ὁ ὤν -> he who is (Exodus 3:14)

Geordiepete

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I wish to know the meaning or possible meanings of ὁ ὦν in the following excerpt from S. T. Coleridge's Notebooks vol. 5 6628 f24:

the eternal Root, of which Reason (= Truth, Being, ὁ ὦν) is the co-eternal Trunk—

A person I'm working with on this thinks it means 'the being' and is simply putting in Greek the preceding English word. However, if it were to mean 'the being' then first, it would be τó and not ὁ, and secondly, ὦν would have an omicron not an omega. Isn't it so, then, that ὁ ὦν can only mean 'he who is' (such as in Exodus 3:14). The omega is printed with a smooth breathing and a perispomene, but that circumflex is an interpretation by the editor and it could also have been, in the original manuscript notebook, a grave accent, or indeed Coleridge may have made a simple error in his accent.

In brief, is it more likely that by ὁ ὦν (or possibly ὁ ὤν) Coleridge meant (a) 'the being'; (b) 'he who is', or (c) something else?

Thank you for reading!

Peter

Peter Cheyne, MPhil, PhD
Associate Professor, Shimane University
Visiting Fellow 2016–2019, Durham University, Philosophy Dept
« Last Edit: 10 Sep, 2016, 04:39:04 by Geordiepete »


billberg23

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Coleridge was undoubtedly quoting Exodus 3:14, so it seems to be a clever, allusive way of saying "God."  The Greek is a definite article (masculine singular nominative) with a masculine singular nominative participle, literally "the being one," i.e. "he who is."



Geordiepete

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Many thanks, billberg23, this is very helpful!

There are still two or three points that need to be cleared up, hence three further questions:

1. I also think that Coleridge was alluding to Exodus 3:14, as I wrote in my initial post. However, is the perispomene over ὦν perfectly acceptable, or is it a slip for what should have been been ὤν, and would this affect the meaning? (I'm inclined to think that because the early LXX texts had no accents, ὁ ὤν and ὁ ὦν would have the same meaning, differing only in pronunciation, is that right?)

2. I think that ὦν can be well translated as ‘the one being’, ‘the being one’, or ‘the one who is’, but I would say that the best literal translation would be ‘he who is’, because ὁ is masculine, or as it is preferable––while being literal, that is––to retain the article, and so write: ‘the [male] one who is’, but then, ‘the [male] one’ is cumbersome, and a better English rendering of that meaning would be ‘he’, hence again, ‘he who is’. How does that sound?

3. I also think that ὦν cannot mean ‘the being’ in the sense of simply following an English-language word––the second item in this list, ‘Truth, Being, ὁ ὦν’––with its foreign-language equivalent (i.e. providing an appositive). Am I right to think this, or is it merely an opinion?

To explain my view, I think that writing ὁ ὦν after ‘Truth’ and ‘Being’ is not to end with an appositive in another language, but is rather to ascend as the list moves along, with the next item including the earlier one(s), from Truth, to Being, to God, which latter alone can say, as Coleridge put it elsewhere:  ‘I am. Causa Sua. My own [ac]t is the Ground of my own existence’ (Marginalia III: 1065).
« Last Edit: 09 Sep, 2016, 18:31:18 by Geordiepete »


billberg23

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1.  It must indeed be "a slip for what should have been been ὤν," since ὦν is not a word in Greek.  Whether the slip was Coleridge's, or one of his editors'/publishers', probably cannot be determined.
2.  Quite right;  I've changed the title of your thread accordingly.
3.  Right, impossible for ὁ ὤν to mean "the being":  that would have to be τὸ ὄν.  I completely agree with your view, which is manifestly in accord with the text.



spiros

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From Eurotas 2016 conference:

CONSCIENTICA SYNERGETICA - INTRODUCTION IN A NEW SCIENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Ph.D. Ion Manzat & Ph.D. Maria Tanase Manzat
Program Eurotas 2016


 

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