Saturday, May 19, 2012

"In Paul’s day, people believed heavenly bodies . . . were living things"

See, for example, Philo:

"Among lesser plants, that did not partake of its universal character, some were created with a capacity of moving from one place to another, others, meant to be stationary, lacked such a capacity for change of place.  Our name for those which have the power of locomotion is animals.  These took to . . . the several main divisions of our universe, land animals to earth, to water those that swim, the winged creatures to air, and to fire the fire-born. . . . The stars found their place in heaven.  Those who have made philosophy their study tell us that these too are living creatures [(ζῷα . . . νοερὰ)], but of a kind composed entirely of Mind.  Of these some, the planets, appear to change their position by a power inherent in themselves, others to do so as they are swept along in the rush of our universe, and these we call fixed stars."

     Philo, De plantatione (Concerning Noah's work as a planter) III.11-12, trans. F. H. Colson and G. H. Whitaker (Loeb classical library, Philo III (Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press, 1930), p. 218/219).