John Chrysostom on worldly and spiritual songs

I was reading John’s homily on the 42nd psalm this morning, and came across this passage. I rather liked it, so I decided to translate it and post it here.

Ἀπὸ μὲν γὰρ τῶν ἔξωθεν ᾀσμάτων βλάβη, καὶ ὄλεθρος, καὶ πολλὰ ἂν εἰσαχθείη δεινά· τὰ γὰρ ἀσελγέστερα καὶ παρανομώτερα τῶν ᾀσμάτων τούτων τοῖς τῆς ψυχῆς μέρεσιν ἐγγινόμενα, ἀσθενεστέραν αὐτὴν καὶ μαλακωτέραν ποιοῦσιν· ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν ψαλμῶν τῶν πνευματικῶν πολὺ μὲν τὸ κέρδος, πολλὴ δὲ ἡ ὠφέλεια, πολὺς δὲ ὁ ἁγιασμὸς, καὶ πάσης φιλοσοφίας ὑπόθεσις γένοιτ’ ἂν, τῶν τε ῥημάτων τὴν ψυχὴν ἐκκαθαιρόντων, τοῦ τε ἁγίου Πνεύματος τῇ τὰ τοιαῦτα ψαλλούσῃ ταχέως ἐφιπταμένου ψυχῇ. Ὅτι γὰρ οἱ μετὰ συνέσεως ψάλλοντες τὴν τοῦ Πνεύματος καλοῦσι χάριν, ἄκουσον τί φησιν ὁ Παῦλος· Μὴ μεθύσκεσθε οἴνῳ, ἐν ᾧ ἐστιν ἀσωτία, ἀλλὰ πληροῦσθε ἐν Πνεύματι. Ἐπήγαγε δὲ καὶ τὸν τρόπον τῆς πληρώσεως. Ἄδοντες καὶ ψάλλοντες ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν τῷ Κυρίῳ. Τί ἐστιν, Ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν; Μετὰ συνέσεως, φησίν· ἵνα μὴ τὸ στόμα μὲν λαλῇ τὰ ῥήματα, ἡ διάνοια δὲ ἔξω διατρίβῃ πανταχοῦ πλανωμένη, ἀλλ’ ἵνα ἀκούῃ ἡ ψυχὴ τῆς γλώττης. (PG 55.157)

For in the songs of the world there is harm, ruin, and much that would lead to danger. For all the licentiousness and lawlessness of these songs bring about divisions in the soul. But in the spiritual psalms, there is great gain, great benefit, great sanctification, and every tenant of philosophy may be found. By these words, the soul is cleansed, and the Holy Spirit is quick to be with the one who sings in this manner. For those who sing with understanding invoke the grace of the Spirit, which is why Paul says, “do not get drunk on wine, in which there is debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ” Following this phrase on fullness, we hear, “singing and psalming in your hearts to the Lord.” What does it mean to sing “in your hearts to the Lord”? It means to sing with understanding, so that your mouth may not merely speak the words while your mind perishes, entirely deceived and separated. Instead, the soul should heed the tongue.

Translation: Eusebius on the Psalms Pt. 2

With the exception of the “hypotheses,” I believe this rounds out the introductory material in Eusebius’s Commentary on the Psalms. This is a continuation from this post. This particular text comes from Migne’s Patrologia Graeca 23.73-76. The extract here is interesting because Eusebius gives a theory of textual transmission of the Psalms, after noting some of the differences between the Hebrew texts and the Greek texts. He is careful to point out that the Psalms are not in chronological order, and then gives an explanation why. He ends with a note on the importance of the Psalms for the Church.

In characteristic fashion, here’s my translation followed by the Greek text. There are a few spots I’m not sure about, but I think I’ve rendered most of it sufficiently.

My Translation:

Eusebius on the Psalms (Continued)

In the Hebrew Book of Psalms, except for the addition of numbers, all of the Psalms are inscribed differently. There are some that stand together, and some that are split apart. Carelessly, the first and second ones stand together in the Hebrew. And again, the ninth psalm, united for us, is divided into two in the Hebrew. One must see, though, that the structure of the psalms does not follow chronological order. They were rearranged, just as the book of the Kings and the present arrangement shows. For the nation of the Jews was condemned of idolatry. As it says, they forgot to esteem the writings of their fathers, for they did not carry the book of the law of Moses, nor did they remember the reverence of their forefathers. For this reason the prophets spoke vehemently against their ungodliness.

Thus it is not amazing that at this lowest and most disheveled of times, some of the psalms would fall away, not being handed down for a long period. But after this, either Ezra or some other prophet, devoted himself to gathering the psalms together, which then became how the book of the psalms was arranged. They were not discovered all at once, but rather at different times. And in their binding, the first ones found were placed first. They were not arranged so that all of the Psalms of David went together. Rather, in between these psalms were those of the Sons of Korah, those of Asaph, those of Solomon and Moses, those of Aiman, and of Jedethum. And even after all of these, more psalms of David were place in the arrangement. Thus those that were written later may have been found and taken up first. And those that were written first were found later in the second group. And the same thing is found in the prophets. All were thus placed into a certain great and new storehouse, the Book of Psalms.

You must observe this, as the book of the Psalms offers us new teaching after the laws of Moses. And because it is second after the laws and writings of Moses, this book is fit for teaching. For just as Joshua came after Moses, and David came after the judges, in the same way the Father has considered worthy a new way of the Psalms, different than what had been given first to the Hebrews. It is the way of the Savior. The first way lifts up the things of Moses, and the sacrifices of the Law. But the Savior’s new way instructs us to sing and shout our worship of God, and that the law of Moses is transcended entirely through his work.

