The Gnostikos

(mod. from:) Belles Heures
 of John, Duke of Berry





Adapted from L. Dysinger, Psalmody and Prayer in the Writings of Evagrius Ponticus,
Oxford Univ. Pr., 2004) pp. 44-47)

    Evagrius Ponticus believed that progress in contemplation entails responsibility for the spiritual progress of others.  Since he also believed that the principal textbook of spiritual progress is the Bible, Evagrius’ gnostikos is a biblical exegete who searches the scriptures for beneficial insights. He must be able to ‘give a word to each, according to his worth’.[1] In order to do this he must become completely familiar with all the levels of meaning contained in the scriptures, from ethical instruction, through the contemplation of creation, to the mysteries of the Trinity. He must understand spiritual ‘definitions’ and the customary expressions of scripture (Gnostikos 17 and 19), as well as the rules for allegorical exegesis (Gnostikos 18, 20, and 21). In the scriptures the gnostikos discovers a symbolic world of history and story that helps him to express both the ‘ethical’ insights he learned as a praktikos and the new mysteries of creation he is exploring as a contemplative.

          An important pattern for Evagrius’ gnostikos is the work of the angels. The angels exemplify and symbolize the gnostiké: they behold the face of God; they understand the deep logoi of God; their bodies and thoughts are simple and pure; and they mediate God’s providence, guiding those below them back towards God. Quoting Jesus’ term for the sons of the resurrection in Luke 20:36, Evagrius describes the monk who attains true prayer while yearning for the heavenly father’s face as ἰσάγγελος (isangelos) , ‘equal to the angels’.[2] The gnostikos who engages in ‘angelic practice’ and seeks divine gnosis [3] must also share in the angels’ work of mediation by praying for others,[4] by aiding others in their spiritual struggle [5] and by curing them.[6]

          This work of spiritual healing is facilitated as the gnostikos learns to apply in the arena of spiritual struggle the exegetical tools he employs in interpreting the scriptures. Just as the scriptures invite him to discern God’s providential intentions in sacred history, so the gnostikos learns to perceive the logoi of providence and judgment in the lives of those who seek his advice.  Through progress in the art of discernment he becomes ‘salt for the impure and light for the pure’.[7] This allusion to the Sermon on the Mount (Mat.5:13-14)  implies that the gnostikos must be aware of both the potential and the limitations of those who come to him for advice. He must therefore:

ιεΓνώριζε καιρῶν καὶ βίων καὶ ἐπιτηδευμάτων τοὺς λόγους καὶ τοὺς νόμους ἵνα ἔχῃς ἑκάστῳ τὰ συμφέροντα ῥᾳδίως λέγειν..[8]

15. Learn to know the logoi and the laws of circumstances, [ways of] life, and occupations, so that you can easily tell each what is useful for him.

          While the life of the angels offers a stirring model of spiritual progress, the fate of the demons provides a stark reminder of the fate awaiting those who misuse their freedom, ignoring providence and preferring ignorance and vice; and who therefore face an upcoming judgment full of pain and darkness. Evagrius’ version of hell, however, was less threatening than that of classical Jewish and Christian orthodoxy: it resembles medieval versions of purgatory in being something like an agonizing school of correction, to be avoided at all costs,[9] but from which all who are sent there will ultimately emerge.[10] He was well aware that this teaching could be misunderstood, and that even if properly understood it might give scandal: he was particularly apprehensive that ‘the logos of judgment’ containing the doctrine of transformations and renewed bodies would be especially suspect.  Thus thus he advised the gnostikos who considers himself ready to teach others to be extremely cautious and to adapt his teaching to the particular circumstances of his hearers.[11]

λς´ Λανθανέτω τοὺς κοσμικοὺς καὶ τοὺς νέους ὁ περὶ κρίσεως ὑψηλότερος λόγος, γεννῶν ῥᾳδίως τὴν καταφρόνησιν· οὐ γὰρ ἴσασιν ὀδύνην ψυχῆς λογικῆς καταδικασθείσης τὴν ἄγνοιαν.[12]

36. [You must] keep hidden from seculars and from the young the more exalted logos concerning judgment, for this easily engenders [their] contempt: they do not understand the suffering of the reasoning soul condemned to ignorance.

