Sunday, August 20, 2017

Soul or flesh?

     "Someone will say to me, 'But the sin of Adam deservedly passed on to his posterity, because they were born of him.  Can it be said then that we are born of Christ, that we can be saved because of him?'  Do not think of these things in a carnal manner and then you will see how we are born of Christ, our parent.  In these last times Christ certainly received a soul together with the flesh [(animam . . . cum carne)] from Mary.  It is this flesh [(hanc)] which he has come to save.  It is this flesh [(hanc)] which he has freed from sin.  It is this flesh [(hanc)] which he did not abandon in hell.  It is this flesh [(hanc)] which he joined to his spirit and made his own.  And this represents the marriage of the Lord, joined together in one flesh, so that according to 'that great mystery' they might become 'two in one flesh, Christ and the Church.'  From this marriage is born the Christian people, with the Spirit of the Lord coming from above.  And at once, with the heavenly seed being spread upon and mingled with the substance of our souls, we develop in the womb of our [spiritual] mother, and once we come forth from her womb, we are made alive in Christ.  And so the Apostle says, 'The first Adam [became] a living soul; the last Adam [became] a life-giving spirit.'
     "Thus Christ engenders life in the Church through his priests, as the same Apostle states, 'And indeed, in Christ I have begotten you.'  And so the seed of Christ, that is, the Spirit of God, produces through the hands of the priests the new man. . . ."

     Pacian of Barcelona, On baptism 6.1-2, trans. Craig L. Hanson, FC 99 =Iberian Fathers 3 (1999), 91-92.  =CCSL 69B (2012) =SC 410 (1995) =PL 13, cols. 1093D-1094A.  Cf. LF, trans. E. B. Pusey (1894), 382, where this is sec. 7, and where the ambiguity of the Latin demonstrative hanc (which, all considerations of context aside, could refer back to either animam or carne) is preserved:
In these last days Christ took a soul with the flesh from Mary.  This He came to save.  This He left not in hell.  This He joined to His Spirit and made His own.  And this is the marriage of the Lord, joined together to one flesh. . . .
Cf., however, this sermon as reproduced in the Liturgy of the hours (Office of Readings for Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time, vol. 4, p. 111), citing PL 13 (not one of the modern critical editions) above:
In these times of salvation, Christ received body and soul from Mary.  He came to save this soul, not to leave it in hell.  He united it with his spirit and made it his own.  And this is the marriage of the Lord, the union of two in one flesh. . . .
With this translation (of whose origin I am unsure, though it can be found on Universalis) we return to the sound non-literalness of Hanson:
It is this flesh that he came to save, that he did not abandon to the underworld: he united it with his own spirit and made it his own. This is the marriage of the Lord, united with the flesh of man. . . .
I suppose that by "this soul" the Liturgy of the hours (and indeed the original hanc) could be referring to the whole, i.e. (in Pusey's translation) the "soul with the flesh from Mary" (animam . . . cum carne . . . ex Maria).  Unfortunately, "body and soul" (rather than "a soul with the flesh from Mary") doesn't lend itself well to this interpretation.

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