Origen on the "Voice of the Clouds" and the rivers

Here, Origen discusses rivers and clouds.  Rivers are the "streams of living waters" which flow from the believer (see John 7:38).  The Greek word ποταμός can be translated as either stream or river.  The clouds, continuing from the previous passage, represent the apostles and prophets:  they had these streams within them, which "gladdened the city of God." Origen also states that thunder is the voice of the angels who administer the clouds.

καὶ ἐπεὶ ποταμοί
τινες ἐκ κοιλίας αὐτῶν ἦσαν
ὕδατος ἐξιόντες εἰς ζωὴν αίώνιον,
ποταμοὺς ἔχοντες ἐλάλουν καὶ
εὔφραινον τὴν πόλιν τοῦ θεοῦ, "τοῦ
γὰρ ποταμοῦ τὰ ὀρμήματα, εὐφραίνουσι
τὴν πόλιν τοῦ θεοῦ." ἐπεὶ οὖν ἔφασκεν
ἐνταῦθα ὁ λόγος, "φωνὴν
ἔδωκαν αἱ νεφέλαι." οὐκ ἦν χαλεπὸν
τροπολογῆσαι. ἀκολούθως
δέ τις ζητήσει τοῖς ἀποδεδομένοις
εἰς τὸ "εἴδοσάν σε ὕδατα καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν."
καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς ἰδεῖν, μὴ
λανθάνειν τί καὶ περὶ τὰς νεφέλας.

τάχα οὖν ὥσπερ εἴσι  δυνάμεις ἐπὶ
θαλασσῶν, ἐπὶ ποταμῶν, ἐπὶ
γῆς, ἐπὶ φυτῶν, ἐπὶ ζῴων γενέσεως,
οὕτως εἰσὶ  δυνάμεις  καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν
νεφελῶν, ὡς τετάχθαι τινὰς καὶ
ἐπὶ τῶν βροντῶν, ἐπὶ τῶν ἀστραπῶν,
ἐπὶ τῶν ὑετῶν, καὶ τοῦ θεοῦ προστάσσοντος
καὶ ἐντελλομένου γίνεσθαι
ὑετοὺς ἐπὶ τήνδε τὴν πόλιν, καὶ
μὴ γενέσθαι ἐφ᾽ἑτέραν πόλιν, κατὰ
τὸ εἰρημένον ἐν τῷ προφήτῃ, ἢ
καὶ τὸ ῥητὸν, "καὶ βρέξω ἐπὶ πόλιν
μίαν. ἐπὶ δὲ πόλιν μίαν οὐ βρέξω"  (Am. 4:7)
"φωνὴν οὖν ἔδωκαν αἱ νεφέλαι." αἱ βρονταὶ,
οὐδὲν ἄλλο εἰσὶν, ἢ νεφελῶν φωναί,
ὡς τετήρηται ἐν τοῖς χειμῶσιν,
οὐδέποτε οὖν αἰθρίου ὄντος τοῦ
ἀέρος, ἤκουσέ τις βροντῆς, οὐδὲ
ἐώρακεν ἀστραπήν. "φωνὴν ἔδωκαν
αἱ νεφέλαι" οἰκονομούντων τῶν
πεπιστευμένων ταῦτα ἀγγέλων τὴν διάκρισιν.

And since streams of living water were proceeding from their hearts to eternal life (Jn. 7:37),  they would speak, as they had these streams, and would bring cheer to the city of God, "for the sudden force of the river, it makes glad the city of God."  And so the passage says here, "the clouds gave a voice."  It was not difficult to allegorize this. Following this, one will seek an account of the passage, "the waters saw you and were afraid," in order to see what follows, so that nothing may remain hidden about the clouds.

Perhaps then, just as there are powers over the seas, over the rivers, over the earth, and over the types of animals, so are there powers over the clouds. Thus, some would have places over the thunder, some over the lightning, and some over the rains.  So, by the order and command of God, rain comes upon this one city, but not upon another one, as it is said in the prophet, or at least at the literal level, "And I send rain on one city, but I will not send rain on another." (Am. 4:7) Thus, "the clouds give a voice."  Thunder, then, is nothing other than the voices of the clouds.  Because the voice is observed during storms, one has never heard thunder while the weather is clear, nor has one seen lightning.  "The clouds gave a voice."  This voice is the judgment of the administering angels who have been entrusted with these matters.

