Friday, October 9, 2009

Theodoret of Cyrus: Astrology is Irreligious

In our interpretation of the phrase "for signs," we do not follow the fools, whose idle astrological notions found no acceptance with Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, or the Stoics. Now, if those raised on mythological fables abhorred this irreligious myth, what believer in the divine word could tolerate ideas that are not only irreligious but downright foolish? "Signs," then, is the term which holy Scripture uses for indications of the time for sowing, planting, winnowing, and cutting down trees for building ships and houses. From these, sailors have learned when to lift and when to cast anchor, when to unfurl and furl the sail, for experience has taught them the risings and settings of the stars. Furthermore, the observance of a comet, shooting star, or meteor has often informed us of an enemy attack, an invasion of locusts, or a plague on cattle or people. So this was the kind of "signs" meant by Scripture, not those figments of rank folly and irreligion.

- Theodoret of Cyrus (around A.D. 393 to around A.D. 457), Questions on the Octateuch, Question 15 on Genesis, p. 37 (2007), Robert C. Hill translator.