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Headword: *fu/sis
Adler number: phi,864
Translated headword: nature
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
[Nature] is[1] that which both holds the world together and which makes things on the earth grow. Or as follows: [nature is] a condition which is moved by itself in accordance with the seminal reasons, that which completes and holds together the things coming from it at determined periods of time, and which performs those activities from which they are distinguished. And nature aims at utility, as is obvious from craftsmanship of heaven.[2] Or nature is a principle of the whole, it is both the motion and rest of each existing thing.[3] For example, earth is set in motion in the process of growing, breeding and, in general, being altered. However, it rests in the change from one place to another, even though it is completely unmovable and pathless. Now they call 'nature' the substantial principle (that is to say the 'natural') of such a motion and rest, namely the principle that inheres in earth not incidentally. But they have not called 'nature' the motion itself and the rest of things, but 'principle', that is 'cause', in virtue of which substances are set in motion and rest not incidentally but substantially.
But when the Apostle says 'we were the offspring of anger by nature'[4], just like the rest, he does not express in this assertion the meaning of nature (since the accusation would be against the one responsible for doing it); what he means is the abiding, long time and worst disposition: a perverse intimacy.
Greek Original:
*fu/sis e)sti\n h(/ te sune/xousa to\n ko/smon kai\ h( fu/ousa ta\ e)pi\ th=s gh=s. h)\ ou(/tws: e(/cis e)c au(th=s kinoume/nh kata\ spermatikou\s lo/gous, a)potelou=sa/ te kai\ sune/xousa ta\ e)c au)th=s e)n w(risme/nois xro/nois kai\ toiau=ta drw=sa, a)f' oi(/wn a)pekri/qh. tau/thn de\ tou= sumfe/rontos stoxa/zesqai, w(s dh=lon e)k th=s ou)ranou= dhmiourgi/as. h)\ fu/sis e)sti\n a)rxh\ tw=n o(/lwn, th=s e(ka/stou tw=n o)/ntwn kinh/sew/s te kai\ h)remi/as. oi(=on h( gh= kinei=tai me\n kata\ to\ blasta/nein kai\ zw|ogonei=n kai\ to\ o(/lws a)lloiou=sqai: h)remei= de\ kata\ th\n e)k to/pou ei)s to/pon meta/stasin, a)ki/nhtos ou)=sa pantelw=s kai\ a)po/reutos. th\n ou)=n a)rxh\n th=s toiau/ths kinh/sew/s te kai\ h)remi/as ou)siwdw=s, h)/goun fusikw=s, kai\ ou) kata\ sumbebhko\s th=| gh=| e)nupa/rxousan, fu/sin kalou=sin. ou) th\n ki/nhsin de\ au)th\n kai\ th\n h)remi/an tw=n pragma/twn fu/sin ei)rh/kasin, a)lla\ th\n a)rxh/n, toute/sti th\n ai)ti/an, kaq' h(\n ou) kata\ sumbebhko/s, a)ll' ou)siwdw=s ai( ou)si/ai kinou=ntai kai\ h)remou=sin. o(/tan de\ le/gh| o( *)apo/stolos, kai\ h)=men te/kna fu/sei o)rgh=s, w(s kai\ oi( loipoi/, ou) kata\ tou=to to\ shmaino/menon th=s fu/sews le/gei: e)pei\ tou= poih/santos a)\n h)=n to\ e)/gklhma: a)lla\ th\n e)/mmonon kai\ kaki/sthn dia/qesin kai\ xroni/an, ponhra\n sunh/qeian.
Notes:
[1] The opening lines (up to 'craftsmanship of heaven') reproduce, with slight differences, Diogenes Laertius 7.148-149. The doctrinal content is Stoic.
[2] In the Diogenes Laertius version the text reads 'human craftsmanship'.
[3] This line paraphrases Aristotle's definition of nature as 'the internal principle of motion and rest': 'nature is a certain principle or, more precisely, a cause of motion (or change) in that where it inheres primarily of itself, that is not incidentally' (see Physics 192b20-23; my translation). For a clear account of this point see Charlton (1992), 88-89.
[4] St Paul, Letter to the Ephesians 2:3.
Reference:
William Charlton, Aristotle. Physics. Books I and II. Translated with Introduction, Commentary, Note on recent work, and Revised Bibliography by William Charlton (Oxford: Clarendon Press) 1992
Keywords: botany; Christianity; definition; ethics; philosophy; religion
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 14 June 2000@12:14:01.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 2 February 2003@07:36:43.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 4 October 2005@09:12:02.
David Whitehead on 18 December 2013@08:38:27.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 23 January 2015@23:55:21.

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