4.0898 Responses: Erasmus; Voltaire; Communion (3/100)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Thu, 17 Jan 91 11:00:24 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0898. Thursday, 17 Jan 1991.

(1) Date: Wed, 16 Jan 91 20:15 EST (34 lines)
From: "David Joel Halperin" <HALPERN@UNC>
Subject: Erasmus problems

(2) Date: Tue, 15 Jan 91 21:37 EST (47 lines)
From: Kevin Berland <BCJ@PSUVM>
Subject: Voltaire query

(3) Date: Wed, 16 Jan 91 16:52:15 GMT (19 lines)
From: ZLSIISA@cms.manchester-computing-centre.ac.uk
Subject: Eucharist frequency

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 91 20:15 EST
From: "David Joel Halperin" <HALPERN@UNC>
Subject: Erasmus problems

Marc Bregman has passed on to me Germaine Warkentin's inquiry concerning
certain passages in Erasmus, on behalf of James M. Estes. I believe I
can clear up the issue about the require- ment of being thirty years old
to study Genesis, the Song of Songs, and Ezekiel.

The source is not Origen's Prologue to the Commentary on the Song of
Songs, but Jerome's Prologue to the Commentary on Ezekiel ((Migne, PL,
XXV, col. 17 = CCSL LXXV, pp. 3-4) -- which is itself dependent on
Origen. (Jerome gives an abbreviated version of this statement in
Epistle 53; PL XXII, 547, CCSL LIV, pp. 460-461.) Jerome there defines
Origen's "full and mature age" as "the age of priestly service, i.e.,
the thirtieth year." The reference is to Numbers 4:3. Further, in his
comment on Ezekiel 1:1, Jerome defines 30 as "the age of a man's
maturity"; he cites the Hebrew text of Numbers 4:3.
It is certainly significant that Gregory Nazianzen speaks of
certain biblical books "entrusted only to those over the age of
twenty-five" (Orationes, II, 48; PG XXV, cols 456-457). I assume
that he draws his figure from LXX Numbers 4:3, which has 25 in
place of 30. In other words, both Gregory and Jerome define
Origen's "mature age" in accord with Numbers 4:3, each using the
text of scripture he was familiar with.

I discuss the issue in my book, The Merkabah in Rabbinic Literature
(American Oriental Society, 1980), p. 38n.

Prof. Estes might also want to consult a Hebrew article by Moshe
Idel, "On the History of the Interdiction of the Study of Kabbalah
before the Age of Forty," in the AJS Review, 1980.

Sincerely, David J. Halperin
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------62----
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 91 21:37 EST
From: Kevin Berland <BCJ@PSUVM>
Subject: Voltaire query

I took the liberty of reposting the Voltaire query on C18-L, and now
have this interesting reply to recirculate to Humanists. -- Kevin
Berland for C18-L.

- - The original note follows - -
From: John P. Chalmers <HMAB121@UTXVM.BITNET>

In answer to a recent discussion on HUMANIST about a line quoted from
Voltaire: "History is after all nothing but a pack of tricks which we
play upon the dead."

This is from a letter (*Voltare's Correspondence edited by Theodore
Besterman,* vol. xxxi, Gen`eve, 1958, p. 47-48, no. 6456) addressed to
Pierre Robert Le Cornier de Cideville by Voltaire on 9 f`evrier 1757.
It begins:

"Mon cher et ancien ami je souhaitte que le fatras dont je vous ay
surcharg/e vous amuse. J'ay vu un temps o`u vous n'aimiez gu`eres
l'histoire. Ce n'est apr`es tout qu'un ramas de tracasseries
qu'on fait aux morts. . . ."

It was no doubt made current by John Morley in his *Voltaire*, London,
Macmillan, 1888, page 304 (many earlier and later editions), and
referred to with enough imprecision by Will Durant (*The Story of
Philosophy,* New York, Simon & Schuster, 1926, p. 241) to confuse
Anthony Shipps in the winter issue of *SQ* (v. 27, no.2, p. 149) into
believing the addressee was Mme. du Chatelet.

Karl Van Ausdal of Appalachian State University pointed to the valuable
Durant spoor.

Voltaire's worth a read these days - any day. 15 Jan 1991.

John P. Chalmers
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
University of Texas
P.O. Box 7219
Austin, Texas 78713-7219
512 471 6688 office
512 471 8944 leave a message
512 471 9646 FAX
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------32----
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 91 16:52:15 GMT
From: Sarah Davnall <ZLSIISA@cms.manchester-computing-centre.ac.uk>
Subject: Eucharist frequency

In response to A. Davies' query, I pass on the following comment from
a History Department colleague, who has not yet ventured into Email.

>In early mediaeval Europe communion (as distinct from _attendance_)
>was very infrequent. The most famous declaration from the papacy
>is 4th Lateran Council (1215) Cap. 21 providing that all Christians
>should communicate at least once a year. See books by P.BROWE:-
>"De Frequentia Communicare" (1932) and "Die Laufige Kommunica im
>Mittelaeter" (1938).

(If that last reference is mis-spelled, the fault is mine.)

Sarah Davnall, Humanities Liaison,
Manchester Computing Centre, University of Manchester, England