January 2013


I’m doing some TLG work this morning to determine the different ways Gregory can use βελτίων.  In the process, I came upon this darling of a passage in his first oration.  Here’s the Greek and my translation:

Gregorius Nazianzenus Theol., In sanctum pascha et in tarditatem (orat. 1). 
Εʹ. Γενώμεθα ὡς Χριστὸς, ἐπεὶ καὶ Χριστὸς ὡς ἡμεῖς· γενώμεθα θεοὶ δι’ αὐτὸν, ἐπειδὴ κἀκεῖνος δι’ ἡμᾶς ἄνθρωπος. Προσέλαβε τὸ χεῖρον, ἵνα δῷ τὸ βέλτιον·
ἐπτώχευσεν, ἵν’ ἡμεῖς τῇ ἐκείνου πτωχείᾳ πλουτήσωμεν.

Let us become like Christ, for he became like us.  Let us become gods on his account, for he became a man for us. He took the worse lot, that he might give the better. He was impoverished, so that we would become rich through his poverty.  

It then continues with the antitheses in a lovely manner.  I do love reading Gregory!

ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

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In looking around online for manuscripts which contain Gregory’s oration on Pentecost, I had the fortune of finding two 10th century manuscripts at the British Library: Add. ms. 18231 and Add. ms. 14771.  One can view these mss. by visiting http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts and typing the respective numbers into the “Manuscripts” field.  

With ms. 18231, not only did I locate an early text (copied in 972, we have a colophon), but I also had the fortune of finding commentary in the margins on our folio (179v.).  The scholia is copied from Maximus the Confessor’s Ambigua ad Ioannem.  Prior, I had not been able to find a manuscript of this passage online: I had only found the Patrologia Graeca’s text.  Clearly I was pleased to find a manuscript with the text, especially one from the tenth century!

The readings from the manuscript differ from the PG, but for the most part they are simple transpositions.  This manuscript, both in the main text (Gregory’s oration) and in the commentary contains πρὸς διάκρισιν τῆς βελτίονος instead of πρὸς διάκρισιν τοῦ βελτίονος.  Also, the manuscript contains a gap which suggests a lacuna in the first paragraph.  This would help make sense of an otherwise rather difficult phrase, though I don’t know what belongs there.  I will update the Greek text of my prior post with this commentary, and update the translation a bit too.  

I’ve also uploaded the Greek in PDF form, which can be found here

ἐν αὐτῷ
ΜΑΘΠ 

Below is my translation of the first part of opusculum 74, from Paul Gautier’s edition of Michael Psellos’s Theologica.  I’m not sure how much of this I’ll translate, but I wanted to at least deal with the portion directly pertaining to our passage in Gregory.  Interestingly, Psellos claims that many people disagree with Gregory’s analysis of Pentecost.  Psellos lays out both sides of the argument in pretty good detail here.  The Greek text of Gautier’s edition is in the TLG, which I have posted beneath for convenience.  

English Translation

On the passage, “The apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  

There are many who think this miracle happened in a manner different than the one Gregory the Theologian set out when he examined the tongues of fire.  “How is it,” they say, “not a miracle if from one and the same voice many languages resounded forth?  It might work just as wheat-flowers, barbs, husks and sheaths all come from one wheat stalk. One man, who had visited many cities and learned many languages, could translate the languages spoken into the native language of the audience.  Even here in our city we now see many who speak Arabic, or Egyptian or Phoenician, and these same ones translate for Persians, Iberians, Galatians, and Assyrians.  When someone speaks all of the languages with fluency, we marvel, but even this great feat we do not consider a sign of the Holy Spirit’s appearance.  But if someone speaks one speech for all languages, such that an Assyrian can understand, along with a Scythian or Ethiopian, we certainly understand this man as participating in divine language.”  

But the great father has marveled at the opposite of this.  He says that all of the languages were spoken at once by the apostles, and he gives this reason.  If the apostles spoke in one language, but those present heard in their various languages, then one would reasonably think that the miracle belonged to the audience, that they have translated the one language into their own.  But if a Jew, who just prior knew only the tongue of the Jews, immediately began speaking to Assyrians in the Assyrian language, and then again to Medes, and after this to Babylonians, whose words before he didn’t even know very well, this man alone would testify to the divine breath, since the Spirit always appears in various forms, and from one source he divides himself to many springs.  This is why the great man thinks this option more worthy of the Spirit’s appearance than the first.