ἐν αὐτῷ,

ΜΑΘΠ

Origen on the “Prophets and Apostles as Clouds”

In this excerpt, Origen considers the clouds to be symbols of the prophets and apostles, whose divine words fell upon the Earth like rain.

"φωνὴν ἔδωκαν αἱ νεφέλαι."
πάλιν ἐὰν τροπολογίαν θέλωμεν,
πολλάκις εἰρήκαμεν. καὶ
μάλιστα διὰ τὸ "ταῖς νεφέλαις ἐντελοῦμαι
τοῦ μὴ βρέξαι ὑετὸν ἐπ᾽αὐτον." (Is. 5:6)
τίνα δὲ, ἢ "τὸν ἀμπελῶνα
τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Ισραήλ." καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια
δὲ τοῦ θεοῦ, φθάνει ἕως
τῶν νεφελῶν, ἀλλ᾽εἰσὶ τινὲς δίκαιοι
ἐπαιρόμενοι ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς
σώμασι, καὶ γενόμενοι νεφέλαι. 
τοιοῦτος ἦν Μωϋσῆς λέγων, "πρόσεχε
ὁ οὐρανὲ καὶ λαλήσω, καὶ ἀκουέτω
γῆ ῥήματα ἐκ στόματός μου.
προσδοκάσθω ὡς ὑετὸς τὸ ἀπόφθεγμά μου."

εἶτα ὥσπερ ὑετοῦ σωματικοῦ
καὶ ἀψύχου, ἡ νεφέλη αὐτὴ
ἔλεγεν ἄν, "προσδοκάσθω ὡς ὑετὸς
καὶ ὁ ἐμὸς λόγος," οὕτως ἐπεὶ Μωϋσῆς
λέγεται νεφέλη ἦν, ἔλεγε, "προσδοκάσθω
ὡς ὑετὸς  τὸ ἀπόφθεγμά μου,
καὶ καταβήτω ὥς δρόσος τὰ
ῥήματά μου," καὶ ἐπεὶ νεφέλη ἦν, ἔλεγεν
"ὡσεὶ ὄμβρος ἐπ᾽ἄγρωστιν,
καὶ ὡσεὶ νιφετὸς ἐπὶ χόρτον,
ὅτι ὄνομα κυρίου ἐκάλεσα." (Dt. 32:2-3)
τοιοῦτοι ἦσαν πάντες, οἱ ἐκλεκτοὶ προφῆται,
οἱ θαυμάσιοι ἀπόστολοι.

"The clouds gave a voice." Again, if we choose allegory, will shall have much to say, and especially because of the scripture, "I will command the clouds to not rain upon it."  (Is. 5:6) Upon what?  Upon "the vineyard that is the house of Israel."  Also there is the scripture, "the truth of God reaches unto the clouds,"   but there are also some righteous men who have been lifted from the earth while in their bodies, and have become clouds.  Such was Moses, saying, "harken O heaven, and I will speak. Let the earth listen to the words from my mouth. Let my message be yearned for like rain." 

So then, if this was a cloud of normal, physical rain, he would have said, "May my word be yearned for, even as rain."  But since Moses is said to be a cloud, he said, “Let my message be yearned for as rain, and let my words fall as dew.” Likewise, since he was a cloud, he continued, “and as a rainstorm upon the greenery, and as a snowstorm upon the grass, for I have called upon the name of the Lord.”  All of the chosen prophets and the wondrous apostles were as such. 

ἐν αὐτῷ,

ΜΑΘΠ

Origen on the Voice of the Troubled

"εἴδοσάν σε, ὕδατα ὁ θεός. ἔιδοσάν
σε ὕδατα καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν,
ἐταράχθησαν ἄβυσσοι πλῆθος ἤχους
ὕδάτων." "στενὴ γὰρ καὶ τεθλιμμένη
ἡ ὁδὸς, ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ζωήν.
καὶ ὀλίγοι εἰσὶν οἱ εὑρίσκοντες αὐτήν." (Mt. 7:14)
καὶ ὁ λαὸς ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ, ὀλιγοστοί
εἰσι παρὰ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη τὰ ἐπὶ
τῆς γῆς. καὶ ἐν τῇ κιβωτῷ τοῦ Νῶε,
ὅσῳ ἀνωτέρῳ τοσούτῳ στενοτέρα,
καὶ ὀλιγότερα χωρεῖ τὰ ἀνωτέρῳ
ὅπου δὲ τὰ τεταραγμένα κατὰ
τὴν ἄβυσσον πράγματα, ἐκεῖ τὸ
πλῆθος ὠνομάσθη. "ἐταράχθησαν
ἄβυσσοι πλῆθος ἤχους ὕδατος."

