious-moral challenge I have referred to above as an interpretative context for Xenophanes’ theology. Its most condensed later epitome might be the often quoted fragment of Euripides: «If the gods do anything shameful, they are not gods»71. A notorious feature of Homeric gods was that they cared little or not at all72 for social justice on earth, they were far more touchy about their «honour» (τιμή) and «excellence» (ἀρετή)73, the observation of which by humans did not necessarily involve being «just» with one’s fellows74. The non-moral code of the gods provided no or little reason for indignation in Homeric men, since their social structure was similarly built on «honour» and «excellence», that is, on the predominance of what Adkins called «competitive», rather than on «co-operative» or «quieter» virtues or values75. But when social (distributive) justice made its demands felt, the non-moral code of the gods created a serious conflict between the requirements of the new notion of justice and the non-moral code of traditional Greek piety76. The integration of the «co-operative excellences» into Greek culture proved to be difficult for two main reasons: on the one hand, although the gods occasionally seemed to underwrite justice on earth, they did not do so as a rule and sometimes let the unjust get away with it, sometimes punished the innocent77. On the other hand, the persistence of traditional values associated with human «excellence», such as wealth and social standing combined with the whim of the gods with regard to retribution for moral guilt constituted a serious obstacle to linking them with justice78. Thus, the required solution was doubly determined: on the one hand, it had to be stressed or made believable that gods punish injustices as a rule and that justice played a vital part in earthly «success» (traditionally determined by social appreciation) or was rewarding in some other way79. Adkins follows this process in detail from the writers of the Archaic age to Plato and Aristotle and discusses its grave difficulties. For the sake of brevity (and also at the expense of academic rigour) I am not going to engage in the details of this complicated and much debated process. I just would like to indicate features of Xenophanes’ theological doctrines that suggest that the moralisation of the gods so consequential for the writers of the Archaic age could have served as a background to them. I would also like to stress in advance that the moralisation of the divine is its rationalisation in a very pregnant sense. For through trying to make what, with reference to Lloyd-Jones, Burkert called «the quasi-amoral justice of Zeus» unequivocally moral, poets and thinkers of Greece who responded to the challenge were, in effect, engaged in a project of making the divine predictable and accountable through attempting to establish a rational connection between (the new) morality and piety80.

  • 81 This applies to τα. δίκαια in B 1.15 and to δίκαιον in B 2.13 (cf. Marcovich 1978, 8, 20f. ; Heitsc (...)
  • 82 Cf. B 1.17f. : οΰχ ὕβρις πίνειν ὁπόσον κεν εχων ἀφίκοιο / οἴκαδ ἄνευ προπόλου μὴ πάνυ γηραλέος. (T (...)
  • 83 Cf. B 3: άβροσύνας δέ μαθόντες ἀνωφελέας παρά Λυδών, / οφρα τυραννίης ήσαν άνευ στυγερῆς, / ήιεσαν (...)
  • 84 In connection with B 3, Lesher argues against Bowra's suggestion that it might contain the moral Th (...)
  • 85 Cf. B 2.11-4: οὐκ έών άξιος ώσπερ ἐγώ. ρώμης γὰρ ἀμείνων / άνδρών ήδ ππων ήμετέρη σοφίη. / ἀλλ ε (...)
  • 86 Lesher points out that Xenophanes is here contrasting «the personal nature of the good achieved in (...)
  • 87 See Theognis, 373-8, Gerber, about which Burkert remarks: «Morality and piety seem to founder toget (...)
  • 88 Lesher argues extensively that Xenophanes God does not communicate with humans through natural sig (...)
  • 89 Cf. Lesher 1992, 110, 112f.. Babut 1974, 412, 421-35, 439f. emphasises polemic, but notes the indeb (...)
  • 90 Such as the attribution of moral qualities to the gods (B 11 and B 12) (cf. Lesher 1992, 83), or th (...)
  • 91 Cf. ἐπιπρέπει in B 26.2. Πρέπειν and its composites in Homer refer to «conspicuous outward appearan (...)
  • 92 Taking σφετέρην in B 14.2 as referring to the gods (cf. Lesher 1992, 85f., 89).
  • 93 See n. 96 below.
  • 94 Cf. Lesher 1992, 84.
  • 95 Cf. op.cit 83.
  • 96 Already Wolff pointed out that the stress is on παρ ἀνθρώποισιν in ἅσσα παρ άνθρώποισιν όνείδεα κ (...)

17However, Xenophanes seems far less concerned with the problems of justice than Hesiod, the Archaic poets and Aeschylus or even his philosophical predecessor, Anaximander, or his younger contemporary, Pindar. True, in his moralising criticism of Homeric gods (B 11 and B 12), he singles out behaviour indicative of damage done to civic society through harming the possessions of someone or treating him unfairly by deception, but there is no special indication that these forms of illicit behaviour would represent more than injuries against a general sense for social code to be observed by any society, including the Homeric, which was much less sensitive to distributive justice than were Archaic poets81. True, he calls for a moderation in drinking at symposia82 and passionately condemns excessive wealth and useless luxuries83, but these were poetic commonplaces voiced by other moral advisors of Greece and, again, have little to do with «justice» beyond the general sense of decency84. True, he criticises the excessive way in which contemporary society honoured athletes, the embodiments of heroic virtue (such as strength, prowess) in peace, and juxtaposes with it his own «wisdom» (σοφίη)85, which, whatever its precise sense might be here, is surely some form of «quieter virtue» and thus might imply a blow at the very heart of «competitive virtues»86. Still, all this does not seem to go beyond either traditional moralisation or, if we allow for some implicit argumentation, persuasion in more or less traditional moral matters on rational grounds, let alone involve him in the sort of grand-scale theodicy which concerned Hesiod, nor even incite in him the passionate outburst of a Theognis against Zeus while observing the moral crisis of his time87. As a matter of fact, the belief in divine retribution seems to be at odds with the general traits of his conception of God, for whether we accept that Homeric gods heed justice on earth or deny it, Xenophanes’ one, greatest God is too sublime, too removed from earthly affairs to involve himself in them to the extent of retribution88. That might well have been one of the main reasons why his criticism of Homeric gods and his positive tenets about God, though associated with the general tendency of the time for the moral purification of the divine, has not been put in the context of its moral justification. That seems to me to be also the reason for customarily interpreting the God of Xenophanes along the lines of the philosophical notion of perfection, where one might argue that he takes the Homeric conception of the gods to its logical conclusions, or, on the contrary, that he forms completely new conceptions about it89. Either way, his moralisation about the gods is a consequence of his theorisation, that is, a methodical extention of his critique of the anthropomorphic fallacy expressed in B 14 and B 23. And his critique of anthropomorphism, in turn, might then be explicable in terms of his naturalism, a specific philosophical advance beyond religious beliefs. That is a line of interpretation whose difficulties I have pointed out above. But it seems more persistent and more appealing than has been indicated so far. The idea of divine perfection sits comfortably with this interpretation, and the advantage of this line of argument is that it brings under a common denominator Xenophanese’ critique of anthropomorphism and his criticism of other aspects of Homeric gods not so easily explicable in the terms of anthropomorphic fallacy90. But what would be the intellectual-historical motivation for the highly sophisticated notion of divine perfection? One answer might be that it is implied by the via negativa. If Xenophanes’ reason for the discovery of the via negativa was that he realised that human representations impose limitations upon the divine that are incompatible with its «idea»91, then this could have led to an association of the divine with unlimitedness, a mark of perfection. That would explain the supreme power of God (B 24 and B 25) as well as his immobility (B 26). But how does that sit with the moral perfection of the gods (B 11 and B 12) or the notion that they are not born, let alone with the denial that they have their own special clothing, voice and body (B 1492)? For a Greek brought up on Homer and Hesiod the perfection of gods (if that notion could have been comprehensible to him at all) did not imply their (moral) «goodness»; on the contrary, their notoriously frivolous behaviour was a mark of what Frankel called «a superhuman abundance of vital existence» in the immortals93. A belief in the inherent goodness of god or the gods might well be widely shared by later Greek philosophers94, but I think it is in such a striking contrast with traditional Greek piety that its conception could not have been completely free of intellectual toil. Can we suppose that this feat was performed by Xenophanes? I do not think so. He denies that the gods commit theft, adultery and deception; but is that meant to imply that they treat each other fairly in these matters, that is, that they exhibit a moral perfection, in obvious contrast with humans? Or is the denial of their immorality meant to point out the absurdity of ascribing them any moral attributes, that is, that they are «beyond good and evil»95? Lesher remarks that this is difficult to say, but I think the issue might be decided. One cannot do so on the ground, however, that he would involve himself in inconsistency with regard to his criticism of anthropomorphic fallacy; for he attributes to God such human faculties as sight, «insight» or «mind» and hearing as well as some «body» (B 24, B 25, B 23). If he wished to underline the dignity or sublimity of the divine, he could not, indeed, should not have attributed to it a high or even an absolute degree of moral excellence, because moral constraints, determined from our limited human perspective as they naturally are, could be seen to constitute strict limitations from the perspective of traditional Greek piety96 Naturally, if we suppose that he stepped out of that framework, this would be no counter-argument against the «perfection» of Xenophanes’ God with regard to moral excellence. But is there sufficient reason to think that he did?

  • 97 Cf. Jaeger 1947, 44, 212 n.27; Mansfeld 1983, 210; Lesher 1992, 51,
  • 98 B 23 is among the most hotly debated fragments. I can only indicate here that (1) I do not think he (...)
  • 99 Adkins 1960, 12, 26 n.4.
  • 100 At least not in the Iliad, where he is deceived by Hera (even though this happens momentarily and d (...)
  • 101 Cf. It. 3.308f.
  • 102 Cf. Adkins 1960, 13.
  • 103 See Lesher 1992, 110,
  • 104 Cf. Adkins 1960, ibid.; Lloyd-Jones 1971, 82.
  • 105 Lesher has pointed out the stress put on οὔτι in οὔτι δέμας θνητοῖσιν ὁμοίιος ουὐδέ νόημα (Β 23.2), (...)
  • 106 Cf. B 10: ἐξ ἀρχῆς καθ ῞Ομηρον ἐπεὶ μεμαθήκασι πάντες...
  • 107 Cf. Jaeger 1947, 212 n.37.
  • 108 See n. 91 above.
  • 109 This is Leshers translation in Lesher 1978, 8. Heitschs translation, «jemandem oder einer Sache n (...)
  • 110 His power is (ambiguously) «limited» by the moira (cf. Il. 16.433-43; Il. 22.174-85), by the fact t (...)
  • 111 See n. 88 above.

