XVI. (53) And one may wonder at the kind of narration which the Jewish lawgiver frequently employs in many instances, where he departs from the usual style. For after giving the history of those parents of the human race who were created out of the earth, he begins to relate the story of the first-born of human parents, concerning whom he says absolutely nothing, as if he had already frequently mentioned his name, and were not now bringing it forward for the first time. Accordingly, he simply says that “she brought forth Cain.” What sort of being was he, O writer; and what have you ever said about him before of either great of small importance? (54) And yet you are not ignorant of the importance of a proper application of names. For before this time, as you proceed in your history, you show this, when speaking in reference to the same person you say, “And Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and brought forth a son, and she called his name Seth.”{20}{#ge 4:25.} Therefore it was much more necessary in the case of the first-born, who was the beginning of the generation of men from one another, to display the nature of him who was thus conceived and born, in the first place showing that he was a male child, and secondly mentioning his peculiar name, Cain. (55) Since, therefore, it was not owing to inexperience or to ignorance of according to what persons he ought to give names, that he appears to have discarded his usual practice in the case of Cain, we must now consider on what account he thus named those who were born of our first parents, rather mentioning the name in an incidental way than actually giving it. And the cause, as it appears to me, according to the best conjecture that I can form, is this.

XVII. (56) All the rest of the human race gives names to things which are different from the things themselves, so that the thing which we see is one thing, but the name which we give it is another; but in the history of Moses the names which he affixes to things are the most conspicuous energies of the things themselves, so that the thing itself is at once of necessity its name, and is in no respect different from the name which is imposed on it. And you may learn this more clearly from the previous example which I have mentioned. (57) When the mind which is in us, and let it be called Adam, meeting with the outward sense, according to which all living creatures appear to exist (and that is called Eve), having conceived a desire for connection, is associated with this outward sense, that one conceives as in a net, and hunts after the external object of outward sense naturally. For by means of the eyes it arrives at a conception of colour, by the ears it conceives sound, by the nostrils it arrives at a conception of smells, of flavours by the organs of taste, and of all substance by those of touch; and having thus conceived it becomes pregnant, and immediately it is in labour, and brings forth the greatest of all the evils of the soul, namely, vain opinion, for it conceives an opinion that everything that it has seen, that it has heard, that it has tasted, that it has smelled, or that it has touched, belongs to itself, and to looks upon itself as the inventor and creator of them all.