June 2010


If you’re tiring of Eusebius, please skip along :-). I generally have the opposite problem: no posting at all!


Ἐνθάδε μὲν οὖν πνεῦμα στόματος αὐτοῦ ἀναγέγραπται. Εὑρήσομεν δὲ ἀλλαχοῦ καὶ λόγον στόματος αὐτοῦ εἰρημένον, ἵνα νοηθῇ ὁ Σωτὴρ καὶ τὸ ἅγιον αὐτοῦ Πνεῦμα. Ἀμφότερα δὲ συνήργησεν ἐν τῇ κτίσει τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ τῶν ἐν αὐτοῖς δυνάμεων· διὰ τοῦτο εἴρηται· Τῷ λόγῳ Κυρίου οἱ οὐρανοὶ ἐστερεώθησαν, καὶ τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ πᾶσα ἡ δύναμις αὐτῶν. Οὐδὲν γὰρ ἁγιάζεται μὴ τῇ παρουσίᾳ τοῦ Πνεύματος. Ἀγγέλων γοῦν τὴν μὲν εἰς τὸ εἶναι πάροδον ὁ δημιουργὸς Λόγος, ὁ ποιητὴς τῶν ὅλων, παρείχετο· τὸν ἁγιασμὸν δὲ αὐτοῖς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον συνεπέφερεν· οὐ γὰρ νήπιοι κτισθέντες οἱ ἄγγελοι.

“Here we find ‘His Spirit’s mouth’ written, but elsewhere we find ‘His Word’s mouth’ said, in order that the Savior and his Holy Spirit might be known. For both were at work in the creation of the heavens and the angels. For this reason it says, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were stretched out, and by the Spirit of his mouth every one of his angels.” For nothing is consecrated except by the presence of the Spirit. Therefore, although the creative Word, the maker of all, prepared the way for the angels to come into being, the Holy Spirit, together with him, bestowed on them their consecration. For the angels were not created as children.”

I’m not sure what he means by the final bit “for the angels were not created as children.” It’s almost like αγιασμον (holiness or consecration) is functioning as a parallel to “coming of age,” since νηπιος can mean minor.

Here’s another excerpt from Eusebius that I liked:


Οὐδὲν γὰρ ἁγιάζεται μὴ τῇ παρουσίᾳ τοῦ Πνεύματος.

Or:

For nothing is consecrated except by the presence of the Spirit.

Eusebius of Caesarea, On the 32nd Psalm

Update: I expanded on this quote here.

I liked this excerpt for several reasons. First, I’ve been able to make sense of the Greek. That’s a prerequisite! Second, I like what Eusebius has to say about almsgiving.

Here’s the Greek:


Ὅτι εὐθὺς ὁ λόγος τοῦ Κυρίου, καὶ πάντα τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ ἐν πίστει. Ἀγαπᾷ ἐλεημοσύνην καὶ κρίσιν· τοῦ ἐλέους Κυρίου πλήρης ἡ γῆ. Τὰ μὲν τῆς τῶν ὄντων καταλήψεως διὰ πίστεως ἡμῖν χωρείτω, τὰ δὲ τοῦ πρακτικοῦ βίου διὰ ἐλεημοσύνης καὶ κρίσεως. Ταῦτα γὰρ ἀγαπᾷ ὁ εὐθὺς τοῦ Κυρίου λόγος· ἅτε κριτικοὺς ἡμᾶς κατασκευάσας καὶ διακριτικοὺς τοῦ τε καλοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἐναντίου. Διὸ βούλεται ἡμᾶς μηδὲν ἀκρίτως πράττειν, μηδὲ ἀλόγως φέρεσθαι ταῖς ἐξ αὐτῶν ὁρμαῖς, κεκριμένως περὶ τῶν πρακτέων βουλεύεσθαι, καὶ πρός γε πάντων ἐλεημονικοὺς εἶναι, συγνωμονικοὺς δὲ πρὸς τοὺς ἁμαρτάνοντας γιγνομένους, συμπαθεῖς δὲ καὶ φιλανθρώπους πρὸς τοὺς ἐλέου δεομένους.

And my translation:

For the Word of the Lord is upright, and all of his works are done in faithfulness. He loves mercy and justice. The earth is full of his mercy.

Abstract things must be received through faith, but the practical things of life are done through mercy and justice. These are the things that the Word of the Lord loves: For us to be wise, prepared, and discerning both of the Good, and that which is before us. He never wants us to act unwisely, or to unreasonably give to those who beg from their own evil inclinations, who discreetly plot treachery and are beggars to all. Rather, he wants us to be aware of the sinners, but sympathetic and philanthropic to those in need.

In his commentary on the Psalms, Eusebius includes a section which has his “hypotheses” on every Psalm (Gk υποθεσις).  These are short little multi-word summations of each Psalms’ theme, as Eusebius understands it. I’ve translated the first 15 here. If anyone has any ideas for Psalm 5 and 14, please let me know. I’m not quite sure how to interpret those. These can be found in Migne Patrologia Graeca volume 23 column 68.