          Spiritual knowledge, Evagrius reminds his readers, entails both responsibility and risk. If the gnostikos is incautious in his teaching, and in particular if he speaks boldly and arrogantly concerning matters that are easily misunderstood, then he is guilty of abusing sacred things on the very threshold of the Temple. The careless misuse of these logoi carries grave penalties for the teacher:

   κα´ Πρόσεχε σεαυτῷ μήποτε κέρδους ἕνεκεν ἢ τοῦ εὐπαθεῖν, ἢ δόξης χάριν παρερχομένης, εἴπῃς τι τῶν ἀπορρήτων καὶ βληθῇς ἔξω τῶν ἱερῶν περιόλων, ὡς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐν τῷ ναῷ τὰ τῆς περιστερᾶς τέκνα πιπράσκων.[13]

24. Take care that you never, for the sake of profit, well-being, or fleeting glory, talk about those things which should not be revealed, and [thus] be cast out of the sacred precincts, like those selling the pigeon chicks in the temple. (cf. Mt 21, 12-13).

          In summary, Evagrius’ gnostikos must constantly exercise the virtue of prudence and the art of discernment in determining what his hearers may profitably be taught. He must maintain the broadest possible horizon in his contemplative efforts: he must strive to perceive himself and the whole of the cosmos from the perspective of a divine origin and destiny. All multiplicity, whether the glorious diversity of the universe or the complex inner struggle for spiritual maturity, is to be comprehended as pointing either back in time to the unity from which it fell, or ahead into that restored union towards which it is moving.

[1] Evagrius, Gnostikos 44, SC 356, p. 174: ‘[…] Justice’s task is to give to each, according to his worth, a word,’ (δικαιοσύνης δὲ πάλιν, τὸ κατ' ἀξίαν ἑκάστῳ τοὺς λόγους ἀποδιδόναι).

[2] Evagrius, De oratione 113, Tugwell, p. 21 (cf. PG 79.1192): ‘A monk becomes the equal of the angels through true prayer, yearning to see the face of the Father who is in heaven (Matt. 18:10) ( 'Ισάγγελος γίνεται μοναχὸς διὰ τῆς ἀληθοῦς προσευχῆς, 'επιποθῶν ἰδεῖν τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ Πατρὸς τοῦ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς).

[3] Evagrius, De oratione 142, Tugwell, p. 26 (cf. PG 79.1197): ‘The one longing to pray has moved from what is here, to have citizenship in heaven always (Phil. 3:20), not merely through simple word[s] but through angelic practice and divine knowledge,’ (Προσεύξασθαι ποθεῖ ὁ μεταστὰς τῶν ἐνθένδε καὶ τὸ πολίτευμα, ἔχων ἐν οὐρανοῖς διὰ παντὸς, οὐ λόγῳ ἁπλῶς ψιλῳ ἀλλὰ πράξει ἀγγελικῇ καὶ γνώσει θειοτέρᾳ).

[4] Evagrius, De oratione 40, Tugwell, p. 9 (cf. PG 79.1176): ‘ It is just to pray not only for your own purification, but especially for your own [kindred], so as to imitate the angelic mode,’ (Δίκαιον, μὴ μόνον περὶ οἰκείας καθάρσεως προσεύχεσθαι, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὑπὲρ παντὸς τοῦ ὁμοφύλου, ἵνα ἀγγελικὸν μιμήσῃ τρόπον).

[5] Evagrius, Kephalaia Gnostica VI.90, Guillaumont, p. 249: ‘Whoever will have obtained spiritual knowledge will help the holy angels and will return reasoning souls from vice to virtue and from ignorance to knowledge.’

[6] Evagrius, Praktikos 100, SC 171, p. 710: ‘we are to revere the elders as the angels, for it is they who anoint us for our struggle and heal us when we are bitten by wild beasts,’ (τοὺς δὲ γέροντας ἡμῶν τιμητέον ὡς τοὺς ἀγγέλους· αὐτοὶ γάρ εἰσιν οἱ πρὸς τοὺς ἀγῶνας ἡμᾶς ἀλείφοντες καὶ τὰ τῶν ἀγρίων θηρίων δήγματα θεραπεύοντες). The gnostikos rejoices in the spiritual progress of others and learns to revere others ‘as Christ’: De oratione 117-125.

[7] Evagrius, Gnostikos 3, SC 356, p. 90: Γνωστικὸς δὲ ὁ ἁλὸς μὲν λόγον ἐπέχων τοῖς ἀκαθάρτοις, φωτὸς δὲ τοῖς καθαροῖς.

[8] Evagrius, Gnostikos 15, SC 356, p. 112.

