This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

The universality of anamnesis

We have said that the Mass instituted by Christ represents the summary perfection of all previous sacrifice, whether in the Hebrew tradition or any other. If this is the case, we should expect to find the formula of anamnesis which is the mode of operation of the rite, in other contexts, and we do find this. That is why S. Sauneron, writing of ancient Egypt, presents an explanation of this ‘ritual remembrance’ that could be perfectly applied to the Mass itself:

“The divine deed (which is the object of the representations in these ceremonies) only took place once, whether it was the creation of the world, the gathering of Tefnut, the massacre of the rebels or some other event at the beginning. Now, the figurative repetition of these deeds, on their anniversaries, is not an anecdotal recalling of a remote affair; it is an act having full power, which through its ritual execution recreates the event and its consequences.”[1]

[1] S. Sauneron, Les fetes religieuses d’Esna, 1962, pp 60-61. Quoted in Jean Hani, The Divine Liturgy.

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