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ANF05. Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus, Cyprian, Caius, Novatian, Appendix
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Chapter I.—Thales; His Physics and Theology; Founder of Greek Astronomy.

It is said that Thales of Miletus, one of the seven4040    [These were: Periander of Corinth, b.c. 585; Pittacus of Mitylene, b.c. 570; Thales of Miletus, b.c. 548: Solon of Athens, b.c. 540; Chilo of Sparta, b.c. 597; Bias of Priene; Cleobulus of Lindus, b.c. 564.] wise men, first attempted to frame a system of natural philosophy. This person said that some such thing as water is the generative principle of the universe, and its end;—for that out of this, solidified and again dissolved, all things consist, and that all things are supported on it; from which also arise both earthquakes and changes of the winds and atmospheric movements,4141    Or, “motions of the stars” (Roeper). and that all things are both produced4242    Or, “carried along” (Roeper). and are in a state of flux corresponding with the nature of the primary author of generation;—and that the Deity4343    Or,“ that which is divine.” See Clemens Alexandrinus, Strom., v. pp. 461, 463 (Heinsius and Sylburgius’ ed.). Thales, on being asked, “What is God?” “That,” replied he, “which has neither beginning nor end.” is that which has neither beginning nor end. This person, having been occupied with an hypothesis and investigation concerning the stars, became the earliest author to the Greeks of this kind of learning. And he, looking towards heaven, alleging that he was carefully examining supernal objects, fell into a well; and a certain maid, by name Thratta, remarked of him derisively, that while intent on beholding things in heaven, he did not know4444    Or, “see.” what was at his feet. And he lived about the time of Crœsus.


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