18It has been noted that the tone of his symposion elegy (B 1) suggests deep religious reverence, whether for the One, greatest god of B 23, or for the god of the altar97. It has also been noted that he emphasised the dissimilarity of gods, especially that of his «greatest God» from humans (B 23)98. But does that so flatly contradict the traditional conception of gods? Traditionally, there is one greatest god among gods and men (or: one god is greatest among gods and men) whose power and glory is enormous, although he is not omnipotent99, and although he is not omniscient either100 (unlike Xenophanes’ God: B 24), he knows the «end» or «outcome» (τέλος)101 of events and his plans triumph in the end102. Further, although Zeus does «move about» (in contrast with Xenophanes’ God, to whom this is «unfitting»: B 26), he does so very sparingly and never intervenes in human affairs in person, which is an obvious sign of his sublimity and superiority over all other gods. Finally, he needs a slight nod or to seat himself to shake Olympus (in contrast, again, with Xenophanes’ God: B 25)103, but he is the only one among the gods whose plans are achieved from a distance104. It seems, then, that the essential attributes of Xenophanes’ God, with the exception of one, differ from those of Zeus only in degree, although this degree is hightened to the maximum by Xenophanes. The essential exception is that it/he is completely unlike humans both in his «body» and «mind» (B 23)105. It is as though Xenophanes were saying to all who have learnt from Homer from the beginning106: your Zeus is powerful and glorious enough, but «my God» is more powerful and more glorious, since he is omniscient, omnipotent, does not need any physical effort «to shake everything» (not just Olympus)107 and it is incompatible with (that is, below) his dignity108 to «come or go in our midst» (μετέρχεσθαι, B 26.2)109. I am inclined to believe that all this comes down to a single, most pronounced difference from Zeus, that God is completely unlike humans both in «body» and «mind», because his power and glory far surpasses those of the most powerful and glorious of «gods and men», Zeus. This, however, amounts to a substantial difference from the Zeus of traditional Greek religion, because however removed Zeus might be from both men and gods, he does not lose his anthropomorphic features to the extent of complete dissimilarity from humans and because his power and glory is limited110. Apart from their immortality, «power» (κράτος) and «glory» (κῦδος) was precisely where the gods differed from humans the most. Now, Xenophanes’ God seems to be thrice removed from the men of the Iliad in his «honour» and «excellence». Reinhardt, Frankel and others have pointed out the gap that divides him from both humans and the other gods, but its reason was not explored from a religious-moral perspective111 Could Xenophanes then have had some reason to emphasise the power and glory of God other than the philosophical aim of achieving a neat conception of divine perfection? And could it have been related to some form of theodicy?

  • 112 See the commentaries on ἀνέθηκαν (B 11.1) and ἐφθέγξαντο (B 12.1) in Heitsch 1983, 125 and Lesher 1 (...)
  • 113 On adultery as diminishing ones timê see It. 9.450; Od. 8.309. The famous Διòς ἀπάτη (Il. 14.153-3 (...)
  • 114 οὔτι μάχας διέπων Τιτήνων ουδέ Γιγάντων / ουδέ τε Κενταύρων, πλάσματα τῶν προτέρων, / ή στάσιας σφε (...)
  • 115 As is done by Euthyphro in Plato (Euthphr. 5d8-6a6; cf. R. 377e6-378e3; Lg. 941b2-c2, where Plato t (...)
  • 116 Deichgräber 1942, l0f. : «Daβ dem Menschen die Stunde des Untergangs schlägt, ist Erfüllung seines (...)
  • 117 See Od. 9.274-8. Cf. Heitsch 1983, 98; Burkert 1987, 247. On any reading of B 1.24 (αγαθήν or αγαθό (...)
  • 118 See the quote from Lloyd-Jones in n. 116 above.
  • 119 Cf. Lg. 907d4-910d4.
  • 120 Cf. n. 41 above.

19I think there is ample reason to believe that Xenophanes wished to underline the power (in the sense of sublimity, majesty, sovereignty, etc.) of his one, greatest God and the emphasis he consequently puts on his dissimilarity from humans, in other words, the denial of anthropomorphic features is meant to indicate that the divine cannot be measured with or subjected to human expectations or demands, moral or otherwise. His criticism of the frivolous behaviour of Homeric and Hesiodean gods (B 11 and B 12) expresses a religious indignation at such a form of «worship» the gods receive through their Works112, not so much because they attribute to them deeds that are reasons for reproach even among men, but because such deeds (theft, adultery, deception) seem to diminish the gods’ «honour» and/or power113. Xenophanes might have experienced a decrease of human reverence for the gods around him, as his criticism of the immorality of the gods indicates. He singles out behaviour suggestive of damage done to civic society and, in accordance with his concern for «civic utility» in B 1.21-3114, where he reprobates myths about divine battles, he calls attention to the dangers of depicting patterns of conduct that might be used to give divine sanction to human misbehaviour that threaten the social coherence of the polis115. The criticism must have responded to a deep moral-religious crisis, to a certain extent similar to the one with which Socrates and Plato had to come to terms. For we must ask why it did not occur to the Greeks of Homer or Hesiod that they could «imitate» the gods either in terms of their excellences or their customary iniquities, let alone use the latter to excuse themselves of theirs? It was not so much, or, it might even be argued, not at all the belief that the gods punish moral misbehaviour, but a deep awareness of what Deichgräber once called the essential «superiority» (Überlegenheit) of the gods that debarred them from doing so116. The loss or, at least, decrease of this awareness might lead to what could well be considered to be both an essential constituent of atheism and a form of rationalisation of guilt. While reflecting upon the religious-moral crisis of his time, Xenophanes might have felt the need to emphasise a crucial constituent of religions belief, that «the fear of god is the beginning of morality», a motif already contained in the Odyssey117. Thus, I think it might be argued that he understood that «the gods lived a life governed by different rules from those of men»118 very well, or at least better than his contemporaines who did not shrink from using the gods’ illicit behaviour as a pretext for theirs. For the stress he puts on the incomparably high «honour» of the divine might indicate that he realised that such a rationalisation of guilt as that he responds to in B 11 and B 12 was in a causal connection with the loss of awareness of the essential superiority of gods over humans. He might have reasoned, further, that the loss of this awareness leads not only to the possibility of rationalising guilt but is the root cause of human immoralities as well. Plato similarly found it essential to attack the ultimate root of religious and moral offences, that is, atheism119. Xenophanes, it seems to me, hopes to eradicate the root by stressing the incomparably high «honour» and «excellence» of the divine and by arguing for it in his own way120. Thus, the stress he puts on the incomparably high stature of God might have fulfilled for him, at least, a double function; the attitude that uses the gods’ illicit behaviour as a pretext for human offences is in essence the same as the one that might lead to human offences both against gods and men.

  • 121 Cf. Dreyer 1970, 20 n.57.

20If this intention of Xenophanes’ is correctly interpreted, then it might be argued that what he is doing in his «theo-logy» is an exploration of causal relationships between religious beliefs and attitudes on the one hand and religious-moral behaviour on the other. He reasons that the former determine the latter and, consequently, attempts to modify the former to affect the latter. With this purpose in mind, he reinterprets, both with considerable freedom and yet no less conservativism the traditional conception of the gods to meet the religious-moral challenges of his time. He attempts to ground morality in piety in a rational way, insofar as he believes that if he can pluck out ambiguities from religious beliefs that came to endanger moral behaviour, his conception might have a positive effect on it. The most essential ambiguity about the gods seemed for him to be their anthropomorphism, which could be exploited for a rationalisation of guilt without an awareness of their essential superiority. He thus first ridiculed human beliefs about the more obvious sides of their anthro-pomorphism, such as that they are born and wear clothes, have a voice and body at all (B 14) and then their «anthropopathic»121 features, that is, those relating to behaviour too obviously human again in a way, such as theft, adultery and deception (B 11 and B 12). It is the sublimity and dignity of the divine which might suffer degradation by such analogies and once this happens, their behaviour can be used as an excuse for any human offence for which one can find example in myths; there are plenty that are even more appalling.

  • 122 Thus, we might conicude here that «naturalism» was not his starting point, but the inescapable cons (...)
  • 123 The religious morality of Homer might, in contrast, be characterised by an attitude to reciprocal j (...)
  • 124 See n. 116 above. (Cf. Rosenmeyers observation quoted in n. 96 above.) He demonstrates that with d (...)
  • 125 Burkert 1987, 247. Cf. also Frankel 1975, 53f. : «If to Homeric man religion was nothing but the tr (...)
  • 126 Cf. nn. 84 and 88 above.

21Thus, the empirical observation of the relativity of religious beliefs and his reasoning about the relationship of these beliefs on the one hand, and religious-moral behaviour on the other, coalesced for him in the conception of a universal and «transcendent» God who is not dependent on our «circumstantial dispositions»122. If my interpretation above is correct, then we should expand on the meaning of «circumstantial disposition» to include not only human perceptions about God, but also our religious-moral attitudes towards him. The attitude that makes use of the gods’ immoralities as a pretext for human offences subjects the gods to the limited demands of human behaviour. But this might also apply to the moralisation of gods I have referred to above as an interpretative context for Xenophanes’ theology; for the belief that the gods observe moral rules similar to ours among themselves makes them exposed to a limitation which is not essentially different from the attitude that uses their immoralities as an excuse or justification for human offences. But neither is the expectation that the gods will, as a rule, treat us fairly and meet the expectations of our moral sensitivity by punishing the bad and rewarding the good according to our wishes123. Deichgräber argued that it is precisely the gods’ apparent immorality against humans (such as deception) that lies at the heart of deep religious reverence for them in Homer’s world and pointed out that the awareness of the gods’ superiority over us makes attempts at their moralisation gratuitous124. In theological terms the Archaic concern for a theodicy bears the mark of the loss of this awareness as much as the kind of rationalisation of guilt Xenophanes might have responded to by his sublime God. Thus, if I see the main concern of Xenophanes’ theology correctly, then his most sublime God might also be taken to respond to the kind of moralisation of the divine which implies an attempt at making it accountable and predictable. While it is true that «the fear of god is the beginning of morality» for the Greeks, this does not mean that «Greek religion may be derived from its moral function», as Burkert points out125. If Xenophanes’ conception of a sublime God was also directed against attempts at a theodicy that tended to reduce religious belief to a function of morality, then we could expect no traces of theodicy in his own theology. The consequence of the incomparable sublimity and power of God seems to be that he is removed from both gods and humans to the extent of indifference126. If God does not communicate with humans, nor does he intervene in human affairs, he seems to be unsuitable for fulfilling the role of a guardian of justice or morality in the broadest sense. Can we talk about a theodicy here, then, in any sense? If Xenophanes’ primary intention is to underline the sublimity of the divine as I have indicated, can he consistently attribute to God the ability to intercede, an ability which seems to be required by theodicy?

