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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

That the Soul Proper, in Fact and Name, is the Rational Soul, While the Others are Called So Equivocally; Wherein Also is This Statement, that the Power of the Mind Extends Throughout the Whole Body in Fitting Contact with Every Part

Patrologia Graeca 44.176-7  * Greek Fonts


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Thus, as the soul finds its perfection in that which is intellectual and rational, everything that is not so may indeed share the name of "soul," but is not really soul, but a certain vital energy associated with the appellation of "soul ." And for this reason also He Who gave laws on every matter, gave the animal nature likewise, as not far removed from this vegetative life , for the use of man, to be for those who partake of it instead of herbs:-for He says, "Ye shall eat all kinds of flesh even as the green herb ;" for the perceptive energy seems to have but a slight advantage over that which is nourished and grows without it. Let this teach carnal men not to bind their intellect closely to the phenomena of sense, but rather to busy themselves with their spiritual advantages, as the true soul is found in these, while sense has equal power also among the brute creation.


Οὕτω τοίνυν καὶ τῆς ψυχῆς ἐν τῷ νοερῷ τε καὶ λογικῷ τὸ τέλειον [177] ἐχούσης͵ πᾶν ὁ μὴ τοῦτό ἐστιν͵ ὁμώνυμον μὲν εἶναι δύναται τῇ ψυχῇ͵ οὐ μὴν καὶ ὄντως ψυχή͵ ἀλλά τις ἐνέργεια ζωτικὴ τῇ τῆς ψυχῆς κλήσει συγκεκριμένη. Διὸ καὶ τὴν τῶν ἀλόγων φύσιν͵ ὡς οὐ πόῤῥω τῆς φυσικῆς ταύτης ζωῆς κειμένην͵ ὁμοίως ἔδωκε τῇ χρήσει τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὁ τὰ καθ' ἕκαστον νομοθετήσας͵ ὡς ἀντὶ λαχάνου τοῖς μετέχουσιν εἶναι. Πάντα γάρ͵ φησί͵ τὰ κρέα φάγεσθε ὡς λάχανα χόρτου. Μικρὸν γάρ τι πλεονεκτεῖν δοκεῖ τῇ αἰσθητικῇ ἐνεργείᾳ τοῦ δίχα ταύτης τρεφομένου τε καὶ αὐξανομένου. Παιδευσάτω τοῦτο τοὺς φιλοσάρκους μὴ πολὺ τοῖς κατ' αἴσθησιν φαινομένοις προσδραμεῖν τὴν διάνοιαν͵ ἀλλ' ἐν τοῖς ψυχικοῖς προτερήμασι προσασχολεῖσθαι͵ ὡς τῆς ἀληθοῦς ψυχῆς ἐν τούτοις θεωρουμένης͵ τῆς δὲ αἰσθήσεως καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἀλόγοις τὸ ἴσον ἐχούσης.

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Cf. St Basil the Great, On the Creation of the World (Hexaemeron)

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