8 March 2011

Noah ... or Noe ...

An acute correspondent asks why Noe does not appear, together with Abel, Abraham, and Melkizedek, in the Supra quae of the Canon Romanus. This is all the more pertinent a question since Noe does appear, with the others, in the Apostolic Constitutions and in the Liturgies of S Basil and of S James.

I don't have a cut-and-dried answer to this - perhaps correspondents will have contributions - but my suspicion is as follows. The other three have a very much stronger symbolic or typological relationship with Christ and with his Sacrifice. Abel, dikaios like Christ, was a Shepherd and offered, let us say, a Lamb. Abraham, our Father by virtue of his and our Faith, offered on Mount Moriah (which was to be the Temple mount and the place of Christ's Sacrifice) a sacrifice which was in a sense the offering of his Son but was offered per modum of a ... grown-up lamb. Melkizedek offered Bread and Wine, suggestive of the Eucharist ... and the Writer ad Hebraeos gives further reasons for linking Melkizedek typologically with Christ.

I expect there is some important factor which I have missed ...??

9 comments:

Joshua said...

And Noe built an altar unto the Lord: and taking of all cattle and fowls that were clean, offered holocausts upon the altar. (Gen. viii, 20)

No mention of lambs; and it seems inappropriate to compare Christ to a bird.

Pastor in Valle said...

I'm entirely with you. Preached about it a few weeks ago, in fact.

Joshua said...

Does "cattle" (pecoribus) here include herds or flocks, not merely of cattle, but of sheep? I recall something about this term referring to domesticated beasts... so perhaps Noe did immolate a lamb.

Fr William said...

Pecus can indeed mean, and is often used specifically to mean, "(a flock of) sheep". The Hebrew word there, bᵉhēmāh, has the generic sense of "animal" and commonly means a domesticated rather than a wild animal, but doesn't restrict it further. So in the context (de cunctis pecoribus/mī-kōl ha-bᵉhēmāh) it would certainly have included sheep. But without specific mention of a sheep/lamb, the typology is lost.

Deacon Nathan Allen said...

Of course Noah's experiences with wine are not something we want replicated in our priests!

Joshua said...

Yes, it had crossed my mind that unlike Abel, Abraham and Melchisedech, Noe suffered some embarrassment in an unseemly manner.

Pachomius said...

Joshua: Not appropriate to compare Christ to a bird? What about the Pelican?

Joshua said...

How could I forget!

Pie pellicane, Jesu Domine, me immundum munda tuo Sanguine...

Jeffrey Steel said...

Many congratulations Father, and welcome home!