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"Most pure" archaic?

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#1 Mary Horey

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 01:22 AM

Dear Greek scholars,

I would appreciate if you please help me with this, though this does not affect my faith!

On the Feast of the Conception of the Mother of God by St. Anne, the Irmos translation I have is "Let us the faithful extol the Mother of God, the ever flowing fountain of life, a radiant lamp of grace shedding light upon all, a most pure shelter covering heaven and earth."

Then, in the Lamp Lighting of the Nativity Vespers is read "He has come down to us from a Mother all-pure...."

Then, in the Apostichon of the Nativity, an old translation I had said "...the Magi came from the East .... and offered Him precious gifts: purest gold...."

My questions about this:
(1) Are these translations accurate from the Greek? I have read criticism-- (and I know this is modernist, illogical "thought")-- that these usages cannot be from ancient times, because purity is already an absolute, and so using the superlative to modify "pure" is wrong, and something the ancients would never have done.

(2) Were these written by St. Cosmas the Hymnographer?

Thank you very much for your help.

Blessings in Christ,


#2 Olga



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Posted 25 November 2011 - 03:07 AM

In its original Greek:

The Nativity apostikhon, written by Anatolius:

Τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ γεννηθέντος, ἐν Βηθλεὲμ τῆς Ἰουδαίας, ἓξ Ἀνατολῶν ἐλθόντες Μάγοι, προσεκύνησαν Θεὸν ἐνανθρωπήσαντα, καὶ τοὺς θησαυροὺς αὐτῶν προθύμως ἀνοίξαντες, δῶρα τίμια προσέφερον, δόκιμον χρυσόν, ὦς Βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνων, καὶ λίβανον, ὦς Θεῷ τῶν ὅλων, ὡς τριημέρω δὲ νεκρῶ, σμύρναν τῶ Ἀθανάτω, Πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, δεῦτε προσκυνήσωμεν, τῶ τεχθέντι σῶσαι τὰς ψυχὰς ἤμών.

There are no listed hymnographers for the feast of the Conception of the Mother of God; the listed hymnographers for the Nativity are Germanus, Anatolius, Kassiane (St Kassiane the Hymnographer), Kosmas the Hymnographer (wrote the first canon at Matins), John the Monk (St John of Damascus, wrote various hymns, and the second canon at Matins), Romanus the melodist (Kontakion), and Andrew of Jerusalem.

I have searched for the other verses, but cannot find them. However, I can offer this: Panamomos (all-pure), and panaghia (all-holy) are very frequent liturgical adjectives for the Mother of God, so much so, that Panaghia (and, for the little ones, the affectionate and never irreverent diminutive Panaghitsa) is the universal "shorthand" title in vernacular Greek for the Mother of God.

#3 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 01:48 PM

Actually writers of "ancient times" were prone to use the rhetorical tool of hyperbole; a deliberate overstatement to make a point. Therefore terms like "all-pure" were, in fact, used by them more than our "modernist" interlopers would have us believe.

#4 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 04:21 PM

In the Slavonic which most times is very faithful to whatever the Greek said, the word 'pure' in its various forms is continuously used.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#5 Michael Stickles

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 05:26 PM

While not found in Scripture, my copy of Liddell & Scott's Greek-English lexicon includes the word panamomos, "all-blameless" (pan- = all, a- = negation/"not", -momos = blame, disgrace). It also includes panagia and panagios, both of which are attributed to the Septuagint (panagia specifically to Eccl.).

#6 Michael Stickles

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 06:08 PM

Although, I can't find panagia in Ecclesiastes or Ecclesiasticus (Sirach). Maybe I can check my Septuagint concordance when I get back home after the weekend.

#7 Michael Stickles

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 01:34 AM

OK, "Eccl" in that thing must not be Ecclesiastes or Ecclesiasticus; panagia isn't listed in my Septuagint concordance. The other form, panagios, can be found in IV Maccabees 7:4 and 14:7.

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