Severian of Gabala on Mark 10:17-18 and John 20:27-29

Introduction

Recently, I was contacted by a regular commenter here, Stephan Huller, about translating a passage from a sermon attributed to John Chrysostom.  The sermon, entitled “On the Ascension,” was edited by Montfaucon, and eventually appeared in the PG 52.773-92.  Though originally attributed to Chrysostom, in the past century it has been definitively assigned to his rival, Severian of Gabala.  Ironically, most of Severian’s surviving works come to us under Chrysostom’s name.  More information can be found in De Aldama’s Repertorium Pseudo-Chrysostomicum.  This homily is n. 415 in that work, and the entry may be translated:

Montfaucon had advised that this homily (which appears variously in different manuscripts) was a pastiche of several homilies, perhaps composed from several authors, and that the second part (sections 8-10) mostly consists of material taken from Chrysostom’s lost second homily on the beginning of Acts.  Marx, however, in OCPer5 (1939) 283-291 showed that this homily actually belongs to Severian of Gabala, though granting the possibility that two homilies may have indeed been conflated into one.  Altendorf admits the attribution to Severian in a letter.

I don’t have the CPG number on hand, but it appears there under Severian’s name.  

Stephan asked me to translated section 6, along with the last bit of section 5 and the first bit of section 7.  His own interests, as I understand them, relate to early understandings of Mark 10:17-18, where Jesus rebukes his interlocutor for calling him “good teacher” by saying “why do you call me good?  No one is good except God, who is one.”  

In our homily here, Severian takes aim at Arians by using John 20:27-29, where Thomas calls Jesus “my Lord and my God”  after seeing him resurrected.  Arians, who taught that Christ was a created being, rather than co-eternal with the Father, naturally turned to Mark 10:18, as it seems that Jesus is refusing divine honors.  Severian compares the passage in Mark with the passage in John, as in John, Jesus accepts the title “Lord and God.”  Severian’s solution is that in Mark, Jesus is really rebuking his interlocutor for calling him “good teacher” rather than “good Lord.”  In Severian’s mind, “teacher” is an unworthy epithet for the son of God, and so he rejects it.  

My translation here is fairly literal.  We’re not dealing with highly polished rhetoric (like Gregory of Nazianzus), so putting the work into highly polished English prose would be disingenuous.  I’ve occasionally added bits for clarity, but I’ve tried to put [square brackets] around what I’ve added.  The bolded numbers in parentheses denote section numbers.  I’ve modified the paragraph structure from the PG (by ending section 5 sooner) because it’s clear (at least to me) that a new topic begins with the citation of Jn. 20:27.  

English Translation

(5) Thus Thomas’s finger has ended the quarrel of the heretics, for this is the finger, over which the the Egyptian magicians could not prevail, saying “this is the finger of the Lord” (Ex 8:15).  It was thus fitting for St. Thomas, after this assurance, to proclaim the words of David, “in the day of my affliction I have pursued God” (Ps. 77:2/76:3 LXX), and after enquiring with his hands to declare also what follows, “in the night, my hands are stretched out before him, and I have not been deceived” (Ps. 77:2/76:3 LXX) [1].


“Do not disbelieve, but rather believe” (Jn. 20:27).  Thomas, then, having recognized from the wound the one who suffered, due to Jesus’ foreknowledge, called him God, saying, “my Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28). (6) Let the heretics hear this!  If the son had actually rejected this, and does not possess identical honor with the Father, why then does he not dismiss this all-surpassing honor?  For he heard from someone else, “good teacher,” and he said, “why do you gall me good? No one is good, except God, who is one”  (Mk. 10:17-18), even though the word “good” is in use among us.  By your understanding, he refused the epithet “good.”  How much more should he have refused to accept “Lord and God”? [In that passage, the man says] “Good Teacher,” and [Jesus] replied, “why do you call me good?” But here we have, “my Lord and my God,” but he did not say, “why do you call me ‘Lord and God?’” In the prior case, since the word used was unworthy of him (for [the man] did not say, “Good Lord,” but “Good teacher”), he dismissed the worthless title and accepted the honorable one.  In this instance, he also offers a rebuke, but on opposite grounds: he rebuked Thomas because [Thomas] spoke too late.  He did not rebuke him for saying “my Lord,” but because he spoke later than he should have.  “After you have seen, you have believed, but blessed are those who do not see, yet believe” (Jn 20:29).  Though only one man [Thomas] has been summoned, all of us have been blessed, for this blessing was spoken over all of us and those after us.  Because we have not received these miraculous things by sight, but rather received them in faith, we become fellow partakers in this great and renowned blessing.  