Greek Text

Εἰς τὸ ‘ἐπλήσθησαν οἱ ἀπόστολοι πνεύματος ἁγίου καὶ ἤρξαντο λαλεῖν ἑτέραις γλώσσαις, καθὼς τὸ πνεῦμα ἐδίδου αὐτοῖς ἀποφθέγγεσθαι’ 

Πολλοὶ τὸ ἐναντίον, οὗ περὶ τῶν πυρίνων γλωσσῶν ἡ θεολόγος φωνὴ διηρμήνευκε, θαυμάσιον ἥγηνται· καὶ πῶς γάρ, φασίν, οὐ παράδοξον, εἰ ἀπὸ μιᾶς καὶ τῆς αὐτῆς φωνῆς πολλαὶ διάλεκτοι ἀνεβλάστανον; ὥσπερ γὰρ ἀπὸ μιᾶς καλάμης τοῦ στάχυος ἀνθέρικές τε καὶ ἀκίδες καὶ θῆκαι καὶ λέμματα. τὸ δὲ μεταλλάττειν τὰς διαλέκτους πρὸς τὴν τῶν ἀκουόντων οἰκείαν φωνήν, τοῦτο καὶ ἀνὴρ πολλαῖς ἐπιπλανηθεὶς πόλεσι καὶ πλείσταις γλώσσαις ἐνωμιληκὼς ποιήσειε. καὶ ἡμεῖς δὲ τεθεάμεθα πολλοὺς τῶν καθ’ ἡμᾶς νῦν μὲν Ἀράβιον ἀφιέντας φωνήν, νῦν δὲ κατὰ Φοίνικας ἢ Αἰγυπτίους διαλεγομένους, οἱ δ’ αὐτοὶ καὶ Πέρσαις καὶ Ἴβηρσι καὶ Γαλάταις καὶ Ἀσσυρίοις τὴν γλῶτταν διαμερίζουσιν, οὓς δὴ τῆς μὲν εὐγλωττίας, ὡς ἄν τις εἴπῃ, θαυμάζομεν, οὐ μὴν δὲ τὴν πολλὴν ταύτην φωνὴν σημεῖον θεοφανείας ποιούμεθα. εἰ δέ τις τὴν μίαν διάλεκτον πολλαῖς γλώσσαις διαμερίζοι, ὡς καὶ τὸν Φοίνικα ταύτης συνιέναι καὶ τὸν Ἀσσύριον καὶ τὸν Σκύθην καὶ τὸν Αἰθίοπα, τοῦτον ἂν εἰκότως ἐν μετουσίᾳ λογισώμεθα.

Ἀλλ’ ὁ μέγας πατὴρ τὸ ἐναντίον τούτου τεθαύμακε, καὶ πάσας ὁμοῦ τὰς διαλέκτους αὐτομάτως τοῖς ἀποστόλοις ἐπιμαρτυρήσας ἄριστα καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν προσθείς. εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἐκεῖνοι μιᾷ διελέγοντο γλώττῃ, πολυμερῶς δὲ ταύτης οἱ παρόντες ἀντελαμβάνοντο, ἐκείνων ἂν εἰκότως τὸ θαῦμα τῆς ἀντιλήψεως δόξειε, περισπώντων εἰς ἑαυτοὺς τὴν μίαν διάλεκτον κατὰ τὴν οἰκείαν γλῶτταν· εἰ δ’ ὁ πρὸ μικροῦ Ἰουδαῖος μόνον καὶ τὴν Ἰουδαίων μεμαθηκὼς μόνην φωνὴν αὖθις Ἀσσυρίοις τε ὁμιλεῖ κατὰ τὴν ἐκείνων γλῶτταν καὶ πάλιν Μήδοις καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα Βαβυλωνίοις, ὧν οὐδὲ τὰ ὀνόματα πάνυ σαφῶς ἠπίστατο, τούτῳ ἂν εἰκότως μόνῳ ἡ θεία προσμαρτυρηθείη ἐπίπνοια, ὡς πολυειδεῖ ἀθρόον ἀναφανέντι καὶ ἀπὸ μιᾶς πηγῆς πολλοὺς διαμεριζομένῳ τοὺς ὀχετούς. διὰ ταῦτα ὁ μέγας οὗτος ἀνὴρ τοῦτο μᾶλλον ἢ ἐκεῖνο θεοφανείας ἠξίωσε.

ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

Update: I have corrected formatting problems in the Greek text.  Thanks to Charles Sullivan for catching them.

I just made use for the first time of an excellent modern lexicon that is coming out of Spain.  The Diccionario Griego-Español, according to those wiser than me, is one of the best lexical tools available for ancient Greek.  It’s incomplete (and thus still in progress: A-ἔξαυος are online), but from the bit of time I’ve spent with it, it does look to be an excellent tool.  The lexicon is Greek to Spanish, which does decrease its usefulness somewhat for native English speakers like myself.  However, many Greek students have had Latin at some point, and Spanish is probably the closest of the romance languages to Latin.  Or, you may have had both Latin and Spanish like me.  Even though my Spanish is rusty, I’ve still been able to make use of it!

