The Stripping of the Clothes of the Initiated in the Masteries.

ΤΗE passage given at the above page from Proclus is differently rendered by different translators. As I have quoted it, it is nearly the Same as rendered by Taylor in his translation of Proclus Taylor departs from the rendering of the Latin translator of the edition of Hamburgi, 1618, in regard to the word rendered "divested of their garments." That translator renders the word, which, in the original, is γυμνιτας, by "velites," or "light armed soldiers." But, on a careful examination of the passage, it will be found that Taylor's version, in regard to the meaning and application of this word, is perfectly correct, and that to interpret it as "light armed soldiers" entirely confounds the sense. In DONNEGAN'S Greek Lexicon, γυμνιτας is made synonymous with γυμνης, which in its primary signification is said to mean naked. In LiDDELL and SCOTT's Lexicon, γυμνιτης is not given, but γυμνήτης and there γυμνήτης is said, when a noun, to mean a [[@Page:313]]light armed soldier, but when an adjective, to signify naked. Now, the context shows that yv\i\ixaq, or yv\i\r\xaq, must be used as an adjective. Further, the context, before and after, makes it evident that it must mean "stripped" or "divested of garments." The sentence itself states a comparison. I give the words of the comparison from the Latin version already referred to: "Et quemadmodum. … [and then here come in the words I have quoted in the text]eodem modo puto et in ipsa rerum universarum contemplatione rem so habere." Now, in the sentence before, the soul or person who properly gives himself to the contemplation of the universe and God, is said to do so thus:" "Contrahens se totam in sui ipsius unionem, et in ipsum centrum universse vitro, et multitudinem et varietatem omnigenarum in ea comprehensarum facultatem AMOVENS, in ipsam summam ipsorum Entium speculam ascendit." Then, in the passage following the sentence in question, the same idea of the removing of everything that may hinder perfect union of soul is represented, "et omnibus OMISSIS atque NEGLECTIS," &c. Here the argument is, that as the initiated needed to be stripped naked, to get the full benefits of initiation, so the soul needs to divest itself of everything that may hinder it from rising to the contemplation of things as they really are.

There is only one other thing to be noticed, and that is the doubt that may arise in regard to the parenthetic words, "as they would say," whether, as they stand in the original, and as they are given by Taylor, they qualify the words preceding, or that follow after. As given in Taylor's translation, the words appear thus:" "divested of their garments, as they would say, participate of divine nature." Here it is not clear which clause they must be held to affect. This can be ascertained only from the uses loquendi. Now, the uses loquendi in Proclus is very decisive in showing that they qualify what follows. Thus, in lib i. cap. 3, p. 6, we find the following, καὶ πάντες (ὡς Σεσι) τὸ ἄνθος The summit of the soul, and as (they say) the flower;" and again {Ibid. cap. 7, p. 16), καὶ πάντες (ὡς εἰπεῖν) τῆς ἐνθέου σοφίας μετειλήφασι and all (so to speak) have partaken of the inspired wisdom." From these passages the usage of Proclus is clear, and, therefore, while keeping the words of Taylor's translation, I have arranged the last clause so as to bring out more clearly the real meaning of the original author.