Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wedding Readings -- Bible or Odyssey?

Today I was back in my home town for the wedding of one of my friends (and it was a great ceremony with a happy couple. Beautiful catholic church, and the usual formalities for such a case. There was the traditional reading of certain passages from the Bible for how marriages are supposed to be, or the nature of love, but there was a reading I hadn't heard before, from the Book of Tobit.

Tobit isn't in most Bibles and considered part of the apocrypha, though it is in Catholic and Orthodox canons. The reading was Tobit 8:4-9.

But this had me thinking about how Tobit is a book with much taken from the works of Homer, namely the Odyssey, as scholars such a Dennis MacDonald has have argued. And this had me think: there is a significant love story in the Odyssey between Odysseus and Persephone. Even after 20 years apart, they want to be together; Odysseus had gone to fight in the 10-year Trojan War and took another 10 years to return do to make a happenstance along the way. Yet Penelope remained loyal even with suitors living in the palace of Ithaca for all that time. (Odysseus also loved Penelope, but apparently he was not grieved with the guilt of other other ladies he bedded along the way home; he's not perfect by our standards, but apparently this was OK on ancient Greek morality.)

So perhaps there are some lines that would be good for a wedding occasion? I'm looking online for some examples, but I haven't seen so much there that I like. Hardly a rush to find something, but my own long-distance relationship can find some correlation with the Homeric epic. Any suggestions? Maybe the Aeneid will have something better?

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