Monday, January 19, 2015

"May we seek those things which are beneficial to our brothers, without counting the cost, —to help them on the way to salvation."

"May we seek those things which are beneficial to our brothers, without counting the cost,
to help them on the way to salvation."

"Quæ fratribus nostris sunt utilia, nos quærere concede,
ut salutem facilius consequantur."

[Those things] which are profitable to our brethren allow us to seek,
that they may [as a consequence] more easily obtain salvation.

     Intercessions (Preces), Morning Prayer, Second Monday in Ordinary Time, Liturgy of the hours.  "without counting the cost" is nowhere present in the Latin, which I've taken from here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

"Culturally speaking, the Christian religion is one of those subjects about which it is cool to be ignorant."

     Rowan Williams, "No life, here — no joy, terror or tears," Church times, 17 July 1998, p. 27 (26-27).

"If a corpse clearly marked 'Jesus of Nazareth' turned up, I should save myself a lot of trouble and become a Quaker."

"I have never quite managed to see how we can make sense of the sacramental life of the Church without a theology of the risen body; and I have never managed to see how to put together such a theology without belief in the empty tomb.  If a corpse clearly marked 'Jesus of Nazareth' turned up, I should save myself a lot of trouble and become a Quaker."

     Rowan Williams, "No life, here — no joy, terror or tears," Church times, 17 July 1998, p. 27 (26-27).
     This is of course unfair to the evangelical tradition at least.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Intimations of Christianity among the Romans

     "'You must forgive me, Nicolaus; I know that you will disagree, and that you have no way to voice your disagreement; but I have in late years sometimes thought that it might be possible to construct a system of theology or even a religion around the idea of love, if that idea were extended somewhat beyond its usual application, and approached in a certain way.'"

     Octavius Caesar to Nicolaus of Damascus, 10 August A.D. 14, as imagined by John Williams; Augustus, Book III ((New York:  New York Review of Books, 2015 [1971]), 293).  "'Now that I am no longer capable of it, I have been examining that mysterious power that in its many varieties existed within me for so many years.  Perhaps the name that we give to the power is inadequate; but if it is, so are the names, spoken and unspoken, that we give to all the simpler gods.'"
     Augustus then runs through some of the loves:  the erotic love of the opposite sex, the erotic love of the same sex (an imprisonment within the self, 294), friendship (the self-realizing platonic contemplation of "the mystery of the other"), the love of children (one's own, one's adopted, and children in general), "the love of the scholar for his text, the philosopher for his idea, the poet for his word" (both "the highest" and, "as a love of power", "the basest form of love"), and "the Father of [his] Country" for Rome (the Daughter to which he sacrificed his own, 295).


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Quem terra pontus aethera . . . (attr. Venantius Fortunatus, c.530-c.610) / The God whom earth and sea and sky . . . (John Mason Neale, 1818-1866)

Quem terra pontus aethera . . .
The God whom earth and sea and sky . . .

     Hymn, Office of readings, Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Liturgy of the hours, vol. 1, p. 1326, and elsewhere.
     If this is really by Venantius Fortunatus (c.530-c.610), then why does it appear in the Spuriorum Appendix in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Auctores Antiquissimi 4.1, ed. Leo Friedrich (Berlin:  Wiedmann, 1881), p. 385?
     I haven't yet checked to be sure that it hasn't been rehabilitated since 1881, for example in Poèmes, ed. Reydellet, Collection des universités de France (Paris:  Les Belles Lettres, 1994-2004).

     The Neale translation as printed originally (?) on p. 183 of Part II (1856 [1854]) of The hymnal noted (London & New York:  Novello, Ewer and Co.; J. Masters and Son); cf. the only very slightly different Collected hymns, sequences and carols of John Mason Neale, ed. Mary Sackville Lawson (London:  Hodder and Stoughton, 1914), 144 (note that the original differs markedly from its appearance elsewhere, just for example in Liturgy of the hours, above):

The God Whom earth, and sea, and sky,
Adore, and laud, and magnify;
Who o'er their threefold fabric reigns,
The Virgin's spotless womb contains.

The God, Whose will by moon and sun
And all things in due course is done,
Is borne upon a Maiden's breast,
By fullest heav'nly grace possess'd.

How blest that Mother, in whose shrine
The great Artificer Divine,
Whose hand contains the earth and sky,
Vouchsafed, as in His ark, to lie!

Blest, in the message Gabriel brought;
Blest, by the work the Spirit wrought;
From whom the Great Desire of earth
Took human flesh and human birth.

All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee!
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.  Amen.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"a remark addressed to the contemporary gay fight for marriage equality."

"What you want is to live with a man in a happy home.  But you don't know how trivial it is.  Marriage is emblematic of modern life.  The way men and women are together—it's a silly business, it has no nobility."

     The fictional character Hom, after reading the manuscript of Maurice, in Arctic summer, by Damon Galgut, a novelization of the life of E. M. Forster (therein Morgan) in which "Forster's homosexuality . . . is definitive."  As quoted by Edmund White in "Forster in love:  the story," New York review of books 61, no. 17 (November 6, 2014):  53 (52-53).  White's comment:  "This could well be a remark addressed to the contemporary gay fight for marriage equality" (53).

Honest Abe

"'With him truth is out of the question, and as for getting a good bright passable lie out of him, you might as well try to strike fire from a cake of tallow.'"

     Abraham Lincoln and maybe Mary Todd, in 1841 (27 August 1842, according to  pp. 291 ff. of vol. 1 of the 1953 Collected works of Abraham Lincoln), in "a series of scurrilous letters from a fictitious [!] 'Rebecca' that vilified James Shields, a rising candidate in the Democratic Party" (the "Rebecca" letter from the Lost Townships), as quoted by Garry Wills, in "How Lincoln played the press," a review of Lincoln and the power of the press:  the war for public opinion, by Harold Holzer, New York review of books 61, no. 17 (November 6, 2014):  25 (25-26).  "It was a dirty game by later standards, and no one played it better than Abraham Lincoln" (25).