About Me

My photo
I am a medievalist and an adjunct college instructor in the humanities at Union College. My research includes medieval theologies of history, text/image relationships in visionary and mystical texts, and the writings of the twelfth-century Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen. I am also a translator of medieval Latin and German texts, especially as relate to my research. My translation of Hildegard's Book of Divine Works is available from Catholic University of America Press here. I completed a Master's in Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame in 2010, a Fulbright Fellowship in Germany in 2008, and a B.A. in Classics and German at Boston College in 2007.

Friday, March 29, 2013

O cruor sanguinis (Symphonia 5)

A Good Friday Antiphon by St. Hildegard of Bingen[1]

Scivias II.6: Christ's
Sacrifice and the Church.
Rupertsberg MS, fol. 86r.
O cruor sanguinis
qui in alto sonuisti,
cum omnia elementa
se implicuerunt
in lamentabilem vocem
cum tremore,
quia sanguis Creatoris sui   
illa tetigit,
ungue nos
de languoribus nostris.
O streaming blood,
to heaven’s height you cried,
when every element
enwrapped itself within
a voice of woe
with trembling misery,
for their Creator’s blood
had covered them:
Anoint us
and heal our feebleness.

In this disturbingly evocative antiphon, the Symphonic Doctor employs her signature synaesthetic mode of visionary poetry to describe today’s momentous emptiness. The mighty Word-made-flesh is crucified, his blood outpoured upon the very earth he made.

Let us, who are made in his image and likeness and renewed by his own humanity, feel that blood drip upon us, see its scarlet ribbons flow, and hear its cry: “It is finished!” The foundations of the earth are shaken, the temple veil is rent, as their Creator’s body is pierced, broken, and torn. His streaming blood anoints us, baptizes us, endows us as members of his body and his bride, Holy Mother Church.

[1] Latin text from Barbara Newman's edition of Symphonia (Cornell University Press, 1988, 2nd ed. 1998), p. 102. Translation by Nathaniel Campbell. A transcription of the music (in chant notation) of "O cruor sanguinis" can be found at Br. Francis Therese Krautter's Symphonia blog. 

No comments: