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This article is taken from PN Review 150, Volume 29 Number 4, March - April 2003.

Holy Heraclitus Adam Czerniawski
All things are a flowing,
Sage Heracleitos says...
 - Ezra Pound

1

On one of his missionary journeys St Paul reached Athens. And there `some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers joined issue with him'. And because `the Athenians in general and the foreigners there had no time for anything but talking or hearing about the latest novelty', Paul takes the opportunity to tell them about `the God who created the world and everything in it, and who is Lord of heaven and earth', that the end of the world may be nigh, that therefore they should convert and undergo penance for their pagan past.1

A critical moment in our history: a dramatic confrontation between Judaic irrationalism and Greek rationalism, on Socrates' and Plato's home-ground no less! Paul was brought up in Tarsus, a Greek colony in Asia Minor, but as a Jew from a rabbinical family of Pharisees, he must have concentrated on the mysteries of the Talmud rather than Socratic dialectics or Pre-socratic materialism. So he probably did not encounter the Darwinian Anaximander, who held that `Living creatures came into being from moisture evaporated by the sun. Man was originally similar to another creature - that is, to the fish';2 with the hypotheses of `the associates of Anaximander' `who supposed the worlds to be infinite in number',3 or with Heraclitus's theological position: `God is day-night, winter- summer, war-peace, satiety-famine. But he changes like [fire] which when it mingles with the smoke ...


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