Athanasius Contra Gentes

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » November 27th, 2019, 1:35 pm

§ 38.3 καὶ ἡ τάξις δὲ αὕτη τῆς διακοσμήσεως, καὶ ἡ τῶν πάντων μεθ' ὁμονοίας ἁρμονία, οὐ πολλοὺς ἀλλ' ἕνα τὸν αὐτῆς ἄρχοντα καὶ ἡγεμόνα δείκνυσι Λόγον. οὐκ ἂν γάρ, εἴπερ ἦσαν πολλοὶ τῆς κτίσεως ἄρχοντες, ἐσώζετο τοιαύτη τάξις τῶν πάντων· ἀλλ' ἦν πάλιν ἄτακτα πάντα διὰ τοὺς πολλούς, ἕλκοντος ἑκάστου πρὸς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ βούλησιν τὰ πάντα, καὶ μαχομένου πρὸς τὸν ἕτερον. ὥσπερ γὰρ ἐλέγομεν τὴν πολυθεότητα ἀθεότητα εἶναι, οὕτως ἀνάγκη τὴν πολυαρχίαν ἀναρχίαν εἶναι. ἑκάστου γὰρ τὴν τοῦ ἑτέρου ἀρχὴν ἀναιροῦντος, οὐδεὶς ἐφαίνετο λοιπὸν ὁ ἄρχων, ἀλλ' ἦν ἀναρχία παρὰ πᾶσιν. ἔνθα δὲ μὴ ἔστιν ἄρχων, ἐκεῖ πάντως ἀταξία γίνεται.
§ 38.3 So then this order of its arrangement, and the concordant harmony of all things, shews that the Word, its Ruler and Governor, is not many, but One. For if there were more than one Ruler of Creation, such an universal order would not be maintained, but all things would fall into confusion because of their plurality, each one biasing the whole to his own will, and striving with the other. For just as we said that polytheism was atheism, so it follows that the rule of more than one is the rule of none. For each one would cancel the rule of the other, and none would appear ruler, but there would be anarchy everywhere. But where no ruler is, there disorder follows of course. — John Henry Newman


More examples of Embedding the protasis within the apodosis:

Athanasius Contra Gentes

§ 1.4
οὐκ ἂν γάρ, εἴπερ ἦσαν καὶ αὐτοὶ γνησίως ἐπιστήσαντες αὐτοῦ τῇ θεότητι τὸν νοῦν, ἐχλεύαζον τὸ τηλικοῦτον·

For they would not have scoffed at such a fact, had they, too, been men who genuinely gave heed to His divine Nature.
— John Henry Newman

§ 10.3
... οὐκ ἂν γάρ, εἴπερ ᾔδεισαν αὐτοὺς θεούς, ὡς ἀπολομένους ἐκόψαντο ...

... for had they known them to be gods they would not have lamented them as if they had perished ...
— John Henry Newman

Athanasius De sententia Dionysii 23.2.7
οὐκ ἂν γάρ, εἴπερ ἦν νοήσας, κατεψεύδετο τοσοῦτον κατὰ τοῦ ἐπισκόπου
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Barry Hofstetter » November 29th, 2019, 1:40 pm

Sounds like you're getting a good handle on Athanasius' style. Generally periodic, but at the same time somewhat idiosyncratic in the way he handles his periodicity. I must admit I sometimes shake my head at Newman's translation, however...
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » December 4th, 2019, 2:43 pm

