greek


One of our new staff members at church recently came across mention of the word εὐαφής in a book that he’s reading.  The author noted that Cyril of Alexandria used the word, and cited this passage in Cyril’s Interpretatio in psalmos.  He then asked me if I knew of a translation.  To the best of my knowledge, the Interpretatio in psalmos remains untranslated, though I’d love to be corrected!  However, the passage was short, so I’ve decided to translate it and post it here.  I’ve indulged in one small emendation to the text, which I wasn’t able to make sense of otherwise (marked in the Greek). [Update: A gracious commenter has supplied a better suggestion that involved only a repunctuation of the text. I’ve incorporated his suggestions into the text and translation.]  

“The sacrifice for God is a contrite spirit” (Ps. 51:17)

The power of spiritual worship does not come simply through the mind alone, but continually take on in one way or another as a fellow runner in the race the fragrance of good works, which comes by a willingness to obey, if indeed we should attain it. For we say that obedience is the fruit of a pleasing and pliant heart, of a heart that has nothing rough within it.  The sort of heart that the obdurate Jews had was hard and difficult to lead.  Take as proof that one of the holy prophets took on on their role and said, “Why have you mislead us off your path, Lord? Have you hardened our hearts so that they do not fear you?” (Is. 63:17) Hard hearts are utterly unable to receive the word of God. We should expect, then, that a contrite spirit would be most fitting as a sacrifice for God and as an offering of spiritual fragrance.  By contrite spirit, of course, we mean a soul that delights in and yields to the divine scriptures.  

Θυσία τῷ Θεῷ πνεῦμα συντετριμμένον.
Τῆς πνευματικῆς λατρείας ἡ δύναμις οὐ διὰ ψιλῆς καὶ μόνης διανοίας ἔρχεται, συνδρομὴν δὲ ἀεί πως δέχεσθαι φιλεῖ καὶ τὴν ἐξ ἔργων ἀγαθῶν εὐοσμίαν, ἣν δὴ κατορθοῦντες,1 τὴν δι’ ὑπακοῆς καὶ εὐπειθείας. Τὴν δέ γε ὑπακοὴν καρπὸν εἶναί φαμεν τρυφερᾶς καὶ εὐαφοῦς καρδίας καὶ οὐδὲν ἐχούσης τὸ ἀπηνές· ὁποία τις ἦν ἡ τῶν ἀτέγκτων Ἰουδαίων σκληρὰ καὶ δυσάγωγος. Καὶ γοῦν τὸ αὐτῶν πρόσωπον ἀναλαβὼν ἔφη τις τῶν ἁγίων προφητῶν· «Τί ἐπλάνησας ἡμᾶς, Κύριε, τῆς ὁδοῦ σου; ἐσκλήρυνας ἡμῶν τὰς καρδίας τοῦ μὴ φοβεῖσθαί σε;» Σκληραῖς δὲ καρδίαις ἀπαράδεκτος παντελῶς ὁ τοῦ Θεοῦ λόγος. Οὐκοῦν εἴη ἂν καὶ μάλα εἰκότως εἰς θυσίαν τῷ Θεῷ καὶ εἰς ἀφιέρωσιν πνευματικῆς εὐοσμίας πνεῦμα συντετριμμένον, τουτέστι ψυχὴ τρυφερὰ καὶ τοῖς θείοις εἴκουσα λόγοις.

 1)  hic interpunxi sequens suggestum commentatoris Grigoris (v. infra) 

ἐν αὐτῷ,

Alex

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I always knew I read Plato to have my pre-conceptions reinforced ;-).  

“’Let us not become,’ said he (Socrates), ‘haters of words, like those misanthropes become.  For it is not possible,’  he said, ‘for one to suffer anything worse than to hate words, since word-hating and misanthropy derive from the same type of character.’”  (Plato, Phaedo, 89d).

“μὴ γενώμεθα, ἦ δ᾽ ὅς, μισόλογοι, ὥσπερ οἱ μισάνθρωποι γιγνόμενοι: ὡς οὐκ ἔστιν, ἔφη, ὅτι ἄν τις μεῖζον τούτου κακὸν πάθοι ἢ λόγους μισήσας. γίγνεται δὲ ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ τρόπου μισολογία τε καὶ μισανθρωπία.”   

ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

Among my present duties is an editorial assistantship for CUA Press.  Currently, I’m collating Gennadios 250, a heretofore uncollated manuscript that contains a collection of Theodoret of Cyr’s letters.  This particular collection was first published by Sirmond, and hence it is called the Collectio Sirmondiana.  The collection was published in two volumes in the Sources Chrétiennes series (vv. 98, 111).  My work will eventually be incorporated into an edition and translation of Theodoret’s letters to appear in CUA’s Library of Early Christianity series.  One of my professors, Dr. John Petruccione, is editing the Greek text, and the first draft of translation was done by the late Prof. Thomas Halton.  

The letters are often quite fun to read.  The collection contains everything from festal exhortations to consolatory letters to widows.  Some of the latter are quite touching, but others hardly seem comforting at all!  This letter (ep. 70) particularly grabbed my attention.  It tells a rather touching story of the bond between a handmaid and her mistress, after both are sold into slavery by the Vandals.  

The Greek text is Azéma’s with my minor corrections (two movable nu’s).  The translation and note are my own, though I have consulted Azéma’s.    

To Eusthatius, Bishop of Aegae. Ep. 70.  

The story of most-noble Mary is worthy of the tragic stage.  For she is the daughter of the highly-esteeemed Eudaimon, as she herself states and anyone else will aver.  But in the course of the misfortune that seized Libya,[1] she lost her free-born status and fell into slavery.  Certain merchants, after buying her from the barbarians, sold her to certain countrymen of mine.  She was sold along with her own handmaid, who had formerly served in Mary’s household.  They bore the bitter yoke of their slavery in common, both the handmaid and the mistress together.  But the handmaid refused to overlook their difference in status and did not forget her mistress’s former nobility.  Instead, she maintained her prior reverence for her mistress, and would attend to her as well, in addition to their common masters.  She would wash her feet, make the bed, and take care of all the other chores of this sort.  This became known to those who had bought them.  At that point, the mistress’s former freedom and the handmaid’s kind service became the talk of the entire city.  On learning this, our most faithful soldiers gave the ransom to those who had bought her and freed her from her slavery (for I was away at the time).  On my return, once I had been informed about her turn of misfortune, and the praiseworthy initiative of the soldiers, I prayed that God would reward them for their good, and entrusted the noble young woman to one of my most faithful and reverent deacons, instructing him to make suitable provisions for her.  Ten months later, upon learning that her father was alive and still a magistrate in the west, she quite naturally desired to return to him.  Since many have said that there are a good number of western merchants who are coming to your city for the feast you are now celebrating, she asked to make her departure with a letter from me.  Therefore I have written this letter to call kindly upon your piety: give thought to her noble roots, and ask any of those adorned with piety to speak with the merchants, ship captains, and businessmen, that you may entrust her to faithful men who are able to restore her to her father.  For they will surely benefit beyond any human expectation when they return this daughter to her father.  

[1] “Libya”  in Classical Greek refers to most of Northern Africa.  In this case, Theodoret refers to the Vandal invasion of North Africa, which began in 429.  

 

