Saturday, December 24, 2022

Doxa en Hypsistois Theou

 It happened in those days that there went out an edict from Kaisar Augoustos to enroll the whole empire. This enrollment happened principally when Kyrenios was ruling Syria. And everyone was journeying to be enrolled, each to their own city. Ioseph went up also then from Galilaia, out of Nazareth, to Ioudaia, to David's city, which is called Bethleem, because he was from the family and lineage of David, to register with Mariam his betrothed, who was with child.

It happened then, in their being there, that the days of her producing were completed, so she produced her firstborn son and swaddled him and laid him in a trough, for there was no place in the guest room. And shepherds were camping in the same area, keeping guard at night over their flock. And a messenger of the Lord befell them and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they feared with great fear.

And the messenger said to them, Do not fear! For see! I evangelize you with great joy that will be to every kind of people! For today a deliverer has been produced for you, who is Lord Christ, in David's city. And this is the sign to you: You will discover a baby swaddled and lain in a trough.

And suddenly there was with the messenger a throng of the heavenly army praising God and saying: 

Glory in the highest
to God;
and on earth,
peace in glorified men!

And it happened as the messengers went away from them into heaven, the shepherds were saying to each other, let us travel until Bethleem, and let us see this word that has come to be, which the Lord has declared to us.

And they went hastening, and discovered Mariam and Ioseph and the baby laid in the trough. Having seen, they thus declared the utterance that had been told them about this childling. And everyone having heard, wondered about the things told them by the shepherds. And Mariam was collecting these utterances, conversing in her heart. 

And the shepherds turned back, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told to them.

[Lk 2:1-20, my very rough translation. Katalyma, which is often translated as 'inn' but which I have translated as 'guest room', is found in another place in Luke -- Luke 22:11, describing where His last passover would be held. The praise of the heavenly host is very hard to translate, but it is more structured than most translations make it. We start with doxa, glory or fame or splendor, and we end with eudokias, an unusual adjective from the same verb; there is also the parallel with glory being in the highest (the Highest or Most High, Hypsistos, is very often a name for God, translating the Hebrew Elyon, so the first part may well have the meaning, 'Glory in God to God') and peace being in men. I also think it's noteworthy that the shepherds simply assume that what the angels proclaimed has come to pass; they don't go to see whether it's true, they go to see the fact that God declared to them. The series of actions is: fear, hear, go, see, proclaim, return.]

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