[9] Evagrius employs traditionally vivid language to warn his readers of the dangers of hell in Rerum monachalium rationes 9, PG 40.1261: ‘Consider in your mind what is now the state of those in hell. Reflect on the suffering, the silence of bitterness, the frightful moaning, the dreaded fear and torment, fear of what will come, ceaseless pain, constant weeping […] the shame before [all those in heaven and on earth], all the varieties of punishment, the undying worm, the dark abyss, the gnashing of teeth, fears and terrors […]’

[10] As regards the apokatastasis, the doctrine that all fallen beings will ultimately accept the salvation offered by Christ and thus be restored to union with God, Evagrius appears to have avoided ever stating openly that ‘all will be saved’. Instead, this teaching is implicit in his eschatological vision of the logikoi returning to their ‘original state’: Kephalaia Gnostica II,4 (the ‘last transformation’ is ‘the passage of all to knowledge of Blessed Trinity’); Letter to Melania 29-30 (like rivers flowing into the sea, once sin is removed ‘the many’ will again become ‘one’, Frankenberg, pp. 618-619, Bunge, Briefe, pp. 313-314); Letter to Melania 63 (the logikoi are to become ‘one with [God] in everything without end’, Bunge, Briefe, p. 326, Vitestam, pp. 27-28).

[11] Origen similarly recommends prudence concerning his doctrine of remedial punishment in Contra Celsum 6.26-27.

[12] Evagrius, Gnostikos 36, SC 356, p. 154.

[13] Evagrius, Gnostikos 24, SC 356, p. 122.




Evagrius of Pontus: The Gnostikos (ch, 12-36)
[or One who is Worthy of Knowledge]
(CPG 2431)


The following texts are not yet available in any (printed) English edition.  Some are based on retroversions into Greek from Syriac, while others represent surviving Greek fragments.  These chapters contain Evagrius' teaching on exegesis; but they are intended for very "advanced" disciples and are, unfortunately, among his more obscure writings.  In your browsing please feel free to ignore the statements you find bizarre or confusing.

ed. A. & C. Guillaumont, Évagre le Pontique, Le Gnostique ou A celui qui est devenu digne de la science Sources Chrétiennes nº 356, (Paris, 1989) 88-193. Numerical references in square brackets at the beginning of each chapter in Greek are to Guillaumont’s edition.  “Frb” refers to Frankenberg’s retroversion from the Syriac (S1 )  

       12.  Those things among what relates to praktike, physike, and theologike  that are useful for our salvation, [we are] invited to speak about and to perform unto death.  But those things that are indifferent it is not necessary to speak about or to perform, because of those who are easily scandalized.[1]

< Frb 547 > ριδ.  εις την ημων συμφερον τι της πρακτικης η της φυσικης η της θεολογικης λεγειν τε και πραττειν εως θανατου πρεπει· ει δε εκεινων των μεσων εστιν ου λεγειν αναγκη ουδε πραττειν δια τους ραδιως σκανδαλιζομενους.

       13.  It is proper for the knower to speak to monks and seculars concerning a proper way of life, as well as to explain in part doctrines concerning physike  and theologike  “without which no one will see the Lord.” (Heb 12:14)

ιγ´ Δίκαιον τοῖς μοναχοῖς καὶ κοσμοκοῖς περὶ πολιτείας ὀρθης διαλέγεσθαι καὶ ὅσα τῆς φυσικῆς ἢ θεολογικῆς δόγματα σαφηνίζειν ἐκ μέρους, ὧν χωρὶς οὐδεὶς ὄψεται τὸν Κύριον.

       14.  To priests alone, [and only]  to those who are among the best,[2] reply if they question you what is symbolized by the mysteries they perform and which purify the interior man: the vessels which they receive designate the passionate part of the soul and the rational part;  on what is the inseperable mixture,[3] the power[4] of each of them, and the accomplishing of the activities of each in view of a single purpose.

< Frb 547 > ρις.  τους ιερουσι μονον αποκρινου σε ερωτωσι και τοις εν τηι θεοσεβειαι σπευδουσι μονον τι εστι τα μυστηρια ͅ υπ’ αυτων αποτελουμενα τε και τον εντος ημων ανθρωπον καθαριζοντα και οτι το εν ημιν υποδεχομενον και το δοκιμαζον αποδειξις εστι του παθητου της ψυχης και του λογιστικου και τις η συμμιξις αυτων ου διακρινομενη και οποτε μερος μερους υπερισχυει και οτι εν εκαστον των πραγματων πληρωτικον εστιν ενος τυπου·

And tell them again of what is the symbol of that which accomplishes them, and who those are that, with them repel those that establish an obstacle to pure conduct, and who, among the living beings some have the memory and some do not have it.

ειπε δε αυτους παλιν τινος ο ταυτα ποιων συμβολον εστι και τινες οι μετ’ αυτου τους καθαρως ζην κωλυοντας αποδιωκοντες και οτι των θηριων τα μεν εχει μνημην τα δε ου.

