Philo Volume III. On the Unchangeableness of God. On Husbandry. Concerning Noah’s Work As a Planter. On Drunkenness. On Sobriety, Translated by F. H. Colson and G. H. Whitaker, Loeb Classical Library 247, Harvard University Press, 19301

Philo of Alexandria, On Husbandry (De Agricultura, Περί γεωργίας), Chapter III, Sections 12-16, pp. 113-117:

For he says, “Every tree whose fruit is not edible thou shalt cut down and shalt make into a palisade to resist the city, which shall make war against thee” (Deut. xx. 20). The Scripture uses these trees to represent the purely intellectual activities which deal with theory alone. Among these we must place medical science dissociated from practical measures such as lead to the recovery of the sick ; the kind of oratory practised by the hired advocate, that is concerned not to find out the rights of the case, but to influence the hearers by falsehood ; and over and above these we must include all the modes of reaching conclusions by argumentative and rigidly deductive processes, that contribute nothing to the improvement of character, but whet the mind, compelling it to pay keen attention to each problem as it presents itself; and enabling it to draw clear distinctions, and to make the special character of the matter in hand stand out in bold relief against the background of the features which it has in common with others. Accordingly, they tell us that the men of old likened philosophic discussion with its threefold division to a field, comparing that part which deals with nature to trees and plants ; that Which deals with morality to fruits and crops, for the sake of which the plants exist; that part which has to do with logic to a fence enclosing it. For even as the wall built round it serves to protect the fruit and the plants that grow in the field, keeping off those who would like mischievously to make their way in with a view to plunder ; in the same way the logical part of philosophy is, so to speak, a strong barrier guarding those other two parts, the ethical and the physical. For when it disentangles ambiguous 16 expressions capable of two meanings, and exposes the fallacies created by tricks of argument, and using perfectly clear and unmistakable language and adducing proofs which admit of no doubt destroys plausible falsehood, that greatest snare and pest of the soul, it makes the mind like smoothed wax ready to receive the impressions made by the science that explores existence and that which aims at building character, impressions free from flaw and aught that is not genuine.

The Works of Philo Judaeus. Vol. I, translated from the Greek by C. D. Yonge, Henry G. Bohn, London, 18542 3

Philo of Alexandria, On Husbandry (De Agricultura, Περί γεωργίας), Chapter III, Sections 12-16, pp. 380-381:

III. (12) For Moses says, “Every tree which bringeth not forth fruit good to eat thou shalt cut down; and thou shalt make it into stakes against the city which shall make war upon them.”{2} {#De 20:20.} And these trees are likened to those powers developed in words alone, which have nothing in them but mere speculation, (13) among which we must class medical science, when unconnected with practice, by which it is natural that such persons may be cured, and also the oratorical and hireling species of rhetoric, which is conversant not about the discovery of the truth, but solely about the means of deceiving the hearers by plausible persuasion; and in the same class we must place all those parts of dialectics and geometry which have no connection with a proper regulation of the character or morals, but which only sharpen the mind, not suffering it to exercise a dull apprehension towards each question which is raised and submitted to it, but always to dissect the question and divide it, so as to distinguish the peculiar character of each thing from the common qualities of the whole genus. (14) At all events, men say, that the ancients compared the principles of philosophy, as being threefold, to a field; likening natural philosophy to trees and plants, and moral philosophy to fruits, for the sake of which the plants are planted; and logical philosophy to the hedge or fence: (15) for as the wall, which is erected around, is the guardian of the plants and of the fruit which are in the field, keeping off all those who wish to do them injury and to destroy them, in the same manner, the logical part of philosophy is the strongest possible sort of protection to the other two parts, the moral and the natural philosophy; (16) for when it simplifies twofold and ambiguous expressions, and when it solves specious plausibilities entangled in sophisms, and utterly destroys seductive deceits, the greatest allurement and ruin to the soul, by means of its own expressive and clear language, and its unambiguous demonstrations, it makes the whole mind smooth like wax, and ready to receive all the innocent and very praiseworthy impressions of sound natural and moral philosophy.

