Saturday, March 22, 2014

"May we keep our bodies pure, / as temples of the Holy Spirit."

Tríbue nos córpora nostra incontamináta serváre,
ut possit Spíritus Sanctus illic habitáre.

Make it possible for us to keep our bodies undefiled,
that the Holy Spirit may be able to dwell in them.

     From the prayer (prex, not oratio) for the Second Saturday of Lent, Liturgia horarum / Liturgy of the hours (Christian prayer, 312).  Preliminary indications are that this one isn't ancient.
     This is consistent with the common-sense (and therefore far from merely pietistic or holiness) interpretation of 1 Cor 6:12-20:  "Do you not know that your bodies are members [(τὰ σώματα ὑμῶν μέλη . . . ἐστιν)] of Christ?"  And that despite the singular nouns (though not pronouns) of vv. 19-20 (τὸ σῶμα, ναὸς).  Cf., for example, Gordon D. Fee, who follows Gundry contra Kempthorne:  "In referring to the body as the temple of the Spirit, Paul has taken the imagery that properly belongs to the church as a whole (cf. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:21-22) and applied it to the individual believer" (The First Epistle to the Corinthians, NICNT (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 1987), 264).
     Nonetheless incontaminat*, at least, does not occur in 1 Cor 6, or anywhere else of close relevance in the Vulgate (2 Mac 15:34; 2 Cor 7:11; and 1 Pet 1:4, 19 only, if the ARTFL version of the Vulgate is any indication).

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Breastplate or Lorica of St. Patrick (Fáeth Fiada)

niurt trén togairm trinoit
cretim treodataid
fóisin óeridatad
in dúlemain dail. . . .

But it probably wasn't composed by St. Patrick (ODCC, 3rd ed., rev. (2005):  "its ascription to St. Patrick is impossible on linguistic grounds").

     Critical editions of the original (early 8th-century) Old Irish:
  • Bernard, J. H. & R. Atkinson, eds. The Irish Liber Hymnorum.   Henry Bradshaw Society 13–14.
     Manuscripts (in progress):
     Additional translations into English (in progress):
     Additional bibliography (in progress):

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The importance of equality and uniformity to the centralization of power

     "Every central power, which follows its natural tendencies, courts and encourages the principle of equality [(l'égalité)]; for equality singularly facilitates, extends, and secures the influence of a central power.
     "In like manner it may be said that every central government worships uniformity [(l'uniformité)]; uniformity relieves it from inquiry into an infinity of details, which must be attended to if rules have to be adapted to different men, instead of indiscriminately subjecting all men to the same rule [(s'il fallait faire la règle pour les hommes, au lieu de faire passer indistinctement tous les hommes sous la même règle)]."

     Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America II (1840).iv.3 ("That the sentiments of democratic nations accord with their opinions in leading them to concentrate political power"), trans. Henry Reeve, with revisions by Francis Bowen and Phillips Bradley ((New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997), vol. 2, p. 295); Œuvres, ed. André Jardin (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade), II (De la démocratie en Amérique), ed. Jean-Claude Lamberti and James T. Schleifer (Paris:  Éditions Gallimard, 1992), 814.
     These two paragraphs on the tendency of democratic states to arrogate to themselves all power, destroy all mediating institutions, and reach ever further into the private lives of their citizens, refer only obliquely (via the gloss "different men") to another major theme of these chapters:  that only aristocracies oppose these tendencies naturally (rather than artificially, i.e. by design or art).  For only aristocracies are naturally equipped to treat different things differently.
     But of course Tocqueville's "chief object in writing this book has been to combat [such tendencies]" (vol. 2, p. 293), not obstruct the progress of democracy; and thus to stress "that, in the democratic ages which are opening upon us, individual independence and local liberties will ever be the products of art" (296).  Because "no legislator is wise or powerful enough to preserve free institutions if he does not take equality for his first principle and his watchword", "the question is not how to reconstruct aristocratic society, but how to make liberty proceed out of that democratic state of society in which God has placed us" (322).  The applicability of that statement is there limited to "the ages upon which we are entering" ("dans les siècles où nous entrons", 322/840), but on p. 324/842 Tocqueville seems to go further:  "I firmly believe that an aristocracy cannot again be founded in the world" ("Je crois fermement qu'on ne saurait fonder de nouveau, dans le monde, une aristocratie").
     Yet doesn't the first of Tocqueville's checks (324.1) open the door to what we know today as the professional lobbyists?

Monday, March 17, 2014

"If ever America undergoes great revolutions, they will be brought about by the presence of the black race on the soil of the United States; that is to say, they will owe their origin, not to the equality, but to the inequality of condition."

     "Si l'Amérique éprouve jamais de grandes révolutions, elles seront amenées par la présence des Noirs sur le sol des États-Unis:  c'est-à-dire que ce ne sera pas l'égalité des conditions, mais au contraire leur inégalité qui les fera naître."

     Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America II (1840). iii.21 ("Why revolutions will become more rare"), trans. Henry Reeve, with revisions by Francis Bowen and Phillips Bradley ((New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997), vol. 2, p. 256); Œuvres, ed. André Jardin (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade), II (De la démocratie en Amérique), ed. Jean-Claude Lamberti and James T. Schleifer (Paris:  Éditions Gallimard, 1992), 774.
     In this chapter, Tocqueville argues against the supposition "that some concealed relation and secret tie exists between the principle of equality itself and revolution" (251) and in favor of the claim that "Almost all the revolutions that have changed the aspect of nations have been made to consolidate or to destroy social inequality" (252).  "Amid the ruins which surround me shall I dare say that revolutions are not what I most fear for coming generations?" (262)