  • 127 As it is famously stated by Zeus at the beginning of the Odyssey (Od. 1.32-4): πόποι, οἷον δή νυ (...)
  • 128 This is how Gill summarises the attitude of the suitors, which he thinks follows from the fact that (...)

22The essential thesis of theodicy is that the gods or God cannot be made responsible or co-responsible for human crime or afflictions127. It follows, that if humans suffer, they do so deservedly; if, on the other hand, they have committed some offence and they do not receive due punishment immediately, they will do so sooner or later, that is, the gods intercede to change the course of their temporary prosperity. Yet there might be a broader sense in which we could talk about theodicy: the thesis that god is «not to be blamed» (ἀναίτιος) might also imply that he cannot be made accountable, that is, with regard to our expectations about crime and punishment. I have been suggesting so far that it is in this sense that we might talk about theodicy in Xenophanes’ theology. But if he wished to ground morality in his conception of God and a piety imbued with a «high regard» for the incomparable stature of God, he must have noticed the ambiguity of the attempt; indeed, the conception of a sublime God who does not intervene (or does not reliably do so) in human affairs is unsuitable for guaranteeing morality, because offenders can adopt the mentality, «pay when you must, steal when you can»128. At the same time, the reduction of religious awe to a function of morality sets limitations to the divine that indicates a loss of reverence for it. Thus, there might be an essential crux about theodicy: the crucial problem for Greek religious morality seems to be how the gods could be moralised without being made accountable or predictable. I would like to suggest that Xenophanes’ conception of God might be conceived as a solution for that problem. The solution had to make clear that God’s judgement is invincible and guaranteed in some sense, but that his workings are inscrutable for humans. I think Xenophanes’ conception compiles with both of these features.

  • 129 Cf. Erbse 1986, 28: «Der Dichter verleiht seinen Göttern menschliche Schwächen, weil sie unter best (...)
  • 130 Cf. Guthrie 1954, 120; Kenney 1989, 272.
  • 131 This applies to religious as well as moral behaviour.
  • 132 See e.g. Il. 15.104-24. Cf. Frankel 1975, 56.
  • 133 Cf. Dreyer 1970, 18 n.50; Frankel 1975, 55; Heitsch 1983, 158; Erbse 1986 217; Yamagata 1994, 122.
  • 134 The most obvious example is that of Odysseus in the Odyssey. Cf. Sullivan 1995, 181.
  • 135 Cf. Adkins 1960, 52. Insofar as there is a clear-cut hierarchy within the divine society with Zeus (...)
  • 136 ώς επιεικές, Il. 8.31; cf. 1.547. See the discussion of Heitsch 1983, 158f.
  • 137 Dreyer 1970, 8f. and Heitsch 1983, 158 point out that the «epiprepei-criterion» is observed by the (...)
  • 138 Cf. e.g. Guthrie 1962, 382 n. 2.
  • 139 Cf. Heitsch 1983, 157; Lesher 1992, 107.
  • 140 When Zeus nods assent to Thetis entreaty and makes Olympus shake (Il. 1.530) he makes a decision ( (...)

23In a sense, it is their involvement with and concern for humans that makes the Homeric gods human129. But this involvement and concern is ambiguous: on the one hand, it is a source of pride and reassurance as well as that of a feeling of familiarity and closeness for humans, on the other hand, their anthropomorphism and anthropopathism only make their differences clearer130. They tend to belie the expectations of humans at crucial points and fail to exhibit consistency in their responses to them131. Also, it is their involvement with and concern for humans that create conflicts among the gods (favouritism and nepotism of humans)132. These are never as serious as they can be for humans133, but that only makes it all the more ironical that when they arise, the unavoidable consequence often is that some humans must suffer undeservedly, at least, from their own point of view134. Now, in a τιμή-oriented society as that of Homeric gods and men, conflicts and disputes that arise among equals or quasi-equals are difficult to resolve135. However, conflicts in heaven come to be settled in the end and the unity of divine society is restored unshaken, but as long as they are going on and in consequence of their existence human suffering is ineluctable. Reflecting on this notorious feature of Homeric gods, Xenophanes might be attempting to set up an unequivocal hierarchy among «gods and men» by his conception of «a single greatest God» who would settle disputes before they could arise, as it were, as a solution for the experience of innocent human suffering. When the interests of gods collide as a consequence of their concern with or for humans they must immediately acknowledge that Zeus is the ultimate authority that decides upon the fates of men «as is befitting»136. As opposed to Zeus, the gap between Xenophanes’ God and the other gods and men as well as his dignity, to which involvement with humans and, consequently, any favouritism or nepotism is «unseemly» might be meant to make sure that his judgement will not be confounded by the claims of other gods (or humans) and that humans will not suffer undeservedly. God’s «immobility» referred to in B 26.1 and the ease by which he «shakes everything» (B 25) no doubt express his invincible power, but what is «unseemly» for him is the sort of concern for or involvement with humans that makes the gods go from one place to another (B 26.2)137. The judgements of Xenophanes’ God seem to be impartial and invincible on account of his sublime position. Thus, his «shaking» of everything, which has puzzled many interpreters who attempted to associate it with some cosmic «guidance» of the world138 might imply not only his sovereignty139, but also the invincibility and certainty of his judgement and «plans»140.

  • 141 In his commentary on the much debated phrase, νόου φρενί (B 25) Heitsch 1983, 154 points out that i (...)
  • 142 Critics have noted the parallels of B 24 and B 25 with AeschylusSupp. 86-103 (cf. e.g. Guthrie 196 (...)
  • 143 Cf Heitsch 1983, 147 and 153.

24A discussion of the inscrutability of Xenophanes’ God and his «plans»141 raises the issue of his epistemic ideas, which would require at least as much space as I have devoted to his theology here. For the sake of brevity, then, I would merely like to point out that it inevitably follows from the sublimity of God, that is, his dissimilarity from humans142. It is also implied by B 24, which underlines that he defies any representation143.

Conclusion

25A thorough analysis of Xenophanes’ theology from the point of view of the Archaic concern with theodicy would require a comprehensive study of that much debated topic. I hope to have shown, however, that Xenophanes’ theology is not irrelevant to the issue and that it might have played a greater role in his intellectual-historical motivations than has been noted so far. Xenophanes reflected upon the religious-moral crisis and challenges of his time and with remarkable intellectual freedom, valour and consistency redefined the divine in a way that seemed to him to comply with both piety and the demands of a new moral sensitivity. In that attempt he was a precursor of no smaller a philosopher than Plato.

  • 144 Lesher 1992.114.
  • 145 Op.cit. 116.
  • 146 I would like to express my deep gratitude to Fr Dr Brendan M. Purcell and Ms Tamar Nelson for corre (...)

26«A novel conception of the divine does not a philosopher make», Lesher remarks144. I think, however, that the exploration of causes and effects in the domain of religious-moral phenomena and a redefinition of the divine in compliance both with conclusions drawn from it and with religious-moral challenges do. Xenophanes’ theology does not rest on logical proof145, yet this does not mean that it is devoid of philosophical rationality, which does not shrink from a revision of the divine from the perspective of a religious-moral «logic» for which old conceptions seemed ambiguous. If we further explored the conclusions he drew from his novel conception of the deity on the prospects and methods of human knowledge and how this contributed to a differentiation of the concept of «nature», his philosophical achievement could be seen even more clearly146.

Bibliographie

Adkins, A.W.H., 1960, Merit and responsibility. A study in Greek values, Oxford.

Babut, D., 1974, «Sur la ‘théologie’ de Xénophane», Revue Philosophique de la France et de l'Etranger 164, 401-40.

Barnes, J., 19822, The Presocratic philosophers, London, New York.

Burkert, W., 1987, Greek religion, tr. J. Raffan, Oxford.

Burnet, J. (ed.), 1900, Platonis Opera I-V, Oxford.

Burnet, J. (ed.), 1920, Early Greek Philosophy, London.

Burnet, J. (ed.), 1953, Greek philosophy. Thaïes to Plato, London.

Chantraine, P., 1968, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque, Paris.

Cherniss, H., 1935, Aristotle's criticism of Presocratic philosophy, Baltimore.

Cherniss, H., 1951, «The characteristics and effects of Presocratic philosophy», Journal of the History of Ideas 12, 319-45.

Deichgräber, K., 1938, «Xenophanes ΠΕΡΙ ΦΥΣΕΩΣ », Rheinisches Museum 87, 1-31.

Deichgräber, K., 1942, Der Listensinnende Trug des Gottes, Göttingen.

Diels, H., 19516, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker I-III (hg. W. Kranz), Berlin.

Dodds, E. R., 1951, The Greeks and the irrational, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London. Dover, K.J., 1994, Greek popular morality in the time of Plato and Aristotle, Indianapolis, Cambridge.

Dreyer, O., 1970, Untersuchungen zum Begriff des Gottgeziemenden in der Antike, Hildesheim, New York.

Duke, E.A., Hicken, W.F., Nicoll, W.S.M., Robinson, D.B., Strachan, J.C.G. (eds.), 1995, Platonis Opera I, Oxford.

Erbse, H., 1986, Untersuchungen zur Funktion der Götter im homerischen Epos, Berlin, New York.

Finkelberg, A., 1990, «Studies in Xenophanes», Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 93, 103-67.

Frànkel, H., 19683, Wege und Formen frühgriechischen Denkens, München.

Frànkel, H., 1975, Early Greek poetry and philosophy, tr. M. Hadas and J. Willis, Oxford.

Gernet, L., 1955, Droit et société dans la Grèce ancienne, Paris.

Gill, D., 1980, «Aspects of Religious Morality in Early Greek Epic», Harvard Theological Review 73, 373-418.

Gomperz, Th., 19224, Griechische Denker. Eine Geschichte der antiken Philosophie, I, Berlin.

Gerber, D. E. (ed., tr.), 1999, Greek elegiac poetry, Cambridge, Mass., London.