And for those interested, here’s the Greek text:

ΕΥΣΕΒΙΟΥ ΕΙΣ ΤΟΥΣ ΨΑΛΜΟΥΣ

Ἐν τῇ Ἑβραϊκῇ βίβλῳ τῶν ψαλμῶν ἄνευ τῆς τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ προσθήκης ἀνεγράφησαν οἱ πάντες καὶ διαφόρως. Οἱ μέν εἰσι συνημμένοι, οἱ δὲ διῃρημένοι. Ἀμέλει ὁ μὲν πρῶτος καὶ δεύτερος συνημμένοι εἰσὶ κατὰ τὸ Ἑβραϊκόν· καὶ πάλιν ὁ ἔνατος, συνημμένος παρ’ ἡμῖν, ἐν τῷ Ἑβραϊκῷ διῄρηται εἰς δύο. Παρατηρητέον δὲ, ὅτι μὴ κατὰ ἀκολουθίαν τῶν τῆς ἱστορίας χρόνων ἡ τῶν ψαλμῶν σύγκειται τάξις· ἐνήλλακται δὲ παρὰ πολὺ, καθὼς ἡ βίβλος τῶν Βασιλειῶν, καὶ αὕτη ἡ τάξις δηλοῖ. Πολλῆς τοίνυν κατακρατησάσης εἰδωλολατρείας τοῦ Ἰουδαίων ἔθνους, λήθην αὐτούς φασι πεποιῆσθαι τῶν πατρίων γραφῶν, ὡς μηδὲ τοῦ Μωϋσέως νόμου βίβλον ἐπιφέρεσθαι, μηδὲ μνήμην τῆς τῶν πατέρων εὐσεβείας ἀποσώζειν. Οὕτω γοῦν τοὺς προφήτας ἀνῄρουν διελέγχοντας αὐτῶν τὰς δυσσεβείας.

Οὐδὲ νῦν θαυμαστὸν ἐν τοιαύτῃ καταστάσει καιρῶν καὶ τῶν ἐμφερομένων τινὰς τῇ βίβλῳ τῶν ψαλμῶν διαπεπτωκέναι, λήθῃ τε μακροῖς παραδεδόσθαι χρόνοις. Ὕστερον δὲ μετὰ ταῦτα, εἴτε Ἔσδραν, εἴτε τινὰς ἑτέρους προφήτας, περὶ τὴν συναγωγὴν αὐτῶν ἐσπουδακέναι, μεθ’ ὧν καὶ τὴν βίβλον τῶν ψαλμῶν ἡγιοχέναι, οὐκ ἀθρόως εὑρόντα τοὺς πάντας, ἀλλὰ κατὰ διαφόρους χρόνους. Καὶ τάττειν δὲ ἐν πρώτοις τοὺς πρώτους εὑρισκομένους· μηδὲ τοὺς τοῦ Δαυῒδ ἐφεξῆς κεῖσθαι πάντας· ἔν τε τῷ μεταξὺ καὶ τῶν υἱῶν Κορὲ, καὶ τοῦ Ἀσὰφ, καὶ Σολομῶντος, καὶ Μωϋσέως, Αἰμάν τε, καὶ Αἰθὰν, καὶ Ἰδιθοὺμ, καὶ πάλιν τοῦ Δαυῒδ εὑρίσκεσθαι ἀναμὶξ ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ κατατεταγμένους, οὐ καθ’ οὓς ἐλέχθησαν χρόνους, ἀλλὰ καθ’ οὓς εὕρηνται. Ἔνθεν τε συμβῆναι τοὺς τοῖς χρόνοις ὑστέρους πρώτους εὑρεθέντας, ἀναληφθῆναι προτέρους· τοὺς δὲ προτέρους μετὰ ταῦτα εὑρεθέντας ἐν δευτέρᾳ ταγῆναι χώρᾳ· τὸ δ’ αὐτὸ εὕροις γεγενημένον ἐν τοῖς προφήταις. Πάντα ὥσπερ ἐν μεγάλῳ τινὶ καὶ κοινῷ ταμείῳ τῇ βίβλῳ τῶν ψαλμῶν τεθησαύρισται.

Κἀκεῖνο δὲ τηρή 23.76 σεις, ὡς ἡ βίβλος τῶν ψαλμῶν καινὴν διδασκαλίαν περιέχει μετὰ τὴν Μωϋσέως νομοθεσίαν, καὶ ὅτι δευτέρα μετὰ τὴν Μωϋσέως νομοθεσίαν γραφὴν διδασκαλικὴ βίβλος αὕτη τυγχάνει. Μετὰ γοῦν τὴν Μωϋσέως καὶ Ἰησοῦ τελευτὴν καὶ μετὰ τοὺς κριτὰς Δαυῒδ γενόμενος, ὡσανεὶ τοῦ Σωτῆρος αὐτὸς χρηματίσαι πατὴρ καταξιωθεὶς, καινὸν τρόπον τὸν τῆς ψαλμῳδίας πρῶτος Ἑβραίοις παρέδωκε· δι’ ἧς ἀναιρεῖ μὲν τὰ παρὰ Μωϋσῇ περὶ θυσιῶν νενομοθετημένα, καινὸν δὲ τὸν δι’ ὕμνων καὶ ἀλαλαγμῶν τρόπον τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ λατρείας εἰσάγει· καὶ ἄλλα δὲ πλεῖστα τὸν Μωϋσέως νόμον ἐπαναβεβηκότα δι’ ὅλης αὐτοῦ τῆς πραγματείας διδάσκει.

Eusebius on the Psalms Pt. 1 (More Translation)

So I’m continuing to work through the Eusebius’ Commentary on the Psalms in small chunks. The next couple of translated bits will be the final part his general thoughts on the entire Psalter, minus his “theses.” He also has a portion that addresses the Psalms of Asaph that I may translate as well. The translations here aren’t very good, but I do them for two reasons. One, I’m not aware of any English translations of this work, minus the translation of Eusebius’ commentary on Psalm 51 here. So nearly any translation is better than no translation ;-). Second, they help me actually understand the work. My tendency is to breeze over things I don’t understand. Slowly working through the work helps me make sense of the text in a much deeper way, since I usually have to read over it many times before I figure out what’s going on.

