Tag Archives: Chrysostom

John Chrysostom: On the Priesthood 1.4

Here’s my next little chunk of Chrysostom’s “On the Priesthood.” Here he’s relating what his mother said in response to him wanting to live a communal life with a friend of his. I haven’t done the whole of her response, just this little part.

Greek Text:

Ἐπειδὴ γὰρ ᾔσθετοταῦτα βουλευόμενον, λαβοῦσά με τῆς δεξιᾶς, εἰσήγαγεν εἰς τὸν ἀποτεταγμένον οἶκον αὐτῇ καὶ καθίσασα πλησίον ἐπὶ τῆς εὐνῆς ἧς ἡμᾶς ὤδινε, πηγάς τε ἠφίει δακρύων καὶ τῶν δακρύων ἐλεεινότερα προσετίθη τὰ ῥήματα, τοιαῦτα πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἀποδυρομένη. Ἐγώ, παιδίον, φησί, τῆς ἀρετῆς τοῦ πατρὸς τοῦ σοῦ οὐκ ἀφείθην ἀπολαῦσαι ἐπὶ πολύ,τῷ Θεῷ τοῦτο δοκοῦν· τὰς γὰρ ὠδῖνας τὰς ἐπὶ σοὶ διαδεξάμενος ὁ θάνατος ἐκείνου, σοὶμὲν ὀρφανίαν, ἐμοὶ δὲ χηρείαν ἐπέστησεν ἄωρον καὶ τὰ τῆς χηρείας δεινὰ ἃ μόναι αἱ παθοῦσαι δύναιντ’ ἂν εἰδέναι καλῶς. Λόγος γὰρ οὐδεὶς ἂν ἐφίκοιτο τοῦ χειμῶνος
ἐκείνου καὶ τοῦ κλύδωνος ὃν ὑφίσταται κόρη, ἄρτι μὲν τῆς πατρῴας οἰκίας προελθοῦσα
καὶ πραγμάτων ἄπειρος οὖσα, ἐξαίφνης δὲ πένθει τε ἀσχέτῳ βαλλομένη καὶ ἀναγκαζομένη φροντίδων καὶ τῆς ἡλικίας καὶ τῆς φύσεως ἀνέχεσθαι μειζόνων. Δεῖ γάρ, οἶμαι, ῥαθυμίας τε οἰκετῶν ἐπιστρέφειν καὶ κακουργίας παρατηρεῖν, συγγενῶν ἀποκρούεσθαι ἐπιβουλάς, τῶν τὰ δημόσια εἰσπραττόντων τὰς ἐπηρείας καὶ τὴν ἀπήνειαν ἐν ταῖς τῶν εἰσφορῶν καταβολαῖς φέρειν γενναίως.

My translation:

For when she perceived that I was deliberating these things,  seizing me by the right hand, she led me into her own house and sat down near me upon the bed where she gave birth to me,  she sent forth streams of tears and she put forward words more pitiable than her tears, lamenting these things concerning us. She said, “I, child, was not given to enjoy the virtue of your father for long, for this seemed good to God.  His death was made manifest during the birth pangs of your birth, setting upon you orphanhood and me untimely widowhood, and also terrible things of widowhood, which only those who have suffered them are able to know well.  For there is no word suitable to describe that storm and wave which a young woman undertakes,  having just left the home of her parents and being inexperienced in business matters,  she is instantaneously cast down into unmanageable grief and forced to uphold responsibilities greater than her age and nature should allow.  For it is necessary, I say, for her to set right the laziness of the slaves and to watch closely their wickedness,  to drive away the schemes of family, to bear nobly the tax collectors and the abuses and the rudeness in the paying of taxes…”

Issues:

Again, I felt like this was a pretty straightforward text as far as the Greek goes. This piece is doubly interesting in what it tells us about women and slaves according to Chrysostom. I thought it was intriguing that Chrysostom records his own mother saying that slaves are indifferent (ῥαθυμίας) and are bad workers or even wicked (κακουργίας). I imagine that if he found these to be embarrassing, he wouldn’t have included them, though I could be wrong. I haven’t read enough Chrysostom to see if he ever says anything bad about his mother’s view towards slaves.

