Full Text for CTM Miscellanea 3-5 (Text)

Miscellanea. 381 Miscellanea. Hrotswitha of Gandersheim. Among the anniversaries of the present year there is one which de­serves at least a passing mention in these columns, namely, that of the nun Hrotswitha of Gandersheim, who was born, according to good authori­ties, in the year 932. She was a nun of unusual accomplishments, equally well versed in German and in Latin, since she received her training under the tutelage of Rikkardis, who was herself of more than usual ability. Her writings, which were first collected by the Humanist Conrad Celtes, show a remarkable versatility. She herself divided her books into three groups, or volumes. In the first group there are poetical narratives of a religious nature, a Historia de Nativitate Mariae et de Infantia Salva­toris on ihe basis of ihe apocryphal gospels of ihe infancy, then a Oarmen de Ascensione Domini, also a number of legends. In the second group we find six Christian dramas, which were intended to offset six corresponding plays of Terence. It is upon these plays that her fame chiefly rests, largely because she made Terence her model and really succeeded, in a remarkable way, in producing plays which in both form and content equal the style of the Latin poet then so much admired. She herself wrote: U nde ego, Glamor valid us Ganderheimensis, non recusavi illum imitari dictando, ·quem alii colunt legendo. "Only, she adds, instead of making heroines of fallen women, she will turn her plots to praise of purity. Her plays, she admits, are realistic. Certain situations of her own creation bring a blush to her cheek. She grants that the passion of illicit lovers or their sweet­sounding sinfulness is not wholly suited for chaste ears. But then, she argues, if through false modesty she omits such things, her purpose is defeated (si haec erubescendo negligerem, nee proposito satisfacerem). You can neither picture innocence, she pleads, in its true colors nor re­veal the lofty triumphs of divine grace without some shadows in the background." (G. G. Walsh.) She may be said to have been very success­ful in her work. Her situations are often very frank:, but never sugges­tive to the point of being prurient. Her object was really to render some service to Christian morals, and one must concede that she succeeded, especially in view of other material in the two centuries after her death. The third group of Hrotswitha's writings are two epical carmina con­cerning contemporary history, which, however, have not lost the imprint of her genius. She died approximately 1000 A. D. P. E. K. Loan Words and Semantic Borrowings in Ireland. The science of semantics, which is just at present receiving an Ull­usual share of attention in the field of linguistics, offers a most inter­esting opportunity also to the theologian, especially in the study of finer shades of meanings in the various versions of the Bible. The following examples are taken from Joyce, A Socia~ History of Ancient Ireland. It is more than likely that many of these loan words were introduced as early as the days of St. Patrick; for they were in general use by the end of the fifth century. A priest is sacart or saga1·t (from sacerdos); a bishop 382 Miscellanea. is epsoop or e8COp (from episoopus); a church is either a cill or cell or ceall (from cella), or an eolas or eaglas (from ecolesia); a fine church is a tempull (from templum); Sunday is called domnach (from [Dies} dominwa); another word for church is bai8lee (from basilica); a clergy­man or scholar is a ekreeh (from olerious); an abbot is an ab or abb (from abbas); a monk is a monaeh (from monaohus); the Mass is known as affrend, oiffrend, or aiffrionn (from offerenda); Christmas is Notlac or N otlaw (from N atalieia); Easter is Caise, by a common change in con­sonants (from Pa8oha); a scholar, or learner , who was often a younger monk working on the farm of the monastery, was 8colog (from sehola), and the word was later used to designate a small farmer. P. E. K. ~Unftrotillnen in beT $rehigr. linter bem ~iteI "Bur ~rIuftra±ion ber geiftficljen Slebe" liringen bie "lI3aftoralliIiitter" (~era~gelier: D. I.