Soc. And is, then, all which is just pious ? or, is that which is pious all just, but that which is just, only in part and not all, pious ?
Euth. I do not understand you, Socrates.
Soc. And yet I know that you are as much wiser than I am, as you are younger. But, as I was saying, revered friend, the abundance of your wisdom makes you lazy. Please to exert yourself, for there is no real difficulty in understanding me. What I mean I may explain by an illustration of what I do not mean. The poet (Stasinus) sings —
Of Zeus, the author and creator of all these things,
You will not tell : for where there is fear there is also reverence.
Now I disagree with this poet. Shall I tell you in what respect ?
Euth. By all means.
Soc. I should not say that where there is fear there is also reverence ; for I am sure that many persons fear poverty and disease, and the like evils, but I do not perceive that they reverence the objects of their fear.
Euth. Very true.
Soc. But where reverence is, there is fear ; for he who has a feeling of reverence and shame about the commission of any action, fears and is afraid of an ill reputation.
Euth. No doubt.
Soc. Then we are wrong in saying that where there is fear there is also reverence ; and we should say, where there is reverence there is also fear. But there is not always reverence where there is fear ; for fear is a more extended notion, and reverence is a part of fear, just as the odd is a part of number, and number is a more extended notion than the odd. I suppose that you follow me now ?
Euth. Quite well.
Soc. That was the sort of question which I meant to raise when I asked whether the just is always the pious, or the pious always the just ; and whether there may not be justice where there is not piety ; for justice is the more extended notion of which piety is only a part. Do you dissent ?
Euth. No, I think that you are quite right.
Soc. Then, if piety is a part of justice, I suppose that we should enquire what part ? If you had pursued the enquiry in the previous cases ; for instance, if you had asked me what is an even number, and what part of number the even is, I should have had no difficulty in replying, a number which represents a figure having two equal sides. Do you not agree ?
Euth. Yes, I quite agree.
Soc. In like manner, I want you to tell me what part of justice is piety or holiness, that I may be able to tell Meletus not to do me injustice, or indict me for impiety, as I am now adequately instructed by you in the nature of piety or holiness, and their opposites.
Euth. Piety or holiness, Socrates, appears to me to be that part of justice which attends to the gods, as there is the other part of justice which attends to men.
Soc. That is good, Euthyphro ; yet still there is a little point about which I should like to have further information, What is the meaning of “attention” ? For attention can hardly be used in the same sense when applied to the gods as when applied to other things. For instance, horses are said to require attention, and not every person is able to attend to them, but only a person skilled in horsemanship. Is it not so ?
Soc. I should suppose that the art of horsemanship is the art of attending to horses ?
Soc. Nor is every one qualified to attend to dogs, but only the huntsman ?
Soc. And I should also conceive that the art of the huntsman is the art of attending to dogs ?
Soc. As the art of the ox herd is the art of attending to oxen ?
Euth. Very true.
Soc. In like manner holiness or piety is the art of attending to the gods ? — that would be your meaning, Euthyphro ?
Soc. And is not attention always designed for the good or benefit of that to which the attention is given ? As in the case of horses, you may observe that when attended to by the horseman’s art they are benefited and improved, are they not ?
Soc. As the dogs are benefited by the huntsman’s art, and the oxen by the art of the ox herd, and all other things are tended or attended for their good and not for their hurt ?
Euth. Certainly, not for their hurt.
Soc. But for their good ?
Euth. Of course.
Soc. And does piety or holiness, which has been defined to be the art of attending to the gods, benefit or improve them ? Would you say that when you do a holy act you make any of the gods better ?
Euth. No, no ; that was certainly not what I meant.
Soc. And I, Euthyphro, never supposed that you did. I asked you the question about the nature of the attention, because I thought that you did not.
Euth. You do me justice, Socrates ; that is not the sort of attention which I mean.
Soc. Good : but I must still ask what is this attention to the gods which is called piety ?
Euth. It is such, Socrates, as servants show to their masters.
Soc. I understand — a sort of ministration to the gods.
Soc. Medicine is also a sort of ministration or service, having in view the attainment of some object — would you not say of health ?
Euth. I should.
Soc. Again, there is an art which ministers to the ship-builder with a view to the attainment of some result ?
Euth. Yes, Socrates, with a view to the building of a ship.
Soc. As there is an art which ministers to the housebuilder with a view to the building of a house ?
Soc. And now tell me, my good friend, about the art which ministers to the gods : what work does that help to accomplish ? For you must surely know if, as you say, you are of all men living the one who is best instructed in religion.
Euth. And I speak the truth, Socrates.
Soc. Tell me then, oh tell me — what is that fair work which the gods do by the help of our ministrations ?
Euth. Many and fair, Socrates, are the works which they do. Soc. Why, my friend, and so are those of a general. But the chief of them is easily told. Would you not say that victory in war is the chief of them ?
Soc. Many and fair, too, are the works of the husbandman, if I am not mistaken ; but his chief work is the production of food from the earth ?
Soc. And of the many and fair things done by the gods, which is the chief or principal one ?