The Funeral Dirge And Procession

Another form of music with pagan roots is the funeral dirge. It was brought into the Christian church in the early third century. As one scholar put it, "The pagan cult of the dead was too much a part of the past lives of many Christians, formerly pagans, for them simply to be able to replace pagan dirges and funeral music with Psalmody.'

During the days of Constantine, Roman betrothal practices and funeral processions were adapted and transformed into Christian "funerals."22 This was borrowed from pagan practice." The so-called funeral dirge that is observed and accepted by Christians also came out of paganism.' It was brought into the Christian church in the early third century. Tertullian was opposed to Christian funeral procession simply because it had pagan origins.'

Not only did the funeral procession emerge out of paganism; so did the funeral oration. It was the common practice of pagans in the Roman Empire to hire one of the town's eloquent professors to speak at the funeral of a loved one. The speaker followed a little handbook for such occasions. He would work himself up to a passionate pitch and then say of the deceased, "He now lives among the gods, traversing the heavens and looking down on life below."" It was his job to

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Wiener-Sangerknaben.htm . For a discussion on the pagan origin of women's choirs, see Quasten, Music and Worship in Pagan and Christian Antiqu/ty, 77-86.

Parke, Oracles of Apollo in Asia Minor, 102-103; Quasten, Music and Worship, 87ff. "The pagans frequently used boys choirs in their worship, especially on festive occasions." Quasten, Music and Worship, 87. Ibid., 86, 160ff.

Senn, Christian Worship and Its Cultural Setting, 41. Senn also explains how Roman betrothal practices were incorporated into Christian weddings. See chapter 3.

Quasten, Music and Worship, 163. Ibid., 164-165. - MacMullen, Christianizing the Roman Empire, 11-13.

comfort the loved ones of the deceased. This role is filled today by the contemporary pastor. Even the words of the oration are strikingly similar!

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