Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Ancient Ecclesiastical Views on Proverbs 8:22

Many more examples could be provided [EF]

I added: "You perceive, my hearers, if you bestow attention, that the Scripture has declared that this Offspring was begotten by the Father before all things created; and that which is begotten is numerically distinct from that which begets, any one will admit." (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, CXXIX).

This power and disposition of the Divine Intelligence is set forth also in the Scriptures under the name of Σοφία, Wisdom; for what can be better entitled to the name of Wisdom than the Reason or the Word of God? Listen therefore to Wisdom herself, constituted in the character of a Second Person: "At the first the Lord created me as the beginning of His ways, with a view to His own works, before He made the earth, before the mountains were settled; moreover, before all the hills did He beget me;" that is to say, He created and generated me in His own intelligence. Then, again, observe the distinction between them implied in the companionship of Wisdom with the Lord. "When He prepared the heaven," says Wisdom, "I was present with Him; and when He made His strong places upon the winds, which are the clouds above; and when He secured the fountains, (and all things) which are beneath the sky, I was by, arranging all things with Him; I was by, in whom He delighted; and daily, too, did I rejoice in His presence." Now, as soon as it pleased God to put forth into their respective substances and forms the things which He had planned and ordered within Himself, in conjunction with His Wisdom's Reason and Word, He first put forth the Word Himself, having within Him His own inseparable Reason and Wisdom, in order that all things might be made through Him through whom they had been planned and disposed, yea, and already made, so far forth as (they were) in the mind and intelligence of God. This, however, was still wanting to them, that they should also be openly known, and kept permanently in their proper forms and substances. (Against Praxeas VI)

See also http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf03.v.ix.vii.html#v.ix.vii-p7.1

Compare http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf03.v.v.xviii.html#v.v.xviii-p15.1


Matt13weedhacker said...

Hi Edgar.

Another thought provoking blog entry.

The context in the surrounding chapters is interesting.

By means of Tertullian.org I was able to compare the Holmes, (quoted above), with Ernest Evans, of Chapters 5-7, with the Latin text.

I also compared these with Alexander Souter's translation at archive.org


Both Holmes and Evans, I find, in places, simply biased toward modern tri{3}nitarianism.

One example is in chapter 7, where Holmes adds to the text, this phrase, referring to Jesus:

"...Thus does He make Him -- ( equal to ) -- Him..."

Which doesn't appear in either Evan's or Souter's translations, nor does there appear to be any real basis for this in the Latin original.

But, even within this dubious sentence, therein lies a doctrinal difficulty for the Tri{3}nitarian's:

"...( make ) him..."

One has to ask what are the implications of the word:


This same doctrinal difficulty appears in a passage in Clement of Alexandria where it says similarly of Jesus, that he was:

"...( made ) equal..."

Again! One has to ask what are the implications of the word:


Getting back to Tertullian.

Alexander Souter's translation makes it clear that the Reason/Word was Ltn., ( creavit ) created Ltn., ( factus ) made first - internally within the mind and thoughts of God and then projected forth to begin external existence according to God's will and purpose as an instrument for the rest of creation.

I recommend Alexander Souter as the least bias of the translations and perhaps the most accurate for Against Praxeas.

Edgar Foster said...

He Matt13weedhacker,

I agree with your point regarding Holmes and Evans. I used Evans when writing my thesis on Tertullian. Souter probably does show less bias. He was quite interested in philology as such. Your comments show one of the major problems with translated Patristic works.



Matt13weedhacker said...

Hi Edgar.

I have another translation question.

GREEK TEXT: “...ἵνα μερίσω τοῖς ἐμὲ ἀγαπῶσιν ὕπαρξιν καὶ τοὺς θησαυροὺς αὐτῶν ἐμπλήσω ἀγαθῶν [21(B)] ἐὰν ἀναγγείλω ὑμῖν τὰ καθ' ἡμέραν γινόμενα μνημονεύσω τὰ ἐξ αἰῶνος ἀριθμῆσαι...” - (Proverbs 8:22 LXX, Septuagint.org text.)

Gk., ( τὰ καθ' ἡμέραν γινόμενα )

One question I have about the text is – could Gk., ( τὰ καθ' ἡμέραν γινόμενα ) be translated:

Literally 1: “...the-things according-to days are-coming-into-being...”

Translation 1: “...the things coming into existence according to there days...”

Or is Gk., ( τὰ καθ' ἡμέραν γινόμενα ) a casual clause, or idomatic phrase?

Literally 2: “...the-things according-to days are-happening/are-occurring...”

Translation 2: “...the things that happen according to each of there days...”

Or 3: “...the things that occur according to each of there days...”

Or 4: “...the things occurring according to each of there days...”

Or 5: “...the things occurring daily...”

Or finally 6: “...the things that happen daily...” - which is the rendering of most English translations of the LXX.

The safe bet is a casual idiomatic phrase.


The --- context --- is --- highly suggestive!

Wisdom, (i.e., Jesus in his pre-human existence), being created Gk., ( ἔκτισέν ) ( EKITZEN ) and generated/begotten Gk., ( γεννᾷ ) ( GENNA ) before an age Gk., ( πρὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος [...] ἐν ἀρχῇ ) ( PROS TOU AIONOS […] EN ARCHE ) in a/the beginning.

Could the word Gk., ( γινόμενα ) Gk., ( GINOMENA ) be referring to ( the actions ) that take place in the next few verses?

Gk., ( γινόμενα ) Gk., ( GINOMENA ) = particle, singular, present, middle person feminine, vocative http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=%CE%B3%CE%B9%CE%BD%CF%8C%CE%BC%CE%B5%CE%BD%CE%B1&la=greek#lexicon

It's interesting.

Please may I ask what are your thoughts?

Edgar Foster said...

Hi Matt13,

I believe that the Greek construction in Proverbs 8:21-22 (LXX) is idiomatic. While some of the literal translations might work, I think "the things that happen daily" or "the things occurring daily" are preferable renderings.

It also seems that γινόμενα ( a present participle) should be construed with τὰ καθ' ἡμέραν rather than with what follows. It cannot be vocative in this context, which as you know is the case of address. So γινόμενα must be accusative, which would limit how the participle is to be construed. Understanding the participle in this way also sheds light on the grammatical function of ἐὰν ἀναγγείλω ὑμῖν. See Brenton's rendering of this passage.

Best regards,