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KGN -- Ib

46 All that which is in potentiality in the bodies is naturally in them also in act; they are connatural with those from which they came forth. But the nous is free of form and of matter.

47 There is nothing which might be in power in the soul and which could be able to leave it in act and exist separately; indeed, that (i.e. the soul)† is naturally made to be in the bodies.

48 All those things which are attached to the bodies accompany also those things by which they (i.e. the bodies)† are engendered but none of those things is attached to the soul.

49 It is not the Unity which on its own part has set itself in motion; but it was set in motion by the receptivity of the nous, which by its negligence turned its face away from it (i.e. the Unity)†, and by the fact of being deprived of it, engendered ignorance.

50 All that which has been produced has been produced for the gnosis of God; but, among the beings some are first and the others are second. Gnosis is more ancient than the first beings, and (more ancient)* than the second beings is the Movement.

51 The Movement is the cause of vice and virtue is destructive of vice, but virtue is the daughter of names and of modes and the cause of these latter things is the Movement.

52 When the gnosis of those who are first by their sovereignty and who are second by their genesis will be in the chief things, then only those who are first by their sovereignty will receive the gnosis of the Trinity.

53 The demons that battle with the nous are called birds; those that disturb the thumos animals; and those that excite the epithumia, beasts.

54 The plenitude of those who are first by their sovereignty is without end and the void is contained in a limit. The beings (which are)† second are coextensive with the void and they will rest when the plenitude will make those who are susceptible of it approach the immaterial gnosis.

55 Those only who are first by their genesis will be delivered from the corruption which is in act; but in this there is not one among the beings (which will be delivered)* of that (corruption)† which is in potentiality.

56 The good ones will be the cause of gnosis and of torment, and the wicked ones of torment only.

57 Men fear Sheol, and the demons the abyss; but there are some of them who are more wicked that the latter, that is to say, the serpents which do not have speech.

58 One of the deaths has for its first cause, birth; another comes from the saints against those who do not live according to righteousness; and the mother of the third will be the forgiveness. And if he is mortal who is naturally made to be liberated from the body to which he is joined, assuredly immortal is he who is not naturally made that that might happen to him. Indeed, all those who have been joined to bodies, necessarily also will be liberated from them.

59 Just as light and darkness are accidents of the air, so virtue and vice, and gnosis and ignorance are united to the reasonable soul.

60 If today they receive the wise steward [cf. Luke 16, 1–8] into their homes, it is evident that yesterday they sat down and modified their bills. Notwithstanding, he has been called ‘wise’ because he has in the same proportion remitted more than he was capable of receiving.[1]

61 There is not one of the second beings which might be capable of gnosis, nor one of the first beings which might have been from the beginning in a place.

62 Gnosis is said to be in a place, when he who is susceptible (of it)† is bound to one of the second beings, which truly and principally is said to be in a place.

63 Whether the logikoi might always exist or whether they might not exist is a matter of the will of the Creator, but whether they might be immortal or mortal depends on their will, and whether they might be joined or whether they might not be joined to one sort of thing[2] or another.

64 The true life of the logikoi is their activity according to nature,[3] and their death is their activity contrary to nature. But if he who is naturally made to seek the true life is mortal in regard to such a death, who among the beings is immortal? Every reasonable nature, indeed, is susceptible of an opposition.

65 In the gnosis of those who are second by their genesis, various worlds are constituted and unspeakable battles follow in its (i.e. the gnosis’)† course. But in the Unity, none of that happens; there is an unspeakable peace and there is nothing but the naked noes[4] which always take their fill of its inexhaustibleness,[5] if, according to the word of our Saviour, ‘The Father judges no one, but he has given all judgement to the Christ.’ [John 5, 22.]

66 The virtues are said to be before us, at the side where we possess senses, but behind us the bad actions, on the side where we do not possess any sense (-perception)†. It is commanded us, indeed, to ‘flee fornication’ [1 Cor. 6, 18] and to ‘pursue hospitality’ [Rom. 12, 13].

67 Who will understand the systasis[6] of the world and the activity of the elements? Who will comprehend the composition of this organon of our soul? Or who will scrutinize how the latter is joined to the former, what is their empire and their participation the one in the other, in such a way that praktike might become a vehicle for the reasonable soul which applies itself to come to the gnosis of God?

68 Among the angels, there is a predominance of nous and of fire; among men, (a predominance)* of desire and earth; and among the demons, (a predominance)* of thumos and air. It is said that the third draw near to the second by means of the nostrils and that the first (draw near to)† the second by means of the mouth.

69 He who is at the head in gnosis has someone after him; but he who is at the head in ignorance does not have one.

70 With God, it is said that he is first who knows the Holy Trinity; after him is he who sees the mental representations of intelligibles; third, then, is he who sees the bodiless (powers)† and, fourth, he who knows the contemplation of worlds; and he who possesses dispassion of soul will for good reason be counted fifth of these.[7]

71 The end of natural gnosis is the Holy Unity, but there is not an end to ignorance, as it is said, ‘There is not’, indeed, ‘a limit to his grandeur.’ [Ps. 144, 3.]

72 The Lord has pitied him to whom he has given the spiritual gnosis, if ‘The righteous one walks in the light and the senseless one in the darkness.’ [Eccl. 2, 14.] But the Lord has pitied the senseless one also, in that it is not quickly that he torments him, or in that he pushes him from vice towards virtue.

73 The life of man is the holy gnosis and the abundant compassion of God is the contemplation of beings. Many sages of this world have promised gnosis, but ‘Better than life is the mercy of the Lord.’ [Ps. 62, 4.]

