Church (Christian, Ecclesiastical etc.) Latin

Most texts and materials on this site have to do with the Latin language, including its perception in popular culture: movies, tattoos, inscriptions, engravings, bits of ancient philosophy, online Latin resources and company names. There is also information about learning Latin and Greek: textbooks, dictionaries, DVDs and software that can be used in a homeschooling environment.

See also:
Church Latin, a brief Introduction to the use of Latin by the Christian Church
Interlinear Latin-English New Testament


Past, Present and Future. Quote from Augustine?

 
Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 15:35 - Church (Christian, Ecclesiastical etc.) Latin, Philosophy
Posted by Administrator
This phrase is often attributed to St. Augustine: "Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love, and the future to God's providence."

Here's the scoop. I simply cannot find any direct match for this quote in Latin, in Augustine or elsewhere. The earliest date that I could find for the use of the English version is 1906 ("The Manual of the Holy Catholic Church" by James McGovern). The quote has no attribution there, but it is followed by a quote from St. Augustine! The vast majority of French versions are unattributed. Interestingly, François de Sales is quoted as the originator of this particular phrase: "il faut abandonner le passé à la miséricorde de Dieu, le présent à notre fidélité, l'avenir à la Divine Providence." Note how the middle is changed from God's love to our faithfulness. This would seem to indicate that de Sales knew a similar quote and simply modified it. Unfortunately, I cannot find his French quote in a complete French edition and there is no Latin edition available. Also, in 19th century French texts there is a phrase that only contains references to past and future. Nothing too interesting came out of my research on the Italian and German versions of the phrase.

It looks as if at some point a rather commonplace phrase was ascribed to Augustine, or perhaps someone felt that it expressed his understanding of things. Just like Tertullian never actually said, "Credo quia absudrum." I think, we have a modern-day Pseudo-Augustine quote!

See also:
Church Latin Introduction
Latin quotes and sayings

Niermeyer, Medieval Latin Lexicon

 
Friday, March 13, 2009, 22:46 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Church (Christian, Ecclesiastical etc.) Latin
Posted by Administrator
It appears that the great and authoritative Niermeyer's Medieval Latin Lexicon is freely available at archive.org! It is labeled as "open source". Could it be that it is not copyrighted anymore?

Niermeyer's Medieval Latin Lexicon

Vox populi - vox Dei

 
Vox populi - vox Dei
The voice of the people (is) the voice of God


Reading the Wikipedia article about the meaning of the phrase "vox populi (vox dei)" one may experience some confusion regarding the origin of the expression:

Often quoted as, Vox populi, vox dei, "The voice of the people is the voice of God", is an old proverb often erroneously attributed to William of Malmesbury in the twelfth century.[1]

Another early reference to the expression is in a letter from Alcuin to Charlemagne in 798, although it is believed to have been in earlier use.[2] The full quotation from Alcuin reads:

Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.[3]

English translation:

And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.[4]


Indeed, further medieval references can be cited, such as Peter Damian:

Tunc denique probatum est uerum esse quod dicitur: Vox populi uox Dei.
And then if finally proved to be true they, as they say: The voice of the people is the voice of God.


But Let us now look at Isaiah 66:6, using Jerome's Latin translation:

vox populi de civitate vox de templo vox Domini reddentis retributionem inimicis suis

The voice of the people from the town, the voice from the temple, the voice of the Lord who renders recompense to His enemies.


What's interesting, you will not find the word people in the Septuagint and, as far as I can tell, in the Hebrew text. Cf. KJV:

A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompence to his enemies.

Whatever the reason for textual discrepancies, we have an innovation in the Latin translation (although, I am sure, Jerome had some textual basis for his reading). Thus, for the first time we have within the same context the idea of the people's voice and the idea of the voice of God. Apparently, sometime after the Vulgate became widely used these two ideas produced the well-known proverb. It is funny that the origin of the phrase is completely erroneous and accidental, but it is still regarded as holding some veracity and an independent value of a morally obliging statement!


Idea for an engraved pen

 
It seems to me that to engrave a pen (or any other object) with one's own name is the pinnacle of self-absorption. How about something inspirational?

Sume calamum, tempera, et scribe velociter

Take your pen, observe my words, and write quickly.

These are the words of Venerable Bede that he addressed to his secretary while on his death-bed.

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