Cassiodorus, Explanation of the Psalms - Vol. 3

By Cassiodorus; P. G. Walsh | Go to book overview

to the heavenly Master, the truthful Teacher, the Author who tells of the creation. Why do they hasten to foolish researches, and in their desire to be students of false notions, squander occasions for ascertaining the truth?


COMMENTARY ON PSALM 104

Alleluia. This beautiful word has made its first appearance here. You do not find it used by anyone earlier, 1 though there were many Hebrew writers of early date. We must realise that alleluia is designated as neuter gender; saint Jerome in his commentary on this psalm 2 clearly states this, and we believe that he found it in Hebrew sources. So whenever a citation occurs we shall follow the rule established by that most learned man, that the word must remain unchanged and entire, for it has not been transmuted by the supposition of any tongue. Alleluia among Jews means, "Praise God"; allelu connotes praise, and ia denotes the invisible God. It is one of the ten terms for God expounded by Jerome in his letter to Marcella. He said: "The first name of God is El, that is, strong. Next come Eloim and Eloe, both meaning God." (This is why the word is often found repeated, as in: 0 God, my God, look upon me, 3 and: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?4 and: O God, my God, to thee do I watch at break of day, 5 and the like.) "The fourth is Sabaoth, meaning 'of armies'; the fifth, Helion, which we render as 'exalted.' The sixth is Esereheie, which in Exodus means 'He who sent me.' 6 The seventh is Adonai, which we usually render as Lord. The eighth is Ia, which is applied only to God, and is the final syllable pronounced in Alleluia. The ninth is Tetragrammun, meaning 'the inexpressible.' The tenth is Saddai, meaning 'strong and capable of performing all things,' " 7 and so on.

Alleluia is clearly a new address, notable for its brevity. The churches use it as a votive prayer, and it is fittingly suited to sacred festivities. The tongues of cantors are adorned with it, and the Lord's basilica joyfully responds with it. Innovations are always being introduced to it with varying tropes, 8 as though it is an insatiable blessing. So we must expect the words of psalms to be sweet, when so sweet a proclamation precedes them. We are able to grasp what can follow,

-49-

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Cassiodorus, Explanation of the Psalms - Vol. 3
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Ancient Christian Writers - The Works of the Fathers in Translation *
  • Cassiodorus: Explanation of the Psalms *
  • Contents v
  • Commentary on Psalm 101 i
  • Commentary on Psalm 102 18
  • Commentary on Psalm 103 29
  • Commentary on Psalm 104 49
  • Commentary on Psalm 105 65
  • Commentary on Psalm 106 82
  • Commentary on Psalm 107 95
  • Commentary on Psalm 108 102
  • Commentary on Psalm 109 116
  • Commentary on Psalm 110 125
  • Commentary on Psalm III 131
  • Commentary on Psalm 112 137
  • Commentary on Psalm 113 141
  • Commentary on Psalm 114 150
  • Commentary on Psalm 115 155
  • Commentary on Psalm 116 160
  • Commentary on Psalm 117 162
  • Commentary on Psalm 118 174
  • Commentary on Psalm 119 259
  • Commentary on Psalm 120 265
  • Commentary on Psalm 121 270
  • Commentary on Psalm 122 277
  • Commentary on Psalm 123 281
  • Commentary on Psalm 124 287
  • Commentary on Psalm 125 291
  • Commentary on Psalm 126 296
  • Commentary on Psalm 127 301
  • Commentary on Psalm 128 306
  • Commentary on Psalm 129 311
  • Commentary on Psalm 130 316
  • Commentary on Psalm 131 321
  • Commentary on Psalm 132 332
  • Commentary on Psalm 133 337
  • Commentary on Psalm 134 341
  • Commentary on Psalm 135 351
  • Commentary on Psalm 136 359
  • Commentary on Psalm 137 365
  • Commentary on Psalm 138 371
  • Commentary on Psalm 139 386
  • Commentary on Psalm 140 392
  • Commentary on Psalm 141 399
  • Commentary on Psalm 142 406
  • Commentary on Psalm 143 413
  • Commentary on Psalm 144 422
  • Commentary on Psalm 145 432
  • Commentary on Psalm 146 438
  • Commentary on Psalm 147 444
  • Commentary on Psalm 148 449
  • Commentary on Psalm 149 457
  • Commentary on Psalm 150 461
  • Notes 471
  • Indexes 525
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