It’s been a busy week at work! I’ve been reading more from manuscript, but I haven’t had time to translate much until today. In this passage, Origen discusses further the spiritual powers at work in the universe. Consistent with early Christian thought, he attributes the various Greek gods and divine beings with powerful angelic beings, though he explicitly condemns worshiping them. He also discusses angelic “administration,” and also narrates the fall of a star. Frankly, this portion eludes me entirely. I grasp what he’s saying, but I’m not sure to which star he is referring. As always, corrections on the transcription or translation are welcome.
οὐ πάντη ἀποπεπωκότες τῆς ἀληθείας,
ἀποπεπωκότες δὲ ἐκ
μέρους. οἱ μὲν γὰρ ὡς θεοῖς θύουσιν,
ἁμαρτάνουσιν, εἰ δὲ φαντάζονται
εἶναί τινα δύναμιν περὶ ἐκεῖνα,
οὐχ ἁμαρτάνουσιν, ἔστι γὰρ δύναμις.
ἅς καλοῦσι καὶ νύμφας τινὰς εἶναι
ἐπὶ τῶν πηγῶν, καὶ ἐπὶ παντοῦ
τόπου, θέλουσι δύναμιν ἐπιστατεῖν.
εἴποι δ’ ἄν τις ὅτι εἰ μὲν ἐψυχωμένη
ἦν ἡ θάλασσα, καὶ ἕκαστος
τῶν ποταμῶν; πολὺς ἂν εἴη λόγος
ζητεῖν, ἵνα ᾖ καὶ ταῦτα ἐψυχωμένα.
ἀλλά γε πάντα ἅγια τέτακται
καὶ εἰσὶν ἄγγελοι ἐγκεχειρισμένοι
τὰ θαλάσσια πράγματα , καὶ
ἄλλοι ἄγγελοι οἰκονομεῖν, οἱ μὲν, τὰ
τοῦδε τοῦ ποταμοῦ, οἱ δὲ τὰ ἄλλου
οὕτω δὲ καὶ οἱ
ἄγγελοι οἰκονομεῖν τὰ τοῦ ἀστέρος,
καὶ ποτὲ μὲν θειότεροι ἄγγελοι οἰκονομοῦσι
τὰ τοῦ ἀστέρος. ὅτε ὁ ἀστὴρ οὐ
νοσεῖ. οὐ δὲ λοιμώδης γίνεται, ὅτε δὲ
ἄλλη τίς δύναμις παρείληφεν οἰκονομεῖν
τὸν ἀστέρα, πάντως διὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας
τῶν ἄνθρώπων. ὅτε χείρονος
δυνάμεως παραλαβούσης τὸν ἀστέρα,
τρέπεται ὁ ἀήρ, καὶ λοιμῶδες κατάστημα
γίνεται, ὥστε τὸν ἀναπνέοντα τὸν ἀστέρα
ἐκεῖνον τὸν ἐφθαρμένον, ἀπὸ δυνάμεως λοιμοποιοῦ,
λοιμώττειν, καὶ νοσεῖν.
They have not departed from the truth entirely, but they have departed in part. Those who sacrifice to these things as gods, they are sinning. But if they imagine that some power is around them, they are not sinning: there is a power. What they call nymphs, some are over the springs, and they want there to be a power in charge of every place. One wishes to ask, “if the Sea was given a soul, were the rivers also given them?” This could be a long subject to pursue, whether these things were given souls. Nevertheless, all things were made holy and there are angels that were entrusted with the matters of the sea. Other angels administer other affairs: some the affairs of this river, and some those of some other river.
In the same way, the angels administer the matters of the Star. There was a time when the more divine angels were in charge of the Star- at this time the Star was not sick, nor had it become pestilent. But then some other power seized the power of the star, as always because of the sins of mankind. After the lesser power had captured the star, the air turned, and the state of pestilence began, such that the star, by breathing that destruction from a pestilent-creating power, now suffers illness and disease.
2 thoughts on “More from Origen on the Psalms: Angelic Warfare, Angelic Administration, and Star-Sickness”
Perhaps Origen is explaining why the planets (= planetary watchers) ‘wander’ in the sky.
Yeah, that would make sense. I suppose Venus may be “the star.” I’d forgotten how much the planets troubled ancient astronomers.