Saturday, September 27, 2014

"'No good work is undertaken with wise reflection.'"

"'. . . but God led me up like a[n old] nag whose eyes have been put out so that it won't see those who come to deliver the fatal blow.'
     "Then said the Doctor on this [subject], 'that rarely is a good work undertaken[rarely does a good work] come—out of wisdom or prudence, but it must all happen in [the context of] a misunderstanding or lack of information. . . ."

". . . aber Gott hat mich hinan geführt wie einen Gaul, dem die Augen geblendet sind, daß er die nicht sehe, so zu ihm zurennen.
     "Und sagte der Doctor darauf, 'daß selten ein gut Werk aus Weisheit oder Fürsichtigkeit fürgenommen werde oder geschehe, sondern es musse alles in einem Irrsal oder Unwissenheit geschehen."

     Martin Luther, at Tischrede no. 406 (Veit Dietrich 157), December 1532 =WA Tischreden 1, 175-176 (Aurifaber parallel in small print on p. 176, which is not there dated, and derives from Dr. Martin Luthers Tischreden oder Colloquia.  Nach Aurifabers erster Ausgabe, . . . vols. 1-3 ed. Karl Eduard Förstemann (Leipzig, 1844-1846), vol. 4 ed. Heinrich Ernst Bindseil (Berlin, 1848), vol. 1, no. 23, p. 26).
     I was put onto this by André Dumas, who translates it as follows:
'Dieu m'a conduit sur les sommets comme une rosse dont les yeux sont aveugles, afin que'elle ne voie pas ceux qui viennent la heurter..., car rarement bonne œuvre, entreprise en sagesse et prévoyance, n'atteint son but.  Tout doit se faire comme dans un dédale d'inconscience.'
My translation of the French:  'God led me onto the heights like a sorry nag whose eyes are blind, so that it doesn't see those who come to strike it. . . . for rarely does a good work, undertaken in wisdom and foresight, attain its goal.  Everything must be done as in a labyrinth/maze of ignorance/unawareness.'
André Dumas, "300e anniversaire de la mort de Blaise Pascal:  L'apologétique du Dieu caché chez Pascal," Revue d'histoire et de philosophie religieuses 4 (1962):  298n2 (290-303).

     Cf. Luther's Works 54, p. 64, which translates Veit Dietrich 157, but not the Aurifaber in small print on p. 176:
     'No good work is undertaken or done with wise reflection. It must all happen in a half-sleep. This is how I was forced to take up the office of teaching. If I had known what I know now, ten horses wouldn’t have driven me to it. Moses and Jeremiah also complained that they were deceived. Nor would any man take a wife if he first gave real thought [to what might happen in marriage and the household].     Here Philip said that he had diligently observed that in history great deeds had never been done by old men.  'This was so,' said Luther, 'when Alexander and Augustus were young; afterward men become too wise. They didn’t do great things by deliberate choice but by a sort of impulse. If you young fellows were wise, the devil couldn’t do anything to you; but since you aren’t wise, you need us who are old. Our Lord God doesn’t do great things except by violence, as they say. If old men were strong and young men were wise it would be worth something. The sect leaders are all young men like Icarus and Phaeton. Such are Zwingli and Karlstadt.  They are novices in the sacred Scriptures.'
(Note that the two paragraphs appear to contradict one another.  In the first, "'No good work is undertaken with wise reflection.'"  Yet in the second, "'you need us who are old.'")
     There are a couple of images of Rocinante here that would be perfect for that first sentence.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"As though a Christian could be without the Lord's [day assembly-cum-Eucharist]"!

"As though a Christian could be without the dominicum or the dominicum be celebrated without the Christian.  Do you not know, Satan, the Christian is constituted in the dominicum and the dominicum in the Christian, so that the one without the other does not stand[?]"

"Quasi christianus sine dominico esse possit, aut dominicum sine christiano celebrari.  An nescis, Satanas, in dominico christianum et in christiano dominicum constitutum, ut nec alterum sine altero valeat esse?"

     Narrator in response to the question put to Felix by the proconsul, "'I do not ask whether you are a Christian, but did you participate in assemblies (Non quæro utrum christianus sis, sed an cellectam feceris)], or have you any writings?'"  "Sometime after February 23, 303".  Acta martyrum Saturnini, Dativi et aliorum plurimorum martyrum in Africa 12, ed. Thierry Ruinart, PL 8, cols. 711-712, as translated in Edward J. Kilmartin, S.J., "The basis of the Sunday Mass obligation," Bread from heaven, ed. Paul Bernier, S.S.S. (New York:  Paulist Press, 1977), 157-158 (151-161).  "In the commentary on the proconsul's statement to Felix, assembly [(collecta)] is equated with dominicum" (161n21).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gunpowder "was one of the chief instruments in freeing the world from the dominion of physical force. . . ."

Wikimedia Commons
Das Schießpulver “war ein Hauptmittel zur Befreiung von der physischen Gewalt. . . .”

     Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Philosophy of history IV.ii.3 ("The transition from feudalism to monarchy"), trans. J. Sibree (GBWW, vol. 46, p. 343); ed. Karl Hegel, p. 486.
     This must be read very carefully in context, of course.  (For example, by "physical force" Hegel means the physical force of feudalism, that wielded by "haughty steel-clad nobles, armed with spear and sword" against the peasantry.)
     But still,
We may indeed be led to lament the decay or the depreciation of the practical value of personal valourthe bravest, the noblest may be shot down by a cowardly wretch at a safe distance in an obscure lurking place; but, on the other hand, gunpowder has made a rational, considerate braveryspiritual valour [(eine vernünftige, besonnene Tapferkeit, den geistigen Muth)]the essential to martial success.  Only through this instrumentality could that superior order of valour be called forth, that valour in which the heat of personal feeling has no share [(die Tapferkeit ohne persönliche Leidenschaft)]; . . .

306 Trombones

"[The Tuba mirum opens with a lofty phrase that leads nowhere and is impotent.]  Why just one trombone to sound the terrible blast that should echo round the world and raise the dead from the grave [(from the bottom of their tombs)]?  Why keep the other two trombones silent when not three, not thirty, not three hundred would be enough?  [Would this be because the word tuba is in the singular and not the plural?  To attribute [for even] an instant such stupid thinking to Mozart would be to do him an injury.]"

"Le Tuba mirum débute par une phrase sublime, qui n'aboutit à rien et dont l'instrumentation est impuissante.  Pourquoi un seul trombone est-il chargé de sonner l'appel terrible qui doit retenir par toute la terre et réveiller les morts au fond de leurs tombeaux?  Pourquoi faire taire les deux autres trombones?  quand, au lieu de trois, trente, trois cents même ne seraient pas de trop?  Serait-ce parce que le mot tuba exprime le singulier et non le pluriel?  C'est faire une injure à Mozart que de lui supposer un instant une aussi sotte idée."

     Hector Berlioz on Mozart's Requiem (the Tuba mirum), Le rénovateur, 30 March 1834, "echoed in similar terms in G[azette ]m[usicale], 7 September 1834; C[ritique ]m[usicale], 1 [(1823-34) (Paris, 1996)], pp. 204, 376" (Hugh MacDonald, Berlioz's orchestration treatise:  a translation and commentary (Cambridge, England:  Cambridge University Press, 2002), 219-220, as supplemented from the French in brackets by me).  French as quoted in Hector Berlioz, Grand traité d'instrumentation et d'orchestration modernes, ed. Peter Bloom, Hector Berlioz:  New edition of the complete works, ed. Berlioz Centenary Committee, London, in association with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, vol. 24 (Kassel:  Bärenreiter, 2003), 310n13.