Volume 10, 2020
James McEvoy, Mette Lebech
Deus qui humanae substantiae dignitatem
A Latin Liturgical Source Contributing to the Conceptualization History of Human Dignity
This article explores the history of the prayer Deus qui humanae substantiae dignitatem as a contribution to the conceptualization history of human dignity. It is argued that the prayer can be traced back to pre-Carolingian times, that it forms part of an early tradition of reflection on human dignity, and that it was adapted to use at the offertory, such that an association was made between human dignity and the holy exchange of gifts. In this way, the prayer significantly shaped the Christian concept of human dignity as the holy ‘place’ of commerce with God.