Guthrie, W.K.C., 1954, The Greeks and their gods, Boston.

Guthrie, W.K.C., 1962, A history of Greek philosophy, I, Cambridge.

Hack, R.K., 1969, God in Greek philosophy to the time of Socrates, Princeton.

Havelock, E.A., 1978, The Greek concept of justice, Cambridge, Mass.

Heitsch, E., 1966, «Das Wissen des Xenophanes», Rheinisches Museum 109, 193-235.

Heitsch, E., 1983, Xenophanes. Die Fragmente, Samml. Tusculum, München.

Heitsch, E., 1994, Xenophanes und die Anfange kritischen Denkens, Stuttgart.

Jaeger, W., 1939-45, Paideia. The ideals of Greek culture, I-IIΙ, tr. G. Highet, Oxford.

Jaeger, W., 1947, The theology of the early Greek philosophers, Oxford.

Jaeger, W., (ed.) 1957, Aristotelis Metaphysica, Oxford.

Kenney, J.P., 1989, «Monotheistic and polytheistic elements in classical mediterranean spirituality», in: Classical mediterranean spirituality. Egyptian, Greek, Roman, ed. A.H. Armstrong, New York, 269-92.

Lesher, J.H., 1978, «Xenophanes’ scepticism», Phronesis 23, 1-21.

Lesher, J.H., 1991, «Xenophanes on inquiry and discovery. An alternative to the ‘hymn to progress’ reading of Fr. 18», Ancient Philosophy 11, 229-48.

Lesher, J.H., 1992, Xenophanes of Colophon. Fragments. A text and translation with a commentary, Toronto.

Lloyd-Jones, H., 1971, The justice of Zeus, Berkeley.

Long, A.A., 1970, «Morals and Values in Homer», Journal of Hellenic Studies 90, 121-39.

Lumpe, A., 1952, Die Philosophie desXenophanes von Kolophon, München.

Mansfeld, J., 1964, Die Offenbarung des Parmenides und die menschliche Welt, Assen.

Mansfeld, J. (ed.), 1983, Die Vorsokratikev I: Milesier, Pythagoreer, Xenophanes, Heraklit, Parmenides, Stuttgart.

Mansfeld, J., 1988, «De Melisso Xenophanes Gorgia. Pyrrhonizing Aristotelianism», Rheinisches Museum 131, 239-76.

Marcovich, M., 1978, «Xenophanes on drinking parties and Olympic games», Illinois Classical Studies 3, 1-26.

Monro, D.B., Allen, T.W. (eds.), 19203, Homeri Opera, I-II, Oxford.

Nauck, A. (ed.), 1964, Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, Hildesheim.

Nilsson, M.P., 1957, «Die Griechengötter und die Gerechtigkeit», Harvard Theological Review 50, 193-210.

Nilsson, M.P., 19673, Geschichte der griechischen Religion, I, München.

Otto, W.F., 1955, Die Musen und der göttliche Ursprung des Singens und Sagens, Tübingen.

Palmer, J.A., 1988, «Xenophanes’ ouranian god in the fourth century», Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 16, 1-34.

Palmer, J.A., 1999, Plato’s Reception of Parmenides, Oxford.

Pettazzoni, R., 1956, The all-knowing god, Researches into early religion and culture, tr. H.J.Rose, London.

Reinhardt, K., 1916, Parmenides und die Geschichte der griechischen Philosophie, Bonn.

Rosenmeyer, Th.G., 1982, The Art of Aeschylus, Berkeley.

Schäfer, Ch., 1996, Xenophanes von Kolophon. Ein Vorsokratiker zwischen Mythos und Philosophie, Stuttgart, Leipzig.

Seng, H., 1988, «τὰ δίκαια beim Symposion», Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura classica 59, 123-31.

Steinmetz, O., 1966, «Xenophanesstudien», Rheinisches Museum 109, 13-73.

Sullivan, S.D., 1995, Psychological and ethical ideas. What early Greeks say, Leiden, New York, Koln.

Untersteiner, M., 1956, Senofane. Testimonianze e frammenti, Florence.

Vernant, J.-P., 19977, Les origines de la pensée grecque, Paris.

Vlastos, G., 1995a, «Equality and justice in early Greek cosmologies» (1947), in: G.V., Studies in Greek philosophy!, New Jersey, 57-88.

Vlastos, G., 1995b, «Theology and philosophy in early Greek thought» (1952), in: G.V., Studies in Greek philosophy I, New Jersey, 3-31.

Vlastos, G., 1995c, «Isonomia» (1953), in: G.V., Studies in Greek Philosophy I, New Jersey, 89-111.

Voegelin, E., 1990, Published Essays 1966-1985, Baton Rouge, London.

West, M.L. (ed.), 1978, Hesiod. Works and days, Oxford.

Wiesner, J., 1976, Ps.-Aristoteles, MXG. Der historische Wert des Xenophanesreferats.

Beitrage zur Geschichte des Eleatismus, Amsterdam.

Williams, B., 1993, Shame and Necessity, Berkeley 1993.

Yamagata, N., 1994, Homeric Morality, Leiden, New York, Köln.

Notes

1 As implied by the earliest testimonies about him, that is, by those of Heraclitus and Empedocles. See 21 A 3 = 22 B 40; 21 A 47 (to 31 B 39); cf. 21 A 6, A 9, A 10, A 13, A 20. (All the fragments and testimonies of Xenophanes referred to or quoted below follow the edition of Diels-Kranz, 1951.)

2 That he was primarily a «theologian» seems to be Aristotles opinion about him in Metaph. 986b18-27 (= 21 A 30). The meaning of this passage is hotly debated and especially its classification of Xenophanes as an «Eleatic monist» (see e.g. Cherniss 1935, 23 n.85, 201 n.228; Steinmetz 1966, 21f., 46-8; Babut 1974, 435-40; Palmer 1988, passim, especially 1-9, 21-3; Finkelberg 1990, 103-13). I adopt here the conclusion of Deichgrâber, Steinmetz and Lesher that Aristotle took him, primarily, to be a theologian (see Deichgräber 1938, 13; Steinmetz 1966, 48; Lesher 1992, 191) and the suggestion by Steinmetz that he considered him, along with Melissus, «rather primitive» (ὡςὄντες μικρòν ἀγροικότεροι, Metaph. 986b26f.) in terms of his «dialectic», that is, as an Eleatic thinker (Steinmetz 1966, ibid). Elsewhere Aristotle mentions the theologians and the natural philosophers as two different groups (Metaph. 1071 b27 and 1075 b26f.) and, despite his belief that «the lover of myth, too, is a lover of wisdom in a sense» (και ό φιλόμυθος φιλόσοφός πώς ἐστιν, Metaph. 982 bl8f.) (where ό φιλόμυθος seems not to be different from the «theologians» or the μυθικῶς σοφιζόμενοι at Metaph. 1000 al8f.), he obviously considers the latter group more developed than the former in terms of (rational) philosophical speculation. Thus, Xenophanes is neither an adequate Eleatic nor a natural philosopher in his view and he only appreciates him as a theologian. See also Rh. 1399 b5-9 (=21 A 12) and 1400 b5-8 (cf. 21 A 13) where he speaks far more sympathetically about his religious doctrines. (Very differently Palmer 1988, passim.)

3 Cf. Sph. 242c8-d6 (cf. 21 A 29); Aristotle Metaph. 986b 18-27 (= 21 A 30); the later doxography from Theophrastus through Cicero to Simplicius and the Suda predominantly follow Platos lead (for detailed references see Palmer 1999, 187).

4 As Palmer points out, the Platonic tradition was first questioned by Burnet (see Palmer 1990.187); for a helpful summary of the history of the debate see op.cit. 186-9.

5 Cf. Reinhardt, 1916. passim.

6 For a thorough survey and critical evaluation of the debate see Wiesner 1976; Mansfeld 1988.

7 For examples of dismissive views see Palmer 1990, 188 nn. 10 and 11.

8 The philosophical purport of his epistemic doctrines (often with reference to their influence on Parmenides) was stressed e.g. by Deichgräber 1938, 19-31; Heitsch 1966, passim, especially 233-5; Frankel 1968, 348f. ; Mansfeld 1964, 8-11, 120f. ; 1983, 213, 285; Lesher 1978 passim; 1992, 117, 183-6; those of his views «on nature» by Deichgrâber 1938, 1-19; Dodds 1951, 181; Lesher 1992, 141f., 145-8; for an attempt to connect Xenophanes God with Parmenides v see Finkelberg 1990, 155-67; Palmer 1999, 185-206; the philosophical significance of his theology was stressed by Barnes 1982, 82-99 and Palmer 1988, passim.

9 This is how Barnes 1982, 83 summarises the view of the majority. This orthodoxy is gradually being undermined (cf. also Untersteiner 1956, CCXLII-CCL; Heitsch 1966, 222; Lesher 1992, 5).

10 See Dodds 1951, 33; cf. 31. The literature on the topic is vast and fraught with hot debates. The most important studies are: Jaeger 1939-45, I, 1-184; Dodds 1951, 28-63; Adkins 1960, passim; Long 1970, passim; Lloyd-Jones 1971, passim; Havelock 1978, passim; Gill 1980, passim; Williams 1993, passim; Sullivan 1995, 174-228; Yamagata 1994, passim. For further literature see Sullivan 1995, 174. A detailed substantiation of my point would require a far more careful study of what I have summed up as a «rationalisation of the divine» than I can present here. Thus, I would like to underline that my paper is meant to be a preliminary thought experiment, by which I hope to prepare a more substantial study and indicate that it might be worthwhile.

11 So much so that – if I don’t misunderstand him – Adkins in his famous work, Merit and Responsibility, comes to the conclusion that even Plato and Aristotle failed to accomplish it successfully (cf. Adkins 1960, Chs. XIII-XVI, especially 292f. and 348-51; cf. Lloyd-Jones 1971, 2).

12 Even when they arise, philosophical concepts, especially those that later come to denote disciplines (such as philosophia and theologia) operate as symbols rather than concepts, whose richness of meaning surpasses what the corresponding concept denotes for us. On symbols as distinguished from concepts see Voegelin 1990, 52-4; on philosophy as an experience-symbol see op.cit. 270-2.

13 Cf. Jaeger 1947, 38-54; Barnes 1982, 82-99. To a certain extent, these opposing tendencies of interpretation might be seen to have been prefigured by the opposing views of Aristotle, who seems to consider him to be a theologian rather than a serious Eleatic thinker and the MXG, the author of which attributes to him a highly sophisticated logical apparatus.

