ORPHIC FRAGMENT 86 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: Phánîs (Φάνης), who could be seen by Nyx alone, has gleaming skin, the splendor of which could be observed by the other Gods. 

86. (59) σχόλιον Ἑρμείου επὶ Φαίδρου Πλάτωνος 247 c p. 148, 25 Couvr.: 

καὶ πρῶτος καταλάμπεται ὁ οὐρανὸς ὑπὸ τοῦ θείου φωτὸς τοῦ Φάνητος· τὴν γὰρ Νύκτα ἡνῶσθαι αὐτῶι φησι· |149 Couvr. 

Πρωτόγονόν γε μὲν οὔτις ἐσέδρακεν ὀφθαλμοῖσιν,
εἰ μὴ Νὺξ ἱερὴ μούνη· τοὶ δ’ ἄλλοι ἅπαντες
θαύμαζον καθορῶντες ἐν αἰθέρι φέγγος ἄελπτον
τοῖον ἀπέστραπτε (ἀπέστιλβε?) χροὸς ἀθανάτοιο Φάνητος.

“And the sky first shines before the God’s light of Phánîs (Φάνης); for it says that he has united himself with Nyx:

‘Indeed, no-one could look at Protogónos with their eyes,
if not holy Nyx alone. But all the others
wondered, observing in the aithír (αἰθήρ) the unexpected splendor
shining from the skin of deathless Phánîs!’ ”
(trans. by the author)

Vs. 3. 4 laudat σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 30 d (I 435, 3 Diehl), qui vs. 4 ἀπέστιλβε legit ut

“The Gods admir’d, in ether when they saw
A light unlook’d for, bursting on the view,
From the immortal Phanes’ glittering skin.” * (says Orpheus)
(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

*Taylor has a note: “For τὸ ον ἀπέστιλβε in this place, it is necessary to read τῳ μὲν ἀπέστιλβε. He is talking about the last line which reads:

τὸ ον ἀπέστιλβε χροὸς ἀθανάτοιο Φάνητος,

but Taylor is suggesting that the copyist made a mistake and that it should be:

τῳ μὲν ἀπέστιλβε χροὸς ἀθανάτοιο Φάνητος

This same observation can be found in the opinions of other scholars in The Classical Journal from the early 1800’s. 


Ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν εἰς τὸν Πλάτωνος Παρμενίδην Δαμασκίου 133 (II 12, 13 Rue. v. Addend. p. 384): 

νοητὸν ἄρα ἐστὶν τὸ πρῶτον παράδειγμα καὶ τὸ πρῶτον τῆι νοήσει σύμμετρον· διὸ καὶ εἶδος ἤδη καὶ κάλλιστον τῶν νοουμένων, οὐχ ὅτι πρῶτον, ἀλλὅτι μάλιστα ἐκφανὲς καὶ στίλβον ἐναργέστατα, καὶ τὸν Φάνητα αὐτοῦ ἐνδεικνύμενον

τοῖον ἀπέστιλβε χροὸς (χρόνος codd.) ἀθανάτοιο Φάνητος

φησὶν Ορφεύς. 

“The intelligible is the first paradigm and the first thing proportional to the intellect; on which account it is a pleasing form and beautiful to see, not because it is first, but that it is exceedingly bright and shining in form, and showing forth Phánîs (Φάνης) from himself, 

‘so very brightly shone the skin of deathless Phánîs!’

“said Orphéfs (Ορφεύς).” (trans. by the author)

 

Cf. etiam Περὶ τῆς κατὰ Πλάτωνα θεολογίας Πρόκλου III 21 p. 161, 46: 

τοῦτο γὰρ ἐστι τὸ φανότατον τῶν νοητῶν ὁ νοῦς ὁ νοητὸς καὶ τὸ ἀποστίλβον φῶς τὸ νοητὸν, ὃ καὶ τοὺς νοεροὺς θεοὺς ἐκπλήττει φανὲν καὶ ποιεῖ θαυμάζειν τὸν πατέρα (sc. Αἰθήρ v. in σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 41 a [III 208, 29 Diehl]), καθάπερ φησὶν ὁ Ὀρφεύς. 