 

(7) But let us turn from this story, which we have treated succinctly, and move on to another word of the prophet, lest you all grow weary from an abundance of words. Which passage shall we discuss? “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord” (Is. 2:3 / Micah 4:2)…  [2]

 

Notes

[1] The Greek reads, “I have not been deceived” at the end of this verse, which differs from the Hebrew (or at least our English translations of the Hebrew), which reads something like, “my soul refused to be comforted.”

 

[2] Severian discusses in this section the “mountain of the Lord” and the Mount of Olives, before turning back to a discussion on Acts.

If anything is unclear, let me know in the comments.

ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

A Great Ocean of Being: Gregory Nazianzus on Divinity and Theosis

Intro

Having spent a good deal of time focused myopically on Or. 41:15-16, I decided that I should broaden my knowledge of Gregory of Nazianzus and read from some other orations.  His Greek is difficult in most places, so I proceed slowly, but I stumble often upon passages which are utterly captivating.  Since I already had the Sources Chrétiennes text on hand from my work on Or. 41, I decided to start reading Or. 38 (On the Theophany, or Nativity of Jesus), and have quickly come upon a passage I’d like to share: the first part of 38.7 (PG 36.317).  Gregory himself must have liked the passage, because he used it again in Or. 45, word for word.  In it, Gregory contemplates the nature of divinity itself, and then our own process of theosis, by which we are transformed into gods ourselves, “partaking in the divine nature” as 2 Peter 1:4 puts it.

Naturally, I managed to pick a passage that is full of text critical problems, mostly of ο/ω confusion.  They don’t affect major points of interpretation, but I do note in the Greek text where I’ve opted for a different reading from the SC text.  My translation is quite free, but do look at the Greek if possible: it’s quite lovely I promise!

English

God has always been, is now, and will be forever.  “Is” is the best term, however, for “has been” and “will be” are our own divisions of time, which are due to our mortal nature.  But the One who eternally Is, used this name when he revealed himself to Moses on the mountain. He comprises within himself existence itself, an existence that neither begins nor ends, a great, boundless ocean of being, which effortlessly surpasses any notion of time or natural law.  He is perceived dimly through the mind alone, and even this, though sufficient, is extremely dim.  This perception originates not from the divine being itself, but from those who surround it.  The image in the mind is formed with another’s aid into one coherent perception of reality, which then flees before complete apprehension, skirting off before the idea is fully grasped.  Thus, like a lightning-bolt, which illumines the night sky for but a fleeting moment, so this image surrounds our reasoning faculties with purifying light, but then disappears once more into darkness, leaving our minds completely cleansed. 

It seems to me that, insofar as we can perceive this image, it draws us to itself, for we can neither hope nor strive for something that is entirely beyond perception; but to the extent that the image is utterly beyond us, it invokes our wonder, and as we wonder, our desire increases, and the more we yearn for it, the more we are purified, and this purification makes us glimmer with divinity [1].   With a bit of boldness, I’d even suggest that it is at this stage, once we have been suitably transformed, that God unites himself fully with us, his gods [2], and is known fully to us, and perhaps known to the degree that he now knows us, who “know him even as we are known” (1 Cor 13:12).

[1] Grk. καθαῖρον δὲ θεοειδεῖς ἐργάζηται.  We have here a play on words, which evokes both Homer and the Gospels.  θεοειδής is a fairly common term in Homer, and means in the passive sense “godlike in appearance” or “shining like a god.”  Purification, though, reminds us of the beatitude “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8), and Gregory no doubt has this in mind too.  Adjectives of this formation in Greek are ambiguous, and can be used in the active or passive sense.  Gregory thus combines the classical and the Christian to describe another New Testament idea, that as we become like God as we behold him (cf. 1 Jn 3:2).  

[2] Cf. Ps. 82:1-6. (81:1-6 LXX).

Greek

θεὸς ἦν μὲν ἀεὶ καὶ ἔστι καὶ ἔσται · μᾶλλον δὲ « ἔστιν » ἀεί. τὸ γὰρ « ἦν » καὶ « ἔσται », τοῦ καθ᾽ἡμᾶς χρόνου τμήματα καὶ τῆς ῥευστῆς φύσεως · ὁ δὲ ὢν ἀεὶ καὶ τοῦτο αὐτὸς ἑαυτὸν ὀνομάζει, τῷ Μωϋσεῖ χρηματίζων ἐπὶ τοῦ ὄρους. ὅλον γὰρ ἐν ἑαυτῷ συλλαβὼν ἔχει τὸ εἶναι, μήτε ἀρξάμενον μήτε παυσόμενον, οἷόν τι πέλαγος οὐσίας ἄπειρον καὶ ἀόριστον, πᾶσαν ὑπερεκπίπτον[1] ἔννοιαν καὶ χρόνου καὶ φύσεως.[2] νῷ μόνῳ σκιαγραφούμενος, καὶ τοῦτο λίαν ἀμυδρῶς καὶ μετρίως, οὐκ ἐκ τῶν κατ᾽ αὐτόν, ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ τῶν περὶ αὐτόν, ἄλλης ἐξ ἄλλου φαντασίας συλλεγομένης εἰς ἕν τι τῆς ἀληθείας ἴνδαλμα, πρὶν κρατηθῆναι φεῦγον καὶ πρὶν νοηθῆναι διαδιδράσκον, τοσαῦτα περιλάμπον[3] ἡμῶν τὸ ἡγεμονικόν, καὶ ταῦτα κεκαθαρμένoν, ὅσα καὶ ὄψιν ἀστραπῆς τάχος οὐχ ἱσταμένης.