14 Op.cit. 99. For his characterisation of Xenophanes as a «logical theologian» see op.cit. 98.

15 Op.cit. 94f.

16 This is a matter of interpreting his epistemology, which I would like to put aside here, as far as that is possible.

17 That he was a theist in the first place is, by and large, a consensus among modem critics. See Guthrie 1962, 374; Heitsch 1983, 144-7, 151; Mansfeld 1983, 209; Lesher 1992, 115 n.2.

18 B 32: ἥν τ Iριν καλέουσι, νέφος καὶ τοῦτο πέφυκε, / πορφύρεον καὶ φοινίκεον καὶ χλωρòν ἰδέσθαι.

19 Op.cit. 99. The meaning of Aristotles testimony (Metaph. 986b 18-27 = 21 A 30) is much debated but I dont think its purport is an attribution of a (or even some form of) cosmological argument for the existence of god to Xenophanes. Barnes seems to be aware of this, and that may be his reason for supposing the existence of a lost fragment with the desired argumentative purport on which Aristotle might have drawn (he shares this view with Steinmetz 1966, 48).

20 See e.g. Burnet 1920, 13-5; Gomperz 1922, I, 37-40; Cherniss 1951, 326f.

21 am not, of course, challenging here Jaegers groundbreaking contribution to Presocratic studies. Yet as far as his interpretation of Xenophanes is concerned, I would like to point out some difficulties relevant to our present concerns.

22 Jaeger 1947, 40. Accordingly, he denies (again contra Barnes) that the MXG might convey authentic Xenophanean reasoning (cf. op.cit. 51-4).

23 Op.cit. 49. However, this does not mean for Jaeger that he was «an eclectic pseudo-philosopher» but only a refusai of «the Eleaticizing view of Xenophanes» (op. cit. 54).

24 Barnes 1982, 85.

25 Safely, but somewhat uncommittedly, he characterises it as «rational theology» (op.cit. 54).

26 He thinks that the sublimity of Xenophanes God follows from his moral purity (cf. op.cit. 49).

27 Op.cit 40, and 210 nn. 11 and 12.

28 Op.cit 43.

29 Cf. op.cit Ch. II, passim, especially 31 and 203 n.44. It is remarkable that he comes to formulations and ideas very similar to those of Gregory Vlastos, vvho criticises him for the main idea of his project. Their common anachronism is, I think, that both imply that the specific philosophical achievement of the natural philosophers lay in their «transposition» of the divine to or its identification with «nature» (cf. Jaeger op.cit 31, 174, 203 n. 44; Vlastos 1995b, 20, 24).

30 He considers Xenophanes theology a sort of new beginning in terms of the status of religous piety within. philosophy, because he thinks that Anaximanders conception of the divine tended to deprive it of its religious sublimity through reducing it to some world-ground, which involved «new riddles more difficult than those for which it provides an answer» (op.cit; 43; cf. 49). Perhaps a formulation from the last chapter of his study, where he discusses the Sophists and Democritus, illustrates well the ambiguity underlying his entire project: «While the older theology of the natural philosophers replaced. the traditional ideas of the gods with its own conception of the Divine, the new anthropological and psychological approach proceeds to rehabilitate the popular religion, which has hitherto seemed irreconcilabie with philosophical truth» (op.cit 178; my italics). This is clearly an idea of positivistic provenience, which Jaeger could not entirely get rid of. It seems to me that the theoretical framework of «natural theology» ultimately carried with itself undesired implications he did not notice.

31 He attempts to bring these opposing tendencies under the same denominator through characterising Milesian speculation by the term «metaphysical» (to avoid reducing their speculations to natural philosophy in the positivistic sense) but I think this conceals rather than explains away contradictions in the overall conception of «natural theology» (cf. op.cit. 21). Weltanschauung and «ontology» have the same effect (see op.cit 20, 39, 172).

32 For Jaeger, «the immediate sense of awe at the sublimity of the divine» is not, of course, an argument. Yet insofar as he thinks it responded to the consequences Xenophanes himself drew from Milesian «naturalism», he conceives of it as functioning in some sense as an «argument».

33 Cf. Lesher 1992, 115f. for further considerations against a proof for the existence of god in Xenophanes.

34 See B 32 quoted above in n. 18; B 31: ήέλιός θ ύπεριέμενος γαὶάν τ' έπιθάλπων; the testimonies on the sun being gathered from small sparks or (ignited) clouds (A 32, A 33.3, A 40); and A 39: Ξ, τοὺς ὲπὶ τν πλοίων φαινομένους οἷον ἀστέρας, οὓς καὶ Διοσκούρους καλοῦσί τινες, νεφέλια εἶναι, κατὰ, τηὴν ποιαν κίνησιν παραλάμποντα.

35 Β 34: καὶ το μὲν ον σαφές οὔτις άνήρ ἴδεν οὐδέ τις ἓσται / εὶδὼς άμφὶ θεῶν τε καὶ ἄσσα λέγω περί πάντων / εί γὰρ καί. τὰ μάλιστα τύχοι. τετελεσμένον εἰπών, ατός όμως ούκ οδε δόκος δ ἐπὶ πᾶσι τέτυκται.

36 Frankel 1975, 335. Cf. Frankel 1968, 340.

37 See Mansfeld 1964, 8 n.2; Heitsch 1966, 207-16; Barnes 1982, 138; Lesher 1992, 157 f., 160, 162f.

38 B 16: Αἰθίοπές τε <θεοὺς σψετέρους> σιμοὺς μέλανάς τε / Θρῆικές τε γλαυκοὺς και πυρρούς <φασι πέλεσθαι>.

39 Interestingly, there is a not untypical confusion in modem criticism about the causal relationship of his theology and epistemic ideas. Some suggest that his theological doctrines are the resuit of his epistemology (see e.g. Heitsch 1966, 216-9), others reverse this logical order and imply that it is his theology that serves as a basis for his epistemology (see e.g. Deichgräber 1938, 21; Lesher 1978, 14-6; 1991, 242). Schafer argues for their «mutual dependence» (see Schäfer 1996, 116), yet seems to give priority to his epistemic ideas (op.cit. 144, 146). Mansfeld contends that his natural philosophical observations performed the service of justifying his polemic against ordinary beliefs about the gods (see Mansfeld 1983, 208). Indeed, it should be noted that whichever of the two one picks out as a starting point for unfolding the internai logic of Xenophanes ideas, the discussion will inescapably involve the other and thus create difficulties for the order of explication, at least. But if we are to deal with a unified and coherent network of ideas, which is our working hypothesis, does it make any difference where we begin to unravel its various threads? I think, it does matter where we begin, for, as I have pointed out above, the intellectual-historical triggers of a thinkers ideas highly determine their organization.

40 B 15: άλλ εἰ χειρας εχον βόες <ίπποι τ> ήὲ λέοντες / ή γράψαι χείρεσσι και ἔργα τελεῖν ἅπερ ἄνδρες, / 'ίπποι μἄν θ ἵπποισι βόες δέ τε βουσιν όμοιας / καί <κε> θεῶν Ιδέας έγραφον καὶ σώματ έποίουν / τοιαῦθ οίόν περ καυτοί δέμας εἶχον <ἕκαστοι>.

41 Such absurdities are, further, that the gods are born and that they have their own, albeit special clothing, voice and body (B 14) and that they behave in human, all too human ways in that they commit all sorts of shameful deeds (B 11 and B 12). It might be debated whether B 15 and B 16 imply an argument against such views of the gods or merely represent examples for the genesis of religious beliefs (cf. Lesher 1992, 91-4, 116). The issue implies a discussion of Xenophanes epistemology again, on which I cannot enter here. (However, cf. Heitsch 1966, 217-33; Mansfeld 1983, 209f. ; Schäfer 1996, 110, 114 n. 50 contra Lesher 1992, 116.)

42 Heitsch 1966, 221f., 224f. demonstrates this by a thoughtful interpretation of B 38 (quoted below in n.45). Schäfer points out that in his positive theology Xenophanes leaves comparatives behind and uses the superlative (Schäfer 1996, 167 with n. 161).

43 Heitsch 1966, 218; 1983, 145; Mansfeld 1983, 209; Schäfer 1996, 170.

44 Lesher 1978, 10.

45 B 38: εἰ μη χλωρòν έφυσε θεòς μέλι, πολλòν ἔφασκον / γλύσσονα σῦκα πέλεσθαι.

46 It has been pointed out that the observation that humans represent their gods in their likeness did not lead him to the conclusion-apparently inescapable for the generation of the Sophists-that the gods are the product of mere human fancy or some sort of wishful thinking. See Nilsson 1967, 742; Schäfer 1996, 153 with n. 130.

47 Jaeger 1947, 49. Jaeger notes that Xenophanes conception of the Divine is determined by moral criteria, (cf. op.cit. 49f.) yet apparently, he did not find those «rational» enough for him to merit the name of a philosopher. The reason might be that he conceived of Milesian philosophy as a sort of «ontology» devoid of religious-moral content. Cf. n. 60 below.

48 He seems to be also inclined to accept (2) (a), since he considers the Milesians to be «negative atheists» (Barnes 1982, 97).

49 That is also why-among other reasons-he could not have been a pantheist either. Barnes adopts that view (again in characteristic opposition to Jaeger) (cf. op.cit. 99). Schäfer enlists sufficient arguments against pantheism (see Schäfer 1996, 184-7). He also challenges the reliability of Aristotle's testimony (op.cit. 174 and 186). That he was not a pantheist was already stressed by Reinhardt 1916, 118.

50 He says that about pantheism in Burnet 1953, 32.

51 Barnes 1982, 96.

52 See R. 529 a9-530 c3, especially 529 a9-c3.

53 R. 529 d4-5,

54 Plato's attitude to natural philosophy is too complicated an issue to be even referred to here, and, of course, I do not claim to have summarised it above. But perhaps I should indicate here my overall agreement with Jaegers approach: «I really find it difficult to believe that Plato originally approached the central problem of his ethical and political philosophy – God – or any other problem, from the standpoint of natural philosophy; as he does in Timaeus and The Laws. True, he gradually came to feel that this aspect was more and more important: God, he thought, was necessary to set the stars in motion. But his primary approach to the problem was the Socratic and not the pre-Socratic one» (Jaeger 1939-45, II, 415 n. 39b). The one exception is that I do not think we could talk about «pre-Socratic» here without qualification.

