Wednesday, January 2, 2019

From inchoation to perfection

"O God, who in your kindness begin all good things and bring them to fulfillment, grant to us, who find joy in the Solemnity of the holy Mother of God, that, just as we glory in the beginnings of your grace, so one day we may rejoice in its completion.  Through."

"Deus, qui bona cuncta inchoas benignus et perficis, da nobis, de sollemnitate sanctae Dei Genetricis laetantibus, sicut de initiis tuae gratiae gloriamur, ita de perfectione gaudere.  Per."

     Apart from the 20th-century insertion of "de sollemnitate sanctae Dei Genetricis laetantibus" (1 January), this is taken word for word from the "Leonine" or Veronese sacramentary (and, according to Corpus orationum, no subsequent!), where it (no. 1006 in the modern critical edition) functions as a post-communion "in natale episcoporum" for the month of September.  The pre-1956 scholarship cited by Mohlberg dates it to between 537 and post-560, depending, attributing it to Leonine (?) anti-semi-Pelagianism, to Vigilius, to Pelagius I, etc.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

"I have guarded them, and none of them is lost"

"Much further north, east of Budapest, beyond the Danube frontier of Rome, a skeleton was found at Hács-Béndekpuszta that still clasped in its hands a [late 5th-century] leaden tablet inscribed with verses of the Gospel of Saint John taken from the Gothic translation of the Bible made by Bishop Ulfilas [(c. 311-383)].  They are the prayers of Jesus for protection for his followers (John 17:11-12):  'Holy Father, keep them in my name. . . .  I have guarded them and none of them is lost.'  The part-runic Gothic writing, held in the grave, gave mute protection to a 'barbarian' on the edge of the steppes of Eastern Europe, in the same way it would in the catacombs of Rome itself."

     Peter Brown, "A world winking with messages," The New York review of books 65, no. 20 (December 20, 2018):  53 (52-54).  Brown cites pp. 40-41 of Carla Falluomini, The Gothic version of the Gospels and Pauline Epistles:  cultural background, transmission and character (de Gruyter, 2015), which says that the skeleton was that of a young man, and that the tablet, first uncovered in 1955/1958 but since lost, was dated to the last third of the 5th century.  Only in 1996 was it recognized that the text it bore was that of Jn 17:11-12.
     Image is a scan of a scan of most of Plate 17 in D. Székely, "A lead tablet with inscriptions from Hács-Béndekpuszta," Mitteilungen des Archäologischen Instituts der Ungarischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 7 (1977 [1978]):  41-43 and Plates 17-20 (which was published before the text had been deciphered, and compares it to the script of the Gothic Lord's Prayer in the University of Upsala's Codex Argentus).

Monday, December 31, 2018

"we don't allow [our children] to be free until we establish a constitution in them"

"law . . . is the ally of everyone. . . . [W]e don't allow [our children] to be free until we establish a constitution in them, just as in a city, and—by fostering their best part [(the rational part)] with our own—equip them with a guardian and ruler similar to our own to take our place.  Then, and only then, we set them free."

     Plato, Republic 9, 590d, trans. Grube & Reeve.

"the part that they're trying to fill is like a vessel full of holes, and neither it nor the things they are trying to fill it with are among the things that are"

"those who have no experience of reason or virtue, but are always occupied with feasts and the like, are brought down and then back up to the middle, as it seems, and wander in this way throughout their lives, never reaching beyond this to what is truly higher up, never looking up at it or being brought up to it, and so they aren't filled with that which really is and never taste any stable or pure pleasure.  Instead, they always look down at the ground like cattle, and, with their heads bent over the dinner table, they feed, fatten, and fornicate.  To outdo others in these things, they kick and butt them with iron horns and hooves, killing each other, because their desires are insatiable.  For the part that they're trying to fill is like a vessel full of holes, and neither it nor the things they are trying to fill it with are among the things that are [(ἅτε οὐχὶ τοῖς οὖσιν οὐδὲ τὸ ὂν οὐδὲ τὸ στέγον ἑαυτῶν πιμπλάντες; an initial stab:  as if filling with things that don't exist neither the existing nor the leak-proof [part] of themselves]."

     Plato, Republic 9, 585d-586b, trans. Grube & Reeve.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

"three things an intelligent preacher should never speak about"

"there are three things an intelligent preacher should never speak about, and which an up-to-date Christian should think about as seldom as possible, although one has to recite the Creed each Sunday (but there are so many myths therein; and besides, one can always repeat a formula—even in the vernacular—without stopping to think about it).
     "The first thing to leave in oblivion is obviously the other world (since there isn't any).
     "The second thing to leave in oblivion is the cross (it is only a symbol of the momentary sacrifices demanded by progress).
     "The third thing to leave in oblivion is sanctity—if it is true that sanctity has its principle, at the center of the soul (even if the saint remains plunged in the activities of the world) in a radical break with the world (in the Gospel sense of the word) and with the false god of the world, its mythical god, 'the Emperor of this world.'"

     Jacques Maritain, The peasant of the Garonne:  an old layman questions himself about the present time, trans. Michael Cuddihy and Elizabeth Hughes (New York:  Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968 [1966]), 57-58.