καὶ ἐπὶ μὲν τῶν ὁρώντων τὸν θεὸν
ὑδάτων, ἦχος οὐκ ἔστιν, οὐδὲ ἄσημος
φωνῆ, ἀλλά τις εὐστάθεια καὶ
ἡσυχία, μόνον φοβουμένων τῶν θεορούντων
αὐτὸν ὑδάτων, ἐπὶ δὲ τῆς
ἀβύσσου, "ἐταράχθησαν ἄβυσσοι πλῆθος
ἦχους ὕδατος," ὁρᾶς, ὅτι ἦχος
ἐστὶν, ἐν τοῖς τεταραγμένοις, οὐ τρανὴ
οὐδὲ ἄσημος οὐδὲ διηρθρωμένη
φωνή;

“The waters saw you, O God.  The waters saw you, and were afraid.  The abysses were terrified, a depth of the sound of the waters.”  “Straight and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” (Mt. 7:14)  The people of God, they are the fewest among all the nations on the Earth.  As with the ark of Noah, for whom things were much more narrow, so now the few advance to the things above, where the affairs of the abyss have been troubled; for there the depth is named, “The abysses were troubled, a depth of the sound of waters.”

With the waters that see God, there is no sound, nor an indistinct voice, but a certain tranquility and stillness, but only for those waters that see and fear him.  But about the abyss, it says, “The abysses were terrified, the depth of the sound of waters.”  Do you see, that there is a sound among the troubled, a voice that is not clear, nor unnoticed, nor articulate?

ἐν αὐτῷ,

ΜΑΘΠ

Origen on Reconciling the Fear of God and the Love of God

Here is the latest batch from the homily.  Following the previous discussion of fear, Origen anticipates an objection from the audience: “Perfect love drives out fear!”  Origen thus distinguishes between two types of fear, one which is proper to the Christian (and all creatures), and the other of which the Christian must dispose. 

I’ve also been experimenting with ledmac set of LaTeX packages.  I think I’ll be able to generate a nice “edition” of the homily with them.  Sans doute, a PDF is more suitable for reading an extended text, so I hope to generate a nice looking PDF with footnotes and parallel text/translation.   

ἀλλὰ ἐρεῖ τίς τῶν ἀκουόντων,
ἡ τελεῖα ἀγάπη ἔξωβάλλει τὸν φόβον.
ἔστι μὲν χαλεπὸν διηγήσασθαι
τὰ κατὰ τὸν φόβον, καὶ μάλιστα
φθάσαντος τοῦ λόγου παραστῆσαι,
ὅτι ἀναγκαῖον φοβεῖσθαι τὸν
θεόν.  μήποτε γὰρ κ’ἄν ἐξωβάλλῃ
τὸν φόβον, οὐχὶ ὅλον αὐτὸν ἐκβάλλει
ἀλλὰ εἶδός τι αὐτοῦ.  οἶδα γὰρ καὶ
τὸν φόβον, διαφέρως ὀνομαζόμενον
ἐν τῇ γραφῇ, "ὁ φοβούμενος,
οὐτε τελείωται," ἀλλὰ ἡ ὁμωνυμία
νοηθεῖσα, ποιήσει ἡμᾶς ὁρᾶν.

ὡς καὶ ὁ φόβος γε ὁμωνύμως
λέγεται, ἔστιν οὖν φόβος, ὅν ἀεῖ
φοβεῖσθαι δεῖ. καὶ ἔστι φόβος, περὶ
οὗ λέγει ὁ Ἰωάννης, ὁ φοβούμενος,
οὐ τετελείωται, οὕτος ὁ φόβος, κόλασιν
ἔχει, ὅν τινα δεῖ τὸν τετελειωμένον
ὑπὸ τῆς ἀγάπης μηκέτι φοβεῖσθαι.