       15.  Learn to know the logoi and the laws of circumstances [“fitting times”], [ways of] life, and occupations, so that you can easily tell each what is useful for him.

ιεʹ Γνώριζε καιρῶν καὶ βίων καὶ ἐπιτηδευμάτων τοὺς λόγους καὶ τοὺς νόμους ἵνα ἔχῃς ἑκάστῳ τὰ συμφέροντα ῥᾳδίως λέγειν.

       16.  It is necessary that you have the matter for the explanation of what is said, and that you embrace everything, even if a part escapes you.  For it is indeed proper to an angel that nothing of what is upon the earth escapes it.

< Frb 547 > ριη.  δει σε εχειν ικανως εις εκδιηγησιν παντων των ειρημενων και αρκεισθω σοι παντα τα πραγματα {͂ τα οντα} ει κει τι των αυτων μερων ημας εχφευγει· ͅ13αα αγγελου γαρ εστι μηδεν των επι γης αυτον λανθανειν.
[Guil] την ὔλην ... τὸ λεγόμενον ... πάντα χωρεῖν

       17.  It is necessary also to know the definitions of things, especially those of the virtues and vices;  this, indeed, is the source [and the beginning][5] of knowledge and ignorance, of the kingdom of heaven and of torment.

< Frb 549 > ριθ.  αναγκαιον τους των πραγματων ορους γιγνωσκειν και περισσοτερον τους των αρετων και των κακιων· αυται γαρ πηγαι και αρχη της τε γνωσεως και της αγνωσιας και της βασιλειας του ουρανου και της κατακρισεως.
      [Guil] οἱ ὅροι

       18. It is necessary to search, therefore, concerning allegorical and literal passages[6] relevant to the praktike, physike, and theologike.  If it is relevant to the praktike it is necessary to examine whether it treats of thumos and what comes from it, or rather of epithumia and what follows it, or again of the nous and its movements.

< Frb 549 > ρκ.  δει ημας συνιεναι και τας αλληγοριας των μυστηριων και τα αισθητα ει περι της πρακτικης εισιν η περι της φυσεως η της θεου γνωσεως· και ει περι της πρακτικης εννοωμεν ει περι θυμου η περι των εξ αυτου συμφορων η περι επιθυμιων και των αυταις επακολουθουντων η περι του νοος και των αυτου κινησεων·

     If it is pertains to the physike, it is necessary to note whether it  makes known one of the doctrines[7] concerning nature, and which one.  And if it is an allegorical passage concerning theologike it is necessary to examine as far as possible whether it provides information on the Trinity and whether it is seen [in its] simplicity or seen as The Unity.[8]   But if it is none of these, then it is a simple contemplation[9], or perhaps makes known a prophecy.[10]

ει δε περι των φυσεως δει ημας βλεπειν ειποτε περι των ταξεων {αξιωματων} των φυσεων και περι των τοιουτων σημαινει· ει δε περι θεοτητος εστιν αλληγρουμενον ποσως κατα δυναμιν εραυναν· ει δε ͅ περι της αγιας τριαδος γνωριζει και τουτο απλως τροπικως {κατα μετανομασιαν} ει δε ουδεν τουτων οραμα εστι ψιλον η προφητειαν γνωριζον.

       19. It is good to know also the customary [terminology][11] of the sacred Scriptures, and to establish them as far as possible by means of proofs.[12]

< Frb 549 > ρκα. καλον την των αγιων γραφων συνηθειαν γιγνωσκειν και αυτο τουτο καθοσον δυναμεθα δια τεκμηριων παρισταναι.

       20. It is necessary to know this:  that all texts of an ethical character do not comprise a contemplation of an ethical character; no more does a text concerning nature [comprise] a contemplation on nature; but such as is of an ethical character comprises a contemplation of nature; and such as treat of nature comprise a contemplation of ethics, and the same for theology.

< Frb 549 > ρκβ. και τουτο παλιν γιγνωσκωμεν οτι ου παντος ρηματος παραινεσιν εχοντος και το νοητον παραινετικον ουδε παντος φυσικου και το νοητον φυσικον αλλα και το προτρεπτικον σημαινει περι φυσεως και το φυσικον εστι προτρεπτικον και τουτο παλιν λεγει περι της θεοτητος.

     What is said, in effect, of the fornication and the adultery of Jerusalem, [cf. Ez. 16:15-34] the animals of dry land and waters, and the birds, the clean and the unclean, [cf. Lev.11:2-19] the sun that “rises, sets, and returns to its place,” [cf. Eccl.1:5]  relate in the first place to theology, in the second place to ethics, and in the third place to physics.  Now the first text relates to ethics and the two others to physics.

