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Headword: *profhtei/a
Adler number: pi,2923
Translated headword: the prophetic gift
Vetting Status: high
One [kind of prophecy] is spiritual, the other diabolical; for the word propheteiai ["the gifts of prophecy"], is said homonymously in reference to both. There is [also a kind of prophecy] intermediate between these [two] based on natural ability or skill, [and another kind which is] common and vulgar. The spiritual kind of prophecy belongs primarily to the saints, but through [the divine] economy also to those who are not, like the Pharaoh and Balaam and Caiaphas. The gift of the diabolical is for worshippers of the devil only, for of this type are flour-diviners and barley-diviners, the Pythia and the priestess of Dodona who divine through trees or those who divine through entrails and the flights of birds and the augury of sounds and sneezes and words of omen and thunder and mice and polecats and the squeaks of wood and the ringing of the ears and the twitching of the mouth and through the names of the dead and the stars and the waters and other countless things. The interpretation of dreams is [practiced] among us also, and is also [accomplished] by inspiration. For them foresight did not come from virtue, as with us, but from some bad art. God foretells and gives the interpretation, and the conclusion is reached with full precision. But they sometimes speak truth by chance but fail for the most part. The natural [kind of prophecy] comes from irrational animals: for swallows and cranes and ants can sense the coming winter, as well as hedgehogs and kingfishers; they get this from nature. The art of prophecy by skill is for doctors and augurs and helmsmen, for doctors foretell sicknesses and their cures, helmsmen predict the changes of winds, and augurs guess the future by some understanding. The common and vulgar knowledge of the future [is] such as that winter will come after three months, for everyone can predict from the regular cycles. It is nothing great for demons to know the future, since in some places the ants have that gift and men are clever guessers of the future. But they do not know everything always, since the devil prophesied about the knowledge of good and evil, and it happened. And Balaam foretold that [they should] stop the prostitutes and that Israel would be betrayed because of them; and thus it happened. This is guesswork rather than foresight, for such prophecies have nothing remarkable about them.[1]
A characteristic of prophecy [is] proffering the tongue ready for service to the grace of the Spirit.[2]
Greek Original:
*profhtei/a: h( me/n e)sti pneumatikh/, h( de\ diabolikh/, le/gontai ga\r kai\ par' e)kei/nois o(mwnu/mws profhtei=ai, h( de\ me/sh tou/twn fusikh/ tis h)\ texnikh/, h( de\ koinh\ kai\ dhmw/dhs. th=s me\n ou)=n pneumatikh=s prohgoume/nws me\n toi=s a(gi/ois me/testi: di' oi)konomi/an de\ kai\ toi=s mh\ toiou/tois, w(s tw=| *faraw=| kai\ tw=| *balaa\m kai\ *kai+a/fa|. th=s de\ diabolikh=s toi=s tou/tou mo/non qerapeutai=s: au)tou= ga\r oi( a)leuroma/nteis kai\ kriqoma/nteis kai\ h( dia\ druo\s *puqi/a kai\ h( *dwdw/nhs i(e/reia kai\ h( dia\ spla/gxnwn kai\ pthse/wn o)rne/wn kai\ klaggw=n sumbo/lwn te kai\ ptarmw=n kai\ klhdo/nwn kai\ brontw=n muw=n te kai\ galh=s kai\ trismw=n cu/lwn kai\ w)/twn h)/xwn kai\ palmw=n sw/matos kai\ di' o)noma/twn nekrw=n te kai\ a)/strwn kai\ u(da/twn kai\ a)/llwn muri/wn. h( ga\r di' o)nei/rwn kai\ par' h(mi=n, dia\ katoxh=s me\n kai\ au(/th, h( de\ pro/gnwsis au)toi=s ou) di' a)reth=s, w(s h(mi=n, a)lla\ dia/ tinos kakotexni/as. kai\ o( me\n qeo\s prole/gwn kai\ th\n lu/sin u(poti/qetai, kai\ to\ pe/ras meta\ pa/shs a)kribei/as gi/netai, e)kei=noi de\ kata\ sumbebhko\s e)/n tisin a)lhqeu/ousin, e)n toi=s plei/stois diamarta/nontes. fusikh\ de\ h( tw=n a)lo/gwn: xelido/nes ga\r kai\ ge/ranoi kai\ mu/rmhkes e)pio/ntos xeimw=nos ai)sqa/nontai, e)xi=noi te kai\ a)lkuo/nes, fu/sei tou=to kthsa/menoi. h( de\ texnikh\ profhtei/a para\ i)atroi=s kai\ sumbo/lois kai\ kubernh/tais: oi( me\n ga\r a)rrwsti/as kai\ ta\s lu/seis tou/twn prole/gousin, oi( de\ pneuma/twn metabola/s, oi( de\ tou= me/llontos sune/sei katastoxazo/menoi. h( de\ koinh\ kai\ dhmw/dhs tou= me/llontos gnw=sis, oi(=on o(/ti meta\ mh=nas g# o( xeimw\n gi/netai: pa/ntes ga\r e)/xousi ta\s e)k perio/dwn prorrh/seis. ou)de\n ou)=n me/ga kai\ dai/monas pro/gnwsin e)/xein, o(/pou ge kai\ mu/rmhkes e)/xousi, kai\ deinoi\ a)/nqrwpoi tou= me/llontos katastoxastai/ ei)sin, a)ll' ou)x w(s pa/ntws h)\ pa/nta ei)de/nai, e)pei\ kai\ o( dia/bolos proefh/teuse tou= ginw/skein kalo\n kai\ ponhro/n, kai\ e)ge/neto. kai\ o( *balaa\m proei=pen, o(/ti po/rnas sth=son, kai\ prodoqh/setai di' au)ta\s o( *)israh/l, kai\ ge/gonen ou(/tws. o(/per stoxasmo/s e)sti ma=llon h)\ pro/rrhsis: ou)de\n ga\r para/docon ai( toiau=tai profhtei=ai e)/xousi. profhtei/as de\ i)/dion, to\ th\n glw=ttan pare/xein u(pourgo\n th=| tou= pneu/matos xa/riti.
cf. generally pi 2922.
[1] George the Monk, Chronicon 237.20-239.15.
[2] An additional remark from an unidentifiable Christian source.
Keywords: biography; botany; Christianity; definition; dreams; ethics; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; medicine; religion; women; zoology
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 23 July 2000@08:23:10.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (began to modify translation) on 14 September 2004@12:25:49.
Catharine Roth (further modification) on 14 September 2004@16:57:37.
Catharine Roth (futher modified translation, added note, set status) on 14 September 2004@17:19:27.
David Whitehead (tweaks to tr; x-ref) on 15 September 2004@03:03:43.
David Whitehead (another note; more keywords) on 17 May 2011@06:26:19.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking) on 21 October 2013@06:14:40.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 10 November 2014@10:56:08.


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