Friday, August 1, 2014

"a marriage is whatever the government says it is."

"There is . . . . no justification for the argument that Luther attempted to promote congregational singing by catering to the tastes of the masses."

     “It is almost an axiom in the popular imagination that Luther, in order to further congregational singing and make his hymns more attractive to the people, used or adapted preexisting secular melodies, even drinking songs.  The well-known question ‘Why should the devil have all the good tunes?’—attributed in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations to English preacher Rowland Hill (1744-1833)—is frequently attributed to Luther.61  The origin of this attribution may have been Friedrich Blume’s influential 1931 book Die evangelische Kirchenmusik, in which he stated ‘Luther believed “the devil does not need to have all the lovely tunes solely for himself”’62  Unfortunately, Blume gave no citation for the quotation.  The second edition of Blume’s book, which appeared in 1965 with an English translation in 1974, continued to attribute the idea to Luther but omitted the quotation.63
     “Because Luther’s works are so voluminous, comprising not only published writings and letters but also transcriptions of dinner table conversations, it is scarcely possible to state categorically that Luther never uttered or wrote those words.  But other scholars have looked for them and failed to find them.64  Recently, a new tool has appeared, with the 127-volume Weimar edition of Luther’s works now available as a searchable online database.  A search conducted on keywords in the foregoing quotation yielded nothing.65  It therefore seems highly likely that such a statement is not to be found in Luther’s works.
     “In truth, of all Luther’s hymns, only one, Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her, is known to have had a secular origin.66  He altered it from the popular song (not drinking song) Ich kumm aus frembden landen her.  But he wrote it for the annual children’s Christmas pageant, not for use in a church service.  At first the original secular tune was used, but Luther apparently had second thoughts about this, as he wrote a new tune for the 1545 hymnal.  It is Luther’s new tune that appears in modern hymnals.
     “Most often, when Luther wrote a hymn using a preexisting melody, the melody was a Gregorian chant.  But over 20 percent of his hymns are based on, or written in the form of, popular religious song (what would be akin to religious Christmas carols today). . . .67  Many of the models for these hymns had already been sung in churches before Luther’s time.  In making use of the models, Luther was continuing a tradition, not breaking new ground.  There is in any case no justification for the argument that Luther attempted to promote congregational singing by catering to the tastes of the masses.”

     61. . . . Edward W. Broome, The Rev. Rowland Hill, Preacher and Wit (London, 1881), p. 93. . . .
     62. “Luther meinte, ‘der Teufel brauche nicht alle schönen Melodien für sich allein zu besitzen” (Blume 1931:12).  Occasionally another scholar will attribute this remark to Luther, but without giving a citation. . . .
     63. Blume 1965:18; Blume 1974:30.
     65. . . . The search was conducted in November of 2003 on the keywords Teufel, Teuffel, Teuffell, Teuffeel, Melodien, Melodeien, Melodeyen, Leider, Music, diabolos, diabolus, canticum, cantica, cantus, melos, and meli.
     66. This is not to say that later Lutherans did not occasionally use the melodies of secular songs.  [Two examples from 1555 and 1613 follow.]
     67. The information on the origins of Luther’s hymns is from Jenny[, Markus.  Luthers geistliche Lieder und Kirchengesänge.  Archiv zur Weimarer Ausgabe der Werke Martin Luthers, vol. 4.  Cologne:  Bölau,] 1985, passim.

     Joseph Herl, Worship wars in early Lutheranism:  choir, congregation, and three centuries of conflict (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2004), 21-22, 251nn61-67.
     I was put onto this by Daniel Zager, reviewing Rebecca Wagner Oettinger’s Music as propaganda in the German Reformation (Aldershot:  Ashgate, 2001), in the Journal of the American Musicological Society 58, no. 1 (Spring 2005):  213-214.
     Saunder (for whom see my interpolation into footnote 64, above) cites the "one sentence of Luther's that appears to be quite similar to the devil's tunes quotation":
[Saunder:]  Why is it that for the secular phases of life [(in carnalibus)] we have so many fine poems and such fine songs while for spiritual matters [(in spiritualibus)] we have such poor and cold stuff? 
[Plass, What Luther says, no. 3097:]  How is it that in matters concerning the flesh we have so many fine poems and hymns but that in those concerning the spirit we have such sluggish, cold affairs?
Wie geht es zu, das wir in carnalibus so manch fein poema und so manch schön carmen haben, und in spiritualibus haben wir so faul, kalt ding?
Wie gehets doch zu, daß wir in Carnalibus so manch fein Poema, und so manch schön Carmen haben, und in Spiritualibus da haben wir so faul kalt Ding; . . .
Table talk as recorded by Anton Lauterbach in 1538 () and Caspar Heydenreich in the Spring of 1543 (WA Tischreden 5, 274, ll. 9-11 (no. 5603)).  But “Further perusal of Luther’s writings on music provides the necessary context.  Luther’s point is not that we need to borrow from the secular phases of life but that we ought to concentrate instead on writing fine poems and suitable music for the church.”
     Stapert agrees:  Luther's stress was on "the wonder of artistically refined music":
     But when [musical] learning is added to all this and artistic music which corrects, develops, and refines the natural music, then at last it is possible to taste with wonder (yet not to comprehend) God's absolute and perfect wisdom in his wondrous work of music[, in which sort [of thing] this] is most remarkable[,] that one single voice continues to sing the tenor, while at the same time many other voices play around it, exulting and adorning it in exuberant strains and, as it were, leading it forth in a divine roundelay, so that those who are the least bit moved know nothing more amazing in this world.  But any who remain unaffected are unmusical indeed and deserve to hear a certain filth poet or the music of the pigs.
     Vbi autem tandem accesserit stadium et Musica artificialis, quae naturalem corrigat, excolat et explicet, Hic tandem gustare cum stupore licet (sed non comprehendere) absolutam et perfectam sapientiam Dei in opere suo mirabili Musicae, in quo genere hoc excellit, quod vna et eadem voce canitur suo tenore pergente, pluribus interim vocibus circum circa mirabiliter ludentibus, [etc.] . . .

