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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

A Contemplation of the Divine Utterance Which Said-"Let Us Make Man After Our Image and Likeness"; Wherein is Examined What is the Definition of the Image, and How the Passible and Mortal is Like to the Blessed and Impassible, and How in the Image There are Male and Female, Seeing These are Not in the Prototype

Patrologia Graeca 44.177-185  * Greek Fonts


OW, if some things in creation possess the nutritive faculty, and others again are regulated by the perceptive faculty, while the former have no share of perception nor the latter of the intellectual nature, and if for this reason any one is inclined to the opinion of a plurality of souls, such a man will be positing a variety of souls in a way not in accordance with their distinguishing definition. For everything which we conceive among existing things, if it be perfectly that which it is, is also properly called by the name it bears: but of that which is not every respect what it is called, the appellation also is vain. For instance:-if one were to show us true bread, we say that he properly applies the name to the subject: but if one were to show us instead that which had been made of stone to resemble the natural bread, which had the same shape, and equal size, and similarity of colour, so as in most points to be the same with its prototype, but which yet lacks the power of being food, on this account we say that the stone receives the name of "bread," not properly, but by a misnomer, and all things which fall under the same description, which are not absolutely what they are called, have their name from a misuse of terms.

Θεωρία τοῦ θείου ῥητοῦ εἰπόντος͵ Ποιήσωμεν ἄνθρωπον κατ' εἰκόνα καὶ ὁμοίωσιν ἡμετέραν. Ἐν ᾧ ἐξετάζεται τίς ὁ τῆς εἰκόνος λόγος καὶ εἰ ὁμοιοῦται τῷ μακαρίῳ τε καὶ ἀπαθεῖ τὸ ἐμπαθὲς καὶ ἐπίκηρον͵ καὶ πῶς ἐν τῇ εἰκόνι τὸ ἄῤῥεν καὶ τὸ θῆλυ ἐν τῷ πρωτοτύπῳ τούτων οὐκ ὄντων

Εἰ δέ τινα τῆς κτίσεως τὴν θρεπτικὴν ἐνέργειαν ἔχει ἢ πάλιν ἕτερα τῇ αἰσθητικῇ διοικεῖται δυνάμει͵ μήτε ἐκεῖνα αἰσθήσεως͵ μήτε ταῦτα τῆς νοερᾶς μετέχοντα φύσεως͵ καὶ διὰ τοῦτό τις ψυχῶν πλῆθος καθυποπτεύει, οὐ κατὰ τὸν διαιροῦντα λόγον ὁ τοιοῦτος τὴν τῶν ψυχῶν διαφορὰν δογματίσει· διότι πᾶν τὸ ἐν τοῖς οὖσι νοούμενον͵ εἰ μὲν τελείως εἴη ὅπερ ἐστί͵ κυρίως καὶ ὀνομάζεται ὅπερ λέγεται· τὸ δὲ μὴ διὰ πάντων ὂν ἐκεῖνο͵ ὃ κατωνόμασται͵ ματαίαν καὶ τὴν προσηγορίαν ἔχει. Οἷον εἴ τις τὸν ἀληθῆ δείξειεν ἄρτον͵ φαμὲν τὸν τοιοῦτον κυρίως ἐπιλέγειν τῷ ὑποκειμένῳ τὸ ὄνομα. Εἰ δέ τις τὸν ἀπὸ λίθου τεχνηθέντα τῷ κατὰ φύσιν ἀντιπαραδείξειεν͵ ᾧ σχῆμα μὲν τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ τὸ μέγεθος ἶσον καὶ ἡ τοῦ χρώματος ὁμοιότης͵ ὥστε διὰ τῶν πλείστων τὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι τῷ πρωτοτύπῳ δοκεῖν͵ ἐπιλείπει δὲ αὐτῷ τὸ καὶ τροφὴν δύνασθαι εἶναι, παρὰ τοῦτο οὐ κυρίως͵ ἀλλ' ἐκ καταχρήσεως τῆς ἐπωνυμίας τοῦ ἄρτου τετυχηκέναι τὸν λίθον λέγωμεν. Καὶ πάντα τὰ κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον͵ ἃ μὴ δι' ὅλων ἐστὶν ὅπερ λέγεται͵ ἐκ καταχρήσεως ἔχει τὴν κλῆσιν.

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

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