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Gregory the Theologian Bilingual Anthology

PRINCIPLES OF THEOLOGY

from the First theological oration (27), * §§ 3-9
translated by C. G. Browne, J. E. Swallow. Greek Fonts / Gregory Theologian Home Page


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For it is necessary to be truly at leisure to know God; and when we can get a convenient season, to discern the straight road of the things divine. And who are the permitted persons? They to whom the subject is of real concern, and not they who make it a matter of pleasant gossip, like any other thing, after the races, or the theatre, or a concert, or a dinner, or still lower employments. To such men as these, idle jests and pretty contradictions about these subjects are a part of their amusement. Next, on what subjects and to what extent may we philosophize? On matters within our reach, and to such an extent as the mental power and grasp of our audience may extend. No further, lest, as excessively loud sounds injure the hearing, or excess of food the body, or, if you will, as excessive burdens beyond the strength injure those who bear them, or excessive rains the earth; so these too, being pressed down and overweighted by the stiffness, if I may use the expression, of the arguments should suffer loss even in respect of the strength they originally possessed.

δεῖ γὰρ τῷ ὄντι σχολάσαι͵ καὶ γνῶναι θεόν· καὶ ὅταν λάβωμεν καιρόν͵ κρίνειν θεολογίας εὐθύτητα. τίσι δέ; οἷς τὸ πρᾶγμα διὰ σπουδῆς͵ καὶ οὐχ ὡς ἕν τι τῶν ἄλλων καὶ τοῦτο φλυαρεῖται ἡδέως͵ μετὰ τοὺς ἱππικούς͵ καὶ τὰ θέατρα͵ καὶ τὰ ᾄσματα͵ καὶ τὴν γαστέρα͵ καὶ τὰ ὑπὸ γαστέρα· οἷς καὶ τοῦτο μέρος τρυφῆς͵ ἡ περὶ ταῦτα ἐρεσχελία καὶ κομψεία τῶν ἀντιθέσεων. τίνα δὲ φιλοσοφητέον͵ καὶ ἐπὶ πόσον; ὅσα ἡμῖν ἐφικτά͵ καὶ ἐφ΄ ὅσον ἡ τοῦ ἀκούοντος ἕξις ἐφικνεῖται καὶ δύναμις· ἵνα μὴ καθάπερ αἱ ὑπερβάλλουσαι τῶν φωνῶν͵ ἢ τῶν τροφῶν͵ τὴν ἀκοὴν βλάπτουσιν ἢ τὰ σώματα͵ εἰ βούλει δέ͵ τῶν φορτίων τὰ ὑπὲρ δύναμιν τοὺς ὑποβαίνοντας͵ ἢ τὴν γῆν τῶν ὑετῶν οἱ σφοδρότεροι͵ οὕτω δὴ καὶ οὗτοι τοῖς στερροῖς͵ ἵν΄ οὕτως εἴπω͵ τῶν λόγων καταπιεσθέντες καὶ βαρυνθέντες ζημιωθεῖεν καὶ εἰς τὴν ἀρχαίαν δύναμιν.

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