§ 40.1 Τίς ἂν εἴη οὗτος; καὶ τοῦτο γὰρ ἀναγκαῖον μάλιστα δηλῶσαι καὶ λέγειν, ἵνα μή, τῇ περὶ τοῦτον ἀγνοίᾳ πλανηθείς τις, ἕτερον ὑπολάβῃ, καὶ εἰς τὴν αὐτὴν πάλιν τοῖς πρότερον ἀθεότητα ἐμπέσῃ. νομίζω δὲ μηδένα περὶ τούτου τὴν διάνοιαν ἀμφίβολον ἔχειν. εἰ γὰρ δὴ τοὺς παρὰ ποιηταῖς λεγομένους θεοὺς οὐκ εἶναι θεοὺς ὁ λόγος ἔδειξε, καὶ τοὺς τὴν κτίσιν θεοποιοῦντας ἤλεγξε πλανωμένους, καὶ καθόλου τὴν τῶν ἐθνῶν εἰδωλολατρείαν ἀθεότητα καὶ ἀσέβειαν οὖσαν ἀπέδειξεν· ἀνάγκη πᾶσα τούτων ἀναιρουμένων, λοιπὸν παρ' ἡμῖν εἶναι τὴν εὐσεβῆ θρησκείαν, καὶ τὸν παρ' ἡμῶν προσκυνούμενον, καὶ κηρυττόμενον τοῦτον μόνον εἶναι Θεὸν ἀληθῆ, τὸν καὶ τῆς κτίσεως Κύριον καὶ πάσης ὑποστάσεως δημιουργόν.
§ 40.1 Who then might this Maker be? for this is a point most necessary to make plain, lest, from ignorance with regard to him, a man should suppose the wrong maker, and fall once more into the same old godless error, but I think no one is really in doubt about it. For if our argument has proved that the gods of the poets are no gods, and has convicted of error those that deify creation, and in general has shewn that the idolatry of the heathen is godlessness and impiety, it strictly follows from the elimination of these that the true religion is with us, and that the God we worship and preach is the only true One, Who is Lord of Creation and Maker of all existence. — John Henry Newman
Some elaborate theological language in this treatise. Not sure what to do with τὸν, possibly match it with Θεὸν.
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Bruce McKinnon
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Bruce McKinnon » December 4th, 2019, 4:38 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 2:43 pm
§ 40.1 Τίς ἂν εἴη οὗτος; καὶ τοῦτο γὰρ ἀναγκαῖον μάλιστα δηλῶσαι καὶ λέγειν, ἵνα μή, τῇ περὶ τοῦτον ἀγνοίᾳ πλανηθείς τις, ἕτερον ὑπολάβῃ, καὶ εἰς τὴν αὐτὴν πάλιν τοῖς πρότερον ἀθεότητα ἐμπέσῃ. νομίζω δὲ μηδένα περὶ τούτου τὴν διάνοιαν ἀμφίβολον ἔχειν. εἰ γὰρ δὴ τοὺς παρὰ ποιηταῖς λεγομένους θεοὺς οὐκ εἶναι θεοὺς ὁ λόγος ἔδειξε, καὶ τοὺς τὴν κτίσιν θεοποιοῦντας ἤλεγξε πλανωμένους, καὶ καθόλου τὴν τῶν ἐθνῶν εἰδωλολατρείαν ἀθεότητα καὶ ἀσέβειαν οὖσαν ἀπέδειξεν· ἀνάγκη πᾶσα τούτων ἀναιρουμένων, λοιπὸν παρ' ἡμῖν εἶναι τὴν εὐσεβῆ θρησκείαν, καὶ τὸν παρ' ἡμῶν προσκυνούμενον, καὶ κηρυττόμενον τοῦτον μόνον εἶναι Θεὸν ἀληθῆ, τὸν καὶ τῆς κτίσεως Κύριον καὶ πάσης ὑποστάσεως δημιουργόν.
...

Some elaborate theological language in this treatise. Not sure what to do with τὸν, possibly match it with Θεὸν.
That makes sense to me, in the context of what has been said in the previous lines.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Barry Hofstetter » December 4th, 2019, 11:52 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 2:43 pm
Some elaborate theological language in this treatise. Not sure what to do with τὸν, possibly match it with Θεὸν.
καὶ τὸν παρ' ἡμῶν προσκυνούμενον, καὶ κηρυττόμενον τοῦτον μόνον εἶναι Θεὸν ἀληθῆ, τὸν καὶ τῆς κτίσεως Κύριον καὶ πάσης ὑποστάσεως δημιουργόν.