55 Schäfer 1996, 173f.

56 Cf. Lesher 1992, 73f. (with reference to Barnes view that he does not go beyond the tradition of didactic poetry represented by Hesiod, Theognis and Solon [see Barnes 1982, 122]) and 84f.

57 Lesher 1992, 74.

58 Op.cit. 75f. Cf. Mansfeld 1964, 121; Schäfer 1996, 114, 146-9, 174.

59 See n. 56 above.

60 Cf. Schäfer 1996, 195 and 197. It must be noted, however, that there have been important attempts at connecting Milesian natural philosophy to the rather complex economic, social and political changes of 7th and 6th century Greece that gave rise to the polis which demonstrated its relevance to the politico-moral-religious reflection of the time (see Vernant 1962, especially Chs. 7-8, 100-131; Vlastos 1995a, passim, 1995c, passim). Archaic concerns with a theodicy are part of this reflection and thus, from this perspective, Milesian natural philosophy and Xenophanes moral-religious concerns might not seem so divergent. Jaeger also emphasised this aspect of Milesian thought in his Paideia (see Jaeger 1939-45, I, 160f.), but seems to have suppressed it in The Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers.

61 See B 11: πάντα θεοῖσ ανέβηκαν "Ομηρός θ’ ‘Ησίοδός τε, / όσσα παρ άνθρώποισιν όνείδεα καί ψόγος ἐστίν, / κλέπτειν μοιχεύειν τε καί ἀλλήλους ἀπατεύειν and Β 12: ώς πλεῖστ(α) έφθέγξαντο θεῶν ἀθεμίστια έργα, / κλέπτειν μοιχεύειν τε καί ἀλλήλους άπατεύειν.

62 Schäfer 1996, 147f. ; cf. Heitsch 1983, 126f, For the latter point cf. Dreyer 1970, 8-11; Heitsch 1983, 145, 149-51, 153, 155, 157, 158; Schàfer 1996, 178f.

63 See Barnes 1982, 84f. ; Schàfer 1996, 203.

64 See n. 62 above. Typically, these interpreters do not see a wide gap between early Greek science and religion.

65 See B 23: ες θεός, ἔν τε θεoῖσι καί άνθρώποισι μέγιστος, / οὔτι δέμας θνητοῖσιν όμοίιος ουδέ νόημα, and Β 14: άλλ οἱ βροτοί δοκέουσι γεννᾶσθαι θεούς, / τὴν σφετέρην δ ἐσθῆτα ἕχειν φωνήν τε δέμας τε.

66 Β 26: αἰεὶ δ ἐν ταύτώι μίμνει κινούμενος ούδέν / ούδέ μετέρχεσθαί μιν ἐπιπρέπει ἄλλοτε ἄλληι.

67 Β 24: ολος όρᾶι, ολος δὲ νοεῖ, ούλος δέ τ ἀκούει, and Β 25: ἄλλ ἀπάνευθε πόνοιο νόου φρενὶ πάντα κραδαίνει.

68 Cf. Β 11 and Β 12 quoted in n. 61 above.

69 Hack 1969, 64 quoted by Schäfer 1996, 173f. where see his discussion.

70 Burkerts formulation might be representative: «Thus in essence the old epithets of the everlasting, stronger, blessed gods are preserved and made absolute, only the spiritual element has been introduced in place of naïve anthropomorphism» (Burkert 1987, 318). See also Heitsch 1983, 145, 153, 158; Schäfer 1996, 149 with n. 124.

71 Fr. 292.7, Nauck: εἰ θεοί τι δρώσιν αισχρόν, οὐκ εἰσὶν θεοί. Cf. Ion 436-51; IT380-91.

72 That Homeric gods are not concerned with (reciprocal) justice at all is an idea whose most famous representatives were Dodds 1951, 28-63, especially 32 and Adkins 1960, 62-5. It came to be hotly debated by Long 1970, passim; Lloyd jones 1971, passim; Gill 1980, passim; Williams 1993, passim; Yamagata 1994, passim and many others. As I have noted, I would only like to engage in this complicated issue here to the extent that its relevance to Xenophanes theology might be seen. Yet it must, perhaps, be noted that I think it is reasonable to accept that Homer had little concern for reciprocal (cf. Lloyd-Jones 1971, 7, 59) or what was also called «distributive» justice (see Gernet 1955, 81; Chantraine 1968, I, 283f. ; Lloyd-Jones 1971, 6), that is, for «justice that assigns to each what he deserves» (Lloyd-jones 1971, 2, 167 n.26) and that his piety was in a singular tension with such a notion of justice. As background to my discussion I would like to adopt Yamagatas basic conception formulated both against Adkins and Lloyd-Jones, the two extreme representatives of the debate. She argues throughout her book that in Homer «the gods distribute good and bad fortune to men not in response to their moral behaviour, but as required by fate, and therefore do not function as the guardians of justice in the human world. Men, however, believe that the gods are concerned with human morality» (Yamagata 1994, xi, cf. 239) and that the mainstream of Homeric narrative pushes that belief to the background (cf. e.g. op.cit. 88-92, 242).

73 This is a feature of Homeric «theology» discussed by many. See e.g. Nilsson 1957, 193-7; Dodds 1951, 32; Adkins 1960, 63f. ; Yamagata 1994, 93-101, 121-6.

74 A quote from Dover might illustrate the consequence of this feature of Homeric religion: «In the traditional treatment of the cardinal virtues eusebeia and dikaiosynê were distinguished, a fact which carries the implication that a man could possess one of these virtues without the other; [...]» (Dover 1994, 247). Adkins sees the cause of this implication in what he calls «barter-relationship» between men and gods and points out that this was the reason why «moralisers» could not refer to the notions relating to piety, such as hosion and eusehes (Adkins 1960, 133f). Plato, who famously criticises the immorality of the gods, as Xenophanes does, is to attack precisely this notorious feature of Homeric religion in his grand project of connecting dikaiosynê and eusebeia (cf. R. 364 b5-365 a3; Lg. 885 b8f., etc.).

75 Cf. Adkins 1960, especially 6f., 37-46, 71.

76 The demand for a theodicy was felt not only because of the absence of an observable correlation between distributive justice and prosperity (the latter being the obvious sign of the care of gods), but also because of other human experiences that involved the feeling of divine «hostility», such as divine jealousy for human success or motiveless hostility of Zeus towards mankind; all these represent suffering that came to be felt «innocent». Dodds famous analysis of the general Archaic feeling of amêchania («helplessness») and the need it created for the moralisation of the divine, though criticised, remains a valuable classic (cf. Dodds 1951, 28-63).

77 This, as a reason for indignation and confusion is emphasised by Hesiod (Op. 270-3), Solon (13.65-70, Gerber) and Theognis (373-400, 731-52, Gerber). It is typical of Homers religious morality that even at Iliad 16.384-93 where, albeit in a simile, Zeus occurs as «an ethical force defending justice» (Jaeger 1939-45, I, 434 n.45), retribution is so devastating that the innocent and the guilty suffer all alike (cf. Sullivan 1995, 179). Zeus' «justice» in the Iliad is the way Athene describes it by the words: μάρψει δ ἑξείης ὅς τ αίτιος ὅς τε καὶ οὐκί (Il. 15.137). See also Hesiod, Op. 238-47, where many suffer for the crimes of a few; yet Hesiod might attribute a didactic function to this (cf. Sullivan 1995, 186).

78 That is to say, «justice» based on equity, that is, «reciprocal» or «distributive justice» (see n. 72 above). For it has been argued that there injustice in Homer but it is one depending on the stronger, the judgement of the king. The aim of this justice is «the preservation of the established order» (Lloyd-Jones 1971, 4) determined by the king who is at the top of the social hierarchy in a way that seeks the good for the whole society rather than pursuing exacting punishment or reward to debating parties (cf. Yamagata 1994, 68, 240). For the problems of linking aretê to justice see Adkins 1960, 165 and 185.

79 That is to say, rewarding in the long run already in this life, because the gods punish moral guilt with time (cf. Hesiod, Op. 217f., 273; Solon, fr. 13.8, 16-32, Gerber; Theognis 197-208, Gerber) or in such a long run that it extended to another life (for discussions of the latter see Dodds 1951, 33, 137f., 150f., 210; Adkins 1960, 67f., 81 n.14; Lloyd-Jones 1971, 46, 87).

80 This idea is suggested to me, at least, by a remark of Burkerts in his discussion of «Gods between Amorality and Law» (Burkert 1987, Ch. V.3.1). While pondering the reasons for the criticism of what he calls «the dialectic of amoral gods and religious morality» (by which I think he means that «the fear of god is the beginning of morality» in Homer despite the human experience that the gods fail to punish moral offences) he points out that one explanation might be that the criticism was due to a historical development in the course of which mythology as a more primitive stage of morality «came into increasing contradiction with the development of civilization and ethics»; in such a conception «the Olympian confusions would correspond to an unstable aristocratic rule at the end of the dark age». And then he continues: «And yet Zeus, Apollo, and Athena are unquestionably more than members of a Junker aristocracy who tend to kick over the traces; they are more than representatives of a social order overtaken by historical progress. The figure of Zeus in particular has always embodied not merely sovereign power, but a centre of meaning which is accepted without question. One may also attempt to speak in terms of a quasi-amoral justice of Zeus – a justice which is not bound to establish statutes, is neither predictable nor accountable, and yet is ultimately always in the right, even when it brings destruction» (Burkert 1987, 247f.).

81 This applies to τα. δίκαια in B 1.15 and to δίκαιον in B 2.13 (cf. Marcovich 1978, 8, 20f. ; Heitsch 1983, 94; Seng 1988, passim).

82 Cf. B 1.17f. : οΰχ ὕβρις πίνειν ὁπόσον κεν εχων ἀφίκοιο / οἴκαδ ἄνευ προπόλου μὴ πάνυ γηραλέος. (Text and punctuation in agreement with DK, Untersteiner 1956,106 and Lesher 1992, 12. Cf, Leshers commentary in Lesher op.cit. 49 and 52.)

83 Cf. B 3: άβροσύνας δέ μαθόντες ἀνωφελέας παρά Λυδών, / οφρα τυραννίης ήσαν άνευ στυγερῆς, / ήιεσαν εἰς ἀγορὴν παναλουργέα φάρε εχοντες, / οὐ μείους ὥσπερ χίλιοι εἰς ἐπί παν, / αύχαλέοι, χαίτηισιν άγάλμενοι εύπρεπέεσσιν, / ἀσκητoῖσ ὀδμὴν χρίμασι δευόμενοι.

