Wisdom
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,314
    This is a fine hymn text by William Cowper derived from the first reading for this year's cycle's Trinity Sunday. Try singing it to Aurelia (The Church's One Foundation):

    "Ere God had built the mountains,
    Or raised the fruitful hills;
    Before he fill'd the fountains
    That feed the running rills;
    In me from everlasting,
    The wonderful I am,
    Found pleasures never wasting,
    And Wisdom is my name.

    "When, like a tent to dwell in,
    He spread the skies abroad,
    And swathed about the swelling
    Of Ocean's mighty flood;
    He wrought by weight and measure,
    And I was with Him then:
    Myself the Father's pleasure,
    And mine, the sons of men."

    Thus Wisdom's words discover
    Thy glory and Thy grace,
    Thou everlasting lover
    Of our unworthy race!
    Thy gracious eye survey'd us
    Ere stars were seen above;
    In wisdom thou hast made us,
    And died for us in love.

    And couldst thou be delighted
    With creatures such as we,
    Who, when we saw Thee, slighted,
    And nail'd Thee to a tree?
    Unfathomable wonder,
    And mystery divine!
    The voice that speaks in thunder,
    Says, "Sinner, I am thine!"
  • A fine hymn! Aurelia is always a rather tired and sappy tune. Ewing is nice for this, but not the best fit. King's Lynn is the one that really works here!
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,392
    I love that the voice of the specifically female Wisdom is the first reading for Trinity Sunday.

    It would be a violation of liturgical law to use this in a Catholic church (and I am against breaking liturgical law- even if you disagree with it), but for you Episcopalians, Lutherans, and others out there- I humbly submit my "Hymn to the Trinity"

    http://musicforsunday.com/2010/feminist-hymn-to-the-trinity
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    Adam, little spelling mistake on the page - "Magesterium"

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    Also "loathe" and, presumably, the title(!) "Hymn the Trinity."
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,392
    Thanks for the proofreading. If you see others, let me know.
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,590
    Where is the ability to rate postings when we really need it?

    Adam, this would seem to be insulting to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Trinity and...the importance of women in the church and men, too. After all, Mary was the first tabernacle.

    If it's not, correct me.

    If the humanness of woman and man, the roles of a family, a father and a mother, were not important, would not Jesus have just....appeared? After all He ascended....so He could just as easily descended and saved thirty years of being a son, a student and a carpenter.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,392
    Well, let's see...

    The Book of Job mentions the womb of God twice. It's clear that this is the womb belonging to the First Person of the Trinity (as opposed to the womb of Mary which God dwelt in).

    The book of Proverbs (in the reading for Trinity Sunday) has specifically female Wisdom, who is clearly the Second Person of the Trinity. (Baruch, in the reading used for the Easter Vigil, also has a female Wisdom in a prophecy of the coming Messiah).

    And since I didn't use any feminine language in the third verse, I need no scriptural backing to describe the Holy Spirit in feminine terms.


    Actually, I find the refusal to use feminine imagery for God to be insulting both to God and to humanity. If "male and female" is the Divine Image we are created in, then we ignore half of God when we deliberately avoid talking or thinking about how the Divine Image is "and female."
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,590
    And from the fact that you on your blog state your preference for a Mass that is 1/3 Chant, 1/3 Hymnody and 1/3 Haugen/Haas...I guess that I should not be surprised.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    The three persons of the Trinity are all masculine, and have been understood as such in Sacred Tradition for as long as there's been Sacred Tradition. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. In the holy Scriptures all three persons are referred to with masculine names and pronouns: save for the spirit sometimes being called "it" -- but never "she." I don't see how female Wisdom is "clearly" the second person of the Trinity... you'll have to explain that one. The second person of the Trinity is Jesus Christ our Lord, who took male flesh when he came into the world.

    Feminine imagery can sometimes be used to describe God, perhaps, for rhetorical effect, but that does not change the fact that the persons of the Trinity are masculine and have always been understood as such.

