Daily Archives: November 29, 2010

Blessed With The Deep, The Silent, The Complete

This Wikipedia gives a synopsis of the origin and progeny of the goddess Night (Nyx) in Greek mythology. I’m only pasting it here because it gives a list of cool Greek words to know. Like night/νυξ.
In Hesiod‘s Theogony, Nyx [Νυξ] is born of Chaos [χαος]; her offspring are many, and telling. With Erebus [Ερεβος] the deity of shadow and darkness, Nyx gives birth to Aether [αιθηρ] (atmosphere) and Hemera (day) [ημερα]. Later, on her own, Nyx gives birth to Momus [μωμος] (blame), Moros [μορος] (doom), Thanatos [θανατος] (death), Hypnos [υπνος] (sleep), Charon (the ferryman of Hades),[citation needed] the Oneiroi [ονειροι] (dreams), the Hesperides, the Keres [κηρες, κηρ] and Moirae (Fates), Nemesis [νεμεσις] (retribution), Apate [απατη] (deception), Philotes [φιλοτης] (friendship), Geras [γηρας] (age), and Eris [ερις] (strife).
This has a parallel with many Gnostic concepts that also offer some good Greek words to know:
1. [The Valentinians] maintain, then, that in the invisible and ineffable heights above there exists a certain perfect, pre-existent Æon [αιων – age/eternity], whom they call Proarche [προαρχη – pre-beginning], Propator [προπατηρ – pre-father], and Bythus [βυθος – deep], and describe as being invisible and incomprehensible. Eternal and unbegotten, he remained throughout innumerable cycles of ages in profound serenity and quiescence. There existed along with him Ennœa [εννοια – thought], whom they also call Charis [χαρις – grace/charm] and Sige [σιγη – silence]. At last this Bythus determined to send forth from himself the beginning of all things, and deposited this production (which he had resolved to bring forth) in his contemporary Sige, even as seed is deposited in the womb. She then, having received this seed, and becoming pregnant, gave birth to Nous [νους – mind], who was both similar and equal to him who had produced him, and was alone capable of comprehending his father’s greatness. This Nous they call also Monogenes [μονογενης – only-born], and Father, and the Beginning of all Things. Along with him was also produced Aletheia [αληθεια – truth]; and these four constituted the first and first-begotten Pythagorean Tetrad, which they also denominate the root of all things. For there are first Bythus and Sige, and then Nous and Aletheia. And Monogenes, perceiving for what purpose he had been produced, also himself sent forth Logos [λογος – logic/reason] and Zoe [ζωη – life], being the father of all those who were to come after him, and the beginning and fashioning of the entire Pleroma [πληρωμα – fullness]. By the conjunction of Logos and Zoe were brought forth Anthropos [ανθρωπος – man/humanity] and Ecclesia [εκκλησια – assembly/church]; and thus was formed the first-begotten Ogdoad [ογδοας – eightfold], the root and substance of all things, called among them by four names, viz., Bythus, and Nous, and Logos, and Anthropos. For each of these is masculo-feminine, as follows: Propator was united by a conjunction with his Ennœa; then Monogenes, that is Nous, with Aletheia; Logos with Zoe, and Anthropos with Ecclesia. (Against Heresies 1.1.1)
I linked to Ogdoad in Wikipedia because that word seems to have roots in Egyptian mythology, and Valentinus is supposed to have been educated in Egypt. Also, “Deep Silent Complete” (close enough to Βυθος, Σιγη, Πληρωμα) is one of my favorite Nightwish songs (even though it reminds me a bit of my ex-fiancee). This song is also about another personified god in Ancient Greek myth, “Ocean” (Οκεανος).
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Posted by on November 29, 2010 in gnosticism, koine greek

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