Philonis Alexandrini opera quae supersunt. Vol. II, edited by Paul Wendland, Verlag Georg Reimer, Berlin, 18974 5 6

Philo of Alexandria, On Husbandry (De Agricultura, Περί γεωργίας), Chapter III, Sections 12-16, pp. 97-98:

λέγει γάρ· „πᾶν ὃ οὐ καρπόβρωτόν ἐστιν, ἐκκόψεις καὶ ποιήσεις χαράκωσιν ἐπὶ τὴν πόλιν, ἥτις ποιήσει πρὸς σὲ τὸν πόλεμον“* (Deut. 20,20). *ταῦτα δ’ εἰκάζεται τὰ δένδρα ταῖς περὶ λόγους δυνάμεσι θεωρίαν ψιλὴν ἐχ’ οὔσαις· ἐν αἷς θετέον ἰατρολογίαν ἀπεζευγμένην ἔργων, δι’ ὧν τοὺς κάμνοντας εἰκός ἐστι σῴζεσθαι, καὶ ῥητορικῆς τὸ συνηγορικὸν καὶ ἔμμισθον εἶδος οὐ περὶ τὴν εὕρεσιν τοῦ δικαίου πραγματευόμενον, ἀλλὰ περὶ τὴν δι’ ἀπάτης πειθὼ τῶν ἀκουόντων, ἔτι μέντοι καὶ διαλεκτικῆς καὶ γεωμετρίας ὅσα εἰς μὲν ἐπανόρθωσιν ἤθους οὐδὲν συνεργεῖ, παραθήγει δὲ τὸν νοῦν οὐκ ἐῶντα ἀμβλείᾳ χρῆσθαι τῇ πρὸς ἕκαστα τῶν ἀπορουμένων προσβολῇ, τομαῖς δὲ ἀεὶ καὶ διαστολαῖς χρῆσθαι, ὡς τὴν ἑκάστου πράγματος ἰδιότητα κοινῶν διαζευγνύναι ποιοτήτων. τὸν γοῦν κατὰ φιλοσοφίαν λόγον τρίδυμον ὄντα τοὺς παλαιοὺς ἀγρῶ φασιν ἀπεικάσαι, τὸ μὲν φυσικὸν αὐτοῦ δένδροις καὶ φυτοῖς παραβάλλοντας, τὸ δ’ ἠθικὸν καρποῖς, ὧν ἕνεκα καὶ τὰ φυτά, τὸ δ’ αὖ λογικὸν φραγμῷ καὶ περιβόλῳ· καθάπερ γὰρ τὸ περικείμενον τεῖχος ὀπώρας καὶ φυτῶν τῶν κατὰ τὸν ἀγρόν ἐστι φυλακτήριον τοὺς ἐπὶ τῷ σίνεσθαι παρεισφθείρεσθαι βουλομένους ἀνεῖργον, τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον τὸ λογικὸν μέρος φιλοσοφίας φρουρά τίς ἐστιν ὀχυρωτάτη τῶν δυεῖν ἐκείνων, ἠθικοῦ τε καὶ φυσικοῦ· τὰς γὰρ διπλᾶς καὶ ἀμφιβόλους ὅταν ἐξαπλοῖ λέξεις καὶ τὰς διὰ τῶν σοφισμάτων πιθανότητας ἐπιλύῃ καὶ τὴν εὐπαράγωγον ἀπάτην. μέγιστον ψυχῆς δέλεαρ καὶ ἐπιζήμιον, ἀναιρῇ διὰ λόγων ἐμφαντικωτάτων καὶ ἀποδείξεων ἀνενδοιάστων, ὥσπερ κηρὸν λελειασμένον τὸν νοῦν ἀπεργάζεται ἕτοιμον δέχεσθαι τούς τε φυσιολογίας καὶ τοὺς ἠθοποιίας ἀσινεῖς καὶ πάνυ δοκίμους χαρακτῆρας.