Anyways, here’s some text and translation. This bit of writing contains some stuff which is said in the other sections of the work, but Eusebius goes into more detail here. My posts are probably quite confusing since they tend to follow the section titles which aren’t helpful for distinguishing different parts. At some point I’ll do a post detailing the layout of the stuff in Migne. But in the meantime here’s some translation:

Eusebius on the Psalms (From PG 23.72-73)

The word psalm is like the word psalterion, after which it is called. For it is said of the psalterion that it is a musical instrument which differs from the harp by shape. By it, the music of the song is named. But an ode comes begins entirely through the instrument of melodious voices. A “Psalm of the Ode” is called such because the singing part is preceded by the striking of the psalterion. But an “Ode of the Psalm” is the opposite.

Thus it is in the histories of the Kings and the Others, King David, who came after Saul’s end, brought the Ark to Jerusalem, which had been in the house of Abdodom for 20 years after its recovery from the Philistines. As as he was bringing it into Jerusalem, David appointed by lot from the tribe of Levi four psalmists to lead the singing, to sing and praise before the ark to the Lord, and to raise up a merry sound of praise and worship by their instruments. Asaph, Aiman, Aithan, and Jeduthun worshiped by songs, kinuras, nablas [a type of harp], tumpanas, cymbals, and the psalterion [a different kind of harp]. With these men the songs had been numbered. There were 288 songs, 72 by each. 32 from the race of Ham, 25 from the race of Shem, and 15 from race of Japheth.

These men, standing before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, sang and psalmed to the Lord. One with the kinara, one with the cymbals, one with the kithara [a kind of harp], and one with the psalterion [a different kind of harp]. In the middle of them stood the blessed David, himself the leader of the song-leaders, holding in his hands the psalterion [a kind of harp]. Each sang and psalmed together while praising God by the Holy Spirit. Then, at a certain time, the Spirit would blow on one of the song-leaders, and the rest would be led to silence. While standing and listening together to the singing, they sang “Hallelujah.”

And here’s the Greek:

ΕΥΣΕΒΙΟΥ ΕΙΣ ΤΟΥΣ ΨΑΛΜΟΥΣ

Ὁ μὲν ψαλμὸς ἔοικεν ἀπὸ τοῦ ψαλτηρίου παρωνύμως ἐπικεκλῆσθαι· λέγεται δὲ ψαλτήριον ὄργανόν τι μουσικὸν παρὰ τὴν κιθάραν διαλλάττον τῷ σχήματι, ἐν ᾧ τὴν ἀνακρουομένην ᾠδὴν ψαλμὸν προσαγορεύεσθαι. Ὠδὴν δὲ εἶναι τὴν διὰ μέλους ἀναφωνουμένην ἄνευ ὀργάνου ῥῆσιν μουσικήν. Ψαλμὸν δὲ ᾠδῆς λέγεσθαι, ἐπειδὰν προηγησαμένης τὸ αὐτὸ τῆς ᾠδῆς μέλος διὰ τοῦ ψαλτηρίου κρουσθῇ· ᾠδὴν δὲ ψαλμοῦ τὸ ἀνάπαλιν.

Ὡς ἐν ταῖς ἱστορίαις τῶν Βασιλειῶν καὶ τῶν Παραλειπομένων Δαυῒδ ὁ βασιλεὺς μετὰ τὴν τοῦ Σαοὺλ τελευτὴν, ἀναγαγὼν τὴν κιβωτὸν τῆς Διαθήκης Κυρίου, οὖσαν ἐν οἴκῳ Ἀβδοδὼμ ἔτεσιν εἴκοσιν ἐξότου ἐκ τῶν Ἀζωτίων μετενήνεκτο, καὶ κατα 23.73 στήσας αὐτὴν εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ, ἐπιλέγεται ἐκ τῆς φυλῆς Λευῒ κλήρῳ ψαλτῳδοὺς ἄρχοντας ᾠδῶν τέσσαρας, τοῦ ψάλλειν καὶ ᾄδειν ἐνώπιον τῆς κιβωτοῦ τῷ Κυρίῳ, καὶ ἀναφέρειν φωνὴν εὐφροσύνης εἰς ἐξομολόγησιν καὶ αἴνεσιν ἐν ὀργάνοις ἡρμοσμένοις, καὶ ᾠδαῖς, καὶ κινύραις, καὶ νάβλαις, καὶ τυμπάνοις, καὶ κυμβάλοις, καὶ ψαλτηρίῳ, καὶ 3 κερατίνῃ, τὸν Ἀσὰφ, Αἰμὰν, Αἰθὰν, Ἰδιθούμ· οἷς ἀριθμὸς ᾠδῶν ἐπετέτακτο, ᾀδόντων διακοσίων ὀγδοήκοντα ὀκτὼ, ἑκάστῳ ἑβδομήκοντα δύο, ἐκ τοῦ Χὰμ λβʹ, τοῦ Σὴμ κεʹ, τοῦ Ἰάφεθ ιεʹ.

Οἵτινες, ἑστῶτες ἔμπροσθεν τῆς κιβωτοῦ Διαθήκης Κυρίου, ἔψαλλον καὶ ᾖδον τῷ Κυρίῳ· ὃς μὲν ἐν κινύρᾳ, ὃς δὲ ἐν κυμβάλοις, ὃς δὲ ἐν κιθάρᾳ. ὃς δὲ ἐν ψαλτηρίῳ· ὧν μέσος ἵστατο ὁ μακάριος Δαυῒδ, αὐτὸς ἄρχων ἀρχόντων ᾠδῶν, κρατῶν ἐπὶ χεῖρας τὸ ψαλτήριον. Ἕκαστος δὲ ᾖδεν καὶ ἔψαλλεν ὑμνῶν τὸν Θεὸν ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι τεταγμένως. Ἡνίκα τοίνυν ἐσκίρτα τὸ Πνεῦμα ἐπί τινα τῶν ἀρχόντων τῶν ψαλτῳδῶν, οἱ λοιποὶ ἡσυχίαν ἦγον παρεστῶτες καὶ ὑπακούοντες συμφώνως τῷ ψάλλοντι, Ἀλληλούϊα.

