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    I cannot recall the recent context when this came up, but here is that quote from Confessions of St. Augustine:


    To Thee be praise, glory to Thee, Fountain of mercies. I was becoming more miserable, and Thou nearer. Thy right hand was continually ready to pluck me out of the mire, and to wash me thoroughly, and I knew it not; nor did anything call me back from a yet deeper gulf of carnal pleasures, but the fear of death, and of Thy judgment to come; which amid all my changes, never departed from my breast. And in my disputes with my friends Alypius and Nebridius of the nature of good and evil, I held that Epicurus had in my mind won the palm, had I not believed that after death there remained a life for the soul, and places of requital according to men's deserts, which Epicurus would not believe. And I asked, “were we immortal, and to live in perpetual bodily pleasure, without fear of losing it, why should we not be happy, or what else should we seek?” not knowing that great misery was involved in this very thing, that, being thus sunk and blinded, I could not discern that light of excellence and beauty, to be embraced for its own sake, which the eye of flesh cannot see, and is seen by the inner man. Nor did I, unhappy, consider from what source it sprung, that even on these things, foul as they were, I with pleasure discoursed with my friends, nor could I, even according to the notions I then had of happiness, be happy without friends, amid what abundance soever of carnal pleasures. And yet these friends I loved for themselves only, and I felt that I was beloved of them again for myself only.

    O crooked paths! Woe to the audacious soul, which hoped, by forsaking Thee, to gain some better thing! Turned it hath, and turned again, upon back, sides, and belly, yet all was painful; and Thou alone rest. And behold, Thou art at hand, and deliverest us from our wretched wanderings, and placest us in Thy way, and dost comfort us, and say, “Run; I will carry you; yea I will bring you through; there also will I carry you.”

    I think we should preface this with some background on how the moral opinions on suicide are shaped by culture. Broadly speaking two major categories have been defined.


    Various sociologists and anthropologists have contrasted cultures of honour with cultures of law. A culture of law has a body of laws which all members of society must obey, with punishments for transgressors. This requires a society with the structures required to enact and enforce laws. A culture of law incorporates a social contract: members of society give up some aspects of their freedom to defend themselves and retaliate for injuries, on the understanding that society will apprehend and punish transgressors.

    ^Wikipedia page "honour"

    Honor cultures would include Japan under the Shogunate, Rome under the republic, the American frontier West, etc. In all of these cases it is customary to hold one's honor dearer than one's life. Dueling, honor killing, and ritual suicide all have some portion in these societies. More anon...

    Greek garden - Wikipedia

    This page is interesting.


    Archaeologists have not identified planted courtyards within the palaces of Mycenean culture nor in Greek houses of the Classical period. When the editors of a symposium on Roman gardens[10] included a contribution on the expected Greek precursors, Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway's article prompted a reviewer[11] to observe, "For all practical purposes there appear to have been no gardens of any sort in Greek city homes, beyond perhaps a few pots with plants."


    Though Harpalus, Alexander's successor at Babylon, grew some Greek plants in the royal palace and walks,[20] mainland Greece, mother of democracy and Western cultural traditions, was not the mother of European gardens.

    This is interesting stuff. It might explain why Greek Historians like Herodotus remarked on the lavish gardens they found in their travels, if the practice was not widespread at home. It also reinforces the power of the pastoral ideal of the Greek countryside, where pasture, vineyard, and grove dominate the poetic landscape.


    According to art historian Paul Zanker, the bearded type has long hair from the start, and a relatively long beard (contrasting with the short "classical" beard and hair always given to St Peter, and most other apostles);[39] this depiction is specifically associated with "Charismatic" philosophers like Euphrates the Stoic, Dio of Prusa and Apollonius of Tyana, some of whom were claimed to perform miracles.

    -from the Wikipedia article cited by Don above

    Yes, Don, that was my response as well. They also show Jesus' hair parting very differently, and long individual strands in place of Epicurus' undifferentiated locks on both head and beard.

    But it is interesting to see early portraits of Jesus without a beard. Of the early Emperors, Nero had a beard. This went out of fashion again until Hadrian, who "brought back the beard", you might say. Between Hadrian and the Crisis of the Third Century, the only Emperors portrayed beardless were boys and young men, all murdered by the age of 26.

    Under the second heading of Chapter 6, we get an interesting look at the meditative practice of "touring the cosmos" in thought. I've collected several quotations that express the sentiment, and finally a passage from Horace contrasting the limitless ambitions of the mind with the brief span of human life.


