Thursday, July 24, 2014

In Saecula Saeculorum - World Without End, Amen

Emperor Antoninus Pius
My novel In Saecula Saeculorum is a time travel adventure set in Ancient Rome. 

I wanted a Latin language title that would somehow encapsulate the concept of time and also touch upon the desperation of the mission depicted in the novel. 

Four young people have been unwittingly trained for a near hopeless mission back in time to Ancient Rome for an outside chance to save the modern world from certain destruction.

The phrase In Saecula Saeculorum turns out to be the perfect vehicle to convey this. Here's why.


In Saecula Saeculorum

This phrase is ubiquitous in the Latin Mass, as is its Greek antecedent in the Orthodox Liturgy, εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων

It occurs multiple times in the Greek New Testament. In the King James translation, it is usually rendered "for ever and ever." In one place, Ephesians 3:21, however, the phrase is translated as "World without End."

Perhaps solely because of the glorious poetry of this felicitous rendering, "World without End" became the common doxology of the Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church.  

The word saeculum originally means "a lifetime." How long is that? It depends on each person. As such, what is a lifetime of lifetimes?

The young people in the novel In Saecula Saeculorum sacrifice the only lifetime they have for the outside chance to save the world. Someday the World will indeed end. But if they can do anything about it, our planet will remain a World without End on their watch...

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