But one one of listeners will say, "perfect love casts out fear."  It is difficult to explain those things which pertain to fear, especially after the message has been presented that it is required to fear God.  But perhaps, if love should cast out fear, it does not cast out fear entirely, but only a certain form of it.  For I know that fear named in the scripture, "The one who fears is not being perfected," is of a different type.  This double-sense, once perceived, will clear matters up for us. 

Namely, "fear" is said in two ways.  There is a fear, which it is always necessary to have;  there is also a fear, concerning which John says, "the one who fears has not been perfected."  This fear has punishment, and the one who is being perfected by love must not have it.

ἐν αὐτῷ,

ΜΑΘΠ

 

Origen- Theosis, and the Help of God

In this excerpt, Origen discusses the greatness of “the seed of man,” going so far as to say that it is divine if it heeds God’s command (assuming I’ve read that sentence right). Though this sounds strange to western ears, it appears to me to be rather consistent with the doctrine theosis as it has been developed and taught in the Eastern Orthodox churches.   Origen also discusses our need for God’s help, arguing that it is even greater when “we are being perfected,” versus “when we sin.” 

ἐὰν γένωμαι καγὼ ἄνθρωπος

γνήσιος τοῦ θεοῦ, δύναμαι ἐν τῶ ἐν ἐμοὶ
λαλοῦντι Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ἐπιτιμῆσαι τῇ
κτίσει, ἵνα εἴπω τῷ ἡλίῳ, στῆθι κατὰ
Γαβαώ. ἀλθηῶς γὰρ σπέρμα ἔντιμον,
ποῖον, σπέρμα ἀνθρώπου.  ὅσον
δὲ ἔντιμον τὸ σπέρμα ἀνθρώπου, μεγάλην
δύναμιν λαβὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ,
ἂν προσέχῃ θεός ἐστιν, εἰδὲ μὴ,
τοσούτω ἄτιμόν ἐστι παραχρησάμενον
ἑαυτῷ, καὶ ἀπογραφὲν τὸν θεόν. 
ποικίλως οὖν εξήτασται, τὸ "εἴδοσάν
σε ὕδατα ὁ θεός, εἴδοσάν
σε ὕδατα καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν." πάντα
γὰρ φοβεῑται τὸν θεόν, ἐὰν μὴ ὁ θεὸς
ἡμᾶς συνέχῃ, κ’ἂν ἀρετὴν ἔχωμεν,
ἀπολλύμεθα, "ἀποστρέψαντος
γάρ σου," φησὶ, "τὸ πρόσωπον, ταραχθήσονται,"
διὰ τοῦτο οὐ μόνον ὅταν
ἁμαρτάνωμεν χρείαν ἔχωμεν
βοηθοῦντος τοῦ θεοῦ, ἀλλ’ἐγὼ τολμῶ
καὶ λέγω, ὅτ’ἂν τελειωθῶμεν, πλείονος
βοηθείας δεόμεθα. διατί;
τελειωθέντες γὰρ, ὑπὸ πλειόνων
ἀντικειμένων ἐνεργειῶν ἐπιβολευόμεθα,

πλειόνων οὖν οὐσῶν δυνάμεων,
πλείονος ἡμῖν συμμαχίας
δεῖ. μήποτε καταπέσωμεν διὰ τὴν
τελειότητα, καὶ γένηται ἡμῖν, τὸ
πῶς ἐξἐπεσεν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ὁ ἑωσφόρος
ὁ πρωῒ ἀνατέλλων. πολλὰ ἅγια
πέπωκε, τὰ γὰρ μυστήρια τῶν
γραφῶν, τοιαῦτα δηλοῖ, οἷον “περιεπάτησας
ἄμωμος ἐν πάσαις
ταῖς ὁδοῖς, ἕως οὗ εὑρέθη ἀδικία            #lots of variation in this quote
ἐν σοι.” πάντες οὖν φοβώμεθα τὸν θεόν,
καὶ οἱ ατελεῖς, καὶ οἱ τετελειωμένοι.

For if I should become a true man of God, then perhaps I too will be able to rubuke the creation, by my prayer to Christ Jesus, and so say to the sun, "be still above Gibeon." For the seed of man is truly of the honored sort; it is so honored, that having received great power from God, should it obey, it is a god.  But if it does not heed, then how dishonorable it is, abusing itself, and bringing charges against God.  Thus we have examined in several ways the passage, "The waters saw you, O God; the waters saw you and were afraid."