< Frb 549 > ρκγ. το λεγον περι της πορνειας και της μοιχειας Ιερουσαλημ και περι θηριων του τε ξηρου και της θαλασσης και των πετεινων και των καθαρων και των ακαθαρτων και της ανατολης του ηλιου και της δυσεως τουτων ͅ το αναγνωσμα δοκει δηλουν αλλο το δε νοητον αλλο τι εστι.  το γαρ περι της πορνειας Ιερους. γνωριζει περι της θεοτητος δοκουν προτρεπτικον ειναι και το των κααρων και ακαθαρτων θηριων δοκει εινα φυσικον, εστι δε ρημα παραινεσεως το δε του ηλιου εστι φυσικον {}: kai εδοξε το πρωτον ρημα ειναι παραινετικον, τα δε δυο αλλα φυσικα.

       21.  Do not allegorize the words of blameworthy persons and do not seek anything spiritual in them, unless through his divine plan God has acted [through them], as in the cases of Balaam (cf. Num 24: 17-19) and Kaiphas: (cf. Jn 11:49-51) for the former predicted the birth, and the second the death of the Savior.

κα´ Τοὺς τῶν ψεκτῶν προσώπων λόγους ἀλληγορήσεις, οὐδὲ ζητήσεις τι πνευματικὸν ἐν αὐτοῖς, πλὴν εἰ μὴ δι' οἰκονομίαν ὁ Θεὸς ἐνήργησεν, ὡς ἐν τῷ Βαλαὰμ καὶ Καϊάφᾳ, ἵνα ὁ μὲν περὶ γενέσεως, ὁ δὲ περὶ θανάτου τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμων προείπῃ.

       22.  It is necessary that the Knower be neither gloomy[13] nor intimidating. For the first is ignorance of the logoi of things which have come into existence; the second is not desiring “that all men be saved and come to Knowledge of the truth.” (1Tim 2.4)

< Frb 549 > ρκε.  ου πρεπει τον γνωστικον ειναι στυγνον και ͅ13β3 αχαριστον προς τους αυτωι παραβαλλοντας· το γαρ ειναι λυπηρον ανδρος εστιν ουκ επισταμενου τους των οντων {?} λογους και το ειναι ουχ ιλαρον προς τους αυτωι πλησιαζοντας ανδρος εστιν ου θελοντος παντας ανθρωπους σωθηναι και εις επιγνωσιν αληθειας ελθειν.

       23.  It is necessary sometimes to feign ignorance because those who question are not worthy of an answer: and [in this] you will be truthful, since you are linked to a body and you [thus] do not yet possess complete knowledge.

< Frb 549 > ρκς. αναγκαιον ενιοτε ημας υποκρινεσθαι μηδεν ειδεναι δια τους ημας ερωτωντας ακροασθαι δε ουκ αξιους οντας· πιστευηι δε λεγων οτι σωματικος ων ουκ εχεις νυν γνωσιν ακριβη των πραγματων.

       24.  Take care that you never, for the sake of profit, well-being, or fleeting glory, talk about those things which should not be revealed, and [thus] be cast out of the sacred precincts, like those selling the pigeon chicks in the temple. (cf. Mt 21, 12-13).

κδ´ Πρόσεχε σεαυτῷ μήποτε κέρδους ἕνεκεν ἢ τοῦ εὐπαθεῖν, ἢ δόξης χάριν παρερχομένης, εἴπῃς τι τῶν ἀπορρήτων καὶ βληθῇς ἔξω τῶν ἱερῶν περιόλων, ὡς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐν τῷ ναῳω τὰ τῆς περιστερᾶς τέκνα πιπράσκων.

       25.  [Concerning] those who dispute without having Knowledge: it is necessary to make them approach the truth by proceeding not from the end, but from the beginning; and it is not necessary for gnostikoi to tell the young anything, nor to let them touch books of this sort, for they are not able to resist the falls that this contemplation entails.   That is why, to those who are still besieged by passions it is necessary to speak not words of peace, but how they will triumph over their adversaries: indeed, as Ecclesiastes says, “there is no discharge [from service] on the day of battle.“(Eccl. 8:8)   Those, therefore, who are still afflicted with the  passions and who peer into the logoi of bodies and incorporeal [beings] resemble invalids who [carry on] discuss[ions] concerning health.  For it is when the soul is [only] with difficulty shaken by the passions that it is invited to taste these sweet rays of honey.

