"And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father"(Commas and capitalization are per the text in The Synekdêmos - ΣΥΝΕΚΔΗΜΟΣ ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΙΑΝΟΥ. Note that there is no comma after Πνευμα.)
και εις το Πνευμα το αγιον, το κυριον, το ζωοποιον, το εκ του Πατρος εκπορευομενον
In his book Credo (Yale University Press, 2003), Jaroslav Pelikan writes the following about this phrase in the Creed:
"...the language about believing in the third hypostasis or person of the Trinity as 'the lordly and life-giving' Spirit. The original Greek of that epithet, which is to kyrion in the neuter rather than ton kyrion in the masculine, is, strictly speaking, an adjective meaning 'lordly, of the Lord,' not a noun to be translated as 'the Lord,' as it is already with the Latin Dominum et vivificantem and would be in most subsequent translations into various languages." (p. 52)Thus, instead of:
"And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father"Pelikan translates it as:
"And in the Spirit, the holy, the lordly and life-giving one, proceeding from the Father" (p. 25)In reciting and translating the Creed I had lazily overlooked this and/or assumed το κυριον was simply a neuterizing of ο κυριος to agree with the neuter το πνευμα. (κυριον would be the accusative form in both the masculine and the neuter.) This would be perhaps similar to the reason some give as to why Jesus calls Peter Πετρος in Matthew 16:18 in the wordplay with πετρα:
καγω δε σοι λεγω οτι συ ει Πετρος, και επι ταυτη τη πετρα οικοδομησω μου την εκκλησιαν, και πυλαι αδου ου κατισχυσουσιν αυτηςI.e., since πετρα is feminine, Jesus masculinizes it to Πετρος when naming Simon Peter, since He couldn't call him Πετρα.
(ο κυριος is just a masculine substantival form of the adjective, and η κυρια ("lady, mistress") is a feminine substantival form of the adjective. Couldn't το κυριον similarly be a substantival form of the adjective when referring to neuter nouns like Πνευμα, and not have to be the adjective "lordly"?)
I can think of a couple points in support of Pelikan's translation of κυριον as "lordly" (though I don't know if these were his reasons; he might have based his translation simply on το κυριον being neuter and agreeing with το Πνευμα):
- It is rare for the Spirit to be called "the Lord" in the New Testament. It only occurs at 2 Corinthians 3:17 and possibly at 2 Corinthians 3:18:
17 ο δε κυριος το πνευμα εστιν· ου δε το πνευμα κυριου, ελευθερια. 18 ημεις δε παντες ανακεκαλυμμενω προσωπω την δοξαν κυριου κατοπτριζομενοι την αυτην εικονα μεταμορφουμεθα απο δοξης εις δοξαν καθαπερ απο κυριου πνευματος.At 3:17 it's ο κυριος το πνευμα εστιν ("the Lord is the Spirit"), not το κυριον το πνευμα εστιν ("the lordly one is the Spirit").
3:18 reads απο κυριου πνευματος, and κυριου could be either the masculine noun κυριος, referring to Jesus or God the Father, or the neuter adjective κυριον (κυριος, -α, -ον), agreeing with πνευμα . As it stands, the phrase could be translated as:
- "from [the] of-[the]-Lord Spirit" = "from [the] Spirit of [the] Lord"
- "from [the] Lord, [the] Spirit" (i.e., the Lord = the Spirit)
- "from [the] Lord of [the] Spirit"
- "from [the] lordly Spirit" (= κυριον)
If it's the second possibility, then this verse calls the Spirit "the Lord."
- In the Creed, God is called "the Father" (more specifically "one Father" - ενα Θεον), and Jesus is called "the Lord" (more specifically "one Lord" - ενα Κυριον), before one gets to the article about the Spirit. It seems to me that the authors would not also call the Spirit "the Lord," since the Creed declares belief in (just) "one Lord." Nor would they want to confuse the Spirit in any way with the Son by calling them both "Lord," especially since they were careful to differentiate the Son's relationship to the Father from the Spirit's: the Son being begotten from the Father, and of one substance/essence with Him; and the Spirit proceeding from the Father (but with no mention of Him being of one substance with Him or with the Son).
"And in the holy, lordly, life-giving Spirit"Some of my questions are:
- Is Pelikan is right to translate το Πνευμα το αγιον as "The Spirit, the holy" - i.e., regarding αγιον more as an adjective than as part of the Spirit's proper name? (It seems to me, though, that a lot of the New Testament occurrences of το Πνευμα το αγιον are correctly translated in English as "the Holy Spirit.")
- At (or by) the time this phrase was added to the Creed (in 381 A.D. at The First Council of Constantinople), would the Church have regarded το Πνευμα το αγιον as meaning "the Holy Spirit" (as opposed to "the 'holy' Spirit")?
- Did the authors of the Creed choose to use the Second Attributive Position syntax (article-noun-article-adjective) - i.e., το Πνευμα το αγιον - instead of το αγιον Πνευμα (First Attributive Position - cf. Acts 1:8) or Πνευμα αγιον (Anarthrous Attributive - cf. Acts 19:2) because they viewed the phrase the same way Pelikan does (i.e., as meaning "the holy (adj.) Spirit")?
- Was το Πνευμα το αγιον the way the Church Fathers usually or often wrote "the Holy Spirit" (perhaps because this construction is very common in Acts) - as opposed to it meaning "the holy (adj.) Spirit"?