Sealed with a kiss

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Sealed with a kiss

Post by PhilHunt » Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:13 pm

I was reading Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth and there was a reference to sealing an agreement between King Henry of England and Thomas Becket with a kiss. The king refused to give him the kiss of peace. I'd been aware of the kiss of death and its connotations with the kiss of Judas but I hadn't been aware of this practise in the Middle Ages of sealing an agreement with a kiss. This got me thinking....

I live in a country where it is common practise to greet friends with a kiss on each cheek and I often go to France where my friends greet me with three kisses. I had never really thought about why. I know that the practise became replaced with a handshake, which I thought came from the practise of offering your sword hand, as a way of showing your enemy that you mean no harm.

As usual Wiki gave me the most information on the kiss of peace
The holy kiss is a traditional Christian greeting. The term comes from the New Testament, where it appears five times.

It is mentioned in:

Romans 16.16a — "Greet one another with a holy kiss" (Greek: ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ).
I Corinthians 16.20b — "Greet one another with a holy kiss" (Greek: ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ).
II Corinthians 13.12a — "Greet one another with a holy kiss" (Greek: ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν ἁγίῳ φιλήματι).
I Thessalonians 5.26 — "Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss" (Greek: ἀσπάσασθε τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς πάντας ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ).
I Peter 5.14a — "Greet one another with a kiss of love" (Greek: ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἀγάπης).
Superficially, there was nothing new in the practice of Christians greeting one another with a kiss: cheek kissing was the normal way that men in the ancient western Mediterranean would greet one another. However, the New Testament's emphasis on its being a holy and love (agapē) kiss meant that it quickly developed into something more than a greeting.

........it still remains a part of the worship in traditional churches (Eastern Christianity, Roman Catholic Church and liturgical Protestant churches), where it is often called the kiss of peace or sign of peace, or simply peace or pax. In these churches, it is usually performed before the preparation of the altar for the eucharist.
Here you see the use of the word pax.
pax
c.1440, "kiss of peace," from L. pax (gen. pacis) "peace," in Ecclesiastical L., "kiss of peace" (see peace). Capitalized, Pax was the name of the Roman goddess of peace. Used by 1933 with adjs. from national names, on model of Pax Romana (e.g. Pax Americana, 1967).
pax (pāks)
n.
A) Ecclesiastical
1 A small flat tablet adorned with a sacred image that worshippers kiss when offered the kiss of peace.
3 The kiss of peace.
B) Pax A time of wide-ranging stability when there is only a single dominant power. Used with a Latinized name: "Editorials lauding the civilizing influence of Pax Britannica were met with ... a crushing disinterest from most of the public" (Nisid Hajari).

[Medieval Latin pāx, from Latin, peace; see pag- in Indo-European roots. Sense 2, on the model of Late Latin pāx (Rōmāna), the Roman peace, state of security obtaining under Roman rule, alteration of Latin (Rōmāna) pāx.]
I'm wondering if there is a connection between this use of the word pax to mean a time of peace and security and the word 'pact' to mean making a binding agreement, in the context of the kiss of peace.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary pact.
1429, from M.Fr. pacte "agreement, treaty, compact," from L. pactum "contract, covenant," from neut. pp. of pacisci "to covenant, to agree, make a treaty," from PIE base *pag- "fix, join together, unite, make firm" (cf. Skt. pasa- "cord, rope," Avestan pas- "to fetter," Gk. pegnynai "to fix, make firm, fast or solid," L. pangere "to fix, to fasten," Rus. pazu "joint," O.E. fegan "to join," fon "to catch seize").
The Latin origin would be pactum but the French pronunciation would be similar to the pronunciation of pax, so I'm wondering if the two terms became intertwined in meaning in spoken English in the 1400s, leading to the marginalised use of pax in reference to an agreement of peace to the popular use of pact.
I'm also wondering if the use of a kiss to mark a man for death, popularised by the film the God Father, is from this idea of sealing a bargain, rather than the kiss of Judas, which would mean treachery, which is a rather cowardly act.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
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Re: Sealed with a kiss

Post by zmjezhd » Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:41 pm

One reflex of Latin pax is Irish póg 'kiss' as in the famous póg ma thóin 'kiss my arse' whence the name of the band The Pogues. (The Latin term for kiss of piece is osculum pacis.)
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Re: Sealed with a kiss

Post by PhilHunt » Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:58 pm

But on Wiki (which is not always right) they say that osculum pacis was never used, just pax to mean 'kiss of peace'.