Psalm 1. An example of godliness and staying away from its opposite
Psalm 2. A prophecy concerning Christ and the calling of the nations.
Psalm 3. A prophecy of the good things coming to David.
Psalm 4. A prophecy concerning the One who suffered
Psalm 5. A prayer from a figure of the Church. (?)
Psalm 6. A teaching on confession and praise.
Psalm 7. Praise by David and the calling of the nations
Psalm 8. A prophecy on the calling of the nations.
Psalm 9. The death and resurrection of Christ, and his ascension to the throne, and the overthrow of all enemies.
Psalm 10. A victory song for those who contend for the godly prize.
Psalm 11. The kinds of evil, and a prophecy about the coming of Christ.
Psalm 12. The rising up of enemies, and expectation of Christ’s coming
Psalm 13. The kinds of evil, and a prophecy of Christ’s coming.
Psalm 14. The final restoration according to God. (?)
Psalm 15. The election of the Church and the resurrection of Christ.

And here is the Greek:

Psalm 1 – Greek αʹ Προτροπὴ θεοσεβείας καὶ ἀποτροπὴ τοῦ ἐναντίου.
Psalm 2 – Greek βʹ Προφητεία περὶ Χριστοῦ καὶ κλήσεως ἐθνῶν.
Psalm 3 – Greek γʹ Προφητεία γενησομένων ἀγαθῶν τῷ Δαυΐδ.
Psalm 4 – Greek δʹ Προφητεία τῷ Δαυῒδ περὶ ὧν πέπονθεν.
Psalm 5 – Greek εʹ Ἐκ προσώπου τῆς Ἐκκλησίας προσευχή.
Psalm 6 – Greek ςʹ Διδασκαλία ἐξομολογήσεως.
Psalm 7 – Greek ζʹ Τῷ Δαυῒδ ἐξομολόγησις καὶ διδασκαλία κλήσεως 1 ἐθνῶν.
Psalm 8 – Greek ηʹ Προφητεία κλήσεως ἐθνῶν.
Psalm 9 – Greek θʹ Θάνατος Χριστοῦ καὶ ἀνάστασις, καὶ βασιλείας παράληψις, ἐχθρῶν τε πάντων καθαίρεσις.
Psalm 10 – Greek ιʹ Ἐπινίκιος ὕμνος τοῦ κατὰ Θεὸν ἀγωνιζομένου.
Psalm 11 – Greek ιαʹ Κατηγορία πονηρῶν, καὶ προφητεία Χριστοῦ παρουσίας.
Psalm 12 – Greek ιβʹ Ἐχθρῶν ἐπανάστασις, καὶ προσδοκία Χριστοῦ παρουσίας.
Psalm 13 – Greek ιγʹ Κατηγορία πονηρῶν, καὶ προφητεία Χριστοῦ παρουσίας.
Psalm 14 – Greek ιδʹ Τοῦ κατὰ Θεὸν τελείου ἀποκατάστασις.
Psalm 15 – Greek ιεʹ Ἐκλογὴ Ἐκκλησίας, καὶ Χριστοῦ ἀνάστασις.

Here’s a nice Greek verse, taken from the 31 Psalm (LXX):

πολλαὶ αἱ μάστιγες τοῦ ἁμαρτωλοῦ,
τὸν δὲ ἐλπίζοντα ἐπὶ κύριον ἔλεος κυκλώσει.

Many are the snares of sin,
but the one who hopes in the Lord will be enveloped with mercy

~alex

As I’ve been reading some of Chrysostom’s commentary on the Psalms, I had wondered how long it would take me to notice a difference between his text of the Psalms and mine. It’s quite funny that it took me this long to find one, because there is one right at the beginning of the work! Chrysostom is great for this kind of thing because he loves to make rather detailed points about the text. He’s fond of saying things like, “The prophet didn’t say this (insert slight difference), but this.” The change in the text with Rahlfs is very minor, but it would break his argument at this point (or hinder this particular point any way).

The text in question is the fourth Psalm. Here’s Rahlf’s text:

Εν τῷ ἐπικαλεῖσθαί με εἰσήκουσέν μου ὁ θεὸς τῆς δικαιοσύνης μου

And here’s Chrysostom:

Εν τῷ ἐπικαλεῖσθαί με εἰσήκουσέ με ὁ Θεὸς τῆς δικαιοσύνης μου

Can you spot the difference? It’s very slight, it occurs in the word following εισηκουσεν:

Εν τῷ ἐπικαλεῖσθαί με εἰσήκουσέν μου ὁ θεὸς τῆς δικαιοσύνης μου (Rahlfs)
Εν τῷ ἐπικαλεῖσθαί με εἰσήκουσέ με ὁ Θεὸς τῆς δικαιοσύνης μου (Chrysostom)