ἐμοὶ δοκεῖν, ἵνα τῷ ληπτῷ μὲν ἕλκῃ πρὸς ἑαυτό — τὸ γὰρ τελέως ἄληπτον, ἀνέλπιστον καὶ ἀνεπιχείρητον — τῷ δὲ ἀλήπτῳ θαυμάζηται, θαυμαζόμενον δὲ ποθῆται πλέον, ποθούμενον δὲ καθαίρῃ, καθαῖρον δὲ θεοειδεῖς ἐργάζηται, τοιούτοις δὲ γενομένοις, ὡς οἰκείοις, ἤδη προσομιλῇ — τολμᾷ τι νεανικὸν ὁ λόγος — θεὸς θεοῖς ἑνούμενός τε καὶ γνωριζόμενος, καὶ τοσοῦτον ἴσως ὅσον ἤδη γινώσκει τοῦς γινωσκομένους.  


[1] SC reads ὑπερεκπίπτων.

[2] SC reads ‘,’ instead of ‘.’  This does result in an asyndeton, which is undesirable, but given the almost “hymnic” character of the prose here, I think it may be permitted.  

[3] SC reads περιλάμπων. Update: I’m not sure why, but I marked a difference from the SC text here even though there wasn’t one. Thanks to Gregoris in the comments for catching this. He left some very useful feedback on my textual decisions (arguing in favor of Moreschini’s text), so take a look if you’re interested in technical details.

[4] SC reads κεκαθαρμένων.  

I’ve transcribed this text directly from the SC text, which no doubt means I’ve made some typos.  If you notice something that looks off, let me know in the comments.

ἐν αὐῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ

Punctuation and Particles in Gregory’s Or. 41.15-16

Intro

Belgium has finally come and gone!  Last week, I presented a paper at the conference, “Preaching After Easter” which was hosted by KU Leuven.  My paper was concerned with the passage on which I’ve written here quite a bit: Gregory of Nazianzus’s Oration 41.15-16.  By my own reckoning, my presentation went okay.  My paper was quite technical, and I spoke too quickly (especially for non-native English speakers), but I was able to get some useful feedback from the audience.  One objection was raised to my repunctuation of Or. 41.16.  In this post, I try to explain my reasoning for my repunctuation, and address the questions that were raised (which help me improve the paper).  The first part of the post will be rather accessible: that part of the argument doesn’t need to refer the Greek directly.  I save the nitty, gritty details for the second part.  

Gregory’s Argument 

First, why repunctuate in the first place?  As I’ve pondered this passage for many months, I’ve tried to puzzle out the progression of Gregory’s argument.  As I’ve puzzled, I’ve determined that the passage needs to be repunctuated in three places to clarify Gregory’s reasoning and the structure of his argument.  This post deals only with the final repunctuation, the other two I set aside for now.  To show why the older punctuation is unsatisfactory, I offer an English translation, with the phrase in question bolded.

Yet this present, miraculous division of tongues is even more worthy of praise, because though it flows from one Spirit out to many people, it brings them once more into harmony, and because it is the type of gift that requires another gift to interpret this better [division of tongues], since all [gifts] have something praiseworthy. One may even call good that division about which David says, “Drown, O Lord, and scatter their tongues.”

The problem here comes from the reasoning of the passage.  In the present punctuation scheme, how does “since all have something of worth” support the preceding argument?  Gregory states that “the present division of tongues” (i.e. at Pentecost) is more worthy of praise than the division at Babel, and applauds the division of tongues at Pentecost because it brings harmony.  Furthermore, he states, this division is the type of gift that requires another, which follows nicely from the prior statement about harmony.  But would, “since all have something of praise” fit into this?  The fact that all spiritual gifts have something praiseworthy is not relevant to Gregory’s argument, as he’s trying to demonstrate that Pentecost is superior to Babel.

