Follow Rome back to Cranmer
It must be thirty years since John Higginbotham let me teach in one of the half-dozen best Classics departments in England, at Lancing; and we must thank him for his explanation (ND June 2002) that the ancient Jewish name for their God, YHWH, came to be regarded as too holy for utterance. Instead, when readers arrived at YHWH, what they said aloud was the Hebrew word for Lord; and translators rendered YHWH by the Greek and Latin words for Lord (Kyrios, Dominus), followed by the AV’s capitalized LORD, a useful convention.
Some modem Bibles and Psalters do instead print `Yahweh’, but Rome has now decreed that this Name should not be uttered in public worship. I would not go to the stake over this, but when one hears some callow student condescending to `Yarwey’ as if he were some sort of neutered moggy… We owe it to our Jewish friends to treat this Name with respect.
For us, all the ancient significance of YHWH is now embodied in the name `Lord’. (Gregory Dix wrote of `the majestic tradition of the worshipping Church, the rich tradition of liturgy unbroken since the Apostles, and beyond-beyond even Calvary and
Sion and the synagogues of Capernaum and Nazareth, back to the heights of Moriah and Sinai and the shadowy altar on Ararat – and beyond that again’.)
So it is meet and right that, as God’s priest prepares to propitiate the divine countenance with the only full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for all sin, he tells us that `Our God’ to whom we give thanks-make Eucharist-is none other than YHWH, the Lord. A moment later, Rome’s, and Cranmer’s, Eucharistic Prayers (but not Common Worship) name God near the beginning as Lord, Holy Father, Almighty Everlasting God: Lord, YHWH, God of Israel from the dawn of salvation history; Holy Father, so named by the Incarnate Word on the eve of his passing over (Mark 14.36, John 17.11).
ICEL hatched a nasty plot to pervert these ancient and stately cadences into `God of majesty and loving kindness’. Rome- Cardinal Medina Estevez – has belatedly put a stop to their little game. Follow Rome back to Crammer!
John Hunwicke is the compiler of the ORDO.