ΕΥΣΤΑΘΙῼ ΕΠΙΣΚΟΠῼ ΑΙΓΩΝ.
Τραγῳδίας ἄξιον τὸ κατὰ τὴν εὐγενεστάτην Μαρίαν διήγημα. Αὕτη γάρ ἐστι μὲν θυγάτηρ τοῦ μεγαλοπρεπεστάτου Εὐδαίμονος, ὡς καὶ αὐτή φησι καὶ ἄλλοι τινὲς μεμαρτυρήκασιν. Ἐν δὲ τῇ καταλαβούσῃ συμφορᾷ τὴν Λιβύην, τῆς προγονικῆς ἐλευθερίας ἐξέπεσεν, καὶ εἰς δουλείαν μετέπεσεν. Ἔμποροι δέ τινες, αὐτὴν παρὰ τῶν βαρβάρων πριάμενοι, διεπώλησάν τισι τὴν ἡμετέραν οἰκοῦσιν. Συνεπράθη δὲ αὐτῇ καὶ παιδίσκη, πάλαι τὴν οἰκετικὴν τάξιν ἔχουσα παρ’ αὐτῇ· κοινῇ τοίνυν εἷλκον τὸν πικρὸν τῆς δουλείας ζυγόν, ἥ τε θεράπαινα καὶ ἡ δέσποινα. Ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἠθέλησεν ἀγνοῆσαι τὸ διάφορον ἡ θεράπαινα, οὐδὲ τῆς προτέρας ἐπελάθετο δεσποτείας· ἀλλὰ τὴν εὔνοιαν τῇ συμφορᾷ διεφύλαξεν, καὶ μετὰ τὴν τῶν κοινῶν δεσποτῶν θεραπείαν ἐθεράπευε τὴν νομιζομένην ὁμόδουλον, ἀπονίπτουσα πόδας, ἐπιμελομένη στρωμνῆς, καὶ τῆς ἄλλης ὡσαύτως ἐπιμελείας φροντίζουσα. Τοῦτο τοῖς πριαμένοις ἐγένετο γνώριμον. Ἐντεῦθεν ἐθρυλήθη κατὰ τὴν πόλιν ἥ τε ταύτης ἐλευθερία καὶ τῆς θεραπαίνης ἡ εὐτροπία. Ταῦτα μεμαθηκότες οἱ παρ’ ἡμῖν ἱδρυμένοι πιστότατοι στρατιῶται —ἐγὼ γὰρ τηνικαῦτα ἀπῆν—, καὶ τοῖς πριαμένοις ἀπέδοσαν τὴν τιμὴν καὶ ταύτην τῆς δουλείας ἐξήρπασαν. Ἐγὼ δὲ μετὰ τὴν ἐπάνοδον, διδαχθεὶς καὶ τὸ δρᾶμα τῆς συμφορᾶς, καὶ τῶν στρατιωτῶν τὴν ἀξιέπαινον ὄρεξιν, τὰ ἀγαθὰ μὲν ἐπηυξάμην ἐκείνοις, τὴν εὐγενεστάτην δὲ κόρην τῶν εὐλαβεστάτων τινὶ διακόνων παρέδωκα, σιτηρέσιον ἀρκοῦν χορηγεῖσθαι παρεγγυήσας. Δέκα δὲ διεληλυθότων μηνῶν, μαθοῦσα τὸν πατέρα ζῆν ἔτι καὶ ἄρχειν ἐν τῇ Δύσει, ἐπεθύμησεν εἰκότως πρὸς ἐκεῖνον ἐπανελθεῖν· καί τινων εἰρηκότων, ὡς ἀπὸ τῆς Ἑσπέρας ἔμποροι πλεῖστοι καταίρουσιν εἰς τὴν νῦν παρ’ ὑμῖν ἐπιτελουμένην πανήγυριν, ᾔτησε μετὰ γραμμάτων ἐμῶν τὴν ἀποδημίαν ποιήσασθαι. Τούτου χάριν ταύτην γέγραφα τὴν ἐπιστολήν, παρακαλῶν σου τὴν θεοσέβειαν, ὡς εὐγενοῦς φροντίσαι βλαστήματος, καὶ κελεῦσαί τινι τῶν εὐλαβείᾳ κοσμουμένων, καὶ ναυκλήροις καὶ κυβερνήταις καὶ ἐμπόροις διαλεχθῆναι, καὶ πιστοῖς αὐτὴν ἀνδράσι παραδοῦναι, ἀποκαταστῆσαι τῷ πατρὶ δυναμένοις. Πάντως γὰρ ὅτι πάμπολλα κερδανοῦσι παρὰ πᾶσαν ἀνθρωπίνην ἐλπίδα τῷ πατρὶ τὴν παῖδα προσάγοντες.

 

 ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

This Christmas, I read through Gregory of Nazianzus’ 38th Oration, On the Theophany.  It is wondrously beautiful.  Gregory’s theology and language meld into one lovely, harmonious whole.  I hope reading through this oration becomes a Christmas tradition!  I’ve worked up a little poem to share here.  It is a verse rendition of the beginning of the oration.  I’m not a particularly good poet, but hopefully enough of Gregory comes through to make it enjoyable.  Fr. Aidan posted an English translation of the entire oration here, which you may also view at New Advent.

Theophany I

The Christ is born, rejoice! The Christ of Hea’en,
All ye, come meet the Christ and sing to God,
Thou Plenitude of Earth. Yet I must name
the both: let hea’ens and earth be glad
and make much cheer, Uranic Splendor came,
assumed our terran shame, and in flesh lay.
O man, rejoice in fear, in joy rejoice!
In fear for sin, in joy for hope of him:
The Christ-child borne of Virgin womb and shame!
O Eve’n Daughters, those of Adam’s race,
do now take up your virgin pur’ty, O
that ye be little Mary’s, full of Christ within.
Who shan’t praise him, the Chosen One who comes
of the beginning? Who shall not raise his voice
to him in whom our being finds finality? 
 
