Melito of Sardis citation

I am having some difficulty tracking down the original language of this citation from Melito of Sardis.
Thou slewest thy Lord, and He was lifted up upon the tree; and an inscription was fixed above, to show who He was that was slain. And who was this? (that which we shall not say is too shocking to hear, and that which we shall say is very dreadful: nevertheless hearken, and tremble.) It was He because of whom the earth quaked. He that hung up the earth in space was Himself hanged up; He that fixed the heavens was fixed with nails; He that bore up the earth was borne up on a tree; the Lord of all was subjected to ignominy in a naked body-God put to death! the King of Israel slain with Israel's right hand! Alas for the new wickedness of the new murder! The Lord was exposed with naked body: He was not deemed worthy even of covering; and, in order that He might not be seen, the luminaries turned away, and the day became darkened because they slew God, who hung naked on the tree. It was not the body of our Lord that the luminaries covered with darkness when they set, but the eyes of men. For, because the people quaked not, the earth quaked; source

I've been back translating portions of this into Greek and searching for it without success. It's quite possible that the source text isn't in Greek but so far I haven't been able to Identify either the language or the source. There's a different translation in the 19th-century library of the fathers edited by Schaff and others. Navigating this library on the web typically gives you the English text you are looking for without telling you much about the source other than the reference in the English version. I know that Eusebius of Caesare is one source. I know there is a Syriac source but it was discovered more recently than the English translation in the Schaff library. The fragments are in a collection but I searched the Greek fragments collection without results. I searched everything Greek I had access to which is a lot.

I found some similar language in Chrysostom.
 
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The language is Syriac:

Found the source:
He was not deemed worthy even of covering ; and, in order that He might not be seen, the luminaries turned away, and the day became darkened, because they slew God, who hung naked on the tree. It was not the body of our Lord that the luminaries covered with darkness when they set,2 but the eyes of men. Spicilegium Syriacum: Containing Remains of Bardesan, Meliton, Ambrose and Mara Bar Serapion,William Cureton, F. and J. Rivington, 1855, Page 55.

The familiar pattern of of citing English text from 19th century English translations without reference to the source creates a nightmare for anyone tracking down the source.
 
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The most useful online sources I found were BibleHub which has an article on Melito of Sardis. and Alistair Stewart-Sykes introduction and translation. Still sorting out the textual situation which is confusing. It looks like the Syriac text isn't actually from the hand of Melito of Sardis. The Greek fragments of On the Passover have been posted by the same person who has nearly everything you want from the early church. The language of On the Passover is exceedingly simple and calls to mind the translation Greek of the Psalms. Somewhere I read that Melito was a Hellenist. If so his Hellenism isn't reflected in his theological language. This nothng like the language of the later theological controversies.

Opening lines:

ΜΕΛΙΤΩΝΟΣ​

ΠΕΡΙ ΠΑΣΧΑ​

Ἡ μὲν γραφὴ τῆς Ἑβραϊκῆς ἐξόδου ἀνέγνωσται,
καὶ τὰ ῥήματα τοῦ μυστηρίου διασεσάφηται·
πῶς τὸ πρόβατον θύεται
καὶ πῶς ὁ λαὸς σῴζεται.
Τοίνυν ξύνετε, ὦ ἀγαπητοί· οὕτως ἐστὶν
καινὸν καὶ παλαιόν,
ἀΐδιον καὶ πρόσκαιρον,
φθαρτὸν καὶ ἄφθαρτον,
θνητὸν καὶ ἀθάνατον
τὸ τοῦ πάσχα μυστήριον·παλαιὸν μὲν κατὰ τὸν νόμον,
καινὸν δὲ κατ[ὰ τὸν] λόγον,
πρόσκαιρον διὰ τὸν [τύπον],
ἀΐδιον διὰ τὴν χάριν,
φθαρτ[ὸν διὰ τὴν] τοῦ προβάτου σφαγήν,
ἄφθαρτον [διὰ τὴν] τοῦ κυρίου ζωήν,
θνητὸν διὰ τὴν <[ἐν τῇ γῇ]> ταφήν,
ἀθάνατον δ[ιὰ τ]ὴν ἐκ [νεκρῶν] ἀνάστασιν·
παλαιὸς [μὲν ὁ νόμος],
 
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rakovsky

Active member
The most useful online sources I found were BibleHub which has an article on Melito of Sardis. and Alistair Stewart-Sykes introduction and translation. Still sorting out the textual situation which is confusing. It looks like the Syriac text isn't actually from the hand of Melito of Sardis. The Greek fragments of On the Passover have been posted by the same person who has nearly everything you want from the early church. The language of On the Passover is exceedingly simple and calls to mind the translation Greek of the Psalms. Somewhere I read that Melito was a Hellenist. If so his Hellenism isn't reflected in his theological language. This nothng like the language of the later theological controversies.

Opening lines:
I don't know how one would distinguish Hellenism from nonHellenism theologically in the 2nd century AD once Biblical or Apostolic Trinitarian theology had been put in place and the other controversies resolved. I guess you could theorize that Jewish Christians rejecting all ongoing Torah ritual observance by Jews was "Hellenistic", but I haven't heard it labeled that way before, and I din't know if Melito rejected it. Supposedly Melito shared Paul's idea of the NT or Gospel's higher relationship over the OT, but I wouldn't call that "Hellenism." I don't consider evangelizing Greek speakers "Hellenistic." When I think of Hellenism theologically, I think of other issues like Philo's Logos concept and the adoption of nonJewish customs by non-Torah-observant Hellenistic Jews in the Maccabbee era.
 
I don't know how one would distinguish Hellenism from nonHellenism theologically in the 2nd century AD once Biblical or Apostolic Trinitarian theology had been put in place and the other controversies resolved.

I was thinking primarily about language borrowed directly from Plato or students of Plato or Aristotle. I was also thinking about the style of writing which reads more like the Gospel of John than it does like the major theological works of the third century and onward.

The theology is important and it will take some time to sort that out. Right from the beginning and throughout the text Melito talks about the Passover as Mystery. I found this combination of terminology in both authentic and spurious texts attributed to Justin Martyr, Athanasius, Clemens Alexandrinus, Gregorius Nazianzenus, Chrysostom, Epiphanius and others.

ΜΕΛΙΤΩΝΟΣ
ΠΕΡΙ ΠΑΣΧΑ

Ἡ μὲν γραφὴ τῆς Ἑβραϊκῆς ἐξόδου ἀνέγνωσται,
καὶ τὰ ῥήματα τοῦ μυστηρίου διασεσάφηται·
5
πῶς τὸ πρόβατον θύεται
καὶ πῶς ὁ λαὸς σῴζεται.
Τοίνυν ξύνετε, ὦ ἀγαπητοί· οὕτως ἐστὶν
καινὸν καὶ παλαιόν,
ἀΐδιον καὶ πρόσκαιρον,
10
φθαρτὸν καὶ ἄφθαρτον,
θνητὸν καὶ ἀθάνατον
12
τὸ τοῦ πάσχα μυστήρ


ON PASCHA [1]
1) The Scripture of the exodus of the Hebrews has been read,
and the words of the mystery have been declared;
how the sheep was sacrificed,
and how the people was saved,
and how Pharaoh was flogged by the mystery. [2]
2) Therefore, well-beloved, understand,
how the mystery of the Pascha
is both new and old,
eternal and provisional,
perishable and imperishable,
mortal and immortal.

[1] All English translaion is from Alistair Stewart-Sykes introduction and translation.
[2] The translation will not always follow the Greek text.
 
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