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been added later in mythical form with a view to the persuasion of the
multitude and to its legal and utilitarian expediency; they say
these gods are in the form of men or like some of the other animals,
and they say other things consequent on and similar to these which
we have mentioned. But if one were to separate the first point from
these additions and take it alone-that they thought the first
substances to be gods, one must regard this as an inspired
utterance, and reflect that, while probably each art and each
science has often been developed as far as possible and has again
perished, these opinions, with others, have been preserved until the
present like relics of the ancient treasure. Only thus far, then, is
the opinion of our ancestors and of our earliest predecessors clear to

The nature of the divine thought involves certain problems; for
while thought is held to be the most divine of things observed by
us, the question how it must be situated in order to have that
character involves difficulties. For if it thinks of nothing, what
is there here of dignity? It is just like one who sleeps. And if it
thinks, but this depends on something else, then (since that which
is its substance is not the act of thinking, but a potency) it
cannot be the best substance; for it is through thinking that its
value belongs to it. Further, whether its substance is the faculty
of thought or the act of thinking, what does it think of? Either of
itself or of something else; and if of something else, either of the
same thing always or of something different. Does it matter, then,
or not, whether it thinks of the good or of any chance thing? Are
there not some things about which it is incredible that it should
think? Evidently, then, it thinks of that which is most divine and
precious, and it does not change; for change would be change for the
worse, and this would be already a movement. First, then, if 'thought'
is not the act of thinking but a potency, it would be reasonable to
suppose that the continuity of its thinking is wearisome to it.
Secondly, there would evidently be something else more precious than
thought, viz. that which is thought of. For both thinking and the
act of thought will belong even to one who thinks of the worst thing
in the world, so that if this ought to be avoided (and it ought, for
there are even some things which it is better not to see than to see),
the act of thinking cannot be the best of things. Therefore it must be
of itself that the divine thought thinks (since it is the most
excellent of things), and its thinking is a thinking on thinking.
But evidently knowledge and perception and opinion and
understanding have always something else as their object, and
themselves only by the way. Further, if thinking and being thought
of are different, in respect of which does goodness belong to thought?
For to he an act of thinking and to he an object of thought are not
the same thing. We answer that in some cases the knowledge is the
object. In the productive sciences it is the substance or essence of
the object, matter omitted, and in the theoretical sciences the
definition or the act of thinking is the object. Since, then,
thought and the object of thought are not different in the case of
things that have not matter, the divine thought and its object will be
the same, i.e. the thinking will be one with the object of its
A further question is left-whether the object of the divine
thought is composite; for if it were, thought would change in
passing from part to part of the whole. We answer that everything
which has not matter is indivisible-as human thought, or rather the
thought of composite beings, is in a certain period of time (for it
does not possess the good at this moment or at that, but its best,
being something different from it, is attained only in a whole
period of time), so throughout eternity is the thought which has
itself for its object.

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