Because of this difficulty of reasoning, I decided that we need to make “since all have something of worth” a proleptic causal clause, rather than a retrospective one.  In plainer terms, the clause is part of the following sentence, and provides logical support for what follows it, rather than what comes before it.  This results in a much clearer argument, as you can see below:

Yet this present, miraculous division of tongues is even more worthy of praise, because though it flows from one Spirit out to many people, it brings them once more into harmony, and because it is the type of gift that requires another gift to interpret this better [division of tongues]. Since all [divisions of tongues] have something praiseworthy, one may even call good that division about which David says, “Drown, O Lord, and scatter their tongues.”

The words in brackets have changed because we have to supply a different word in Greek after repunctuating the sentence (διαιρέσεις instead of διαφοραί).  The logic here is much clearer.  Gregory is making what some might consider an audacious claim: even David’s prayer to “scatter their tongues” is a worthy of praise.  Since this claim needs support, he offers it by saying, “Since all divisions of tongues have something praiseworthy…”  The bolded clause thus fits nicely into Gregory’s argument concerning “divisions of tongues.”  

Nitty Gritty Details

Here’s the passage in Greek (with a bit extra added to catch the initial μέν), with my repunctuation:

Πλὴν ἐπαινετὴ μὲν καὶ ἡ παλαιὰ διαίρεσις τῶν φωνῶν, ἡνίκα τὸν πύργον ᾠκοδόμουν οἱ κακῶς καὶ ἀθέως ὁμοφωνοῦντες, (ὥσπερ καὶ τῶν νῦν τολμῶσί τινες)· τῇ γὰρ τῆς φωνῆς διαστάσει συνδιαλυθὲν τὸ ὀμόγνωμον, τὴν ἐγχείρησιν ἔλυσεν· ἀξιεπαινετωτέρα δὲ ἡ νῦν θαυματουργουμένη· ἀπὸ γὰρ ἑνὸς Πνεύματος εἰς πολλοὺς χεθεῖσα, εἰς μίαν ἁρμονίαν πάλιν συνάγεται· καὶ ἔστι διαφορὰ χαρισμάτων, ἄλλου δεομένη χαρίσματος πρὸς διάκρισιν τῆς βελτίονος. ἐπειδὴ πᾶσαι τὸ ἐπαινετὸν ἔχουσι, καλὴ δ᾽ἂν κἀκείνη λέγοιτο περὶ ἧς Δαβὶδ λέγει· « καταπόντισον, Κύριε, καὶ καταδίελε τὰς γλώσσας αὐτῶν ».

Without repunctuating, we would read, “… τῆς βελτίονος· ἐπειδὴ πᾶσαι τὸ ἐπαινετὸν ἔχουσι. καλὴ δ᾽ἂν κἀκείνη λέγοιτο περὶ ἧς Δαβὶδ λέγει …”

So, is this repunctuation valid?  I think so, though it is possible to raise some objections.  First, I should mention that I’m not the first to read the passage this way.  At least two 10th century Greek manuscripts do: British Library Add Mss 14771 and 18231 both do too. Fortunately these manuscripts are online, and I can show pictures!

BL Add MS 14771 f. 94v, col. 1:

NewImage

I note first the punctuation mark at the end of the third line.  A dot at the top of the line, in this scheme, indicates a full stop (the equivalent of our period).  At the beginning of the fourth line, we have an enlarged epsilon, indicating the start of a new paragraph.  Finally, following χουσι in the sixth line, we have a punctuation mark in the middle of the line.  It appears to veer a bit high (in practice, it’s hard to distinguish between medial dots and those at the top of the line), but notice that the iota does go higher.  All of this shows that the phrase ἐπειδή πᾶσαι τὸ ἐπαινετὸν ἔχουσι is proleptic, and should be joined with what follows, as I’ve suggested.

The same can be seen in BL Add MS 18231, though this manuscript is a bit harder to read:

Add Ms 18231

I note here that ἐπειδὴ πᾶσαι begins near the end of the fifth line, and just before it we have a mark at the top of the line, indicating a full stop.  Then, following ἔχουσι in the middle of the sixth line, we have a mark on the baseline, which indicates a shorter pause, roughly equivalent to our comma.  Again, this offers external support for my repunctuation.

On internal grounds, we can note that Gregory uses a passive, optative verb λέγοιτο, which indicates that he is making a potentially controversial claim (or, at least, that he is pretending to make a controversial claim).  In English, the equivalent occurs when we say something like “one might say…” to distance oneself from the claim.  The fact that Gregory is introducing a controversial claim means that it is quite logical for him to provide support with a causal clause.

