Behold a worthy sight, to which God...

TrungstXVI

Senior Member
Vietnam
“Behold a worthy sight, to which God, turning his attention to his own work, may direct his gaze. Behold an equal thing, worthy of a God, a brave man matched in conflict with evil fortune”

Seneca

This quote makes me confused. I can't understand it. Could you explain it for me in plain English.

Thanks
 
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  • Though Seneca didn't believe in a personal God, more a pantheistic one, here, he imagines a Creator God seeing an event whose excellence is Godlike:

    A brave man is wrestling with evil fortune. (In other words the man* shows courage, resolution, etc, even in the face of terrible, undeserved misfortune--this kind of event deserves to be called Godlike or having excellence worthy of God.)

    *who is, of course, God's creation, ex hypothesi
     
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    TrungstXVI

    Senior Member
    Vietnam
    Though Seneca didn't believe in a personal God, more a pantheistic one, here, he imagines a Creator God seeing an event whose excellence is Godlike:

    A brave man is wrestling with evil fortune. (In other words the man shows courage, resolution, etc, even in the face of terrible, undeserved misfortune--this kind of event deserves to be called Godlike or having excellence worthy of God.)
    What does the word "behold" mean? Does it mean "look at"?
    And how about the word "sight". It has many meanings, so, I don't know exactly what it means.

    sight Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary

    Could you help me out?

    Thanks
     

    TrungstXVI

    Senior Member
    Vietnam
    I think the brave man is worthy a creation that God has created. Is it right?
     
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    Trochfa

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    “Behold a worthy sight, to which God, turning his attention to his own work, may direct his gaze. Behold an equal thing, worthy of a God, a brave man matched in conflict with evil fortune”
    See/Observe a (any) thing worth looking at, to which God might turn his attention, surveying (viewing/examining) his own work. See/Observe a thing which is equal to that, something worthy of a God*, a brave man pitted against/wrestling with evil fortune.

    * I see this as having two possible meanings:
    1. Per Benny's very clear explanation, that a brave man pitted against/wrestling with evil fortune is a God-like characteristic.
    Or
    2. A brave man pitted against/wrestling with evil fortune is a characteristic of man which is equally worthy of being beheld/seen/observed by a God as the worthy thing observed by that God in the first sentence. (As if, in a sense, that characteristic of man is worthy of a God in the sense of almost being an offering to God.)

    Whether using the meanings of 1, or 2 above, or both, it means that God is pleased by the sight of a brave man struggling against/with evil fortune rather than him just sitting back or giving in to it.

    I think the brave man is worthy a creation that God has created. Is it right?
    Your idea of a brave man being a worthy creation of God has aspects to it which fit in with the ideas of 1 and 2 above. 1. A brave man is worthy because being brave is a God-like characteristic or 2. A brave man is a worthy thing for a God to observe/see.
     
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    TrungstXVI

    Senior Member
    Vietnam
    See/Observe a (any) thing worth looking at, to which God might turn his attention, surveying (viewing/examining) his own work. See/Observe a thing which is equal to that, something worthy of a God*, a brave man pitted against/wrestling with evil fortune.

    * I see this as having two possible meanings:
    1. Per Benny's very clear explanation, that a brave man pitted against/wrestling with evil fortune is a God-like characteristic.
    Or
    2. A brave man pitted against/wrestling with evil fortune is a characteristic of man which is equally worthy of being beheld/seen/observed by a God as the worthy thing observed by God in the first sentence. (As if, in a sense, that characteristic of man is worthy of a God in the sense of almost being an offering to God.)

    Whether using the meanings of 1, or 2 above, or both, it means that God is pleased by the sight of a brave man struggling against/with evil fortune rather than him just sitting back or giving in to it.



    Your idea of a brave man being a worthy creation of God has aspects to it which fit in with the ideas of 1 and 2 above. 1. A brave man is worthy because being brave is a God-like characteristic or 2. A brave man is a worthy thing for a God to observe/see.
    Thanks, why did he write "a God", instead of "God"?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Thanks, why did he write "a God", instead of "God"?
    Senaca probably did not write "God" - some Christian translator probably changed it.

    There is an interesting observation from the Wikipedia article on Senaca:
    By the 4th century an apocryphal correspondence with Paul the Apostle had been created linking Seneca into the Christian tradition. [...]Medieval writers and works continued to link him to Christianity because of his alleged association with Paul.
    In place of "apocryphal" read "forged".
     
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