Thursday, July 28, 2016

"it is not that the myth of Thoth concerning the supreme god and the treacherous scribe anticipates the positive truth of grammatology, but rather that grammatology just repeats (identically) the myth of Thoth."

     John Milbank, Theology and social theory:  beyond secular reason, 2nd ed. (Malden, MA:  Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 312, on Derrida (about whom I myself know next to nothing).  Milbank's point (throughout this chapter, and indeed the book) is that the latter ontological "conjecture" is every bit as plausible as the former.

"'embraced the executioner, and kissed the gore on his hands'"

Cavalieri (1584).
New York Public Library.
     "In the silence after Campion's death, broken only by the sound of weeping and groaning, [Fr. Ralph] Sherwin came up onto the cart.  Sherwin's actions on the scaffold help highlight by contrast how little theatre, and how much ritual, there had been in Campion's behavior.  Sherwin
embraced the executioner, and kissed the gore on his hands.  The crowd was very much moved by this, and there was a general murmur which dragged from the official in charge permission for this next victim to say what he wanted.
In fact, Sherwin, like Campion, was interrupted repeatedly by Sir Francis Knollys with the request that he 'come to the poynt, and confess your treason'; Sherwin finally expressed impatience with Knollys, and said, 'Tush, tush, you and I shall answere this before an other Judge', and even Knollys was prompted to admit that [Sherwin] was 'no contriver or doer of this treason, for you are no man of armes, but you are a traytor by consequence'.  The state's attempt to persuade the public that these Oxford scholars were traitors has descended to the point where Knollys, the Treasurer of the Royal Household, has to admit that the second scholar is only a 'traytor by consequence'.  This new legal category did not convince the crowd, who cheered him, saying 'Well done, Sherwin!  God receive your soul!' as the noose was put on this neck,and 'the noise lasted  quite some time' and did not 'die down even when he was dead'."

     Gerard Kilroy, Edmund Campion:  a scholarly life (London and New York:  Ashgate, Routledge, 2015), 341-342, quoting More, Historia missionis (1660), 134.
     "the gore on [the executioner's] hands" was of course that of Campion, who had just been disembowled and quartered (albeitthanks to the forceful last-minute intervention of Lord Charles Howardafter he was dead).
     The burden of this book is to show that Campion was entirely innocent of the charge of treason.
     Impressively, the Protestant martyrologist John Foxe was indefatiguable in his intercession on Campion's behalf (331-332, and and one point later in the book as well).

Friday, July 22, 2016

An "age-old prejudice" (the last acceptable one)

Bayerische StaatsBibliothek
     "As for our jovial Christian kin, delegates to the Council of Mâcon in 585 submitted for discussion a book by Alcidalus Valeus entitled Paradoxical Dissertation in Which We Attempt to Prove that Women are not Human Creatures.  Paradoxical?  In what way?  We do not know if the attempt was successful; i.e., if Alcidalus won over his readers.  But the Christian hierarchy was already sympathetic to his point of view:  we need only recall Paul of Tarsus and his countless [(innombrables)] misogynistic pronouncements.  In any case, the church’s age-old prejudice against women remains to this day an undeniable fact [(une sinistre actualité)]."

     Michel Onfray, Atheist manifesto:  the case against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, trans. Jeremy Leggatt (New York: Arcade Pub., 2007), 104.  "age-old prejudice" is not in the original French of the Traité d’athéologie (2005), but only "la prevention de l’Église à l’endroit des femmes" (though the utterly unfounded ahistorical scorn is quite evident).  See Adeline Gargam and Bertram Lançon, "La querelle sur l’âme des femmes aux XVIe-XVIIIe siècles:  sources et retombées historiographiques d’une mystification (VIe-XXIe siècles)," Revue d’ histoire ecclésiastique 108, no. 3/4 (2013):  655 (626-658), underscoring mine.
     The Disputatio nova contra mulieres qua probatur eas homines non esse
  • was first published in 1595 (Bayerische StaatsBibliothek:  "1195 [i.e. 1595]"), not the sixth century (!) (630);
  • was translated for a second time into French by Charles Clapiès as the Paradoxe sur les femmes, où l’on essaie de prouver que les femmes ne sont pas des creatures humaines in 1766 (643), but Paradoxe was never turned into the adjective paradoxale nor coupled with the two descriptors the book bore in Latin (disputatio and dissertatio) (655n1);
  • was only falsely attributed to Valens Acidalius (656); and
  • referenced an extremely obscure provincial synod that may or may not have been held in Mâcon and whose easy brief passing refutation of the opinion of an obviously embarassingly ignorant single bishop has been transformed into an important and hard- (in the sense of only very narrowly-) won canonical decision (656).
As for "the latent misogyny of Paul, it is neither frequent nor maledictory, but very ordinary and, for a Roman citizen of the 1st century, rather moderate" (655n131).

