The Guéranger Blog

Welcome to the Gueranger Blog! You have stumbled across the notebook I use to record my thoughts as I read through Dom Prosper Gueranger's 15-volume set, The Liturgical Year. I do not have any special expertise in liturgy, but I have some general knowledge of Catholic theology and an enthusiasm for Gueranger's magnum opus. Think of it as the Liturgical Year fan site!

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New Data on the Magi

Canisius | 07 January, 2006 22:19

A sequence from the ancient Roman-French Missals (Vol. 3, pp. 156-7) presents a neat picture of the magi and their quest for Jesus. Most of it is familiar, but two items caught my attention. According to this sequence:

(1) The star not only guided the magi to Bethlehem, but also showed them the proper route for going home. They couldn't retrace their steps because Herod would find out about them.

(2) When Herod found out he had been tricked, he commanded that the magi be put to death.

The Latin text of that second item is not entirely clear, and it is just possible that what it means is that Herod sentenced the infants to death, but the more probable rendering is as it appears in the English translation provided.

Neat, eh?!


Comment Icon Magi Sentenced

Phillip | 15/01/2006, 19:53

Interesting thought!! I suppose both translations might imply true events. I imagine that it might occur to Herod to publically declare the Magi under sentence of death, while privately telling the soldiers to kill any infants they found in Bethlehem. That way, there would be some deniablity in case of an uproar over the incident. Palace insiders (who later informed the faithful) would know the truth though.

Comment Icon Needed: a Good Antecedant

Peter_Canisius | 16/01/2006, 05:46

The reason the Latin text is unclear is that it says Herod ordered that "they" be killed. The nearest antecedant for the pronoun is the magi, but my knowledge that Herod did order the infants killed tempts me to say that they are the understood antecedant in some way.

Part of the difficulty is that we are working with Gueranger's presentation of the hymn, and we can't really know that he hasn't, e.g., left out an intervening stanza, whether for brevity or by accident. If he had, the hypothetical missing text could have mentioned the infants and thus set them up as the antecedant for "they".

I hadn't thought of that angle about the palace intrigue, though....

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