84 In connection with B 3, Lesher argues against Bowra's suggestion that it might contain the moral Theognis drew from the fall of Colophon, that it was a divine punishment for hybris and points out that divine retribution is incompatible with «the austere conception of the divine in fragments 24 and 26 and a demythologized cosmology» (Lesher 1992, 63).

85 Cf. B 2.11-4: οὐκ έών άξιος ώσπερ ἐγώ. ρώμης γὰρ ἀμείνων / άνδρών ήδ ππων ήμετέρη σοφίη. / ἀλλ εἰκῆι μάλα τοῦτο νομίζεται, ουδέ δίκαιον / προκρίνειν ρώμην τής αγαθής σοφίης.

86 Lesher points out that Xenophanes is here contrasting «the personal nature of the good achieved in athletic competition with the civic character» of his expertise (Lesher 1992, 59), which might be taken as another indication of criticism of heroic values. On the meaning of σοφίη see Marcovich 1978, 21f.

87 See Theognis, 373-8, Gerber, about which Burkert remarks: «Morality and piety seem to founder together» (Burkert 1987, 249).

88 Lesher argues extensively that Xenophanes God does not communicate with humans through natural signs (and one thinks again of the passage at Il. 16.384-93, where even those who deny Homeric gods care for justice, admit it depicts an instance of retribution; the «sign» is a rainstorm) and that the ultimate reason for that denial is that he «made the chasrn between the here and the beyond unbridgeable» (a quote from Frankel) in his positive account of god (Lesher 1978, 8; cf. 1991, 242; 1992, 153f.). Lesher seems to suggest that the gap is explicable in terms of his naturalism (see 1978, 10; 1992, 145). I am suggesting here that it might be explicable in terms of his religious-moral considerations. (For the gap between gods / God. and the natural world see also Reinhardt 1916, 118; Frankel 1955, 348; 1975, 336; Mansfeld 1964, 11.)

89 Cf. Lesher 1992, 110, 112f.. Babut 1974, 412, 421-35, 439f. emphasises polemic, but notes the indebtedness,

90 Such as the attribution of moral qualities to the gods (B 11 and B 12) (cf. Lesher 1992, 83), or the attribution of sight, hearing and thinking (B 24) to God, which are forms of anthropomorphism all the same.

91 Cf. ἐπιπρέπει in B 26.2. Πρέπειν and its composites in Homer refer to «conspicuous outward appearance» that normally belongs to something or someone without a connotation of (normative) evaluation (cf. Dreyer 1970, 10; Lesher 1992, 111). Beyond the senses Lesher called «what is empirically evident» (i.e. «conspicuous outward appearance») and «what is objectively the case» (i.e. what normally belongs to something or is characteristic of it), it later assumed normative connotations (i.e. what is «seemly» for or «befitting» something). Insofar as Xenophanes use of ἐπιπρέπει here seems to combine the latter two senses (see Lesher 1992, 11 If.), he is attempting to grasp the physis or «essence» of the divine, which is also «befitting» it (cf. Dreyer 1970, 10 n.22); I think that the somewhat similar development of εἶδος («that which is seen: form, shape»-«kind, nature»-«essence», LSJ s.v.; without normative connotations, however) makes my association above not totally unwarranted. I find it important to note here that what has been called Xenophanes «theoprepes-notion» (Schäfer 1996, 114) seems to take its criteria from what is befitting the dignity, honour or power, that is to say, the timē of the divine (cf. Dreyer 1970, 9; Lesher 1992, 112). In other words, Xenophanes is envisaging the «nature» of God primarily from a religious-moral point of view, for which what is befitting the perfection of the divine is determined by its position or worth assigned to it in the order of gods and men.

92 Taking σφετέρην in B 14.2 as referring to the gods (cf. Lesher 1992, 85f., 89).

93 See n. 96 below.

94 Cf. Lesher 1992, 84.

95 Cf. op.cit 83.

96 Already Wolff pointed out that the stress is on παρ ἀνθρώποισιν in ἅσσα παρ άνθρώποισιν όνείδεα καὶ ψόγος ἐστίν (Β 11.2) (cf. Dreyer 1970, 23). For the idea that the gods are «beyond (moral) good and evil» cf. Frankel 1975, 54: «In this conception the god is not more ethical than man, for strict ethics is a burdensome constraint; but he enjoys a superhuman abundance of vital existence. » Thomas Rosenmeyer in his brilliant The Art of Aeschylus formulates an essentiel enigma of Greek piety: «Gods not only can do wrong, they must do wrong, or at least they must not be limited to doing only right, for that would make their function within the tissue of social experience and human suffering superfluous» (Rosenmeyer 1982, 269). Cf. also Lloyd-Jones 1971, 166 n.15 where he refers to Otto 1955, 124.

97 Cf. Jaeger 1947, 44, 212 n.27; Mansfeld 1983, 210; Lesher 1992, 51,

98 B 23 is among the most hotly debated fragments. I can only indicate here that (1) I do not think he espouses monotheism in it and that (2) whether the whole sentence forms a subject or contains predicates, in any case it stresses the dissimilarity and power (in the sense of dignity, glory, sublimity, etc.) of God. (Cf. Jaeger 1947, 43f. ; Lumpe 1952, 26-8; Heitsch 1983, 147-52; 1994, 17f. ; Lesher 1992, 99f. ; Schäfer 1996, 164-70). Further, I share Mansfelds observation that insofar as we can attribute some form of monotheism to Xenophanes, it is not in the sense of an «either-or» and that it is reasonable to conclude «daβ Xenophanes die Existenz einer vielzahl von Göttern nicht endgültig abgelehnt hat; die anderen Göttern sind aber, verglichen mit dem gröβten, kaum bedeutend» (Mansfeld 1983, 210; cf. Jaeger 1947, 44).

99 Adkins 1960, 12, 26 n.4.

100 At least not in the Iliad, where he is deceived by Hera (even though this happens momentarily and does not affect Zeusplans in the long run at all). See Burkert 1987, 129; cf. Lesher 1992, 106.

101 Cf. It. 3.308f.

102 Cf. Adkins 1960, 13.

103 See Lesher 1992, 110,

104 Cf. Adkins 1960, ibid.; Lloyd-Jones 1971, 82.

105 Lesher has pointed out the stress put on οὔτι in οὔτι δέμας θνητοῖσιν ὁμοίιος ουὐδέ νόημα (Β 23.2), « not at all like mortals either in body or mind» (Lesher 1992, 97). Perhaps the contradiction that seems to arise in the assertion that God is completely unlike humans and yet does have some «body» (B 23.2), the faculty of sight, νοεῖν, hearing (B 24) as well as νόος and a (some) φρήν (B 25) served Xenophanes purposes to underline the sublimity and thus inscrutability of God. If God did not have «body», «mind», etc. at ail or they were at least to some extent similar to ours, we would not be so perplexed in trying to imagine, think of or represent him. For even though his representation, etc. would not be possible either, if he had no body, etc. at all, our mind could still acquiesce in the idea that he is the completely «Other» and see no obvious contradiction in that, whereas, as its unending dispute itself demonstrates, the contradiction that arises from Xenophanes perplexing formulation sets our human mind a principal limitation.

106 Cf. B 10: ἐξ ἀρχῆς καθ ῞Ομηρον ἐπεὶ μεμαθήκασι πάντες...

107 Cf. Jaeger 1947, 212 n.37.

108 See n. 91 above.

109 This is Leshers translation in Lesher 1978, 8. Heitschs translation, «jemandem oder einer Sache nachgehen» (Heitsch 1983, 158), seems also to imply that God does not intervene in human affairs. See also Lesher on B 17 in Lesher 1992, 95f.

110 His power is (ambiguously) «limited» by the moira (cf. Il. 16.433-43; Il. 22.174-85), by the fact that he shares the world with Poseidon and Hades (cf. Il. 15.185-93) and by his (episodic) deception by Hera (which also involves his temporary subjugation by Hypnos) (cf. Il. 14.352f.). It might perhaps be pleaded that it is the fact that Zeus is not a tyrant, who «kicks over the traces» (see n. 80 above), but the pater familias of gods and men, which constitutes certain «weaknesses» in him that ambiguously operate both for the «salvation» and «damnation» of both men and gods. Erbse points out the significance of the «fatherly tenderness» by which he yields to Athene's entreaty right after he has forbidden the gods to take part in the battle and affirmed his invincible power over them (Il. 8.1-40) (cf. Erbse 1986, 212). Enlisting other examples for similar «weaknesses», Erbse concludes: «In der Vorstellung göttlichen Familienvater liegen Kraft und Nachsicht, Einsicht und menschliche Schwäche nahe beieinander. Mit dieser Konzeption ist es Homer gelungen, den iliadischen Zeus seinen Hôrern so nahezubringen, daβ sie ihm ihren Hauptgott wiederzuerkennen glaubten» (op.cit. 215; cf. Heitsch 1983, 150f.). It is the same «weakness» that makes him to say about humans: μέλουσί μοι ὀλλύμενοί περ (Il. 20.21). At the same time, this «weakness» itself and with it, his power, in turn, are also «limited» by the moira, which precludes him from saving his beloved son, Sarpedon or his favourite, Hector (Il 16,433-58; Il. 22.174-85). Erbse points out that if he yielded to his own desires, the unity of the world of gods and the order of the world as Homer knew (or created) it would collapse (op.cit 288; cf. Yamagata 1994, 115 n.19, 116). All the gods are collaborators in the preservation of that world-order (cf. Erbse 1986, 286), which manifests itself preeminently in the ineluctability of human death (op.cit 292 n.38), but above all Zeus. Thus, his power is limited above all by the paradoxical freedom by which he yields to the constraint of the preservation of the world-order (cf. Burkert 1987, 129f. ; Yamagata 1994, 115f.). His plans often work against those of the other gods (cf. e.g. Od. 5.103; 137) and put serious limitations on them.

