vendredi 8 novembre 2013

Job and Leviathan, according to St Gregory

First of all, did you know that Leviathan however much he may be a zoological entity, is also a diabolical one?

God had asked basically what Job would do about the Leviathan. And Job gives a correct answer, as we can read in Moralia in Hiob, beginning of last book:

Because this is the last book of this work, and since, the more difficult places having been treated, those which remain are less obscure, it seems good to run through it with less attention and care. For as if we had traversed a mighty ocean, we now gain sight of the shore, and lowering the sails of our intention, are not borne along with the same force as before, but yet we still hold our way from the impulse of the former blast. The storm of our anxiety has, so to speak, abated, but its violence, through now moderated, yet still wafts us on to our station on the shore. After then the Lord had shewn to His faithful servant how strong and crafty is Leviathan His enemy, while He carefully disclosed his strength and craft, blessed Job replied to both, saying,

Chap. xlii. ver. 2. I know that Thou canst do all things, and that no thought is hid from Thee.


2. For against his huge strength he observed; I know that Thou canst do all things; but against his hidden machinations he subjoined; And no thought is hid from Thee. Whence he immediately upbraids the same Leviathan, saying;

Ver. 3. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?

For Leviathan hides counsel without knowledge, because, though he is concealed from our infirmity by many frauds, he is yet disclosed to us by the holy inspiration of our Protector. He hides counsel without knowledge, because though he escapes the notice of those who are tempted, yet he cannot escape the notice of the Protector of the tempted. Having heard therefore the power and craft of the devil, having heard also the power of our Creator, which both mightly represses him, and mercifully protects us, we entreat thee, O blessed Job, not to conceal from us that which thou thinkest of thyself. It follows;

Therefore I have spoken foolishly, and things that above measure exceeded my knowledge.


3. All human wisdom, however powerful in acuteness, is foolishness, when compared with Divine wisdom. For all human deeds which are just and beautiful are, when compared with the justice and beauty of God, neither just nor beautiful, nor have any existence at all. Blessed Job therefore would believe that he had said wisely what he had said, if he did not hear the words of superior wisdom. In comparison with which all our wisdom is folly. And he who had spoken wisely to men, on hearing the Divine sayings, discourses more wisely that he is not wise. ...

I am subtly reminded of the Beowulf poet, to whom the dragon of Beowulf is also an image of the Devil.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Georges Pompidou Library
of Beaubourg
All Hallows' Octave

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