Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Proclamation

Merry Christmas! Let us recall with humble awe and devotion what the Church celebrates this day - the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity in the Person of Jesus Christ..
  • Today, the twenty-fifth day of December.
  • In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world
    from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;
  • the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;
  • the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;
  • the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses
    and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
  • the one thousand and thirty-second year from David's being anointed king;
  • in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
  • in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
  • the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;
  • the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
  • the whole world being at peace,
  • in the sixth age of the world,
  • Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
    desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,
    being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
    and nine months having passed since his conception,
  • was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary,
    being made flesh.
  • The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh

Note that this is the older translation, before "In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world" was replaced by "unknown ages from the time when God created the heavens and the earth and then formed man and woman in his own image" and before the Flood chronology was likewise changed to the more ambiguous "several thousand years."

Have a Blessed Feast of the Nativity of our Lord! If you are interested in reading more about the traditional vs. contemporary Christmas proclamation's, this website has a nice side by side comparison.


Seán said...

In this and similar cases, less precision is actually better, since it more closely reflects contemporary church teaching and biblical scholarship. Proclaiming exact numbers of years inevitably gives most people the impression that we know exactly when these biblical events took place, thereby unwittingly reinforcing a type of biblical fundamentalism or pseudo-historical literalism that does not conform to the principles of Catholic biblical interpretation. Considering how long ago these events are said to have taken place and how few historically reliable sources we have for events of the distant past (especially anything before the time of King David), it is better not to give the impression that dates are or can be known with great precision.

Very interesting. I admit that there has to me more work on the chronology of the Bible. But this statement above seems to criticize the actual Bible, which is what the traditional proclamation is based on. Are we now to translate the Bible with vague phrases like "a long time ago" when the text will have a very specific number? I always think that text should be close to literal, with exegesis in the footnotes. This way you get both the text and the understanding behind it. And why has it taken more than 2000 years to realize this?!

abiologistforlife said...

Well, different texts of the bible (Septuagint vs Masoretic IIRC) have very different numbers in the early Genesis genealogies.

I'm pretty sure the traditional proclamation dates are Septuagint -- the Creation is 5199 BC here. The Jewish religious calendar has the current year as Anno Mundi 5771, so Creation would have been 3760 BC. And 4004 BC has been floating around for centuries (since Ussher in the 17th century at least).

So 'unknown ages' might be better anyway...