111 See n. 88 above.

112 See the commentaries on ἀνέθηκαν (B 11.1) and ἐφθέγξαντο (B 12.1) in Heitsch 1983, 125 and Lesher 1992, 84.

113 On adultery as diminishing ones timê see It. 9.450; Od. 8.309. The famous Διòς ἀπάτη (Il. 14.153-353) does not diminish the timê of Zeus, of course (what can diminish it?); nevertheless, it involves his subjugation by Hypnos, the brother of Death (231), who is «lord over all the gods and men» (233) and it plays a vital part in hightening a gods timê, that of Poseidon (insofar as he can freely support the Trojans in the meantime), who claims to be ομότιμος with Zeus (Il. 15.186). Hermes theft is also a means of acquiring timê (h.Merc. 172, 516). In one sense, the gods timê cannot be diminished, because «the most important τιμή of the gods is their immortality, which is guaranteed by μοῖρα (Yamagata 1994, 122; cf. 138); however, insofar as it «depends largely on honour paid by men to them» (Yamagata 1994, 123), it can be increased or decreased.

114 οὔτι μάχας διέπων Τιτήνων ουδέ Γιγάντων / ουδέ <τε> Κενταύρων, πλάσματα τῶν προτέρων, / ή στάσιας σφεδανάς, τoῖσ ούδέν χρηστόν ἔνεστι.

115 As is done by Euthyphro in Plato (Euthphr. 5d8-6a6; cf. R. 377e6-378e3; Lg. 941b2-c2, where Plato talks about theft and points out that some make use of false beliefs about the gods to excuse themselves of their similar misdeeds). See further discussions in Dreyer 1970, 23f. ; Lesher 1992, 84.

116 Deichgräber 1942, l0f. : «Daβ dem Menschen die Stunde des Untergangs schlägt, ist Erfüllung seines menschlichen Loses, denn er ist sterblich, nicht unsterblich, daβ es gerade diese Art des Unterganges wird, hat seinen Sinn, betrachtet unter dem Gesichtspunkt menschlicher Ate und menschlichen Wesens überhaupt, denn er ist ja nur ein Scheinwesen. Wer dieses weiβ und empfindet wird nicht sagen: Ein Gott, der so handelt, ist kein echter, wahrer Gott. Göttlich sein heiβt überlegen sein, und wenn es die Uberlegenheit durch Trug ist, ja gerade auch wenn die Uberlegenheit in dieser Weise in Erscheinung tritt. » See also Nilsson 1957, 205: «Man hatte noch nicht das γνῶθι σεαυτόν ganz vergessen, das den Menschen verbietet, sich mit den Göttern zu messen,» See also Lloyd-Jones 1971, 81: «The old belief that the gods lived a life governed by different rules from those of men was no longer understood; and Xenophanes found a number of the myths related by Homer and Hesiod to be unfitting to the dignity of the gods, who he complained were made out as thieves, adulterers and deceivers.»

117 See Od. 9.274-8. Cf. Heitsch 1983, 98; Burkert 1987, 247. On any reading of B 1.24 (αγαθήν or αγαθόν) Xenophanes here calls for a deep reverence for the gods and sees in it a guarantee for right human behaviour. In connection with B 2, where he criticises the overindulgent glorification of athletes, Schäfer points out that this «cult of mortals» might be the pendant of his critique of divine anthropomorphism (Schäfer 1996, 156f.); if then, as might be formulated, his critique of divine anthropomorphism is the pendant of human «theomorphism», Xenophanes is here also stressing the distance of gods and men and claiming for them incomparably high timē and aretē.

118 See the quote from Lloyd-Jones in n. 116 above.

119 Cf. Lg. 907d4-910d4.

120 Cf. n. 41 above.

121 Cf. Dreyer 1970, 20 n.57.

122 Thus, we might conicude here that «naturalism» was not his starting point, but the inescapable conseqence of considerations coming from two directions: (1) the observation that human representations of the divine are inadequate, which led to the via negativa («true divinity exists else-where», cf. n. 44 above) and (2) the religious-moral requirement of the «sublimity» of the divine, which reinforced or simply led to the same conclusion.

123 The religious morality of Homer might, in contrast, be characterised by an attitude to reciprocal justice which, in his analysis of the case of Odysseus and the suitors Gill formulates as follows: «No matter how certain one is of the righteousness of ones cause, there is always the possibility that it will not win out. Besides,... the suitors did have something of a case. In a sense, the justice issue remains undecided until the end. It is almost... as if you could not be absolutely certain that the suitors had done wrong in the gods eyes until after they had been punished. There is a suggestion of the argument: they were punished, therefore the gods disapproved (as opposed to: the gods disapproved, therefore they were punished)» (Gill 1980, 402f.). The gods attitude to human expectations with regard to reciprocal justice is essentially the same as that implied by the picture of the Jars at the Threshold of Zeus (Il. 24.527-33), «whose contents, good or ill, he scatters among mankind not according to merit, but as he will» (Adkins 1960, 64).

124 See n. 116 above. (Cf. Rosenmeyers observation quoted in n. 96 above.) He demonstrates that with divine deception, but I think his conclusions can be generalised to cover any human experience about the gods which is felt to be an «unfair» treatment, such as innocent suffering, motiveless hostility of gods, etc.

125 Burkert 1987, 247. Cf. also Frankel 1975, 53f. : «If to Homeric man religion was nothing but the transcendental basis of morality, the religion of the Iliad would have been absurd and highly objectionable; and if the gods meant nothing to him but the highest powers which impinged forcefully upon the life of man, these descriptions of the gods in the Iliad would still be frivolous sport with the loftiest figures, and the more reprehensible in that they are unnecessary for the action of the poem». And in a footnote he adds: «A man to whom religion signifies pious regard for the sublime can be properly satisfied with only two Homeric scenes: when Zeus nodding assent causes Olympus to shake, and when punishing Apollo makes himself grin (sic!) as the dark of night (Il. 1, 528 and 44ff.)».

126 Cf. nn. 84 and 88 above.

127 As it is famously stated by Zeus at the beginning of the Odyssey (Od. 1.32-4): πόποι, οἷον δή νυ θεοὺς βροτοὶ αἰτιόωνται. / ἐξ ἡήμέων γάρ φασι κάκ ἔμμεναι οι δὲ καὶ αὐτοὶ / σφῇσιν ἀτασθαλίῃσιν ὑπὲρ μόρον ἄλγε ἔχουσιν[,]. Plato formulates the thesis with unsurpassable succinctness: θεòς αναίτιος (R. 617e5; cf. 379c4).

128 This is how Gill summarises the attitude of the suitors, which he thinks follows from the fact that in the Odyssey «the justice issue remains undecided until the end» (see n. 123 above). This is the feature of Greek religious belief which gave rise to a need for theodicy.

129 Cf. Erbse 1986, 28: «Der Dichter verleiht seinen Göttern menschliche Schwächen, weil sie unter bestimmten Voraussetzungen nur so Einfluβ auf das irdische Geschehen gewinnen können» (Erbse is thinking specifically of Heras deception by seduction of Zeus on Mount Ida).

130 Cf. Guthrie 1954, 120; Kenney 1989, 272.

131 This applies to religious as well as moral behaviour.

132 See e.g. Il. 15.104-24. Cf. Frankel 1975, 56.

133 Cf. Dreyer 1970, 18 n.50; Frankel 1975, 55; Heitsch 1983, 158; Erbse 1986 217; Yamagata 1994, 122.

134 The most obvious example is that of Odysseus in the Odyssey. Cf. Sullivan 1995, 181.

135 Cf. Adkins 1960, 52. Insofar as there is a clear-cut hierarchy within the divine society with Zeus at the top as a patriarch, conflicts are not serious in heaven, but the fact that conflicts do arise indicates that the hierarchy is ambiguous. Since the place of a god is determined by his or her timē, and divine timē depends largely on honour paid by men to them (cf. n. 113 above), no wonder that divine conflicts arise, in most cases, over humans.

136 ώς επιεικές, Il. 8.31; cf. 1.547. See the discussion of Heitsch 1983, 158f.

137 Dreyer 1970, 8f. and Heitsch 1983, 158 point out that the «epiprepei-criterion» is observed by the Homeric gods typically when too much concern for humans might lead to conflicts among them (cf. Il. 8.427-31; 21.435-67; 21.379f.).

138 Cf. e.g. Guthrie 1962, 382 n. 2.

139 Cf. Heitsch 1983, 157; Lesher 1992, 107.

140 When Zeus nods assent to Thetis entreaty and makes Olympus shake (Il. 1.530) he makes a decision (cf. Il. 8.443) by which he dooms a lot of Greeks for the sake of Achilles; this is gratuitous, at least from the human point of view, since his ultimate plan is to punish Troy.

141 In his commentary on the much debated phrase, νόου φρενί (B 25) Heitsch 1983, 154 points out that in Gods νόος an identification of the intellectual and volitional element is implied; Gods intellectual perception thus automatically leads to action (cf. Schäfer 1996, 177). That is to say, his «plans» are achieved automatically and without hindrance or detours as a response to what he perceives. Whatever it might be that he perceives and however inscrutable his connection with the πάντα that he «shakes» might be, Schäfer s suggestion that his control over the world includes the fate of men is worth considering (cf. Schäfer 1996, 178). Based on his findings about the sky-god of a series of ancient peoples, R. Pettazzoni 1956, 22 points out that «Divine omniscience is not merely passive and contemplative but gives rise to a sanction, generally punitive».

142 Critics have noted the parallels of B 24 and B 25 with AeschylusSupp. 86-103 (cf. e.g. Guthrie 1962, 374; Lesher 1992, 119 n.9). Aeschylus similarly emphasises the all-powerfulness and inscrutability of Zeus (cf. Lloyd-Jones 1971, 85; Rosenmeyer 1982, 277). It would be worthwhile to examine the parallel from the viewpoint of the crux of theodicy I have indicated above.

143 Cf Heitsch 1983, 147 and 153.

144 Lesher 1992.114.

145 Op.cit. 116.

146 I would like to express my deep gratitude to Fr Dr Brendan M. Purcell and Ms Tamar Nelson for correcting my English and for our inspiring discussions of the topic. I am also very grateful for Dr Istvân Bodnár’s careful reading of the manuscript and his useful suggestions before the Conference. I must also cordially thank Professor Patricia Curd, Professor André Laks, Professor Alexander P. D. Mourelatos and Professor David Sider for their hearty encouragement, invaluable remarks and our conversations about Xenophanes over the conference. Professor James H. Lesher kindly read this paper after the conference and made valuable suggestions, but I’m also grateful to him most of all for his hearty encouragement to pursue my studies in Xenophanes further from the perspective presented here. All responsibility for mistakes naturally remains mine.

© Presses universitaires du Septentrion, 2002

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540