     "the persistence of the legend of Mâcon, although long since as deflated as a [punctured] balloon historically [speaking], is an indication of the 'evidentiary' force that a 'received idea' can have [(la force d'évidence que peut avoir historiquement une idée reçue)], and demonstrates that since the time of the Reformation it is on the terrain of sexism that the offensives directed against Catholicism are [always] launched [(se portent)], as if one sees in [sexism] its Achilles' heel" (656).

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"Tradition thus includes, but is also wider than, the truths enumerated in magisterial promulgations".

Dialogos Institute
"If theology is not to be reduced to religious studies or even intellectual self-abuse, we must aim to embrace the Word of God as it has revealed itself and proclaim what we have first received (e.g. 1 Cor. 15:1-11)."

"To the extent that what the church means in her profession of Christ's descent has not been sufficiently defined, if we are to proclaim what we have received, we must look to sacred tradition and profess, examine, defend and develop what it reveals."

     Alyssa Lyra Pitstick in response to Paul J. Griffiths, "Is there a doctrine of the descent into hell?" Pro ecclesia 17, no. 3 (Summer 2008):  257-268, in "Response to Webster and Lauber," Scottish journal of theology 62, no. 2 (2009):  211, 215-216 (211-216).  By "sacred tradition" Pitstick means, in this case, "expressions of faith other than definitions (liturgy, art, the consensus of theologians, etc.)" (215).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess."

     Martin Luther, Letter no. 1610 to Justus Jonas the Elder, written from V/Feste Koburg (Fort Coburg) on 29 June (?) 1530, WA Briefe V, p. 409, ll. 21-23 (in Luther's usual mixture of German and Latin):
Ich hab ihr viel in manu mea gehabt, und all verloren, nicht eine behalten.  Quas vero extra manus meas in illum reiicere hactenus potui, adhuc habeo salvas et integras.
[Steve Perisho:]  I have had much in it (in my hand), and lost [it] all, retained not one [thing].  [Those things] which I have so far truly been able to throw back out of [(extra)] my hands upon Him [(in illum)] I possess thus far safe and sound.
[Dr. Mark Glen Bilby:]  I've held onto much in my hands and lost it all, kept not one thing. But whatever I've thus far been able to cast out of my hands upon Him, I've held onto safe and entire/sound.
A few (of the probably innumerable) variants:

Monday, July 4, 2016

caelestis vitae actio

"May this oblation dedicated to your name,
purify us, O Lord,
and day by day bring our conduct
closer to the life of heaven.
Through. . . ."

"Oblatio (nos), Domine, tuo nomini dicata purificet,
et de die in diem ad caelestis vitae transferat actionem.
Per. . . ."

[This] oblation dedicated to your name, O Lord:  may it purify
and from day to day convey/transform (us)
          to/into the performance of heavenly life.
Through. . . .

     Prayer over the offerings, Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Roman missal.  Early 8th-century Gelasian sacramentary (Corpus orationum nos. 3604a-b (vol. 5, pp. 272-273; Bruylants no. 727 (vol. 2, p. 204)).
     Is "caelestis vitae . . . actio" supposed to allude to the heavenly eucharist (gratiarum actio)?  Contra the new translation, "actionem", rather than "caelestis vitae", has to be the object of "ad".

"what help is there in Greek, what in Hebrew, what in the Latin language?"

Historic England
"Here lies tongueless a man who used many languages, and was the official reader of Hebrew [at Christ Church, Oxford].  But what help is there in Greek, what in Hebrew, what in the Latin language?  If his skill in languages ever gave succour to others, that alone gives him protection now.  You, therefore, whom the tongue of Thomas Neale used to help him, help him, voiceless as he now is, with your holy tongue.  Subscription of the author himself:  While still healthy, I placed these verses here for myself, so that an image of my death might thereby be seen by me in advance.  Even if he kills me, I shall still put my hope in him.  Job. c. 13.  A.D. 1590, my 71st year."

"Hic iacet elinguis qui linguis pluribus olim
Usus, Hebraismi publica lingua fuit.
Graeca quid hic?  quid Hebraea iuvat?  quid lingua Latina?
Si qua alios iuvit, nunc ea sola iuvat.
Vos ergo Thomae Neli quos lingua iuvabat,
Elinguem lingua (quaeso) iuvate pia.
Subscriptio ipsi authoris
Hos egomet versus posuit mihi sanus, ut esset
Hinc praevisa mihi mortis imago meae.
Etiam si occiderit me
In ipsum tamen sperabo.  Job, ca. 13.
Anno. Domini. 1590.  aetatis vero meae. 71."

     Shroud brass for the Rev. Thomas Neale, a recusant ordained under Queen Mary, and placed by him above a side-altar in St. Peter's, Cassington, Oxfordshire (where the Rev. Neale may have continued to say Mass), "At a time when prayers for the dead had been forbidden".  Gerard Kilroy, Edmund Campion:  a scholarly life (London and New York:  Routledge, 2016 [2015]), 48-50.  Translation Kilroy's.