    A Greek it was who first opposing dared

    Raise mortal eyes that terror to withstand,

    Whom nor the fame of Gods nor lightning's stroke

    Nor threatening thunder of the ominous sky

    Abashed; but rather chafed to angry zest

    His dauntless heart to be the first to rend

    The crossbars at the gates of Nature old.

    And thus his will and hardy wisdom won;

    And forward thus he fared afar, beyond

    The flaming ramparts of the world, until

    He wandered the unmeasurable All.

    -Lucretius, translated by William Ellery Leonard


    Therefore superstition is now in her turn cast down and trampled underfoot, whilst we by the victory are exalted high as heaven.

    --Lucretius, from the Loeb Classical Library


    Life piled on life

    Were all too little, and of one to me

    Little remains: but every hour is saved

    From that eternal silence, something more,

    A bringer of new things; and vile it were

    For some three suns to store and hoard myself,

    And this gray spirit yearning in desire

    To follow knowledge like a sinking star,

    Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

    - Ulysses, Alfred, Lord Tennyson


    "You who measured the sea, the earth, and the numberless sands,

    You, Archytas, are now confined in a small mound of dirt

    Near the Matine shore, and what good does it do you that you

    Attempted the mansions of the skies and that you traversed

    The round celestial vault — you with a soul born to die?"

    —Horace, Odes I.28; transl. Peter Saint-Andre

    This is the Horace who has abandoned his earlier Epicureanism in favor of a piety more palatable to the new Emperor's of Rome. In Ode 1.34 we catch the repudiation by reference to Lucretius, who in book 6 around line 140 maintained that "Jupiter's" thunder was never heard when the skies were clear.


    Once I wandered, an expert in crazy wisdom, a scant and infrequent adorer of gods, now I’m forced to set sail and return, to go back to the paths I abandoned. For Jupiter, Father of all of the gods, who generally splits the clouds with his lightning, flashing away, drove thundering horses, and his swift chariot, through the clear sky, till the dull earth, and the wandering rivers, and Styx, and dread Taenarus’ hateful headland, and Atlas’s mountain-summits shook. The god has the power to replace the highest with the lowest, bring down the famous, and raise the obscure to the heights. And greedy Fortune with her shrill whirring, carries away the crown and delights in setting it, there.

    --Translated by A. S. Kline

    7 Oldest Paintings of Jesus in the World -
    Discover the 7 Oldest Paintings of Jesus in the World here. Prepare to be transported into a rich & fascinating history on the oldest jesus paintings that…

    In Chapter 5 DeWitt notes that many of the earliest images of Jesus portray him beardless, which you can see in some of those in this link. There are others as well which you can find easily by searching. DeWitt then makes the claim that Jesus began to be depicted with a beard at about the time when Epicureanism was declining and Christianity was permeating the culture.

    One of our favored public domain translations of Lucretius is an anonymous prose translation published by Daniel Brown in London in 1743.

    As a matter of idle speculation, I thought there might be some interest in trying to identify the responsible party. The two main approaches that occur to me at the moment are to a.) Locate individuals from that time period who display an interest in Lucretius, and b.) Review other contemporaneous translations of Latin authors for signs of similarity.

    This is very much an exercise of throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks, so with that in mind I present my first contender;

    Christopher Pitt - Wikipedia

    Dates: 1699-1748

    Other translations:

    -Lucan's Pharsalia

    -Virgil's Aeneid

    From wikipedia: His father translated a portion of Lucretius (the plague in Athens) for Thomas Creech¹ in verse, and his brother translated five books of Paradise Lost into Latin. After 1740 when he finished Virgil, no major work is listed. This gives him three years to complete Lucretius, alongside his clergy work and poetry.


    ¹I had no idea Creech had a contributor!

    It's honestly pretty shocking we even have his birth date nearly 24 centuries later. With most people from antiquity we have quite literally only their name. Stephen Greenblatt gives a citation in which an ancient writer runs down a list of Latin authors he thought were worth reading. Of some dozen names, only Lucretius' book survived.

    --The God Myth has something parallel, in that how could God keep track of every human being's prayers ( Joshua did you recently say something about this and that some writer or philospher said this?)

    There is a reference in DeWitt to a quote from Menander along these lines, but by far the best example of this comes from Giordano Bruno. This is a passage from The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt, and it is rather long:

    It strikes me that there are several passages in Diogenes Laertius beginning with words like "the wise man will....", or "the wise man will not..."

    Where does that kind of framing fit in here?