Today I was curious about the adjective βελτίων.  It’s a comparative of ἀγαθός, and means “better.”  However, Greek seems to use comparative adjectives more freely than English, and in a wider sense.  In this passage from Gregory on which I’ve been working for quite some time, it seems to mean “the good,” in an almost Platonic sense.  So I wanted to see if we had any record for βελτίων being used as a noun in a generic sense like that.  The LSJ was not of much help, but the DGE was.

The entry is divided into three parts, de pers. (for people), de cosas y abstr. (for things and abstractions), and adverbs.  Under the second heading, we have (inter alia)  “subst. lo que es mejor”  (used substantivally, that which is better) followed by citation of Plato’s Alcibiades:  τί καλεῖς τὸ ἐν τῷ κιθαρίζειν βέλτιον; Pl.Alc.1.108b.  

Thus, while not ensuring my interpretation of Gregory is the only right one, with the help of the DGE I have confirmed that βέτιον can be used as an abstract noun.   Hearing Plato in the background was not off-base either: the example comes the great Philosopher himself! 

My thanks to the team at the DGE, not only for creating such a useful tool, but also for placing it online, freely available to all!

ἐν αὐτῷ
ΜΑΘΠ 

Below is my translation of Maximus the Confessor’s ambiguum on part of Gregory of Nazianzus’s Or. 41.  

A few things stand out.  For one, Maximus cites several different opinions.  He gives his own in the first paragraph, wherein he argues that Gregory’s cryptic sentence refers to speaking in tongues and to prophecy.  These are the gifts “which require other ones to judge them.”  He describes why the gift of discerning spirits is a necessary complement to prophecy, providing some rather good reasons in my opinion.  But in the second paragraph he seems indicates that others believe Gregory’s sentence to refer to the “interpreting gifts,” which are discernment of spirits and interpretation of tongues.  

Much of this hinges on how you interpret the Greek phrase, «πρὸς διάκρισιν τοῦ βελτίονος. »   Βελτίονος could simply refer to a generic “better,” in which case we would understand the phrase as, “in order to understand what is best,” or something along those lines.  This appears to be the approach that Maximus himself takes.  But we could also supply an implied χαρίσματος from the previous phrase, in which we could read πρὸς διάκρισιν τοῦ βελτίονος χαρίσματος.  This would then read, “in order to interpret the better gift.” Indeed, the Sources Chretiennes text of Gregory chose the  «πρὸς διάκρισιν τῆς βελτίονος, » for the main text, which would ensure a reading along these lines.  Instead of supplying χαρίσματος, we would in this case supply διαφορᾶς with the meaning “type,” and read, “in order to distinguish the better type of gift.”  Maximus offers this line of interpretation as a distinguished alternative to his own reading. 

The Greek text of the PG for Maximus is quite problematic.  Unfortunately there isn’t yet a better one (a new translation and text is due out soon from the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library), and there aren’t any manuscripts online that I’ve been able to find with this passage.  I have consulted an early Latin manuscript (9th century, our earliest witness actually if I’m not mistaken).  The Latin translation is quite literal (painstakingly actually), but since Latin doesn’t have an article it doesn’t help our problem above of τοῦ vs. τῆς.  Time permitting, I’ll transcribe the Latin and post it too.  It’ll be a good exercise for me since I’m taking Latin paleography this semester.

English Translation

From the same oration, on the “And there is a type of spiritual gift, which requires another gift for interpretation.”  

The “type of gift which requires another for interpretation,” according to this great teacher is prophecy, I think, and speaking in tongues.  For prophecy requires the gift of distinguishing spirits, so that one may know the nature of the prophecy, where it comes from, what it carries, what spirit it belongs to, and for what reason it comes.  Otherwise, it may simply be idle talk, proceeding only from an offense that the speaker has suffered (thus from his own mind)[1], or it may be a self-caused impulse from the one prophesying, which comes from wide experience and a natural shrewdness about the nature of things, or even from an evil and demonic spirit, like the “marvelous” sayings in Montanus and those like him, which, it is said, are in the form of prophecy; or, someone may take the words of others and speak with great airs because of vanity, declaiming with great pomp learning that is not his own, lying so that others would marvel at him.  For some shamelessly make themselves into the deadbeat fathers of orphaned words and ideas by espousing and then abandoning them so that others might think them wise.  Thus the divine apostle says, “let two or three prophets speak, and the others judge.”   

Others happen to believe that he means the gift of discernment of spirits.  For prophecy requires, as I have said, the gift of discernment of spirits so that the prophecy may be understood, believed, and accepted.  Likewise, the gift of tongues requires the gift of interpretation, lest the one speaking in tongues seem mad to those present, and the audience not follow what is said.  For the great apostle says, “if you speak in tongues, and an unbeliever or some other outsider comes in, will they not say that you are mad?”  And so he orders those who speak in tongues to stay quiet unless an interpreter is present.  Those who have enlightened the mind with divine words say that the teacher here indicates by “in order to distinguish the better [gift]” that the gift of prophecy and the gift of tongues are superior to those which need a complementary gift to illumine and enlighten (that is, the gift of discernment of spirits and the gift of interpretation).  This is why the teacher says, “in order to distinguish the better [gift].” 

