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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Maximus Confessor Bilingual Anthology


from Chapters on Theology, * 1.82. Translated by Elpenor  * Greek Fonts


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader
LL thinking denotes multitude or dyad at any rate, because it is a relation in the middle of certain extremes, conjoining the one who thinks with what is being thought. And none of them by nature saves simplicity entirely, since the one who thinks is some subject, having necessarily as a constituent the power of thinking. And what is being thought is at any rate a subject or into a subject, having as a constituent the potentiality of being thought or having underlying the essence of that, of which itself is the power. There isn’t any being at all, that is in itself a simple essence or mind, so that to be also indivisibly one. But God, whether we may call him essence, He doesn’t have by his nature as a constituent the power of being thought, because He is not composite, or (if we call him) thinking, He doesn’t have by his nature an underlying essence receptive of thinking.

νόησίς ἐστιν ὁ Θεός

πᾶσα νόησις, πλήθους· ἢ τουλάχιστον, δυάδος πάντως ἔμφασιν ἔχει. Μέση γάρ ἐστι τινῶν ἀκροτήτων σχέσις, ἀλλήλοις συνάπτουσα τό τε νοοῦν καὶ τὸ νοούμενον. Οὐδέτερον δὲ διόλου τὴν ἁπλότητα πέφυκε σώζειν. Τό τε γὰρ νοοῦν, ὑποκείμενόν τί ἐστι, πάντως συνεπινοουμένην αὐτῷ τὴν τοῦ νοεῖν ἔχον δύναμιν. Καὶ τὸ νοούμενον ὑποκείμενόν τι πάντως ἐστίν, ἢ ἐν ὑποκειμένῳ· συνεπινοουμένην αὐτῷ τὴν τοῦ νοεῖσθαι δύναμιν ἔχον· ἢ προϋποκειμένην τήν, οὗ ἐστι δύναμις, οὐσίαν. Οὐ γάρ τι τῶν ὄντων τὸ σύνολον αὐτὸ καθ᾿ αὑτὸ ἁπλῆ τις οὐσία ἢ νόησίς ἐστιν, ἵνα καὶ μονὰς ἀδιαίρετος. Τὸν δὲ Θεόν, εἴτε οὐσίαν εἴπωμεν, οὐκ ἔχει φυσικῶς συνεπινοουμένην αὐτῷ τὴν τοῦ νοεῖσθαι δύναμιν, ἵνα μὴ σύνθετος· εἴτε νόησιν, οὐκ ἔχει φυσικῶς δεκτικὴν τῆς νοήσεως ὑποκειμένην οὐσίαν·

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

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