This part is nicely rhetorical. Two ways to look at it: that the first τόν is to be taken with θεόν and everything within is attributive, or better, that it is used to substantize the participles, and then θεόν is predicate, "the one worshipped and preached by us, this one alone is the true God..." The second τόν is then anaphoric and shows that κύριον, δημιουργόν and θεόν have the same referent, "the one who is the Lord of all creation and the creator of all substance."
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » December 5th, 2019, 12:12 pm

Bruce McKinnon wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 4:38 pm
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 2:43 pm
§ 40.1 καὶ κηρυττόμενον τοῦτον μόνον εἶναι Θεὸν ἀληθῆ, τὸν καὶ τῆς κτίσεως Κύριον καὶ πάσης ὑποστάσεως δημιουργόν.
...
Not sure what to do with τὸν, possibly match it with Θεὸν.
That makes sense to me, in the context of what has been said in the previous lines.
Yes, Athanasius never leaves us in doubt about what he wants to say. There is an information redundancy surplus evident throughout Contra Gentes and On the Incarnation. Contra Gentes has received some bad press in regard to this over abundance of redundancy. Also, some of his argument is open to criticism in regard to logic. There are syllogisms which are less than compelling.

On the other hand, overlooking the logical flaws, the text might be read as an extended meditation on Romans 1:18 ff. For students of theology proper the redundancy is a benefit not a liability. A careful reading of Contra Gentes really nails down the fundamentals of Orthodox Theism.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » December 5th, 2019, 2:47 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 11:52 pm
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 2:43 pm
Some elaborate theological language in this treatise. Not sure what to do with τὸν, possibly match it with Θεὸν.
καὶ τὸν παρ' ἡμῶν προσκυνούμενον, καὶ κηρυττόμενον τοῦτον μόνον εἶναι Θεὸν ἀληθῆ, τὸν καὶ τῆς κτίσεως Κύριον καὶ πάσης ὑποστάσεως δημιουργόν.

Two ways to look at it: that the first τόν is to be taken with θεόν and everything within is attributive, or better, that it is used to substantize the participles, and then θεόν is predicate, "the one worshipped and preached by us, this one alone is the true God..." The second τόν is then anaphoric and shows that κύριον, δημιουργόν and θεόν have the same referent, "the one who is the Lord of all creation and the creator of all substance."
RE: Two Ways

Which is why I was undecided.

RE: Rhetoric
This part is nicely rhetorical.
What you see depends on where your at. A Philologist sees rhetoric. Information structure is a different concept. My notion of "packages" falls vaguely under information structure but isn't an extension any particular school of thought. It's just an idea I am exploring without reference to any other framework. Not really promoting it, just thinking about it.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » December 5th, 2019, 3:46 pm

καὶ τὸν παρ' ἡμῶν προσκυνούμενον, καὶ κηρυττόμενον τοῦτον μόνον εἶναι Θεὸν ἀληθῆ, τὸν καὶ τῆς κτίσεως Κύριον καὶ πάσης ὑποστάσεως δημιουργόν.
One detail that caught my attention was the position of ἀληθῆ after Θεὸν. This breaks up the package which lends weight to reading τὸν with the participles. If that doesn't make sense, don't worry about it.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Barry Hofstetter » December 5th, 2019, 11:49 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
December 5th, 2019, 2:47 pm

RE: Two Ways

Which is why I was undecided.

RE: Rhetoric
This part is nicely rhetorical.
What you see depends on where your at. A Philologist sees rhetoric. Information structure is a different concept. My notion of "packages" falls vaguely under information structure but isn't an extension any particular school of thought. It's just an idea I am exploring without reference to any other framework. Not really promoting it, just thinking about it.
Plenty of room for both perspectives, and a lot more overlap than many people realize.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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