[1] There is a lacuna here in the Greek text that makes this phrase rather awkward.

Greek Text 

Taken from BL Add. ms. 18231 folio 179v. 

ἡ διαφορὰ τῶν χαρισμάτων ἡ ἄλλου δεομένη χαρίσματος πρὸς διάκρισιν κατὰ τὸν μέγαν τοῦτον διδάσκαλόν ἐστιν ἡ προφητεία καθὼς οἴμαι καὶ τὸ λαλεῖν γλώσσαις· ἡ μὲν προφητεία δεῖται τοῦ χαρίσματος τῆς διακρίσεως τῶν πνευμάτων πρὸς τὸ γνωσθῆναι τίς καὶ πόθεν καὶ ποῦ φέρουσα καὶ ποίου πνεύματός ἐστι καὶ δι᾽ἥν αἰτίαν· μήπως φλήναφός ἐστι μόνον εἰκῆ προσφερόμενος ἐκ τῆς κατὰ ………………1 τὸ ἡγεμονικὸν βλάβης τοῦ λέγοντος· ἢ αὐτοκίνητος ἡ ὁρμὴ τοῦ δῆθεν προφητεύοντος· ἐξ ἀγχινοίας περί τινων φυσικῶς κατὰ λόγον, διὰ πολυπειρίαν τεκμαιρομένου πραγμάτων· ἢ τοῦ πονηροῦ καὶ δαιμονιώδους πνεύματος· ὥσπερ ἐν Μοντανῷ καὶ τοῖς ἐκείνῳ παραπλησίοις ἐστὶ τερατολογία ἐν προφητείας εἴδει τὸ λεγόμενον· ἢ δόξης ἕνεκα κενῆς, τοῖς ἄλλων ἄλλος τυχὸν ἁβρύνεται λέγων τε καὶ πομπεύων ἅπερ αὐτὸς οὐκ ἐγέννησεν ὑπὲρ τοῦ θαυμασθῆναι ψευδόμενος· καὶ πατέρα νόθον ὀρφανῶν λόγων τε καὶ νοημάτων ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ τοῦ δόξαι σοφός τις εἶναι προβάλλεσθαι οὐκ αἰσχυνόμενος· προφῆται γὰρ δύο φησὶν ὁ θεῖος ἀπόστολος ἢ τρεῖς λαλείτωσαν. καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι διακρινέτωσαν.

τίνες δὲ τυγχάνουσιν οἱ ἄλλοι, δῆλον οἱ τὸ χάρισμα τῆς διακρίσεως ἔχοντες· δεῖται τοίνυν ἡ μὲν προφητεία, καθὼς ἔφην, τῆς διακρίσεως τῶν πνευμάτων ἵνα γνωσθῇ καὶ πιστευθῇ καὶ ἐγκριθῇ· τὸ δὲ χάρισμα τῶν γλωσσῶν δεῖται τοῦ χαρίσματος τῆς ἑρμηνείας, ἵνα μὴ δόξῃ τοῖς παροῦσι μαίνεσθαι ὁ τοιοῦτος μὴ δυναμένου τινος τῶν ἀκουόντων παρακολουθῆσαι τοῖς λαλουμένοις· ἐὰν γάρ φησιν ὁ μέγας ἀπόστολος λαλεῖτε γλώσσαις· εἰσέλθοι δέ τις ἄπιστος ἢ ἰδιότης· οὐκ ἐροῦσιν ὅτι μαίνεσθε;[2] καὶ κελεύει μᾶλλον σιωπᾷν τὸν λαλοῦντα γλώσσαις, ἐὰν μὴ ᾖ ὁ διερμηνεύων. τὸ δὲ πρὸς διάκρισιν φᾶναι τὸν διδάσκαλον τῆς[3] βελτίονος· φασὶν οἱ τὸν νοῦν τοῖς θείοις καταφωτίσαντες λόγοις, ὑπερέχειν τὸ τῆς προφητείας καὶ τὸ τῶν γλωσσῶν χάρισμα τῶν ὧν πρὸς διάκρισίν τε καὶ διασάφησιν χρῄζουσι χαρισμάτων· τουτἐστι τῆς διακρίσεως τῶν πνευμάτων καὶ τῆς ἑρμηνείας· ὅπερ εἰδὼς ὁ διδάσκαλος ἔφη· πρὸς διάκρισιν τῆς βελτίονος.

