Re: [liturgy-l] basilicas/functions
> Posted by: "Tom Poelker" TomPoelker@... tapoelkerdon't get me wrong about all that i said concerning the 'royal'
> As you say, Americans do not understand royalty etc. as the terms were
> used centuries ago. I'd NOT say that the problem therefor was with US
> Christianity BUT with how we preach and translate the Word.
> A nation of multi-cultural immigrants never led by hereditary rulers
> titled nobility needs translations and interpretations which teach the
> meanings behind the analogies of nation, royalty, lordship.
dimensions of liturgy. I absolutely *do not* envision mediaeval--
still less, modern-- notions of kings and courts here, and agree that
pageantry imported from these milieux *can* be a real obstacle to a
correct vision of liturgy, if that's what all you see in them. It is,
then, mere "pageantry".
that said, i don't think a congregationalist democracy was ever what
the bible had in mind.
but what I was referring to when i wrote of "royal" imagery in the
liturgy was the **biblical** imagery of God as king. I have no doubt
that this *biblical* understanding would in many ways counteract the
pretensions of mediaeval western kings and byzantine emperors. The
biblical imagery is very specific. We get it from psalms, kings, the
prophets, chronicles, the gospels, revelation-- and from
intertestamental sources related to these-- not from 14th century
italo-franco-germanic or byzantine court life. And the latter are
*not* simply a "newer" version of the same, in more "recent" dress!
However, again, the mediaeval can and often does express the primary
data and attitudes. Only just, of itself, it does not replace them.
acquiring a full understanding of the *biblical* dimensions of
kingship in the liturgy would require serious study. But in any case
we need to begin by cultivating an appreciation of such themes in
scripture and by noting when and how the traditional forms of the
liturgy intersect and foreground them.
I have been studying the gospels very methodically for the past year
or so. I have come to see that matthew really is different from mark--
they are telling completely different narratives or stories. What is
more, to 'hear' the Gospel-- to get its full impact-- we really have
to grasp each of the *gospels* in its particularity. To get the grand
Narrative, we have to thoroughly 'get' the distinctive little
narratives that our canonical story-tellers tell. Otherwise, we miss
their particular messsages and blend them all into one "general",
"harmonized" story-- which necessarily is one of our own manufacture.
We do this all the time. The same is true in the liturgy. We really
have to see what the underlying stories are. The last supper narrative
is one of them, but not the only one. Given the hypertropy of other
themes and practices, vatican 2 was right to re-emphasize it. But now
it is time to return to the other dimensions we've tended to overlook
in doing so.
- I don't recall any evidence of rubrics indicating posture. But here's an additional consideration. When Eucharists were separated from banquets early in the 2nd century (Emperor Trajan had banned supper clubs), and the synaxis occurred in the morning rather than in the evening (e.g. Letter of Pliny to Trajan), would the posture for receiving the bread and cup be the same as at a reclining banquet? Maybe people just stood around. By the third century Christians were celebrating Eucharists on the graves of their martyrs and other faithful departed, in the style of the Roman refrigeria. Did these celebrants sit at the mensa? It seems to me that there were several postures for receiving Communion in the early centuries: reclining at banquets, standing in someone's main room or courtyard, sitting around the grave mensa, walking to stations in the basilicas.
Frank C. Senn
Douglas Cowling <cowling.douglas@...> wrote: On 8/9/08 1:12 PM, "Frank Senn" <fcsenn@...> wrote:
> Since one could rent banquet halls, one could probably also rent couches.In "The Shape of the Liturgy", Dix assumed that in the pre-Nicene eucharist
> There may have been some wealthy people in early Christian communities who had
> spacious villas like Cicero. I suspect that there were seldom more than a few
> dozen people in most Christian house churches. If there were more they could
> rent banquet halls, like Greco-Roman supper clubs did.
people reclined and shared the bread but stood to take the cup. He states
that the readings and prayers were spoken standing up.
Although it's a little dated in its details, I still think that his
description of a pre-Constantinian eucharist if it had taken place in 20th
century London is a delight and a perfect stimulus for discussion at an
adult education session on the liturgy (Shape, pp.142-144)
I wonder if the 4th century little old ladies complained when they moved to
the basilicas and there were no couches for them ...
Director of Music
St. Philip's Church, Toronto
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