Vulgate, Luke: Transeamus usque Bethlehem, et videamus hoc..

By Anonymous, in 'Reading Latin', Dec 31, 2009.

  1. Anonymous Guest

    Verbum perplexity...

    In St. Luke's Gospel, a shepherd, having heard the angel's remarks concerning doings in Bethlehem, responds, "Transeamus usque Bethlehem, et videamus hoc verbum, quod factum est, quod Dominus ostendit nobis."

    My problem is the use of "verbum." I feel certain that the sense is, "and let us see this that is said, which has occurred, which the Lord has shown to us."
    But can someone please explain the grammar? If "verbum" is, as it appears to be,
    the direct object of "videamus," why does it make sense to say "let us see this saying"? Is it some special sense of "verbum," or is it simply idiomatic, or what?
  2. Cinefactus Censor

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    Re: Verbum perplexity

    Lewis and Short gives a meaning in ecclesiastical Latin as a translation of λόγος- being the second person of the Trinity. It would seem to be the same as John 1:1.
  3. Anonymous Guest

    Re: Verbum perplexity

    Thanks for your reply. This helps.. It seems to follow from what you are saying that we should translated it: "...let us see this λόγος, what has occurred...." Can you help me see the exact relation of these various elements in the sentence? Bear in mind that my knowledge of Latin syntax is very feeble. Are we to read it thus?:
    "Let us cross over to Bethlehem, and let us see [the following three things]: (1) this λόγος, (2) what has occurred. [and] (3) what the Lord has shown us." In other words, are (1), (2), and (3) coordinate objects of "see"? If so, my problem is solved.
  4. Cinefactus Censor

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    Re: Verbum perplexity

    There are many elements in the Vulgate in which Latin has been used to imitate the Greek, and I think that this is one of them.

    Factum est in the Vulgate equates to the English translation, "And it came to pass". It is a bit of a verbal struggle to get this to match with the concept of "Son of God", but the meaning should be similar to the way I have translated it below.

    Let us go go Bethlehem, and let us see this Son of God, which (ie whom) has come into being, which the Lord has revealed to us.
  5. Cinefactus Censor

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    Re: Verbum perplexity

    "Let us cross over to Bethlehem, and let us see [the following three things]: (1) this λόγος, (2) what has occurred. [and] (3) what the Lord has shown us." In other words, are (1), (2), and (3) coordinate objects of "see"? If so, my problem is solved.[/quote]
    You could argue that 1 & 3 are direct objects of videamus, but I would suggest that 2 & 3 are clauses modifying 1.
  6. Anonymous Guest

    Re: Verbum perplexity

    Thank you for your reply. I think I see now. So "Verbum + factum" signifies "Word + spoken." This would make the translation, "...and let us see the Word which is spoken, [and] which the Lord has shown to us." Is this right? It seems a bit afield of most English versions I've seen, but it also seems more logical.
  7. Cinefactus Censor

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    Re: Verbum perplexity

    I think that spoken could be one interpretation, but I think that it is more, came to pass, came into being. From fieri rather than facere.
  8. Anonymous Guest

    Re: Verbum perplexity

    Thank you again. You have been very patient and helpful! Happy new year, by the way!
  9. Nemesio New Member

    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    St Jerome was a scholar of Latin and theology, and so he rendered an interpretation which offered the double entendre for 'word.' I take the literal meaning to be 'word' as in 'I heard word that the Steelers are recruiting a new running back.' I take the figurative meaning to be St Jerome's tie in with 'verbum' as used in the opening passage of St John's Gospel.

    But this redaction is the product of St Jerome's late-fourth, early-fifth century, strongly Trinitarian, anti-Arian theological persuasion, not a reflection of the Greek sources from which he translated. In fact, the Greek doesn't even use St John's word 'Logos' which was charged with Hellenistic philosophical and theological overtones.

    ...Dielthomen de eos Bethleem // kai idomen to rema touto to gegonos // o o kurios egnorisen emin.
    ...Transeamus usque Bethlehem // et videamus hoc verbum quod factum est // quod Dominus ostendit nobis.

    The Greek in the middle clause reads transliterated '...and let us see this thing having come about...;' no equivalent to the Latin 'Verbum caro factum est' to which St Jerome was clearly alluding (as observed by Lewis and Short).

    In any event, St Luke was writing at a time when the theology about who Jesus actually was -- man, God, hypostatic union, &c -- was still very much up for grabs and St Luke himself does not set to define this. St Jerome, as all translators do to a certain degree, was imposing his own hermaneutic upon the text he was seeking to render. Consequently, his double entendre, while elegant from a theological and literary standpoint is an anachronism. St Luke's theology did not entail a strongly Trinitarian element (this is largely a second-century theological convention), nor does he clearly testify to his understanding of Jesus as God.

    Nemesio

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