Mike Baber wrote:
μετὰ δὲ τὴν τοῦ νοητοῦ φωτὸς ἀνάλαμψιν, ὃ πρὸ ἡλίου γέγονεν, ὑπεχώρει τὸ ἀντίπαλον σκότος, διατειχίζοντος ἀπʼ ἀλλήλων αὐτὰ καὶ διιστάντος θεοῦ τοῦ τὰς ἐναντιότητας εὖ εἰδότος καὶ τὴν ἐκ φύσεως αὐτῶν διαμάχην ἵνʼ οὖν μὴ αἰεὶ συμφερόμεναι στασιάζωσι καὶ πόλεμος ἀντʼ εἰρήνης ἐπικρατῇ τὴν ἀκοσμίαν ἐν κόσμῳ τιθείς, οὐ μόνον ἐχώρισε φῶς καὶ σκότος, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὅρους ἐν μέσοις ἔθετο διαστήμασιν, οἷς ἀνεῖρξε τῶν ἄκρων ἑκάτερον• ἔμελλε γὰρ γειτνιῶντα σύγχυσιν ἀπεργάζεσθαι τῷ περὶ δυναστείας ἀγῶνι κατὰ πολλὴν καὶ ἄπαυστον φιλονεικίαν ἐπαποδυόμενα, εἰ μὴ μέσοι παγέντες ὅροι διέζευξαν καὶ διέλυσαν τὴν ἀντεπίθεσιν
I think you've bitten off considerably more than you can chew. Philo writes complex periods -- intelligible, but involving sometimes intricate syntactic relationships that have to be grasped in the sequence in which they were composed, not in a "decoding" process based on a written text where you can skip about from beginning to end and back to the middle. I'm going to attempt to answer the questions first and deal with how best to English this text later.
Mike Baber wrote:1. How did θεοῦ manage to be declined in the genitive? I can't figure it out. I know there are many reasons why a noun can be declined in the genitive, but I just can't determine why it occurred with θεοῦ (and all the participles that modify it) in that passage..
διατειχίζοντος ἀπʼ ἀλλήλων αὐτὰ καὶ διιστάντος θεοῦ τοῦ τὰς ἐναντιότητας εὖ εἰδότος καὶ τὴν ἐκ φύσεως αὐτῶν διαμάχην is a lengthy but intelligible genitive absolute construction that provides the underlying explanation for the clause ending with ὑπεχώρει τὸ ἀντίπαλον σκότος. Θεοῦ is the subject, τοῦ τὰς ἐναντιότητας εὖ εἰδότος καὶ τὴν ἐκ φύσεως αὐτῶν διαμάχην is a relative clause giving a reason for God’s determination to separate the darkness from the light. διατειχίζοντος ἀπʼ ἀλλήλων αὐτὰ καὶ διιστάντος, finally, is the predicate of θεοῦ: If the Greek genitive absolute is Englished as an English nominative absolute, the admittedly awkward equivalent might be: “God partitioning and distancing them from each other, because he well knew their opposed natures and their innate disposition to war with each other.”
Mike Baber wrote:2. διατειχίζοντος ἀπʼ ἀλλήλων αὐτὰ καὶ διιστάντος - should I understand this as διατειχίζοντος ἀπʼ ἀλλήλων || καὶ διιστάντος αὐτὰ? In other words, is αὐτὰ the direct object of διιστάντος? And ἀπʼ ἀλλήλων is the prepositional phrase following διατειχίζοντος?
Yes, and yes … but I think I’d understand ἀπʼ ἀλλήλων with both the verbs, διατειχίζοντος and διιστάντος
Mike Baber wrote:
- this is a bit difficult for me to translate. I know it's something like neuter mid/pass nom/acc of ἐπαποδύω. But, kinda' lost here on making sense of it.
You’ve parsed it correctly but failed to see how the meaning fits; it’s a metaphor of personal combat, in effect, “gird up one’s loins to do battle against” = “prepare to fight against”.
Mike Baber wrote:Here's my rough translation:
After the shining forth of the imperceptible light that existed before the sun, the rival darkness was retreating…
νοητοῦ doesn’t mean “imperceptible” but “intelligible” in the sense of “visible to the νοῦς"
ὃ πρὸ ἡλίου γέγονεν = which existed prior to the sun in order of creation
…God, who divided one from another by a wall and parted them, well knowing the contrarieties and the struggle of their natures
… because God, who knew well their contrarieties and the utterly pugnacious natural disposition, partitioned them off from each other and set them apart.
Mike Baber wrote:Therefore, so that they would not always quarrel when they were brought together, and so that war would not prevail instead of peace, when He made disorder into order, not only did He divide light and darkness, but He also placed boundaries […], with which He restrained the extremities of each. For being neighbors, a confusion was about to be produced in the competition for supremacy, according to the great and incessant love of strife [ἐπαποδυόμενα], if the middle boundaries established had not thoroughly bridled and broken up the contention.
Here’s my own attempt to follow the sequence of the Greek text a bit more closely and do such justice to the Greek constructions as I could manage:
ἵνʼ οὖν μὴ αἰεὶ συμφερόμεναι στασιάζωσι καὶ πόλεμος ἀντʼ εἰρήνης ἐπικρατῇ τὴν ἀκοσμίαν ἐν κόσμῳ τιθείς, οὐ μόνον ἐχώρισε φῶς καὶ σκότος, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὅρους ἐν μέσοις ἔθετο διαστήμασιν, οἷς ἀνεῖρξε τῶν ἄκρων ἑκάτερον•
So in order that they might not always whirl about and be rebellious and so that war might not prevail instead of peace and produce (τιθείς) disorder in the midst of order, he (God) not only separated light and darkness, but also imposed boundaries between their separated steads, by means of which he walled off each of the extreme limits (τῶν ἄκρων ἑκάτερον).
ἔμελλε γὰρ γειτνιῶντα σύγχυσιν ἀπεργάζεσθαι τῷ περὶ δυναστείας ἀγῶνι κατὰ πολλὴν καὶ ἄπαυστον φιλονεικίαν ἐπαποδυόμενα, εἰ μὴ μέσοι παγέντες ὅροι διέζευξαν καὶ διέλυσαν τὴν ἀντεπίθεσιν).
For neighboring (upon each other) they were destined (ἔμελλε) to bring about confusion by their competition for the upper hand (δυναστείας) as they continually mobilized (ἐπαποδυόμενα) in course of long and ceaseless rivalry, if boundaries fixed (παγέντες) in the middle had not separated (them) and halted (διέλυσαν) their set-to (ἀντεπίθεσιν).
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
ἄτοπον, ἔφη, λέγεις εἰκόνα καὶ δεσμώτας ἀτόπους.
ὁμοίους ἡμῖν, ἦν δʼ ἐγώ. Plato, Rep. 7 (515a)