John A. McGuckin
Title: Harp of Glory: An African Akathist (Popular Patristics)
Binding: Paper Back
Book Condition: New
Publisher: St Vladimirs Seminary Pr December 2010
0881410543 / 9780881410549
Seller ID: 171066
If 'the whole world could not contain the books that could be written' about Jesus, then surely no treasury of hymnography can ever exhaust the praises of His Mother. With this lyrical translation from fifteenth-century Ethiopia, Fr. John McGuckin adds an exquisite gem to that treasury for the English-speaking world. The monastic composer (likely the 'scribe' identified in the epilogue) writes alternately in first and second person ('You are the balsam for the wound of Nahum, the tower of prayer for Habakkuk'), his ear attuned in equal measure to poetry and scripture. The reader can easily follow the astounding cascade of references to the Old and New Testaments by glancing at the brief footnotes, while remaining immersed in the lush imagery (grapes, honey, flowers) and the perfume of myrrh and cinnamon. We hear echoes, naturally, of Byzantium's great Akathist and its supplicatory canon, along with hints of the Italian influences (the repeated 'My Lady Mary') on the medieval Ethiopian Orthodox cult of the Virgin. Thanks to the translator's gifted rendering, this hymn can now take its rightful place beside those traditions, decked in its own radiant light.