 

Here is the Greek.  For my fellow hellenists, much of the language in this oration is pretty simple.  It gets difficult and theologically complicated at points, but a good bit is not all that difficult.  My way of saying, this is recommended reading! The Greek text of the oration may be found here.

Χριστὸς γεννᾶται, δοξάσατε· Χριστὸς ἐξ οὐρανῶν, ἀπαντήσατε· Χριστὸς ἐπὶ γῆς, ὑψώθητε. ᾌσατε τῷ Κυρίῳ, πᾶσα ἡ γῆ· καὶ, ἵν ̓ ἀμφότερα συνελὼν εἴπω, Εὐφραινέσθωσαν οἱ οὐρανοὶ, καὶ ἀγαλλιάσθω ἡ γῆ, διὰ τὸν ἐπουράνιον, εἶτα ἐπίγειον. Χριστὸς ἐν σαρκὶ, τρόμῳ καὶ χαρᾷ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε· τρόμῳ, διὰ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν· χαρᾷ, διὰ τὴν ἐλπίδα. Χριστὸς ἐκ Παρθένου· γυναῖκες παρθενεύετε, ἵνα Χριστοῦ γένησθε μητέρες. Τίς οὐ προσκυνεῖ τὸν ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς; τίς οὐ δοξάζει τὸν τελευταῖον;

ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

The semester is over!  To celebrate, I share here a portion of a poem of Gregory’s that I recently translated.  Friends from church held a “Port and Poetry” party: we gathered together and shared poems around a warm fire.  It was a delightful evening!  For our contribution, I read the Greek aloud (iambic trimeter), and my wife read the English.  

The excerpt comes from PG 37.1186, from the Carmina de se ipso.  

English

We waste not our words on outward things,
however they should be; the inward life,
our undivided care, demands our explication.
In mind resides a salvific grace,
a grace, which spurs us on to hea’en,
yet not before the mind hath spake
to tell us, of its one sure desire.
What gain shall ever come from damned-up stream,
or from the sun’s beam, blocked by clouds?
Of such a sort, the sophic mind in silence,
like rose’s grace, concealed by scurr’lous seed.
But when the shattered wind-blown seed shows forth
its bloom, then ye shall see the rose revealed,
adorned on stage for all to love and see.
Had e’er that beauty been borne away,
then Vernal Spring, bereft of grace, would be.
No more we seek to speak, to think, as those
who deem Thrift King in matters of the Word.

Greek

Ἡμῖν δὲ, τοῦ μὲν ἐκτὸς οὐ πολὺς λόγος,
Ὅπως ποθ’ ἕξει· τοῦ δ’ ἔσω λίαν πολύς.
Ἐν νῷ γάρ ἐστιν ἥμιν ἡ σωτηρία,
Πλὴν ἐκλαλουμένῳ τε, καὶ δηλουμένῳ.
Πηγῆς τί κέρδος ἐστὶν ἐμπεφραγμένης;
Τί δ’ ἡλιακῆς ἀκτῖνος, ἣν κρύπτει νέφος;
Τοιοῦτόν ἐστι νοῦς σοφὸς σιγώμενος,
Οἷον ῥόδου τὸ κάλλος, ὃ κάλυξ σκέπει
Οὐκ εὐπρεπές· τὸ τερπνὸν ἐκφαίνει δ’, ὅταν
Αὔραις ῥαγεῖσα τὸν τόκον θεατρίσῃ.
Εἰ δ’ ἦν ἀεὶ τὸ κάλλος ἐσκεπασμένον,
Οὐδ’ ἄν τις ἦρος ἦν χάρις τοῦ τιμίου.
Οὐδὲν πλέον ζητοῦμεν, ὡς οὕτω λαλεῖν,
Ὡς οἳ δοκοῦσιν εὐτελεῖς τὰ τοῦ λόγου.


ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

 


I was rather struck by this line of Ismene in her conversation with her sister, Antigone:
θερμὴν ἐπὶ ψυχροῖσι καρδίαν ἔχεις. (“You have a warm heart for cold deeds”).  

Antigone has just told Ismene to let everyone in the city know that she’s going to disobey Kreon’s order and bury her brother.  Not a bad comeback on Ismene’s part!

ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

Intro

Recently I was asked if Origen had anything to say on “becoming like the angels.” My interlocutor, as I gathered, was tracing the use of such language in early Christian literature.  I was familiar with this type of rhetoric in later authors. Chrysostom in particular makes wide use of angels in his various homilies and treatises. Nothing came to mind for Origen, however.  I did, of course, recommend the TLG and the Brepols Latin database as places to look, but I also searched through the material I’ve transcribed from the new Origen codex.  When I did so, I found an interesting passage in which Origen tackles the verse “τίς θεὸς μέγας ὡς ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν.” (Ps. 76:14 LXX).  I would have translated this as “what god is great like our God?” but Origen seems to understand it as “what great god is like our God?” I’m not sure if grammar dictates one interpretation versus the other, but I certainly defer to a native speaker when given the chance.  Given the theological difficulties created by the latter reading, I presume it seemed much more likely grammatically.  Origen thus gives us a short digression on the two difficult verses of Ps 81, and then describes how the holy men of old became gods.  According Origen, God made Patriarchs into gods by joining to them his name (i.e. calling himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).  This made it so that they had “participation” (μετοχή) with God’s divinity (θεότης).  

 

My translation is a bit rough in places, and I welcome suggestions.  Translating θεός in a passage like this can be particularly tricky, since our language is so heavily influenced by monotheism.  The Greek is placed below, as is my custom.  


English


So then, listen to God’s scripture, which says, “all the gods of the nations are demons.” (Ps. 95:5 LXX). Since, however, God is generous with his good works, he has said, “for I have said, ‘you are gods, and sons of the Most High.’” (Ps 81:6) The scripture says this because if someone has received the word of God, he becomes a god. Moreover, the scripture says, “God stands in the assembly of the Gods, in their midst he will judge them.” Now if you are gathered as men, then God is not in the assembly.  But if this assembly is an assembly of gods, then you are reckoned among the gods. God is present in this sort of assembly, by virtue of the word of God being in them, and by their not walking as men do. This then is the meaning of “God stands in the assembly of the gods, and their midst he will judge them.”  

 

In some ways, one of these gods has a glory which is analogous to the sun.  Another has a glory like the moon, and another like the glory of the stars, for the sun, moon, and stars each have a different glory.  Moreover, each star differs from each other in glory.  The resurrection of the dead will be the same way.  I have dwelt on these passages, “God stands in the assembly of the gods” and “I have said you are gods” so that I may go from there onto “what great god is like our God?” If one must dare to speak such, then Abraham is a great god, Isaac is a great god, and Jacob is a great god.  They were made into gods because God joined his own name ‘God’ with each of their names when he said, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Having said just once, “I am the god of Abraham, and the god of Isaac, and the god of Jacob,” he granted to Abraham that he should have participation with the divine nature of God.  If you should come to the Savior, and confess him to be a god, since he is a god, as “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” then do not shrink from saying that the many of the righteous are also gods.  If the righteous, who shall become like the angels, are gods, then how much more is this the case for the angels?  I don’t mean the demons, nor do I mean the idols. I am safeguarded by the great worthiness of God’s word.  Rather, our Lord and Savior incomparably surpasses all of these. 


 

Greek

#190r

ἄκουε

 

#190v

γὰρ τῆς γραφῆς τοῦ θεοῦ λεγούσης, πάντες

 οἱ θεοὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν, δαιμόνια, ἀλλ᾽ ἐπειδήπερ

 ἄφθονός ἐστι τῶν εὐεργεσιῶν

 αὐτοῦ ὁ θεὸς, φησίν, ἐγὼ γὰρ εἶπα

 θεοὶ ἐστὲ καὶ υἱοὶ ὑψίστου πάντες.

 φησὶ γὰρ ἡ γραφὴ, ὅτι εἴ τις ἐδέξατο

 τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ, θεὸς γίνεται. ἀλλὰ 

 καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἔστη ἐν συναγωγῇ θεῶν, ἐν

 μέσῳ δὲ θεοὺς διακρινεῖ. καὶ εἰ μὲν 

 ἄνθρωποι συνήχθητε, οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ θεὸς ἐν τῇ

 συναγωγῇ. εἰ δὲ αὕτη ἡ συναγωγῆ θεῶν

 ἐστι συναγωγῆ, θεῶν χρηματιζόντων.

