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tense ‘is’ is not said to have come to be and is not characterized as change (k¤nhsiw). It should be perfectly clear that the ‘is’ which really belongs to the realm of true being is the very same ‘is’ as occurs in the mistaken pronouncement ‘It was and is and will be’ (37e 6). It is also the same ‘is’ as occurs in a list of supposedly ‘inaccurate’ statements with which Timaeus rounds off the paragraph: ‘What came to be is a thing which came to be’, ‘What comes to be is a thing which comes to be’, and again ‘What will come to be is a thing which will come to be’, plus ‘What is not is something that is not’. Timaeus defers for a more suitable occasion the task of picking over these sentences to expose their faultiness, but at least in the first three it seems clear that his analysis would turn on the point that ‘is’ is present tense54—exactly the point which Numenius insists upon. Once again, the admirable Platonist Numenius can force our jaded modern eyes to notice a feature of Plato’s text—only past and future are created—which has not been sufficiently emphasized in modern attempts to understand Plato’s doctrine of eternity. It is true that Plato does not echo Parmenides’ emphatic ‘now’, still less does he anticipate the later Platonist distinction between the ‘now’ of eternity and the ‘now’ of ordinary time (Boethius’ nunc stans and nunc fluens). But throughout the passage he is plainly thinking in terms of the present tense use of ‘is’, not of some detensed alternative. All honour to Numenius for confronting us with a particularly forthright statement of the idea that eternity is genuinely present being. Let that serve as prelude to his equally interesting account of being. 6. The Name of the Incorporeal For all these remarks about eternal being, Numenius tells us at the start of frg. 6, have been by way of introduction. Frg. 5 on eternity led immediately to the great revelation: I will not make any more pretences, nor claim not to know the name of the incorporeal. Perhaps this is the point at which it is more agreeable to say it than not to say it. So then—I say that its name is the very thing we have long been inquiring into (l°gv tÚ ˆnoma aÈt“ e‰nai 54 If the second example seems innocuous, because tÚ gignÒmenon is present tense like §st¤, turn to Parmenides 153c 7–e 3 and Sophista 245d 1–4 (cf. Aristotle, Topica IV.5, 128b6–9): only at the end of the process does tÚ gignÒmenon come to be ˆn and ˜lon.

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