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John Chrysostom: On the Priesthood 1.3

I returned from Boston yesterday and found myself sitting in a coffee shop this morning, looking forward to reading a little more of Chrysostom in Greek. I think I’m getting the “tempo” of his Greek after having read a little of him now.

Greek Text:

Πλὴν  ἀλλ’  ἀγαθός τε ὢν καὶ πολλοῦ τὴν ἡμετέραν τιμώμενος φιλίαν, ἁπάντων ἑαυτὸν ἀποστήσας τῶν ἄλλων, ἡμῖν τὸν ἅπαντα χρόνον συνῆν, ἐπιθυμῶν μὲν τούτου καὶ πρότερον, ὅπερ δὲ ἔφην, ὑπὸ τῆς ἡμετέρας κωλυόμενος ῥαθυμίας. Οὐ γὰρ ἦν τὸν ἐν τῷ δικαστηρίῳ προσεδρεύοντα καὶ περὶ τὰς ἐν τῇ σκηνῇ τέρψεις ἐπτοημένον συγγίνεσθαι πολλάκις τῷ βίβλοις προσηλωμένῳ καὶ μηδὲ εἰς  γορὰν ἐμβαλόντι ποτέ. Διὰ τοῦτο πρότερον διειργόμενος, ἐπειδή ποτε ἡμᾶς ἔλαβεν εἰς τὴν αὐτὴν τοῦ βίου κατάστασιν, ἀθρόως ἣν πάλαι ὤδινεν ἐπιθυμίαν ἀπέτεκε τότε καὶ οὐδὲ τὸ βραχύτατον τῆς ἡμέρας ἡμᾶς ἀπολιμπάνειν ἠνείχετο μέρος, διετέλει τε παρακαλῶν ἵνα τὴν οἰκίαν ἀφέντες ἕκαστος τὴν ἑαυτοῦ κοινὴν ἀμφότεροι τὴν οἴκησιν ἔχοιμεν· καὶ ἔπεισε καὶ τὸ πρᾶγμα ἦν ἐν χερσίν. Ἀλλά με αἱ συνεχεῖς τῆς μητρὸς ἐπῳδαὶ διεκώλυσαν δοῦναι ταύτην ἐκείνῳ τὴν χάριν, μᾶλλον δὲ λαβεῖν ταύτην παρ’ ἐκείνου τὴν δωρεάν.

 

My translation:

In addition to being a better man than most, and honoring our friendship, he separated himself from all the others, he associated with us all the time, wishing for how it was before – but just as I said before, he was hindered by our indifference.  For it was not possible for the one regularly attending the law court and excited by the delights of the stage to associate with the one ever fastened to books and never going into the market.  After this was removed, and when he had received us into his state of life, he all at once brought forth the desire which he had long anguished over, and he could not stand to leave us even for the smallest measure of time, and so he persevered calling on each of us to give up our own home in order that we both might have a common home.  He persuaded me and the matter was in hand. But the continuous wailing of my mother hindered me from giving this kindness to him, or rather to receive this gift from him.

 

Issues:

This was fairly straightforward. I’m getting a little less wooden as I become more comfortable with reading Chrysostom. If you find something you think I’m being a little too loose with or if I’ve just misread Chrysostom entirely, please let me know.

Chrysostom’s use of ὤδινεν and ἀπέτεκε is interesting. ὠδίνω means to be in pains due to childbirth, and τίκτω (from which we get ἀπέτεκε) means to give birth to a child. It’s interesting that Chrysostom uses this sort of language before mentioning his own mother whose “continuous wailing” (αἱ συνεχεῖς ἐπῳδαὶ) hindered Chrysostom. Chrysostom’s biological mother is hindering the birth of his friend’s “child”, the desire for a communal life and Christian friendship.

