Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Rehearsal 3: the Morning Star / Lucifer connection

Last night we saw the survival instincts of Morning Star in full swing. Survival is the name of the game this week. Primal living is a theme that keeps resurfacing over and over each night. It seems to be the primary governing principle in the world of the late 1700's. Plant, hunt, kill or be killed. It is a world foreign to our 21st century orientation and one that we journey together towards discovering.

Trying to save her son, and ultimately her self, Morning Star employs many tactics: guilt, need, and ultimately spirituality - imploring Joe Talbert to show God's forgiveness.

Why is it that the playwright (in cycle #2) makes direct reference to the fact that Morning Star shares the same name as Lucifer? As explained below, there are many uses of the name in sacred scripture.

(Hebrew helel; Septuagint heosphoros, Vulgate lucifer)

The name Lucifer originally denotes the planet Venus, emphasizing its brilliance. The Vulgate employs the word also for "the light of the morning" (Job 11:17), "the signs of the zodiac" (Job 38:32), and "the aurora" (Psalm 109:3). Metaphorically, the word is applied to the King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:12) as preeminent among the princes of his time; to the high priest Simon son of Onias (Ecclesiasticus 50:6), for his surpassing virtue, to the glory of heaven (Apocalypse 2:28), by reason of its excellency; finally to Jesus Christ himself (2 Peter 1:19; Apocalypse 22:16; the "Exultet" of Holy Saturday) the true light of our spiritual life.

The Syriac version and the version of Aquila derive the Hebrew noun helel from the verb yalal, "to lament"; St. Jerome agrees with them (In Isaiah 1:14), and makes Lucifer the name of the principal fallen angel who must lament the loss of his original glory bright as the morning star. In Christian tradition this meaning of Lucifer has prevailed; the Fathers maintain that Lucifer is not the proper name of the devil, but denotes only the state from which he has fallen (Petavius, De Angelis, III, iii, 4).


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