Notes

1 These dots are present in the manuscript, which seem to indicate a lacuna which the scribe recognized but could not fill.  

2 A paraphrase of 1 Cor. 14:23

3 This manuscript has τῆς βελτίονος in both the main text and in Maximus’s.  The PG prints τοῦ βελτίονος, which appears to be a minority reading in the earlier manuscripts of Gregory, but more popular in later ones.  Based on internal evidence, I suspect that Maximus had τοῦ βελτίονος as his reading, and that the reading in the scholia here has been conformed to the reading in the main text.  I’ll expand more in a future post dealing with text critical issues.    

Update:  Thanks to Charles Sullivan for spotting several typos!  They have been corrected.

Update:  I have updated the Greek text based on my transcription of BL Add. ms.  18231.  See here for more info. 

ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

Below completes my translation of Opusculum 60 from Gautier’s edition of Psellos’s Theologica.  Psellos continues his discussion on speaking in tongues and prophecy, in characteristically learned fashion.  He cites an additional oration of Gregory (Or. 16) along with citing several classical myths and texts.  Finally he extrapolates the discussion on spiritual gifts and applies it to his own context: a school with different subjects.  

Regarding current day debates, Psellos makes no comment about the gift of tongues ceasing, nor the gift of prophecy.  He does note in the prior part that the gift of prophecy was “most especially active during the time of Paul,” and he feels the need to apply this passage here to his own context after explaining what Paul and Gregory meant.  His discussion of free-will is also noteworthy.  Rather than understanding the spiritual gifts as something which “overcome” the will of the person, they are rather subject to the person’s discretion to encourage our restrain. He draws a contrast here with several classical examples (Ino and the Korybantes), where people lost control and gave themselves up in an ecstatic frenzy.  

English Translation

Other people, who receive gifts like administering souls, or interpreting tongues, think less about spiritual gifts, but those who speak in different languages, since they clearly have the breath of the Spirit on their tongue, make a big deal about their gift and think that they are superior to others because of their spiritual gift.  The apostle Paul evaluates their position lower, as the least important in the Church.  Thus the great father makes this clear when he says, “I would rather speak five words in the Church with understanding than thousands with the indistinct sound of a trumpet.”*

For he reveals both sides of the spiritual gifts.  By saying, “five words” he refers to those that teach from themselves, without speaking in different languages, but by the “thousands of indistinct words” he indicates those who speak in all sorts of languages, who nevertheless do not encourage the divine soldier onto the spiritual battle.  Thus the apostle exhorts these (if I may speak thus) overly-wordy ones to not entirely bridle the impulse for speaking in tongues.  Nor does he encourage them, if they begin to speak, to stretch the message out for a long time, until they come upon every single language.  Rather they are to speak in tongues, and then when the Spirit wills, another should be moved by the Spirit to interpret, as if they have “given up horsemanship”*  to stand.  

Lest any of these rabble-rousers say that bridling speech is for another, and that it’s not their responsibility to reign in the length of their message, he continues saying, “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” (1 Cor 14:32) The prophetic gift does not alter your faculty of reason, he says, nor does this gift of the Spirit displace your mind, nor does it throw you into some sort of Korybantic* in frenzy and make you mad, replacing order for mania, like some sort of drunken Ino.  Nothing could stop her running, neither hollow nor steep descent, nor a deep cave, nor thick wood.*  

The Divine Spirit does not move the soul in this manner, but instead transforms it for the better, allows the faculty of reason, and even gives the faculty of reason as a bridle for the tongue.  This is done so that, when one wishes, one can spur on the course of speech, and again, if one wishes, one can hold firm the reigns and restrain the course of speech.  Since “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets,” it is the prerogative of each to encourage their speech or to keep it quiet.  Has your talk run from the starting point to the finish line of your discussion? Then restrain yourself, and let another interpret, for the gift is under your control.  Restrain yourself either before you begin, or when you’ve spoken a bit, and your speech has reached “full bloom” and you’re rounding the final-turn, then let another person interpret, while you restrain the impulse to speak.  

This passage applies not only to these sorts of problems, but let us also consider our own instruction.  Let there be disciplinary boundaries.  Let one speak as a rhetor, another as a philosopher, and another speak about geometric figures. Let this one explain how the stars and sun are placed in the sky, and thus how the division of years is made. Let another teach something about music, and how the different notes combine to form a single harmony, which seems to be simple and undivided to listeners.  But speak on these matters without confusion, without  everyone talking at once.  Rather while one is philosophizing, let the rhetor withdraw, and when the rhetor is teaching about the beauty of words let the philosopher be silent.  If you do this, then you will wisely manage both your own nature, from where the flow of the tongue comes, and your shared river of learning, apportioned equally to all the different streams, which you will show with gentleness and without pain.  

