Latin Quotes, Sayings, Tattoos, Phrases & Mottos

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.


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!


How I buy books (and how I got the Archaeological Study Bible)

 
Monday, July 21, 2008, 18:03 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Reviews
Posted by Administrator
First of all, I try to use the library:) But on those rare occasions when a particular book is absolutely necessary for me to own I nearly always end up buying used copies through Amazon. But I always check to see if someone is presently running fantastic special deals. I type "borders coupons" in the search engine and usually receive some satisfaction from the fact that I won't find a better deal. Well, not this time! I decided to buy the NIV Archaeological Study Bible published by Zondervan. I heard very good reviews of this edition, it seems to be a solid piece of conservative, but reasonable scholarship. In this particular case, I did not want to buy a used copy because this is an edition with very thin pages, very prone to damage. After performing my usual check I discovered that Borders is currently running a rather spectacular promotion - 40% off any title (BC4777). I also got a $5 coupon from them in the mail (BR41925). Even though Borders was selling the Archaeological Bible at a regular list price the two promotions, when combined, put Amazon out of the competition. The 40% off one expires on Tuesday, so this is more of a general reminder to all not to take for granted Amazon's domination.

Symbol of purity and Platonic love? Non tangunt et amant.

 
Monday, July 14, 2008, 19:31 - Heraldry, Symbols and Emblems, Love quotes and symbols
Posted by Administrator
Non tangunt et amant
They are not touching, and yet they love


Symbola et emblemata: Jungit amor

 
Monday, July 14, 2008, 19:30 - Heraldry, Symbols and Emblems, Love quotes and symbols
Posted by Administrator
Jungit amor
Love unites



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