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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Dionysius the Areopagite


from the treatise On the Divine Names, * Sections 9.3-4, translated by C. E. Rolt.
Text in <angle brackets> modified by Elpenor  *
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The Original Greek New Testament
ND <smallness, or rarity>, is ascribed <to God> because He is outside all solidity and distance and penetrates all things without let or hindrance. Indeed, <smallness> is the elementary <cause> of all things; for you will never find any part of the world but participates in that quality of <smallness>. This, then, is the sense in which we must apply this quality to God. It is that which penetrates unhindered unto all things and through all things, energizing in them and reaching to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow; and being a <discerner> of the desires and the thoughts of the heart, or rather of all things, for there is no creature hid before God. This <smallness is without quantity or quality; it is irrepressible, infinite, unlimited, and, while comprehending all things, is itself incomprehensible>.

σμικρὸν περιληπτικὸν πάντων, ταὐτὸν ὑπερουσίως ἀΐδιον

Σμικρὸν δὲ ἤτοι λεπτὸν ἐπ΄ αὐτοῦ λέγεται τὸ παντὸς ὄγκου καὶ διαστήματος ἐκβεβηκὸς καὶ τὸ διὰ πάντων ἀκωλύτως χωροῦν. Καίτοι καὶ πάντων αἴτιόν ἐστι τὸ σμικρόν͵ οὐδαμοῦ γὰρ εὑρήσεις τὴν τοῦ σμικροῦ ἰδέαν ἀμέθεκτον. Οὕτως οὖν ἐπὶ θεοῦ τὸ σμικρὸν ἐκληπτέον ὡς ἐπὶ πάντα καὶ διὰ πάντων ἀνεμποδίστως χωροῦν καὶ ἐνεργοῦν καὶ διϊκνούμενον ἄχρι μερισμοῦ ψυχῆς καὶ σώματος͵ ἁρμῶν τε καὶ μυελῶν καὶ ἐννοιῶν καρδίας͵ μᾶλλον δὲ τῶν ὄντων ἁπάντων. Οὐ γάρ ἐστι κτίσις ἀφανὴς ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ. Τοῦτο τὸ σμικρὸν ἄποσόν ἐστι καὶ ἀπήλικον͵ ἀκρατές͵ ἄπειρον͵ ἀόριστον͵ περιληπτικὸν πάντων͵ αὐτὸ δὲ ἀπερίληπτον.

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