ORPHIC FRAGMENT 8 - OTTO KERN

ORPHIC FRAGMENT 8 - OTTO KERN

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

SUMMARY: The soul is imprisoned in the body until the penalty is paid for sin.

8. (221) Κρατύλος Πλάτωνος 400 c:

καὶ γὰρ σῆμά τινές φασιν αὐτὸ εἶναι τῆς ψυχῆς (sc. σῶμα), ὡς τεθαμμένης ἐν τῶι νῦν παρόντι· καὶ διότι αὖ τούτωι σημαίνει ἃ ἂν σημαίνηι ἡ ψυχή, καὶ ταύτηι σῆμα ὀρθῶς καλεῖσθαι. δοκοῦσι μέντοι μοι μάλιστα θέσθαι οἱ ἀμφὶ Ὀρφέα τοῦτο τὸ ὄνομα, ὡς δίκην διδούσης τῆς ψυχῆς ὧν δὴ ἕνεκα δίδωσιν, τοῦτον δὲ περίβολον ἔχειν, ἵνα σώιζηται, δεσμωτηρίου εἰκόνα· εἶναι οὖν τῆς ψυχῆς τοῦτο, ὥσπερ αὐτὸ ὀνομάζεται, ἕως ἂν ἐκτείσηι τὰ ὀφειλόμενα, [τὸ] σῶμα, καὶ οὐδὲν δεῖν οὐδὲ ἓν γράμμα.

“For some say that the body is the grave of the soul which may be thought to be buried in our present life; or again the index of the soul, because the soul gives indications to the body; probably the Orphic poets were the inventors of the name, and they were under the impression that the soul is suffering the punishment of sin, and that the body is an enclosure or prison in which the soul is incarcerated, kept safe, as the name σῶμα implies, until the penalty is paid; according to this view, not even a letter of the word need be changed.”

(trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892)

Ab Orphicis Pythagoreos sententiam σῶμα - σῆμα mutuatos esse testatur Philolai fr. 14 (Diels I3 p. 315):

μαρτυρέονται δὲ καὶ οἱ παλαιοὶ θεολόγοι τε καὶ μάντιες, ὡς διά τινας τιμωρίας ἁ ψυχὰ τῶι σώματι συνέζευκται καὶ καθάπερ ἐν σάματι τούτωι τέθαπται.

"The ancient theologians and seers testify that the soul is conjoined to the body to suffer certain punishments, and is, as it were, buried in this tomb."

(trans. Rev. Alexander Roberts, 1885. Quoted in Λόγος Στρώματα Κλήμεντος του Ἀλεξανδρέως 3.3.17)

Cicero Hortensius fr. 88 Bait. (fr. 85 Or.):

ex quibus humanae vitae erroribus et aerumnis fit, ut interdum veteres illi sive vates sive in sacris initiisque tradendis divinae mentis interpretes, qui nos ob aliqua scelera suscepta in vita superiore paenarum luendarum causa natos esse dixerunt, aliquid vidisse videantur, verumque sit illud, quod est apud Aristotelem (fr. 60 Rose3 71), simili nos adfectos esse supplicio atque eos, qui quondam, cum in praedonum Etruscorum manus incidissent, crudelitate excogitata necabantur, quorum corpora viva cum mortuis, adversa adversis accommodata quam aptissime (artissime Bernays) colligabantur, sic nostros animos cum corporibus copulatos ut vivos cum mortuis esse coniunctos.

Προτρεπτικός τοῦ Ἰαμβλίχου VIII 134 K p. 47, 21 Pistelli:

τίς ἂν οὖν εἰς ταῦτα βλέπων οἴοιτο εὐδαίμων εἶναι καὶ μακάριος, οἳ πρῶτον εὐθὺς φύσει συνέσταμεν, καθάπερ φασὶν οἱ τὰς τελετὰς λέγοντες, ὥσπερ ἂν ἐπὶ τιµωρίαι πάντες; τοῦτο γὰρ θείως οἱ ἀρχαιότεροι λέγουσι τὸ φάναι διδόναι τὴν | 48 Pist. ψυχὴν τιµωρίαν καὶ ζῆν ἡµᾶς ἐπὶ κολάσει µεγάλων τινῶν ἁµαρτηµάτων.

“Certainly, who, perceiving these things, would expect to be fortunate and happy, while straight from the beginning, linked by our origin, just as is said in the (mystic) rites, so long as all (are in line) for punishment? For this, the ancients are saying something divine, they are saying that soul pays penalties, and we live as punishment, paying a penalty for great sins.”

(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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