< Frb  >  ρκη. τους ανευ γνωσεως πολεμιζοντας ουκ απο της τελειοτητος αλλ' απο της αρχης δει προσαγειν ͅ τηι αληθειαι, τοις δε νηπιοις μη τα των γνωστικων υπομνυσαι μηδε τοιαυτα βιβλια αυτοις εγκειρισαι· ου γαρ εχουσιν αντιστηναι ολισθημασι ταυτης της θεωριας ακολουθοις· δια τουτο τοις υπο τουτων παθων κατεχομενοις ουκ δικαιον λογους της ειρηνης λεγειν αλλα πως αμυνουνται τους πολεμιους οτι ουκ εστιν αποστολη εν ημεραι πολεμου κατα τον εκκλησιαστην.  ρκθ.  οι υπο τα παθη οντες και περι των λογων τε ενσωματων και των ασωματων εραυνωντες ομοιοι νοσηλευουσι περι της υγιειας ζητουσιν.  ρλ. γευεσθαι των υγιεινων της γνωσεως εγκριδων τοτε ημας προσηκει οταν υπο των ψυχικων παθων μη σαλευωμεθα. . .

[Guil rtrv. 152-153]  . . . ἐρίζειν  . . . προσεγγίζειν . . . θεωρία . . .

       26.  They [should] not be the same occasions[14] - that of explication and that of [investigative] discussion.[15] And it is necessary to reprimand those who prematurely raise objections.  For this is indeed the habit of heretics and those who [enjoy] controversy.

< Frb  > ρλ. . . . . ουχ ο αυτος καιρος ζητησεως και εξηγησεως, διο δει ημας επιτιμαν τοις ακαιρως ͅ μεταξυ υπολαβουσι κατα δε του λογον στρεφουσιν· η γαρ αιρετικων εστι τουτο η αντιλογιστικων.

[Guil rtrv. 131-133]  . . . διήγησις {καὶ} ζήτησις . . . οἱ αντιλέγοντες oi( ἀντιστρέφοντες . . .

       27.  Do not, without [careful] consideration, speak about God [in Himself]; nor should you ever define the Deity: for it is only of { things which are made or } are composite that there can be definitions.

κζ´ Μὴ ἀπερισκέπτως θεολογήσῃς, μηδέποτε ὁριζου τὸ θεῖον·  τῶν γὰρ {γεγονότων καὶ} συνθέτων εἰσὶν οἱ ὅροι.

       28.  Hold in your mind the five causes of abandonment, so that you may perceive the [kinds of] faint-heartedness which are destroyed by affliction. 

[1] Indeed, abandonment reveals virtue which is hidden.

[2] When the former has been neglected, it reestablishes it through punishment.

[3] And it becomes the cause of salvation for others.

[4] And when virtue has become preeminent, it teaches humility to those which possess it [only] in part.

[5] Indeed, he hates the evil which is the cause of the experience.  Now experience is the offspring of abandonment, and this abandonment is the daughter of apatheia.

< Frb 551 > ρλβ. μνημονευε τα πεντε της δοκιμασιας ειδη ινα εχηις ορθωσαι τους ολιγοψυχους και τους λυπηι εκλυομενους· [1] η δε κρυπτη αρετη δια δοκιμασιας αποκαλυπτεται [2] και η αμελουμενη δια καταδικης μετανερχεται [3] και γιγνεται αιτια ζωης τοις αλλοις, [4] και ει η πρακτικη μετα της γνωσεως συνυπαρχει τους αυτην κεκτημενους διδασκει ταπεινοφροσυνην. [5] μισει γαρ την κακιαν ο αυτης πειραν λαβων η δε πειρα εκγονος εστι δοκιμασιας, η δε δοκιμασια θυγατηρ της απαθειας {̣} [ισως· της δε δοκιμ. θυγατ. η απαθεια].

[Guil rtrv. 136]  { γενικοὶ ἐγκαταλείψεων τρόποι . . . ὅτι μιδεῖ κακίαν ὁ πειραθεὶς κακίαν, πεῖρα δὲ τῆς ἐγκαταλείψεως ἔγγονος in Max Conf;} but here prob; αἰτίαι - εἴδη

[1 137] διὰ κεκρυμμένην ἀρετήν, ἵνα φανερωθῃ, . . .[2 138] πρὸς δοκιμήν . . .πρὸς κόλασιν;  [3, 139] πρὸς διόρθωσιν ἄλλου . . . πρὸς διόρθωσιν καὶ σωτηρίαν;  [4, 139] προηγουμένης τῆς ἀρετῆς;  [5, 139] θυγάτηρ δοκιμῆς . . . ἔγγονος . . . ἀπάθεια

       29.  Those you teach are saying to you always: “[Friend], go up higher (Lk. 14:10).  It would, indeed,  be shameful (cf. Lk 14:9) having [once] ascended, for you to be brought down again by your hearers.[16]

κθ´  Οἱ διδασκόμενοι λεγέτωσάν σοι ἀεὶ τό· προσανάβηθι  ἄνω· αἰσχρὸν γάρ ἐστιν ἀναβάντα σε πάλιν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀκουόντων κατενεχθῆναι

       30.  Avarice lies not in possessing money, but in longing for it.  The steward is said to be a reasoning purse.[19]

λ´ Φιλάργυρός ἐστιν οὐχ ὁ ἔχων χρήματα, ἀλλ' ὁ εφιέμενος τούτων· τὸν γὰρ οἰκονόμον εἶναί φασι βαλάντιον λογικόν.

