Quotiescunque peccaverimus

< Previous | Next >

KsSp

Senior Member
Russian (Moscow dialect) - Russia
Hello!
Here is one more piece from Origen's Homilies on Luke.
'Quotiescunque peccaverimus, adversarius noster exsultat, sciens quoniam habet facultatem apud principem saeculi hujus, qui se miserat exsultandi et gloriandi, eo quod adversarius, verbi gratia, hujus vel illius, eum fecerit principi saeculi hujus esse subjectum per talia totque peccata, per hoc illudque delictum.'
Here is an attempt to interpret it:
'Every time we commit a sin, our adversary rejoices, since he knows that he has an opportunity beside the master of this world, who immersed (?) and emerged and was glorified, [something completely incomprehensible], as the adversary, for instance, his or her, the master of this world will make this one his servant for such a significant extent of sin, for his or her sins.' It is clear that it does not make sense. :)
The context is the following: Origen is talking about Luke 12:58: 'When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.'
Coud you please comment on what the sentence means?
Thank you!
 
  • Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    qui se miserat exsultandi et gloriandi
    I'll give it a try but wait for answers of people with more knowledge and practice than me (I've been almost 2 decades without translating Latin and I never knew too much Latin…). I'd say it means: who had been sent to rejoice and to be gloried.
     

    almeriensis

    New Member
    spanish-spain
    Hi.
    Punctuation seems to be wrong and make translation a little harder. Written like that:

    "Quotiescunque peccamus, adversarius noster exsultat sciens, quoniam habet facultatem apud principem saeculi hujus, qui se miserat, exsultandi et gloriandi, eo quod adversarius, verbi gratia hujus vel illius, eum fecerit principi saeculi hujus esse subjectum per talia totque peccata, per hoc illudque delictum."

    text becomes much easier. It says:

    "Whenever we have commited a sin, our enemy (meaning the devil, I guess, because it's a common way to refer to him in religious texts), who knows it, rejoices, because he has an opportunity to rejoice and to glory in it in the presence of the most important man of our time, (Jesus, I guess), who feels sorry because the enemy of this time, as well as of the previous ones, has made him the subject of this time since its start because of his (devil's) many sins and crimes"

    Jesus feels sorry because it's the devil with his evil works who has made him become important.

    Bolshoe spasibo for giving me an excuse to derust the Latin I once taught, KsSp
     
    Last edited:

    KsSp

    Senior Member
    Russian (Moscow dialect) - Russia
    Muchas gracias, almeriensis and Circunflejo, for your contributions!
     

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    Scholiasta KsSp amicis conforeastris S. P. D.

    This is both theologically and linguistically tricky. Provisionally:

    'Whenever we have sinned, our Adversary [Satan] rejoices, knowing that, since he has an opportunity [thereby] of exulting and taking pride before the Lord of our world, who had dispatched him; in this much, that, on the strength of what either of them said, he [Satan] has made Him [God] lesser/subordinate to [himself, Satan] the Prince of this world, through sins so many and various, through this or that [or any] crime'.

    I am left with some doubts here. miserat ('He had sent') is particularly enigmatic: I am wondering whether this means 'He had dispatched from Heaven', as in some Christian thinking Satan is regarded as a Fallen Angel, whom God has banished from Heaven (as in Milton's Paradise Lost), and has taken up a profitable existence on earth to create a 'rival' existence as chief Tempter and curse to humankind; but it hardly seems to make theological sense that God would have sent Satan to earth in order to promote human Sinfulness, precisely in order that He could redeem us from it.

    I think this needs closer examination, and will have to confer further with my theological acquaintances.

    Σ
     
    Last edited:

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    Quotiescunque peccaverimus, adversarius noster exsultat, sciens quoniam habet facultatem apud principem saeculi hujus, qui se miserat exsultandi et gloriandi, eo quod adversarius, verbi gratia, hujus vel illius, eum fecerit principi saeculi hujus esse subjectum per talia totque peccata, per hoc illudque delictum.
    As I mentioned (# 5), I was not 100% satisfied that I had got to the bottom of this. And a further snag (this has been pointed out by an amiable correspondent) in what I there proposed is that it applies the distinctive phrase princeps saeculi hujus once to God, the second time to Satan. This cannot be right, not least because hujus saeculi means essentially 'of this world'—implicitly the Fallen world, in contrast with the Kingdom of Heaven governed by God.

    Another possibility (also suggested by my correspondent) is that in Origen's mind there is an infernal hierarchy, or 'demonarchy' (δαιμωναρχία), of Satanic creatures. I know of no biblical authority to support this conception, but I have speculated elsewhere that this might be the case, and it certainly is so in Milton's Paradise Lost, and Milton was so deeply steeped in the Scriptures that I think it unlikely to be pure invention on his part. Incidentally, this is also a core premiss of (the devoutly Christian and theologically sophisticated) C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters.

    So it now looks to me as if adversarius is some lesser demon, sent by his boss Satan (princeps hujus saeculi) to encourage sinfulness among humanity. I also think there is a comma missing after miserat: the junior devil, on this interpretation, loves to boast to Satan about his successes, and rejoices in the opportunity (facultatem...exultandi et gloriandi belong together) of doing so.

    This still leaves us with the perplexing eo quod adversarius...eum fecerit...subjectum &c. I cannot yet fathom who eum refers to. Is it the (or an) individual sinner? If that is so, from the beginning of the sentence we should rather expect nos here.

    In short, I am sorry to say that I don't think I've quite fully understood this yet. Still on the case.