§riclj @Stange) bom Wobemlier 1931 dum lieacljten~lllerten Wrtiiel, aus bem tob: fjier hie ~aulJtlJunfte mit" MIen. ;Der l8erfaffer ift I13farrer unb Lie. theol. @Scljtoencrer in l1SoInifclj" ()lierfcljIefien. -~aB toir ein Slecljt fjalien, ~rIuftrationen au geliraucljen, fefjen toir aus :;:S®fu I13remgttoeife. Ilmerbing§ forI ba§ jillor± arIein c§ tun; alier "ber 5t'ram unb bie @Speife ber @SeeIe liebarf ber @efiiBe, in benen e§ gereiclj± toid)". ;Drei Wrten iIIuftratiber Slebetoeife gilit e§: ben einfacljen l8ergleiclj, me l13aralieI (WrIegorie ober ~alieI, ben l8ergleiclj in et3i±fjlenbe! ~orm) unb bie meiflJielerai±fjlung (®rai±fjlung toidIiclj gefcljefjener l8or" gange). Wu§ ber @efcljiclj±e fefjen toit, baB me erfolgreicljften I13rebiger arIer Beuen biefe§ WHiter in groBem mafle geliraucljt fj ali en. linier anbern toar Qut~er ein "meifier Ielienbigfter ~nfcljau!icljfeit". @Spurgeon ift in mefer Sjinficljt "gerabeau unerfcljiilJfIiclj". ,,;Die ~Uuftration§tebe bien± bem Btoed'e, bie I13rebigt au lielelien, bie berfiinbigie jillafjrfjeit burclj Iaufenbe QicljtliUber baraufterIen." ~oclj mliffcn aUe mUber "ben @?tem\JcI ber jillafjrljeit, lieato. ber jillidHcljfeit, tragen". lIl80n eigenen ®rfa~rungen rebe man mit Buriicf" fjaItung." mei ben @Ieicljniffen mUB ia ba§ tertium comparationis recljt ~erau§geftricljen toerben -unb ia nicljt aU bide mUber! @SlJurgeon fagt: "lI3rebigten foITen nicljt mrumenftriiuBe, fonbern jilleiaengarlien fein." Wicljt liide man ein "mHberliuclj. fonbern ein muclj mit miIll ern " . Wiclj± blirfen biefellien ~n:uftrationen immer toieber angetoanM toerben. ;Da§ liicljerIiclj toidenbe l8ermengen bon 18ergleicljen ift aU meiben, toie 3. m. ein ~intuei§ aUf ben "Bafjn ber Beit, ber fcljon manclje ~riine irocrne±e unb auclj lilier Mefe jillunbe @ra§ toacljfen Iaffen toirb". ~ie liefte @5cljufe filr @leicljni§" lpraclje ift bie g)ilie! feIlif±. ®obann IJabe man ein uffene§ ~rllge flir bie un£; llmgelienbe Waiur unb menfcljentoelt. :;:Sn ber Eitera±ur. liefonber§ in miogralJ~ien, toirb man bier mraucljbare§ finben. @ScljlieBIiclj gilit e§ auclj @Sammlungen, au benen ber bielliefclji±f±igte I13rebiger greifen fann, a. m. Qutfjertoorte, fobann miIberfammlungen aus @?lJurgeon, l13aulfen, \raflJari ufto. ~. The Johannine Authorship of John 8,1-11. The question is again raised by the following note in Dr. R. H. C. Lenski's Interpretation of St. John's Gospel, p. 573: -"7,53-8,11 is not an integral part of John's gospel, but part of the early oral tradition (antedating the year 70); very early put into written form and one of its two versions eventually inserted into John's gospel. Miscellanea. 383 These findings of the text critics must be accepted as embracing the facts. Between 7, 52 and 8, 12 nothing intervenes. 'fhe spurious section is of a type foreign to John's gospel and is easily recognized as an interpola­tion in the place which it occupies. The language marks differ decidedly from those of John's own writing. Yet this spurious section reports quite correctly an actual occurrence in the life of Jesus. Every feature of it bears the stamp of probability, although we are unable to say at what point it should be inserted in the story of Jesus. Since John did not write this section, we omit its exposition." To depress in such a cavalier manner the importance of these verses, whether genuine or not, must arrest attention, especially since the com· mentary is otherwise detailed enough, running to more than 1,400 pages. After all, the first eleven verses in John are in our German and English Bibles and cannot be eliminated offhand from our exegetical and homi­letical literature. If the case were as clear as Dr. Lenski asserts, there would be some justification for disposing of this famous passage in half a page; but we are not sure that the case is as simple as Dr. Lenski as­sumes. At any rate, it is an exegetical problem worthy of the continued attention of interpreters. The evidence of the codices, of course, is against the genuineness of the passage. The chief uncials do not contain these verses. However, the passage is found in Codex Bezae (D), also in KGHMU, and in most of the manuscripts of the Syriac version, the Coptic and the Vulgate. Jerome refers to the "many Greek and Latin manuscripts" which contain this pericope (A.dv. Pelag., II). Some of the older Church Fathers refer to it, others do not, the patristic evidence being about equally balanced. A number of reasons may be given for the exclusion of John 8,1-11 from the text of the gospel. It seems to break the connection between chap. 7 and 8, 12. However, this very argument may be turned against those who deny its authenticity: How should a copyist conceive of the notion of inserting the story just at this place? That some churchmen feared the abuse of this story and would have preferred to delete it from the text for this reason admits of no doubt. When the Church became powerful and morals decayed, the mildness