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[379c] he said. “Neither, then, could God,” said I, “since he is good, be, as the multitude say, the cause of all things, but for mankind he is the cause of few things, but of many things not the cause.1 For good things are far fewer2 with us than evil, and for the good we must assume no other cause than God, but the cause of evil we must look for in other things and not in God.” “What you say seems to me most true,” he replied. “Then,” said I, “we must not accept

1 Anticipates the proclamtion of the prophet in the final myth, 617 E:αἰτία ἑλομένου: θεὸς ἀναίτιος. The idea, elaborated in Cleanthes' hymn to Zeus, may be traced back to the speech of the Homeric Zeus in Odyssey i. 33ἐξ ἡμεῶν γάπ φασι κάκ᾽ ἔμμεναι. St. Thomas distinguishes: “Deus est auctor mali quod est poena, non autem mali quod est culpa.”

2 A pessimistic commoplace more emphasized in the Laws than in the Republic. Cf. Laws 896 E, where the Manichean hypothesis of an evil world-soul is suggested.

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