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Philo: Casting off the warlike spirit in its completeness

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Philo: “Ah, my friends, how should you not hate war and love peace?”

Philo: “Nourished” for war and all its attendant evils

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Philo
From The Migration of Abraham
Translated by F.H. Colson and Rev. G.H. Whitaker

“[F]or the Lord thy God is with thee.” This companionship brings wars to an end, builds up peace, overthrows the host of evil things to which we grow accustomed, rescues the scanty band of those beloved of God, every loyal adherent of which loathes and hates the battalions of the earth-bound.”

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The fool’s whole course through every moment of his journey depends on this pair, fierce spirit and desire; since he has got rid of mind, who is the charioteer and monitor. The man of the opposite character has exscinded fierce spirit and desire, and chosen as his patron and controlling guide the Divine Word. Even so Moses, best beloved of God, when offering the burnt sacrifices of the soul, will “wash out the belly,” that is, will cleanse away desire in every shape, but “the breast from the ram of consecration he will take away.” This means, we may be sure, the warlike spirit in its completeness; and the object of taking it away is that the better portion of the soul, the rational part, that is left, may exercise its truly free and noble impulses towards all things beautiful, with nothing pulling against it any longer and dragging it in another direction.

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