Why is this important? Well Chrysostom goes on to make this point:

Πρὸς γοῦν τοὺς ἐν πονηρίᾳ μὲν ζῶντας, προσδοκῶντας δὲ τῷ μήκει τῶν
ῥημάτων δυσωπεῖν αὐτὸν, ὅρα τί φησιν. Ὅταν πληθύνητε τὴν δέησιν, οὐκ εἰσακούσομαι
ὑμῶν. Ἐὰν ἐκτείνητε τὰς χεῖρας, ἀποστρέψω τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς μου ἀφ’ ὑμῶν. Ἄρα πρὸ
τῶν ἄλλων ἁπάντων παῤῥησίαν δεῖ τὸν εὐχόμενον ἔχειν, καὶ πάντως ἕψεται τὰ τῆς
αἰτήσεως. ∆ιά τοι τοῦτο καὶ ὁ Προφήτης οὐκ εἶπεν, Εἰσήκουσεν ἐμοῦ, ἀλλὰ, Τῆς
δικαιοσύνης μου
, τὴν πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν αὐτοῦ παῤῥησίαν δεικνὺς, καὶ ὡς μετὰ ταύτης
αὐτῷ προσῄει διὰ παντός.

And a rather rough translation.

To those that live in evil, who give to Him lofty words, see what is written: Whenever you utter your request, I will not hear you. If you stretch out your hands, I will turn my eyes from you. Before all others your prayer must have boldness, so by all means follow the boldness of this prayer. Because of this the prophet didn’t say, “He heard me,” but “He heard my righteousness.” Having shown God this righteousness, he prayed through all things.

I’m not so sure about the “So before others…” line, so for the Greekers out there please double check that one for me.

First, the difference between the readings. As I understand it, Rahlfs reading would be translated like this:

In my cry to him, God, who is my righteousness, heard me.

Chrysostom’s would go like this:
In my cry to him, God heard my righteousness.

I don’t have easy access to a textual apparatus, though I could find no mention of the variant in Swete’s apparatus (which is online at archive.org). Swete’s LXX followed Chrysostom’s text on this one though.

So what is Chrysostom up to here? As always, he’s extremely concerned with the moral character of his congregation. In teaching them to pray, he is goes out of his way to point out that one prays through good works. The opposite is true too. Sin blocks prayer, and he trots out the famous passage from Isaiah where God castigates Israel for observing religious ceremonies while failing to do justice. Thus, he naturally points out that God hears our actions just as loud as our words. The argument is summed up nicely in a short sentence early in the homily:

Οὐ γὰρ δὴ ῥημάτων πλῆθος πείθειν τὸν Θεὸν εἴωθεν, ἀλλὰ καθαρὰ ψυχὴ καὶ ἔργων ἀγαθῶν ἐπίδειξις.

For it is not the fullness of words that convinces God, but a pure soul and the demonstration of good works. (again, not sure about ειωθεν).

Textual Criticism is normally of no interest to me, but I found this little bit interesting ;-).

I worked quite a bit on my Ignatius paper today, and got quite a bit done. Today was devoted to his rhetoric, and I collected several pages worth of epithets, metaphors, antithesis, and other rhetorical features from his letter to the Romans. The man could certainly be rhetorical ;-).

I also learned that “Asianism” as a rhetorical school is a much more slippery term than I originally thought. I’ve read that Ignatius belongs to this school (and after today I’d agree), but what we know about this school seems to come mostly through critics. Cicero talks about it some, as he as accused of being an “Asianist.” Basically this school of rhetoric was particularly fond of emotional appeals. Their speeches were almost poetic, containing lots of antithesis, startling metaphors/epithets, and rhythm (the hardest word to spell ever!).

Ignatius definitely exhibits features of this school. He loves startling metaphors and antithesis. Just read Romans 5. If you highlight both of those features you’ve highlighted most of the letter. He can heap up epithets with the best of them (something John Chrysostom was fond of too). The salutation of Romans is almost entirely one big epithet (well, many epithets) describing the Roman Church. He also seems to use assonance, though I need to review my reconstructed koine pronunciation before I mention that ;-). I also particularly like his paronomasia, or word play.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Ignatius’ rhetoric is how he frequently directs his audience to Christ. Many of his metaphors evoke the liturgy. Wheat, Bread, and Drink come up quite often. He urges the Romans to become a chorus, singing by Jesus Christ to God the Father. These elements are brilliant rhetorical moves. After all, he’s drawing on a powerful set of shared experiences. However, I do think they’re theologically sound because they’re rooted in the Church’s practice, which is ultimately rooted in the Cross via the Bread and Wine.

That does, of course, bring me to the next task. Rhetoric its fine and dandy, but if what he’s arguing for isn’t sound, then the rhetoric is in vain! Fortunately, I think you can make a good theological case here from Paul’s letters. However, I need to finish the rhetoric first ;-).

Off to sleep!

~alex

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