Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"I bow before the cross made precious by Christ, my Master. I embrace it as his disciple."

Salve, crux pretiosa, suscipe discipulum eius, qui pependit in te, magister meus Christus.
Hail, precious cross:  take upon yourself the disciple of him who hung upon you, Christ my Master.
     Antiphon to the Benedictus, Morning Prayer, Feast of St. Andrew, 30 November, Liturgy of the hours.  This was lifted from sec. 10 of the 6th-century Latin > Greek Epistle/Letter of the presbyters and deacons of Achaia (a form of the Martyrdom/Passion of Andrew, a truncated orthodox variant on the late 2nd- or early 3rd-century Greek Acts of Andrew), which reads as follows:
Salve crux. . . . suscipias me, discipulum eius, qui pependit in te. . . . 
Hail, cross. . . . you may take upon yourself the disciple of him who hung upon you. . . .
Later in the next sentence there is a reference to "my Master":
. . . magistro meo. . . . 
. . . my Master. . . .
     The Latin > Greek Epistle/Letter of the presbyters and deacons of Achaia, though discussed at pp. 13-14 of vol. 1 and pp. 427-428 of vol. 2 of Acta Andreae, ed. Jean-Marc Prieur, CCSA 5-6 (Turnhout:  Brepols, 1989), is represented in those volumes only in the apparatus to chaps. 54-64 of the Greek Acts of Andrew (vol. 2, pp. 515-547), where it appears throughout in the form of the siglum Ep, and even then only in conjunction with "les leçons qui intéressent notre propos, à savoir reconstituer le texte des [Greek] AA [proper]" (vol. 2, p. 428).  For the text of the Epistle/Letter itself the reader referred to the edition by Bonnet, in which fragments taken from the Greek Acts and inserted into the Greek < Latin Epistle/Letter appear between parentheses in heavy boldface.  Just such a set of parentheses occurs on p. 25 ll. 24-28 of Bonnet (=vol. 2, p. 515 l. 5-p. 517 l. 12 in Prieur), but if the French on pp. 514 and 516 of Prieur is any indication, our antiphon is not reproduced in the second of the two back-formed Greek versions, but only the first.  See e.g. Bonnet, p. 25 l. 16:  ἐμὲ τὸν μαθητὴν τοῦ ἐν σοὶ κρευασθέντος.
     See also The apocryphal New Testament, ed. J. K. Elliott (Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1993), pp. 231 ff., and New Testament Apocrypha, ed. Edgar Hennecke & Wilhelm Schneemelcher, trans. R. McL. Wilson, rev. ed., vol. 2:  Writings relating to the Apostles; Apocalypses and related subjects (Louisville, KY:  Westminster John Knox Press, 1992), pp. 101 ff.  Neither these nor the older edition of The apocryphal New Testament ed. James contain an English translation of the Latin Epistle/Letter of the presbyters and deacons of Achaia specifically.
     The antiphon is found at the very top of fol. 85r in "The oldest existing Latin Office book", which was "perhaps copied around 870," the Antiphoner of Compiègne (Paris, BNF lat. 17436), but is undoubtedly older than that, considered as an antiphon (Ritva Jacobsson, “The Antiphoner of Compiègne:  Paris, BNF lat. 17436,” in The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages:  methodology and source studies, regional developments, hagiography: written in honor of Professor Ruth Steiner, ed. Margot A. Fassler & Rebecca A. Baltzer (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2000), 147 (147-178)).
     The image at the head of this entry is taken from fol. 85 of the digitized copy of the Antiphoner of Compiège available via Gallica (gallica.bnf.france, Bibliothèque nationale de France).

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