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John Chrysostom: On the Priesthood 1.2

This is the second installment of my little translation of St. John Chrysostom’s De Sacerdotio (On the Priesthood). I’m going to be in Boston next week as a Teaching Fellow at the Pappas Summer Patristics Institute, so I figured I should go ahead and knock a little chunk of this out early because I may not be able to work on it much or at all next week.

Greek Text:

Ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἔδει τὸν μακάριον τὸν τῶν μοναχῶν μεταδιώκειν βίον καὶ τὴν φιλοσοφίαν τὴν ἀληθῆ, καὶ οὐκέτι ἡμῖν ὁ ζυγὸς οὗτος ἴσος ἦν, ἀλλ’ ἡ μὲν ἐκείνου πλάστιγξ ἐκουφίζετο μετέωρος, ἐγὼ δ’ ἔτι ταῖς τοῦ κόσμου πεπεδημένος ἐπιθυμίαις καθεῖλκον τὴν ἐμαυτοῦ καὶ ἐβιαζόμην κάτω μένειν, νεωτερικαῖς αὐτὴν ἐπιβρίθων φαντασίαις, ἐνταῦθα λοιπὸν ἡ μὲν φιλία βέβαιος ἔμενεν ἡμῖν καθάπερ καὶ πρότερον, ἡ δὲ συνουσία διεκόπτετο· οὐ γὰρ ἦν τοὺς μὴ περὶ τὰ αὐτὰσπουδάζοντας κοινὰς ποιεῖσθαι τὰς διατριβάς. Ὡς δέ ποτε καὶ αὐτὸς μικρὸν ἀνέκυψα τοῦ βιωτικοῦ κλύδωνος, δέχεται μὲν ἡμᾶς ἄμφω τὼ χεῖρε, τὴν δὲ ἰσότητα οὐδὲ οὕτως ἰσχύσαμεν φυλάξαι τὴν προτέραν. Καὶ γὰρ τῷ χρόνῳ φθάσας ἡμᾶς καὶ πολλὴν τὴν σφοδρότητα ἐπιδειξάμενος, ἀνωτέρω πάλιν ἡμῶν ἐφέρετο καὶ εἰς ὕψος ᾔρετο μέγα.

My Translation:

But when there was need to pursue the blessed life of the monks and the true philosophy,  no longer was the balance the same for us, but his scale was light, raised high in the air, while I, being shackled with the desires of the world, drew down my own scale and I forced it to remain down, weighing it down with youthful fantasies. While the friendship remained steady even as before,  our time spent together was interrupted.  For where there are not common enthusiasms for the same things, there is no common way of life. But when I lifted myself a little from the worldly wave, he received us with both arms,  we were not able to preserve the former equality.  For outstripping us with respect to time and exhibiting much vehemence, higher still he bore himself and raised himself to a great height.

Issues:

The only issue I had with this text was this weird phrase:  τοῦ βιωτικοῦ κλύδωνος . Perhaps I need to get Lampe’s Patristic Greek dictionary before I go any further, but I’m not sure what a lively wave has to do with this. **I edited it thanks to Josh N’s comment. It’s not very poetic, but it makes more sense.**

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John Chrysostom: On the Priesthood 1.1

I realized awhile ago that I am not a philologist. I do, however, enjoy learning languages and I need to spend more time doing them. So I’ve devised this scheme to help my Greek. I’m going to translate St. John Chrysostom’s De Sacerdotio (On the Priesthood) and then post my “translation” here on my blog. You will see how bad I am at Greek and Notre Dame may rescind their offer and take back my MA. Posting my failures on the internet is not something I’m inclined to do, but I figure this will help me get better at Greek and maybe I’ll become more humble (sainthood, here I come!).