. . . in his wondrous work of music, in which sort [of thing (genere)] this surpasses [all (excellit)], that with one and the same voice [(fem)] it is sung in his ongoing tenor [(masc)], with, in the meantime, many voices playing gloriously all around,  exulting and with the most pleasing [of musical] gestures ornamenting it [(fem)], and conducting alongside of it [(fem)], as it were, a certain divine dance, so that to those who are at least modestly affected, nothing in this world more glorious is seen to overtop [it]. 
. . . in seinem wunderbarlichen werck der Musica, in welcher vor allem das seltzam und wol zu verwundern ist, das [etc.] . . . 
. . . in his wonderful work of music, in which this above all is with astonishment and justification to be wondered at, that [etc.] . . . 
(Obviously I am no expert at 16th-century German!)  So
Take special care to shun perverted minds [(deprauatos animos . . . ceu impudici poetae)] who prostitute this lovely gift of nature and of art with their erotic rantings [(ad suos insanos amores)]; and be quite assured that none but the devil goads them on to defy their very nature which would and should praise God its Maker with this gift, so that these bastards purloin the gift of God and use it to worship the foe of God, the enemy of nature and of this lovely art
("Preface to Georg Rhau's Symphoniae iucundae" (1538), as trans. Ulrich S. Leupold in LW 53, 324 (321-324), boldface mine; WA 50, 372 (368-374), boldface mine); Calvin Stapert, "Beyond cheap thrills," Perspectives:  a journal of Reformed thought 8, no. 9 (November 1993):  4 (3-4)).
     I have modified the Leupold translation at the points in brackets to make it clear that Luther rushes right on to specify the sort (cf. genere?) of music he considers God's "wondrous work of music" to be.  Cf. this to the translation by Leupold, who inserts a full stop:
in his wondrous work of music.  Here it is most remarkable that [etc.] . . .
     Stapert again, echoing Archiv zur Weimarer Ausgabe 4 (above), apparently:
although Luther evidently sanctioned the use of tunes borrowed from some secular sources, he did not use them for the chorales he wrote.  He either wrote his own tunes or borrowed from the plainsong of the Roman Catholic Church. . . . The only exception is the Christmas chorale 'From heaven above.'  For this miniature musical drama for children, Luther appropriated the tune of a children's game song, a tune, however, that did not stick but was very soon replaced by the tune still in use today
 (Ibid., 3).

     For a refutation of this same claim for John and Charles Wesley and the Wesleyan Methodists, see Richard P. Heitzenrater, "The Wesleyan tradition and the myths we love," chap. 2 in A living tradition:  critical recovery and reconstruction of Wesleyan heritage, ed. Mary Elizabeth Mullino Moore (Nashville, TN:  Kingswood Books, Abingdon Press, 2013), 25 (13-44), 233nn58-59.

Calvin on faith

"Now we shall possess a right definition of faith if we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God's benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts by the Holy Spirit."

"Nunc iusta fidei definitio nobis constabit si dicamus esse divinae erga nos benevolentiae firmam certamque cognitionem, quae gratuitae in Christo promissionis veritate fundata, per Spiritum sanctum et revelatur mentibus nostris et cordibus obsignatur."

     John Calvin, Institutes III.ii.7, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (vol. 2 (LCC 20), p. 551); COS 4, 16.  COS cross-references the Catechism of 1538 at CR 5, 333 ff.

"'if they are fools, who deny the existence of God in their hearts, those appear to me even more senseless who first want to prove it.'"

