Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Divine Flautist

I've been reading a lot of second and third century literature - right now focused predominantly on the second - for my newest project on "The Christian Moses."  I rather enjoyed the following from Athenagoras (Plea for Christians 9):

"...for I think you also...cannot be ignorant of the writings either of Moses or of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and the other prophets, who, lifted in ecstasy above the natural operations of their minds by the impulses of the divine spirit, uttered the things with which they were inspired, the spirit making use of them as a flute-player breathes into a flute..." (ANF trans)

Irenaeus, too, at one point refers to the prophets as God's instruments (though I think he meant more in terms of general instrumentality rather than musical instruments).  So, there you go: the prophets are flutes into which the divine spirit blows.  

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