1. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    I am having a bit of a mental block with this sentence from a Gregorian chant...

    Sapientia domini evangelii erupe)runt abyssi et annuntiantes foecundati rore caelesti mundo intonant.

    The first half is OK, but I can't make any good sense out of the second. Anyone have any clues?

    Thanks

    JD
  2. Cato Consularis

    • Consularis
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    This is weird; my translation is a little stilted, but I take it to be "The Gospels broke forth the wisdom of the Lord in the Abyss, and those announcing, made productive by the heavenly dew, thunder (it) to the world." Abyssi as a locative is my only explanation for this word...

    Can't say I'm happy with this...
  3. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    Thanks. It does give me some consolation that I am not the only one who struggled...

    Excluding some interspersed Psalms, the following antiphonae go:
    Labia eorum salutarem disseminaverunt scientiam opus sanctum dignum benedictione plenum fecerunt ministerium sibi traditum devote impleverunt.

    Elegit eos ex omni carne et dedit illis praecepta et leges vitae et disciplinae.

    This makes me wonder, as either the subject of the sentences are different, evangelii is not the subject of the first sentence, or its translation can't be Gospels. Furthermore, evangelii should be genitive shouldn't it, which makes me even more confused...

    I can't find any reference to evangelii being Evangelists, but do you think that this is what it could mean anyway? (Assuming the author has come up with a noun, evangelius, evengelii m) Something like, "By the wisdom of the Lord, the Evangelists broke forth of the abyss..." Seems like a real stretch of the imagination doesn't it!

    JD
  4. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    Sapientia domini evangelii eruperunt abyssi et annuntiantes foecundati rore caelesti mundo intonant.

    1. I think this is very difficult. An error is always possible, but this same text is found in the only three manuscripts to which I can find reference.

    2. With respect to Cato, I don't think that sapientia can be the object of eruperunt. I think it must be an ablative: "By the wisdom of the Lord the Gospels...", or , less plausibly "By wisdom the Gospels of the Lord..."

    3. The crux of the difficulty is that abyssi. If it relates to the eruperunt then it ought to be ablative (as ex abysso). As it stands it must be genitive singular, locative singular, or nominative plural, none of which make clear sense to me in relation to the eruperunt.

    I am groping, I know, but suppose we imagine a semicolon after the eruperunt. Abyssi could possibly mean "the oceans" (cf. Genesis i: 2). And this difficult antiphon might then possibly be

    "By the wisdom of the Lord the Gospels have burst forth; the oceans and the preachers, made fecund by the dew of heaven, thunder to the world".

    Not very convincing.

    I think in fact that the most likely explanation is that this is a genitive of separation. Abyssus is after all a word of Greek origin. Allen & Greenough tell us that "the genitive is by a Greek idiom often used in poetry instead of the ablative with all words denoting separation and want.."; Gildersleeve says that "a Genitive of Separation, after the analogy of the Greek, is found in a few cases in the poets".

    Although I can cite no other single instance of such a usage with erumpto, I think this is the most likely theory, and propose as our best (though still very uncertain) translation:

    "By the wisdom of the Lord the Gospels have burst forth from the abyss, and the preachers, made fecund by [this] dew of heaven, thunder to the world".
  5. Cato Consularis

    • Consularis
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I agree with Iynx on sapientia; was hung up on the participle form and distracted over lunch.

    Regarding Abyssi, with respect to Iynx, appealing to the obscure genitive of separation is difficult to justify here, especially given the likely time period when this chant was written. My vote is for a manuscript corruption/miscopy; perhaps it should be Abyssis here?
  6. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    Aha, it would make a lot more sense to regard annuntiantes as a noun, rather than a participle.

    OTOH, I thought evangelii was the genitive of evangelium, which should have a plural of evangelia, which would therefore mean that it can't be the subject of eruperunt.

    Could annuntiantes therefore be the subject?
    By the wisdom of the Lord of the Gospels they broke free of the abyss, and the preachers made fecund by the dew of heaven thunder forth to the world???
  7. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    Oh, you're right of course, StCinder; it's evangelium, not evangelius. And "evangelist" is evangelista, -ae.

    I think that your last version is our best yet. But I have one further thought. In Genesis i: 2 the KJV has "waters" where the Vulgate has abyssi. A reading that might make more sense of the subsequent reference to "dew" might be

    By the wisdom of the Lord of the Gospels the waters broke forth, and the preachers, made fecund by [this] dew from heaven, thunder to the world.

    I know that ros is not strictly limited to dew, but can sometimes be applied to rain as well.
  8. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    Thanks :)

    I feel like a dog with a bone here ;)

    Using waters makes things a lot clearer. In which case perhaps the waters could be the subject of the second half as well, something like:

    By the wisdom of the Lord of the Gospels the waters broke forth, and being made fruitful, prophesying, they thunder to the world by the heavenly rain.

    JD

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