ORPHIC FRAGMENT 28 - OTTO KERN

ORPHIC FRAGMENT 28 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: This fragment consists of several quotations offering the ideas of Évdîmos (Εὔδημος) concerning the origin of the universe.

28. (30) Εὔδημος (Spengel Eudemi Rhodii fragmenta CXVII p. 169) quoted in Ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις περὶ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν Δαμασκίου 124 (I 319, 8 Rue.) v. Kroll Rhein. Mus. LII 1897, 290:

ἡ δὲ παρὰ τῶι Περιπατητικῶι Εὐδήμωι ἀναγεγραμμένη ὡς τοῦ Ὀρφέως οὖσα θεολογία πᾶν τὸ νοητὸν ἐσιώπησεν, ὡς παντάπασιν ἄρρητόν τε καὶ ἄγνωστον τρόπωι <τῶι> κατὰ διέξοδόν τε καὶ ἀπαγγελίαν· ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς Νυκτὸς ἐποιήσατο τὴν ἀρχήν, ἀφ᾽ ἧς καὶ Ὅμηρος, εἰ καὶ μὴ συνεχῆ πεποίηται τὴν γενεαλογίαν, ἵστησιν· οὐ γὰρ ἀποδεκτέον Εὐδήμου λέγοντος, ὅτι ἀπὸ Ὠκεανοῦ καὶ Τηθύος ἄρχεται (Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου Ξ 302), φαίνεται γὰρ εἰδὼς καὶ τὴν Νύκτα μεγίστην οὕτω θεόν, ὡς καὶ τὸν Δία σέβεσθαι αὐτήν·

‘ἅζετο γὰρ μὴ Νυκτὶ θοῆι ἀποθύμια ῥέζοι (Ἰλιὰς Ὁμήρου Ξ 261)’.

ἀλλ’ Ὅμηρος μὲν καὶ αὐτὸς ἀρχέσθω ἀπὸ Νυκτός· Ἡσίοδος δέ μοι δοκεῖ πρῶτον γενέσθαι τὸ Χάος ἱστορῶν τὴν ἀκατάληπτον τοῦ νοητοῦ καὶ ἡνωμένην παντελῶς φύσιν κεκληκέναι Χάος, τὴν δὲ Γῆν πρώτην ἐκεῖθεν παράγειν ὥς τινα ἀρχὴν τῆς ὅλης γενεᾶς τῶν θεῶν· εἰ μὴ ἄρα Χάος μὲν τὴν δευτέραν τῶν δυεῖν ἀρχῶν, Γῆν δὲ καὶ Τάρταρον καὶ Ἔρωτα τὸ τριπλοῦν νοητόν, τὸν μὲν Ἔρωτα ἀντὶ τοῦ τρίτου, ὡς κατὰ ἐπιστροφὴν θεωρούμενον. τοῦτο γὰρ οὕτως ὀνομάζει καὶ ὁ Ὀρφεὺς ἐν ταῖς ῥαψωιδίαις (v. s. ΙΕΡΟΙ ΛΟΓΟΙ)· τὴν δὲ Γῆν ἀντὶ τοῦ πρώτου, ὡς πρώτην ἐν στερεῶι τινι καὶ οὐσιώδει καταστήματι παγεῖσαν, τὸν δὲ Τάρταρον ἀντὶ τοῦ μέσου, ὡς ἤδη πως είς διάκρισιν παρακεκινημένου.

“But in the writings of the Peripatetic Eudemus, containing the theology of Orpheus, the whole intelligible order is passed over in silence, as being every way ineffable and unknown, and incapable of verbal enunciation. Eudemus therefore commences his genealogy from Night (Νύξ), from which also Homer begins: though Eudemus is far from making the Homeric genealogy consistent and connected, for he asserts that Homer begins from Ocean and Tethys. It is however apparent, that Night is according to Homer the greatest divinity, since she is reverenced even by Jupiter (Ζεύς) himself. For the poet says of Jupiter,

that he feared lest he should act in a manner displeasing to swift Night.’

“So that Homer begins his genealogy of the Gods from Night. But it appears to me that Hesiod, when he asserts that Chaos was first generated, signifies by Chaos the incomprehensible and perfectly united nature of that which is intelligible: but that he produces Earth (Γῆ) the first from thence, as a certain principle of the whole procession of the Gods. Unless perhaps Chaos is the second of the two principles: but Earth, Tartarus, and Love (Ἔρως) form the triple intelligible. So that Love is to be placed for the third monad of the intelligible order, considered according to its convertive nature; for it is thus denominated by Orpheus in his rhapsodies. But Earth for the first, as being first established in a certain firm and essential station. But Tartarus for the middle, as in a certain respect exciting and moving forms into distribution.”

(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1824)

Eudemum Rhodium Aristotelis discipulum a Damascio adhibitum esse demonstrat Βίοι καὶ γνῶμαι τῶν ἐν φιλοσοφίᾳ εὐδοκιμησάντων Διογένους Λαερτίου I Προοίμιον 9:

ὃς (sc. Φεόπομπος) καὶ ἀναβιώσεσθαι κατὰ τοὺς Μάγους φησὶ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ ἔσεσθαι ἀθανάτους καὶ τὰ ὄντα ταῖς αὐτῶν ἐπικλήσεσι διαμενεῖν. ταῦτα δὲ καὶ Εὔδημος ὁ Ῥόδιος ἱστορεῖ.

“According to the Magi men will have a resurrection and be immortal, and that what exists now will exist hereafter under its own present name; and Eudemus of Rhodes coincides in this statement.”

(trans. C. D. Yonge, 1853)

28 a. Chrysippus as quoted in Philodemus De pietate 81, 18 Gomp. (Doxogr. 548, 18) – Fragm. Stoicor. ed. Arnim II 192 n. 636:

κἀν τῶι πρ<ώ>τ<ωι> (sc. Περὶ Φύσεως) τὴν Νύκτα θεάν φησιν <εἶναι> πρωτίστην.

“Although before this, he says that Nyx is the very first Goddess.”

(trans. by the author)

Chrysippum Eudemi Theogoniam secutum esse censet Zeller I6 90 n. 2. Περὶ τῶν μηνῶν Ἰωάννου Λαυρεντίου τοῦ Λυδού II 8 p. 26, 1 Wue.:

καὶ τρεῖς πρῶται κατ’ Ὀρφέα ἐξεβλάστησαν ἀρχαὶ τῆς γενέσεως, Νὺξ καὶ Γῆ καὶ Οὐρανός, θεῶν δὲ τῶν ἐν γενέσει τρία γένη, οὐράνιον καὶ ἐπίγειον καὶ τὸ μεταξὺ τούτων.

“And, according to Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς), three primordial (beings) of generation were produced: Nyx (Νύξ), Earth (Γῆ), and Ouranós (Οὐρανός); and by means of origin, three races of Gods: celestial, terrestrial, and that which is in between.”

(trans. by the author)

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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