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Plato, Republic 588A-589B

Translated by James Brashler

"Since we have come to this point in a discussion, let us again take up the first things that were said to us. And we will find that he says, 'Good is he who has been done injustice completely. He is glorified justly.' Is not this how he was reproached?"

"This is certainly the fitting way!"

And I said, "Now then, we have spoken because he said that he who does injustice and he who does justice each has a force."

''How then?"

"He said, 'An image that has no likeness is the rationality of soul,' so that he who said these things will understand. He [...] or not? We [...] is for me. But all [...] who told them [...] ruler, these now have become natural creatures - even Chimaera and Cerberus and all the rest that were mentioned. They all came down and they cast off forms and images. And they all became a single image. It was said, 'Work now!' Certainly it is a single image that became the image of a complex beast with many heads. Some days indeed it is like the image of a wild beast. Then it is able to cast off the first image. And all these hard and difficult forms emanate from it with effort, since these are formed now with arrogance. And also all the rest that are like them are formed now through the word. For now it is a single image. For the image of the lion is the one thing and the image of the man is another. [...] single [...] is the [...] of [...] join. And this [...] much more complex than the first. And the second is small."

"It has been formed."

"Now then, join them to each other and make them a single one - for they are three - so that they grow together, and all are in a single image outside of the image of the man just like him who is unable to see the things inside him. But what is outside only is what he sees. And it is apparent what creature his image is in and that he was formed in a human image.

"And I spoke to him who said that there is profit in the doing of injustice for the man. He who does injustice truly does not profit nor does he benefit. But what is profitable for him is this: that he cast down every image of the evil beast and trample them along with the images of the lion. But the man is in weakness in this regard. And all the things that he does are weak. As a result he is drawn to the place where he spends time with them. [...]. And he [...] to him in[...]. But he brings about [...] enmity [...]. And with strife they devour each other among themselves. Yes, all these things he said to everyone who praises the doing of injustice."

"Then is it not profitable for him who speaks justly?"

"And if he does these things and speaks in them, within the man they take hold firmly. Therefore especially he strives to take care of them and he nourishes them just like the farmer nourishes his produce daily. And the wild beasts keep it from growing.


Selection made from James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library, revised edition. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990.


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