       31.  Exhort the elders to mastery of anger and the young to mastery of the stomach.  For against the former strive the demons of the soul, and against the latter, for the most part, those of the body.

λα´ Γέροντας μὲν θυμοῦ, τοὺς δὲ νέους γαστρὸς κρατεῖν παρακάλει· τοὺς μὲν γὰρ οἱ ψυχικοί, τοὺς δὲ ἐπὶ πλεῖστον οἱ σωματικοὶ διαμάχονται δαίμονες.

       32.  Close your mouth to those who slander in your hearing; and do not be amazed when you are accused by many, for this is a temptation from the demons.  For it is necessary for the gnostikos to be free from hatred and memory of evil,[20] even when this is not what he wants.

λβ´Ἔμφραττε στόματα τῶν καταλαλούντων ἐν ἀκοαῖς σου· καὶ μὴ θαυμάσῃς ὑπὸ πλείστων κατηγορούμενος· οὗτος γὰρ ὁ πειρασμὸς ἐκ δαιμόνων· τὸν γὰρ γνωστικὸν ἐλεύθερον εἶναι δεῖ μίσους καὶ μνησικακίας, καὶ μὴ βουλομένων.

       33. [Although] unaware of it, he is himself cured - the one healing others through the Lord.  For the medicine which the gnostikos applies cures his neighbor insofar as it can, but [it cures] him of necessity.

λγ´ Λέληθεν ἴσως ἑαυτὸν θεραπεύων ὁ διὰ τὸν Κύριον τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἰώμενος· ὃ γὰρ προσάγει φάρμακον ὁ γνωστικός, τὸν μὲν πλησίον ἐνδεχομένως, ἑαυτὸν δὲ { ἀναγκαίως } ἰᾶται.

       34.  You must not interpret spiritually everything that lends itself to allegory, but rather only that which is fiting to the subject; because if you do not act thus, you pass much time on Jonas’ boat, explaining every part of its equipment.  And you will be humorous to your listeners, rather than useful to them: all of these sitting around you will remind you of this or  that equipment, and by laughing [they] will remind you of what you have forgotten.

λδ´ < Frb. 551 > ρλξ.  ου παντα ρηματα προς αλληγοριας πεφυκοτα πνευματικως εξηγησαι αλλα τα την υποθεσιν ωφελουντα· τουτο γαρ μη ποιων χρονον πολυν καταναλωσεις διεξηγουμενος περι του Ιωνα πλοιου· βιαζομενος εν τι των του πλοιου σκευων διεξιων προς αλληγοριαν εκλαβειν ου μονον ουκ ωφελεις τους ακροωμενους· αλλα και καταγαλαστος αυτοις γιγνηι, παντων των ακουοντων σοι περι των του πλοιου σκευων γνωριζοντων τε και το αν πλανωμενον δια πολλου γελωτος · προφεροντων.

[Guil rtrv.. 152-153]  ...πάντα οἷα ἀλληγορίαν ἐπιδέχεσθαί ἐστι ... πρᾶγμα ...τῶν σκευῶν τῶν ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ


       35.  Invite the monks who come to you to speak concerning ethics, but not concerning doctrine, unless there are found some who could be devoted to these matters.

< Frb 551 > ρλη.  αναπειθε τους μοναχους σοι παραβαλλοντας ενα εκαστον περι των ειδων της θεοσεβειας και της εναρετου πολιτειας σοι διαλεγεσθαι, περι δε διδαχης της θεου γνωσεως μη· πλην ει τις υπαρχει και περι τουτου ποσως λεγειν δυναμενος.

[Guil rtrv.154-155] ... παρακάλει ... περὶ ἠθικῆς ... περὶ τῶν δογμάτων ... ὕλαι

       36.  [You must] keep hidden from seculars and from the young the exalted logoi concerning judgement, for this easily engenders [their] contempt: for they do not understand the suffering of the reasoning soul condemned to ignorance.[21]

λς´  Λανθανέτω τοὺς κοσμικοὺς καὶ τοὺς νέους ὁ περὶ κρίσεως ὑψηλότερος λόγος, γεννῶν ῥᾳδίως τὴν καταφρόνησιν· οὐ γὰρ ἴσασιν ὀδύνην ψυχῆς λογικῆς καταδικασθείσης τὴν ἄγνοιαν.


