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William Blake’s Newton (1795), depicting him as a divine geometer. Image Credit: William Blake Archive/Wikipedia (universetoday.com)

No, you have not been forgotten. You are precious to me. I have been occupied and preoccupied. So, I do not have an article ready, but I would like to mention the concept of anamnesis, anamnèse, in connection with the Bibles moralisées. I will, however, exclude the word moralisées. I do not have a facsimile of one of these Bibles, which means I have not read them.

Anamnèse is a term used in medicine primarily. A doctor researches a patient’s history to make a correct diagnosis and choose the appropriate treatment.

However, an anamnèse may occur elsewhere. In Catholic liturgy, it refers to a prayer which, in the Mass, follows the Consecration and evokes the Redemption (une “[p]rière qui, dans la messe, suit la consécration et rappelle le souvenir de la Rédemption). This prayer is relatively recent. I could not find it in my ageing missal (See Anamnèse, CNRTL.fr. and Parts of the Mass.)

In the New Testament, we read that Jesus was incarnated: « le Verbe s’est fait chair » (John 1:14). God the Son, of the Holy Trinity, a mystery, was made flesh. He is the Word, la parole, or logos, but He is God the Son and incarnated. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the forbidden tree and were driven out of Paradise. They were redeemed. That is the Biblical account and it is also John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Catholics added an anamnèse to the Mass, referring to the Redemption.

Jesus was born to Mary in a humble crêche where He was visited, first, by the shepherds and, later, by the Kings of Orient. He was crucified and died, but he was resurrected and remains the Redeemer. For many Christians, although Jesus is invisible, He is still among us. Christians pray to him and they pray to his mother, Mary. The Virgin Mary is viewed as a kind woman who may speak to her son Jesus and ask Him to help us in times of grief, such as pandemics, wars, or social upheavals.

I asked theologians if Jesus had left a message. Jesus Himself did not. He did not write a text. Jesus’s disciples told his parables and that He taught unconditional love. The Sermon on the Mount, however, was told by his disciples, Matthew to be precise. Moreover, Jesus did not found a Church. Christianity was founded by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (CE 306–337).

Icon depicting the Emperor Constantine (centre), accompanied by the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea (325), holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As for our thirteenth-century Gods, they may have satisfied the medieval mind and my rather childlike mind, but they border on Paradox literature. Not only does God use the compass, which has yet to be invented, but he also looks like the human beings he is creating. He created us in his image. This history called for other accounts of Creation, such as the Big Bang (le Grand Boum). But the Bible, the Quran, Epics, Mythologies, Sacred Texts, and the disputed Totemism are anamnèses that explain the human condition somewhat naïvely at times but also beautifully. These provide proof that we need to know where we come from and that we wish to ennoble ourselves.

So, there was a great deluge, but Noah’s Ark saved humanity and its animals. Jonah, a prophet, was inside a whale that protected him. Moreover, although there was no compass before man[1] was created, humans themselves have created extraordinary machines. Man has travelled to the moon and man has created works of art, works of literature and music we call divine. We cannot create an autonomous human being, but we have been creators.

There is a measure of godliness among mortals.[2]

[1] Man includes women.
[2] This discussion is to be continued.

Love to everyone 💕

Micheline Walker
5 March 2021