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Nova tellus

versão impressa ISSN 0185-3058

Nova tellus vol.24 no.2 México Jul./Dez. 2006

http://dx.doi.org/10.19130/iifl.nt.2006.24.2.176 

Artículos

Terms for Eternity: αἰὡνιος and ἀΐδιος in Classical and Christian Texts

Ilaria Ramelli* 

David Konstan** 

*Università Cattolica di Milano. Italia. ilaria.ramelli@virgilio.it

**Brown University. USA. dkonstan@brown.edu

Abstract

his paper surveys the uses of two ancient Greek terms - αἰὡνιος and ἀΐδιος- commonly translated as “eternal”, from their earliest occurrences in poetry and pre-Socratic philosophy down through the Septuagint and the New Testament, and culminating in the Christian theologian Origen. It examines the rise of the idea of infinitely extended time (generally denoted by ἀΐδιος), and Plato’s innovative introduction of a concept of a timeless eternity (sometimes described as αἰὡνιος). It is argued that in the Greek Bible, αἰὡνιος, as opposed to ἀΐδιος, does not necessarily denote absolute eternity. Since only αἰὡνιος, and never ἀΐδιος, is applied to punishment in the afterlife, Origen could find support in this usage for his doctrine of universal salvation and the finite duration of hell.

Keywords: ἀΐδιος; αἰὡνιος; Biblia; Christian Texts; Classical Texts; Eternity; Origen

Resumen

Este artículo estudia los usos de dos términos del griego antiguo-αἰὡνιος y ἀΐδιος- comúnmente traducidos ambos por “eterno”, desde sus apariciones más tempranas en la poesía y en la filosofía pre-socrática hasta la versión de la Biblia de los Setenta, el Nuevo Testamento y los escritos del teólogo cristiano Orígenes. Examina, pues, el origen de la idea de un tiempo que se extiende infinitamente (normalmente indicado por ἀΐδιος), y el novedoso concepto inventado por Platón de una eternidad atemporal (a veces descrita con αἰὡνιος). Argumenta, además, que en la Biblia griega αἰὡνιος, en contraste con ἀΐδιος, no significa necesariamente eternidad absoluta. Dado que solamente αἰὡνιος, y jamás ἀΐδιος, se aplica al castigo en el otro mundo, Orígenes pudo encontrar un apoyo en esta distinción para su hipótesis de la salvación universal y de la duración finita del infierno.

Palabras clave: ἀΐδιος; αἰὡνιος; Biblia; Christian Texts; Classical Texts; Eternity; Origen

Full text available only in PDF format.

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Received: August 09, 2006; Accepted: September 26, 2006

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