All things fear God; unless God conceals himself from us, or unless we have virtue, we would be destroyed.  Because of this, it is not only when we sin that we need God’s help, but I’d dare to say that we need even more help when we are being perfected.  Why is this? Because when we are being perfected, we are plotted against by greater opposing forces.

Since they are greater forces, we are in need of greater allies, lest we fall on account of perfection. Then the same would happen to us that happened to the one who bore the dawn, the morning star.  For he made all things holy– the mysteries of the scriptures make these matters clear: how "you walked blameless in all your ways, until the time when unrighteousness was found in you." (Ez. 28:15). Thus let us all fear God, both the immortals and those who are being perfected. 

 

ἐν αὐτῷ,

ΜΑΘΠ

From Origen on the Psalms: “Taking Refuge in Allegory”

In the following passage, Origen continues his discussing of angelic powers, their distinctions and appointments. Some have loftier appointments, and some lower. We get an interesting phrase, as he takes “refuge in allegory, seeing the contradiction of the reading.”

The last sentence of the first paragraph gave me some trouble. The verb is elided, and I’m not sure how to render the distinction he’s making between “what is said by human farmers” and “what is thought by the presiding angel.”

For those interested in the scriptural citations, I’ve tried to point them out. I’ve also marked where they differ from the printed text (either the Rahlfs LXX or the NA27). There are a few variants here, which might be of interest.

I’ve now transcribed the whole of this homily. It’s approximately 2700 words. I hope to post more snippets of text and translation, but I also hope to create a PDF with the Greek text. Eventually I’d like to have a text, translation, and bits of commentary of the homily. I’m not sure if I’ll have time for that: tempus fugit!

πολλάκις ἐζήτουν ἀναγινώσκων
τὸν ψαλμὸν, τὸν λέγοντα, “αἰνεῖτε
τὸν θεὸν (ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς), αἰνεῖτε #Rahlfs “ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν”
αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις, αἰνεῖτε
αὐτὸν πάντες οἱ ἄγγελοι
αὐτοῦ, αἰνεῖτε αὐτὸν πᾶσαι αἱ
δυνάμεις αὐτοῦ.” (Ps. 148:1-2) εἶτ’ἐπιφέρει,
“αἰνεῖτε τὸν κύριον ἐκ τῆς γῆς, δράκοντες
καὶ πᾶσαι ἄβυσσοι, πῦρ,
χάλαζα, χιών, κρύσταλλος.
πνεῦμα καταιγίδος τὰ ποιοῦντα
τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ. τὰ ὄρη καὶ
πάντες οἱ βουνοὶ, ξύλα καρποφόρα
καὶ πᾶσαι κέδροι.” (Ps. 148:7-9)
ἀναγιώσκων οὖν, ἐζήτουν τί βούλεται ταῦτα.
καὶ εὐχερῶς μὲν κατέφευγον ἐπὶ
τὴν τροπολογίαν, βλέπων τὴν ἀπέμφασιν
τῆς λέξεως. ὕστερον δέποτε
ἐσκόπουν κατ’ ἐμαυτὸν, μήποτε
ὁμωνύμως τοῖς οἱκονομουμένοις,
αἱ οἰκονομοῦσαι δύναμεις ὀνομάζωνται.
αἱ μὲν τεταγμέναι ἐπὶ
τῶν δρακόντων, δράκοντες, ᾦ
γὰρ ἑκάστσου εἶδους ζώου ἐπιστατεῖ
τίς δύναμις ἡ διοικοῦσα, δι’ οὕς οἶδεν
ὁ θεὸς λόγους, ὅτι ἥδε μὲν ἠξίωται
οὐχὶ πιστευθῆναι τινὰ τῶν κρειττόνων,
ἀλλὰ δράκοντας οἱκονομεῖν.
ἥδε δέ τις δύναμις ἠξίωται,
οἱονεὶ συγγεωργεῖν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις,
ἵνα τὰ ξύλα τοῦ ἄγροῦ οἰκονομῇ. ἡ μὲν
κατὰ τὸ λέγομενον ὑπὸ τοῦ
γεωργοῦ παντὸς ἀνθρώπου. ἡ δὲ κατὰ
τὸ νοούμενον ὑπὸ τοῦ διοικοῦντος τὰ
τοιαῦτα ἀγγέλου, ἢ ἀγγέλων πλειόνων.

