24 April 2024

Sir Thomas ... and three centuries later (2)

So Thomas Blackburn iniquitously secreted away alabaster tablets within Ripon church; subsequently, he denied having removed them from the church! Which, obviously, was true! 

It was recorded in 1871 that, during alterations within the choir, three of the alabasters were found: a statue of a bishop (may we nominate dear S Wilfrid?), and two tablets, respectively of the Resurrection and of the Coronation of our Blessed Lady. These are still extant; unlike much surviving medieval work, they are undamaged and still possess their vivid colouring. And that colouring includes the vivid red of the Wound in the side of the Figure leaping out of his tomb. 

My mind recently went haring off at a tangent. We all know the Easter Evening narrative from Luke 24 of Cleopas and his Friend and the Stranger on the way to Emmaus; He explains the Scriptures to the two and, since they press Him, joins them for their evening repast. As He says the Thanksgiving and breaks the bread, they recognise Him ... and He disappears (aphantos egeneto). 

Why did they recognise (epegnosan) Him at this point? I think I have in the past vaguely assumed that there was something distinctive, characteristic, about how he broke the bread ... the familiarity bred of all those shared suppers over the last three years ... the penny dropped in their minds ...

Perhaps, indeed, that is how it did happen. But the literary technique seems to me rather novelistic ... a tadge twentieth century. 

The writer of the Cornish Resurrexio Domini has a different suggestion to propose.

The Lord says that He will break bread with them ... then the text has the stage-direction ostendit eis vulnera.

Of course!! He is not wearing gloves, nor is there a Vorpal Blade to hand. As He stretches out His hands, they see the Wounds in them. (hic transiet Jhc de cleophas et socius [sic/sic/sic]).

At the end of the pericope, the Greek and the Vulgate do not say exactly the same things. In the Greek, Cleopas and Socius tell the othes hos egnosthe autois ...The Vulgate reads  quomodo cognoverunt eum. Hos could mean simply "that".  quomodo could mean "the way in which". Provisionally, I am going for the former.

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