Saturday, September 26, 2020

The great Christmas Proclamation (Kalenda)

"The Twenty-fifth Day of December, when ages beyond number had run their course from the creation of the world, when God in the beginning created heaven and earth, and formed man in his own likeness; when century upon century had passed since the Almighty set his bow in the clouds after the Great Flood, as a sign of covenant and peace; in the twenty-first century since Abraham, our father in faith, came out of Ur of the Chaldees; in the thirteenth century since the People of Israel were led by Moses in the Exodus from Egypt; around the thousandth year since David was anointed King; in the sixty-fifth week of the prophecy of Daniel; in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad; in the year seven hundred and fifty-two since the foundation of the City of Rome; in the forty-second year of the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus, the whole world being at peace, JESUS CHRIST, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to consecrate the world by his most loving presence, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and when nine months had passed since his conception, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah, and was made man:  The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh."

     Kalenda, Roman martyrology (Martyrologium Romanum) for 25 December, editio typica of 2001, as mounted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  The immediately previous revision of the Kalenda (sometimes called the Christmas Proclamation) approved by Pope Benedict XV in 1922 read as follows:

In the 5199th year of the creation of the world, from the time when God in the beginning created the heaven and the earth; the 2957th year after the flood; the 2015th year from the birth of Abraham; the 1510th year from Moses, and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt; the 1032nd year from the anointing of David King; in the 65th week according to the prophecy of Daniel; in the 194th Olympiad; the 752nd year from the foundation of the City of Rome; the 42nd year of the rule of Octavian Augustus, all the earth being at peace, Jesus Christ, the Eternal God, and the Son of the Eternal Father, desirous to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, nine months after his conception was born in Bethlehem of Juda, made Man of the Virgin Mary.  The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Flesh.

Source:  The Roman martyrology. . . . An English translation from the fourth edition after the typical edition (1956) approved by Pope Benedict XV (1922), ed. J. B. O’Connell (London:  Burns & Oates, 1962), 279.

ImageBronze coin struck in Antioch, Syria, in 5/4 B.C., at about the time of the birth of Jesus in 6/4 B.C.  Obverse:  IMP·AVGVST TR·POT (IMPERATOR AUGUSTUS TRIBUNICIA POTESTAS , POTESTATE, etc.); reverse:  SC (SENATUS CONSULTUM).  Roman provincial coinage, vol. 1, From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 B.C. to A.D. 69) (London:  British Museum Press; Paris:  Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1992), no. 4247.  Color image from

     For a history-cum-evolving-text beginning with the "de luxe" Chronograph (ODCC, 3rd ed. rev. (2005), sv Chronographer of AD 354, which cites T. Mommsen in MGH, Auctores Antiquissimi 9.1 (1892), 13–196) written and illustrated for a wealthy Christian named Valentin by the artist Furius Dionysius Philocalus in 354 (which read simply "VIII Kal. Ianuarii, natus Christus in Betleem Iudeae" (Mommsen, 71)), see, among other things, Philippe Beitia, "L'annonce de la naissance du Christ dans le Martyrologe Romain:  histoire, évolution et sens théologie," Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique 105 (2004):  339-352.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

"What is lost is lostness itself."

For the British theologian Charles Raven (1884-1964), "Jesus is the Perfect Pneumatic Human Being, himself becoming in a condensed fashion the history of human pneumatic transformation.  The pneumatic core to this claim is important:  Christ himself constitutes the supreme moment in this process of Life or Spirit, his assertion within the world belongs to the world's own being, and thus his pneumatic perfection is simply a given.  Jesus' own body is therefore never truly under threat, for it is a modality of spirit-in-becoming; and with it the fullness of life itself is therefore never menaced.

     "The theodical claim in this scheme is that this movement of Christ's life constitutes our own becoming too.  By contrast, that bodies could simply be bodies, pain could simply be pain, and death simply death—as it appears to be, and as it is suffered in the descriptive fullness of [Georges] Duhamel, such that redemption is always itself unexpected grace—all this seems simply too difficult a paradox to insist upon.  If bodies are not only lived realities but realities that assert their lack of life, even in the midst of living, our own or others'—and this is at least implied by a person's history within the world—then Raven's argument loses something fundamental.  What is lost is lostness itself."

     Ephraim Radner, A profound ignorance:  modern pneumatology and its anti-modern redemption (Waco, TX:  Baylor University Press, 2019), 185-186.