Thursday, August 19, 2010

What Grecian Dreams May Come

I see by the 'official' schedule I've been sent, that Greek will be offered this year at the Academy - 'Biblical Greek.' I'd love to sit in on it as a refresher, but I see I'm teaching while one of the classes is being taught, but maybe I can catch the others. I thought I'd provide a few points here on the importance of Greek to the Catholic Church.

A) After Aramaic, by about 50 AD, Greek was the first official, universal language of the Church. Even in the City of Rome itself, mass of the first century or two was apparently always celebrated in Greek (so it seems to historians). The majority of the first Christians were Greek-speakers. Note the names of the first popes - all Greek, after Pete:

1.St. Peter (32-67)
2.St. Linus (67-76)
3.St. Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88)
4.St. Clement I (88-97)
5.St. Evaristus (97-105)
6.St. Alexander I (105-115)
7.St. Sixtus I (115-125) Also called Xystus I
8.St. Telesphorus (125-136)
9.St. Hyginus (136-140)
10.St. Pius I (140-155) - I'm guessing this is Latin.

B) All of the New Testament - yes, all of it - and perhaps even certain books of the Old - was originally written in Greek (some argument being made for elements having originally appeared in Aramaic, or possibly even Hebrew).

C) All the first great theologians were Greek-speaking: the greatest of them being Origen, but also including Athanasius, Irenaeus, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzus, John Chrysostom. The sole exception to this is Tertullian, of course - but he wrote in both Greek and Latin.

D) The great Greek tradition carried forth into the Middle Ages through such greats as St. John Damascene, Pseudo-Dionysius, and Gregory Palamas.

E) So much of the great thinking of theologians both East and West was inspired by the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus - all Greeks.

eucharisthao for reading.

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