Author Topic: Grammar - Trisagion  (Read 2856 times)

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Online Mor Ephrem

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Grammar - Trisagion
« on: June 23, 2013, 10:15:35 PM »
While I was pretty good with Greek while in seminary, I've lost a lot of it over the years.  Since there are many here who haven't, I thought I'd throw this question out. 

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Ἅγιος ὁ Θεός, Ἅγιος Ἰσχυρός, Ἅγιος Ἀθάνατος, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς.

This is the EO version of the Trisagion; the OO version includes a Christological phrase before ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς to make clear that we address it to Christ and not to the Trinity, as the EO do. 

Grammatically, is this addressed to one person or to more than one?  The Copts just adopted the Greek for this, and yet they address it to one person.  My understanding of the grammar is that it's directed to one person and not to three.  I'm interested in the grammar; theology and polemics can be done elsewhere (and if they have already been done, just let me know, and I'll look for that).  Are the Copts "doing it wrong" grammatically, or does the Trinitarian interpretation of the EO come from somewhere other than grammar?     
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"What people say when they speak on their own account is repellent and murksome, for their words do not come from the living spring of the Spirit, but are spawned from the morass of their own heart, a bog infested with the leeches, snakes and frogs of desire, delusion and dissipation; the water of their knowledge is evil-smelling, turbid and torpid, sickening to those who drink it and filling them with nausea and disgust."

Gregory of Sinai, On Commandments and Doctrines

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Grammar - Trisagion
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2013, 10:27:04 PM »
While I was pretty good with Greek while in seminary, I've lost a lot of it over the years.  Since there are many here who haven't, I thought I'd throw this question out. 

Quote
Ἅγιος ὁ Θεός, Ἅγιος Ἰσχυρός, Ἅγιος Ἀθάνατος, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς.

This is the EO version of the Trisagion; the OO version includes a Christological phrase before ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς to make clear that we address it to Christ and not to the Trinity, as the EO do. 

Grammatically, is this addressed to one person or to more than one?  The Copts just adopted the Greek for this, and yet they address it to one person.  My understanding of the grammar is that it's directed to one person and not to three.  I'm interested in the grammar; theology and polemics can be done elsewhere (and if they have already been done, just let me know, and I'll look for that).  Are the Copts "doing it wrong" grammatically, or does the Trinitarian interpretation of the EO come from somewhere other than grammar?     
Actually, the last verse the Copts sing is "di-Aghia 'trias! eleison imas" "O Holy Trinity"-the "di" is the only Coptic word in the whole hymn (though they have the same expansion/interpolation as the rest of the non-Chalcedonians).

Grammar isn't going to help, as the Trinity is always a singular subject.
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                           and both come out of your mouth

Online Mor Ephrem

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Re: Grammar - Trisagion
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2013, 10:54:48 PM »
Actually, the last verse the Copts sing is "di-Aghia 'trias! eleison imas" "O Holy Trinity"-the "di" is the only Coptic word in the whole hymn (though they have the same expansion/interpolation as the rest of the non-Chalcedonians).

Yeah, I knew about that.  The first time I heard it and made connections, I smiled.  :)

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Grammar isn't going to help, as the Trinity is always a singular subject.

I guess what I had in mind was some of the Byzantine texts for today's feast, where the Trinity is expounded upon by splitting up the invocations: Holy God for the Father, Holy Mighty for the Son, and Holy Immortal for the Spirit.  I wondered whether you could assign the invocations to individual persons and still be grammatically correct (i.e., the hymn actually addresses a plurality of persons) or if it was more "poetic" expression of Trinitarian faith. 
Quote
"What people say when they speak on their own account is repellent and murksome, for their words do not come from the living spring of the Spirit, but are spawned from the morass of their own heart, a bog infested with the leeches, snakes and frogs of desire, delusion and dissipation; the water of their knowledge is evil-smelling, turbid and torpid, sickening to those who drink it and filling them with nausea and disgust."

Gregory of Sinai, On Commandments and Doctrines