“But this is the brightness of the intelligible, the intellectual mind and the light shining to the intelligible, and driving away and making the intellectual God appear and making the father marvel, just as Orphéfs says.” (trans. by the author) 

 

Iovem intelligit Ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν Δαμασκίου 113 (I 291, 18 Rue.): 

Ὅ τε γὰρ Ἑλλήνων θεολόγος Ὀρφεύς πρῶτον ἐποίησε τὸν Φάνητα καθορώμενον ὑπὸ τῶν θεῶν, ἄλλως τε καὶ τῶν νοερῶν, ὧν ἐστι καὶ ὁ δημιουργός, οἵ τε ἐκδεδωκότες θεοὶ τὰ πολυτίμητα λόγια τὰς πρώτας ἡμῖν τριάδας παραδεδώκασι ταύτας τὰς νοητάς, ὧν τὸν ὑπερκόσμιον βυθὸν (v. fr. 55) εἰδέναι (καὶ add. BF) νοοῦντα ἀπαγγέλλουσι τοὺς νοεροὺς θεούς quem iniuria sequitur Holwerda.

“For Orphéfs (Ορφεύς), the theologian of the Greeks, made Phánîs (Φάνης) the first to be perceived by the Gods, and also any other of the intellectual (Gods), (of whom) the dîmiourgós is also (part of). The Gods have given us the highly honored oracles, having conveyed that the first triads are intelligible, knowing the supermundane depth, perceiving, they report, the intellectual Gods.” (trans. by the author)

 

σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 39 b (III 82, 31 Diehl): 

διχῶς ἄρα θεωρήσομεν τὸν ἥλιον, καὶ ὡς ἕνα τῶν ἑπτὰ καὶ ὡς |83 Diehl ἡγεμόνα τῶν ὅλων καὶ ὡς ἐγκόσμιον καὶ ὡς ὑπερκόσμιον, καθὸ καὶ προσλάμπει τὸ θεῖον φῶς ὡς τἀγαθὸν τὴν ἀλήθειαν τὴν ἐκθεοῦσαν τούς τε νοητοὺς καὶ τοὺς νοεροὺς διακόσμους, ὡς Φάνης παρὰ τῶι Ὀρφεῖ πρΐησι τὸ νοητὸν φῶς, πληροῖ νοήσεως πάντας τοὺς νοεροὺς θεούς, ώς Ζεὺς νοερὸν καὶ δημιουργικὸν ἀνάπτει φῶς εἰς πάντας τοὺς ὑπερκοσμίους. 

“Hence, we must survey the Sun in a twofold respect; viz. as one of the seven planets, and as the leader of wholes; and as mundane and supermundane, according to the latter of which he splendidly emits a divine light. For in the same manner as The Good luminously emits truth which deifies the intelligible and intellectual order; as Phanes in Orpheus sends forth intelligible light which fills with intelligence all the intellectual Gods; and as Jupiter (Ζεὺς) enkindles an intellectual and demiurgic light in all the supermundane Gods; (thus also the Sun illuminates every thing visible through this undefiled light.)” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)

  

Cf. σχόλιον Πρόκλου επὶ Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 30 c. d (I 428, 9 Diehl) (since Kern gives us no text, I am unsure exactly where this begins and ends) :

“For what difference is there between calling an occult cause an egg, or that which is unfolded into light from it, an animal? For what can be generated from the egg of all things, but an animal? This egg however, was the offspring of ether and chaos, the former of which is established conformably to the bound, but the latter to the infinity of intelligibles. For the former is the root of all things, but the latter has not any boundary. If therefore that which first consists of bound and infinity is that which is primarily being, the being of Plato will be the same with the Orphic egg. And if Phanes is from this, who is arranged according to animal itself, it is necessary to investigate it as situated next to eternity according to Orpheus, which is a medium between animal itself, and that which is primarily being. And thus it will be more clearly evident, that animal itself is no other than the Phanes of the theologist. For if Phanes first proceeds from the egg, which is manifestly with Orpheus the first intelligible intellect, but that which first and alone proceeds from an egg, is necessarily nothing else than an animal, it is evident that the most mighty Phanes is nothing else than the first animal; and, as Plato would say, animal itself. This therefore is demonstrated.

Let us however, in the next place, survey what is consequent to this. Phanes, therefore, thus unfolding himself into light from the occult Gods, antecedently comprehends in himself the causes of the secondary orders, viz. of the effective, connective, perfective, and immutable orders; and also contains in himself according to one cause, all intelligible animals. For he excites himself to the most total ideas of all things. Hence also, he is said [by Orpheus] to be the first of the Gods, and to have a form.” (trans. Thomas Taylor, 1820)


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, 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, κιθάρα), the the lyre of Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, 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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