As mentioned earlier, there are some potential difficulties with this construal (and they were pointed out during the Q&A after I presented this paper!).  The problem is in the particles, specifically δέ (If there is ever a better case of “the devil is in the details,” please let me know!).  Several of those listening to my paper pointed out the δέ is a connective particle, and thus can’t be used to coordinate with a subordinate clause.  That is, in ἐπειδὴ πᾶσαι τὸ ἐπαινετὸν ἔχουσι, καλὴ δ᾽ἂν κἀκείνη λέγοιτο…, the δέ shouldn’t be allowed to refer back to the clause referred to by ἐπειδή.  

There are, however, two potential responses.  On one hand, we may note that certain “non-connective” uses of δέ do exist.  Denniston, in his magisterial work on the Greek Particles, calls the primary non-connective use “apodotic δέ,” where δέ is used in the main clause following a previous subordinate clause.  Admittedly, he does state, “only in Homer and Herodotus is apodotic δέ really at home.” TLG searches, though, have shown that it seems common enough in later writers.  I’ve yet to find a clear instance in Gregory himself, but we do see it in younger contemporaries like Chrysostom[1] and Gregory of Nyssa[2].

It might be the case, then, that Gregory is using an δέ “apodotically” to refer back to the ἐπειδή clause.  It’s also possible that the δέ refers back to the μέν at the beginning of the section.  It’s common in Greek to have a single μέν followed by several δέ’s.  Intuitively this makes sense to me, but I can’t find an appropriate category in Denniston to classify it.  The “resumptive” seems to be appropriate, but I’m not certain enough to say for sure.  

A similar question might be raised about the καί in κἀκείνη.  This one’s a bit easier: I think we have an emphatic καί here, so that we understand it to mean something like “even.”  Thus, I’ve translated, “one might even call good…”  

Given the examples in other authors, I do think this repunctuation is justified.  The use of δέ which results is not terribly common, but other writers demonstrate it’s possibility.  Certainly, the argument makes much more sense when the ἐπειδή clause is read proleptically, as I’ve suggested.  That several early manuscripts also support the reading gives an even further basis for the reading.  

 

[1]  Ἐπειδὴ δὲ Χριστὸς ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν θυσία προσηνέχθη, καὶ τὰ τῆς ἀναστάσεως προεχώρησε, περιῆρε δὲ τὰς προσηγορίας αὐτὰς ὁ φιλάνθρωπος Δεσπότης, καὶ καινὴν καὶ ξένην πολιτείαν εἰς τὸν βίον εἰσήγαγε τὸν ἡμέτερον· ἀντὶ γὰρ θανάτου λοιπὸν κοίμησις καὶ ὕπνος λέγεται ἡ ἐντεῦθεν μετάστασις. From Chrysostom’s Homily In Sanctum Pascha. PG 52.767. 

[2] Ἐπειδὴ γὰρ Χριστὸς ἡ πέτρα παρὰ τοῦ Παύλου νενόηται, πᾶσα δὲ ἀγαθῶν ἐλπὶς ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ εἶναι πιστεύεται, ἐν ᾧ πάντας… From Gregory of Nyssa’s De Vita Mosis. Ch. 2 Section 248.  

Ἐπειδὴ τοίνυν εἰς πατέρα καὶ υἱὸν καὶ πνεῦμα ἅγιον ἡ πίστις ἐστίν, ἀκολουθεῖ δὲ ἀλλήλοις ἡ πίστις ἡ δόξα τὸ βάπτισμα. From Gregory of Nyssa’s Epistulae.  Ep. 24 Section 9.  

St. John Chrysostom On Easter

As the great feast of the Resurrection is here, I thought it would be fitting to translate a bit of a paschal homily this morning.  John Chrysostom is always a good choice for such an endeavor, so I found a paschal homily of his in the TLG, and I translate the beginning of it below.  I must say, I rather like his beginning: it’s quite lovely.  This homily appears in PG 52.765.  There has been some discussion about the authenticity of the homily: some think it’s not from John himself, though the editors of the PG think it’s most likely authentic.  I haven’t done any research to see if it’s been commented on more recently, but it’s lovely Greek nonetheless, even if it doesn’t come from Chrysostom’s pen!

As is my custom, I offer a rather free translation.  I try to capture the spirit of the Greek, and the paschal joy it contains.  That’s not quite possible in translation, of course, but I try nonetheless.

The Greek text is problematic in a few places, but I wasn’t able to find a manuscript online with which to compare.  

Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! 