of the treatment which the woman taken in adultery here received from our Lord would be urged in favor of a lax discipline. That such was actually the misuse of this passage may be stated upon unquestioned testimony of the early Church. Ambrose has this to say about the passage: "Probably if some one with mischievous ears would receive this passage, they would incur an incentive for error." (Apol. Davidis Posterior, chap. 1.) Augustine: "This passage has caused some offense to the unbelieving, to such extent that some of little faith, possibly enemies of the true faith, apparently fearing that license for sin is here given to their wives, removed the passage from their manuscripts. As if He had granted permission to sin who said, 'Sin no more'!" (De A.dulterinis Coniugiis, II, 7.) Lange's Commentary aptly remarks: "The scruple was begotten, not of the interested unbelief of some individual husbands, but of the ascetic, weak faith of a legalistic age." As for the internal difficulties, it is generally urged that a number of Greek terms not otherwise found in John occur in this passage. J. H. A. Ebrard, in his Kritik der evangeUsohen Geschichte, 1850, has already dis-384 Miscellanea. posed of this argument: "In many a chapter of St.John it would be a simple matter to find three words which occur only once in the gospel." A diffi­culty is seen in the request of the Jews that Jesus pass judgment in the case. It is assumed that Jesus was being led into a dilemma: Should He pronounce sentence of death according to the Mosaic Law, He would be accused of assuming a right which the Romans claimed for themselves. Should He refuse to declare the woman guilty of death, He would be set­ting aside the Law of Moses. But if this had been the motive of the Jews, Jesus might simply have declined to act as judge, as He did on another occasion. But was this really the situation? Shall we overlook the fact that at this time the Jewish authorities had become very lax in their dis­cipline in cases of adultery? The question proposed to our Lord very likely had simply the purpose of obtaining from Him some expression whether judicial procedure should be inaugurated in the case of this woman. If He had answered yes, He would have lost popular favor. Refusal to act would of course imply opposition to the Mosaic Law. It is true that the scribes are not elsewhere mentioned in John. How­ever, in view of the fact that a question of the Law was raised, their ap­pearance on the scene is quite in keeping. It has also been objected that there is no mention of the adulterer. But this signifies nothing at all. If anything, it illustrates the weak temporizing policy which had begun to prevail among the Pharisees. It is true that the legal punishment of adultery was by strangulation. Yet a comparison of the texts Ex. 31, 14; 35, 2 with Num. 15, 32-35 makes clear how the formula "put to death" generally came to mean stoned. Against the undeniably strange features of the narrative we have a number that speak as strongly for its genuineness. Which inventor of embellishments to the gospel record would have dared to fabricate so pe­culiar a feature as the writing of Jesus on the ground? Entirely unique also is His challenge: "He that is without sin among you," etc., and the comforting closing words to the woma:n. TH. GRAEBNER. The Last Will of George Washington. Several readers have called our attention to the fact that the quo­tation from the last will and testament of George Washington in the last number of the CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY, April, 1932, p. 257, is not supported by documentary evidence. The information was taken from secondary sources, some of which may have had reference to an earlier will of Washington (Ford, The Writings of George Washington., II, 485), to which Washington refers in a letter to his wife, or to the last will of his mother, which is often quoted. But so far as the actual last will of the first President of the United States is concerned, there is no such passage either in the text or in the notes. We have com­pared Vol. XIV, pp. 271-298, in The Writings of George Washington., by Worthington Chauncey Ford, who offers an authenticated copy, also Srna,te Documrnts, Vol. 29, 62d Congress of 1911, where the will is printed exactly as found in the original. Fortunately the proof for the Christian char­acter of Washington does not rest upon his last will and testament, since almost any fairly complete biography of our first President will afford enough proof for this fact. P. E. K.