     Johann Georg Hamann, as quoted by John R. Betz, in “Hamann before Kierkegaard: a systematic theological oversight,” Pro ecclesia 16, no. 3 (Summer 2007): 317, italics mine.  This is because "'faith arises as little from reasons as tasting and seeing do'" (italics original (to Betz, at least)).

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


deus scientiarum dominus est  

     1 Sam 2:3, Vulgate, the incipit of a papal encyclical, a popular university motto (University of Ottawa; Haberlin Hall, College of the Holy Cross; etc.), and so forth.

אֵ֤ל דֵּעֹות֙ יְהוָ֔ה

θεὸς γνώσεων κύριος

     In the RSV (and BDB 395b, and NETS), this comes out as "the Lord is a God of knowledge"; and in Douay-Rheims, as "the Lord is a God of all knowledge".  But scientiarum ("sciences," one could, I suppose, say today), דֵּעֹות֙, and γνώσεων are all plural.

"A true opium for the people is a belief in nothingness after death—the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders we are not going to be judged."

Wikimedia Commons
Czeslaw Milosz, "Discrete charm of nihilism," New York review of books 45, no. 18 (November 19, 1998): 17.

Monday, July 28, 2014

"doctrinae index disciplina est."

"In their discipline we have an index of their doctrine."

     Tertullian, De praescriptione haereticorum 43, as trans. Holmes (ANF 3).  See, for the Latin, p. 33 of the edition ed. Preuschen (2nd ed., Tübingen, 1910), which I'm not claiming is the best, necessarily; just handy.
An/The "index of (the) doctrine is (the) discipline." 
Holmes, again: 
from the very nature of their conduct, may be estimated the quality of their faith. In their discipline we have an index of their doctrine. They say that God is not to be feared; therefore all things are in their view free and unchecked. Where, however is God not feared, except where He is not? Where God is not, there truth also is not. Where there is no truth, then, naturally enough, there is also such a discipline as theirs. But where God is, there exists 'the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom.' Where the fear of God is, there is seriousness, an honourable and yet thoughtful diligence, as well as an anxious carefulness and a well-considered admission [to the sacred ministry] and a safely-guarded communion, and promotion after good service, and a scrupulous submission (to authority), and a devout attendance, and a modest gait, and a united church, and God in all things.
     I was put onto this by Geoffrey Wainwright ("Heresy then and now: reflection on a treatise of Tertullian," Pro ecclesia 13:2 (Spring 2004):  220), and for that reason haven't mastered the larger context.  See also DS, sv Disciplina, vol. 3 (1957), col. 1292 (where disciplina is said to connote "the type of life that the Christian faith requires, the morality that is conformed to this [doctrina] and is the criterion of it"), and the scholarship cited there and of course published since.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

"use the good things that pass in such a way as to hold fast even now to those that ever endure."

O God, protector of those who hope in you,
without whom nothing has firm foundation, nothing is holy,
bestow in abundance your mercy upon us
and grant that, with you as our ruler and guide,
we may use the good things that pass
in such a way as to hold fast even now
to those that ever endure.
Through [etc.]

God our Father and protector,
without you nothing is holy,
nothing has value.
Guide us to everlasting life
by helping us to use wisely
the blessings you have given to the world.

     Collect for the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Roman missal, revised translation of 2010, followed by its immediate predecessor.  "has firm foundation" is without foundation, but undoubtedly better than "has value", as the Latin below ("validum") makes clear.  Not surprisingly, I prefer the Cranmerian rendition of "multiplica super nos" (way below):

Protector in te sperantium, Deus,
sine quo nihil est validum, nihil sanctum,
multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam
ut, te rectore, te duce, sic bonis transeuntibus nunc utamur,
ut iam possimus inhærere mansuris.
Per [etc.]

     But the Latin has been tampered with, according to the Rev. Bosco Peters in 1970.  Bruylants traces the following (which differs after "sic") to 169.1 of the Sacramentary of Gellone (Paris, Bibl. Nat. lat. 12048), an important Gelasian "written not earlier than 790" (ODCC, 3rd rev. edition of 2005).  I give it here exactly as reproduced in Corpus orationum 7, below:

Protector in te sperantium, deus,
sine quo nihil est validum, nihil sanctum,
multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam,
ut, te rectore, te duce,
sic transeamus per bona temporalia,
ut non amittamus aeterna.
Per [etc.]

. . .
and grant that, with you [as] ruler, you [as] guide,
we may pass through goods-temporal
in such a way as not to let slip/lose [goods-]eternal.

