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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Gregory of Nyssa Bilingual Anthology


from the Great Catechism, * Ch. 6, translated by W. Moore & H. A. Wilson * Greek Fonts ||| Gregory of Nyssa Home Page


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The world of thought is bodiless, impalpable, and figureless; but the sensible is, by its very name, bounded by those perceptions which come through the organs of sense. But as in the sensible world itself, though there is a considerable mutual opposition of its various elements, yet a certain harmony maintained in those opposites has been devised by the wisdom that rules the Universe, and thus there is produced a concord of the whole creation with itself, and the natural contrariety does not break the chain of agreement;in like manner, owing to the Divine wisdom,there is an admixture and interpenetration of the sensible with the intellectual department, in order that all things may equally have a share in the beautiful, and no single one of existing things be without its share in that superior world. For this reason the corresponding locality of the intellectual world is a subtitle and mobile essence, which, in accordance with its supramundane habitation, has in its peculiar nature large affinity with the intellectual part. Now, by a provision of the supreme Mind there is an intermixture of the intellectual with the sensible world, in order that nothing in creation may be thrown aside as worthless, as says the Apostle (I Tim. 4.4), or be left without its portion of the Divine fellowship.

ἡ μὲν γὰρ νοητὴ φύσις ἀσώματόν τι χρῆμά ἐστι καὶ ἀναφὲς καὶ ἀνείδεον· ἡ δὲ αἰσθητὴ κατ΄ αὐτὸ τὸ ὄνομα ἐντός ἐστι τῆς διὰ τῶν αἰσθητηρίων κατανοήσεως. ἀλλ΄ ὥσπερ ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ αἰσθητῷ κόσμῳ͵ πολλῆς πρὸς ἄλληλα τῶν στοιχείων οὔσης ἐναντιώσεως͵ ἐπινενόηταί τις ἁρμονία διὰ τῶν ἐναντίων ἁρμοζομένη παρὰ τῆς τοῦ παντὸς ἐπιστατούσης σοφίας͵ καὶ οὕτως πάσης γίνεται πρὸς ἑαυτὴν συμφωνία τῆς κτίσεως͵ οὐδαμοῦ τῆς φυσικῆς ἐναντιότητος τὸν τῆς συμπνοίας εἱρμὸν διαλυούσης· κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον καὶ τοῦ αἰσθητοῦ πρὸς τὸ νοητὸν γίνεταί τις κατὰ θείαν σοφίαν μίξις τε καὶ ἀνάκρασις͵ ὡς ἂν πάντα τοῦ καλοῦ κατὰ τὸ ἴσον μετέχοι καὶ μηδὲν τῶν ὄντων ἀμοιροίη τῆς τοῦ κρείττονος φύσεως. διὰ τοῦτο τὸ μὲν κατάλληλον τῇ νοητῇ φύσει χωρίον ἡ λεπτὴ καὶ εὐκίνητός ἐστιν οὐσία͵ κατὰ τὴν ὑπερκόσμιον λῆξιν πολλὴν ἔχουσα τῷ ἰδιάζοντι τῆς φύσεως πρὸς τὸ νοητὸν τὴν συγγένειαν͵ προμηθείᾳ δὲ κρείττονι πρὸς τὴν αἰσθητὴν κτίσιν γίνεταί τις τοῦ νοητοῦ συνανάκρασις͵ ὡς ἂν μηδὲν ἀπόβλητον εἴη τῆς κτίσεως͵ καθώς φησιν ὁ ἀπόστολος͵ μηδὲ τῆς θείας κοινωνίας ἀπόκληρον.

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