English Text

Today is the day for all of us to shout David’s words, “who shall speak of the great power of the Lord? Who shall make his praises heard?” (Ps. 106:2/105:2 LXX).  For behold, the feast of salvation, for which we have yearned for so long, has finally come.  The day of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the foundation of peace, and the grounds for reconciliation! The conquest of war itself, the dissolution of death, and the devil’s defeat! Today men have mingled with angels, and those in the body henceforth bring praises along with the angelic powers.  Today, death’s tyranny is vanquished! Today, the bonds of death are destroyed, the victory of Hell abolished! Today is the day for us to declare the prophet’s words, “Where, O death, is your sting? Where, O hell, is your victory?” (Hos. 13:14).  Today our Lord Christ has crushed the bronze gates of our prison (Ps. 107:16/106:16 LXX), and abolished the role of death itself.  Why do I say ‘role’? Because he changed death’s role on the great cosmic stage[1].  This change shall no longer be called ‘death,’ but rather ‘rest,’ or ‘sleep.’  Before Christ’s coming, and the working-out of the cross, the name of death brought great fear.  For the first man, instead of receiving great honor, was condemned by hearing, “in the day you eat, you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17).  But the blessed Job foresaw this change and said, “death is rest for man” (Job 3:23 LXX).  The separation of the soul from the body is not only called ‘death,’ but also ‘Hades,’ as the patriarch Jacob says, “You all will take my old age down into Hades with grief” (Gen. 42:38).  Again, the prophet says, “Hades opens wide his mouth,” (Is. 5:14?) and another prophet says, “he delivers me from the lowest depth of Hades” (Ps. 86:13/87:13 LXX).  And so you’ll find many places where death and Hades are put together and made equivalent.  But since Christ our God has been offered as a sacrifice, with resurrection as the result, our Lord, full of loving-kindness, has completely transformed the roles of death and Hades.  He has introduced a new and foreign institution into our life.  Henceforth, instead of death, this change at the end of life shall be called ‘rest,’ and ‘sleep.’  How do we know this? Hear the word of Christ himself, “My friend Lazarus is in a state of sleep, but I am coming to wake him” (Jo. 11:11).  

[1] I have added “on the great cosmic stage” to bring out more clearly John’s theatrical metaphor.  

Greek Text

αʹ. Εὔκαιρον σήμερον ἅπαντας ἡμᾶς ἀναβοῆσαι τὸ παρὰ τοῦ μακαρίου Δαυῒδ εἰρημένον· Τίς λαλήσει τὰς δυναστείας τοῦ Κυρίου, ἀκουστὰς ποιήσει πάσας τὰς αἰνέσεις αὐτοῦ; Ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἡμῖν παραγέγονεν ἡ ποθεινὴ καὶ σωτήριος ἑορτὴ, ἡ ἀναστάσιμος ἡμέρα τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἡ τῆς εἰρήνης ὑπόθεσις, ἡ τῆς καταλλαγῆς ἀφορμὴ, ἡ τῶν πολέμων ἀναίρεσις, ἡ τοῦ θανάτου κατάλυσις, ἡ τοῦ διαβόλου ἧττα. Σήμερον ἄνθρωποι τοῖς ἀγγέλοις ἀνεμίγησαν, καὶ οἱ σῶμα περικείμενοι μετὰ τῶν ἀσωμάτων δυνάμεων λοιπὸν τὰς ὑμνῳδίας ἀναφέρουσι. Σήμερον καταλύεται τοῦ διαβόλου ἡ τυραννίς· σήμερον τὰ δεσμὰ τοῦ θανάτου ἐλύθη, τοῦ ᾅδου τὸ νῖκος ἠφάνισται· σήμερον εὔκαιρον πάλιν εἰπεῖν τὴν προφητικὴν ἐκείνην φωνήν· Ποῦ σου, θάνατε, τὸ κέντρον; ποῦ σου, ᾅδη, τὸ νῖκος; Σήμερον τὰς χαλκᾶς πύλας συνέθλασεν ὁ Δεσπότης ἡμῶν Χριστὸς, καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦ θανάτου τὸ πρόσωπον ἠφάνισε. Τί δὲ λέγω τὸ πρόσωπον; Αὐτοῦ τὴν προσηγορίαν μετέβαλεν· οὐκ ἔτι γὰρ θάνατος λέγεται, ἀλλὰ κοίμησις καὶ ὕπνος· πρὸ μὲν γὰρ τῆς Χριστοῦ παρουσίας, καὶ τῆς τοῦ σταυροῦ οἰκονομίας, καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦ θανάτου τὸ ὄνομα φοβερὸν ἐτύγχανε. Καὶ γὰρ ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος γενόμενος ἀντὶ μεγάλου ἐπιτιμίου τοῦτο κατεδικάζετο ἀκούων· ᾟ δ’ ἂν ἡμέρᾳ φαγῇ, θανάτῳ ἀποθανῇ. Καὶ ὁ μακάριος δὲ Ἰὼβ τούτῳ τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτὸν προσηγόρευσε, λέγων· Θάνατος ἀνδρὶ ἀνάπαυσις. Καὶ ὁ προφήτης Δαυῒδ ἔλεγε· Θάνατος ἁμαρτωλῶν πονηρός. Οὐ μόνον δὲ θάνατος ἐκαλεῖτο ἡ διάλυσις τῆς ψυχῆς ἀπὸ τοῦ σώματος, ἀλλὰ καὶ ᾅδης. Ἄκουε γὰρ τοῦ μὲν πατριάρχου Ἰακὼβ λέγοντος· Κατάξετε τὸ γῆράς μου μετὰ λύπης εἰς ᾅδου· τοῦ δὲ προφήτου πάλιν· Ἔχανεν ὁ ᾅδης τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ· καὶ πάλιν ἑτέρου προφήτου λέγοντος· Ῥύσεταί με ἐξ ᾅδου κατωτάτου· καὶ πολλαχοῦ εὑρήσεις ἐπὶ τῆς Παλαιᾶς θάνατον καὶ ᾅδην καλουμένην τὴν ἐντεῦθεν μετάστασιν. Ἐπειδὴ δὲ Χριστὸς ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν θυσία προσηνέχθη, καὶ τὰ τῆς ἀναστάσεως προεχώρησε, περιῆρε δὲ τὰς προσηγορίας αὐτὰς ὁ φιλάνθρωπος Δεσπότης, καὶ καινὴν καὶ ξένην πολιτείαν εἰς τὸν βίον εἰσήγαγε τὸν ἡμέτερον· ἀντὶ γὰρ θανάτου λοιπὸν κοίμησις καὶ ὕπνος λέγεται ἡ ἐντεῦθεν μετάστασις. Καὶ πόθεν τοῦτο δῆλον; Ἄκουε αὐτοῦ τοῦ Χριστοῦ λέγοντος· Λάζαρος ὁ φίλος ἡμῶν κεκοίμηται, ἀλλὰ πορεύομαι ἐξυπνίσαι αὐτόν.

ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

Gregory of Nazianzus Oration 41.15-16 Updated Translation

I translated this passage for the first time several months ago (see here).  My thinking on the passage has developed quite a bit since that first translation.  In section 15, I’ve realized that Gregory was working from a different verse (Acts 2:11 instead of Acts 2:6).  This doesn’t affect the translation much, though it does help us understand his own perplexity.  In section 16, re-punctuating the text and reading the ancient commentators helped me immensely.  I think the new translation is much better and much clearer than the previous one, though the reader may compare and see.  I leave the old translation up to make such a comparison easy.  I intend to argue all the technical details in another series of posts.  If you have any suggestions, do leave a comment or send me an e-mail!

English Translation of Oration 41.15-16

15. They were speaking in foreign languages, not their own, and this was a great miracle, that the message was being spoken by those who were not instructed. This was a sign to the unbelievers, not to the believers, as it is written, “‘in different languages and in strange lips I will speak to this people, and thus they will not hear me,’ says the Lord.” But these were hearing. Look here for a bit, and puzzle over how to divide the speech: the reading has an ambiguity, which arises from punctuation. Were they each hearing in their own language, such that we might say that one language flowed forth, but that many were heard? To speak more clearly, as the word traveled through the air, did one language became many? Or, should we place a period after “they were hearing,” and join “as they spoke in their own languages” to what follows, so that it becomes “as they were speaking in languages, the ones of the audience,” or more simply “foreign.” I prefer this arrangement. In the former case, the miracle would belong primarily to the audience, not to the speakers, but in the latter case the miracle would chiefly belong to the speakers. Even as they were being accused of drunkenness, clearly they were working miracles through their voices by the Spirit.

16. Now, the old division of tongues is certainly worthy of honor. When those evil and atheistic schemers were building the tower (as some dare to do even now), their plot was undone by the scattering of their language, and it ruined their attempt. Yet this present, miraculous division of tongues is even more worthy of praise, because it flows from one Spirit out to many people, but brings them once more into one harmony, and because it is the type of gift that requires another gift to interpret this better division. Since all divisions of tongues have something praiseworthy, one may even call good that division about which David says, “Drown, O Lord, and scatter their tongues.” Why? Because “they have loved all the words of destruction, with a deceitful tongue.” He all but names them openly as he declares his charge against those who mangle the godhead. But that is enough on these matters.

ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ 

Gregory of Nazianzus Oration 41.15-16 Updated Greek Text

As part of my work on Gregory’s Oration 41.15-16, I have puzzled over the Greek text quite a bit.  Eventually I decided that though the textual decisions in Moreschini’s edition (in the Sources Chrétiennes series) were sound, the punctuation needed correction.  I’ve given arguments for the changes in the paper that I’ll present in Leuven next month, but hopefully I’ll be able to work it into a few blog posts.  In the meantime, I’d like to post the Greek text that I’ve used for my most recent translation, which will be posted soon.  

