In my last post, I offered an argument that Amoris Laetitia was written in a modern language and then translated into Latin later, with the various modern language translations based not on the Latin but on the modern-language original. The argument had two bases: (1) The Latin text appeared on the Vatican website months after all other languages had been published; (2) the various translations share features that cannot be explained on the basis of independent translation from the Latin.
There are other possibilities, of course. Maybe the Italians translate a text first, and then all the other translators use the Italian translation as a guide to their translation of the Latin. Maybe all the translators get together at a pub to decide what the text should really say, and then go home to make it say that. I don’t know! But a couple of conversations with people who work in the Vatican Latin offices have left me, rightly or wrongly, with the impression that it has been a long time since a papal encyclical was originally composed in Latin. Rumors have it that BXVI did compose in Latin, but even these rumors put the claim as a remarkable exception.
But since we are having fun with linguistic geekery, I thought I should look at the word “ideal” in John Paul II’s Veritatis Splendor, too. The famous paragraph, the one people often cite in comparison with Amoris Laetitia 303, is VS 103: Continue reading “A note on the Latin text of Veritatis Splendor”
When Amoris Laetitia was first released in all the various modern languages, the geeks among the onlookers were frustrated to find that no Latin text was available on the Vatican website. Months went by, and eventually a Latin text appeared, long after the debate over Amoris Laetitia was underway. Just looking at the Vatican website, one would suppose that the Latin text was not the original text but was created some time after the various modern language editions.
Is this true? I became curious. Now that there is a Latin text, we can check. If the Latin is original, then one will expect to find that the various translations render the Latin various ways, with the Polish sometimes agreeing with the Latin against the Spanish, and the Spanish sometimes agreeing with the Latin against the French, and so on. But if the Latin was later, then one would expect to find sometimes that the various translations all agree with each other against the Latin, and one would expect to find this in a situation where a given phrase is especially hard to get into the Latin. Continue reading “A note on the Latin text of Amoris Laetitia”
I am translating a snippet from a medieval commentary on 1Corinthians. At the part where St. Paul advises the Corinthians not to marry because of the many difficulties involved, my commentator notes that Paul says
that marriage should be avoided because there are many pressing difficulties. Hence they are said to be in a millstone, Mt. 24:41. Hence in common speech it is said that marriage has a big mouth.
Excuse me? Odd proverbs making the rounds in the late middle ages. But I love the creative interpretation of Mt. 24:41!
I found a neat instance of how punctuation or the lector’s reading can change the meaning of a biblical text. The Nova Vulgata of 1Tim 5:21 can say:
Testificor…ut haec custodias sine praeiudicio, nihil faciens in aliquam partem declinando. (“I adjure you that you keep these things without prejudice, doing nothing by favoring one side.”)
Or it could say:
Testificor…ut haec custiodias, sine praeiudicio nihil faciens, in aliquam partem declinando. (“I adjure you that you keep these things, doing nothing without prejudice, by favoring one side.”)
So you get to pick which one Paul said! But you should probably read Augustine’s De Doctrina Christiana first….
I recently picked up a copy of BXVI’s Caritas in Veritate in Latin. Paragraph 5 states that “societas” today “universaliter conglobatur”. Literally, that means that society today is everywhere turned into a ball—it’s all balled up. But I take it as a way of referring to the phenomon of “globalization”.
Speaking of which, I’d be happy to publically honor and applaud the reader who can define “globalization” succinctly and intelligibly.