ORPHIC FRAGMENT 60 - OTTO KERN

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For links to many more fragments: The Orphic Fragments of Otto Kern.


SUMMARY: Fragment 60 is a Neoplatonic explanation of first principles derived from Ιερός Λόγος σε 24 Ραψωδίες. These first principles being Time (Χρόνος), followed by aithír (αἰθήρ) and kháos (χάος). Next there is a discussion of the Egg from which Phánîs (Φάνης) leaps forth; Phánîs (Φάνης)Írikapaios (Ἠρικαπαῖος), and Mítis (Μῆτις) united as a triad, implying that the Ραψωδίες give these as names of the same God (Φάνης). 


60. (48) ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν Δαμασκίου 123 = 60 K. (I 316, 18 Ruelle):

ἐν μὲν τοίνυν ταῖς φερομέναις ταύταις ῾Ραψωιδίαις (v. fr. 54) ᾿Ορφικαῖς ἡ θεολογία ἥδε τίς ἐστιν ἡ περὶ τὸ νοητόν, ἣν καὶ οἱ φιλόσοφοι διερμηνεύουσιν, ἀντὶ μὲν τῆς μιᾶς τῶν ὅλων ἀρχῆς τὸν Χρόνον τιθέντες, ἀντὶ δὲ τοῖν δυεῖν Αἰθέρα | καὶ Χάος, ἀντὶ δὲ τοῦ ὄντος ἁπλῶς τὸ ὠιὸν ἀπολογιζόμενοι, καὶ τριάδα ταύτην πρώτην ποιοῦντες· εἰς δὲ τὴν δευτέραν τελεῖν ἤτοι τὸ κυούμενον καὶ τὸ κύον ὠιὸν τὸν θεὸν ἢ τὸν ἀργῆτα χιτῶνα, ἢ τὴν νεφέλην, ὅτι ἐκ τούτων ἐκθρώσκει ὁ Φάνης· ἄλλοτε γὰρ ἄλλα περὶ τοῦ μέσου φιλοσοφοῦσιν. τοῦτο μὲν [οὖν] ὁποῖον ἂν ἦι, ὡς τὸν νοῦν, ὡς δὲ πατέρα καὶ δύναμιν, ἄλλα τινὰ προσεπινοοῦντες οὐδὲν τῶι Ὀρφεῖ προσήκοντα, τὴν δὲ τρίτην τὸν Μῆτιν <ὡς νοῦν>, τὸν ᾿Ηρικεπαῖον ὡς δύναμιν, τὸν Φάνητα αὐτὸν ὡς πατέρα. μήποτε δὲ καὶ τὴν μέσην τριάδα θετέον κατὰ τὸν τρίμορφον θεὸν ἔτι κυόμενον ἐν τῷ ὠῷ· καὶ γὰρ καὶ τὸ μέσον ἀεὶ φαντάζει συναμφότερον τῶν ἄκρων, ὥσπερ καὶ τοῦτο ἅμα καὶ ὠὸν καὶ τρίμορφος ὁ θεός. καὶ ὁρᾷς ὅτι τὸ μὲν ὠόν ἐστιν τὸ ἡνωμένον, ὁ δὲ τρίμορφος καὶ πολύμορφος τῷ ὄντι θεὸς τὸ διακεκριμένον τοῦ νοητοῦ, τὸ δὲ μέσον κατὰ μὲν τὸ ὠὸν ἔτι ἡνωμένον, κατὰ δὲ τὸν θεὸν ἤδη διακεκριμένον, τὸ δὲ ὅλον εἰπεῖν, διακρινόμενον. τοιαύτη μὲν ἡ συνήθης ᾿Ορφικὴ θεολογία.

“In the rhapsodies which pass under the name of Orphic, the theology, if any, is that concerning the Intelligible; and the philosophers thus interpret it (trans. Isaac Preston Cory, 1826). Time [as we have already observed] is symbolically said to be the one principle of the universe; but ether and chaos are celebrated as the two principles immediately posterior to this one. And being, simply considered, is represented under the symbol of an egg. And this is the first triad of the intelligible Gods. But for the perfection of the second triad they establish either a conceiving and a conceived egg as a God, or a white garment, or a cloud: because from these Phanes leaps forth into light. For indeed they philosophize variously concerning the middle triad. But Phanes here represents intellect. To conceive him however besides this, as father and power, contributes nothing to Orpheus. But they call the third triad Metis as intellect, Ericapaeus as power, and Phanes as father. But sometimes the middle triad is considered according to the three-shaped God, while conceived in the egg: for the middle always represents each of the extremes; as in this instance, where the egg and the three-shaped God subsist together. And here you may perceive that the egg is that which is united; but that the three-shaped and really multiform God is the separating and discriminating cause of that which is intelligible. Likewise the middle triad subsists according to the egg, as yet united; but the third according to the God who separates and distributes the whole intelligible order. And this is the common and familiar Orphic theology.” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1824)


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.
Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.


The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς).


PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

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