Notes

 A quote from Gregory Naz. Orat. 16.2, who in turn is paraphrasing Paul in 1 Cor 14:19.  Gautier was unable to find this in Gregory, but (God be praised!) the TLG allows one to find it pretty easily.  Gregory uses the passage here a bit ironically, to defend his father’s silence following a natural disaster.  

This is a reference to Aristophanes’ Clouds 109, but I don’t exactly understand it.  At this point in the play, two characters are discussing Socrates’ school of philosophy ironically, and one is urged to “give up horsemanship” and go to the school.  

The Korybantes were said to have presided over the birth of Dionysus, and their ecstatic frenzies were comparable to the maenads of Dionysus.

Ino helped raised Dionysus, and killed herself by lunging herself into the sea.  See here for more information and ancient citations.

Greek Text

Καὶ ἐπειδὴ οἱ μὲν ἄλλοι τῶν ἀξιουμένων τῆς χάριτος ἀντιλαμβανόμενοι τῶν ψυχῶν ἢ κυβερνῶντες ἢ διερμηνεύοντες ἔλαττον ἐφρόνουν ἐπὶ τοῖς χαρίσμασιν, οἱ δὲ διαφόρους διαλέκτους φθεγγόμενοι, ὡς ἐπίδηλον ἐπὶ τῆς γλώσσης τοῦ πνεύματος τὴν ἐπίπνοιαν ἔχοντες, ἐκόμπαζον ἐπὶ τῷ χαρίσματι καὶ προκεκρίσθαι τῶν ἄλλων κατὰ πνευματικὴν ἀξίωσιν ᾤοντο, καταστέλλει τούτους ὁ μέγας ἀπόστολος ὡς ἔλαττον τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ λυσιτελοῦντας· ὃ δὴ καὶ ὁ μέγας παρεμφαίνων πατήρ, ἐμοί, φησί, πέντε γένοιτο λόγους ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ λαλῆσαι μετὰ συνέσεως ἢ μυρίους ἐν φωνῇ σάλπιγγος ἀσήμῳ.

ἄμφω γὰρ δείκνυσι τὰ χαρίσματα, διὰ μὲν τῶν πέντε φωνῶν τοὺς αὐτόθεν διδάσκοντας καὶ μὴ διαφόροις γλώσσαις προσομιλοῦντας, διὰ δὲ τῶν μυρίων καὶ ἀσήμων λόγων τοὺς κατὰ πᾶσαν μὲν γλῶτταν φθεγγομένους, τὸν δὲ θεῖον ὁπλίτην πρὸς τὸν πνευματικὸν πόλεμον οὐκ ἐγείροντας. ὅθεν καὶ παρεγγυᾶται ὁ ἀπόστολος τούτοις δή, ἵν’ οὕτως εἴπω, τοῖς γλωττηματικοῖς μὴ πᾶσαν ἐνδιδόναι ἡνίαν τῇ φορᾷ τῶν γλωσσῶν, μηδέ, ἐπειδὰν ἄρξωνται λέγειν, εἰς μακρὸν κατατείνειν λόγον, μέχρις ἂν τὰς πάσας φωνὰς διεξέλθωσιν, ἀλλὰ φθέγγεσθαι μὲν γλώσσαις, ὁπόταν δὴ τὸ πνεῦμα βούλοιτο, ἑτέρου δὲ διερμηνεύειν κινηθέντος ὑπὸ τοῦ πνεύματος, ὥσπερ ‘σχασαμένους ἱππικὴν’ ἵστασθαι.

Ἵνα δὲ μή τις εἴπῃ τῶν οὕτω κατεγλωττισμένων ὡς ἐφ’ ἑτέρῳ ἡ τοῦ λέγειν ἡνία καὶ οὐ παρ’ ἐμοὶ τὸ ἀνασειράζειν ῥυτῆρσι τοῦ λόγου τὸν δρόμον, ἐπάγει ὅτι ‘τὰ τῶν προφητῶν πνεύματα τοῖς προφήταις ὑποτάσσεται’. οὐ γὰρ παραλλάττει σοι τὴν διάνοιαν τὸ προφητικόν, φησί, χάρισμα οὐδὲ τὸν νοῦν ἐξιστᾷ, οὐδ’ ὥσπερ οἴστρῳ βάλλον κορυβαντιᾶν καὶ μεμηνέναι ποιεῖ, εἰς μανιώδη μετάγον κατάστασιν, ὥσπερ τὴν μυθευομένην Ἰνώ, ἣν οὐδὲν ἵστα τοῦ δρόμου, οὐ κοῖλον, οὐκ ὄρθιον, οὐ φάραγξ βαθεῖα καὶ ὕλη συνηρεφής.

