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Re: [liturgy-l] Hymn question

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  • Tom Poelker
    The implications of etymologies fascinate me. Here is the derivation of church. [bef. 900; ME chir(i)che, OE cir(i)ce Î Gk k&ri(a)kón (dôma) the Lord s
    Message 1 of 13 , Oct 31, 2006
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      The implications of etymologies fascinate me. Here is the derivation
      of "church."

      [bef. 900; ME chir(i)che, OE cir(i)ce Î Gk k&ri(a)kón (dôma) the Lord's
      (house), neut. of k&riakós of the master, equiv. to kéri(os) master
      (kîr(os) power + -ios n. suffix) + -akos, var. of -ikos -IC; akin to D
      kerk, G Kirche, ON kirkja. See KIRK]

      The NT testament word "ecclesia" meaning assembly/gathering has many
      other implications than does the English word. It appears that in
      English the community has taken the name of the building, but I have
      despaired of finding a better English that would be recognized if used
      above the local congregation/community/assembly level. "Assembly" looks
      a bit like "ecclesia" but they are not related etymologically.

      Tom Poelker
      St. Louis, Missouri
      USA
      ---
      Falling in love consists merely in
      uncorking the imagination and
      bottling the common-sense.
      --- Helen Rowland



      Roc1940@... wrote:

      > Concerning a hymn in ELW, Dwight Penas poses the following:
      >
      > <<But here's my question: Does this verse make any sense?
      > Does it not say that the "church building" "becomes a body
      > that lives"? Can we say that?>>
      >
      > First, let me voice my disgruntled ELCA-type Lutheran
      > curmudgeonly dyspeptic knee-jerk reaction: Something in ELW
      > doesn't make sense? Imagine my surprise.
      >
      > OK. Now that I got that out of my system, this seems to be
      > simply another conflation of Church [either from the Latin
      > circa (rounded portion of a room where Eucharist was
      > celebrated in pre-Nicean house gatherings) or the Greek
      > Kyriake Oikia (Lord's house)] and ekklesia. The former, of
      > course, refers to physical structures in which worship takes
      > place. The latter refers to those gathered. It is the
      > latter that Paul seems to have in mind when he speaks of the
      > "body of Christ."
      >
      > Thus, I would have fewer problems with the verse Dwight
      > quoted had the last two lines been:
      >
      > Yet we become a body that lives
      > When we are gathered here, and know our God is near.
      >
      > On the other hand, this change of one word would then raise
      > the question about whether we are the body only when
      > gathered in the assembly.
      >
      > Greg
      >
      > Gregory Holmes Singleton, Ph.D.
      > Professor of History, Emeritus
      > Resident Old Curmudgeon
      > Northeastern Illinois University
      > http://www.neiu.edu/~ghsingle/ <http://www.neiu.edu/%7Eghsingle/>
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Lee Tuck Leong
      Thanks Jan. I wasn t terribly impressed by David Smith s translation of Zomaar wwn dat wat hoofden but your literal translation is spine-tingling. Dynamic
      Message 2 of 13 , Nov 1, 2006
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        Thanks Jan.

        I wasn't terribly impressed by David Smith's translation of Zomaar wwn dat wat hoofden but your literal translation is spine-tingling. 'Dynamic Equivalence' can be tediously boring.

        I'm curious, though about the clause: 'Mouths of earth, hear and see'. Is it as strange in Dutch as it is in English?

        By the way, I'm preparing part of the liturgy for Christmas and apart from drawing from Janet Morley's All Desires Known, it would be good to have for reference his anaphora which you translated for this list years ago.

        Thanks.


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Jan J.H.Hofland
        To: liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wednesday, November 01, 2006 2:40 AM
        Subject: Re: [liturgy-l] Hymn question


        Hello Dwight,

        Huub Oosterhuis, Dutch theologian, poet and hymn writer, is perhaps the
        world's most translated present day hymn writer. He is well-represented in
        our ecumenical hymnal as well as the (217 hymn) supplement to this hymnal
        which was published last year. You'll find a number of his hymns in "Gather
        Comprehensive" and in a number of other recent U.S. and Canadian hymnals.

        I must admit, the translation less than brilliant. Here's a word by word
        translation:

        Just a roof above some heads,
        deur opened to silence.
        Walls of skin, windows like eyes
        searching for hope and a new dawn.
        House which becomes a living body
        when we enter
        to appear before God as we are.

        As others have indicated, the poet (as the Bible) does the same as in both
        Dutch and English in which the word "church" can be used for the building as
        well as the community that gathers there. A good translation would have set
        you on the right track when the poet all of a sudden talks of a house that
        has "walls of skin" and "windows like eyes". Besides, every mortal knows
        that a building is not and will not every become a living being. That is to
        say, just like mountains and trees in the Bible cannot dance, except in the
        imagination of the psalmist. But it's more than imagination, it tries to
        give all things an extra dimension to express the glory of the Lord's
        presence. The church is indeed just a building, "Just a roof above some
        heads". But it's the faith of the builders and the worshippers as well as
        the presence of God which is sensed there, which makes it more than just a
        building.

        The following two stanza's, which you seem to dislike, only strengthens the
        above image. Again a literal translation:

        "Words from afar, falling stars,
        sparks from the ages sown right here.
        Names for Him, dreams, signals
        blowing by from the dephths of existance.
        Mouths of earth hear and see,
        remember, spread it forth -
        God's liberating and light-giving Word.

        Table of One, bread to know
        that we are given to each other.
        Miracle of God, people at peace,
        old and forgotten new mystery.
        Breaking and sharing, being what can't be,
        doing the unthinkeable,
        death and resurrection."

        This is truly a song to cause one to ponder.
        To find new meaning everytime it is sung.
        To become aware of the mystery of faith,
        to wonder and believe,
        to be on the way "till we have faces (C.S.Lewis)"

        Beats: "Jesus loves me, yes I know" anytime :-).

        Jan

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: <DJP4LAW@...>
        To: <liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 4:16 PM
        Subject: [liturgy-l] Hymn question

        > On Sunday, our congregation sang as our offertory hymn a song with the
        > following first verse:
        >
        > What is this place where we are meeting?
        > Only a house, the earth its floor.
        > Walls and a roof sheltering people,
        > Windows for light, an open door.
        > Yet it becomes a body that lives
        > When we are gathered here, and know our God is near.
        >
        > A little research has revealed that the text was written by "Huub
        > Oosterhuis," about whom I know nothing. And apparently it will appear in
        > the new ELCA worship resource, "Evangelical Lutheran Worship," which
        > troubles me (because of the next two verses -- but that's not my point
        > here).
        >
        > But here's my question: Does this verse make any sense? Does it not say
        > that the "church building" "becomes a body that lives"? Can we say that?
        > It sounds foolish to me, to be frank: Nothing that I know of in any
        > tradition suggests that the building/gathering-place becomes enlivened.
        >
        > I thought that perhaps "it becomes" might be a circumlocuation for "it is
        > appropriate to," but that is a stretch of plain-meaning English. I know it
        > can be so read, but is that what is meant, do you think or know?
        >
        > I'm just trying to figure out whether I'm losing my "poetic sensibility"
        > or whether this is another sign of the decline in hymn text-writing (or
        > perhaps both).
        >
        > Peace
        > Dwight Penas
        > Minneapolis
        > ____________________________
        > "Certainly there is no contending against the Will of God; but still there
        > is some difficulty in ascertaining, and applying it, to particular
        > cases." --A. Lincoln (1858)
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