APPENDIX - The Stripping of the Clothes of the
Initiated in the Mysteries.
NOTE M, p. 183.
The 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 gumnitas,
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 soldiers" entirely confounds the
sense. In DONNEGAN'S Greek Lexicon, gumnitas, is made synonymous
with, which in its primary signification is said to mean naked.
In LIDDELL and SCOTT's Lexicon, gumnitas, is not given, but
gumnitas,; and there is said, when a noun, to mean a light armed
soldier, but when an adjective, to signify naked. Now, the
context shows that gumnitas, or gumnitas, 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 se 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 universae vitae, 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," etc. 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 usus loquendi. Now, the
usus 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, ten akroteta tou nou, kai (hos phasi) to anthos-- "The
summit of the soul, and as (they say) the flower;" and
again (Ibid. cap. 7, p. 16), kai pantes (hos eipein) tesentheou
sophias meteilephasi-- "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