The following text is taken from Moreschini’s text in Sources Chrétiennes n. 358.  I have made several punctuation changes in section 41.16.  If you spot in errors, do let me know.  

41.15. Ἐλάλουν μὲν οὖν ξέναις γλώσσαις καὶ οὐ πατρίοις,

καὶ τὸ θαῦμα μέγα, λόγος ὑπὸ τῶν οὐ μαθόντων λαλούμενος,

καὶ τὸ σημεῖον τοῖς ἀπίστοις, οὐ τοῖς πιστεύουσιν,

ἵν᾽ ᾖ τῶν ἀπίστων κατήγορον, καθὼς γέγραπται ὅτι « ἐν 

ἑτερογλώσσοις καὶ ἐν χείλεσιν ἑτέροις λαλήσω τῷ λαῷ

τούτῳ, καὶ οὐδ᾽ οὕτως εἰσακούσονταί μου, λέγει Κύριος ».

ἤκουον δέ. μικρὸν ἐνταῦθα ἐπίσχες καὶ διαπόρησον πῶς

διαιρήσεις τὸν λόγον. ἔχει γάρ τι ἀμφίβολον ἡ λέξις, τῇ

στιγμῇ διαιρούμενον. ἆρα γὰρ ἤκουον ταῖς ἑαυτῶν διαλέκτοις

ἕκαστος, ὡς φέρε εἰπεῖν, μίαν μὲν ἐξηχεῖσθαι

φωνήν, πολλὰς δὲ ἀκούεσθαι, οὕτω κτυπουμένου τοῦ

ἀέρος καί, ἵν᾽ εἴπω σαφέστερον, τῆς φῶνς φωνῶν

γινομένων, ἢ τὸ μὲν « ἤκουον » ἀναπαυστέον, τὸ δὲ

« λαλούντων ταῖς ἰδίαις φωναῖς » τῷ ἑξῆς προσθετέον,

ἵν᾽ ᾖ « λαλούντων φωναῖς », ταῖς ἰδίαις τῶν ἀκουόντων,

ὅπερ γίνεται « ἀλλοτρίαις »· καθὰ καὶ μᾶλλον τίθεμαι.

ἐκείνως μὲν γὰρ τῶν ἀκουόντων ἂν εἴη μᾶλλον ἢ τῶν

λεγόντων τὸ θαῦμα, οὕτω δὲ τῶν λεγόντων, οἳ καὶ μέθην

καταγινώσκονται, δῆλον ὡς αὐτοὶ θαυματουργοῦντες περὶ

τὰς φωνὰς τῷ Πνεύματι.  

 

41.16. Πλὴν ἐπαινετὴ μὲν καὶ ἡ παλαιὰ διάρεσις τῶν

φωνῶν, ἡνίκα τὸν πύργον ᾠκοδόμουν οἱ κακῶς καὶ

ἀθέως ὁμοφωνοῦντες, (ὥσπερ καὶ τῶν νῦν τολμῶσί τινες)

τῇ γὰρ τῆς φωνῆς διαστάσει συνδιαλυθὲν τὸ ὀμόγνωμον,

τὴν ἐγχείρησιν ἔλυσεν· ἀξιεπαινετωτέρα δὲ ἡ νῦν 

θαυματουργουμένη· ἀπὸ γὰρ ἑνὸς Πνεύματος εἰς πολλοὺς

χεθεῖσα, εἰς μίαν ἁρμονίαν πάλιν συνάγεται· καὶ ἔστι 

διαφορὰ χαρισμάτων, ἄλλου δεομένη χαρίσματος πρὸς

διάκρισιν τῆς βελτίονος. ἐπειδὴ πᾶσαι τὸ ἐπαινετὸν ἔχουσι, 

καλὴ δ᾽ἂν κἀκείνη λέγοιτο περὶ ἧς Δαβὶδ λέγει· « καταπόντισον,

Κύριε, καὶ καταδίελε τὰς γλώσσας αὐτῶν ». 

διὰ τί; ὄτι « ἠγάπησαν πάντα ῥήματα καταποντισμοῦ ,

γλῶσσαν δολίαν »· μόνον οὐχὶ φανερῶς τὰς ἐνταῦθα

γλώσσας καταιτιώμενος, αἳ θεότητα τέμνουσιν. ταῦτα μὲν 

οὖν ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον. 


ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ

A Short Gem from Gregory’s First Oration

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 

Early Manuscript of Maximus’s Commentary on Gregory’s Or. 41.16 Located Online

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 

Michael Psellos on Pentecost (Part 1)

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.

Maximus the Confessor on Spiritual Gifts

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