Origen on Ezekiel update

I’ve just had an email from the translator that a rough draft of all of homily 1 has been completed.  This is a long homily, so is excellent news. I’ve not seen it yet, tho.

I have seen the draft of the first two chapters, and have commented on it. It’s an excellent translation, fairly literal but very readable.

One interesting issue that has arisen is where Jerome uses the Latin word tormentis to represent whatever Origen’s now lost Greek word was. Context is that God inflicts tormentis on sinners to drive them back to right living, and that fathers do the same to their sons. But all the dictionaries I can see render that as “tortures”! Origen then goes on to day that this rebuts the argument of the heretics, that God is cruel.

Do we render this as “torments” or “tortures”?  It makes it read quite oddly, to do so.  Yet… if that is what Origen wrote…


5 thoughts on “Origen on Ezekiel update

  1. My guess is that the original Greek word is μαρτυριο. Then again this is a guess

  2. Sounds suspiciously similar to what Clement (Miscellanies 4.81.2-4.83.2) reports about the second century Alexandrian writer Basilides:

    {Basilides, in Book 23 of his “Commentaries,” speaks of those who suffer punishment as martyrs, with the following words:} I believe that all who experience the so-called tribulations must have committed sins other than what they realize, and so have been brought to this good end. Through the kindness of that which leads each one of them about, they are actually accused of an extraneous set of charges so they might not have to suffer as confessed criminals convicted of crimes, nor be reviles as adulterers or murderers, but rather might suffer because they are disposed by nature to be Christian. And this encourages them to think that they are not suffering. But even if a person should happen to suffer without having sinned at all – which is rare – still, that person’s suffering is not caused by the plotting of some power. Rather, it is analogous to the sufffering of a new-born baby, who seems not to have sinned.

    {Then, farther along, he adds:} A new-born baby, then, has never sinned before; or more precisely it has not actually committed any sins, but within itself it has the activity of sinning. Whenever it experiences suffering, it receives benefit, profiting by many unpleasant experiences. Just so, if by chance a grown man has not sinned by deed and yet suffers, he suffered the suffering for the same reason as the new-born baby: he has within him sinfulness, and the only reason he has not sinned (in deed) is because he has not had the occasion to do so. Thus not sinning cannot be imputed to him. Indeed, someone who intends to commit adultery is an adulterer even without succeeding in the act, and someone who intends to commit murder is a murderer even without being able to commit the act. Just so, if I see the aforementioned sinless person suffering despite having done no wrong, I must call that person evil by intent to sin. For I will say anything rather than call providence evil. {Then, farther along, he speaks of the Lord outright as of a human being:

    Nevertheless, let us suppose that you leave aside all these matters and set out to embarrass me by referring to certain figures, saying perhaps, “And consequently so-and-so must have sinned, since he suffered!” If you permit, I shall say that he did not sin, but was like the new-born baby that suffers. But if you press the argument, I shall say that any human being that you can name is human; God is righteous. For no one is pure of uncleanness, as someone once said. {Actually, Basilides’ presupposition is that the soul previously sinned in another life and undergoes its punishment in the present one. Excellent souls are punished honorably, by martyrdom; other kinds are purified by some other appropriate punishment.

  3. It can also mean ‘pressure’, as Blaise says in the Dictionaire Latin-Francais des Auteurs Chretiens, p. 820 Look at Tertullians An 14, where he uses it for the hydraulic organ. It can also has the meaning of “pain”. In Scorp it is also used several times. And also Iei, with a similar meaning: “Teneo igitur a primordio homicidam gulam tormentis atque suppliciis inediae puniendam, etiamsi deus nulla ieiunia praecepisset.”

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