Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Darwinism appeared, and, under the guise of a foe, did the work of a friend."

"The one absolutely impossible conception of God, in the present day, is that which represents Him as an occasional visitor.  Science had pushed the deist's God farther and farther away, and at the moment when it seemed as if He would be thrust out altogether, Darwinism appeared, and, under the guise of a foe, did the work of a friend."

     Aubrey Moore, "The Christian doctrine of God," Lux mundi:  a series of studies in the religion of the Incarnation (London:  John Murray, 1889), 99.
     I was put onto this by Denis Alexander, "Not so selfish gene," Times literary supplement no. 5792 (April 4, 2014), 29.  Which is to say that I have not read the entire essay by Moore.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A contemporary improperium

I grafted you into the tree of my chosen Israel,
and you turned on them with persecution and mass murder.
I made you joint heirs with them of my covenants,
but you made them scapegoats for your own guilt.
Holy God, holy and mighty,
Holy immortal One, have mercy upon us.

     Section on Worship, Board of Discipleship, United Methodist Church, From ashes to fire:  services of worship for the seasons of Lent and Easter with introduction and commentary, Supplemental worship resources 8 (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1979), 158 (where it is reproach/improperium no. 9 under the section labelled "SILENT MEDITATION or DEVOTIONS AT THE CROSS").  "Don E. Saliers of Emory University was the writer of the [entire] manuscript", composed in sporadic consultation with James F. White and Hoyt L. Hickman (8-9). The only even remotely potential antecedent could, I suppose, be "the excellent work done by the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship" (161), but I think that likely to have involved work on the traditional Reproaches in general rather than the composition of this one stanza in particular de novo.
     Cf. p. 56 here, though, significantly (?), not pp. 310 ff. of the Church of England's Common worship:  Times and seasons.  Cf. p. 647 of the Acknowledgements to the latter.  It appears also on p. 189 of Hickman, Saliers, Stookey, & White, The new handbook of the Christian year based on the Revised Common Lectionary (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 1992).  It does not appear in the 1992 United Methodist book of worship.
     I wonder if there aren't some objections additional to those made by N. T. Wright.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

"there exists nothing more marvellous than the world's creation in the beginning[,] except that, at the end of the ages, Christ our Passover has been sacrificed."

. . . non fuisse excellentius,
quod initio factus est mundus,
quam quod in fine sæculorum
Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus.     

     Prayer after the first reading (Gen 1:1-2:2), Easter Vigil, Roman missal.  It comes from the 8th-century Gelasian sacramentary (if not elsewhere), and is in content not dissimilar to the opening Collect for Christmas day that derives from the early 7th-century Leonine sacramentary:

O God, who wonderfully created the dignity of human nature and still more wonderfully restored it, grant, we pray, that we may share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity. 
Deus, qui humanæ substantiæ dignitatem et mirabiliter condidisti, et mirabilius reformasti, da, quaesumus, nobis eius divinitatis esse consortes, qui humanitatis nostræ fieri dignatus est particeps.
Indeed, it is the latter that appears in the position of the former on p. 288 of the 1979 Book of common prayer:
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature:  Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
     Cf. "The Lord of Sabbath let us praise", by Samuel Wesley Jr. (which I was put onto by Jared Bivins, but haven't yet checked against an authoritative text):

     On this glad day a brighter scene
     Of glory was display'd
     By God, th' Eternal word, than when
     This universe was made.

     He rises, who mankind has bought
     With grief and pain extreme;
     'Twas great to speak the world from naught,
     'Twas greatest to redeem.

The piety of God, the marvelous deeming-worthy of his dutiful care for us

O mira circa nos tuæ pietatis dignatio!
O inæstimabilis dilectio caritatis: . . .

O marvelous dignation [(deeming-worthy)]
     of [this] dutifulness of yours that encompasses us!
O dilection [(love)] of inestimable charity: . . .

2010 Roman missal:
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling, . . .

1979 Book of common prayer:
How wonderful and beyond our knowing, O God, is your mercy and loving-kindness to us, . . .

     Ex(s)ultet.  Pietas is the love and duty (dutiful conduct, even fealty) owed to a superior.  Hence the condescension ("humble care") of the most recent translation of the Roman missal.
     For the Ex(s)ultet in an early 20th-century edition of the Missale Gothicum (c. 700), go here (there are later critical editions, but they are not online):
     
     O mira circa mos tuae pietatis dignacio
     O instimabilis dileccio caritatis
     
     But the Ex(s)ultet itself may well be earlier still.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"You can be counted among the smart people, or you can cling to your groundless and cruel prejudices."

"The secular culture intimidates some of the best of the rising generation by presenting them with this alternative:  You can be counted among the smart people, or you can cling to your groundless and cruel prejudices.  BYU shows little interest in articulating a third choice:  an intellectual defense of openness to unfashionable truths."

     Ralph Hancock, "Keeping faith in Provo," First things no. 241 (March 2014):  51 (47-52).