Without further ado, section 1.1 of Chrysostom’s “On the Priesthood”:

Greek Text:

Ἐμοὶ πολλοὶ μὲν ἐγένοντο φίλοι γνήσιοί τε καὶ  ἀληθεῖς, καὶ τοὺς τῆς φιλίας νόμους καὶ εἰδότες καὶ φυλάττοντες  ἀκριβῶς· εἷς δέ τις τουτωνὶ τῶν πολλῶν, ἅπαντας αὐτοὺς ὑπερβαλλόμενος τῇ πρὸς ἡμᾶς φιλίᾳ, τοσοῦτον ἐφιλονείκησεν ἀφεῖναι κατόπιν ἐκείνους ὅσον ἐκεῖνοι τοὺς ἁπλῶς πρὸς ἡμᾶς διακειμένους. Οὗτος τῶν τὸν ἅπαντά μοι χρόνον παρηκολουθηκότων ἦν· καὶ γὰρ μαθημάτων ἡψάμεθα τῶν αὐτῶν καὶ διδασκάλοις ἐχρησάμεθα τοῖς αὐτοῖς, ἦν δὲ ἡμῖν καὶ προθυμία καὶ σπουδὴ περὶ τοὺς λόγους οὓς ἐπονούμεθα μία, ἐπιθυμία τε ἴση καὶ ἐκ τῶν αὐτῶν τικτομένη πραγμάτων· οὐ γὰρ ὅτε εἰς διδασκάλους μόνον ἐφοιτῶμεν,  ἀλλὰ καὶ ἡνίκα ἐκεῖθεν ἐξελθόντας βουλεύεσθαι ἐχρῆν ὁποίαν ἑλέσθαι τοῦ βίου βέλτιον ἡμῖν ὁδόν, καὶ ἐνταῦθα ὁμογνωμονοῦντες ἐφαινόμεθα. Καὶ ἕτερα δὲ πρὸς τούτοις ἡμῖν τὴν ὁμόνοιαν ταύτην ἐφύλαττεν ἀρραγῆ καὶ βεβαίαν· οὔτε γὰρ ἐπὶ πατρίδος μεγέθει μᾶλλον ἕτερος ἑτέρου φρονεῖν εἶχεν, οὔτε ἐμοὶ μὲν πλοῦτος ὑπέρογκος ἦν, ἐκεῖνος δὲ ἐσχάτῃ συνέζη πενίᾳ, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ τῆς οὐσίας μέτρον τὸ τῆς προαιρέσεως ἰσοστάσιον ἐμιμεῖτο καὶ γένος δὲ ἡμῖν ὁμότιμον ἦν καὶ πάντα τῇ γνώμῃ συνέτρεχεν.

My translation:

I had many true and genuine friends , those who knew the laws of friendship and strictly cherished them.  There was one from among the many who exceeded all the rest in their friendship with us, he was eager to pass by those who were absolutely disposed toward us.  Out of those who were keeping company with me, he was with me all the time.  We availed ourselves of the same lessons and we consulted the same teachers. There was for us a singular eagerness and desire for those studies at which we both worked, and an equal desire was born out of those affairs.  For not only when we were resorting to our teachers, but also thereafter when we left, when it was necessary to deliberate what manner of life seemed better for us to choose, then we showed ourselves to be in agreement.  And there were other things which kept safe for us this unbroken and firm concord.  With respect to the greatness of the fatherland, neither of us had reason to believe one greater than another, nor did I have excessive riches and he excessive poverty, but the proportion of our nature represented the equality of our choices, even our kin were of the same rank and everything agreed with our dispositions.

Some issues I had with this:

ἀφεῖναι (Aor Act Inf ἀφίημι) means something like “let go” or “discharge.” There’s a meaning of “pass by”, but it means to neglect, not as I’m using it here. It was the closest thing that made sense to me. Any suggestions?

οὔτε γὰρ ἐπὶ πατρίδος μεγέθει μᾶλλον ἕτερος ἑτέρου φρονεῖν εἶχεν (With respect to the greatness of the fatherland, neither of us had reason to believe one greater than another) – I feel like I’ve got the sense of this, but maybe I’m way off.

So there’s the first installment in this little humility project. I’ll post 1.2 soon. My goal is to post one of these a week, if not more. If I slack off and don’t hold to this schedule, yell at me in the comments or something.

 

Second installment.

Third installment. 

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