Eusebius of Caesarea on the Interlude

Here’s another excerpt from the beginning of Eusebius’ Commentary on the Psalms. In it, he discusses the διάψαλμα, or musical interlude, which is used to translate the Hebrew Selah.

Here’s the Greek text and a translation:

Εὐσεβίου Καισαρείας περὶ τοῦ διαψάλματος.

Ἔγραψαν τὸ διάψαλμα οἱ ἑρμηνεύσαντες πέντε ἄρχοντες, οἳ ἐξελέγοντο ὑπὸ Δαυῒδ τοῦ βασιλέως ἐκ τῆς φυλῆς Λευΐ· ὧν τὰ ὀνόματά εἰσι ταῦτα, Ἀσὰφ, οἱ υἱοὶ Κορὲ, Αἰμὰν, Αἰθὰμ, Ἰδιθούμ· τούτοις ἀριθμὸς ᾠδῶν παρηκολούθει, ἑκάστῳ ἑβδομήκοντα δύο. Οὗτοι ἵσταντο ἐνώπιον τοῦ ἁγιάσματος Κυρίου, αἰνοῦντες τὸν πάντων δεσπότην, ὃς μὲν κύμβαλα, ὃς δὲ ψαλτήριον, ὃς δὲ κινύραν, ὃς δὲ κερατίνην, ὃς δὲ κιθάραν ἔχων, ὧν μέσος ἵστατο ὁ Δαυΐδ. Καὶ οὕτως ἤρχοντο τῶν ᾠδῶν κρατοῦντες ἐπὶ χεῖρα τὰ τοιαῦτα ὄργανα· καὶ ἕκαστος Πνεύματι ἁγίῳ κινούμενος ὕμνει 4 τὸν Θεὸν, καὶ πάντες ἐπεφώνουν τῷ ψάλλοντι τὸ Ἀλληλούϊα. Ὁπηνίκα δὲ ἡ τοῦ Πνεύματος τοῦ ἁγίου ἀπέστη χάρις πρὸς βραχὺ, τῶν ὀργάνων λοιπὸν μὴ κινουμένων, τὸ τηνικαῦτα εἰκὸς καὶ τὸ διάψαλμα ἔγραφον.

And here’s my translation:

Eusebius of Caesarea on the Interlude (From PG 23.76)

The diapsalma was written by the five leading proclaimers, who were chosen by King David from the tribe of Levi. Their names were Asaph, the Sons of Korah, Aiman, Aitham and Idithoum. The numbering of the songs follows these closely, each of the seventy two.[*] They stood before the holiness of the Lord, praising the Master of All, one with the cymbals, one with the psalteria, one with the kinuran, one with the keratinen, and one with the harp[**], and David stood in the middle of them. And this is how they began a song, holding in their hands these instruments. One at a time, each would be moved by the Holy Spirit to sing to the Lord, and all would respond to the singing by exclaiming “Hallelujah.” At that time, the grace of the Holy Spirit would abate for a short time, and the rest of the instruments would lay silent, and at a time like this the diapsalma would be written.

Some notes:

* I’m not sure what’s going on here. αριθμος means number, and I take it he’s addressing the numbering or inscriptions of the psalms. 72 refers to the 72 psalms of David.

** All of these are musical instruments. I believe the psalteria is also a type of harp, but I don’t know what exactly the others are.

Translation: Eusebius on the Inscriptions of the Psalms

So I’ve been studying this bit of text for the past few days, trying my best to make sense of it. It comes right at the beginning of Eusebius’ Commentary on the Psalms. I’ll give my translation with some notes, and then the Greek text and the Latin translation that appears in Migne’s Patrologia Graeca vol 23.

This bit appears in PG 23.66

Eusebius on the Inscriptions of the Psalms. Some Abbreviated Teaching.

There are 150 psalms, and the number 50 is holy. For Pentecost has 50 days, and there are 50 years for a Hebrew Jubilee [1]. Nabla is what the Hebrews call their harp, and it is the only true musical instrument. It is not played from the lower parts, but its supporting metal is on top. The “Psalms” [2] then are only struck up with this instrument, not with a voice. But an “Ode” begins with a harmonious voice. An “Ode of the Psalm” begins by the instrument of a harmonious voice. A “Psalm of the Ode,” on the other hand, leads in with the sound of the striking of strings. By way of allegory, a psalm is like the harmonious movement of the body, moving to good works, [3] although some do not follow such contemplation. Singing without praxis is like the mind’s direct perception of truth, where one’s soul is enlightened about God and his oracles. But an “Ode of the Psalm” leads us to the practice of knowledge, as it is written, “if you desire wisdom, keep the commandments, and the Lord will supply it to you.”[4] For a “Psalm of the Ode” leads us to praxis accompanied by knowledge. It instructs us how and when things must be done. Therefore they are the first among the inscriptions.[5] For the holy one does not begin from theory, but always faithfully runs to praxis. Many of the odes are “To the End.” Whenever there is “Steps,” in the inscription, there is never the word “Psalm,” nor does it stand alone or mixed with others. It always stands with “Ode.” For the “ascent”[6] only perceives the abstract. Selah[7] is not found in Aquila or the Hebrew, but apart from him it is always found.

Specific Notes:

[1] I have no idea how to get this from the Greek, but the Latin translator interpreted it thus.

[2] That is, Psalms which have the word “psalm” in their inscription (which is not everyone, some have “ode”, some have nothing, etc.).

