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"For the birth of God makes both natures new."


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#1 Geoffrey McKinney

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 03:51 AM

The following irmos precedes Canticle Nine of Great Compline for Monday in the First Week of the Great Fast:
 
"Conception without seed; nativity past understanding, from a Mother who never knew a man; childbearing undefiled. For the birth of God makes both natures new. Therefore, as Bride and Mother of God, with true worship all generations magnify thee."
 
(Found on page 207 of The Lenten Triodion, translated by Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware.)
 
The words that puzzle me ("For the birth of God makes both natures new.") are found in many places in the liturgy. The above is only one instance thereof.
 
Am I correct that the two natures referred to here are the human and divine natures? If so, how does Christ's birth make the divine nature new?


#2 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 02:02 AM

If "both natures" here refers to the divine and human natures of Christ, then it's also not clear how the passage in question relates to the rest of the irmos. The focus of the irmos seems to be Mary's dual roles as bride of God and mother of God-- could it be that "both natures" is referring to the natures of bridehood and motherhood?



#3 Lakis Papas

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 05:47 PM

the greek text :

 

Ἀσπόρου συλλήψεως ὁ τόκος ἀνερμήνευτος, Μητρὸς ἀνάνδρου ἄφθορος ἡ κύησις·
Θεοῦ γὰρ ἡ γέννησις καινοποιεῖ τὰς φύσεις·
διό σε πᾶσαι αἱ γενεαὶ ὡς Θεόνυμφον Μητέρα ὀρθοδόξως μεγαλύνομεν.
 
English translation:
The birth is unexplained as a conception without sperm. Mother's gestation is without damage as she experienced no men. 
God's birth created new term in natures.
This is why all generations of people praise you in orthodox spirit as Mother bride of God.
 
The litteral translation is: "God's birth created new term in natures", not in His specific two natures, but in "natures" in the general form of the meaning of the word natures.  "Natures" here has an Aristotelian meaning and not a patristic one.

Edited by Lakis Papas, 05 March 2015 - 05:50 PM.


#4 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 05:53 PM

If 'nature' means creation, does Greek have a plural of 'nature' (unlike English)?



#5 Lakis Papas

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 04:34 PM

From  page 111, Metropolis of Denver http://www.denver.go...es_Volume_3.pdf

 

 

«Ineffable is the child-bearing of a
seedless conception, a Mother
remaining pure. For the birth of God
renews natures, so in all ages we
magnify you in an Orthodox manner as
the Mother and Bride of God



#6 Lakis Papas

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 04:43 PM

If 'nature' means creation, does Greek have a plural of 'nature' (unlike English)?

 

Creation is one but it consists of individual natures.

The birth of Jesus renews precisely these individual natures each one by one.

Saint Andrew refers directly to this issue:  the birth of God renews (all) natures. 

 

I do not undestand why His Eminence, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Kallistos made this variation in his translation - which is not proper.



#7 Geoffrey McKinney

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 04:52 PM

Lakis Papas, thank you very much for the Greek text and for your enlightening replies.


Edited by Geoffrey McKinney, 06 March 2015 - 04:57 PM.


#8 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 04:52 PM

Thank you, Lakis - well worth knowing. (I was thinking about the great variety of translations from Greek texts when looking at the Akathist we shall say this evening: HTM has 'An Angel, and the chiefest among them' - why not just, 'An Angel of the first rank'? Even 'A prince of the angels' doesn't feel right.)



#9 Lakis Papas

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 05:44 PM

Reader Andreas, poems are hard to translate.

 

Translators have to transform meanings and titles and names into lyrics for a foreign tongue, a very hard thing to accomplish.

 

The greek word for the angel you are referring is "πρωτοστάτης" which has the literall translation of  "prime mover". Valid translations are: leadertrailblazer, initiator, pioneer. Not neccecary an angel first by rank.

 

The angel was the first that said to Mary "Rejoice!  thou that art much graced, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women."  Since the angel was the first he took the title of "prime mover", he was a pionner in doing something that was not done previously.  



#10 Brian Patrick Mitchell

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 06:27 PM

The context (a hymn to the Theotokos on her part in the Incarnation) makes it seem that Mother Mary and Metropolitan Kallistos meant the natures of both sexes. Both the man and the woman are made anew.



#11 Lakis Papas

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 06:57 PM

Brian Patrick Mitchell do you see any implementation of renewal of the natures of both sexes in other hymns?

 

Is there such a distinction of natures? Are there two natures of sexes in the ecclesiastic hymnological ontology?



#12 Brian Patrick Mitchell

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 07:44 PM

First, there need not be an actual difference of nature for the words to make sense. Even if the man and the woman had exactly the same nature, we may say that both of their natures were renewed by the Incarnation, to make the point that neither is excluded from the renewal. 

 

Second, though the man and the woman share a common human nature, they also have their own sexually distinct natures. Thus, Clement of Alexandria first says:

 

"As far as respects human nature, the woman does not possess one nature, and the man exhibit another, but the same: so also with virtue."

 

Then he adds:

 

"We do not say that woman's nature is the same as man's, as she is woman. For undoubtedly it stands to reason that some difference should exist between each of them, in virtue of which one is male and the other female."

 

Whether this obvious, commonsensical wisdom is expressed elsewhere in ecclesiastical hymnology, I do not know, but the hymn in question is most easily understood that way, even in Greek.


Edited by Brian Patrick Mitchell, 06 March 2015 - 07:49 PM.


#13 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 08:33 PM

Reader Andreas, poems are hard to translate.

 

Translators have to transform meanings and titles and names into lyrics for a foreign tongue, a very hard thing to accomplish.

 

The greek word for the angel you are referring is "πρωτοστάτης" which has the literall translation of  "prime mover". Valid translations are: leadertrailblazer, initiator, pioneer. Not neccecary an angel first by rank.

 

The angel was the first that said to Mary "Rejoice!  thou that art much graced, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women."  Since the angel was the first he took the title of "prime mover", he was a pionner in doing something that was not done previously.  

 

Thank you, Lakis. I was too much influenced by what I thought was the literal meaning of the Greek word.






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