    Now don't get me wrong: God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are neither male nor female, as they do not have bodies. God the Father can be understood in some metaphors as Mother, and that's where the womb imagery comes in. But all three persons of the Trinity are clearly masculine. There are two ways of looking at that: one being that masculinity is activity, moving, begetting; and femininity is receiving, responding. In that case God is the prime mover and the Church and the individual Christian soul is the feminine receiver; God plants the seed of faith in the fertile soil of the human soul. Etc. That is the traditional medieval Catholic perspective. Or you can look at masculinity as distinction, separation, and self-sacrifice, and femininity as communion, unity, and nurturing. In that case the three persons of the Trinity are clearly transcendent and separate from creation, and pour themselves out for each other and for us. The principle of the Trinity itself is feminine union--sancta trinitas--but the persons are masculine.

    Either way, the persons of the Trinity are masculine. There is a reason the church has affirmed that baptisms using inclusive language are invalid.
  • Erik P
    Posts: 152
    .
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,392
    This is a theological debate I have no interest in at this point in my life.

    (And by the way- the fact that I want 1/3 of the music at a Mass to be Gregorian Chant, and 1/3 to be Sacred Choral Music, Hymns, and Polyphony, makes me much, much more liturgically conservative than the average church music director....)

    I posted the the hymn because the originator of this thread posted a hymn for Trinity Sunday that picked up the language from Proverbs, about Wisdom, and applied it (appropriately) to Christ.

    If this is not a hymn text that is appropriate to your community (or appropriate at all), then don't sing it. (You may notice that I specifically pointed out that the song should not be sung in a Catholic Mass). If you're interested in how Wisdom=Christ, there are people more equipped than I to explain it. If you're not interested, then skip it.
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,590
    If you do not want to support what you post, then don't post it. It's a simple rule, like suggesting that all Catholic churches have 1/3 Gregorian Chant, 1/3 Protestant-style hymns and 1/3 Haugen-Haas.

    This is not liturgical conservatism, it's a form of Dissociative identity disorder.
  • Charles in CenCA
    Posts: 2,416
    And from the fact that you on your blog state your preference for a Mass that is 1/3 Chant, 1/3 Hymnody and 1/3 Haugen/Haas...I guess that I should not be surprised.


    It's amusing and disturbing that my intellectually superior and learned colleague would push "add your comment" to the above ad hominem after a reasonable point of debate offered just prior. How does that demonstrate "wisdom?" Or advance the dialogue, as did Jam?
    I hope you're surfacing at Colloquium, FNJ. I really need to associate with you, for my own sake.
    P.S. I'm sure I will also benefit from your professional psychiological diagnosis so that I can become a better DM.
    Honestly...
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,590
    I am really, really excited about being at Colloquium, and hopefully people will find that I am not as ascerbic as I write. And walk away saying, "You know, I should recommend him for that job that's open..."

    Jam's excellent comment really did slam the door.
  • Charles in CenCA
    Posts: 2,416
    Great to know you'll be there, Noel. I, as I stated, am also most hopeful to know that you are "not as ascerbic" as you write.
    I am also quite hopeful that you will, from getting to know me, that you don't really mean to assess and adjudicate myself or any others as incapable of loving or understanding the chant and its place according to your sensibilities, and feel it appropriate to demean such folk as myself in this very public forum. Do you understand what I'm saying?
    Or, do I remain flawed, willfully ignorant and/or stupid, and non dignus sum, in your estimation? But still I pray that you find a gainful, worthy, and long-lived position worthy of your talents and expertise.
    If I'm truly not worthy of being part of CMAA, just say so, don't merely state your incomprehension of that reality. And I would expect the same fraternal correction from any other member, from Prof. Mahrt down to the latest enrollee.
    Pax et bonum, FNJ.
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,590
    People who publicly state that the ideal is not chant but rather the ideal is a mixture of music that pleases the people would seem, to my obviously rude and demeaning self, to be preaching...just not to the choir.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    All right, I'm cleaning up this thread. There is no shortage of invective hurling in the Catholic world. This forum doesn't need to contribute to it. I'll say this again when the Colloquium opens, but no movement can get anywhere assuming bad will on the part of people who are not 100% with the program. Nor will there be any suggestions of heresy etc. etc. Lord knows that we have all had our fill of that in the blogosphere. Plus, no one has ever been convinced by such rhetorical practices. Please, everyone do his or her part to contribute to making the this forum a productive and forward-thinking venue for all musicians interested in sacred music.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,992
    I think chant is great and use it often. But even I can get tired of hearing it and nothing else after a point. There has been some really good sacred music written since the heyday of chant. I try to use some of it, too. But Haugen/Haas? Don't go there.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,392
    Thanks Jeffrey!