μήποτε οὖν κακεῖ τῶ “αινεῖται
κύριον ἐκ τῆς γῆς, δράκοντες
καὶ πᾶσαι ἄβυσσοι, πῦρ, χάλαζα,
χιών, κρύσταλλος, πνεῦμα καταιγῖδος
τὰ ποιοῦντα τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ,”
δηλοῦται ὁ τεταγμένος ἐπὶ τοῦ πυρός.
ὁ τεταγμένος ἐπὶ τῆς χαλάζης,
ὅτι δὲ καὶ ἡ θάλασσα ὡς
ζῶον ἐπιτιμᾶται ὑπο τοῦ πατρός.
ἡτοι ὅτι αὕτη ζῶόν ἐστιν, ἢ ὅτι τεταγμένη
δύναμις, δῆλον ἐκ τοῦ “ἐπετίμησε
δὲ τῇ θαλάσσῃ, ἐπετίμησε
καὶ τοῖς ἀνέμοις) ὁ Ἰησοῦς.” οὐδεὶς
δὲ ἐπτιμᾷ ἀψύχῳ, ἀλλὰ δῆλον (Mk. 4:39/Mt. 8:26), ὅτι
ἐπετίμησε καῖ εἶπεν ὡς κύριος ὅλης
τῆς κτίσεως, “σιώπα πεφίμωσο,
καὶ (ἐσιώπησεν) ἡ θάλασσα καὶ ἐγένετο
(γαλήνη).” (Mk. 4:39)

Often I have wondered while reading the psalm that says, “Praise God in the Heavens! Praise him the the exalted places! Praise him all you angels! Praise him all his powers!” (Ps. 148:1-2). Then it continues, “Praise the Lord from the earth, all you serpents and abysses, fire, hail, snow, and ice; the spirit below and those that do his word; the fruit-bearing trees and all the cedars!” (Ps. 148:7-9). While reading this, I have wondered why someone would want these things. Quickly I took refuge in allegory, seeing the contradiction of the reading. Then, I was asking myself, whether the powers are named the same as the things they inhabit. Some are set over the serpents, and are called serpents. Thus, a certain ruling power is set over each form of living thing, on account of which God knew the reasons, that one power would not be considered worthy of being entrusted with one of the greater posts, but only to rule over the serpents. Yet another power would be considered worthy, as if the work alongside men, to administer the wild trees. One power is called according to what is said by each human farmer, but another other according to what is thought by the angel admistering these matters, or by the greater angels.

Nowhere, then, of those in the “praise the Lord from the earth, serpents, and all the abysses, fire, hail, snow, and ice; spirit that is below, and those who carry out his word,” is the one placed over the fire revealed. The one placed over the hail is revealed, because the sea, as if alive, is rebuked by the Father. Indeed it’s clear that it is a living thing, or rather that it is an appointed power; this is clear from the “and Jesus rebuked the sea and the winds.” For no one rebukes something with no soul, but it is clear that he rebuked and said, as the Lord of all creation, “be silent; and the sea became silent and there was a great calm.” (Mk. 4:39).


ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ

More from Origen on the Psalms: Angelic Warfare, Angelic Administration, and Star-Sickness

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
τινὸς ποταμοῦ.

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.

ἐν αὐτῷ,
ΜΑΘΠ

Origen Transcription and Translation–Part 3

Here, Origen discusses whether rivers, seas, and lands have souls;  he marshals evidence from several places in scripture to suggest that they do, and then wonders if these “powers” taking on various natural forms (rivers, lakes, etc.) are responsible for the pagan practice of making sacrifices to them.  As always, suggestions and corrections are welcome. 