[3] Greek: εἰς ἐργασίαν ἀγαθὴν. ἐργαίαν can also have the meaning “artistic production,” and Eusebius may have that in mind, though I think “good works” fits better with the following context.

[4] Sirach 1:26

[5] I don’t know what he means by “Therefore they are the first among the inscriptions.” The Greek here is: διὸ καὶ πρῶται τῶν ψαλμῶν αἱ ἐπιγραφαί. I have left it vague in English, but if I had to I would perhaps make it “Therefore they are the finest of the inscriptions.”

[6] Greek: ἡ ἀνάβασις, which as far as I can tell is a Greek philosophical term describing the soul’s ascent to God. Here, it stands in contrast to the Greek ἁναβαθμοὶ, which means “steps” or “stairs.” Perhaps ἁναβαθμοὶ is conceived as a Christianized ἀνάβασις, which includes both the abstract (θεωρία) and the practical (πραξις.

[7] Greek: διάψαλμα which translates the Hebrew word Selah.

General Notes:

– I have placed in quotation marks what I believe to be technical terms relating to inscriptions.

– I’ve used “praxis” or “practice” to translate the Greek word πραξις. Without being able to peg down a more specific meaning for it, I think our English word captures enough of the vague antithesis between “theory” and “praxis” (which is definitely present in this passage) to service here. I’m usually leery of doing such a 1-1 translation, but I’ll keep it for now.

– Eusebius seems to make a broad contrasts between “Psalms” and “Odes.” Odes are introduced by singing, while Psalms are introduced by a harp. This can be confusing since all of them are psalms in the looser since (they’re in the Psalter), but he appears to make a technical distinction between the two based on their usage in the inscriptions. “Ode” can also mean “singing” in Greek, and I think that’s in view too. In one place I have translated ᾠδὴ as “singing” (“Singing without knowledge…), otherwise I have left it as a technical term “ode.”

– Eusebius does like allegory and contemplation (in good Platonic and Origenic fashion), but he seems here to be in favor of a healthy mix of “theory” and “practice.” His affinity for philosophy and the abstract doesn’t negate the importance of practical things.

Here’s the Greek for reference:


ΕΥΣΕΒΙΟΥ ΕΙΣ ΤΑΣ ΕΠΙΓΡΑΦΑΣ ΤΩΝ ΨΑΛΜΩΝ. ΕΡΜΗΝΕΙΑ ΤΙΝΩΝ ΚΑΤ’ ΕΠΙΤΟΜΗΝ.

Ἑκατὸν πεντήκοντα τυγχάνουσιν οἱ ψαλμοὶ, ἱεροῦ τοῦ νʹ τυγχάνοντος ἀριθμοῦ·
ἐν μὲν ἡμέραις ποιῶν τὴν Πεντηκοστὴν, ἐν δὲ ἐνιαυτοῖς τὸν παρ’ Ἑβραίοις καλούμενον
Ἰωήλ. Νάβλα δὲ παρ’ Ἑβραίοις λέγεται τὸ ψαλτήριον, ὃ δὴ μόνον τῶν μουσικῶν
ὀργάνων ὀρθότατον, καὶ μὴ συνεργούμενον εἰς ἦχον ἐκ τῶν κατωτάτω μερῶν, ἀλλ’
ἄνωθεν ἔχειν τὸν ὑπηχοῦντα χαλκόν. Ψαλμοὶ μὲν οὖν οἱ διὰ μόνου τοῦ ὀργάνου χωρὶς
φωνῆς ἀνακρουόμενοι· ᾠδὴ δὲ οἱ διὰ φωνῆς ἐμμελοῦς· ᾠδὴ δὲ ψαλμοῦ τὸ τῷ ὀργάνῳ
σύμφωνον ἐπάγειν φωνήν· ψαλμὸς δὲ ᾠδῆς ἀνάπαλιν, προηγουμένης τῆς τῶν
κρουσμάτων φωνῆς. Ἀλληγορίας δὲ νόμῳ, ψαλμὸς μὲν σώματος κίνησις ἐναρμόνιος εἰς
ἐργασίαν ἀγαθὴν, κἂν μὴ πάνυ τις ἐπακολουθῇ θεωρία· ᾠδὴ δὲ χωρὶς πράξεως ἀληθείας
κατάληψις, φωτιζομένης ψυχῆς περὶ Θεοῦ καὶ τῶν λογίων αὐτοῦ. Ὠδὴ δὲ ψαλμοῦ,
προαγούσης πράξεως γνώσεως· κατὰ τό· Ἐπιθυμήσας σοφίας διατήρησον ἐντολὰς, καὶ
Κύριος χορηγήσει σοι αὐτήν. Ψαλμὸς δὲ ᾠδῆς πρᾶξις ὑπὸ γνώσεως ὁδηγουμένη, περὶ
τοῦ πῶς καὶ πότε πρακτέον· διὸ καὶ πρῶται τῶν ψαλμῶν αἱ ἐπιγραφαί· οὐ γὰρ ἀπὸ
θεωρίας ὁ ἅγιος ἄρχεται, ἀλλ’ ἅπαν πίστει ταῖς πράξεσιν ἐπιτρέχει. Ἐπὶ δὲ τῷ τέλει
πολλαὶ αἱ ᾠδαί· καὶ ὅπου ἀναβαθμοὶ, οὐδαμοῦ ψαλμὸς, οὔτε καθ’ ἑαυτὸν, οὔτε μετ’
ἐπιπλοκῆς. Ὠδαὶ δὲ πάντα καθ’ ἑαυτάς· ἡ γὰρ ἀνάβασις πρὸς μόνην ὁρᾷ θεωρίαν.
∆ιάψαλμα δὲ παρὰ μὲν Ἀκύλᾳ καὶ τῷ Ἑβραϊκῷ οὐ κεῖται· ἀντὶ δὲ αὐτοῦ τὸ ἀεί.