In fact, on google.books before 1600 there are no results for osculum pacis but plenty for pax. This may suggest that it was never used before 1600 or that there are no docuements before 1600 with this term.
We also see the introduction of pacte into the English language in late 1400.

I didn't know that about the Pogues. Interesting.
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Re: Sealed with a kiss

Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:01 pm

It may be of interest that the acronym S.W.A.L.K. which is sometimes attached to letters stands for Sealed with a loving kiss.
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Re: Sealed with a kiss

Post by Bobinwales » Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:10 pm

Erik_Kowal wrote:It may be of interest that the acronym S.W.A.L.K. which is sometimes attached to letters stands for Sealed with a loving kiss.
If we are going to be soppy, ITALY is I trust and love you, and BURMA is Be undressed ready my angel.

Actually, back to the main theme, I watched a programme on television this week about Mary Madeleine, which explored (not very deeply) whether Jesus and Mary had indeed married. The theory predates Dan Brown!

Apparently the Gospel of Phillip tells of Jesus kissing Mary. This was taken as evidence by the “Yes they were” section, whilst the “No they weren’t” side said, no, every one did in those days.

It was a pity that the programme didn’t go far enough. It was almost that the makers were afraid of upsetting somebody on one side or the other.
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Re: Sealed with a kiss

Post by PhilHunt » Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:43 pm

Yes Bob. Dan Brown's book brought together lots of theories which had been floating around in various books for a long time. I think the reason why Jesus kissing Mary was seen as justification for the theories is that in those times men could greet men with a kiss as a sign of 'in group' greeting but a woman would not be. In fact one of the Gospels mentions Christ kissing one of his male apostels on the mouth. This is probably also because women were seen as property and could not hold religious positions of authority.
One of the reasons Jesus was so revolutionary was that he admitted women as followers to the 'in group', something unheard of in Judaism at that time. This has also led to the logical reasoning that Jesus being a Jew would have to had to conform to the traditions of the time and married, otherwise he would have been outcast from the community and the idea of an unmarried man walking around freely with an unmarried woman would have been impossible, so, it seems logical that they were married, or passed themselves off as a married couple for safety alone. Many people now find it hard to understand the rigid Judaic customs that Jesus grew up in would have made it almost impossible for him to have gained so much popularity and influence while remaining unmarried.
If you read about the various cult which sprung up after the death of Christ you will be shocked at the variety and absurdity of them.
My favourite ones (can't remember their names though) believed two opposing ideas about Christ's genitalia. One preached that he was born with no genitals, thus he could never fornicate and thus remain pure. Another believed that he could have an erection at will, thus demonstrating that he was not aroused by outside stimulus and could control his desires completely. These cults were real and popular, if history had taken any number of turns we may have ended up with one of these as the dominant belief system in the West today.
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Re: Sealed with a kiss

Post by Phil White » Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:41 pm

Of course, if he was god, he could have been born without genitals AND had an erection at will...
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Re: Sealed with a kiss

Post by trolley » Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:47 pm

Christ is risen.
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Re: Sealed with a kiss

Post by PhilHunt » Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:50 pm

..and he will come again!
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Re: Sealed with a kiss

Post by Phil White » Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:38 pm

If you are easily offended by such things, don't look here.
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Non sum felix lepus

Re: Sealed with a kiss

Post by trolley » Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:30 pm

It only looks creepy when he's turned on.
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Re: Sealed with a kiss

Post by zmjezhd » Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:42 am

But on Wiki (which is not always right) they say that osculum pacis was never used, just pax to mean 'kiss of peace'.

Hmm, hate to disagree with Wikipedia, but Tertullian, a third century Christian author, in his de Oratione 'concerning prayer', writes: "Alia jam consuetudo invaluit; jejunantes, habita oratione cum fratribus, subtrahunt osculum pacis, quod est signaculum orationis." ("Another custom hath now gained strength. They that are fasting, having prayed with their brethren, withdraw the kiss of peace, which is the seal of Prayer." Translated in the mid-19th century by Charles Dodgson.) IN the Vulgate, ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ (en philēmati hagiō) is translated into Latin as osculo sancto 'holy kiss'.
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Re: Sealed with a kiss

Post by PhilHunt » Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:47 am

Phil White wrote:If you are easily offended by such things, don't look here.
I am easily offended but I looked, and now....I GOTTA GET ME ONE OF THEM.

If after vistiting Phil's link you feel you need cleansing, you should visit this site.
And if after seeing Phil's link you feel like some Jesus action then visit this link.

I got my devout Catholic father some of these products and he loved them. :)
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Re: Sealed with a kiss

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:15 am

The site I find indispensable is http://www.jesusoftheweek.com/.

Well, almost.
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