An Exposition of Faith: A New English Translation (Chapter 1 complete)

I have recently started to study 4th century Christianity in detail, primarily from the view point of Marcellus of Ancyra. In doing so, I have found that many of this works were attributed to others, especially Athanasius which betrays the clear connection between the Alexandrian Bishop and the arch-nemesis  of the Eastern dyohypostatics and the man credited with single handedly creating the first schism between East and West.

In the late 360’s, an active communion still existed between Athanasius and Marcellus which helped to shield Marcellus from the full brunt of Basil’s attacks against him. A deacon under Marcellus, in an effort to heal the breach, composed a short summary of faith for the aging miahypostatic warrior and his community and sent it to Alexandria where Athanasius – who refused to his dying day to condemn Marcellus – signed it. It was place among the pseudo-Athanasian literature, but has been rescued from history as Marcellian in thought. Who would want Athanasius, the grandfather of the eventual East-West theological and political compromise of the Trinity to still be associated with Marcellus who had for his entire life fought against the idea of three hypostaseis, although Athanasius rarely – perhaps once in the Tome to the Antiochenes – the plurality of the hypostaseis, holding to his Old Nicene belief.

Below is my attempt, my first public attempt, at translating a Greek document – and I have seemingly chosen one which has provided me with plenty of exercises. If you see an error, please point it out. I am learning, and wholly self-taught in the language; but I am not prideful. It will be a slow process. Instead of posting every finished section, I will continuous update this page and repost it. Please free to offer corrections. (Note, this has been translated before, but it is a personal exercise.)

Once I am satisfied with the final work, I will work to provide an annotation to it (I am composing one in small form as I go along).

Latin Title Expositio fidei*
Modern Text Migne, PG 25, 199-208.
English Translation R.P. Casey, The Armenian Version of the pseudo-Athanasian Letter to the Antiochenes (Sermo maior de fide) and of the Expositio fidei, Studies and Documents 15 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1947), pp. 7-10.

1.1 Πιστεομεν ες να γννητον θεν, πατρα παντοκρτορα, πντων ποιητν ρατν τε κα ορτων, τν χοντα φ’ αυτο τ εναι.

1.2 κα ες να μονογεν λγον, σοφαν, υἱόν, κ το πατρς νρχως κα ϊδως γεγεννημνον, λγον δ ο προφορικν, οκ νδιθετον, οκ πρροιαν το τελεου, ο τμσιν τς παθος φσεως οτε προβολν, λλ’ υἱὸν ατοτελ, ζντ τε κα νεργοντα, τν ληθινν εκνα το πατρς στιμον κα σδοξον.

1.3 “τοτο γρ στι”, φησ, “τ θλημα το πατρς,” “να καθς τιμσι τν πατρα οτω τιμσι κα τν υἱόν.” θεν ληθινν κ θεο ληθινο, ς φησιν ωννης ν καθολικας· “κα σμν ν τ ληθιν, ν τ υἱῷ ατο ησο Χριστο. οτς στιν ληθινς θες κα ζω αἰώνιος.”

1.4 παντοκρτορα κ παντοκρτορος· πντων γρ, ν ρχει πατρ κα κρατε, ρχει κα κρατε kai o υἱόjjjjjj. λος ξ λου.

1.5 μοιος τ πατρ ν ς φησιν κριος· “ μ ωρακς ἑώρακε τν πατρα.” γεννθη δ νεκφρστως κα περινοτως· “τν γρ γενεν ατο τς διηγσεται;” ντ το οδες.

1.6 ς π συντελείᾳ τν αἰώνων κατελθν κ τν κλπων το πατρς, κ τς χρντου παρθνου Μαρας τν μτερον νεληφεν νθρωπον, Χριστν ησον, ν πρ μν παθεν παρδωκεν δίᾳ προαιρσει, ς φησιν κριος· “οδες αρει τν ψυχν μου π’ μο. ξουσαν χω θεναι ατν κα ξουσαν χω πλιν λαβεν ατν.”

