O Sapientia

Everyone is googling my Magnificat blog post from last year, “Cast down the mighty”, and here is why.

This is the end of advent in the Christmas season.  Ritual for the last 7 days of advent often features the Magnificat (Song of Mary) along with the “O antiphons“, like “O come, O come Emmanuel”, based on names for the Messiah.  The entire 8-day season is sometimes called Sapientia-tide.

The “O antiphon” for December 16  in the church calendar is “O Sapientia” (Wisdom), according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. The texts for the antiphons are taken from the prophets and from the Wisdom literature. The text of “O Sapientia” is from Sirach 24.  See here for the Anglican ritual.

Don’t forget that “wisdom” is also “Sophia” in Greek, and although there is a  Christian saint by that name–they didn’t dare ignore her completely–there is also a much much older and more pagan Sophia.

 14 From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before him.

So here are some images, a Botticelli madonna writing the Magnificat, and a chant, with some very nice and presumably chaste male voices:

  Madonna_of_the_Magnificat - botacelli book


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