And for the Latinists, here’s the Latin translation that appears in Migne’s Patrologia Graeca vol 23. I typed this myself from an image scan, and haven’t done thorough checking, so there are probably several mistakes. It doesn’t help that my Latin’s not that great! There are several scans available. You can find several on google books here.

EUSEBII IN PSALMORUM INSCRIPTIONES. INTERPRETATIO QUARUMDAM COMPENDII MORE DESCRIPTA.

Centum et quinquaginta psalmi sunt : et sane sacer est quiquagenarius numerus, illo siquidem dierum curriculo instituitur Pentecoste, ac totidem annorum numero Jubilaeus, ut vocant Hebraei, celebratur. Nabla apud Hebraeos vocatur psalterium ; quod ex musicis instrunienties solum rectissimum est, neque ab infirmis partibus ad sonum adhibetur, sed a supernis sonanti aere instruitur. Psalmi itaque vocantur quot sola instrunientorum pulsatione, nullis admistis vocibus, persolvuntur. Canticum dicitur quod sauvi aequabilique voce conitur ; canticum psalmi, quod una cum instrumentis consonas admittit voces ; psalmus cantici rursum, cum instrumentorum musicorum sonus vocibus preit. Si allegorice res accipiatur, psalmus est concinnus corporis motus ad opus bonum exsequendum, etiamsi contemplatio parva subsequatur. Canticum nullo opere admistum est veritatis comprehensio, mente ad De ejusque sermonum contemplationem illustrata. Canticum psalmi dicitur cum cognitio actum praecedit, juxta illud : Concupiscens sapientiam, serva maudaia, et Dominus praebit illam tibit. Psalmos cantici est actus ducente cognitione admissus, docente scilicet quo pacio quove tempore sit agendum : quapropter in inscriptione psalmorum vox canticis praeit ; non enim a contemplatione vir sanctus orditur , sed fide omnino ad opera exsequenda currit. Sub finem multa cantica sunt. Ubi autem gradus habentur nusquam psalmus , neque per solus, neque alia adjuncta voce inscribitur : sed ibi cantica solum apponuntur ; nam ubi ascensus graduum est, ibi sola contemplatio spectatur. Diapsalma porru apud Quilam et in Hebraico non estat : sed ejus loco, semper ascribitur.

Eusebius on the Son, the Spirit, and the Angels

If you’re tiring of Eusebius, please skip along :-). I generally have the opposite problem: no posting at all!


Ἐνθάδε μὲν οὖν πνεῦμα στόματος αὐτοῦ ἀναγέγραπται. Εὑρήσομεν δὲ ἀλλαχοῦ καὶ λόγον στόματος αὐτοῦ εἰρημένον, ἵνα νοηθῇ ὁ Σωτὴρ καὶ τὸ ἅγιον αὐτοῦ Πνεῦμα. Ἀμφότερα δὲ συνήργησεν ἐν τῇ κτίσει τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ τῶν ἐν αὐτοῖς δυνάμεων· διὰ τοῦτο εἴρηται· Τῷ λόγῳ Κυρίου οἱ οὐρανοὶ ἐστερεώθησαν, καὶ τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ πᾶσα ἡ δύναμις αὐτῶν. Οὐδὲν γὰρ ἁγιάζεται μὴ τῇ παρουσίᾳ τοῦ Πνεύματος. Ἀγγέλων γοῦν τὴν μὲν εἰς τὸ εἶναι πάροδον ὁ δημιουργὸς Λόγος, ὁ ποιητὴς τῶν ὅλων, παρείχετο· τὸν ἁγιασμὸν δὲ αὐτοῖς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον συνεπέφερεν· οὐ γὰρ νήπιοι κτισθέντες οἱ ἄγγελοι.

“Here we find ‘His Spirit’s mouth’ written, but elsewhere we find ‘His Word’s mouth’ said, in order that the Savior and his Holy Spirit might be known. For both were at work in the creation of the heavens and the angels. For this reason it says, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were stretched out, and by the Spirit of his mouth every one of his angels.” For nothing is consecrated except by the presence of the Spirit. Therefore, although the creative Word, the maker of all, prepared the way for the angels to come into being, the Holy Spirit, together with him, bestowed on them their consecration. For the angels were not created as children.”

I’m not sure what he means by the final bit “for the angels were not created as children.” It’s almost like αγιασμον (holiness or consecration) is functioning as a parallel to “coming of age,” since νηπιος can mean minor.

An Excerpt from Eusebius on Psalm 32 LXX

I liked this excerpt for several reasons. First, I’ve been able to make sense of the Greek. That’s a prerequisite! Second, I like what Eusebius has to say about almsgiving.

Here’s the Greek:


Ὅτι εὐθὺς ὁ λόγος τοῦ Κυρίου, καὶ πάντα τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ ἐν πίστει. Ἀγαπᾷ ἐλεημοσύνην καὶ κρίσιν· τοῦ ἐλέους Κυρίου πλήρης ἡ γῆ. Τὰ μὲν τῆς τῶν ὄντων καταλήψεως διὰ πίστεως ἡμῖν χωρείτω, τὰ δὲ τοῦ πρακτικοῦ βίου διὰ ἐλεημοσύνης καὶ κρίσεως. Ταῦτα γὰρ ἀγαπᾷ ὁ εὐθὺς τοῦ Κυρίου λόγος· ἅτε κριτικοὺς ἡμᾶς κατασκευάσας καὶ διακριτικοὺς τοῦ τε καλοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἐναντίου. Διὸ βούλεται ἡμᾶς μηδὲν ἀκρίτως πράττειν, μηδὲ ἀλόγως φέρεσθαι ταῖς ἐξ αὐτῶν ὁρμαῖς, κεκριμένως περὶ τῶν πρακτέων βουλεύεσθαι, καὶ πρός γε πάντων ἐλεημονικοὺς εἶναι, συγνωμονικοὺς δὲ πρὸς τοὺς ἁμαρτάνοντας γιγνομένους, συμπαθεῖς δὲ καὶ φιλανθρώπους πρὸς τοὺς ἐλέου δεομένους.