    Σ
     
    Last edited:

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    Sorry to come back again so soon, but this has been nagging at me, and I have been trying, not very successfully, to envisage what Origen's original Greek could have been.

    Since my last post, however, it has dawned on me that verbi gratia means 'for instance', 'for example', and I think this brings us a step closer to a solution.

    So the latest I have come up with is this: 'Whenever we have sinned, our Adversary exults, knowing (since he has the opportunity of exulting and boasting before the Master of this world, who had sent him [i.e. his infernal boss, Satan]) by this that the [personal] Adversary of, for example this individual or that, has made him subject [or subservient] to the Master of this world, through so many and various sins, through this or that dereliction'.

    The thought, and the syntax, are complicated (in English as well as in Latin). But now over to KsSp: does this make it any more intelligible for you?

    Σ
     
    Last edited:

    KsSp

    Senior Member
    Russian (Moscow dialect) - Russia
    Good evening, Scholiast! Thank you for your research. Please thank your friend on our behalf! Actually, we are glad that the 'final' version is quite close to what we have discussed elsewhere regarding this tricky sentence - it definitely does make sense. Thank you again!
     

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    Greetings all!

    A footnote to my latest (## 6, 7), prompted by listening on the radio just now to a live performance of Josef Haydn's wonderful oratorio The Creation—in which there are so to speak solo bit-parts for the archangels Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel. I am increasingly convinced that Origen's understanding of Satan and his subordinate diabolical ministers is as an infernal inverted mirror-image of his idea of the Kingdom of Heaven, in which, attendant on God on His throne, are the Cherubim and Seraphim as well as these named Archangels. It would be a very Greek way of thinking to conceive of this sort of symmetry in working out an idea of Satan having his own devilish minions in a similar form of organisation—as Milton portrays them, with the named senior devils Beelzebub, Moloch and Baal. And the parallelism extends to the personal guardian angels who have cropped up in another of the passages KsSp has been asking about, and the adversarii—a good Latin translation of διάβολοι–who serve Satan by tempting humans to sin. (Sorry for cross-posting.)

    Σ
     
    Last edited:

    KsSp

    Senior Member
    Russian (Moscow dialect) - Russia
    Thank you for one more interesting note! Since you have mentioned C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters (we read it several years ago and really enjoyed it), it should also be noted that the hierarchy of demons is described (or at least implied) in the works of several Church Fathers. For instance, st John of Damascus refers to them as 'the devil and his demons' (implying that they are his servants). Besides, according to Evagrius Ponticus and some, if not many, other theologians of the first five centuries, there are different demons, each of them having his 'specialisation', like, the demon of gluttony, the demon who attacks you at a particular time of the day, etc. There was also a story, but we've failed to find it now, about an ascetic who lived in some remote area and once entered a cave. In that cave, a lesser demon was reporting what he had done to a greater demon. Perhaps, it was from Apophthegmata Patrum, or some other, similar source - sorry for not providing you with a link to it, but it seems like there was such a story somewhere.
     

    almeriensis

    New Member
    spanish-spain
    Scholiasta KsSp amicis conforeastris S. P. D.

    This is both theologically and linguistically tricky. Provisionally:

    'Whenever we have sinned, our Adversary [Satan] rejoices, knowing that, since he has an opportunity [thereby] of exulting and taking pride before the Lord of our world, who had dispatched him; in this much, that, on the strength of what either of them said, he [Satan] has made Him [God] lesser/subordinate to [himself, Satan] the Prince of this world, through sins so many and various, through this or that [or any] crime'.

    I am left with some doubts here. miserat ('He had sent') is particularly enigmatic: I am wondering whether this means 'He had dispatched from Heaven', as in some Christian thinking Satan is regarded as a Fallen Angel, whom God has banished from Heaven (as in Milton's Paradise Lost), and has taken up a profitable existence on earth to create a 'rival' existence as chief Tempter and curse to humankind; but it hardly seems to make theological sense that God would have sent Satan to earth in order to promote human Sinfulness, precisely in order that He could redeem us from it.

    I think this needs closer examination, and will have to confer further with my theological acquaintances.

    Σ
    Scholiast, you don't understand this 'miserat", because it doesn't come from mitto, mittis, mittere, 'to send', but from misero, miseras, miserare, 'to feel sorry'. Jesus 'hasn't sent' the devil anywhere, he 'feels sorry for him'. Besides, Origen's Latin isn't classical ('Ciceronianus') but Late Latin (Lingua postclassica). Translation of some terms like "eo,quod" or "verbi gratia" is affected because of that.
     

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    @almeriensis

    Thank you for your comments. This is indeed post-classical Latin—but not by much. Augustine was a near contemporary, and in his Confessions wrote the finest Latin prose ever.

    You have perhaps not been able to see the further correspondence in this thread (## 6, 7, 9), from which you would see that I had already retracted this first translation attempt, and eventually produced something both linguistically and theologically more satisfactory. Besides which, it is not 'Origen's Latin', but Jerome's, translating from Origen's Greek. And misero is usually deponent (miseror) and is attested in an active form only in one fragment of the mostly lost 2nd. century BC tragedian Lucius Accius, and one inscription (CIL 8.2293). It is unlikely that Jerome would have strayed from the straight and narrow of what was by his time the standard usage as found in e.g. Cicero, Caesar, Virgil, Horace, Silius Italicus, Juvenal and Aulus Gellius.

    I stick therefore, by my construal of miserat as the pluperfect of mittere. I commend, warmly, your readiness to contribute your thoughts here, but it seems a pity that you don't understand some principles of basic courtesy. I am always willing to be proven wrong, and can change my mind. Are you?

    Σ
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top