Monday, July 13, 2009

Q108 A2: Whether there are several orders in one hierarchy?

Yes. The formal aspect of a hierarchy requires diversity of orders because one hierarchy is one principality; that is, one multitude ordered in one way under the rule of a prince. Now such a multitude would not be ordered, but confused, if there were not in it different orders.

Ipsa ratio hierarchiae requirit ordinum diversitatem quia una hierarchia est unus principatus; idest una multitudo ordinata uno modo sub principis gubernatione. Non autem esset multitudo ordinata, sed confusa, si in multitudine diversi ordines non essent.

We find in each angelic hierarchy the orders distinguished according to their actions and offices, and all this diversity is reduced to three: namely, to the summit, the middle, and the base. And so in every hierarchy Dionysius places three orders (Coel. Hier. vi).

In qualibet hierarchia angelica ordines distinguuntur secundum diversos actus et officia, et omnis ista diversitas ad tria reducitur: scilicet ad summum, medium et infimum. Et propter hoc in qualibet hierarchia Dionysius ponit tres ordines.