     To this, Corpus orationum 7 (at no. 4745) adds no. ____ of the Rheinau sacramentary (Sacramentarium Rhenaugiense (Zürich, Zentralbibl. Rh 30), ed. Haenggi & Schönherr (1970)), which, like the Sacramentary of Gellone, it, too, dates to the end of the 8th century (along with many additional later manuscripts of course, including at least one from the 8th-9th and a number from the 9th century).
     So this is of course what we have in the (more or less) Tridentine missal, as reproduced  (for the Sunday within the Octave of the Feast of the Sacred Heart) on p. 553 of (for example) The Missal in Latin and English, being the text of the Missale Romanum with English rubrics and a new translation (New York:  Sheed & Ward, 1949):

O God, the protector of those who trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy, increase thy mercy towards us, so that with thee for our ruler and guide, we may so pass through the good things of this world as not to lose those of the world to come:  through [etc.]

     And in the 1962 Missal as well, as translated for the Baronius Press (The daily missal and liturgical manual, with Vespers for Sundays and Feasts, from the editio typica of the Roman missal and breviary, 1962) in 2009 (Third Sunday after Pentecost):

O God, the Protector of those who put their trust in Thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing holy:  multiply upon us Thy mercy, that with Thee as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we may not lose those which are eternal.  Through [etc.]

     Thus, we no longer pass through distracting goods-temporal, but use the good things that pass "in such a way as to hold fast even now to those that ever endure".  And to my ears, that sounds like a realistic improvement.  (Though it should be noted that that makes the Book of common prayer the conservative, given that the Anglican tradition has not messed with a reading at least thirteen centuries old.)
     Corpus orationum 7 suggests the following sources:  for l. 1, Ps 18 (17):31a, c; and for l. 3, Ps 36 (35):8a.
     Here it is in the Anglican and other traditions:

c. 1240/1260:  Sarum missal as ed. from the manuscripts (and especially Manchester, John Rylands, Crawford Lat. 24, which John Rylands itself dates to c. 1240/1260) by Legg, pp. 176-177; as ed. from the editions by Dickinson, col. 469.  I give the mid-13th-century reading from Legg below:

Pretector in te sperancium deus sine quo nichil est ualidum nichil sanctum.  multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam.  ut te rectore. te duce.  sic transeamus per bona temporalia.  ut non amittamus eterna.  per.

1549:  Book of common prayer (Church of England), as reproduced (for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity) on p. 143 of Everyman's library no. 448 (The first and second prayer books of Edward VI), and not double-checked against anything more authoritative:

God the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothyng is strong, nothing is holy; increase and multiply upon us thy mercye; that thou being our ruler and guyde, we may so passe through thinges temporall, that we fynally lose not the thinges eternall:  [etc.]

. . .

1979:  Book of common prayer (Episcopal Church), Proper 12:

O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:  Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy, that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through the things temporal, that we finally lost not the things eternal; through [etc.]

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:  Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide,
we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through [etc.]

1993:  Book of common worship (Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)), p. 364 (Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time):

Eternal God,
protector of all who put their trust in you,
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
Fill us with your mercy and your grace,
that, with you to rule and guide,
we may so use the good things of this present life
that we do not neglect those of eternal worth.

2000:  Common worship (Church of England), p. 410 (Fourth Sunday after Trinity):

O God, the protector of all who trust in you,
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
increase and multiply upon us your mercy;
that with you as our ruler and guide
we may so pass through things temporal
that we lose not our hold on things eternal;

"Away then with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, 'Peace, peace,' and there is no peace! [Jer. 6:14] Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, 'Cross, cross,' and there is no cross!"

     Martin Luther, Theses 92 and 93 (of the 95 of 31 October 1517), LW 31:33 (17-33).  I was put onto this by Timothy J. Wengert, "Timothy J. Wengert, “Peace, peace . . . cross, cross’:  reflections on how Martin Luther relates the theology of the cross to suffering,” Theology today 59 (2002):  194 (190-205).

WA 1, 238:

17 [(fourth =92)] Valeant itaque omnes illi prophete, qui dicunt populo Christi 'Pax pax', et non est pax.

18 [(fourth =93)] Bene agant omnes illi prophete, qui dicunt populo Christi 'Crux crux', et non est crux.

     Wow.  Rupp & Drewery (Martin Luther, ed. E. G. Rupp & Benjamin Drewery, Documents of modern history (London:  Edward Arnold, 1970), 25) translate "Bene agant" ("Doing well") as "Good riddance"!

92 Away, then, with those prophets who say to Christ's people, 'Peace, peace!' when there is no peace. 
93 Good riddance to all of those prophets who say to Christ's people, 'The cross, the cross!' when there is no cross.
     Luther's 1518 Explanations of the Disputation concerning the value of indulgences (the power and efficacy of indulgences, or the ninety-five theses) are to be found at LW 31:77-252.  But Luther has only this to say of theses 92-95:  "Enough has been said previously about cross and punishments.  Rarely do you hear a sermon about it today" (252).