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Author Topic: Liturgical scripture readings not actually scripture?  (Read 678 times) Average Rating: 0
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bogdan
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« on: June 19, 2010, 03:13:16 PM »

The following text is a reading from Wisdom of Solomon from a vespers service:

Quote
   When the righteous man is praised the people rejoice, for his memory is
   undying, since he is acknowledged both of God and man, and his soul
   pleased the Lord. Love therefore, O ye men, wisdom, and ye shall live;
   desire her and you shall be instructed, for the very beginning of her
   is love and the keeping of the law. Honour wisdom, that ye may reign
   for evermore. I will tell you and will not hide God's mysteries from
   you, for He it is that leadeth unto wisdom and directeth the wise; in
   His hands is all wisdom and knowledge of workmanship; and wisdom, which
   is the worker of all things, will teach you all, for in her is a spirit
   understanding and holy, brightness of everlasting light, and image of
   the goodness of God. She maketh people friends of God and prophets, she
   is more beautiful than the sun, and above all order of stars; being
   compared with the light, she is found before it. She bath freed from
   diseases those that pleased her, and bath set them in the right paths;
   she hath given unto them understanding to keep in holiness, saved them
   from those lying in wait, and granted them strength of power, so that
   all may understand that the most powerful of all is piety, and that
   vice shall never prevail against wisdom, nor judgment shall pass away
   without convicting the evil. But the ungodly reasoning with themselves
   not aright, said: let us oppress the righteous man, let us not spare
   the widow, neither need we be ashamed of the ancient gray hairs of the
   aged. Let our strength be the law, and let us lie in wait for the
   righteous, because he is not of our turn, and he is clean contrary to
   our doings; he upbraideth us with our offending the law and objecteth
   to our infamy the transgressings of our education; he professeth to
   have the knowledge of God, and he calleth himself the child of the
   Lord. He was made to reprove our thoughts; he is grievous unto us even
   to behold, for his life is not like other men's, his ways are of
   another fashion; we are esteemed of him as counterfeits, he abstaineth
   from our ways as from filthiness, he pronounceth the end of the just to
   be blessed. Let us see if his words be true, let us prove what shall
   happen in the end of him. Let us examine him with despitefulness and
   torture, that we may know his meekness and prove his patience; let us
   condemn him unto a shameful death, for by his own saying he shall be
   respected. Such things did they imagine and were deceived, for their
   own wickedness hath blinded them. As for the mysteries of God, they
   knew them not, neither did they discern that Thou art the Only God that
   hast the power of life and death, that savest in the time of
   tribulation and deliverest from every evil, that thou art compassionate
   and merciful, granting unto the just Thy grace, and setting Thy might
   against the haughty.

http://hymnary.com/ccel/anonymous/menaion.txt

The source given is:

Quote
Wisdom of Solomon (4, 10-12 ; 6, 21; 7, 15-17. 22. 26. 29; 2, 1. 10-17. 19-22).

I liked the opening sentence of the reading, and wanted to see if there was more on the subject in surrounding verses. So I looked up the verses given in my RSV...and it appears that very little of this reading is even in the Bible, at least in the verses cited. I used an online translation (KJV) so I could search for words, and "haughty" (the last word) was nowhere in the book.

I know that basically all the readings of the Church are massaged a bit to fit the liturgical context (adding "Brethren" at the start of Epistle readings, adding "The Lord said" or similar openings to Gospel readings, jumping around within stories, etc), but most of the actual text in this particular reading does not appear to be in the Bible at all. It seems to be more of a "rhapsody on a theme" than a quoted reading.

Or am I just doing this wrong? Maybe it got severely lost in translation, if the Menaion is from Slavonic, while the Bible is from Greek? But I wouldn't think it would be that incredibly different.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2010, 03:14:10 PM by bogdan » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2010, 03:28:20 PM »

Maybe it's not in Masoretic versions of the Bible... (which is what all Protestant versions are)
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bogdan
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2010, 03:51:08 PM »

I have an RSV with "Apocrypha", so the book is definitely in there. But I also checked the NETS: (Menaion top/bold, NETS bottom/regular)

---- 4:10-12 ----

When the righteous man is praised the people rejoice, for his memory is undying, since he is acknowledged both of God and man, and his soul pleased the Lord. Love therefore, O ye men, wisdom, and ye shall live; desire her and you shall be instructed, for the very beginning of her is love and the keeping of the law.

One who became well-pleasing to God was beloved, and, while living amongst sinners, was taken; he was seized in order that wickedness should not affect his understanding or guile deceive his soul. For the fascination of wickedness obscures the things that are good, and roving desire undermines an innocent mind.

---- 6:21 ----

Honour wisdom, that ye may reign for evermore.

If therefore you take delight in thrones and scepters, you prince of peoples, honor wisdom that you may reign forever

---- 7:15-17 ----

I will tell you and will not hide God's mysteries from you, for He it is that leadeth unto wisdom and directeth the wise; in His hands is all wisdom and knowledge of workmanship; and wisdom, which is the worker of all things, will teach you all, for in her is a spirit understanding and holy, brightness of everlasting light, and image of the goodness of God.

May God grant me to speak with judgment and to think thoughts worthy of what has been given to me, because he himself is the guide even of wisdom and the corrector of the wise. For both we and our words are in his hand, both all understanding and skill in crafts. For he himself gave me an unerring knowledge of the things that exist, to know the constitution of the world and the activity of the elements.

----

So, there are parallels. Maybe it's just a bizarre translation from Greek to Slavonic to English, with a bit of massaging to make it flow, which is fine. While some of the other verses match exactly, the one I was interested in (the first one) remains quite different.
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2010, 08:26:04 PM »

This is the reading from a ROCOR service for the feast in question:

   The righteous man if he happen to die early shall be at rest, and the dying righteous man shall bring judgment unto the wicked living, for they will see the end of the righteous one and will not understand what is destined for him. And the Lord will hurl the wicked down voiceless and will remove them from their foundations, and they shall pass away unto the last in sorrow and their memory shall vanish, for they shall come in dread unto the realization of their sins, and their transgressions shall convict them to their faces. Then the righteous man will stand up in great boldness before those who offended him and despised his works. At the sight of him they will be agitated with great fear and will feel astonished at his glorious salvation; for, repenting and sighing from the oppression of the spirit, they shall speak within themselves, saying: this is he whom we laughed at and held in scorn; we were so foolish as to account his life as madness and his end dishonorable; how, then, is he now numbered unto the sons of God and his lot is cast among the holy? We have therefore wandered away from the right path, and the light of truth bath not illumined us, and the sun hath not shone unto us; we were full of the wicked ways and perdition, and walked in the unpassable paths, but did not comprehend God's ways.
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