Re: Depth, Bythos, Abyss?
--- In email@example.com, "Mark" <larockpitts@...> wrote:
> [ ]
> So, in short, I am confused. I do not have the original texts to see
> what word is translated as "Depth." Can someone help me with this?
The ready availability of on-line texts is immensely helpful, but, as PMCV cautioned (and you already realized), translations can be a tricky thing. If you wish to verify for yourself the passage that Pagels mentions, you'll probably need to hunt down the information in an actual library. You should be able to locate the Greek text of Irenaeus quoted in the works of Epiphanius. It worked for me a couple of years ago when I was looking for some passages from his Panarion and finally found what I needed in one of the libraries at my old university. I trust you won't be surprised if you end up with something like a book in English citing a German work dealing with the Greek original, but, since you're not likely to run across Greek versions of these texts online, you may find it worth the effort. Otherwise, as you've already seen, Báthos/Bythós is indeed the term you will most likely encounter in Valentinian writings.
It helped to read the elaboration in your last post, Mark. I had been a bit confused by this:
> [ ] My question involved discovering the Greek for these words,
> especially for "Depth". My goal is to use the Greek, via the
> Septuagint, to see what the possible Hebrew world for "Depth" might be.
> [ ] Or, did the Septuagint translators avoid the use
> of Bythos in certain contexts, especially when translating Hebrew
> tehom, in order to avoid any Platonic connotations?
It appeared that your interest in locating the Greek term for Depth was to see what Hebrew word might best correspond to the Valentinian expression of this concept, but I reckon you lost me when you seemed to answer your own question by mentioning the very word that I was going to suggesteven before your other post showed up:
Since you've clarified that one, I'm still curious as to what you had considered for Silence (Gr. sigê) in Hebrew:
In the translation of the Valentinian Myth (according to Irenaeus) that Bentley Layton includes in his anthology, The Gnostic Scriptures, his notes include a number of parallels to other works from the same schoolmostly the Gospel of Truth. Unless you are married to the OT usage of Ábyssos, you may enjoy comparing and contrasting parts of that text with Genesis.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
> I do wonder, though, if you noticed that Irenaeus actually uses the
> term "Bythus" seemingly as a pun in one instance (end of book 5).
> The word can be translated as "depth", but like our modern English
> word "depth" it can mean "profound"... as in "this poem has depth".
> In this usage one could not substitute the word Abyss, and
> considering the other terms equated with the cosmogeny I think we
> have to be careful when reading modern authors.
In a similar note of caution, I believe that the Hebrew word I just proposed for "Silence" is only one consonant away from "Hades." Between readers' interpretations, translators' biases and scribal slips, there's plenty of room for error.
> [ ] There is an interesting case I can think of in the Bruce codex, but
> unless any of our Coptic specialists want to get involved we
> probably can leave that alone .
Well, since you've put it under the tree already, let's go ahead an unwrap it. Maybe some Coptic scholars will come along.
- Hey Gerry
In response to my post about the "interesting" section of the
Untitled tract in the Bruce codex, you state....
<<<Well, since you've put it under the tree already, let's go ahead
an unwrap it. Maybe some Coptic scholars will come along.>>>
Well, I am not on my own computer right this second, but perhaps I
can point out which part I mean for anyone who is interested. At the
very beginning, maybe between 10 and twently lines in (somewhere in
the second paragraph) there is a mention of "bythos" and the "abyss
of truth" within just a sentence or two. Erm... since I don't have
the text here I can't be sure, but I believe the term for "abyss" is
the Coptic (nox or nex, if I remember... which I could be off on
since I don't read Coptic I have only tried to familiarize myself
with important words from the glosseries) rather than a Greek loan
word. IF we imagine the orginal Greek text, this could very well
represent both words in question.
The reason I even remember this is that I used it once to support the
argument that there really is a sort of "trade lingo" in Gnostic
texts, and those words have been sometimes maintained not only across
languages but sometimes even across the Sethian Valentinian devide
(the other person believed that there was no such special set of
terms that Gnostics employed that we need to concern ourselves with
in order to understand the texts).
P.S. Some versions place the page in the middle of the book rather
than the beginning. I believe, though, that your copy has it at the
- --- In email@example.com, "Gerry" <gerryhsp@...> wrote:
> It appeared that your interest in locating the Greek term for Depth
> to see what Hebrew word might best correspond to the Valentinianseemed to
> expression of this concept, but I reckon you lost me when you
> answer your own question by mentioning the very word that I wasgoing to
> suggesteven before your other post showed up:I was certainly hoping that the Greek word Bythos was the translation
for tehom, but it is not. Instead, bythos is used most often to
translate Hebrew words based on the root ayin, mem, koph (though by
no means exclusively so [see Hatch & Redpath, Concordance to the
Septuagint (LXX)--I forgot I had this book in my home library]). In
some passages, LXX bythos shares in the symantic field of bythos as
in some gnostic texts (see Job 11:8; 12:2 ["mysterious"]; Ps 63:6;
Prov 18:4; 20:5; 25:3; Eccl 7:24; Dan 2:22 ["profound"]). Wisdom
10:19 and Sirach 24:5 use both bythos and abussos as in "the depths
of the abyss."
It makes more sense that the Hebrew AMK instead of TEHOM would be
translated by bythos since TEHOM/abussos is a place and as such can
be defined and located and limited, whereas AMK/Bythos is a
quantifying concept and as such can be limitless and without
boundaries. I am glad my first hope was not fulfilled--it would have
This study has presented me with some new concepts and opened a whole
new symantic field.
>I had thought this would be the word also. But the Hebrew DMH is
> Since you've clarified that one, I'm still curious as to what
> you had considered for Silence (Gr. sigê) in Hebrew:
translated with sige only once in Lam 3:49 (again using Hatch &
Redpath). The most common Hebrew roots translated by sige is ChRSh
and ChShH, but all in all, sige is a fairly rare word in the LXX.
> In the translation of the Valentinian Myth (according to Irenaeus)
> Bentley Layton includes in his anthology, The Gnostic Scriptures,his
> notes include a number of parallels to other works from the sameWhen it comes to Sacred texts, I am a polygamous: the Hebrew Bible is
> schoolmostly the Gospel of Truth. Unless you are married to the OT
> usage of Ábyssos, you may enjoy comparing and contrasting parts of
> that text with Genesis.
my first love, but she allows (amd encourages!) my love affairs with
other texts. One thing that has delighted me in my studies in the
Gnostic traditions and texts is that some of the insights I have had
in studying the Hebrew Bible--and that are far from "orthodox"--I
have found confirmation for in the Gnostic texts.