    (Also, by the way- I didn't even mention Haugen in my "Preferences" post. And David really does have some excellent stuff [and some awful stuff, yes, but some excellent stuff too]).
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,392
    Also- by the way.

    I realize (or at least, assume) that the vast majority of members in the forum are theologically conservative
    (or at least orthodox) Catholic, and that we don't see eye to eye on every issue (divine femininity being the biggest, I'm sure).
    All the same, I'd like to say that I'm very thankful that I have found this forum. Your answers to my question about aging singers have been very generous. I hope to continue to get useful feedback, and perhaps contribute something valuable myself at some point.
    I'm also very thankful for the work of the Reform of the Reform community, especially with regards to sacred music. Even as my theology is progressive, and even as I like (some of) the music of the last 40 years, I think that a restoration of the traditional music and liturgical practices of the Church will be her best hope of relevance and growth into the next century. While I wish there were more of my ilk (liberals and progressives) working on this, I'm glad that someone is working on it, and I'm also glad to stand with those who I disagree with on some things and find common ground on those things we do agree with.

    Thank you all for your warm welcome to this community. I pray I will be a valuable member.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,392
    Thanks Jam!

    Read Proverbs 8, and try to think of how you would interpret Wisdom's monologue if you didn't know that She is female.
    Then try to imagine why that text is used as the OT for Trinity Sunday in the current lectionary.
    Also, read the pericope from Baruch for the Easter Vigil
    Try again to imagine why this reading is placed at the Easter Vigil.

    There is more, of course- the Book of Wisdom has some material.
    Hebrews quotes the book of Wisdom (He is the refulgence of the Father's glory) when describing Jesus.
    And John makes very clear connections between Logos and Sophia in the opening chapter of his Gospel.
    In 1 Cor, Jesus is called "the Wisdom of God"

    For further research, I admit its a bit hard to separate the goofy new-age from the legitimate biblical exploration. This review gives a decent explanation of some current thoughts on the matter.

    The Orthodox tradition has done a much better job of retaining knowledge of Wisdom, retaining her personal name "Sophia," and identifying her with Jesus.
    see:
    http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?FSID=108957
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,590
    I wish to apologize to Adam and all if my comments were out of line. Adam, I am sure that you did not expect to get heat rather than warmth in your reception. ;<)
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,392
    I'm fairly used to getting negative reactions to my feminist theology- especially since I'm more comfortable in orthodox and conservative company than with the sort of fringey liberals who usually go in for that sort of thing (I like to describe myself as "otherwise orthodox"... my [few] unorthodox beliefs grow out of my grounding in traditional theology and liturgical practice, rather than in a rejection of it- which is why I'm as concerned about Liturgical Orthodoxy and Sacred Music as I am).


    Anyway-
    I felt a very warm welcome over in my thread about older singers, so it sort of balanced out.

    Thank you for your apology, it was very gracious.

    And I apologize for my post here.
    Not for my belief, but for the carelessness of its expression with a community that doesn't know me well yet.