74 The light of the nous is divided into three, that is to say: into the gnosis of the Adorable and Holy Trinity, into the (contemplation of the)† incorporeal nature which has been created by it (i.e. the Holy Trinity)† and into the contemplation of beings.

75 If the ‘crown of justice’ [2 Tim. 4, 8] is the holy gnosis and if, much more, the gold which the stones contain [sic][8] indicates the worlds which have been or will be, then the contemplation of the corporeal and incorporeal nature is the crown which is placed by ‘the just judge’ on the head of the wrestlers.

76 Ignorance is not the opposite of the gnosis which is hidden in objects but of the gnosis of the intelligibles of objects; ignorance, indeed, is not naturally made to be in a corporeal nature.

77 The second nature is the sign of the body and the first (nature)* (the sign)* of the soul; and the nous is the Christ who is united to the gnosis of the Trinity.

78 The first renunciation is the abandonment of objects of the world which is produced by the will for (the sake of)† the gnosis of God.[9]

79 The second renunciation is the abandonment of vice which is produced by the grace of God and by the effort of man.

80 The third renunciation is the separation from the ignorance (of those things)† which naturally become manifest to men in proportion to those men’s conditions.

81 The glory and light of the nous are gnosis; the glory and light of the soul are dispassion.[10]

82 That which the sensible death has the custom of doing in us, equally, ‘the just judgement of God’ [2 Thess. 1, 5] will realize for the other logikoi, at the time that ‘He will be ready to judge the living and the dead,’ [1 Pet. 4, 5] and when ‘He will render to each according to his works.’ [Rev. 22, 12.]

83 If the Gihon is the Egyptian river which encircles all the land of Cush [cf. Gen. 2, 13] and of which Israel has received the commandment by one of the prophets not to drink at all [cf. Jer. 2, 18], we have also known those three other arms, and the river from which the four arms separate themselves [cf. Gen. 2, 10–14].

84 To the nous are united gnosis and ignorance; the epithumia is susceptible of chastity and lust; and to the thumos love and hate have the custom to occur. The first accompanies those who are first, and the second those who are second.

85 The nous wanders when it becomes passionate and it is intractable when it realizes the materials constitutive of its desires. But it abstains from wandering when it has become dispassionate and when it has arrived in the company of those who are incorporeal, who fulfil all its spiritual desires.[11]

86 Love is the excellent state of the reasonable soul which in this cannot love anything at all among corruptible things more than the gnosis of God.

87 All the beings have been produced for the gnosis of God; for all that which is produced for another thing is less than that for which it has been produced; for that reason, the gnosis of God is superior to everything.

88 Natural gnosis is the true comprehension (on the part)† of those which have been produced for the gnosis of the Holy Trinity.

89 All the reasonable nature has been naturally made to be and to be knowing, and God is essential gnosis. The reasonable nature has as an opposition the fact of non-being and gnosis (has as an opposition)* vice and ignorance; but none of these things is opposed to God.

90 If today is that which is called the Friday when our Saviour was crucified, then all those who are dead are the symbol of his tomb, because with them the justice of God is dead, which will live again on the third day and be resurrected clothed again with a spiritual body, if ‘Today and tomorrow, he does miracles and on the third day, he is completed.’ [Luke 13, 32.]

The first is finished.

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[1] Cf. Chapter V, 33.

[2] I.e. body or world.

[3] Literally ‘natural activity’. We are following, as elsewhere in the text, the presumed underlying Greek ‘kata phusin’.

[4] Noes is the plural of nous.

[5] Correcting the ‘insatiabilité’ of the text for sense.

[6] Constitution or composition.

[7] For this chapter O’Laughlin (O’Laughlin p. 135) quotes from Scholia in Psalmos, in Migne under the name of Origen, a Greek fragment which reads (our translation): ‘With God, it is said that first is he who knows the Holy Trinity, and, after him, he who contemplates the reasons (logoi) concerning the intelligibles (noeton); third, again, he who sees the bodiless [powers] themselves; fourth, he who knows the contemplation of the Ages (aionon); he, then, who possesses dispassion (apatheia) of soul would justly be counted fifth among these.’

[8] The sense seems to be: ‘The precious stones which the gold of the crown contains indicate the worlds, etc.’ This construal agrees with the notion that one stage of first natural contemplation, and therefore of gnosis, is the contemplation of worlds. However, if the gold is in the stones in the depths of the earth (cf. On the Thoughts, Chapter 8, where the scattered gold, however, seems to represent the noes), then the reading given in the text is correct.

[9] Cf. On the Thoughts, Chapter 26, for this chapter and the next two chapters. We have translated these three chapters with the Greek text of On the Thoughts in view.

[10] For this chapter, O’Laughlin (O’Laughlin p. 178) gives from Hausherr a Greek fragment which reads (our translation): ‘The glory and the light of the mind (nous) are gnosis but the glory and light are dispassion (apatheia).’ We have corrected the ‘of life (zoes)’ of the text to ‘of the soul (psuches)’, as has O’Laughlin in his translation. This is surely a matter of a copyist’s error.

[11] For this chapter, O’Laughlin (O’Laughlin p. 174) provides from Muyldermans a Greek fragment which corresponds to the following passage of Chapter 26 of On the Thoughts (our translation): ‘The mind, being impassioned, moves round and round and becomes difficult to restrain when it looks on the materials which are productive of pleasure. It ceases from its wandering when it has become dispassionate and when it meets with the bodiless [powers], those who satisfy its spiritual desires for it.’


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