From Chapter II., Science and Religion
60. Finite or Infinite
A more subtle explanation of the difficulty commended itself to the late Peripatetic who wrote an account of the Eleatic school, part of which is still extant in the Aristotelian corpus, and is generally known now as the treatise on Melissos, Xenophanes, and Gorgias.151 He said that Xenophanes declared the world to be neither finite nor infinite, and composed a series of arguments in support of this thesis, to which he added another like it, namely, that the world is neither in motion nor at rest. This has introduced endless confusion into our sources. Alexander used this treatise as well as the work of Theophrastos, and Simplicius supposed the quotations from it to be from Theophrastos too. Having no copy of the poems he was completely baffled, and until recently all accounts of Xenophanes were vitiated by the same confusion. It may be suggested that, but for this, we should never have heard of the "philosophy of Xenophanes," a way of speaking which is really a survival from the days before this scholastic exercise was recognised as having no authority.
146. Arist. Met. A, 5. 986 b 23 (R. P. 101). οὐδὲν διεσαφήνισεν
147. This is given as an inference by Simpl. Phys. p. 23, 18 (R. P. 108 b), διὰ τὸ πανταχόθεν ὅμοιον. It does not merely come from M.X.G. (R. P. 108), πάντῃ δ' ὅμοιον ὄντα σφαιροειδῆ εἶναι. Hippolytos has it too (Ref. i. 14; R. P. 102 a), so it goes back to Theophrastos. Timon of Phleious understood Xenophanes in the same way; for he makes him call the One ἴσον ἁπάντῃ (fr. 60, Diels; R. P. 102 a).
148. Arist. De caelo, B, 13. 294 a 21 (R. P. 103 b).
149. I take δαψιλός as an attribute and ἀπείρονα as predicate to both subjects.
150. Il. viii.13-16, 478-481, especially the words οὐδ' εἴ κε τὰ νείατα πείραθ' ἵκηαι | γαίης καὶ πόντοιο κτλ. Iliad viii. must have seemed a particularly bad book to Xenophanes.
151. In Bekker's edition this treatise bears the title Περὶ Ξενοφάνους, περὶ Ζήνωνος, περὶ Γοργίου, but the best MS. gives as the titles of its three sections: (1) Περὶ Ζήνωνος, (2) Περὶ Ξενοφάνους, (3) Περὶ Γοργίου. The first section, however, plainly refers to Melissos, so the whole treatise is now entitled De Melisso, Xenophane, Gorgia (M.X.G.). It has been edited by Apelt in the Teubner Series, and more recently by Diels (Abh. der k. Preuss. Akad. 1900), who has also given the section dealing with Xenophanes in Vors. II A 28. He has now withdrawn the view maintained in Dox. p. 108 that the work belongs to the third century B.C., and holds that it was a Peripatetico eclectico (i.e. sceptica, platonica, stoica admiscente) circa Christi natalem conscriptum. The writer would have no first-hand knowledge of his poems, and the order in which the philosophers are discussed is that of the passage in the Metaphysics which suggested the whole thing. It is possible that a section on Parmenides preceded what we now have.
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