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Headword: Ὀρφεύς
Adler number: omicron,660
Translated headword: Orpheus
Vetting Status: high
In the days of the Hebrew Judges, after the monarchy of the Athenians had been suppressed, Orpheus was famous, a wise man learned in many mysteries. His doctrines concerning theogony are preserved, among them the following. He said that originally the aether was shown forth, having been fashioned by the god; and from that point chaos came from the aether, and fearsome night held everything down, and hid everything under the aether. Meaning the night had the advantage; he said the aether was something incomprehensible and was the highest of all things and more primeval and the supreme demiurge of all things. And he said the earth was invisible. But he said that the light shattered the aether and illuminated the earth and all its foundation, meaning the light is that supreme of all things, unapproachable, encompassing all. Which thing he named Will, Light, Life. These 3 names signified one and the same capacity and one power of the demiurgic god of all things, who leads all things from not-being into being, both seen and unseen. Concerning the race of men he said it too was fashioned by the demiurge god of all things, and that it had received a rational soul, following [sc. in this view] the doctrine of Moses.[1] He said the race of men was miserable and beset with many sufferings both spiritual and physical, receptive to both good and evil acts, and laboriously disposed concerning life's essentials.
Greek Original:
Ὀρφεύς: ὅτι ἐπὶ τῶν παρὰ Ἰουδαίοις Κριτῶν, καταλυθείσης τῆς βασιλείας Ἀθηναίων, Ὀρφεὺς ἐγνωρίζετο, σοφὸς ἄριστος γενόμενος καὶ πολλὰ μυστήρια διδαχθείς: φέρονται γὰρ αὐτοῦ καὶ περὶ θεογνωσίας λόγοι, ἐξ ὧν εἰσι ταῦτα. εἶπε γάρ, ὅτι ἐξαρχῆς ἀνεδείχθη ὁ αἰθὴρ ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ δημιουργηθείς: καὶ ἐντεῦθεν κἀκεῖθεν τοῦ αἰθέρος ἦν χάος, καὶ νὺξ φοβερὰ πάντα κατεῖχε καὶ ἐκάλυπτε τὰ ὑπὸ τὸν αἰθέρα: σημαίνων τὴν νύκτα προτερεύειν: εἰρηκὼς ἀκατάληπτόν τινα καὶ πάντων ὑπέρτατον εἶναι καὶ προγενέστερον καὶ δημιουργὸν ἁπάντων τόν τε ὑπέρτατον αἰθέρα: καὶ τὴν γῆν εἶπεν ἀόρατον. ἔφησε δέ, ὅτι τὸ φῶς ῥῆξαν τὸν αἰθέρα ἐφώτισε τὴν γῆν καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν κτίσιν, ἐκεῖνο εἰπὼν τὸ φῶς, τὸ ὑπέρτατον πάντων, τὸ ἀπρόσιτον, τὸ πάντα περιέχον: ὅπερ ὠνόμασε Βουλήν, Φῶς, Ζωήν. ταῦτα τὰ γ# ὀνόματα μίαν δύναμιν ἀπεφήνατο καὶ ἓν κράτος τοῦ δημιουργοῦ πάντων θεοῦ, τοῦ πάντα ἐκ τῶν μὴ ὄντων παραγαγόντος εἰς τὸ εἶναι, ὁρατῶν τε καὶ ἀοράτων. περὶ δὲ τοῦ γένους τῶν ἀνθρώπων εἶπεν, ὅτι καὶ αὐτὸ ὑπὸ τοῦ δημιουργοῦ πάντων καὶ θεοῦ ἐπλάσθη καὶ ψυχὴν ἔλαβε λογικήν, ἀκολουθήσας τοῖς Μωσέως: καὶ ταλαίπωρον εἰρηκὼς τὸ γένος τῶν ἀνθρώπων καὶ πολλοῖς ὑποκείμενον πάθεσι, ψυχικοῖς τε καὶ σωματικοῖς, δεκτικόν τε ἀγαθῶν καὶ πονηρῶν ἔργων καὶ τὰ πρὸς τὸ ζῆν ἀθλίως διακείμενον.
John of Antioch fr.14 FHG (4.548), now 25 Roberto.
For Orpheus see generally OCD(4) s.v. 'Orpheus', 'Orphic literature' (also relevant to omicron 654, omicron 655, omicron 656, omicron 657, omicron 658, omicron 661), and 'Orphism'.
[1] Moses: mu 1348.
Keywords: biography; chronology; ethics; geography; historiography; imagery; mythology; philosophy; religion; science and technology
Translated by: Ross Scaife ✝ on 24 November 2003@16:41:48.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (supplied notes; augmented keywords; cosmetics) on 25 November 2003@03:34:42.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking) on 23 July 2013@03:39:06.
David Whitehead on 6 August 2014@03:23:13.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 29 January 2015@11:31:47.


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