Word of the Law
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- The word of the Law is θελημα (AL I:39)
θελημα is a Greek word, thelema that means will.
The Word of the Law
The Book of the Law (technically called Liber Al vel Legis sub figura CCXX, Liber CCXX, Liber 220, or Liber Al) says that;
- The word of the Law is θελημα (AL I:39)
shortly before proclaiming the Law (http://www.thelemapedia.org/index.php/Law_of_Thelema) itself;
- Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law (AL I:44)
and then stating that
- Love is the Law, love under will. (AL I:57)
It is perhaps of import to note that the Book then says (apparently referring to the Law (http://www.thelemapedia.org/index.php/Law_of_Thelema) Do what thou wilt) that;
- thou hast no right but to do thy will. (AL I:42)
shortly before referring to that will as “pure will” and “perfect”. (AL I:44) The Book then seems to be asserting the ultimate nature and purity of that will;
- The Perfect and the Perfect are one Perfect and not two; nay, are none! (AL I:45)
It is well established that θελημα, thelema means "will". However, it is worthy to note there are other Greek words that could have been used in place of thelema which, at least on the surface, would have been equally valid even in context. In the Greek language, there are a number of words such as thelisis, thelisi, boylisis that are perfectly valid transliterations of the English word "will", even in such phrases as "It is by the force of her will that she shall persevere!", "It is not what just she wants, but it is what she truly wills.", and "It is the King's Will".
However, by arbitrary selection or by design (human or preternatural), these other words are not used in The Book of the Law, a Class A document (considered to be the most sacred of the Holy Books of Thelema and not to be changed, even to the letter) nor do they seem to be used in Thelema at all, whatever the document's class. Only the word θελημα is used and this may indicate may a deeper meaning to "the word of the Law" (AL I:39) upon which Thelema stands.
As is often the case with transliteration between languages, there is no simple or single word-to-word correlation. While in some cases and contexts the words chosen in the translation process are not crucial and there may be no single perfect word to serve the function. However, in certain cases and contexts the words that are chosen in the translation and the nuances implied may be worth consideration. This tends to be more significant in sacred texts (http://www.sacred-texts.com/) in general, and most explicitly so in the case of the Book of the Law.
While it seems that these other Greek words can express many of the ideas of the Book of the Law quite effectively, there are two significant differences that set the actual word of the Law Θ ε λ η μ α - Thelema apart from these and other words apart from these and other words; 1. Semantics and style and 2. Numerological considerations
It may be fair to ask whether such close scrutiny of the Law is justifiable. The Book of the Law and Crowley seem quite sure about this;
- Divide, add, multiply and understand. (AL I:25)
- Change not as much as the style of the letter; or behold! thou, o prophet, shalt not behold all these mysteries hidden therein. (AL I:54)
- the letters? Change them not in style or value! (AL II:54)
In a letter to a student, on the Law of Thelema Crowley wrote, "It should not be necessary to explain that a full appreciation of this message is not to be obtained by a hasty examination. It is essential to study it from every point of view, to analyse it with the keenest philisophical acumen. and finally apply it as a key for every problem, internal and external, that exists. This key, applied with skill, will open every lock." - Magick in Theory and Practice pg 88
Semantics and Style
Θ ε λ η μ α is particularly used in Koine Greek (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koine_Greek) also called "Biblical" or "New Testament" Greek because it was the original language in which the New Testament was first written and was also used in the Septuagint (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint) (the Old Testament in Koine Greek translated from Hebrew). It is this Greek word for "will" that is used in the Greek Bible in the context of the divine such as in the "God's will", "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" and "the will of God".
This seems to reinforce that the word of the law Θ ε λ η μ α is to be taken in just such a reverent and transcendent context, higher still than even the ideas such as freedom of will and will power which are already revered in Thelema.
Numerological Considerations (Isopsephy)
In the Greek system of numerology Isopsephy Θ ε λ η μ α = 93 which has profound implications when it is considered that it shares the same numerical equivalent and therefore is in essence the same as agape - "love"
The other Greek words would of course have different values in Isopsephy.
Θ ε λ η σ η Ϛ - thelisis = 460
Θ ε λ η σ η - thelisi = 260
β ο υ λ η σ Ϛ - boylisis = 788
Finally, in The Law of Liberty [Liber CL לענ De Lege Libellum] Crowley writes;
- It is written that "Love is the law, love under will." Herein is an arcanum concealed, for in the Greek language Αγαπη, Love, is of the same numerical value as Θελημα, Will. By this we understand that the Universal Will is on the Nature of Love.
- Crowley, Aleister. (1997). The Book of the Law [Liber AL vel Legis]. York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser.
- Crowley, Aleister. (1919). The Law of Liberty [Liber CL לענ De Lege Libellum] in (1991) The Equinox vol III no 10. York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser.
- Crowley, Aleister. (1994). Magick Without Tears. Tempe, AZ. : New Falcon.
- The Greek Translation Vortal (http://www.translatum.gr/)
- In Greek Dictionary - "will" (http://www.in.gr/dictionary/lookup.asp?Word=will&TranslateButton2=Translate)