1.7 ν νθρπ σταυρωθες κα ποθανν πρ μν νστη κ νεκρν, νελφθη ες ορανος, ρχ δν κτισθες μν ν τ γ ν μν δειξεν κ σκτους φς, σωτηραν κ πλνης, ζων κ νεκρν, εσοδον ν τ παραδεσ, ξ ο κββλητο δμ, ες ν πλιν εσλθε δι το ληστο, ς επεν κριος· “σμερον μετ’ μο σ ν τ παραδεσ,” ες ν κα Παλος εσει· νοδν τε ες ορανος, “που πρδρομος εσλθεν πρ μν” κυριακς νθρωπος, ν μλλει κρνειν ζντας κα νεκρος.

1.1 We believe in one unbegotten God, Father Almighty, maker of all that is, both visible and the invisible, have his own being.

1.2 And in one unique Logos, Wisdom, Son – with the Father in the beginning and begotten from eternity, but not put forth, not immanent, not flowing from the perfect, not separated by passion from His nature, neither cast out, but Son without End, both living and working, the true image of the Father, equal in honor and glory.

1.3 Now, because he is in the pattern of the will of the Father, so that when we honor the Father, we honor the Son. True God from True God, the pattern of which has been universally accepted in John, “and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life”. (1st John 5.20)

1.4 Almighty from Almighty, over all things, whom the Father governs and rules, so the Son governs and rules, all in all.

1.5 Like the Father, which is what the Lord said: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father. (John 14.9b)” He was begotten but without explanation and comprehension, “And who will declare His generation? (Acts 8.33b)” For no one can.

1.6 Who, in the consummation of the Ages (Hebrews 9.26), went from the bosom of the Father, from the pure virgin, Mary, taking upon himself our humanity, Christ Jesus, he who of his own desire was delivered up and suffered for his people, as the Lord said, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. (John 10.18)”

1.7 He was crucified in his humanity, dying for us and rose again from the dead, and was taken up to the heavens, the first to create a way to show us the light from the darkness, life from death, to enter into paradise from which Adam was driven out, but for the thief, the Lord said, “I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise. (Luke 23.43)”  As Paul states about he who entered the heavens, “where the forerunner has entered for us, (Hebrews 6.2)” where the Lord’s humanity is about to judge the living and the dead.

As I start Chapter, I have found several words which I am finding difficulty in translating. I will most likely not repost this (for those of you following) until I have completed the entire Chapter, satisfying my self by exhausting my resources in making sure the translation is correct. I am not happy with the translation yet, but posting so that others may help. Also, I am posting the Latin.

2.1 Πιστεομεν μοως ες τ πνεμα τ γιον, τ πντα ρευνν “κα τ βθη το θεο,” ναθεματζοντες τ παρ τοτο φρονοντα δγματα.

2.2 οτε γρ υοπτορα φρονομεν ς ο Σαβλλιοι λγοντες μονοοσιον κα οχ μοοσιον κα ν τοτ ναιροντες τ εναι υἱόν.

2.3 οτε τ παθητν σμα φρεσε δι τν το παντς κσμου σωτηραν, νατθεμεν τ πατρ.

2.1 Credimus similiter in Spiritum sanctum, qui omnia scrutatur etiam profunda Dei. Dogmatius nutem omnibus quae his contraria fuerint, anathema dicimus.

2.2 Neque enim Filio Patrem agnoscimus qui unius sit substantiae, non vero consubstantialius, ut volont Seblliani, qui hoc pacto Filium pentius tollunt.

2.3 Neque etiam patibile corpus, quod propter totius mundi salutem gestavit, attribuimus Patri.

2.1 We believe also in the Spirit, the Holy (Hebrews 10.5), the searcher of all things, even the depths of God (1st Corinthians 2.10). Cursed is he who is against this doctrine.

2.2 Niether, for the Son-Father, of which Sabellius speaks, acknowledges the monoousian but not the homoousian, and he destroys the Son’s existence.

2.3 Neither, the suffering body, by which he saved all the world, given by the Father.

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

4 thoughts on “An Exposition of Faith: A New English Translation (Chapter 1 complete)”

  1. Hi Polycarp

    I put the Greek through Google Translate, but it couldn’t cope. What it spat out is only half translated and the English makes no sense.

    Your version is 1000% better. Well done!

  2. Thanks, NT. I am finding it difficult in places, but I have a Latin translation to place along side of it to clear up some things. Please continue to check in on it from time to time – I need pointers!

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