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Cyril of Alexandria on Tongues: I Corinthians 14:10

A translation of the Greek of I Corinthians 14:10 attributed to Cyril of Alexandria

This portion is working from two different manuscripts, both attribute the text to have been edited by Cardinal Angelus Maius but with different outcomes. An edition edited by Philippus Edvardus Pusey has more text but seems to be missing copy and has some repetitive sentences—this indicates there was some copyist or print errors. However the word usage indicates that the origins of this copy was quite ancient. The Migne Patrologia version has less text and no repetitive sentences. The MPG version does have the catalogue numbers of the manuscripts used such as Cod. f.311 b. for I Corinthians 14:10 but does not elaborate on what this means.

Translated from a mixture of two manuscripts: The primary: Cyrilli Alexandrini. Cyrilli: Archiepiscopi Alexandrini In D. Joannis Evangelium. Edited by Philippus Edvardus Pusey. London: Oxford. 1872, Pages 293-294. And some additions from, S. Cyrilli Alexandrini. In Epistolam I Ad Corinthios. XIV, 10. MPG Vol. 74, Col. 891

“And none of them is without a voice.”

“Any persons of the status of itinerant teachers{{17}}[[17]]Εἰσεφοὶτων This word is not fully known. This is the only usage in any manuscript found so far. It comes from the root, φοιτάω[[17]] in the Churches who are endowed in the work of the Spirit should have the ability to speak in languages. Therefore it is necessary that prayers are to be made in these same languages, and certainly for the entreaties of those things, that is to say, of a Psalm,{{18}}[[18]]ψαλμῳδίας The recitation and singing from the Book of Psalms was a common part of the ancient Church liturgy.[[18]] these ones who have the ability to proclaim{{18}}[[18]]κεχρῆσθαι It is in the passive and this suggests “to be declared, proclaimed by an oracle, to consult a god or oracle, to inquire of a god”[[18]] in the language of those who are present. Certainly they were not doing this, indeed the persons who congratulate themselves in a self-satisfied way with the gift of languages, they were neither doing psalms or prayers. Paul teaches this, that if there does not exist persons who are hearing [with the] knowledge of the language, which those who have the gift are speaking forth, [then there is] no advantage out of the matter. For numberless are the nations and all the languages of mankind.{{19}}[[19]]ἄφωνον δὲ οὐδὲν τῶν ἄπαξ τελούντων ἐν λογικοῖς ἤ ἐν ἀνθρώποιςFor “Without a voice,” [is] never once about the business in respect to the things of reason or mankind.” This piece was ignored as it seems to be a printer error as similar; a better copy is printed in the next sentence. [[19]]

He says, “Without a voice,”” [is] absolutely never about the business in respect to the things of the reason, that is, in [concern to the things of] mankind. But if perhaps some may not have known the power of every voice, and certainly neither can these ones know his language, they will be barbarians to each other. Yet these ones are in fact correctly supposed to speak according to his own voice. It is necessary therefore those who are wishing to teach in other [languages], that the word should be uttered{{20}}[[20]]προσαράξας aor part masc nom sg. The Greek Dictionaries have only a faint account of this word and I am unsure whether the translation is satisfactory here.[[20]] accustomed for those for those who are listening.

If in fact then the unintelligible sound was also an unaccustomed voice, the striking{{21}}[[21]]ἐρεύγεσθαι literally to belch out, utter, roar.[[21]] vainly produced in purposelessness with some type of noise,{{22}}[[22]]πεποίκε μάτην εἰκαίῳ τινὶ κτύπῳ προσαράξας μόνον τὴν μανθάνοντος ἀκοήν I am uncomfortable with this translation of this text. My first thoughts are that this Greek is a later emendation from a number of sources and not correctly edited. There are missing parts and possibly mis-spellings in the Greek.[[22]] only the sound [is] heard of one who knows [the language].

It is necessary, he says, that those wishing to teach, that the word is to be spoken{{23}}[[23]]λαλεῖν[[23]] accustomed for those who are listening, after that he works for folly. For he that speaks in languages alone does not build up the Church.■

For notes, commentary, and a deeper look at a number of words here, see Notes on the Cyrillian Catena on I Corinthians 14:10.

A full synopsis of Cyril of Alexandria on tongues including commentaries, translations, and notes can be found at the Gift of Tongues Project menu. Scroll down to the Cyril of Alexandrian sub-category.