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33. These are all quirks, as is evident, and quibbles with which they are wont to bolster up weak cases before a jury; nay, rather, to speak more truly, they are pretences, such as are used in44874487    Lit., “colours of.” sophistical reasonings, by which not the truth is sought after, but always the image, and appearance, and shadow of the truth. For because it is shameful and unbecoming to receive as true the correct accounts, you have had recourse44884488    The ms. and both Roman edd. read indecorum est, which leaves the sentence incomplete. LB., followed by later edd., proposed de-cursum est, as above (Oehler, inde d.—“from these recourse has been had”), the other conjectures tending to the same meaning. to this expedient, that one thing should be substituted for another, and that what was in itself shameful should, in being explained, be forced into the semblance of decency. But what is it to us whether other senses and other meanings underlie these vain stories? For we who assert that the gods are treated by you wickedly and impiously, need only44894489    “We need only;” lit., “it is enough for us to.” receive what is written, what is said,44904490    Lit., “heard.” and need not care as to what is kept secret, since the insult to the deities consists not in the idea hidden in its meanings,44914491    Lit., “in the obscure mind of senses.” but in what is signified by the words as they stand out. And yet, that we may not seem unwilling to examine what you say, we ask this first of you, if only you will bear with us, from whom have you learned, or by whom has it been made known, either that these things were written allegorically, or that they should be understood in the same way? Did the writers summon you to take counsel with them? or did you lie hid in their bosoms at the time44924492    “Or at the time,” aut tum, the correction of LB, for the ms. sutum. when they put one thing for another, without regard to truth? Then, if they chose, from religions awe44934493    Lit., “fear of any reason and of religion.” and fear on any account, to wrap those mysteries in dark obscurity, what audacity it shows in you to wish to understand what they did not wish, to know yourselves and make all acquainted with that which they vainly attempted to conceal by words which did not suggest the truth!


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