οὐχ οὕτω τὸ θεῖον πνεῦμα κινεῖ τὴν ψυχήν, ἀλλὰ μεταποιεῖ μὲν ταύτην ἐπὶ τὸ βέλτιον, ἐᾷ δὲ τὴν διάνοιαν, μᾶλλον δὲ ἐφιστάνει τῇ γλώττῃ ὥσπερ ἡνίοχον, ἵν’, ὅτε μὲν βούλοιτο, πρὸς τὸν δρόμον μυωπίζῃ, ὅταν δ’ αὖ ἐθέλοι, ἐπέχῃ τὴν ἡνίαν καὶ τοῦ δρόμου ταύτην ἱστᾷ. ὑποτάσσεται τοιγαροῦν τοῖς προφήταις τὰ πνεύματα, πρὸς τὴν ἐκείνων διάνοιαν καταστελλόμενα ἢ ἐγειρόμενα. τρέχει σοι ἡ γλῶττα ἐκ πρώτης ἀφετηρίας πρὸς τὴν τῶν διαλέκτων νύσσαν; ἀλλ’ ἔπεχε ταύτην, ἑτέρου διερμηνεύοντος, ὑποτάττεται γάρ σοι τὸ χάρισμα· ἔπεχε δὲ ἢ καὶ πρὶν ἄρξασθαι, ἢ καὶ βραχύ τι προβάς, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀκμάζων καὶ πρὸς τῷ καμπτῆρι τυγχάνων, ἑτέρου διερμηνεύειν λαχόντος, ἀναστέλλου σὺ τῆς φορᾶς.

Τοῦτο μὴ ἐξήγησιν μόνον τῶν διαπορηθέντων, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἡμετέραν παιδαγωγίαν ἡγώμεθα. ἔστωσαν τοιγαροῦν ὑμῖν ὅροι τῶν διαλόγων, καὶ ὁ μέν τις ῥητορευέτω, ὁ δὲ φιλοσοφείτω καὶ ἄλλος περὶ σχημάτων ἀποδεικνύτω, καὶ οὗτος μὲν ὅπως τὰ ἄστρα στηρίζοιντο διερμηνευέτω καὶ τὴν κατὰ μῆκος ἐποχὴν τοῦ ἡλίου τρανούτω καὶ τὴν ἐντεῦθεν ἀναφαινομένην διαίρεσιν τῶν ὡρῶν, ἐκεῖνος δὲ περὶ μουσικῆς τι διδασκέτω καὶ ὅπως τὰ διάφορα τῶν μελῶν εἰς μίαν ἁρμονίαν κιρνάμενα μονοειδῶς ἐμπίπτει ταῖς ἀκοαῖς· φθέγγεσθε δὲ ταῦτα μὴ συγκεχυμένως μηδὲ κατὰ θροῦν ἄσημον, ἀλλ’ ἑτέρου φιλοσοφοῦντος ὁ ῥητορεύων ὑποχωρείτω, κἀντεῦθεν τούτου περὶ κάλλους ὀνομάτων διδάσκοντος ὁ περὶ τὸν νοῦν σιγάτω. ἂν οὕτω ποιῆτε, τήν τε πηγήν, ἵνα μὴ λέγω ἐμέ, ὁπόθεν ὑμῖν τὸ ῥεῦμα τῆς γλώττης ἐρρύη, ἥτις ἐστὶ τὴν φύσιν, σαφῶς παραστήσετε, τόν τε ὑμέτερον ποταμόν, ὁμαλῶς τοῖς ὀχετοῖς μεριζόμενον, ἀλυπότατον καὶ προσηνέστατον τοῖς ῥεύμασι δείξετε.

ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

This part and half of the next section deal most explicitly Gregory’s assertion about the mysterious “type of gift.”  Psellos begins with a bit of pneumatology, describing the nature of the Spirit.  He acknowledges that the Spirit gives different gifts, but wants to prevent his students from therefore inferring that the Spirit himself is divided.  He then describes the different spiritual gifts, and notes how only speaking in tongues and interpreting tongues are not complete in themselves: they require one another to be most effective.  He offers an example, and then tells us that this complementarity between speaking in tongues and interpreting tongues is what Gregory means when he says, “there is a type of gift, which requires another to distinguish what is better.”  

English Translation

The Holy Spirit, being one properly and accurately according to the meaning of the word ‘one,’ in himself touches and grasps all things.  He is not formed from many things, nor divided, like the raving Numenius says, but is established in himself, proceeds to all places, is not separated from the One, and is shared among the many.  

