The Oxyrhynchus Hymn (P. Oxy. XV 1786) is the earliest known manuscript of a Christian hymn - dating from the 3rd century AD - to contain both lyrics and musical notation. It is now kept at the Papyrology Rooms of the Sackler Library, Oxford. The text, in Greek, poetically invokes silence so that the Holy Trinity may be praised.
The surviving text is fragmentary, thus there are quite a number of suggested reconstructions and translations on the web. The version which this recording - performed by Gregorio Paniagua and the Atrium Musicae de Madrid, from "Musique de la Grèce antique" - follows is the following:
"(Spoken) [Σε Πάτερ κόσμων, Πάτερ αἰώνων, μέλπωμεν] ὁμοῦ, πᾶσαι τε Θεοῦ λόγιμοι δο[ῦλο]ι. Ὅσα κ[όσμος ἔχει πρὸς ἐπουρανίων ἁγίων σελάων.]I have shown the reconstructed text not present in the surviving text in brackets and denoted spoken and sung parts (some parts are merely spoken due to the absence of any notation for those areas).
(Sung) [Πρ]υτανήω σιγάτω, μηδ' ἄστρα φαεσφόρα λ[αμπέ]
(Spoken) σθων, [ἀπ]ολει[όντων] ῥ[ιπαὶ πνοιῶν, πηγαὶ]
(Sung) ποταμῶν ῥοθίων πᾶσαι. Υμνούντων δ' ἡμῶν [Π]ατέρα χ' Υἱὸν χ' Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα, πᾶσαι δυνάμεις ἐπιφωνούντων· Ἀμήν, Ἀμήν. Κράτος, αἶνος [ἀεὶ καὶ δόξα Θεοὶ δωτῆρι μόνῳ πάντων] ἀγαθῶν· Ἀμήν, Ἀμήν."
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The Oxyrhynchus Hymn
Posted by Jeff Doles at 1:30 PM