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Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

That the Form of Man Was Framed to Serve as an Instrument for the Use of Reason

Patrologia Graeca 44.149-152  * Greek Fonts


OW since our Maker has bestowed upon our formation a certain Godlike grace, by implanting in His image the likeness of His own excellences, for this reason He gave, of His bounty, His other good gifts to human nature; but mind and reason we cannot strictly say that He gave, but that He imparted them, adding to the image the proper adornment of His own nature. Now since the mind is a thing intelligible and incorporeal, its grace would have been incommunicable and isolated, if its motion were not manifested by some contrivance. For this cause there was still need of this instrumental organization, that it might, like a plectrum, touch the vocal organs and indicate by the quality of the notes struck, the motion within.

And as some skilled musician, who may have been deprived by some affection of his own voice, and yet wish to make his skill known, might make melody with voices of others, and publish his art by the aid of flutes or of the lyre, so also the human mind being a discoverer of all sorts of conceptions, seeing that it is unable, by the mere soul, to reveal to those who hear by bodily senses the motions of its understanding, touches, like some skilful composer, these animated instruments, and makes known its hidden thoughts by means of the sound produced upon them.

Ὅτι ὀργανικὸν κατεσκευάσθη τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τὸ σχῆμα πρὸς τὴν τοῦ λόγου χρείαν

Ἐπειδὴ τοίνυν θεοειδῆ τινὰ χάριν τῷ πλάσματι ἡμῶν ὁ ποιήσας δεδώρηται͵ τῶν ἰδίων ἀγαθῶν ἐνθεὶς τῇ εἰκόνι τὰς ὁμοιότητας· διὰ τοῦτο τὰ μὲν λοιπὰ τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἔδωκεν ἐκ φιλοτιμίας τῇ ἀνθρωπίνῃ φύσει. Νοῦ δὲ καὶ φρονήσεως οὐκ ἔστι κυρίως εἰπεῖν ὅτι δέδωκεν͵ ἀλλ' ὅτι μετέδωκε͵ τὸν ἴδιον αὐτοῦ τῆς φύσεως κόσμον ἐπιβαλὼν τῇ εἰκόνι. Ἐπεὶ οὖν νοερόν τι χρῆμα καὶ ἀσώματόν ἐστιν ὁ νοῦς͵ ἀκοινώνητον ἂν ἔσχε τὴν χάριν καὶ ἄμικτον͵ μὴ διά τινος ἐπινοίας φανερουμένης αὐτοῦ τῆς κινήσεως. Τούτου χάριν τῆς ὀργανικῆς ταύτης προσεδεήθη κατασκευῆς͵ ἵνα πλήκτρου δίκην τῶν φωνητικῶν μορίων ἁπτόμενος͵ διὰ τῆς ποιᾶς τῶν φθόγγων τυπώσεως ἑρμηνεύσῃ τὴν ἔνδοθεν κίνησιν.

Καὶ ὥσπερ τις μουσικῆς ἔμπειρος ὤν͵ ἂν ἰδίαν ἐκ πάθους μὴ ἔχοι φωνήν͵ βουλόμενος δὲ φανερὰν ποιῆσαι τὴν ἐπιστήμην͵ ἀλλοτρίαις ἐμμελῳδοίη φωναῖς͵ δι' αὐλῶν ἢ λύρας δημοσιεύων τὴν τέχνην· οὕτω καὶ ὁ ἀνθρώπινος νοῦς͵ παντοδαπῶν νοημάτων εὑρετὴς ὤν͵ τῷ μὴ δύνασθαι διὰ σωματικῶν αἰσθήσεων ἐπαϊούσῃ τῇ ψυχῇ δεικνύειν τὰς τῆς διανοίας ὁρμάς͵ καθάπερ τις ἁρμοστὴς ἔντεχνος τῶν ἐμψύχων τούτων ὀργάνων ἁπτόμενος͵ διὰ τῆς ἐν τούτοις ἠχῆς φανερὰ ποιεῖ τὰ κεκρυμμένα νοήματα.

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

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