Carne Levare

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ERH on the Creed and a Footnote

Posted by Remy on December 15, 2009

In short, the story of man since Christ has been the application of the Athanasian Creed to everyday life. The story makes it clear that the Creed is not a statement of bare facts but a command given at baptism. The Creed describes essentially three things- God’s trust in man, God’s liberty, God’s creativity (5) -and enjoins us to accept the conditions under which we may make Man by sharing these Divine attributes.

5. These are the powers of faith, love, hope, which bridge the abysses inside of “Man” whom we little men have to represent through the ages. It is essential to realize that they come from God rather than the human will. The Greek and Hebrew words for faith mean God’s faithfulness and trust. Our believe is but the poor reflex of God’s faithfulness to all of us together. William James’ unfortunate phrase of “the Will to Believe,” ushered in the revolt of the masses because it deprive our faith of its prop. The masses are plunged into night when faith is made dependent of human will, instead of meaning that God holds us in the palm of his hand. Similarly love and its liberty are too often confused with will, even by theologians. Love and will have as little to do with each other as a wedding ring with a cannon. Will is not free, for it must struggle for life; but love is free, because it can chose death.

-Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy

4 Responses to “ERH on the Creed and a Footnote”

  1. Edward Casey said

    The accusative of caro, carnis is “carnem,” not “carne.” Double check this in ERH’s _Magna Carta Latina_ his primer for seminaries co-written with Ford Lewis Battles. “carne levare” means to lift up by means of, with, etc., the flesh.


  2. Remy said

    I intend the ablative, but I’ve snipped the “ab” for the sake of brevity. I translate it “to raise up from flesh”. I was playing on “carnival” which (like festival) takes its ending from levare.

  3. Edward Casey said

    I thought you interpreted it as “to raise flesh” with flesh as direct object. The etymology of carnival is disputed but, without any metathesis, “carni vale [dicere]” is certainly “[say] goodbye to meat.” “to raise up from flesh” is not an impossible interpretation at least in poetry. In classical Latin in prose something like “to free from, release, discharge” from the flesh might be thought of first.

  4. Remy said

    I think it is the nature of Latin snippets to sloganize rather than translate. Meaning is given, not taken.

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