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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  March 2000

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION March 2000

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Subject:

Re: Matthew Paris

From:

Vivario <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Fri, 31 Mar 2000 05:45:05 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (81 lines)

[log in to unmask] wrote:
> 
> Dear Colleagues:
> 
> I am working on a paper concerning Matthew Paris and the Parisian monastic
> colleges and need your help in understanding the significance of a certain
> passage. Matthew Paris writes (in Richard Vaughan's translation):
> 
>         From the incarnation of the Lord twenty-five half-centuries have
> elapsed. Nor does it seem that  Easter has fallen on its own day, namely the
> sixth of the kalends of April [27 March], in any        jubilee year, namely
> the fiftieth, except in this last year.
> 
> I am interested in the notion of Easter falling on its own day. What does
> this mean and what is its signficance? I thought for a moment it meant that
> Easter and the feast of the Annunciation [25 March] fell on the same day in
> 1250, which conjunction would presage the end of the world. But this does
> not seem to be the case in this passage.
> 
My impression also, though I would much prefer to deal with the text in
the original language and possibly a little context? Anyway, though it
occasioned a goodly display of erudition by some esteemed members of the
list, millenarism does not appear in the passage you cited, as it
stands. Easter "falling on its own day" seems to me an allusion to the
widely held belief that Christ died on the 25th of March (Good Friday)
and resurrected the following Sunday, the 27th of March - as Oriens
pointed out. I see no reference to the Annunciation the passage quoted
by you, rather an allusion to St. Paul 1 Cor. 5:7, Etenim pascha nostra
immolatus est Christus. Cummian in his letter remarks, "Et inveni hoc
apopstolum de immolatione Christi non de resurrectione commemorasse
(di)centem: Etenim pascha nostra immolatus est Chritus." (Translation by
Daibhi O'Croinin-Maura Walsh: "And I found that the Apostle spoke thus 
concerning the sacrifice of Christ, not concerning the Resurrection,
saying: For Christ, ous Paschal lamb, has been sacrificed." - "Thus"
translates the Latin "hoc" i.e. pascha; and "Paschal lamb" is actually
"pascha" in the original. Thus, Easter's own day is the 25th of March,
the day when Christ died - His death being Easter properly so called.

Now, these views expounded by Cummian were debated, not only in seventh
century Ireland, but in sixth century Rome. Dionysius Exiguus held a
different view: the key date to be remembered was not Good Friday, but
Sunday, the day of the Resurrection - hence the difference in the
calculation of Easter. It was not, as so many reputed experts of
computistical studies thought, a matter of dates and chronology, but a
matter of theology. For the belief that Easter had its own day on Good
Friday stressed the sufferings of Christ, not his divinity: Christ could
only suffer as man, not as God; on the other hand, the commemoration of
Sunday (day of the resurrection) stressed the divinity of Christ,
because only God can rise from the dead. In an environment where
Arianism was an important issue (sixth century), it was important to see
the connection Easter/divinity of Christ. But I suspect that the same
issue was at the heart of the "paschal controversy" in Ireland in the
seventh century - experts on Hibernian studies, please help. For undue
stress on the sufferings of Christ might give the impression that
redemption was a kind of prize given as in athletic contest: the harder
the suffering, the greater the prize - and this is Pelagianism, albeit
in a veiled form. Dionysius (and, centuries after him, Thomas Aquinas)
understood that the qualitas of the victim (the fact that Christ is God)
makes redemption possible, not the qauntiotative amount of suffering.
Hence the stress on Incarnation in the Dionysian calendar and, quite
possibly, the connection with the Annunciation. Luciana        
> 

Also, I have lost from my favorites the wonderful calendar programs
> developed by members of the group. If the URLs could be sent, I'd be very
> appreciative.
> 
> Thomas Sullivan, OSB

-- 
****************************************
Luciana Cuppo Csaki
Societas internationalis pro Vivario
e-mail:	[log in to unmask]
http://www.geocities.com/athens/aegean/9891/
****************************************



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