And my translation:

For the Word of the Lord is upright, and all of his works are done in faithfulness. He loves mercy and justice. The earth is full of his mercy.

Abstract things must be received through faith, but the practical things of life are done through mercy and justice. These are the things that the Word of the Lord loves: For us to be wise, prepared, and discerning both of the Good, and that which is before us. He never wants us to act unwisely, or to unreasonably give to those who beg from their own evil inclinations, who discreetly plot treachery and are beggars to all. Rather, he wants us to be aware of the sinners, but sympathetic and philanthropic to those in need.

Greek Memorization/Translation: 1 Cor 7:9-16

The text:
9.) ει δε ουκ ενκρατευονται, γαμησατωσαν. χρειττον γαρ εστιν γαμησαι η πορυσθαι.
10.) τοις δε γεγαμηκουσιν παραγγελω, ουκ εγω αλλα ὸ κυριος. γυναικα απο ανδρος μη χωριςθηναι.
11.) εαν δε και κωρισθῃ, μενετω αγαμος η τῳ ανδρι καταλλαγετω, και ανδρα γυναικα μη αφιεναι.
12.) τοις δε λοιποις λεγω, εγω ουχ ὸ κυριος. ει τις αδελφος γυναικα εχει απιςτον και αυτη συνευδοκει οικειν μετ᾽ αυτου, μη αφιετω αυτην.
13.) και γυνη, ει τις εχει ανδρα απιστον, και ὃυτος συνευδοκει οικειν μετ᾽ αυτης, με αφιετω τον ανδρα.
14.) ἣγιασται ὁ ανερ ὁ απιστον εν τῃ γυναικι και ἡγιασται ἡ γυνη ἡ απιστον εν τῃ αδελφῳ. επει αρα τα τεκνα υμων ακαθαρτα εστιν, νυν δε ἁγια εστιν.
15.) ει δε ὁ απιστος κορισθῃ, κοριζεσθω. ου δεδολωται ὁ αδελφος η ἡ αδελφη εν τοις τοιουτοις. εν δε ειρηνῃ κεκλεκεν υμας ὁ θεος.
16.) τι γαρ οιδας γυναι, ει τον ανδρα σοσεις; η τι οιδας ανερ, ει την γυναικα σοσεις;

The Translation:
9.) But if they can’t control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10.) To the married I give this command, not I, but the Lord. A woman must not separate from her husband.
11.) But if she separates, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a man must not divorce his wife.
12.) To the rest I say, I not the Lord, If a brother has an unbelieving wife and she is willing to live with him, he should not divorce her.
13.) And if a woman has an unbelieving husband, and he is willing to live with her, she should not divorce the husband.
14.) For the unbelieving man is sanctified by the believing wife, and the unbelieving woman is sanctified by the believing husband.
15.) But if the unbeliever leaves, let them be separated. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances, as God has called you to peace.
16.) Who knows, woman, if you’ll save your husband? Who knows, man, if you’ll save your wife?

Some Notes:
The big translation issue here it how to render αδελφος. Literally, it means “brother” or “sister.” Paul is using it figuratively here to mean “fellow Christian.” In fact, this is his favorite word for “Christian” (he actually never uses the Greek word for Christian). Keeping it as brother (or sister) helps communicate the familial nature of the Church. However, it’s also going to confuse those who don’t understand the language. Christians were accused of incest for a long time because they referred to one another as “brother” and “sister.” For instance, in 1 Corinthians 9, Paul writes that he has the right to take a “sister” as a wife. He means a female Christian, but it does sound funny ;-) Pagans made a natural inference when hearing stuff like this, though an incorrect one.

Theologically, I love v. 14. In some way, having a single Christian in a home “makes holy” the rest of the home. The participatory aspects (being in Christ) of 14 and 16 are quite interesting, as I noted here. I also love Paul’s practicality here. As I delve into theology, history, and biblical studies, I hope I can maintain the deep practicality of all of it.

 εν αυτῳ,
~alex

Memorization in Greek: 1 Cor 6:1-8

1.) τολμᾳ τις ὐμων πραγμα εχων προς τον ἒτερον κρινεσθαι επι των αδικων και ουκι επι των ἁγιων:
2.) η ουκ οιδατε ὃτι οἱ αγιοι τον κοσμον κεροῦμεν; και ει εν υμιν ὁ κοσμος κρινεται, αξιοι εστε κριτεριων ελαχιστων;
3.) ουκ οιδατε ὃτι αγγελους κρινοῦμεν; μετιγη βιοτικα.
4.) βιοτικα μεν ουν κριτερια εαν εχετε, τους εξοθενημενους εν τῃ εκκλεσια, τουτους καθιζετε.
5.) προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω. τουτῶς ουκ ενι εν υμιν ουδεις σοφος, ὃς δυνησεται διακριναι ανα μεσον του αδελφου αυτου;
6.) αλλα αδελφος μετα αδελφου κρινεται, και τουτο επι απιστων.
7.) ἣδη μεν ουν ὁλως ἡμμητα υμιν εστιν ὃτι κριματα εχετε μεθ᾽ ἑαυτων. δια τί μαλλον αδικεισθε; δια τί μαλλον αποστερεισθε;
8.) αλλα υμεις αδικειτε και αποστερειτε, και τουτο αδελφους.