[1] Guil: (106) πρακτική, φυσική, θεολογική, ... λέγιν καὶ πράττειν ... τὰ μέσα or perhaps τὰ ἀδιάφορα.

[2] Guil (108-109): perhaps χρηστότατοι; S2  “the elected [chosen]; the elite;” S2 [reading uncertail] “superiors, excellents”; S1 those zealous in the fear of God;” Arm “those who very much fear God,” causes one to think of θεοσεβέστατοι.  “only” in Frb is absent from the other versions of S1

[3] Not in Guil: see In Prov. 104 with footnote ref. there to KG 5:32, evidently on significance of vessels of wine ant water

[4] G.110 prob. κράτος  

[5] Guil p. 116: Si and S3 have “source and beginning” suggesting πηγὴ καὶ ἀρχή / found in Plato (Phaed 245c); but the first term is absent from Arm. and S2.

[6] Guillaumont pp. 116-117: S1  “The allegories of the mysteries and the simple (things).”  S2 “The allegories and the subjects of books, those that are spoken of in symbols and those that are known openly, and in a simple way,” Arm. “The questions, those that are simple and those that are controversial.  S3 to a great extent illegible.  Greek text probably τὰ αλληγορούμενα... τὰ ἁπλᾶ.  

[7] Guillaumont  prefers the S3 reading that appears to translate δόγμα,, as contrasted with S1  seems to have read τὰ τάγματα instead of τὰ δόγματα.

[8] Ibid., “whether it is... Unity”: Text of S3 There is great disagreement among the versions on this point.  S1 “and whether it refers simply to the former, or designates the name of some other [thing] with it.”

[9] Guil (118) prob. θεωρία ψιλή.

[10] Guil (118) Prophecy προφητεία  in the sense of “account” [“story”].  In In Ps 76,21 (Pitra III, p. 109) in an important development on the four senses of Scripture profhtei/a is made to correspond with  τὸ ἱστορικόν, that is to say the account [story].

[11] Guil p. 118: fn 19 The customary [expressions] , literally, “habitual” ἔθος or συνήθεια: an expression used frequently by Evagrius, also by Origen, to designate the habits of  language of the Scriptures, see e.g. in Ps 15.9 (PG 12, 1216 a) : “It is , in effect, a custom (ἔθος) for the sacred Scripture (τῇ θείᾳ γραφῇ)  to speak of the heart instead of the intellect;” the same formula in Ps 64.10 (Pitra III, p. 75), 93, 5 (Ibid., p. 176) and 142,8 (Ibid., p. 351).  The same expression with συνήθεια in Ps. 83,12 (Ibid., p. 145): :It is a habit (lege συνήθεια) of the sacred Scripture ...” see also in Prov 1,9 (Sch 7, p. 96 and the note of Géhin p. 99.)

[12] [Guil p. 119 fn 19] prob. τεκμήριον

[13]*Mt 6:16 - gloominess of fasting Pharisees; Lk 24:17 - sadness of disciples on Emmaus road who did not yet know it was the Lord: both are in ignorance of the real logoi underlying their immediate existence, but the second group will soon be shown how to experience God in the Scriptures, and then they will see Jesus there with them

[14] literally “times”

[15] Guil describes classical and technical use of διήγησις, explication, interpretation and ζήτησις, discussion or research. Two levels of pedagogy: the first in which the disciple attends to the words of the master; the second for the very advanced, consisting of  “investigative discussion” with questions between master and disciple on “free” or indifferent questions.

[16] Guil says this is a reminder to speak only at the level of the hearers, and to “ascend” only as they are able to follow

[17] aor imperat act 2nd sg of προσαναβαίνω  

[18] κατενεχθῆναι= aor. inf. pas. of καταφέρω, to bring down, demolish.

[19] cf. Lk 16:3 and KG V,33, (linking this ch. and preceding  - 29 - ) where iniquitous steward’s fate is linked to angry teaching and (condemnation?) of hermit to be among the “quarrelsome (demons in next judgement?).

[20] in the sense of vengefulness or “memory of injury.”

[21] Guil 156: the logoi: This is the theory pertaining to the destiny of reasoning beings, incomprehensible for those who are as yet insufficiently purified by the praktikos. On the reasons of providence and judgement (cf. Philoxenus: “The sayings concerning the providence and the judgement of God”) see Ch. 48.





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