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Cedars of Lebanon: On the Contemplative Life

- Abstract

The vocation of these philosophers is at once made clear from their title of Therapeutae and Therapeutrides, a name derived from therapeuo, either in the sense of “cure,” because they profess an art of healing better than that current in the cities which cures only the bodies, while theirs treats also souls oppressed with grievous and well-nigh incurable diseases, inflicted by pleasures and desires and griefs and fears, by acts of covetousness, folly and injustice and the countless host of the other passions and vices: or else in the sense of “worship,” because nature and the sacred laws have schooled them to worship the Self-existent who is better than the good, purer than the One and more primordial than the Monad. Who among those who profess piety deserve to be compared with these? . . .

[They] settle in a certain very suitable place which they regard as their fatherland. This place is situated above the Mareotic Lake on a somewhat low-lying hill very happily placed both because of its security and the pleasantly tempered air. The safety is secured by the farm buildings and villages round about and the pleasantness of the air by the continuous breezes which arise both from the lake which debouches into the sea and from the open sea hard by. For the sea breezes are light, the lake breezes close, and the two combining together produce a most healthy condition of climate.

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