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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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Page 3

On this account it is that the com mixture of the intellectual and sensible in man is effected by the Divine Being, as the description of the cosmogony instructs us. It tells us that God, taking dust of the ground, formed the man, and by an inspiration from Himself He planted life in the work of His hand, that thus the earthy might be raised up to the Divine, and so one certain grace of equal value might pervade the whole creation, the lower nature being mingled with the supramundane. Since, then, the intellectual nature had a previous existence, and to each of the angelic powers a certain operation was assigned, for the organization of the whole, by the authority that presides over all things, there was a certain power ordained to hold together and sway the earthly region , constituted for this purpose by the power that administers the Universe. Upon that there was fashioned that thing moulded of earth, an "image" copied from the superior Power. Now this living being was man. In him, by an ineffable influence, the godlike beauty of the intellectual nature was mingled. He to whom the administration of the earth has been consigned takes it ill and thinks it not to be borne, if, of that nature which has been subjected to him, any being shall be exhibited bearing likeness to his transcendent dignity.

τούτου χάριν ἐκ νοητοῦ τε καὶ αἰσθητοῦ τὸ κατὰ τὸν ἄνθρωπον μίγμα παρὰ τῆς θείας ἀναδείκνυται φύσεως͵ καθὼς διδάσκει τῆς κοσμογονίας ὁ λόγος· Λαβὼν γὰρ ὁ θεός͵ φησιν͵ χοῦν ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἔπλασε καὶ διὰ τῆς ἰδίας ἐμπνεύσεως τῷ πλάσματι τὴν ζωὴν ἐνεφύτευσεν͵ ὡς ἂν συνεπαρθείη τῷ θείῳ τὸ γήινον καὶ μία τις κατὰ τὸ ὁμότιμον διὰ πάσης τῆς κτίσεως ἡ χάρις διήκοι͵ τῆς κάτω φύσεως πρὸς τὴν ὑπερκόσμιον συγκιρναμένης. ἐπεὶ οὖν τῆς νοητῆς κτίσεως προυποστάσης͵ καὶ ἑκάστῃ τῶν ἀγγελικῶν δυνάμεων πρὸς τὴν τοῦ παντὸς σύστασιν ἐνεργείας τινὸς παρὰ τῆς τῶν πάντων ἐπιστατούσης ἐξουσίας προσνεμηθείσης͵ ἦν τις δύναμις καὶ ἡ τὸν περίγειον τόπον συνέχειν τε καὶ περικρατεῖν τεταγμένη͵ εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο δυναμωθεῖσα παρὰ τῆς τὸ πᾶν οἰκονομούσης δυνάμεως· εἶτα κατεσκευάσθη τὸ γήινον πλάσμα͵ τῆς ἄνω δυνάμεως ἀπεικόνισμα· τοῦτο δὲ τὸ ζῷον ὁ ἄνθρωπος· καὶ ἦν ἐν αὐτῷ τὸ θεοειδὲς τῆς νοητῆς φύσεως κάλλος͵ ἀρρήτῳ τινὶ δυνάμει συγκεκραμένον· δεινὸν ποιεῖται καὶ οὐκ ἀνεκτὸν ὁ τὴν περίγειον οἰκονομίαν λαχών͵ εἰ ἐκ τῆς ὑποχειρίου αὐτῷ φύσεως ἀναδειχθήσεταί τις οὐσία πρὸς τὴν ὑπερέχουσαν ἀξίαν ὡμοιωμένη.

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