An English Translation of the Tongues Passages found in De Trinitate

An English translation of the texts relating to the doctrine of tongues as found in De Trinitate — a work traditionally attributed to Didymus of Alexandria.

For the actual Greek text, go to The Greek and Latin texts on the Dogma of Tongues found in De Trinitate.

Didymi Alexandrini. De Trinitate Liber Primus. XVIII:31. MPG. Vol. 39 Col. 348

In the Book of Genesis, regarding the building of the tower1 the God and Father has revealed the blessed substance, His own Son and His holy Spirit said: “Come, having gone down let us confuse their language so that each one, they were not to be able to hear the voice of [his] neighbour.”2

And I think as well Moses also shows the equality of the Trinity. He set forth one vine in three roots,3 nowhere then has another root spoken in greater quantity, lest anyone reckon the one person over the other, but all of these in fact we believe three to converge into one deity. On this account the divinely inspired Scripture prevents to make [any form of] hierarchy [within the Trinity] in the altar in which the Three receives praise.

Didymi Alexandrini. De Trinitate Liber Secundus. MPG. Vol. 39. Col. 728ff

“For through the agency of the laying of hands they were freeing4 men from various maladies, even when the shadow of Peter’s body falls5 [upon someone], while Paul’s personal6 handkerchiefs too brought about healings.7 And Paul certainly wrote to the Romans, “In respect to the one who believes, that there is to be more than enough for you in the hope [and] in the power of the holy Spirit.”8

In this perspective Peter was confidently calling out the devil, declaring9 the divine essence of the holy Spirit, saying to Ananias, “How is it10 that Satan has tempted your heart that you are deceiving the holy Spirit?” For who is the one being lied to? [Peter] who was [under] the influence said,“You did not lie to man but to God.”11

For there was not any kind of reverence in them, who is reduced to that of riches,12 or13 who breathes injustice, or does not see what is the right thing,14 or is not in a state of mind15 concerning the pure nature of the Trinity, as perhaps it was he who ascended the foremost world thrones, and this one possesses in the hands the highest powers.16

But on the contrary they were taking no notice of the purple authority17 itself, they were masters of riches, possessing the undiminishable treasure of the holy Spirit.

And they were speaking as well in different languages, “even as”, it says, “the Spirit was giving them to utter.”18 And the Galileans were understanding19 the instruction20 of Parthians, Medes, Persians; and the different sorts of foreign speech of mankind,21 including also Greek, and the Ausonian language.22 Many voices23 were indeed produced, and were showing of such things, we are destined to discover about the age to come, when having been liberated from the bonds of this present world, which corresponds to the voice of Paul, “Where there is not among them Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, but Christ is the all and in all.”24 And clearly he meant the same identical essence as according to the Trinity, “Christ is all and in all.” Where seeing that we seek. . .

Unfortunately the Greek source text abruptly terminates here, and restarts at a new section that does not pick-up where this text left-off.

Didymi Alexandri. De Trinitate Liber Secundus. MPG. Vol. 39. Col. 501

“The water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life,”25 He said this concerning the holy Spirit, where those who believe were destined to receive from Him. And this too, “For we have become partakers of Christ.”26 Then “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,”27 And it was exceedingly fitting such a thing being said in the Book of Acts28 “And there appeared to the apostles tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested upon each one of them, and they were all filled with the holy Spirit.”29 And to which was said by John, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire,”30 by which is similar to the oracle31 by Moses, “God is a consuming fire,” and by Isaiah, “For behold, the LORD will come in fire.”32

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 11:1-9
  2. Genesis 11:7 according to the Septuagint.
  3. ἐν τρισί πυθμέσι. Latin: in tribus propaginibus
  4. ἀπαλλάττον: I am assuming that it is Eastern equivalent of ἀπαλλάσσω and is the imperfect ind. 3rd. pl. The Latin translator agrees with this in his use of liberabant.
  5. πίπτουσαν: part sg pres part act fem acc
  6. τοῦ χρωτὸς literally means skin, or something of close acquaintance
  7. The Latin “ægrotorum sanationes perficerent” emphasizes not just physical healings, but emotional ones as well
  8. Romans 15:13
  9. ἀνεφθεγγετο: no source gives a definition though I am assuming that it is imperfect m/p 3rd sg. The Latin used praedicabat. It is also close to ἀποφθέγγομαι found in Acts 2:4, “1) to speak out, speak forth, pronounce  1a) not a word of everyday speech but one “belonging to dignified  and elevated discourse” http://www.greekbible.com/index.php
  10. Διά τί έπειρασεν ό Σατανας… I don’t understand how Διά fits in here and am literally following the NIV translation in this spot.
  11. Acts 17:11
  12. ἥττων χρημάτων: similarly found in Josephus and Aristophanes. The Latin translator also thinks of it as the “love of money”
  13. : relative pronoun or “whether, rather, or”.
  14. ἤ σῶφρον μὴ Βλέπων and the corresponding Latin: aut quid prudentiæ consentaneum sit.
  15. διακείμενος
  16. τὰς ἄκρας ἐν χεροῖν ἔχων ἀρχας — τὰς ἀρχας: beginning, origin, first place or power, sovereignty, empire, realm, magistracy, office, command, heavenly powers
  17. In the ancient times purple was a color restricted to the highest class. Some historians suggest it was for only the emperor himself.
  18. Acts 2:4
  19. συνίεσαν.
  20. ὁμιλίαν.
  21. καὶ ἀλλοθρόων ἄλλων ἀνθρώπων
  22. I am not sure why Didymus used Αὐσονίαν γλῶτταν here. James Pritchard outlined how Αὐσονίαν was historically understood, and it is not consistent among writers. Some think it was a Latin dialect, or an old type of Latin, and others felt it was a distinct language. The Latin translator didn’t translate this word and left it transliterated. However, Αὐσονίαν γλῶτταν suggests that it was an old language. Greek and Latin, which were the most dominant international languages at the time of Christ’s time on earth, were never mentioned in the Book of Acts.
  23. πολύφωνοί.
  24. Colossians 3:11
  25. John 4:14. NASB
  26. Hebrews 3:14. NASB
  27. Hebrews 6:4. KJV
  28. Καὶ ἔοικεν σφόδρα τὸ ἐν ταῖς Πράξεσι τοιῶσδε εἰρημένον
  29. Acts 2:4
  30. Matthew 3:11
  31. τῷ χρησμῳδηθέντι This Greek word is unique to Didymus and its definition is not found in the source books. The root does refer to oracle and I have used the Latin translation in this passage for English translation
  32. Isaiah 66:15. NASB

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