But he is varied in the intentions and motives with which he comes to those who receive him.  Thus to one he comes to bring comprehension, to another he brings the gift of administration, and to another he pours languages upon the tongue, and to another the gift of interpreting what was said.  For whoever offers his own soul becomes worthy of receiving an appropriate spiritual gift.  But to be entrusted with the instruction of souls, or to lead and direct souls from the sea to the divine fire, or any of the other which the great Apostle lists for us, are complete in themselves and do not require another gift to complement them.  But to speak in tongues is to speak the languages of those present fluently: for example, at one moment to speak Babylonian, at another Persian, and then Assyrian.  This gift is not as powerful in itself, and becomes vastly more beneficial for those present when combined with the gift of interpretation.

For what use is it to a person walking by the prophets if he’s an Arab, and they’re speaking Attic Greek? Or if he knows the Attic tongue, but they’re speaking the Phoenician language?  But if someone with the gift of interpretation is present, he can interpret what is said and translate the speech into a language that the listener understands.  Don’t you see how the this gift brings the gift of tongues to perfection?  This then is what both the apostle and the passage from the Theologian (i.e. Gregory) mean when he says, “there is a type of gift, which requires another for the judgment of what is better.”  This is the gift of interpretation, when someone has spoken in tongues.  

Greek Text

Τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον, ἓν ὂν κυρίως κατὰ τὴν ἀκριβῆ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἔννοιαν, αὐτῷ δὴ τῷ ἑνὶ πάντων ἅπτεται, πάντων δράττεται, οὐ πολλαπλασιαζόμενον ἢ μεριζόμενον κατὰ τὸν μαινόμενον Νουμήνιον, ἀλλ’ ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῦ ἱδρυμένον καὶ πανταχοῦ προϊὸν καὶ τοῦ ἑνὸς μὴ ἐξιστάμενον, καὶ τοῖς πολλοῖς μετεχόμενον.

μερίζεται δὲ ταῖς τῶν δεχομένων διαφόροις γνώμαις καὶ προαιρέσεσιν· ὅθεν τῷ μὲν εἰς ἀντίληψιν γίνεται, τῷ δὲ εἰς κυβέρνησιν, τῷ δὲ τὰς διαλέκτους ἐπὶ τὴν γλῶτταν προχέει καὶ ἄλλῳ τὴν ἑρμηνείαν τῶν λεγομένων χαρίζεται. πρὸς ὃ γάρ τις ἐπιτηδείαν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ παράσχῃ ψυχήν, ἐκείνου δὴ καὶ δεκτικὸς γίνεται τοῦ χαρίσματος. ἀλλὰ τὸ μὲν ἀντιλαμβάνεσθαι τῶν παιδαγωγουμένων ψυχῶν ἢ κυβερνᾶν ταύτας καὶ διιθύνειν καὶ ἀπὸ πελάγους πρὸς τὸν θεῖον ἀνάγειν πυρσόν, τἆλλά τε ὅσα δὴ ὁ μέγας ἀπόστολος ἀπαριθμησάμενος φαίνεται, αὐτοτελῆ τυγχάνει καὶ ἀπροσδεᾶ τῆς παρ’ ἑτέρων συστάσεως· τὸ δὲ γλώσσαις λέγειν, τουτέστιν ἀθρόως μεταβεβλῆσθαι πρὸς τὰς τῶν προσιόντων φωνάς, ὡς νῦν μὲν Βαβυλώνιον, νῦν δὲ Περσίδα, νῦν δὲ Ἀσσύριον ἀφιέναι φωνήν, τοῦτο καθ’ ἑαυτὸ μὲν ἔλαττον ἰσχύει, συστὰν δὲ παρὰ τοῦ τῆς ἑρμηνείας χαρίσματος μεγαλωφελὲς τοῖς προσιοῦσιν ἐγένετο.

τί γὰρ δὴ ὁ φοιτῶν παρὰ τοὺς προφήτας ὠφέλητο Ἄραψ ὤν, ἐκείνων ὑπεραττικιζόντων ταῖς λέξεσιν, ἢ τὴν Ἀτθίδα γλῶτταν εἰδώς, ἐκείνων τὴν τῶν Φοινίκων διαλεγομένων; εἰ δ’ ὁ τοῦ τῆς ἑρμηνείας ἠξιωμένος χαρίσματος ἐφερμηνεύσειε τὰ λεγόμενα καὶ μεταβάλοι πρὸς ἃ γνοίη ὁ ἀκροώμενος, οὐ καινὸν δὴ τὸ τῶν γλωττῶν ἀπειργάσατο χάρισμα; τοῦτο γοῦν αὐτό φησιν ὅ τε μέγας ἀπόστολος καὶ ἡ θεολόγος φωνή, ὅτι ‘ἔστι διαφορὰ χαρισμάτων, ἄλλου δεομένη χαρίσματος πρὸς διάκρισιν τοῦ βελτίονος’, ὥσπερ ἡ τῶν γλωσσῶν τοῦ ταύτας διερμηνεύοντος.

Related Posts:

Part 1

ἐν αὐτῷ,

ΜΑΘΠ

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