As I transcribe Origen’s first homily on Ps. 76, I continue to find interesting bits. For instance, in the section I transcribed today, Origen coins a new word to describe the gladness that the presence of the Lord brings. Just prior, he has been discussing the line Ps. 76:4 (77:3 by Hebrew numbering), “I remembered God and was gladdened.” (The verse reads differently in the Hebrew apparently, at least judging from our English translations). He discusses presence and absence, and how memory is required only for those absent: you can, after all, see someone who is present before you. This creates a small difficulty: if remembering God gladdens the heart, what does God’s presence do? Origen responds by creating a new word:
If the remembrance of God gladdens the heart, what does his presence do to the one who perceives it? Shall I create a word for it? It supergladdens the heart.
As is my custom, here’s the Greek:
εἰ γὰρ ἡ μνήμη τοῦ θεοῦ εὐφραίνει, ἡ παρουσία
αὐτοῦ τῷ αἰσθανομένῳ αὐτῆς, τί
ποιήσει; παραπλάσω ὄνομα αὐτῷ
καγώ; ὑπερευφραίνει. (Codex Monachensis Graecus 314 f. 178v lines 2-5).
Looking through the TLG, ὑπερφραίνω in the active is extremely rare. It occurs in Libanius (4th century AD) once in the optative, possibly once in Philodemus (1st century BC), and once in the third person imperative in Severian of Gabala (late 4th century) in his fragments on Corinthians. Thus, Origen’s claim to be coining a new word does seem quite plausible, as we have only one hit in the TLG before him, and from a text is quite fragmentary. Certainly the word wasn’t common.