3 March 2008

KATA ANATOLAS; Eastwards is best

So those of us who use the new breviary have just read Origen's passage on Christ our Propitiation, with its quotation of Leviticus 16:14 'and he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastwards', and Origen's comment ' the fact that he sprinkles eastwards is not something you should take lazily; it is from the East that Propitiation comes. For it is from there that the Man comes whose name is East (anatole), who is made mediator betrween God and Man'. As I celebrated Dr Cranmer's Mass in deepest, loveliest Devon, I explained to the folks that, having concluded the 'Comfies' with S John's phrase '... for He is the propitiation for our sins', I would turn to the East whence comes our propitiation and sprinkle the Blood of the New Covenanant over the Heavenly Mercy Seat which in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is made one with the Altar of their church.

I am (almost?) convinced that Providence overrode Cranmer's heresies so as to provide fertile profundities of orthodox eucharistic doctrine waiting to be expounded from his tortuous order. But if the wonderful people of Broadwood Widger (yes, English villages really do have names like that) had picked up a newer translation of the Bible, they would have found that the word 'eastward' no longer appeared in the text of Leviticus - the translation I have given above is from the King James Translation. Exactly in the same way, after the new breviary was authorised (1971), the new edition of the Vulgate appeared (1979), with the same omission made in deference to the latest developments in semitic philology.

As a convinced papalist Catholic Anglican, it is only with caution and reluctance that I criticise even the slightest enactments of the Roman Magisterium. Anglicans have done quite enough of that in the past, and what good has any of it done anyone? But I do wonder if enough thought was given when the Neovulgate was devised to the fact that it would create a hiatus between the Bible in People's hands and the Bible upon which the Fathers wrote their commentaries (a loss, one might say, in diachronic unities). I know there is a lot to be said for basing translations upon the latest advances in Textual Criticism and Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic philology. But there can be also be loss. And if it is thought that basing one's translation upon the consensus of modern scholarship (for example, the Neovulgate New Testament is essentially based on the Aland etc. text 'qui nostris temporibus, communi consensione, summam habet auctoritatem') will be good ecumenically (reinforcing, as it were, the synchronic unities), it needs to be pointed out that Jerome's Vulgate is often in agreement with the Greek Septuagint, which is still the base text used by the Orthodox.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

How please does a "convinced papalist Anglican "stay in communion with Canterbury and all the others who are in communion with Canterbury? I share your convictions but do not see how I can share your communion. Is not the TAC now a more logical home? Forgive me if this is not appropriate to you main subject of discussion.

Little Black Sambo said...

Anon, you have asked a question, but I strongly suspect Fr H of not reading our comments, in which case you won't get an answer. (Not that I doubt his ability to provide a perfectly convincing one to your question.)

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

Catholic Anglicans Martyred - an old post - affords a sort of answer to this very reasonable question. The reasons there implied for staying in a canonically anomalous situation would not apply to membership of bodies in the 'continuum'. By the way: grave disorder is not a peremptorily prescriptive reason, in itself, for leaving an ecclesial body. Witness the fact (see my recent post) that there are apparently thousands of RCs invalidly baptised with the prossibility that when some of them subsequently go through a form of sacerdotal ordination, they will not be priests. If one them attained the episcopate .... or were elected to the See of Peter ...

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

Catholic Anglicans Martyred - an old post - affords a sort of answer to this very reasonable question. The reasons there implied for staying in a canonically anomalous situation would not apply to membership of bodies in the 'continuum'. By the way: grave disorder is not a peremptorily prescriptive reason, in itself, for leaving an ecclesial body. Witness the fact (see my recent post) that there are apparently thousands of RCs invalidly baptised with the prossibility that when some of them subsequently go through a form of sacerdotal ordination, they will not be priests. If one them attained the episcopate .... or were elected to the See of Peter ...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the answer. I remain unconvinced and prefer to spend my time in terra aliena until the Pastoral Provision comes to England (it nearly did to Stoke on Trent in the early nineties). I loved the old Missale Romanum and the language and office of the BCP. However may I congratulate you on the excellence of your blog?