 τῷ τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ εἶναι ἐν

 αὐτοῖς καὶ μὴ κατὰ ἄνθρωπον αὐτοὺς περιπατεῖν,

 ἐν τοιαύτῃ ἐστὶν ὁ θεός. καὶ 

 ἐνθάδε ἐστὶν, ὁ θεὸς ἔστη ἐν συναγωγῇ θεῶν,

 ἐν μέσῳ δὲ θεοὺς διακρινεῖ.  πῆ

 τίς μὲν τούτων θεῶν, ἀνάλογον δόξῃ

 ἡλίου, δόξαν ἔχει. τίς δὲ ἀνάλογον δόξης

 σελήνης, δόξαν ἔχει. τίς ἀνάλογον

 δόξης ἀστέρων δόξαν ἔχει. ἄλλη γὰρ

 δόξα ἡλίου, καὶ ἄλλη δόξα σελήνς,

 καὶ ἄλλη δόξα ἀστέρων. ἀστὴρ γὰρ ἀστέρος

 διαφέρει ἐν δόξῇ. οὕτω καὶ ἡ ἀνάστασις

 

#191r

τῶν νεκρῶν. ταῦτα πρὸς τὸ 

παραστῆσαι ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ἔστη ἐν συναγωγῇ

θεῶν, καὶ ἐγὼ εἶπα θεοὶ ἐστὲ, ἵν᾽ ἐκεῖθεν

μεταβῶ εἰς τὸ τίς θεὸς μέγας ὡς

ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν; μέγας γὰρ θεὸς εἰ δεῖ οὕτως

τολμήσαντα εἰπεῖν, ἁβραάμ, 

μέγας θεὸς ἰσαάκ, μέγας θεὸς ἰακώβ

καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἐθεοποιήθησαν ἐκεῖνοι,

ἐπειδήπερ συνῆψεν ὁ θεὸς τὸ ἑαυτοῦ

ὄνομα τὸ θεὸς, τῷ ἐκείνων ὀνόματι

λέγων, ἐγὼ θεὸς ἁβραὰμ, καὶ θεὸς ἰσαάκ,

καὶ θεὸς ἰακώβ. ἅπαξ δὲ

εἰπὼν, ἐγὼ θεὸς ἁβραὰμ καὶ θεὸς ἰσαάκ,

καὶ θεὸς ἰακώβ, ἐχαρίσατο καὶ τῷ

ἁβραὰμ, ἐπειδήπερ μετοχὴ αὐτῷ

γίνεται ἀπὸ τῆς θεότητος τοῦ θεοῦ.

κἂν ἐπὶ τὸν σωτῆρα δὲ ἔλθῃς, καὶ θεὸν

τοῦτον ὁμολογήσῃς, ἔστι γὰρ θεὸς, ἐπεὶ

ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ θεὸς ἦν πρὸς 

τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος, μὴ ὄκνει

λέγειν, ὅτι πολλοὶ μὲν δίκαιοι θεοί εἰσιν.

εἰ δὲ οἱ δίκαιοι, οἱ ἐσόμενοι ἰσάγγελοι, πολλῷ

πλέον ἄγγελοι. οὐ λέγω τὰ δαιμόνια,

οὐ λέγω τὰ εἴδωλα. ἀσφαλίζομαι

 

#191v

γὰρ, διὰ τὸ εὐπρεπὲς τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου. ἀλλ᾽ ὁ

σωτὴρ καὶ κύριος ἡμῶν ἀσυγκρίτως ὑπερέχει

πάντων τούτων.


Theology
In some ways, the passage is troubling.  Origen tells us that we shouldn’t shrink from calling the righteous saints of old “gods”, since we already acknowledge that the Word is a god.  This seems to break down any distinction in essence between Jesus and the saints.  My theological vocab may be a bit rusty, but I do think there’s a way out of the conundrum.  First, notice that final sentence, “Our Lord and Savior incomparably surpasses all of these [sc. gods].” I think Origen means both the gods of the nations (i.e. demons and idols), as well as the “deified saints.” He reserves a special place for the Word.  Second, I’d suggest that “participation” in divinity is different than sharing divine essence.  2 Pet 1:4 tells us that great promises were given “that you may become fellow partakers of the divine nature.”  This lies behind the Eastern Orthodox notion of theosis, wherein God’s goal in salvation is nothing less than our divinization.  Sharing in the divine nature, however, is different than being divine in and of oneself. Here, Origen is not collapsing the boundary between the Word and the saints.  The saints are not divine by essence (οὐσία), but rather by God’s gracious allowance, they share in his divinity.  This distinction is prominent in the Arian debates, if I recall correctly, and remains a lively source of reflection in Eastern theology.  I’m not a theologian though, so comments are welcome!
 
ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

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