Transcription

ἡ λέξις ἡ λέγουσα, "εἴδοσάν
σε ὕδατα καὶ έφοβήθησαν; ἐταράχθησαν
ἄβυσσοι πλῆθος ἤχους ὑδάτων
." ἐπέρχεται δή μοι
λέγειν, ὅτι πάντα ἐψύχωται, καὶ
οὐδέν ἐστιν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ κενὸν ψυχῆς.
πάντα δὲ ἐψύχωται σώμασι διαφόροις,
ἐψύχωται ὁ οὐρανός, διὸ ὡς
πρὸς ζῶον αὐτῷ ἡ γραφὴ λέγει, "πρόσεχε #Dt 32:1
οὐρανὲ καὶ λαλήσω" καὶ ἄβυσσe [1]
οὐρανὲ, ἐψύχωται ἡ γῆ, "ῥήματα ἐκ
στόματός μου." καὶ "ἐνωτίζου γῆ." #Is. 1:2
εἶτα ἐψύχωται μὲν οὐρανός, ἐψύχωται
δὲ καὶ ἡ γῆ,  ἆρα θάλασσαι καὶ ποταμοὶ
οὐκ ἐψύχωται; ἢ καὶ ταῦτα ἐψύχωται.
καὶ ἴδωμέν γε ὅτι "ἡ θάλασσα
εἶδεν καὶ ἔφυγεν; ὁ ἰορδάνης
ἐστράφη εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω
" (Ps. 113:3 LXX) καὶ ὅτι ὡς
πρὸς ἐψυχωμένα ὁ λόγος διαλέγεται,
νῦν τῇ λέξει συναγορεύω. τῷ ῥητῷ μόνῳ
παρίσταμαι, θέλων παραστῆσαι
ὅτι πολλάκις λανθάνει ἡμᾶς καὶ ἡ
λέξις κατὰ τὸ ῥητὸν ἔχουσα μυστήρια
θεῖα, καὶ οὐ τοῖς τυχοῦσι γνωστά,
ζητῶ οὖν εἰ δύναμίς τις ἐνδέδυται
τὸ σῶμα τὸ θαλάσσης, καὶ ἄλλη
δύναμις ἐνδέδυται σῶμα ποταμοῦ
τοῦ ϊορδάνου, καὶ ἄλλου ποταμοῦ

φέρ’εἰπεῖν τῶν γεὼν, ἄλλη δύναμις,
καὶ οὕτως ἐπὶ πάντων.
καὶ τάχα τοιαῦτα φαντασθέντες
καὶ οἱ παρ’ἕλλησι περιεργότεροι,
θύουσι τοῖς ποταμοῖς ὡς θεοῖς.
 

[1]  I’m not sure what to do with these three words. They don’t look like they belong to me:  either the scribe missed something or added them by mistake (two close instances of οὐρανέ could cause that).  I’ve left them out of the translation, though I’m happy to hear suggestions.   Here’s the snippet in the ms:

image

 

Translation

“They trembled,” is not all, but, “the abyss, the depth of the sound of the waters.” Do you see here the difference between the water and the Abyss? [1]  For the Spirit of God was on the water, but Darkness was on the Abyss.  Here, the waters see God, and do not tremble.  But the Abyss does not see God, yet trembles.  For the Abyss, over which was Darkness,  is always in a state of flux and clamor.  Because of this, the demons pleaded with the Lord, so that he would not order them to return to the Abyss.  They said to him, “What is there between us and you, Son of God? You have come to oppress us for a time.” But these instructions for the more divine knowledge, concerning the waters of the Abyss, let us not set them aside, nor what was said just now.  But let us see if it is possible for them to make sense. 

The passage that reads, “The waters saw you and were afraid.  The abyss shook, a deep sound of waters,”  starts to say that all things have souls, and that there is nothing in the world without a soul.  All things are “en-souled” in different bodies.  The Heaven was given a soul, and thus the scripture speaks as if to a living being, “Harken O Heaven, and I will speak” (Dt. 32:1).  The Earth was given a soul, “let the earth hear the words from my mouth,” and “give ear, O Earth!”  If then the Heaven was given a soul, and the Earth was too, would not the seas and rivers have them also?  And these too were given souls.  Let us see indeed that “the sea saw and fled.  The Jordan turned its back,” (Ps. 114:3) and that the passage speaks as if to beings having souls. [2] I agree now with this reading. I will stand only by the literal sense, wanting to show that it often escapes us and that even the reading according to the letter has divine mysteries, and not just those that happen to be known.  Thus I seek to know whether some power has put on the body of a lake, and another power the body of the Jordan river, and of other rivers, and even of the different lands, and likewise for all things.  And perhaps, as things like these displayed themselves, the most eager among the Greeks sacrificed to them as gods. 

[1] Since Origen argues that these are beings with souls, or else spiritual powers, I have opted to capitalize them when he’s not quoting scripture directly.

[2] These following two sentences are a little rough, mainly because I don’t quite know what he means by τῷ ῥητῷ μόνῳ παρίσταμαι.  Something about the literal reading, but I’m not quite sure.