Please forgive the many mistakes and sporadic accents, it was mostly from memory. One thing which immediately popped out even more clearly in Greek (not in the Greek!) was the κρινω words (judgement/law words). Apparently Greek gets quite a lot of mileage out of this one verb:

  • κρινεσθαι- go the law (the passive form)
  • κεροῦμεν- we will judge
  • κριτεριων- to preside over, sit as judges
  • κριτερια- lawsuits, disputes
  • κριματα- lawsuits

The κρινω words are everywhere in this passage! In fact, I suspect I’d find the same thing throughout the letter. I had considered doing a study on judgment in 1 Corinthians, and this just makes me want to do it even more! I probably won’t get to it anytime soon however.

And now, for a rather rough translation-
1.) Dare any of you who have a dispute with another, dare you take it before the unjust for judgment instead of before the saints?
2.) Or don’t you know that the saints will judge the world? And if by you the world is judged, are worthy to judge trivial matters?
3.) Don’t you know that we will judge angels? How much more trivial things!
4.)If you have disputes about trivial things, appoint even those who are of little account in the Church!
5.) I say this to your shame. Can it truly be that there is no one among you who is wise? Who is able to judge a dispute between one brother and another?
6.) But one brother goes to law with another, and this in front of unbelievers!
7.) This is already a complete defeat for you, because you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be unjustly treated? Why not rather be cheated?
8.) Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and do this to your brothers!

This is horribly awkward and inconsistent as it stands, but I’ll leave it without editing it. Some particularly difficult places:
1.) The verb τολμᾳ (dare you) at the beginning is very hard maintain when translating into English. I like it at the beginning because it sets the tone up for the rest of the passage, so I chose to just insert it again later in the verse.
2.) I’m wondering how many different ways the phrase και ει εν υμιν ο κοσμος κρινεται can be taken. The supplied “and if by you the world is judged” is pretty literal, but I also have the image of the world going to law against the saints. The first rendering is preferred, most likely, since Paul does later highlight the saints’ role in the final judgment.
3-4.) I wasn’t quite sure how to render βιωτικα. The UBS dictionary has “things pertaining to everyday life,” so trivial things may have been too strong a word. Things pertaining to everyday life was way too long though, so I went with “trivial things” to try and capture the contrast with judging angels. The NIV’s “things of this life” is probably better!
5.) Just awkward ;-)
7-8.) I wanted to keep the “just” root in αδικεισθε, which I why I used “unjustly treated.” The NIV’s cheated is nicer though, particularly for brevity’s sake.

Oh, and for 1-8, I often wanted to use a ‘!’? as punctuation since the questions are mostly of the biting, rhetorical kind. It looked too awkward though.

When I do this in the future, I’ll probably copy and paste the Greek text (or just eschew accents altogether when typing) It was great practice to type it out, but it took forever!

~alex

P.S. You can find my many mistakes by comparing me with this site.

Reading Summary

I’ve been doing quite a bit of Biblical Studies reading yesterday. I need to slow down and summarize a bit, which is the purpose of this post.

The Septuagint as Christian Scripture by Martin Hengel.

I’ve been reading through this little gem as supplemental reading for my early Christianity class. The relationship of the LXX and Hebrew scriptures is fascinating. The process in which the LXX came into existence is long and rather complicated. The books were translated “in various times by various people,” which Hengel elaborates on. Translation is a crucial question to consider, especially considering its long history within Christianity. This book is largely a thumbnail sketch of the creation and reception of the LXX within Judaism and Christianity. Some of his suggestions are very interesting, like the possibility that Paul himself took part in the “recension” of the LXX, in that he corrected the LXX at times with his knowledge of the Hebrew. This was an off-hand remark, but one could do quite a bit of research on that issue!

Apostolic Fathers Edited by Michael W. Holmes

I’ve been reading through the Fathers. So far, I’ve read through First and Second Clement, the letters of Ignatius, the Polycarp works (the martyrdom and his own letter), the Didache, and a bit of the Epistle of Barnabas. In addition to general reading, I’ve been pouring over Ignatius, picking out Pauline allusions for my honors paper for early Christianity. I’m planning to examine Ignatius’ self-identification with Paul, and how that impacts his martyrdom beliefs. Ignatius is often spurned by modern readers because he dissuaded his readers from seeking his release from prison. He also seems to think that his only “assurance of salvation” comes from his impending martyrdom (his letters were written on his way to Rome as a prisoner). I’m going to argue that Ignatius got Paul right much more than he got him wrong, and that a lot of his “theology of suffering” is present in the New Testament. It should be fun :-)

NCCS Romans (Commentary) Craig Keener

A recent blog post (HT: Nick Norelli) made me aware of Craig Keener for the first time. For some reason, he had eluded me. This is quite strange, considering he’s an outspoken charismatic scholar (often considered an oxymoron!), which is right up my alley as an aspiring, charismatic armchair theologian. I nabbed his Romans commentary from the library to refer to on my Paul/Ignatius paper. I have not yet memorized much of Romans, so I’m not as familiar with the letter as I am with some of the other Pauline works. I’ve read a bit so far, and it looks like a good read. It has a nice intro, and is much less daunting than I am sure some of his more academic works would be.


I’ve also been trying to improve my Greek. This has resulted in several books getting nabbed from the library:

How Biblical Languages Work Silzer & Finley

This is a little primer on the Biblical languages from a linguistic point of view. I’ve thumbed through it and there does appear to be some helpful items. I don’t plan on reading the whole thing through.

A Grammar for New Testament Greek

I own Mounce’s grammar, but I wanted some more exercises. I grabbed this grammar because it was at the library, but I’ve actually enjoyed using it so far. It’s much simpler and less “flashy” than Mounce’s. The exercises consist of translation from Greek to English, and also from English into Greek. The Greek composition has been tremendously useful. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get a good handle on the language if I don’t start composing my own sentences.

I’ve also grabbed a couple essay collections which are way over my head, but will hopefully contain something useful for a neophyte like myself:

Discourse Analysis and Other Topics in Biblical Greek

Studies in the Greek New Testament: Theory and Practice

And, after all of that, I’m going to a Bible study on Ephesians tonight :-)

~alex