Origen’s “Selecta” and Tammuz

The Origen project translator has kindly translated the bit from the Selecta in Ezechielem about Tammuz:

On Ezek. 8.14

Mourning for Tammuz. It is said that the one called Adonis among the Greeks is named Tammuz among the Hebrews and Syrians. So then, in terms of the literal reading, the women were seen sitting “on the front porch of the north-facing gate of the Lord’s house” [i.e., the temple] and “mourning for Tammuz” in keeping with a certain Gentile practice belonging to those who are outside [true] religion †of the doors†. For they seem to perform certain mystic rites [τελεταί] yearly: first, they mourn for him as [though he is] dead; second, they rejoice over him as though he has risen from the dead. And those who are skilled in the symbolic interpretation [αναγωγή] of Greek myths and in the practice of “mythical theology” say that Adonis is a symbol of the fruits of the earth, which are lamented [as dead] when they are sown, but [afterwards] rise again and for this reason cause the farmers to rejoice as they grow. Thus, I think that those women who mourn for Tammuz are a symbol of those who yearn after the things of the world that are considered good, and bodily fruits / profits / rewards, but known nothing beyond material and perceptible things—they are pained by deprivation from these things, and pleased by their presence and the acquisition of such things. But all such people would rightly be considered to be womanish in soul.

He’s also taken a look at De la Rue’s introduction, which I partly translated last time, and adds:

To your account of PG 12:9 at the blog, note also that he says (regarding method of editing), that even if the catenae were unanimous in attributing something to Origen, if he found the comment in the published commentaries of other Fathers, he omitted it here. If there was disagreement on the attribution between different catenae, he omitted (perhaps, unless it was confirmed by agreement with the Latin translations of Rufinus or Jerome) — and that (unsurprisingly!) the fragments are often incomplete (interruptus) and sometimes corrupt (one would almost have to be an Oedipus to arrive at a conjecture!): hence bear with him if there are mistakes in his Latin translation of them…

He adds:

What still puzzles me is that Baehrens quotes a fair amount of text as “Sel. in Ezech.” which is *not* printed in the separate section of PG 13 but in footnotes to the text–which appear in PG, and in Lommatzsch are attributed to Delarue (“Ruaeus”). 

No doubt some note somewhere explains this, but I have yet to find it.  It might be worth going direct to De la Rue’s edition, rather than the reprint.


6 thoughts on “Origen’s “Selecta” and Tammuz

  1. Roger I just had a major cable television network in the US give the “green light” as they say over here for a documentary on a throne I discovered in Venice which originally comes from Alexandria. I would like to celebrate by initiating the translation of Origen’s Homily on Luke where I am led to believe the Alexandrian father reports that Marcion is said by the Marcionites to have been enthroned to the left of Jesus. I would like to then put it up on your site for free. Any idea how much it would cost to undertake this translation?

  2. Stephan, I’ll look into this when I get back to my books at the weekend.

    39 homilies on Luke are extant by Origen, in the Latin translation of Rufinus, if I recall correctly. I really don’t know how big a book that is, tho; the 14 homilies on Ezechiel will probably cost out at $3,500 or thereabouts. But this does not necessarily mean you could double it; the homilies vary wildly in length. The other problem is finding a translator; although I’m finding this not as bad as it once was. The homilies on Luke do exist in English, you know?

    Congratulations on the TV doc; tell us more! How did you get one interested?

  3. I imagine that perhaps it is a single homily you had in mind? It would be simple enough to commission your own translation of that, and probably not so very expensive. But more details when I know more about the homilies on Luke. Any idea which one it is?

  4. No I would want to have the whole Homily translated. There are a number of interesting references I have come across owing to the traditional association of Luke with the Marcionites among other things. The problem is that television documentaries don’t pay very well. I had no idea it was that much. You really deserve praise for your work commissioning translations.

    I would still like to take a collection and contribute a large portion of the money. Maybe a quarter of the cost. But I think the whole work is needed. I’ve said it before. You can’t imagine what an impact your work has on the world. It’s not just for my silly ideas. There must be hundreds if not thousands of people who live in areas (like my present location) which do not have good academic libraries.

    In any event I would pledge a quarter of the cost at the very least for the translation of the whole work. I bet it will end up being one of the most valuable works on Luke available anywhere.

  5. I appreciate the offer, and agree with you in principle. At the moment, tho, I’m running projects to translate Eusebius on the gospels; Origen on Ezechiel; Hunain ibn Ishaq on true and false proofs of religion plus commentary; and 4 Arabic christian theological treatises. I won’t commission anything more until I can get free of some of those.

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